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Greg Monroe’s third straight double-double a historic mark for a Pistons rookie, but he can’t compensate for Bulls’ Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer

Isn’t there a trade to discuss? That’s much more appealing than the reality of tonight’s game.

Sometimes, teams are just overmatched, and the Pistons certainly were tonight. They don’t have the manpower to matchup with the Bulls, even if it took Chicago a half to realize that. Detroit provided very little resistance as the Bulls turned a 12-point halftime deficit into a 95-82 victory.

The Pistons’ part in the Carmelo Anthony trade won’t fix the Pistons’ talent disparity against teams like the Bulls, but the flexibility the deal provides would be a start. Detroit needs an impact player, someone like Derrick Rose (29 points, seven assists and five rebounds) or Carlos Boozer (27 points and 11 rebounds).

Greg Monroe isn’t that guy yet. Heck, I’m he wasn’t even that guy for just tonight while recording his third straight double-double (10 points and 11 rebounds). But he’s continuously showing signs – another rebound in traffic, a confident jump shot, strength in the low post on defense.

His double-double should encourage doubters, if any remain. Monroe became the first Pistons rookie since at least 1986-87 (as far back as Basketball-Reference’s streak finder goes) to record three straight point-rebound double-doubles.

Monroe still needs work to catch Jason Maxiell’s five straight point-rebound double-doubles last March, but the young center has a a shot at that mark.

“Monroe’s double-double lone bright spot in Pistons loss” stories are becoming a little tired, but at least there’s something positive to write. When his streak ends, then what?

That’d be a great time for a trade.

Check back for more updates.

Austin Daye fizzles after hot start

Austin Daye made his first six shots, scoring 14 points, in the first half. He appeared set to topple his career high of 16 points.

But he missed all four his shots in the second half and finished with 14 points.

This game illustrated why the Pistons are sticking with Tayshaun Prince as their starting small forward. Daye has proven good in spurts, but many players around the league are good in spurts. Daye hasn’t reached that next level where he can play well during an extended period of time.

In the first half, he aggressively looked for his shot and was confident taking it. In the second half, he resigned himself to being a fourth option, and his shots appeared more tentative.

Daye has impressed for a second-year player, showing positive signs all season,* especially when getting getting minutes at small forward or shooting guard as he did against the Bulls. But he’s not ready for a larger role yet.

*One such sign came on what might be the most surprising Pistons play of the season, considering the player involved.

Daye collected a loose ball past halfcourt with five seconds on the shot clock and dribbled right through the Bulls’ defense for a dunk.

It was an excellent play, not the best I’d seen this season – but considering the source, the most surprising.

Shooting-guard shellacking

After a combined seven points (2-of-17 shooting), six rebounds and five assists against the Bulls, Ben Gordon and Richard Hamilton have now combined to post 38 points (12-of-47 shooting), 11 rebounds and 11 assists in their last…

I wrote about the duo’s struggle in the last game, so if you’re expecting me to write, “two games” here, brace yourself. Those numbers would be pretty dreadful, and plausible, for a two-game stretch. But the reality is that’s what the two highly paid guards have done in their last three games.

Gordon and Hamilton haven’t combined to score even 30 points in a game since Hamilton score 35 himself against the Raptors in his first game off the bench.

They’re playing without purpose, and it’s time for John Kuester to consider sending a message. Starting Tracy McGrady and Rodney Stuckey must at least cross his mind.

Defending Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer

The Pistons have one player capable of defending Derrick Rose and two who can handle Carlos Boozer – and those three can only slow the Bulls’ stars under the best of circumstances.

This game was not the best of circumstances.

Rodney Stuckey, the lone Piston capable of guarding Rose, inexplicably played just 19 minutes, including none of the fourth quarter. Stuckey wasn’t great against Rose, but he was the only Piston capable of physically matching up.

Part of the reason Stuckey struggled on Rose is John Kuester had him going over screens, and the Pistons’ help defense isn’t quick enough to rotate and help. With Stuckey out of the game, the Pistons began trapping Rose more.

As far as defending Boozer, Ben Wallace and Greg Monroe are the only two Pistons who have a chance. But Wallace hurt his left ankle shortly after tipoff, and although he tried to play a couple minutes, his night ended early in the first quarter.

That led to Monroe playing 43 minutes – eight more than his previous career high. Sometime in the second half, Monroe slowed down, and a gassed Monroe has no chance of defending Boozer.

Charlie Villanueva physically should match up OK with Boozer, but as we’ve seen, his defensive awareness leaves much to be desired. Against the Bulls, he had the quickest defensive rotation I’ve ever seen him make. He was right on Boozer as soon as Boozer caught the pass on a pick and roll. It was beautiful defense. Then Villanueva got so excited, he immediately hacked Boozer.

Rose and Boozer would have been tough assignments no matter what, but with coaching and circumstance working against Detroit, those two picked the Pistons apart.

Tracy McGrady comes back to earth

You’d think Tracy McGrady would have gotten up for this game, in Chicago, against the team that so publicly denied him a contract offer this summer. But he basically sleep-walked through this game.

He was lazy with his dribble and passes, turning the ball over three times. He scored nine points, but he had just two assists and two rebounds in 32 minutes.

For the first time in a while, he looked anything but savvy. Maybe expectations have soared too high, too quickly.

24 Comments

  • Jan 10, 201111:17 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    i dunno. part of me thinks the games have been more bearable lately, but i’m still overwhelmed by a “meh” feeling. once kuester took stuckey out of the game in the first half, the pistons were downright great. then the third quarter happened. so, uh, “same old pistons” i guess. uninspired performances by the entire overcrowded backcourt. daye was incredible in spots, a little lost in others. monroe was impressive. i’m just so sick of watching this team. can’t wait until next season, but there have to be some major shakeups. looking ahead:
     
    if we can unload rip, keeping tayshaun becomes a desirable option if we can’t trade him for a lesser expiring player plus a pick. and shedding max right about now would be nice too. if z-bo is really serious about coming here, i think he’d be a great get. add a point guard and a big in the draft and suddenly we’re much less of a mess. reeeally love to trade t-mac for just about anything, because this team just can’t win right now. heck, if he wants to remain a piston for some stupid reason, he should be happy to be traded for the remainder of the season if it means adding some serious help to the team next year. i had a similar thought last year about big ben, but it would be a lot less unsavory to ship t-mac.

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Patrick Hayes. Patrick Hayes said: From @PistonPowered: Greg Monroe’s third straight double-double a historic mark for a Pistons rookie, but he can… http://bit.ly/fznC2E [...]

  • Jan 11, 201112:46 am
    by James (Australia)

    Reply

    “Sometimes, teams are just overmatched, and the Pistons certainly were tonight. They don’t have the manpower to matchup with the Bulls”
     
    Sorry, but I disagree entirely. We win this game if we could just get Gordon or Rip to shoot half-decent. What did they finish, 2/15? The Pistons have the talent to beat teams like Chicago, but they are inept at displaying that talent on the court.

  • Jan 11, 201112:47 am
    by Tony

    Reply

    Dude you don’t know basketball at all if you think the Bulls have more talent than the Pistons.  The Bulls have a true PG and just like a QB in NFL a lot of people can play the position, but most aren’t truly gifted or productive at it.  Stuckey is a SG period, to be a play maker you have to care more about winning than scoring simple as that and with all the offensive weapons the Pistons have a PG would make them a playoff contender.  First thing that needs to happen is GET ONE, second get a PF in the draft to play alongside Monroe, and last get rid of Kuester because he’s horrible as a head coach same problem as with Stuckey, he’s a career asst coach playing the role of head coach.  Pistons are a complete train wreck of poor decisions, bad management, and redundant pieces of an incomplete puzzle.

  • Jan 11, 20111:54 am
    by Fennis

    Reply

    I tend to agree with James (Australia). The Pistons have talent. If you believe that Kuester is a terrible coach, then you’d also have to agree that they’d be doing much better if they had competent (God forbid good) coaching. The Bulls didn’t play poorly in the first half and we handled them. We’re certainly not as talented with the Bulls at full strength, but outside of Boozer and Rose that team is still talent starved with Noah on IR.
    My beef is with the 2 spot. Rip and BG are just awful. Neither of them can do anything but score, and now they aren’t even competent at that. Not to mention the fact that the two of them eat up more cap room than any other starter-backup combo on the roster. It’s a total mess. The best backcourt at this point would be Stuckey/T-mac, but that isn’t possible until one of the $10 million dollar men get traded. BG is not a starter in this league — too limited.
    And if BG dribbles to the corner, jumps, and throws the ball away won more time I may give up my fan card. Why hasn’t a coach pointed this out to him? It happens at least twice a game.
     

  • Jan 11, 20113:59 am
    by jack

    Reply

    McGrady was having great success at posting the Bulls guwrds but the Pistons for some strange reasons went away from that.Also he left tmac on the bench to long in the second half and it looked like his body was stiff. Thats why i think he should finish the quarters like the 2nd and start the 3rd so his body is still hot.

  • Jan 11, 20117:03 am
    by jk281

    Reply

    I just dont get it. You have a Center, who if given the minutes, appears capable of consistently producing dbl-dbl’s for you, yet he still isnt good enough to start over one of the worst frontcourts in the league (Ben/CV)?

    It makes no sense why Ben has to start. I thought the whole point behind the Chauncey trade was to get cap space to get younger in the frontcourt, after Sheed/Dice were getting up there in age.

    Now we have a young Center thats producing, and Ben, who is even older and less productive than Sheed and Dice is starting over him? Why? What was the point to trading Chauncey and letting Sheed and Dice walk then? We could’ve just kept all of them if we arent going to use are young guys to their fullest potential.

    I know Monroe played 43 minutes last night, but that was only due to Ben’s injury. I have no doubt that if Ben is healthy wednesday, he will back in the starting lineup getting his 24 minutes/gm, and Monroe’s minutes will go back down to 20.

    And the Stuckey/T-Mac debate as to who should be starting has kind of let Gordon off the hook.

  • Jan 11, 20118:07 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    Rip had a great excuse for his poor shooting last night but what is Ben Gordon’s excuse. he is playing his old team, the team that refused to pony up and give him a contract (smart), and he goes 2 of 10. I am so sick of Ben Gordon.

    Please trade Ben Gordon as soon as this trade with Rip is complete. Move Stuckey to the two guard and then we can begin to rebuild.

  • Jan 11, 20118:54 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @James:
    “The Pistons have the talent to beat teams like Chicago, but they are inept at displaying that talent on the court.”
    Having the talent to beat teams like Chicago doesn’t mean they are more talented. Chicago is the better team. The Bulls have two guys in Rose and Boozer who demand the attention of the defense at all times. The Pistons have zero guys who do that.

  • Jan 11, 20119:03 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Tony:
    Sigh. I haven’t done this in a while, but let’s go line-by-line.
    “Dude you don’t know basketball at all if you think the Bulls have more talent than the Pistons.”
    First, no need for the absurd insult. Secondly, the Bulls have significantly more talent than the Pistons. Rose, Boozer and Noah (when healthy) are better than anyone on the Pistons roster. Deng would probably be the Pistons’ best player if he was on the team (although it’s debatable … he wouldn’t be worse than second best though) and Taj Gibson is really good too. I mean, if you combined the rosters and let someone pick a team based on that mix, the first five picks might all be Bulls, and at least the first four would be. How can you say that the Bulls don’t have more talent than the Pistons and then say that someone else doesn’t know basketball?
    “The Bulls have a true PG and just like a QB in NFL a lot of people can play the position, but most aren’t truly gifted or productive at it.”
    Rose isn’t a true PG. He’s a scorer. He’s very physically gifted. He’s surrounded by better talent. But make no mistake, he’s a shoot-first guard who happens to pass it and handle it well enough to be called a point guard.
    “Stuckey is a SG period, to be a play maker you have to care more about winning than scoring simple as that and with all the offensive weapons the Pistons have a PG would make them a playoff contender.”
    Which point guard? I mean, sure, if you put Rose, who is getting close to being a top five player in this league regardless of position, on the Pistons, then yeah, they’re a playoff contender. But any point guard? Carlos Arroyo is a true pass-first point guard, and if you put him on the Pistons, he ain’t helping. The Pistons need a playmaker for sure. But so do a lot of teams.
    “First thing that needs to happen is GET ONE,”
    How many truly great or even good point guards are out there and available? There is a dearth of quality point guards in the NBA. Teams don’t willingly give those players up when they have them.
    “second get a PF in the draft to play alongside Monroe,”
    Monroe might be more of a power forward than a center.
    “and last get rid of Kuester because he’s horrible as a head coach same problem as with Stuckey, he’s a career asst coach playing the role of head coach.”
    Getting rid of the coach doesn’t serve any purpose right now, even if he hasn’t done a great job. You say yourself, he inherited a mismatched roster. I don’t think any coach is winning with this group.
    “Pistons are a complete train wreck of poor decisions, bad management, and redundant pieces of an incomplete puzzle.”
    So back to the original point: explain to me who that translates to the Pistons having more talent than the Bulls?

  • Jan 11, 20119:05 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Fennis:
    “I tend to agree with James (Australia). The Pistons have talent.”
    Dan wasn’t writing that they don’t have talent. He wrote that they don’t have the talent that the Bulls have. The Pistons are good enough to be competitive most nights with most teams in the league if things go their way. But they are also much less talented overall than top teams like Chicago. I don’t think anyone can argue with that.

  • Jan 11, 20119:08 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @jk281:
    “Ben, who is even older and less productive than Sheed and Dice is starting over him?”
    Monroe is playing great. But Wallace’s production is still fine relative to his age. He’s still the team’s best rebounder percentage-wise, although Monroe is close to him. He’s still a better frontcourt defensive player than Monroe. I wouldn’t hate seeing Monroe start, but let’s be real: the Pistons get killed on the boards. If they want to be more competitive in that department, Monroe should be getting minutes or starting at the expense of Villanueva rather than Wallace.
    Wallace, when you compare his production to his contract, is still one of the best values in the league (he makes less than Johan Petro, for example) and he’s still remarkably productive for a big man his age.

  • Jan 11, 20119:11 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @PCB:
    “Please trade Ben Gordon as soon as this trade with Rip is complete.”
    Not happening man. Assuming Hamilton is traded, Gordon will get the rest of this season at a minimum to prove he can produce better numbers in a more primary role.
    Joe Dumars has certainly never been afraid to cut his losses and ship out a player who was signed/drafted/traded for and didn’t pan out, but I really feel like the organization believes Gordon needs an extended look as the primary two guard with Hamilton not on the roster in order to properly evaluate whether he can succeed long-term here.

  • Jan 11, 20119:18 am
    by jack

    Reply

    Talent is overrated. It helps, but if a team has the burning desire to sarafice and go through a brick wall for eachother, that can more then compensate for the lack of talent. You look at the Rockets won 22 with an average roster. If you compete on most nights, you will be in most games. In the first half the Pistons competed. They crashed the offensive glass. the moved the ball and worked for eachother off the ball.

    In the second half  espexcially at the start of the 3 rd all i saw was  isolation plays with noone besides probaly Tmac  making that extra pass.  no movement. noone looking to hit the boards or chase down any  loose balls. The Pistons of all teams due to lack of talent cant afford to be that lazy. Talented teams can probaly get away with it here and there, but the Pistons cant.

  • Jan 11, 20119:36 am
    by Cliff

    Reply

    The problem with the pistons now: the starting lineup is TERRIBLE. this is obvious as you watch the beginning and the third quarters of games. ben gordon just simply useless… he just disrupts offence by pulling up shots and creating turnovers.
    The bench on the other hand is always fantastic… greg monroe and t-mac have been phenomenal lately…  to be honest i would much rather trade away bg instead of rip… rip is still a quality shooting guard who has a high basketball iq while bg just looks confused and dazed when he’s on the court.

  • Jan 11, 20119:46 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @jack:

    “Talent is overrated. It helps, but if a team has the burning desire to sarafice and go through a brick wall for eachother, that can more then compensate for the lack of talent.”

    Sure, that can help. But talent is not overrated. When is the last time a team that was not talented won a title? Or made a playoff run?

    I mean, is it possible that it wasn’t that the Pistons quit attacking in the second half and more that the Bulls just started playing with more effort defensively and made a conscious effort to stop giving up points on the hustle plays?

  • Jan 11, 201110:13 am
    by jack

    Reply

    I never said that talent is useless, i said an  somewhat inferior or a less talented team can compete with a more talented team if all things go their way and  if they hustle the other team. I feel the Pistons talent is’nt that far off that they should be this bad. 

    I feel if they compete on most night and things go their way, they can be competitive on most nights against almost the entier league. Boston game was an perfect exampel.

  • Jan 11, 201110:50 am
    by cg

    Reply

    …so about Monroe.  Three double-doubles in a row is a good sign.  Not being able to achieve separation between the soles of his shoes and the court is a bad sign.  Why can’t he elevate?  Anyone seen the episode of The Office where they try to make a Christmas card photo by jumping in the air at the same time?  Greg ‘Phyllis’ Monroe.

  • Jan 11, 201111:44 am
    by nuetes

    Reply

    Yeah, again, two of our highest paid players happen to be our worst players. Our SG’s suck. They really do. I don’t know what more to say because even moral victories like Monroe’s 3rd double-double in a row are weighed down by the fact this team will suck as long as Rip and Gordon are on it. I still like Daye’s potential but he’s not a very active player. He had 14 points and 0′s across the board at one point. We have too many one-dimensional players. When Daye’s stroke is on it’s fun to watch though.
     
    The Pistons don’t have the talent I’m sorry. The Bulls are infinitely more talented than the Pistons atm. And Noah didn’t even play. People are getting duped by the perception that the ability to sometimes score equates to talent.

  • Jan 11, 20111:15 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @cg:

    Comment of the year. Give that man his trophy.

  • Jan 11, 20111:29 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    ha ha. amen!
     
    also… i’ll give you gordon detractors this: it’s not always easy to figure out who’s who at any given moment in a game. certain players stand out by their physical appearance or the way they move, but it’s not always easy to tell. but whenever you see a guy jack up a quick, off-balance shot that looks terrible and usually is, it’s almost always ben gordon. i understand that: 1) sometimes they fall and he looks like a genius, 2) he’s a shooter so he’s going to shoot, 3) he’s in a bit of a tough spot because of this roster, and 4) he’d certainly be a lot better off playing alongside guys who can help him get better looks, rather than rodney “shoot it again” stuckey.
     
    if we’re lucky enough to unload rip, i’m still FEROCIOUSLY unconfident that stuckey and gordon form an adequate backcourt, but i do think that the two of them could be 2/3 of an adequate backcourt as long as the other third is a starting caliber point guard.

  • Jan 11, 20111:43 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    See I just don’t think Gordon is very good. He has way too many deficiencies. Bad shot selection, too small, needs the ball in his hands, turns it over, commits too many bad fouls – it’s just too much to stomach to wait for those rare nights when he’s on fire. I don’t think were going to be able to win with him unless the rest of our roster is stacked, and it’s kind of hard to stack a roster with talent when your overpaying players like Gordon. This roster needs some major work. Our pay per production model would be all out of whack.

  • Jan 11, 20114:48 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    @nuetes

    right on. i agree with everything you say.

    @Feldman or Hayes

    In the second half Austin Daye was looking for his shot several times before he ended up taking and missing those 4 shots (all of which were good looks by the way). What happened is that he did not get the ball when he was open. The Pistons stopped reversing the ball and T-Mac played a very poor floor game as you noted.

    Daye is more than ready for an increased role. But the older players need to look for him more and it would be nice if the coaching staff drew up some plays for him.

  • Jan 11, 20119:32 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    i dunno. i think as a second option and one of just a few guys taking jump shots (along with daye and sometimes villa), gordon could be good here. hypnotize stuckey into committing to drive-and-kicks, add some post presence and a proper point guard… i think he can be a contributor. i’m not THRILLED with the guy, but nobody looks good in our current “system” (if it can be so called). when we put together a collection of players that actually looks and plays like a team, i think he can be a valuable part of it.
     
    it’s a shame that none of us can say for sure yet, considering we’re halfway through his second year and he hasn’t been given a proper chance to get comfortable and do his thing. this team is just such a mess. the only consistency we’ve had with rotations and guys’ roles is that they’re never consistent. ever.
     
    there’s no way i’d write him off just yet. but it’s easy to get discouraged with anyone on this roster. give the guy a chance.

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