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PistonPowered’s 2010-11 midseason grades

Tayshaun Prince

B: Tayshaun Prince’s offense and rebounding has really come around, and he’s defending well, too. I don’t mind him publicly disagreeing with the team’s direction, but sometimes he’s gone a little too far. –Dan Feldman.

B: Prince is still the steady, intelligent player he’s always been. I’d love it if he seemed a little more willing to share that intelligence with the team’s younger players, because at times it appears he’d rather not be bothered with them. If nothing else, Prince has shown that he’s still get a lot left to give and should earn another multi-year contract from some team next year. –Patrick Hayes

Rodney Stuckey

C: Rodney Stuckey’s low grade isn’t necessarily because of his play, but his words. He talked big about becoming a leader and, with his improved conditioning, taking the next step on the court this season. Despite modest improvement in several areas, he’s failed at both those major objectives. –D.F.

B: I’m probably a little too lenient here as a result of Stuckey’s efficient play since moving to shooting guard, and Dan is right that he’s certainly failed to deliver on the grandiose objectives he had in the preseason, but he’s still a young player with tremendous upside and he’s shown incremental improvement. –P.H.

Ben Gordon

D: Injuries were a valid excuse for Ben Gordon’s dismal shooting last year. But now that his 3-point and free-throw percentages are approaching his peaks, why is he still struggling? He’s relying on a bunch of two-point shots he’s not making at nearly a high enough clip –D.F.

F: I think Gordon is a genuinely likable player and potentially a very nice complimentary piece. He wasn’t signed to be those things. I realize he was thrust into a difficult situation with the incumbent shooting guard still on the roster, but Rip Hamilton has had bad seasons for two straight years. Any sustained success for Gordon would’ve made it impossible not to start him. It’s tremendously disappointing that Gordon has not played well enough to win that starting shooting guard spot. –P.H.

Charlie Villanueva

C: Charlie Villanueva is defending better and might have the team’s best attitude. But why has his rebounding gotten worse? Although he’s headed in the right direction, Villanueva is still too from being the player he wants to be. –D.F.

B: I’m realistic about what Villanueva is. I don’t expect him to become an exceptional rebounder or defender, as long as he’s exerting some effort in those areas, which he clearly has. His offense has been more consistent this season, and at $7ish million a year, if he’s stretching the floor and scoring off the bench, he’s living up to his contract. –P.H.

Richard Hamilton

F: Richard Hamilton is overpaid and playing terribly, and he acts like he doesn’t know either. If this trade doesn’t happen, his situation will probably, somehow, get uglier. –D.F.

F: Like Gordon, it’s not that I dislike Hamilton. I actually like him quite a bit, and I don’t like seeing him ride the bench. But it was time. The Pistons’ shooting guard position is among the least productive in the league between Hamilton and Gordon, and for what they combine to make, it’s completely inexcusable. –P.H.

Ben Wallace

B-: Ben Wallace isn’t playing nearly as well as he did even last year, but he’s still been the Pistons’ best rebounder this season. I wish he were more of a leader for this team, but I think he’s content letting the next generation figure things out for themselves and directing only the players who seek his wisdom. –D.F.

B: Wallace still gives the Pistons good minutes, plays with effort and is capable of the occasional vintage performance every six weeks or so. Also, he is constantly credited by the coaching staff for working with Greg Monroe, and who can argue with those results? –P.H.

Greg Monroe

A: Greg Monroe’s improvement has been a breath of fresh air. He crashes the boards, works on defense and has gotten more comfortable with the ball in his hands. He’s a player you want to support. –D.F.

A: Last year, it was Monroe’s offense that had me impressed when he was at Georgetown. Turns out, his defense and rebounding were better than any scouts gave him credit for pre-draft. I remember the clowns on 97.1 (I see you, Valenti) calling Monroe a bust after the first week of the season. Now, he’s a sure All-Rookie First Teamer. –P.H.

Tracy McGrady

A-: I like this Tracy McGrady, the one trying to re-invent himself as a point guard who makes the small plays, much more than the guy jacking up a ton of shots in Orlando and Houston. Plus, his willingness to assume a leading voice in the locker room for a team that might employ him for only a year impresses me immensely. –D.F.

A: McGrady is this year’s Wallace, a seemingly washed up veteran who has shown he still has productive basketball left in those legs. Who knows what McGrady or the team wants, but I hope he’s the transitional veteran who can help the team stay competitive while more young pieces are added over the next year. –P.H.

Jason Maxiell

D-: Jason Maxiell hasn’t done much well this season, especially the one thing John Kuester has asked him to focus on above all else – rebounding . –D.F.

F: No bench player has been given as much of a chance to earn a consistent role on this team than Maxiell. He’s been underwhelming most of the last two seasons. I think Maxiell can be a useful big in the right situation, but the Pistons are clearly not the right situation anymore. –P.H.

Austin Daye

C+: A lot of Austin Daye’s problems can be blamed on him playing out of position at power forward. But even when playing on the wing, his poor defense negates the leaps Daye has made offensively. Encouragingly, even with more playing time, there has been no indication his strong rebounding numbers a fluke. –D.F.

B-: Daye’s progression offensively has been impressive. He’s highly skilled for a man his height, he handles the ball well and he’s shown not just a great shooting stroke, but an ability to get shots off from a variety of angles. His defense needs to catch up, but he’s finally getting consistent minutes (about 20 a game in January) backing up his natural wing positions and the second half of the season is his chance to show just how much promise he has. –P.H.

Will Bynum

D: Because of injuries and a crowded backcourt, Will Bynum hasn’t gotten rolling at all this season. Considering he recently had his best game of the year and is getting another chance in the rotation, Bynum probably has the best chance of improving his grade by the end of the season. –D.F.

C-: I’m probably too lenient on Bynum. He hasn’t been very good this season and when he’s been pulled from the rotation, it has been deserved. But at the same time, he’s signed cheaply compared to some of his overpaid counterparts and his injuries severely limited his best attribute, his quickness. The last couple weeks, that quickness seems to be coming back and with minutes, he’ll improve in the second half of the season. –P.H.

Chris Wilcox

B-: I figured Chris Wilcox could have a stretch of impressive scoring and rebounding games, like the one he’s had lately. But his defense has been significantly better than what he previously showed in a Pistons uniform, and I certainly didn’t see that coming. –D.F.

B: I hate to get too excited too early about things, but Wilcox’s recent stretch as a rotation member is the best basketball he’s played since he was with the Thunder. With his size, strength and athleticism, there’s no reason Wilcox shouldn’t be a rotation big on any team in the league. Earlier this season, he looked like a guy who might not find another job post-Detroit. Instead, he’s played himself into a contract next season somewhere and helped make the Pistons frontcourt a little more formidable. –P.H.

DaJuan Summers

F: The Pistons have given every other healthy player a shot in the rotation, but DaJuan Summers obviously isn’t doing enough to warrant a chance. He has the skills to turn into a competent NBA player, but every day that goes by, it appears less likely he’ll ever take advantage of them. –D.F.

Inc.: I’m not sure what the deal is with Summers. He’s a NBA-level athlete. Build-wise, he looks like the prototypical SF. He hits the three, he can put it on the floor a little bit and yet he’s never even sniffed the rotation in two seasons. I wish the Pistons used their D-League affiliate more. Summers definitely would’ve benefited from getting some extended minutes there. His contract is up after the season and I have no idea if he can play or not. Should never happen with a prospect. –P.H.

Jonas Jerebko

Inc.: It’s not fair to grade a player who hasn’t played at all this season, and unfortunately, I might have to use this same line for Jonas Jerebko in our year-end grades. –D.F.

Inc.: I’m torn on Jerebko. Part of me would love to see him back on the court this season, even if it’s just for minor minutes. The other part would rather he just shut it down and get ready for next season. There is no bright side to his injury, although as a free agent, it probably allows the Pistons to retain him more cheaply than if he had been healthy this season and improved on his rookie year production. –P.H.

Terrico White

Inc.: It’s not fair to grade a player who hasn’t played at all this season, but Terrico White will get his chance in the second half –D.F.

Inc.: White should be healthy soon. I don’t know if there will be any minutes for him, but I’m still excited by his athleticism. If the Pistons finally fall out of contention for that eight seed they’re so desperately after, it would be great to see White get an extended look at some point in the second half. –P.H.

John Kuester

B: This is almost certainly a higher grade than John Kuester will get anywhere else. Kuester has motivated and developed Greg Monroe, adjusted the rotation several times, given minutes to younger players and stood up to whiny veterans. Coaching this team isn’t easy, but Kuester has handled the challenge well. –D.F.

C+: This grade is trending up, too. Kuester has made the right moves as coach this season, it has just taken him longer than every fan wanted. Kuester was stuck with guys like Hamilton and Gordon. He had to do everything he could to try and make things work with them before scrapping it. Also, one of the excuses for Stuckey not playing well at PG was always, "He played in three systems in three years." Kuester gave him a season and a half in this system before pulling the plug. He’s finally assembled an entertaining rotation that plays hard, and he’s giving good minutes to the young players. No real complaints with the job he’s done anymore. –P.H.

Detroit Pistons

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 for their recent Sustained Success putting me in a good mood, I would have given them an ‘F.’ –D.F.

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. –P.H.

39 Comments

  • Jan 18, 201112:42 pm
    by brgulker

    Reply

    Great job, guys. I especially enjoyed Dan’s comments about Kuester. On losing teams, it seems coaches take lots of heat for things they don’t deserve and very little credit in areas where they do.

  • Jan 18, 20111:58 pm
    by DoctorDaveT.com

    Reply

    Hey, PP,
    Patrick & Dan – love the site. You guys are awesome.
    Now, to the woodshed…. Are you nuts? Your grades are way too high! Based on your grades for a possible starting team, you have Wallace at B/B-, Monroe at A/A, Prince at B/B, Stuckey at C/B, & McGrady at A-/A. That means our starter’s average score is B+. So – you think we have a B+ starting 5? The top four subs would be Gordon at D/F, Villanueva at C/B, Daye at C+/B-, & Wilcox at B-/B. That makes our bench rotation average score a C. You gave coaching a B/C+. That’s a B- coaching average. And you didn’t rate the GM. Hmmm….
    So – you think our starters are B+ and our bench a C – with a B- coach? That should translate into 20-24 wins in the second half. Are you serious?
    If you’re grading on a curve (the curve would be grades against expectation), then maybe. But there’s no way this group rates grades as high as you’ve given based on first half performance.
    BETTER GRADES {note: these grades are not based on expectation, talent, nor future; they are not based on past performance (which are no guarantees of future results}; but simply based on 2010 first half performance):
    Wallace: C. Compared to the average center, well, he’s average. Better than average defense; worse than average offense.
    Monroe: B-. Only a little better than the average power forward.  Lots of upside; but this is a report card, not a draft board.
    Prince: B-. Better than average all around.
    Stuckey (as a SG – B-, which is better than average; and as a PG – D+, which is not better than average). This really should be an INC – because he’s no longer playing PG.
    McGrady: C+. Ouch, you say? Come on – is he much better than an average NBA point guard?
    Starting 5 average = C.
    Villenueva: C. Is he better than an average sixth man?
    Gordon: F. Yep. First guard off the bench? Ewww.
    Daye: C-. Not quite an average NBA bench player. Yet.
    Wilcox: D-. This is almost a failure. Not quite a “Gordonesque” failure, but close.
    Bench Rotation average = D.
    Coaching: D-. This is nearly a failure. Austin Daye at Power Forward? Buffoonery indeed!!
    GM: this is hard, because Joe did a good job up until a little guy named Allen Iverson. But this roster is a mess – and he hasn’t fixed it. His second half grade might rise substantially (based on trades before the deadline), but his first half grade? A charitable “D.”
    Current starting 5 is a C; bench rotation a D; coaching a D-; and GMing a D. Doesn’t that equal about a 15-26 first half record? And isn’t that a little more probable (without factoring in possible trades) for expectations on the second half?
    NOTE: the first half starting 5 is not the current starting 5. The first half starting 5 would receive a grade closer to D.
    Let’s all hope the second half is better.

  • Jan 18, 20112:07 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    This is fun. I’m not going to waste time grading these guys though. Max/Rip/Gordon all deserve failing grades however. CV gets a D because he just makes me mad. If it wasn’t for this 3-4 game stretch I have a feeling these grades would be drastically different. Kuester went from an F to a B in a matter of a week. He finally figured it out, or Dumars finally let him do what he wanted who knows.
     
    Dan has almost won me back with Stuckey. You guys are all pumped talking about all his potential all of a sudden. It’s crazy how a little change can bring about so much more enthusiasm. I’d take Stuckey as our SG of the future no problem at this point. I just don’t ever want him playing PG again. If that requires trading Rip, Gordon, and whoever to make that happen do it. Stuckey is better than either of them, and I’ve said that before.
     
    I’m ready to invite Prince back now too. And Mcgrady. Heck let’s have the whole clan back for another run in 2012. Except Rip, Gordon, Max, and CV. Ya know, the ones were actually stuck with. If we could take their combined salaries and invest it somewhere else just think of the team that could be assembled. Ugh.

  • Jan 18, 20113:35 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    obviously love the site and respect you guys, but this amounts to a waste of time, as far as i’m concerned. a few thoughts:
     
    it’s tough to gripe about these guys as individuals when there’s such a bad mix of talent and such a prolonged state of flux that preceded the latest rotation. plus the fact that we seem to have FINALLY settled on a rotation that makes any damn sense at all. if we’d had this rotation all season long, i’m certain we would be at or above .500 and in the thick of a playoff race, rather than playing catch-up.
     
    it’s especially tough to grade guys who’ve been splitting time and shuffled in and out of the rotation without much rhyme or reason. if gordon or rip were consistently starting and fed a steady diet of shots and minutes, they’d probably have given us above average production. impossible to grade wilcox or max. similar story for bynum, though i think you guys were ludicrously hard on the guy. so far stuckey’s earned the hell out of an F for the reasons you guys described, but i’m excited about the prospect of him playing off the ball permanently.
     
    so most of this was basically an exercise in futility, but one place where i think you guys blew it is grading kuester. the guy spent, what, 20 games with daye or max starting alongside big ben up front. his lineups and rotations have rarely made any sense at all. he’s coached us right into more than a few losses. he lost much of the team very early on (inexplicably calling the team out in game 4 after a loss to the best team in the east), and we’ve got no idea how much worse things could get if this trade falls through. he was handed a mess by dumars, but somehow he was able to put together our current rotation… so what took him so long?? he doesn’t come off like a leader, and he doesn’t inspire a shred of confidence. the only reason i wouldn’t give him an F- is that he fiiiiiiiiiinally took stuckey off the ball and pulled a shooting guard from the rotation. after, like, 120 games coaching this roster.
     
    and, obviously, joe gets yet another F. a particularly juicy one. he gets upgraded to a D- if he can unload ANY shooting guard from this roster by the deadline.

  • Jan 18, 20113:38 pm
    by Stefan

    Reply

    Check out who is deserving of a spot in the All-Star game according to me
     
    sportsaccordingtome.com

  • Jan 18, 20115:18 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    Wow. Lots to give sassback to already here. Let’s get it rolling with DoctorDave:

    “Based on your grades for a possible starting team, you have Wallace at B/B-, Monroe at A/A, Prince at B/B, Stuckey at C/B, & McGrady at A-/A. That means our starter’s average score is B+. So – you think we have a B+ starting 5?”

    Yes. I think the Pistons would be a playoff team if this were the starting five all season, and the evidence so far is pretty strong in their favor.

    “So – you think our starters are B+ and our bench a C – with a B- coach? That should translate into 20-24 wins in the second half. Are you serious?”

    Admittedly, my grades were a bit higher because I think the coach finally figured out the rotation. But are you serious? You realize this has only been the starting lineup/rotation for a couple weeks, and you also realize the marked improvement both in wins/losses, effort and efficiency of the team, right?

    “Monroe: B-. Only a little better than the average power forward.  Lots of upside; but this is a report card, not a draft board.”

    He’s averaged 12 and 8 with two steals and shot almost 60 percent since his role expanded a month or so ago. That’s far above average.

    “Stuckey (as a SG – B-, which is better than average; and as a PG – D+, which is not better than average).”

    Hate to break it to you and the other Stuckey haters, but he was about as average as it gets as a NBA PG. Look around the league man. I get so sick of this debate. “Why don’t the Pistons just get a good point guard already!!”

    Maybe because there are only a handful. As a PG, Stuckey was middle of the pack in the league when you actually look around. There are maybe only 10 or 11 teams that you can say have competent production out of the PG spot. Maybe. Stuckey was in the middle.

    “Villenueva: C. Is he better than an average sixth man?”

    Yes. 13 points, 5 boards, 45 percent shooting, 38 percent from three in 26 minutes is well above average production for a bench player.

    “Wilcox: D-. This is almost a failure. Not quite a “Gordonesque” failure, but close.”

    Based on what? 8 points, 6 boards per game, high FG percentage since joining the rotation for a guy who was on the inactive list to the start the season? Explain to me how that constitutes a failure? YOU HAVE NO DATA SUPPORTING YOUR CLAIMS!

    “Coaching: D-. This is nearly a failure. Austin Daye at Power Forward? Buffoonery indeed!!”

    Eh. What options did he have that were appealing? Do you throw underperforming players like Villanueva or Maxiell in there? Do you start a rookie in Monroe who had a terrible preseason? Or do you roll the dice on a young player who was your best player in the preseason and would have trouble getting minutes at his natural position.

    Obviously, it didn’t work out. But the reasoning wasn’t unforgiveable.

    Bring arguments to the table folks. This response amounts to a bunch of babble. Disagreements are cool. But saying “Chris Wilcox deserves a D- because he sucks like Ben Gordon!” is buffoonery in its truest form.

    Based on Wilcox’s production, for example, explain to me how he hasn’t had a positive impact since joining the rotation? That is an argument I’d be interested in if you can formulate it. Saying, “These grades are too high because I hate this team!” doesn’t cut it for me.

  • Jan 18, 20115:20 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @nuetes:

    “If it wasn’t for this 3-4 game stretch I have a feeling these grades would be drastically different.”

    Yeah … so? What’s wrong with just admitting that Villanueva is what he is? Offensively, he’s having a decent season. He’s shooting the ball better, he makes the defense account for him at all times because of that stretch ability and he clears space for slashers like Stuckey and Bynum. I’m OK with what he is. Not my first choice for a player I would sign if I were a GM, but you can certainly do much worse on your bench.

  • Jan 18, 20115:38 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Laser:

    “obviously love the site and respect you guys, but this amounts to a waste of time, as far as i’m concerned.”

    You’re the unquestioned king of backhanded compliments.

    “if gordon or rip were consistently starting and fed a steady diet of shots and minutes, they’d probably have given us above average production.”

    Gordon, maybe. Rip I don’t think so. He’s shooting 40 percent this year. He shot 40 percent last year. He shot 44 percent the year before and 48 the year before that. He’s older. Signs of decline are evident.

    “the guy spent, what, 20 games with daye or max starting alongside big ben up front.”

    As I said above, the Daye decision didn’t work at all. But really, what were the alternatives at the time? Wilcox was hurt. Monroe didn’t look ready. Jerebko was hurt. Maxiell was terrible last year and in the preseason. So the choice boiled down to giving Daye, their best player in the preseason, a look or starting Villanueva, who has proven beyond a doubt that he’s a bench player. Like I said, it didn’t work, but it was worth a try to see if Daye could sustain his hot preseason.

    As for Maxiell, yeah, he sucks. But they’re paying him. No team is trading for him unless he plays kinda good. Giving him a look in extended minutes made some sense. He failed to deliver, so Kuester moved on.

    “he lost much of the team very early on (inexplicably calling the team out in game 4 after a loss to the best team in the east),”

    Inexplicably? What the hell man! They played with so little effort in that game it was laughable.

    “he was handed a mess by dumars, but somehow he was able to put together our current rotation… so what took him so long?”

    Maybe because Dumars doesn’t think it’s such a mess? Let’s face it, Dumars has over-valued his own talent for years. He’s consistently sided with players over coaches. If you’re in Kuester’s position, a coach with little job security who probably won’t get a head job again, would you tell Dumars that you’re not going to play his prized high priced veteran? Or that Gordon and Villanueva are solely going to be bench players? Of course you wouldn’t. You’d try to make it work until you can prove that it doesn’t. Then, as Kuester has done, you insert the guys you believe in and hopefully, that works better. As a fan, it was frustrating as hell to watch. But remove yourself from that perspective for a second and think about it from Kuester’s, a guy trying to hold onto a job for a boss with little patience for coaches.

    “he fiiiiiiiiiinally took stuckey off the ball and pulled a shooting guard from the rotation. after, like, 120 games coaching this roster.”

    Did Kuester draft Stuckey and for three years call him a point guard? Did he trade an All-Star b/c he thought Stuckey was the future? Did he make excuses like, “Stuckey hasn’t played in the same system for more than a year?” No, he didn’t.

    So again, do you, as a no-name coach with little credibility, tell Dumars that you’ve decided Stuckey is not a PG, so you’re not going to play him there? Or do you do your best to make it work until you prove that it can’t?

    “and, obviously, joe gets yet another F. a particularly juicy one. he gets upgraded to a D- if he can unload ANY shooting guard from this roster by the deadline.”

    What if the Hamilton trade for an expiring contract, something you said was impossible on numerous occasions, goes through? What about seeing enough to take a flyer on McGrady? What about taking Monroe in the draft?

    I mean, I know your response to all of those things before you even say them: Luck. “blah blah blah Leon Rose blah blah blah McGrady was the only player he could afford to sign blah blah blah GS was stupid to pass on Monroe.”

    But luck or not, GMs get the credit, and those were all good moves for him this year, especially considering how limited he was to add future salary.

     

  • Jan 18, 20116:56 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    Joe Dumars – B – (for drafting Greg Monroe and for arranging the Rip trade – if it goes through) Hopefully his best is yet to come this year.

    John Kuester – D – for dumb. very dumb. losing several games dumb. inability to evaluate talent correctly for over a year and a half dumb with Rodney Stuckey. Dumb with starting Daye at the four and then yanking him when he was hot and had just gotten confidence in his offensive game. Dumb for not realizing that Max will give you defense and some scoring and offensive rebounds but not defensive rebounds (or don’t coaches watch tape of the players they coach?), just dumb dumb dumb but not an F type dumb because he just might have finally figured some things out.

    Ben Wallace B+ – Ben’s still doing what he has always done. Be nice if he was more of an offensive threat but he is a great pro who leads by example.

    Tay Prince – play A- , Attitude D+  Tay obviously doesn’t want to help the young player, Austin Daye, who is going to take his job. He obviously does not respect Q. He pounds the ball a little much and could be more unselfish but the guy brings it on both ends almost every game.

    Rip – F –

    Ben Gordon – D

    Rodney Stuckey – B+

    Greg Monroe – A

    Austin Daye – C+

    Max – D

    Chris Wilcox – when healthy –  B

    Will Bynum – D – but much improved last two games

    T-Mac – B+ – still working on endurance – showing some defensive weakness against players who move

    Summers – INC – i still don’t know if he can play at the NBA level. He has the body and all the tools.

    JJ – INC

    White – INC

    CV – B- Charlie has the quickest release of any big man in the league. He tries to play defense and rebound. he really tries. he is just not very good at that end of the floor. But used right, he is a great offensive option off the bench. worth every penny. and has a good attitude.

  • Jan 18, 20117:00 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    @hayes: not meant as a backhanded compliment, really. just think we’re in a unique situation where midseason grades are irrelevant for almost everyone. i mean (for just one example) whatever stuckey’s done so far this year isn’t relevant to anything, since he’s just been given an entirely different role. and so on. content is a good thing on this site no matter what, but some articles are less relevant/useful than others.
     
    on rip: take last year’s stats and throw them in the toilet too. maybe two seasons ago as well. too many shooting guards is bad business for everyone. give the guy his customary 33 minutes and 15 shots and i think he produces. no reason to think otherwise. when the guy is paired with a point guard, i’m confident he’s still a good player. “signs of decline” aren’t so much evident as “signs of being paired with stuckey, gordon and iverson.” it’s not like ben gordon’s been anything but a complimentary player on this modest win streak; sub in rip and trade gordon, and i suspect the formula remains similar.
     
    on daye: there is no amount of readiness or unpreparedness that makes daye a more suitable power forward than monroe. i’d have started the kid on day one if daye was the alternative. at the time i would have at least started villanueva. no question about that. you won’t get me to agree that this was a worthwhile experiment. same as stuckey at the point. the best thing we’ve done with this new rotation (the one that, you know, works) is play guys IN POSITION.


    on kuester’s ill-timed call out: i’ve said before that i had a hard time blaming this team for poor effort since most nights they were bringing a super soaker to a gunfight. the boston game was unwinnable, the roster was a joke to begin with, and the rotation was unforgivable. our starting lineup included four (4) wing players and an undersized center with no offensive game, and we were playing the best team in the east. i just can’t blame the team for not trying. i blame joe for putting this team together, kuester for putting that starting lineup together, and once we’ve crossed those giant hurdles, i’ve got no energy left to blame the players. none whatsoever. kuester wanted leadership? that guy doesn’t strike me as a leader, and joe the one who traded away the team’s leader for cap space, so what the hell do you want??
     
    on stuckey: many of us figured out stuckey’s not a point guard, like, 100 games ago. so yeah, the fact that it took kuester this long to draw this conclusion strikes me as odd. the fact that langlois said in the latest mailbag that he thinks there’s a 50% chance stuckey is back at the point next season made me attempt suicide. lucky for you guys it was a failed attempt.
     
    on joe: 1) “luck” wouldn’t describe just how fortunate joe would be to unload rip for murphy. if he can pull off this trade, he’s got a damn guardian angel on each shoulder and one in his lap. still, he gets no credit for it whatsoever, because all he’s doing is correcting a MAJOR mistake WAY TOO LATE, and being a pistons fan for the past three seasons has been excruciating and taken months/years off my life. but if he’s lucky enough to unload rip, i’ll just be happy the guy’s gone and say joe got DAMN LUCKY. but this trade looks like far from a lock right now. 2) i like t-mac as a point guard, not a backup small forward. this team didn’t need another wing, but it needed point play BADLY, so this is fine. we’ll see what joe’s able to do with him. personally, if he could get us a nice draft pick or young player or allow us to unload someone like max, i like the move. but this is another case of dumb luck. t-mac was the one who called joe and asked to come to the team. still, we’ll see how it plays out. i always thought there was potential in that signing. 3) the epitome of dumb luck. there may as well have been one guy available at #7, and joe gets ZERO credit for this pick. zero. none whatsoever. easiest draft pick of all time. i’ve said it before: the second GSW took udoh, everyone on the planet knew exactly who was going seventh.
     
    my take on joe is this: i give him credit where it’s due, and i don’t kill him for mistakes that were tough to avoid. i don’t kill him for EITHER of the moves that are his consensus “worst moves” (trading chauncey and drafting darko), but i don’t give him a pass on the bullsh*t moves he’s made either (making MASSIVE long-term commitments to three shooting guards). joe’s been an absolute disaster lately, and some dumb luck doesn’t change that.

  • Jan 18, 20117:58 pm
    by DoctorDaveT.com

    Reply

    @Patrick,
    you asked for some supporting data from me. (Actually, you screamed “YOU HAVE NO DATA SUPPORTING YOUR CLAIMS!”) OK, here goes:
    15-26.
    Isn’t that really the most important data you need? Does that sound like an above average starting 5 with an above average coach and average bench?
    How can a 15-26 team be given above average composite scores? Methinks the recent three game spurt has been given too much weight. I also think you’re grading on future possibilities rather than first half realities – like 15-26 (the bold is just so you see that I have some “SUPPORTING DATA!”).
    Again, if you’re grading on a curve, and the curve is based on how bad it could have been, then OK, I can live with your grades. I still think they’re too high, but OK.
    But if these grades are straight up first half grades, then I think your affection for the home team is influencing your thinking.
    Oh, and a couple more items of “SUPPORTING DATA!” – Hollinger ranks the Pistons at 23 of 30. a “C Average Team” would be ranked 12-18. So, Hollinger has them as more of a “D Average Team.” Mark Stein has them ranked at 24. Hmm – is that expert concensus?
    I love your site; I read it daily! But your grades are too high.

  • Jan 18, 20118:30 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Doctor Dave:
    “Isn’t that really the most important data you need? Does that sound like an above average starting 5 with an above average coach and average bench?”
    Nah. I was judging each player on a strictly individual basis. If you look at them individually, the Pistons have a bunch of players who have individually been average or a little better.
    As a unit, and if you look at the last grade, it was a team grade, they have failed. You can have players who are solid/average/whatever and collectively, they just don’t work together. That’s the case with the Pistons. A bunch of guys who have been solidly productive as individuals, but the team has no success because they don’t compliment each other’s talents well, it took too long to figure out a rotation that worked and they had chemistry issues as a result of some veteran players not getting along so well with the younger players.
    So yeah, collectively, I think they’re a D+, with the plus only coming because of the recent three-game winning streak. Individually, they have several guys who I consider above average individual players who are exceeding their individual expectations.
    “Again, if you’re grading on a curve, and the curve is based on how bad it could have been, then OK, I can live with your grades.”
    In certain cases, I noted when I bumped up someone. Stuckey and Wilcox, in particular. Stuckey was painfully average as a point guard. He looks like he could potentially be a really good player off the ball, although he’s only played a handful of games in that spot. So yeah, benefit of the doubt.
    As for Wilcox, he’s known for huge peaks and valleys throughout this career. He’s been very solid for a few weeks now. But i’m not going to lower his grade just because I think he won’t sustain it. He probably won’t, but who knows?
    As far as the Hollinger scores you cite, yeah, the Pistons are bottom third in efficiency by most every advanced measure. I don’t attribute that to them having a bunch of below average players. I attribute it to the fact that unproductive players like Hamilton, Gordon and Maxiell, who I gave poor grades to, played way too many minutes in the first half. If those guys had played less, the Pistons would have more wins, bottom line.

  • Jan 18, 20118:44 pm
    by Glenn

    Reply

    I don’t think there is a term I hate more than “methinks.”

  • Jan 18, 20118:47 pm
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    @Dan & Patrick
    Good job guys. The only thing i would of liked is that you guys didn’t compare grades before posting them. I would much rather you guys be way off from each other then just saying like ‘Dan said before’ and then giving a close grade. Anyways it will be interesting to see who’s grades jump or fall before end of season. Also would of liked a grade for Joe Dumars. It could of been based on his off season signings, draft picks, media appearances/appearances etc. I would of given him F last season and a C+ this season. McGrady signing turned out well, not over paying Bynum was wise and Joe still didn’t sure up the front line (there was no cash to do so). He had a good draft but we all know that he got lucky when Golden State took Udoh instead of Monroe. If they took Monroe then Joe probably would’ve taken Ed Davis or Udoh. Davis/Terrico or Udoh/Terrico would of been a bad draft for us so Joe got lucky. As for his media commitments/appearances on its own Joe has let all us piston fans down tremendously. I have always felt this has been one of Joe’s strong points as a GM but you are lucky to hear of him these days. I mean he hasn’t got much to say because there isn’t anything he can do whether it be management tying his hands or whatnot but a little airtime and reassurance that he is still doing something would be calming. If the DEN-NJ-DET deal goes down and he strings a couple of moves together like old school Joe then i will up his grade to a C. Heck if he gets something good for Tay then i might even give him a B-.

  • Jan 18, 20119:48 pm
    by Whoneedsastar

    Reply

    Can I get excited about JJ and Wallace off the bench in the second half of the season? Yes! Finally, we have a rotation. Not to mention Wallace > Elden Campbell of old. Watch the match-up against Boston and how bad we need him to defend the post in spot minutes. It makes a difference! Add to that the impact of JJ as a backup PF or SF stopper and I’m not sure how to feel… Elated? T-Mac at the point, Stucks at SG, Tay as SF, Monroe and Wilcox forming a frontline with CV, Wallace, JJ; and Bynum and Gordon off the bench, as well… And maybe Daye as a catch on fire sub? I’m excited. This team will change again, and for the better.

  • Jan 18, 201111:52 pm
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Laser, PCP, Gmehl, we didn’t do a grade for Dumars because I think it’s a little silly to grade a general manager based on the current season. His moves and goals are too long-term to do that.

  • Jan 19, 201112:06 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Patrick, Monroe is a sure All-Rookie first teamer? I don’t think I’d go that far. The five-member team is basically composed of the top-scoring rookies, and Monroe ranks 14th. (Although if you use his January average, he’d rank fourth.

    Blake Griffin, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins are near locks. That leaves Monroe in a battle with Landry Fields, Wesley Johnson, Gary Neal and Evan Turner. Monroe has a good chance, but I think lock is too far.

    Also, Chris Wilcox’s last 8-and-6 eight-game stretch ended in January 2009, when he played for the Thunder. Right franchise, wrong city originally.

  • Jan 19, 201112:10 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    PCB, just a heads up, I think someone is posting under your name. I know you didn’t give Austin Daye a ‘C+.’

  • Jan 19, 201112:19 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Laser, were you 100 percent, absolutely, totally sure Stuckey could never develop into a point guard after his first 100 or so games? Points guards impact the game more than shooting guards. Even if you’re only 20 percent, it might make sense to keep him at point guard a while longer. You keep harping on players not being capable of changing their positions. But Russell Westbrook and Jrue Holiday were drafted as no-position guards and have developed into quality point guards.

  • Jan 19, 201112:26 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Doctor Dave, you keep harping on our high grades for the recent starting lineup and then saying they’re too high for a 15-26 team. But those guys don’t have all that much to do with the Pistons’ record. It would make much more sense to look at our grades of the most common starters:

    • Tayshaun Prince (B/B)
    • Ben Wallace (B-/B)
    • Rodney Stuckey (C/B)
    • Richard Hamilton (F/F)
    • Jason Maxiell (D-/F)
    That looks like a 15-26 team.

  • Jan 19, 201112:30 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Glenn, methinks in a debate between you and Shakespeare, I’ll take the latter.

  • Jan 19, 201112:33 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Whoneedsastar, I wouldn’t get my hopes up about Jonas Jerebko returning this season.

  • Jan 19, 201112:50 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    i wasn’t really calling for you guys to grade joe. you wouldn’t grade dumars on this season alone anyways, but a general “what have you done for us lately?” grade would be ok. and it would be a F.

  • Jan 19, 20111:01 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    on stuckey: it didn’t take very long for me to realize stuckey has shows NO potential whatsoever at the point position. he’s just not fit to run an offense. the one thing that brands him a “combo” guard (aside from his size) is his ability to handle the ball, and if you’ve watched him lately, it’s become especially obvious that he’s not particularly good at maneuvering with the ball, just going in straight lines. he’s not a very good or instinctive passer. he’s just a shooting guard. that’s been my take since early last season. it was hard to pinpoint this right away, when he was clearly more adept at the position than rip or iverson and there was so much darn turmoil, but it didn’t take long into season two for it to become clear that his inability to distribute the ball was a serious factor in the team’s awfulness.
     
    don’t get me wrong. there’s a chance that some day he’ll be a good point guard, but he’s shown no legitimate signs of potential at the position whatsoever. he’s shown steady improvement in the his scoring and efficiency, but his playmaking ability with the ball in his hands remains at absolute zero. he may be a good passer for a two guard, but he’s never done a thing to make me believe a team could ever see any real success with stuckey as a primary ballhandler.

  • Jan 19, 20111:49 am
    by Troy Drayton

    Reply

    I think if Monroe continues to play and produce at this level he’s a lock for the first team; I think that’s what Patrick was implying. Turner has been underwhelming, and Wes hasn’t wowed.
    Anyways as far as the ratings go, I think they were fair. The Pistons have been below average and its not like all of our roster was getting B’s. Plus the ratings are respective to the expectations that we’ve placed on those players. Chris Wilcox hasn’t been a B type player, but he’s been a lot better in his short time than we’ve imagined.

  • Jan 19, 20112:27 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Laser, I don’t know how you can say Stuckey hasn’t improved as a playmaker. His assist percentage is a career high, and he’s never turned the ball over much.

  • Jan 19, 20112:32 am
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    As whingey, whiny and repetitive Laser has been over the last 2 seasons i have to say that he did make the call on Stuckey (quiet early) about not being up to being our future PG. Yeah Stuckey might have gotten better at PG slowly but he is clearly not what THIS team needs from there starting PG no matter how anybody likes to spin it. Laser also harped on for a long time that the rotation should be shortened and that you could simply just sit Gordon or Hamilton and things would work better. I am afraid to say he was right there too. I would like to point out that i never disagreed with any of his views but was rather just giving him some props on both issues cause he was clearly right on both. God only knows how long all of us here have had to hear it over and over and over and over and over again. There you go Laser someone had to say it. I would be happy to read about your 3 step plan to get this franchise back on track.

  • Jan 19, 20112:44 am
    by Fennis

    Reply

    Re Grades:
     
    Enjoyed the post. I’m on board with virtually all of PH’s grades with the exception of J-Kue. C+?! One week ago I was debating whether Kuester was an improvement on Michael Curry.
     
    1. Insubordination: I have never seen this level of insubordination on a Pistons team in my 20 years of watching Pistons basketball. And keep in mind, the Pistons are not the Jail Blazers. Despite what we’ve seen this year, this is a collection of relatively mild-mannered dudes in the mold of Joe Dumars. There is no Rasheed, no Stephen Jackson. Up until this year, Stuckey seemed like one of the least tempermental players in the league. Tay, possibly the least expressive, most introverted Piston in recent history, *publicly* referred to JK as a buffoon with zero repercussions. I think it’s unprecedented for a player to demonstrate that level of insubordination without facing serious consequences. As fans, we can only conclude that either Prince was having a really bad day or JK is a bit dense and management didn’t want to punish Prince for acknowledging the obvious.
     
    2. Rotations: I don’t think I’ve ever seen less in-game creativity with players substitutions. Kuester brings in the second team like clockwork, as though he’s running shifts in the NHL regardless of the results. The only guy that gets yanked for poor performance is AD, and that’ s because he’s the one guy who won’t rip the coach on his way to the bench. Everyone wants to pretend like the last two months never happened because the McGrady-Stuckey era is finally upon us. Look, Kuester should not get credit for implementing lineup changes suggested on PistonPowered a week earlier. You guys are knowledgeable and insightful, but Kuester gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to make rotation decisions well before the move is understood to be common sense. I mean, the man publicly asked his players to help him make rotation decisions mid-game. Hm. On some NBA teams players have the luxury of placing their entire focus on playing the game rather than formulating strategy. Apparently, not in Detroit.
     
    3. Timeouts. You don’t have to be Phil Jackson or John Wooden to understand that a timeout is best used to preserve a lead by stemming the other team’s momentum. When in the process of losing a lead, Kuester religiously refuses to call a timeout until the game is basically tied. He does this in every single game. It is maddening.
     
    4. Talent. I know we’re not happy with the  Pistons talent, but the fact is that virtually all of the veterans on the roster were playing better basketball pre-Kuester than post-Kuester (BG, Rip, CV and maybe even Stuckey; ok, maybe not T-Mac). The pieces may not fit well together, but you can’t tell me this roster doesn’t have talent. Virtually all of the players on the roster outside of Summers and Maxiell are uniquely talented. It’s the coaches job to get the most out of the talent on the roster. I’m not looking for Kue to build a contende out of scraps, but my sense is that at least 2/3 of the coaches in this league could squeeze more wins out of this roster.
    The last issue is Monroe. I’m happy with Monroe’s progress, but I don’t attribute it to Kuester’s coaching. The Pistons have a development coach who works with the young players. Monroe is also a smart guy who has shown an ability to improve steadily regardless of the coaching situation. It seems overly simplistic to assume that because Monroe has improved and Kuester is the coach, it’s Kuester’s coaching that is responsible for Monroe’s improvement. It’s logically possible but far from conclusive.
     
     

  • Jan 19, 20114:00 am
    by jack

    Reply

    I think Stuckeys Playmaking skills has improved 3 folds since last year. My personal beliefe is he has watched and learned off McGrady  alot this season. Thatsv why having a guy like Tmac is so valueable.

    btw, i would probaly give Prince A- but overrall it’s a great writen and thoughtout piece

  • Jan 19, 20118:49 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    GMehl, this team isn’t going to win a title. Whether Stuckey is the point guard this team needs isn’t the most relevant aspect. If you believe he could become the point guard for a better team that will replace this one down the road, you keep him there. Obviously, the Pistons don’t think that way anymore.

  • Jan 19, 20118:57 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Fennis,

    1. If you think the Pistons haven’t acted out against their coach like this before, you haven’t been paying attention.

    2. For the most part, Kuester does keep his rotations consistent. Why is that bad? He does play to the matchup at times, but I think it would be a problem if he willy- nilly shuffled players on and off the court. He doesn’t do that.

    3. Actually, Phil Jackson rarely calls timeouts to stop runs. He doesn’t believe in doing it.

    4. Let’s you’re right about everyone helping Greg Monroe develop his skills but Kuester. Do you honestly believe Kuester sitting Monroe for the first two games of the season didn’t motivate him?

  • Jan 19, 201111:40 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    @feldman: here’s my stance in a nutshell. any guard in the league should be able to collect 6 assists with ease if they’re playing 30 plus minutes with the ball in their hands. that’s one every five minutes of PT, or an assist and a half PER QUARTER. not asking a lot. stuckey’s version of “playmaking” this season, when he wasn’t bulling his way to the basket for power layups (very rarely dumping the ball off or kicking it out), was crossing the timeline and dribbling in place at the top of the key before making a perimeter pass to the wings, or just crossing the time line and passing the ball off to a better decision maker. he almost never made actual plays. no maneuvering with the ball to draw defenders and find open teammates, no tendency to make challenging passes or really any passes at all in traffic. he just happened to have the ball in his hands a lot. i’m not terribly impressed with his improvement in AST-TO ratio because he never really made any plays with any consistency… just safe, easy perimeter passes. so props to him for turning it over less, but it’s easy to protect the ball when you’re not making impressive passes. heck, this whole team took great care of the ball while playing some of the worst basketball i’ve ever seen. they were just passing around the perimeter or dumping the ball into the low post for isolation plays. rodney stuckey just happens to be one of the last guys in the league i trust to run an offense. obviously you’re a lot higher on the guy than i am. you might be the only person on the planet outside the pistons organization who thinks the guy is point guard material. all i have to do is look at actual point guards who can manage a game, control the tempo, make decisions on the fly, and it’s impossible for me to be satisfied with stuckey. how much more .333 basketball do you need to see before you’d pull the plug on the guy??

  • Jan 21, 20118:45 am
    by MrHappyMushroom

    Reply

    As a teacher, I have many of the same general problems with these grades as others seem to.   If these grades are based on expectation vs. reality of play, they make some sense.  But if they are supposed to be a reflection of overall level of play, they are waaaaaaaaaaaay too generous.
    I have mostly good and diligent students at my school, so my class average is usually in the low 80′s. As I tell them on day one–A=Excellent performance; B=Above average; C=Acceptable; D=Substandard; F=Poor.
    T-Mac has been a good story. He was expected to be a non-factor and has been really good at times. But he has limited quickness on defense and has averaged less than 7 points and 3 rebounds per game.  That simply isn’t top flight excellence; he has not been one of the game’s best players this year.  Similarly, while I love what we’re seeing from Greg Monroe, he’s not a solid A.  A solid A is all-star material.  Greg Monroe is still learning to play defense and averaging six points a game.  That’s not excellent.  And Big Ben–god, I love Ben Wallace.  But he is not the dominant defense and rebounding presence that he once was (not his fault–he’s 35!), and he remains (one game aside) an offensive disaster.  A B suggests above average.  I can’t say that he’s one of the 15 best starting centers in the NBA, especially given the limited minutes he can pay.
    And while I fully agree that Kuester has been in a tough position, a B grade suggests an above average job for an NBA coach.  This is a team that could possibly be in the hunt for .500, but they are closer to .350.  And the team grade is (rightly) put in the D+ range.  To argue that it’s not all Kuester’s fault is spot on.  But when the team allegedly has “B” talent and level of play (according to the your ratings), but is losing twice as many as they win and gets a D+ team grade, does it make any sense to give the coach an “above average” grade.
    In short, there are way too many As and Bs for a B coach to lead the team to a .350 winning percentage.

  • Jan 21, 201110:20 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @MrHappyMushroom:

    Ugh. Here goes:

    “As a teacher, I have many of the same general problems with these grades as others seem to.”

    Not that this needs pointing out, but PistonPowered is not a classroom. Big secret here: there is no universal grading scale for these totally made up and arbitrary grades columns. So yeah, your grading scale for your students is great and all, but just because we use the same letter grades as a school would doesn’t mean they necessarily mean the exact same thing or are applied in the exact same way a teacher would use them.

    “If these grades are based on expectation vs. reality of play, they make some sense.”

    I think it’s very clear from many of the comments written next to each player’s grade that this was the philosophy Dan and I used.

    Let’s take McGrady for example. Yes, McGrady is far from an All-Star level player at this point. But as you know, many factors go into determining the value of a NBA player. And your use of meaningless counting stats isn’t a consideration in my evaluation of McGrady. He’s clearly been their best (only, really) player capable of making plays for others on a consistent basis. The offense clearly runs better when he’s in the game. He’s very clearly improved immensley as the season has progressed. And most importantly, he’s given a solid and unexpected level of production and been an incredible value considering he makes the league minimum. So yeah, McGrady has been an A based on what was expected of him. He’s far exceeded that.

    “Greg Monroe is still learning to play defense and averaging six points a game.  That’s not excellent.”

    Again, you use dumb counting stats as the basis of your evaluation. What value does that bring? Look at Monroe now vs. Monroe three months ago. He’s clearly a superior player right now. He’s more confident, he’s improved defensively, he’s improved as a finisher and the Pistons have clearly been a better team since his role expanded. Compare that to the timid rookie who looked terrfied to step on the court early in the season and yeah, that’s sufficient progress considering he’s arguably been their best player over the last three weeks.

    “I love Ben Wallace.  But he is not the dominant defense and rebounding presence that he once was”

    Again, who said that? Is this a list of the most dominant centers in the game, and we plugged Ben Wallace into it? Absolutely not. His production, relative to his age and his contract, has exceeded expectations. If you or anyone expected Wallace to be dominant, then yeah, give him a D because he certainly hasn’t been.

    My grade for Wallace was based on the fact that he’s still good enough defensively and as a rebounder to far exceed what he’s being paid. He still represents really good value.

    “And while I fully agree that Kuester has been in a tough position, a B grade suggests an above average job for an NBA coach.”

    No it doesn’t suggest that at all. Where in here did we say we were grading the entire league, or basing these Pistons grades on comparisons to the rest of the league? That’s a different matter. These grades are based on our preseason expectations of each individual. Frankly, Kuester was terrible for a good portion of this season. I thought he improved over the last six weeks or so by making tough decisions with the rotation and I credit him for giving Monroe a huge role that has allowed him to flourish and finding a way to get Daye about 20 minutes a game since the end of December. I’ve thought this was a lottery team from the start, so I’m not really using wins and losses as an evaluation tool with Kuester. I expect them to lose a lot whether he does a good job or a bad job. But as of late, he’s done a pretty good job playing not only the young guys, but the guys who have earned minutes. And his coaching staff does get credit for Monroe’s development, although others have certainly helped in that respect.

    I think it’s a major mistake to read anyone’s grades column with the expectation that writers apply them exactly as a teacher would, particularly with the Pistons. If the sole basis for grading this team was “Did they win?” or “How do they compare to other teams in the league?” then yeah, everyone fails. They’re clearly a bad team.

    But how interesting is that to read? It’s certainly not interesting to write. There are several players on the team who have improved based on their past performances. There are a couple who have far exceeded expectations. I don’t get how anyone can argue this, unless they were expecting McGrady to average 35 a game again and Monroe to be Blake Griffin or something.

  • Jan 21, 201110:38 am
    by MrHappyMushroom

    Reply

    I do feel like you’re getting too defensive here, Patrick.  When you start a response with “Ugh.  Here goes”, the reader can read a bruised ego squealing.
    As I said up front, if you two were clearly and unambiguously grading entirely on expectations versus production, then your grades make basic sense.  But your assumption that we should all know this is…well, a mighty big assumption.  A clear statement up front that this is your criteria would help you both to appear more reasonable.
    I agree that there’s no fixed definition of what exactly an “A” is and that a basketball column is not a classroom. However, you have chosen to use the classroom grading-style as your mode of evaluation, an “A” should suggest something approximating excellence.  To argue that it can, essentially mean whatever you want it to mean is sort of a cop out.  Hell, “A” can mean “I like chicken”.  ”C” can mean “My dog has no nose.”  But if you’re going to utilize the classroom grading method, you can’t really argue that you aren’t attempting to do so.  If you don’t want to be held to that standard, skip the letter grades and just write the comments, or come up with your own grading scale.
    Regardless, I don’t disagree with your assigned letter grades in an expectation-vs-actual performance sense.  But you don’t state that this was your criteria, which does leave you open to questioning. And, in the end, I find it hard to reconcile a substantial number of As and Bs with a team in the bottom quarter of the NBA, (even though they are coming off of a good week).

  • Jan 21, 201110:49 am
    by MrHappyMushroom

    Reply

    I guess one other point that I would make is that McGrady’s stats aren’t “meaningless” as you argue, and I’d think that should be part of the consideration of his overall value and performance.
    As I read about the Pistons from afar (I’m not able to watch games where I live), I sense that a sign of the desperation that Pistons fans are feeling is that there is so much excitement over McGrady’s play.  I don’t doubt that he’s been the only real playmaker and that he should be starting and that he’s made the team better.  But it does say something that so many have focused so much attention on an injury-prone 31 year old recently converted (to PG, of course), on a likely one year rental contract, who is about twelve points per 36.  Tracy is making this team temporarily watchable. But part of me wonders if he has any more importance and impact than this.  Monroe’s development, on the other hand, seems more of a genuine source of hope and excitement.

  • Jan 21, 201111:36 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    You say defensive, I categorize it as simply defending my work. Here are some responses:

    “When you start a response with “Ugh.  Here goes”, the reader can read a bruised ego squealing.”

    When you start a comment with, “As a teacher, …” a writer can feel the condescension about to spew forth. So we’re both egotistical know-it-alls. Let’s proceed.

    “A clear statement up front that this is your criteria would help you both to appear more reasonable.”

    Fair enough. Noted for next time. But seriously, if you read the post and the comments about each player, I think it was pretty clear that each player was being evaluated based on how they met the expectations we had for them. I don’t know how, reading those comments, anyone could come away with a different impression. If I was writing, “Greg Monroe gets an A because he’s basically Blake Griffin,” then that’s a problem. Greg Monroe got an A because, as I wrote, he was much better than I reasonably thought he’d be.

    “However, you have chosen to use the classroom grading-style as your mode of evaluation, an “A” should suggest something approximating excellence.”

    I’ll say this: using letter grades in these types of columns is a little stupid. But the reason we use them, and virtually every other outlet uses them, is because they’re familiar because everyone has a general understanding that A=good, F=bad. But again, the definitions of what exactly “good” and “bad” means are wildly different.

    “If you don’t want to be held to that standard, skip the letter grades and just write the comments, or come up with your own grading scale.”

    Noted. Next time the grading scale for these totally arbitrary and made up grades will be visible on our course syllabus.

    “I find it hard to reconcile a substantial number of As and Bs with a team in the bottom quarter of the NBA’

    Grading players individually is much different than grading them as a team. As you can see reading the post, the team grades we gave are bad.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t grade individual players or the coach based on wins and losses. I expected them to lose a lot. So in that respect, the team grade gave them the sufficient bad evaluation for being a shitty team.

    Individually, though, there are players who are exceeding expecations, who are values because they’ve out-produced what they’re paid or they’ve successfully bounced back from injuries.

    “I guess one other point that I would make is that McGrady’s stats aren’t “meaningless” as you argue, and I’d think that should be part of the consideration of his overall value and performance.”

    I don’t put much stock in stats like PPG, APG, etc. I wasn’t saying that I don’t look at stats in evaluations. But I look at more valuable stats — assist percentage, rebound percentage, turnover percentage, offensive and defensive rating, etc. Those are far more telling.

    There are several reasons that seasona averages are of little value when it comes to the Pistons. First of all, the rotation has never been set. Gordon went from starting and playing huge minutes the first week to barely playing, to kinda playing some to starting again, to not starting again. Daye played as a rotation piece early, but it was not at his traditional position and he had some terrible games as he tried to be a power forward. McGrady was terrible at the beginning of the season. Monroe was terrible at the beginning of the season.

    In all of those cases, I don’t think it gives a realistic evaluation to use those simple stats much. Midpoint grades are just that: “Where are these players at right now?” To look at McGrady’s stats, which are impacted by him not being full healthy and playing a different position and role three months ago are not all that instructive to how valuable he’s become over the last six or eight weeks.

  • Jan 21, 20119:56 pm
    by MrHappyMushroom

    Reply

    A fun exchange, Patrick.  We’d use different words and come to different conclusions about some things.
    At very least, though, I’m sure that we can agree that the entire team should be taken out behind the barn and summarily executed after tonight’s humiliation in Jersey. ;-)

  • Jan 24, 20112:32 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    We should have made our grading system clearer, and we will in our year-end grades. Here’s how I look at it: everyone goes to the same school, but they don’t all have the same assignments. Greg Monroe’s assignment is to rebound, give effort on defense and work to improve. He’s acing that. Richard Hamilton’s assignment is to score efficiently, and he’s failing that.

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