Seven people graded the Pistons for major outlets:
- Dan Feldman and Patrick Hayes (PistonPowered)
- Brian Packey, Kevin Sawyer and Mike Payne (Detroit Bad Boys)
- Chris Iott and Justin Rogers (MLive.com)
The highest grade for each player is green, and the lowest grade for each player is red.
Dan Feldman of PistonPowered: D-
They never would have been great, but the Pistons spent way too much of this season griping, playing softly and sleepwalking through games. Overall, this hasn’t been a likable team. If it weren’t fortheir recent Sustained Success putting me in a good mood, I would have given them an ‘F.’
Patrick Hayes of PistonPowered: D+
Again, I’m probably forgetting too much of the horrible, sluggish play early in the season. Based on record, the Pistons probably deserve an ‘F.’ But I also feel like they’ve found a mix of players that will keep them competitive the rest of the way and with Monroe and Daye getting consistent minutes, along with McGrady in a primary role, they are putting guys on the court who are legitimately interesting to watch for different reasons.
Let the rebuilding begin in earnest, because it is just as certain after 42 games as it was back in October that even if the current roster overachieves, Detroit still isn’t going to be anything more than first-round fodder for the Celtics or the Heat. Losing Jonas Jerebko in the preseason was a rough blow to that rebuilding process, but over the past couple of weeks it has been good to see John Kuester’s belatedly giving big minutes to rookie center Greg Monroe and finding more time for second-year forward Austin Daye. Kuester has also stopped using veteran shooting guard Richard Hamilton, whom the coach insists was benched as part of a rotation change, not to keep him healthy before a possible trade.
The dullest, most agitated team in the NBA is still playing a notch above expectations.
The Pistons have been a tough team to figure out halfway through. Some nights, they look like a legitimate playoff team. Other nights, you fear for another Malace at the Palace but this one coming only between the Pistons.
Coach John Kuester is on the verge of losing his team and with trade rumors hanging over the heads of their core players, the Pistons haven’t been able to fully commit to a rebuilding youth movement. You can’t say the Pistons have disappointed anyone in the first half because there really weren’t expectations, but they’ve played some ugly basketball to this point.
Halfway through the season, Kuester still is searching through the parts bin to find the right mix of players for his starting lineup and rotation. It would be one thing to faze out the holdovers from recent Pistons glory days — Hamilton, Prince — in a full-scale youth movement, but T-Mac has played a bigger role lately.
It is a statement on the East, rather than a credit to the Pistons, that they are within 2 1/2 games out of the eighth playoff spot. We’ll assume that Kuester and the front office are sharp enough not to fall for that fool’s gold. They need to force-feed the youngsters and stay focused on the future, which — harsh as it might sound — ought to include a bare minimum of the fellows currently employed.
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