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Richard Hamilton returns as HOAM to help the Pistons roll the Milwaukee Bucks

In his first game since Jan. 10, Richard Hamilton appeared set to steal the show.

All the conjecture suddenly had to be viewed in a new light when the shooting guard stood up from the bench, smiled and walked toward the scorer’s table to check in late in the first quarter tonight. Whatever he did, positively or negatively, would become the story of the game. On the first three plays involving him, Hamilton committed an offensive foul, missed a jumper and fell down (although he earned an assist after falling by hastily scooping the ball to Austin Daye, who made a sweet 3-pointer to end the first quarter).

But that was the last we saw of Hamilton tonight.

During the between-quarter break, Hamilton found a telephone booth, put on his cape (he was already wearing his mask, obviously), and HOAM emerged.

A 3-pointer, jumper and assist to open the second quarter, and HOAM had successfully taken the spotlight from Hamilton and his drama. A couple more HOAM jumpers a few minutes later, and the Pistons’ four-point lead at the end of the first quarter had blossomed into an 11-point lead.

Tracy McGrady (20 points and a misleadingly low two assists) repeatedly taking the right shot or making the right pass and Tayshaun Prince (12 points and 11 rebounds) shooting and rebounding efficiently kept the Pistons comfortably ahead the rest of the game, which they won, 89-78.

HOAM (15 points on 7-of-14 shooting with with three assists in 20 minutes) didn’t lead the Pistons in any major statistical categories, but his presence energized Detroit.

He moved well without the ball. He didn’t look like the tireless Hamilton of seven years ago, who ran around screens all game, every game. He’s too old for that. But when Hamilton isn’t HOAM, he tends to wait until has has the ball in his hands before working for a better shot.

That’s not his game.

HOAM moves before catching the pass. He trusts his teammates to find him when that movement creates room to shoot – and they did tonight. It’s awesome to watch the Pistons when they’re all working in sync together.

Will Bynum (nine points on 4-of-5 shooting and four assists in 17 minutes) benefitted from the lanes HOAM’s movement opened. Prince, who sometimes looks removed from the proceedings when they don’t directly involve him, stood near the  bench and yelled advice to Hamilton. Charlie Villanueva showed confusion on a play, but when Hamilton motioned for him to run across the court, Villanueva immediately did.

After the game, Hamilton basically said the right things. It clearly still bothers him John Kuester didn’t tell him him his role had changed, but Hamilton made a point to note that doesn’t matter. Hamilton said he’ll play hard no matter who his coach is.

All of a sudden, a solution appears in sight for one aspect of this saga. Kuester could keep playing Hamilton, and if HOAM keeps showing up, the Pistons will win at a higher clip than they have been. Petty coach-player feuds dissipate when teams win.

But will Kuester keep playing Hamilton? The Pistons value Hamilton’s play more than DaJuan Summers’ right now. That’s all we really know. What happens when Rodney Stuckey returns from injury?

That question can’t be answered, because not all the evidence has been submitted. Hamilton still has more time to build the case that he deserves playing time.

When Hamilton is HOAM, he can help the Pistons. But what does it take to get HOAM show up? Last time, the Pistons had to remove him from the starting lineup. This time, they had to remove him from the rotation and active roster. Short of giving him more DNP-CDs, what can the Pistons do to get HOAM every game Hamilton plays?

That’s the Kuester muster answer.

Hamilton could make the answer easy and continue to play as HOAM. He could also make it easy by returning to the player who gave more effort toward arguing with officials than playing effectively. Anything in between, and Kuester faces a difficult decision.

As far as the other problem – Hamilton’s age and contract limiting Detroit’s youth movement – a solution remains murky. During the game, Eli Zaret reported Joe Dumars said the Pistons don’t want to trade Hamilton. Anyway, moving on to things that are even partially accurate…

Hamilton’s trade value remains low. He’ll need many more games like this before the Pistons can move him without sending out a valuable piece to entice a team to take Hamilton.

Very little was settled tonight, and it’s probably not accurate to say Hamilton’s situation has become more intriguing. But when HOAM shows up, it’s a lot more fun.


  • Feb 6, 201112:05 am
    by gmehl1977


    I ain’t buying this HOAM crap. Yeah he was efficient tonight and looked hungry but this is just 2 steps for 3 steps back situation. I don’t want to see Rip rot on our bench but if its at all possible either trade or buy the guy out. I am just seeing this as a PR move in the fact that Joe just doesn’t want to look bad from all this. The whole situation is like crawling back to the ugly girlfriend you just dumped because you couldn’t get some from the pretty girl down the road.

    • Feb 6, 20111:03 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      GMehl, using your metaphor, you have two options: no girl, the ugly girl or the ugly girl wearing makeup. There are no ideal options. HOAM is the lesser of three evils.

      • Feb 6, 20116:49 pm
        by gmehl1977


        So what you are saying is keep a paper bag near :-)

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  • Feb 6, 20112:58 am
    by Fennis


    Enjoyed the post. I’d love to see Hamilton in the rotation in place of BG. I love Gordon’s talent, but he’s a low-BBIQ player on a team stacked with low BBIQ talent — i.e., CV, Wilcox, Bynum. Hamilton’s the type of guy who may shoot a bit too much, but he doesn’t make bonehead plays, and knows how to win games in the crunch.
    I’m not a Kue supporter, but I have to acknowledge that he’s in a tough position. If he plays Rip, he has to bench BG. Benching Stuckey is a non-starter, and it’s tough to split minutes at the two across three players.
    I guess a second option would be to bench Will Bynum, who despite his good shooting tonight continues to handle the rock like he’s Isaiah Thomas as opposed to the back up PG on a sub 500 team. Why not start Stuck at 2 and give him all of the minutes at the backup PG? T-Mac can’t log heavy minutes as it is. That opens up minutes for Rip and BG at the 2, and let Rip playing a few minutes each game at the three. Let AD play backup three and backup four, and play CV 15 minutes or less per game. We have to limit the minutes of low IQ players.

    • Feb 6, 20113:17 am
      by Laser


      some bone headed ideas here. 1) you’re in favor of intentionally holding a guy on villa’s contract under 15 minutes?? how you gonna pay a guy like that and play him so little? 2) stuckey shouldn’t handle the point ever. the first game with this new rotation they kept bynum on the bench and had stuckey handle the backup PG duties. it lasted one game: a loss. then they went on that season-hugh THREE GAME TEAR. best to keep a point guard on the floor at all times, even if you’re allergic to bynum for some reason.
      the solution is to ditch a shooting guard and go from there.

      • Feb 6, 20111:12 pm
        by Dan Feldman


        Laser, I agree with you that Bynum should play for now. But there’s nothing wrong with limiting Villanueva’s minutes. His contract is irrelevant to this discussion. Kuester should play the guys who give the Pistons the best chance of winning. That formula probably doesn’t involve much Villanueva right now.

        • Feb 6, 20114:57 pm
          by Laser


          see, if we’re playing fantasy coach/gm here, i think his contract is highly relevant. fennis is saying how he’d run the show, and here he’s taken gordon out of the rotation while leaving villanueva in to be the team’s third highest paid player and barely break a sweat. dumars insisted that both guys have trade value (and i believe they do), so how are you going to keep him around and play him so little. charlie v is one of many “sh*t or get off the pot” situations this team is currently facing.

    • Feb 6, 20111:09 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Fennis, Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press has written a lot about this, and he think he’s right: Hamilton is a chameleon. Put him around hard workers, and he works hard. Put him around good defenders, and he defends well. Put him around volume shooters, and he takes a lot of shots. Etc. Just because Hamilton appeared to be a smart player three years ago doesn’t make him a smart player now. All the ill-advised shots you mentioned him taking indicates he’s not.

      • Feb 6, 20117:02 pm
        by gmehl1977


        I am with Laser on this subject. We can’t have this much money just wasting away on the bench. Either play Gordon & CV or trade them for guys that are going to play.

  • Feb 6, 20113:12 am
    by Laser


    i was never that sold on this “on a mission” fixation like it’s only a matter of how well he chooses to play, and it’s beginning to wear thin already. true he seemed very determined in the second quarter (i only watched the first half), and he didn’t hesitate to take charge and be the difference in the game at the half. but i don’t think it’s as easy as his effort and attitude; i think those things will be there if he’s got a consistent reasonable role on the team, which he hasn’t had in YEARS. note how they didn’t get him the ball and clear out for him to run an iso. players were moving, the ball was moving, stuckey wasn’t dominating the ball and making bad decisions. this is pretty much what i expected this team to look like and what i think they could look like regardless of which SG is eliminated.
    but none of this matters nearly as much as the absolute necessity that we make a trade. at minimum, get one of these shooting guard out of town. i don’t care who, and what we get back is a secondary concern. i’d also be in favor of a complete blow up where everyone who gets us future assets can be had. specifically tayshaun (and god would it be a shame to miss the opportunity to cash in on him right now) and t-mac (who has a chance of being a piston for a few more years, so i’m ambivalent, but if he got you derrick caracter or something like that, i pull the trigger).

    • Feb 6, 20111:16 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Laser, did Kuester all of a sudden run different plays for Rip tonight? No. Rip decided on his own to move more without the ball. Rip has played for championships. Trying to help a team sneak into the playoffs clearly doesn’t motivate him. Repairing his image clearly does. Rip needs something to play for. That’s way more important than who shares the court with him or his role.

      • Feb 6, 20115:06 pm
        by Laser


        i simply disagree here. the offensive scheme we’ve been running since t-mac became the starting PG is distinctly different than the point-guard-by-committee, isolation-exclusive offense we ran when stuckey was “running” the show. it’s no exaggeration to say that 75% of our possessions early this season involved passing the ball around the perimeter until settling on a match-up and running an isolation play. i don’t really see the point of rip running around in circles knowing full well that nobody is ever going to deliver him the ball.
        true that rip’s the kind of player who needs to be a focal point of a specific type of offensive scheme in order to be highly effective, but we knew who he was when we signed the guy and proceeded to add pieces. more often than not in the handful of times they’ve showcased him in the offense, he’s delivered.

  • Feb 6, 20113:13 am
    by jgk281


    IMO, Rip should replace Ball Hog Bynum in the guard rotation.There’s no reason Bynum should be playing over Rip.

    With Stuckeys ability to play backup PG somewhat effectively, they can still start TMac and Stuckey, then just slide Stuckey to PG when Rip or Gordon is subbed in for TMac and work out a rotation that way.

    If they cant trade Rip, they might as well make the most of his abilities, which are far greater than Bynum’s.

  • Feb 6, 20116:17 am
    by acdctime


    Tmac just keeps getting better and better. Intresting stat is when he scores 15 or more the pistons are 7 wins and 2 losses

    • Feb 6, 20111:19 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      ACDC, McGrady has definitely keyed the Pistons’ turnaround (if you want to go as far as calling it that), and that’s a cool stat. Slightly better-looking version of it: the Pistons are 7-1 when McGrady scores at least 16 points and 5-0 when he scores at least 17 points.

  • Feb 6, 20117:54 am
    by Fennis


    You and Stuckey need to attend couples therapy. He’s not the ideal PG, but he’s certainly no worse than Bynum, and he’s arguably the best overall player on the team. Discarding any of the three point guards *at random* would be the NBA GM equivalent of throwing a tantrum. Stuckey is 24! He can handle the rock, guard three positions well, get to the line, and plays hard every single night. And we’re to believe that limiting the playing time of a PF who can’t defend, can’t rebound, can’t pass, and is generally prone to bad decisions on both ends of the court is the “bonehead” idea?  Not credible.

    • Feb 6, 201111:01 am
      by Jason


      Stuckey is arguably the best overall player on the team??
      That’s a heck of an exaggeration there, fennis. Based upon what? His padded statistics?
      What you’re not understanding is that he’s in a contract year, and has played PG for the bulk of it. He is able to CONTROL the ball, by forcing shots, which basically takes his teammates out of the game. Sure, he may have some 20 point nights, but if it takes 30 shot attempts - something is wrong! When your PG only gets 4 assists on a nightly basis, something is wrong!
      I agree that Stuck would be a much better SG, but even then he isn’t a perfect fit. Ever look at Stuck’s 3 point percentage??? Ill give you a hand – 25%….
      Rip on the other hand is shooting 40% from the 3 point line this season. Ben Gordon is shooting 39% from the 3.. Hell, even Austin Daye is shooting around 41% at the 3..
      Now, is the 3 point shot the end all be all? Not really – if for instance Stuck was a better finisher at the basket, if Stuck wasn’t so turnover prone, his inability to shoot long range wouldn’t be as big of a deal. But this isn’t the case…
      Stuck is NOT a PG. He is an AVERAGE shooting guard, and when he is in the game, he bogs down the entire offense. It becomes the Stuckey show – (which isn’t all that pretty)
      For you to suggest that he is our best overall player is just nonsense. Feldman should just delete your comment now.. (Jkng :))
      While i will agree with you that stuck plays hard every night, gets to the line well, and plays fairly good defense in the back-court, these aren’t the things that equates to the “Best overall player on our team”
      Feldman put out an article recently showing percentage wise, which players have the biggest impact on the team… It showed win/loss percentages based upon individual players presence, or absence. I urge you to read this, Fennis. When you do, you’ll see that they team LOSES MORE with Stuckey starting, then any other player who has been in the rotation. The team WINS MOST when Stuckey has been out of the game with a DNP. I’m not making this stuff up, its the fact.. The team plays much better as a TEAM, when Stuckey isn’t on the court..
      I’m not saying I don’t like Stuck, because I do.. I just like him as my backup SG, to come off the bench with more firepower then any other backup in the league.. This is where Stuck would most effective, in my opinion.
      But enough of the “Stuck is our best player crap”, that’s just complete nonsense..
      Awesome article by the way, Feldman! Love me some HOAM!!

      • Feb 6, 20111:50 pm
        by Dan Feldman


        Jason, I don’t think Stuckey has been the Pistons’ best player, but I don’t think that’s an unreasonable argument to make.

        The Pistons’ offensive rating is 105.5, but that jumps to 110 when Stuckey is on the floor. It’s difficult to argue, although certainly not impossible, Stuckey hogs the ball to the point it hurts Detroit’s offense.

        Finishing at the rim was a huge problem for Stuckey earlier in his career, but he’s been fine this year. In fact, he’s finishing at the rim better than Raymond Felton, Eric Bledsoe, Russell Westbrook, Devin Harris and Brandon Jennings.

        Stuckey is far from turnover prone. In fact, among point guards, just Aaron Brooks, Brandon Jennings and Louis Williams have lower turnover percentages and higher usage rates. Protecting the ball is one of Stuckey’s biggest strengths.

        I don’t think you understood my post about the team’s winning percentage with and without certain players. My point was how unreliable that statistic is without more context. If you pick any current Piston, odds are the team has a better record in games he misses than games he plays.

        In that post, I also looked at how each player affected the team’s plus-minus per 48 minutes. That’s a more reliable measure of a player’s value than how he affects his team’s win-loss record. Again, don’t take this on its own, but in the last two years, no player has had a more positive effect on the Pistons’ plus-minus per 48 minutes than Stuckey. There’s certainly room for extenuating factors, but that’s a big positive sign about Stuckey.

        Thanks for the kind words on this article. HOAM is great. Hope he’s around for good.

        • Feb 6, 20113:25 pm
          by Jason


          Dan, I definitely realize the offensive rating increases with Stuck on the court, but I also realize that it doesn’t seem to translate to more W’s – which is really all that matters in the end.
          As far as the turnovers, you’re right – compared to other PG’s, he’s not all that bad. I’m just not looking at him as a PG though, he’s a SG. And on that front, RIP has the lowest turnover ratio of our SG’s.. But you’re still right, I was wrong about that being a flaw of his.. I must have looked at the stats incorrectly when ranting..

    • Feb 6, 20111:25 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Fennis, I agree with you. Randomly shed a guard would be a mistake in the long-term. It might help in the short term, allowing the remaining guards to play more minutes and get into a rhythm. But what if you pick the wrong guard and trade the one who would become most effective in a better environment? Minimal short-term gains aren’t worth large long-term losses, and that’s why the Pistons must work carefully when assessing trade options.

    • Feb 6, 20115:14 pm
      by Laser


      not with you, fennis.
      on charlie: my point is that if you’re going to limit his minutes so severely, you may as well trade him and put that money to good use.
      on trading a “random” SHOOTING guard: rip, gordon and stuckey are all good players. none of them are remarkable or anything worth building around or sacrificing ANYTHING at all to hold onto them. the three of them can NOT coexist in a successful rotation, and they’re all either FABULOUSLY expensive or on the cusp of becoming that expensive. i’d be happy to be rid of all three and focus our assets ($$) on the point guard and power positions. but it couldn’t matter less to me which we kept or tossed, so long as we got reasonable value back. for rip id want an expiring contract, for BG an expiring and maybe a pick, for stuckey a very good pick or potential young building block. but none of these three are anything to hang your hat on and none are significantly better than the others.

  • Feb 6, 20118:12 am
    by acdctime


    both mcgrady and prince are better then stuckey

  • Feb 6, 20118:58 am
    by detroitpcb


    Joe D finally stepped into this situation and told Q to play Rip. Where it goes from here will be interesting.

    • Feb 6, 20111:51 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      PCB, anything to back that up. I’ve seen a ton of credible information that this was Kuester’s call.

  • Feb 6, 201111:09 am
    by Jayg108


    It’s very possible that we will never know the truth about why he was sitting.  I just hope that Joe D gets some value for the expiring contracts: Prince and Stuckey.
    Trading Stuckey before the deadline would be extremely lucrative and would unjam the backcourt.  It would also be a blow to Joe’s ego.  I’m a little frustrated now with executives who make faulted decisions and cannot admit the mistake in order to move forward with the correct course of action.  Stuckey was not a replacement for Chauncey.  Stuckey with 6 years experience might be a replacement for Chauncey.  But why did Joe think that the 5 years of his development would be enjoyable winning seasons?
    BTW: I don’t particularly like the name calling in the comment section.  I visit this site because of the content and not the usual clever sarcasm and cruel wit I read on other sites…

    • Feb 6, 201111:21 am
      by Jason


      Completely agree with you here, Jayg. Would love to see Stuck traded to a conntender, who would utilize him the way the Pistons should be… Off the bench for instant spark on offense/defense. IMO, this would be a very smart idea thought, and would prevent us from overpaying to keep him here in Detroit.
      As far as the name calling, I don’t think i’ve ever seen anything too harsh on this site, to be honest. People may take small jabs at each other here and there, but I don’t think its ever really gotten out of hand. Guess that’s just my 2 cents…
      Definitely agree with your point though, if we can find a willing taker – trade Stuck!

      • Feb 6, 20111:43 pm
        by jayg108


        thanks for the second opinion on my view of the comments.  I see your point; I didn’t have any coffee yet when I was first reading.  oh well
        Joe won’t trade Stuckey.  Ever.   The problem is that if he does, he’s admitting to making many mistakes in drafts, trades, and FA signings.  If Joe trades Stuckey, he’s saying that Stuckey isn’t the starting pg the team needed, which means his Billups trade was unnecessary

        Stuckey was fine as a backup for Chauncey
        Afflalo was a perfect guy off the bench for Rip.
        BG didn’t need to be signed.
        Boozer or Millsap or Bosh might’ve been wearing blue right now.

        I don’t see Stuckey being traded until Joe leaves

        • Feb 6, 20112:01 pm
          by Dan Feldman


          Jayg, Dumars drafted Mateen Cleaves believing he’d be the point guard the Pistons needed. Dumars drafted Rodney White believing he’d be the scorer the Pistons needed. Dumars drafted Darko believing he’d be the big man the Pistons needed. Dumars hired Michael Curry believing he’d be the coach the Pistons needed. Dumars was wrong on all four counts, and he admitted it through his actions, quickly getting rid of all four.

          • Feb 6, 20115:22 pm
            by Mike Payne

            I’m still waiting on an apology for the Afflalo trade…

    • Feb 6, 20111:58 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Jayg, I don’t exactly what Stuckey would fetch in a trade, but my gut says the Pistons could find an offer that they should take.

      You’re off base with your Dumars criticism, though. Name one poor move he made that he stubbornly refused to address. Don’t give me Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva or any recent example. Those haven’t played out yet. If those players continue to struggle and Dumars keeps them the next couple years, then we’ll talk. But give me one example of Dumars’ stubbornness in a situation that we’ve had enough time to assess.

      Our e-mail address is PistonPowered@gmail.com. We try to keep on top of inappropriate comments, and we do the best we can with that. But if you ever see something that slipped through, please e-mail us.

      • Feb 6, 20113:11 pm
        by Jason


        Can’t say I agree that you cannot YET make criticisms on the Ben Gordon signing. Villanueva, NO – He was brought in at a position of need, coming off a great season, so of course you cannot criticize Dumars at this point.
        But Gordon? I’ll have to disagree. Gordon was signed to a contract making him our second highest paid player, while our highest paid player – in a LONG term contract – played the exact same position. I do blame Duamrs for that, and I believe it’s fully justified.
        I realize Gordon was coming off a great season, trust me. I live in Chicago, that year I had watched literally just about every game of the year. BUT, if i’m a GM who just gave my starting SG a long term, massive contract – the last thing i’m going to do is spend big money on Ben Gordon. It simply made no sense, knowing Rasheed would soon be gone, and that we were extremely thin in the front court.
        I know Gordon has potential, and could probably be a great player in the right situation – His signing simply made no sense whatsoever for the Detroit Pistons.

        • Feb 6, 20115:23 pm
          by Laser


          men on BG. joe has been an unqualified disaster since trading chauncey. everything he’s touched has turned to sh*t, and all he’s done is talk about the changes he’s going to make to get pistons basketball back on track. stuckey obviously isn’t a PG, he and gordon and rip can’t coexist, villanueva’s been a flop so far, max is our fifth highest paid player and completely out of the rotation. the team keeps losing, and every trade deadline or summer joe’s talking some big game about analyzing the team and doing “what needs to be done.”
          apparently his definition of that is to keep the team entirely intact, because that’s what he’s done. he obviously wants to keep gordon and stuckey and trade rip, but that doesn’t seem to be possible. so what does he do? stubbornly stand pat or admit his mistake and trade one of the other SGs? time will tell, but i have a hunch…

      • Feb 6, 20115:09 pm
        by jayg108


        Dan,  Thanks for pointing these things out.  Sorry Joe.
        It will be interesting to see what will happen, but I guess it will have to wait until the team sale is finalized.  But, trading Stuckey would be the quick fix and most economical solution to the Rip fat contract problem.
        (Personally, I don’t think Stuckey was allowed to be the floor general that he envisioned becoming, and the resistance to the Chauncey trade impeded Stuckey’s growth. Rodney’s talents have been suffocating under the dramas surrounding this team.  To get better, you need to have fun and win.  but that’s another topic)

  • Feb 6, 201111:40 am
    by BIG MARV


    I agree with gmehl; I think its just a big ploy to hush up the media (and piston powered) for bringing up any “wheres rip” articles or questions every game or untill the trade deadline lurks around. yeah its a hoam he’s on the mission on getting the hell otta here, so he’s selling himself to other teams for a trade. I wouldn’t be suprise that rodney stuckey comes back now, I bet that shoulder will feel 110 percent by tue night aganst the spurs at least that will put a fire under his ass (not the one inside) to return. But the hoam might continue tue and into next week as long as he has that chip on his shoulder if he shows any sign of comfort again expect more dnp’s to come, and at this point it doesnt bother Q no more to ride “rip” on the coldest part of the bench playing tic tac toe with Jonas Jerebko. Its just another wait and see game again but on the bright side it is keeping us in the playoff race.

    • Feb 6, 20112:02 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Marv, if Hamilton stops playing hard, would Kuester be wrong to bench him again?

      • Feb 6, 201110:47 pm
        by BIG MARV


        I mean as far as benching him it dont even matter no more, because when rip do have a decent game Kuester still benches him. The question will be will rip continue to play when Rodney stuckey comes back from injury, and imma say no. Hopefull for rip sake he will be traded by the deadline. If not they will find another excuse to give him a dnp-cd mabey this time they will send him home via eddie curry.

  • Feb 6, 20111:10 pm
    by Craig


    All the discussion of Rip (& Stuckey/etc) is missing the key problem with the Pistons…Joe Dumars.  I used to love the guy, but unfortunately have come to realize he doesn’t know what he’s doing.  The key to success is putting together a group of players whose strengths compliment each other.  Ever since the Iverson deal the Pistons have been doing the exact opposite.  Rip should have been traded when Billups was traded, both for the Piston’s sake and for Rip’s sake.  Rip plugs up the middle rendering Stuckey (as Iverson) ineffective.  Stuckey takes Rip out of his game and Stuckeys inability to shoot 3s does not mesh with Rips style either.  Its no wonder the Pistons do better when EITHER ONE  is out.

    Its unfortunate that we blame the players.  

    • Feb 6, 20112:06 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Craig, you’re almost right. The key to success isn’t putting  together a group of players whose strengths complement each other. The key to success is putting together a group of good players whose strengths complement each other. You’re skipping a step in the process. I think there’s a good chance Dumars knows what he’s doing. He brought in a bunch of talented players as step one. Figuring out which ones are the best and keeping them is step two, and that should begin to sort itself out by this summer. Adding players to compliment those guys is step three. Show some patience.

      • Feb 6, 20115:15 pm
        by Mike Payne


        Hey Dan,
        I’d argue that the key to success is doing your homework and making sound, objective personnel decisions based in part on statistical analysis.  The problems the Pistons have had with Gordon and Villanueva were very much alive in the numbers before they signed in Detroit.  Both players were coming off of career best seasons prior to signing, but it would be very difficult for the Pistons to replicate those conditions.  Even if those numbers were repeated or improved upon in Detroit, they were net negative producers on their respective teams.  For them to work in Detroit, they’d have to vastly improve across the board (especially on defense), and any regression would be damning to their efficacy.
        Dumars didn’t need to “figure out which ones are the best and keep them” after signing them, that’s not how this business or any business operates if it want to remain successful.  He needed to do like Daryl Morey, Mark Cuban (and hopefully Tom Gores) would do, and run the players through statistical tests to see if they can produce wins with a given roster, balanced by their respective cost.  What Dumars did was effectively invest in a car company because he likes the cars they produce, but he didn’t bother looking at the financials.
        Thing is, he used to do this quite well.  Take a look at Chauncey Billups, an MLE-level signing who is one of the greatest offensive players of this generation.  A statistical analysis would have shown that Billups was already capable of what he did in Detroit.  Per minute, Chauncey was as productive in his final year in Minneapolis as he was during the 2003-04 championship year where he was named the finals MVP (and if you look at his starter splits alone, he was even more productive in minneapolis)
        And this is my central point of disagreement.  You suggested the process is “putting together a group of good players” and then basically pruning out the bad ones later.  With respect, this is a terrible way to operate in free agency.  It might work for 2nd round draft picks, vet minimum contracts and otherwise, but not when you’re spending nearly 9 figures on core players who will eat up most of your cap.  You need to bet on sure things in this regard, and I know no one who could have looked at BG and CV objectively prior to our signings and suggest that they were sure things.  They were net negative players then, and they’re net negative players now.

      • Feb 6, 20115:31 pm
        by Laser


        feldman, your patience with this team is absurd. it should not take until this summer to realize which players fit well together and should be a part of the future, which are both movable and expendable, etc. this team’s problems have been evident for AGES, and the result of leaving these problems alone instead of addressing them has been dwindling ticket sales, dwindling interest in the team, the complete and total ruination of individual player values (which greatly affects trade flexibility), and the value of the franchise in free fall. waiting this long to make moves has been a terrible mistake, and it only gets worse the longer joe waits.

  • Feb 6, 20112:21 pm
    by Dan


    Yes, those poor players! Just because they are paid suitcases of cash, we expect them to listen respectfully to their coach, play hard all the time, and support the team regardless of their role and minutes. It’s so unfair!
    Also: isn’t it just possible Dumars is telling the truth at this point about not trading Rip? He’s obviously tried really hard (ex: the Denver-New Jersey deal) and not found any deals that make the team obviously better. Rip just isn’t a hot commodity.
    It amazes me how much Dumars-hate I read in these comments and elsewhere. In his first decade as GM, the Pistons were (easily) one the five most successful franchises in the NBA. He’s earned the benefit of the doubt, but for a lot of “fans”, it’s the other way around: his every move, every quote, are suspect.

  • Feb 6, 20113:06 pm
    by Jason


    I completely agree, it’s VERY unliely that Stuck ever gets traded.. He is Dumars Golden Boy.. The funny thing is I used to back him up for it… I used to be on blogs like this, backing up Dumars in every way, claiming Stuck would excel, if only we put the right players around him..
    I’ve just began to realize that it’s unlikely he is going to develop into an actual PG. Don’t get me wrong, they guy is dynamic, he’s athletic, and he obviously has talent – I just would so much rather have an actual facilitator with the group of guys we have on our roster.
    Now, the BG comment. Im 100% with you there. Had that money been spent on a Big man or a true PG, we would not be having alot of the identity issues we have today.
    The fact is, we have too many shooting guards… Both RIP and Gordon will net us the most in return, with their large contracts – but IMO, Rip is the only one that will be able to get moved. This is subjective, yes. I thinks its safe to say that around the league, more GM’s would be willing to spend 12 million on RIP over Gordon, but I could be wrong..
    It could have been quite amazing though to see Boozer or Millsap  with the Pistons, that’s for sure..

  • Feb 7, 201112:00 am
    by Fennis


    Feldman, I’m with you on this one. I definitely hear Payne’s point, but Dumars’ challenge as the Pistons GM is to build a championship team in a location that isn’t a “hot spot.” I love Detroit as do a lot of our players, but Joe D has a much more difficult job than Pat Riley, Donnie Walsch, Mitch Kupchack, and even Danny Ainge. My point is that Joe’s strategy of picking up assets on the free market and then reshuffling those assets over the course of three or four years to create a title contender is good one imo because the Pistons are not in a position to land the Big Fish in free agency.
    But I agree that Gordon and CV were inexcusable misfires. I still don’t understand why you would sign BG after a full year of turmoil playing both Iverson and Rip at the point. And what is BG if not a lesser version of Iverson in his prime? CV – great guy with amazing talent who simply has a horrible feel for the game. I think Joe assumed CV would mature or “get it” and it’s not unreasonable to think that the jury is still out. Personally, once I realized that neither player would ever be even an above average defender,  I concluded that they would never be the core of a championship team and at least one if not both should be traded. You can have one of those guys in a championship rotation, but two is too many.
    What really disappoints me about the FA signings is that neither of these guys plays Pistons basketball. They’re solid guys personally, but their games don’t mesh well into a team dynamic. Joe had probably one of the greatest runs as a GM in the last 30 years and the core philosophy of that run was defense. I remember at the presser for the CV and BG signings, Joe insisted that the league was turning in a different direction with the new defensive rules, and that it was critical to have talented offensive wing players. He unquestionably miscalculated, and he acknowledged as much in the off-season in interviews with Langlois. I think (and hope) Joe is back to his Pistons principles.  You can’t win titles with players who don’t play defense and have trouble with team play/chemistry.
    Say what you want about Joe D, but I don’t see anyone complaining now about Austin Daye, Greg Monroe, and Jonas Jerebko. Monroe was pretty close to a no-brainer, but as I recall most Pistons fans hated the AD pick, and didn’t know a thing about Jonas. And for all the obsessive complaining about Stuckey, it’s hard to make a case that he wasn’t a steal in his draft. Take a look at the players that went in front of him. Jianlian, Corey Brewer, Brendan Wright, Spencer Hawes, Acie Law, Julian Wright, Al Thorton, Thaddeus Young. You might take one of those guys, but probably not twol I’d go with Stuck myself.
    Joe should be criticized for his mistakes, and they are numerous. But I can’t help but think that those that want him canned were too young to appreciate the glorious eight year run he took us on. I’m not even sure the bad boys contended for that long a period… If he brings in another highly-paid one-dimensional flop, I’ll join the bandwagon, but I truly believe Joe realizes his mistakes and will turn the corner with this team within the next year.

    • Feb 7, 20112:45 am
      by Mike Payne


      “the Pistons are not in a position to land the Big Fish in free agency.”
      If I were the owner of this team, I would mandate that the GM rarely, if ever spend more than the MLE on the free agent market, other than to extend players he’s already acquired.  With the exception of the Miami Heat, who are too soon to judge in this light, what championship team in recent years has been built of core pieces acquired in free agency?
      The Boston Celtics drafted Rondo, Pierce and Perkins, and traded for Allen and Garnett.
      The Los Angeles Lakers trade/drafted Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum and traded for Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol.
      The Spurs drafted Duncan, Parker and Ginobili.
      While the Pistons traded for Wallace, Wallace and Rip and drafted Tayshaun, Chauncey makes them the exception, except that Billups was picked up for the MLE.  He wasn’t at all a “big fish” in free agency.
      The last time a big fish free agent led to a championship was Shaquille O’Neal in Los Angeles in 2002.  Teams with cores who are built in free agency rarely dominate, and they generally still revolve more around their draft/trade-acquired players.  Rose and Noah are more important to Chicago than Boozer will ever be.
      Look at the standings, see if you can find a contender whose most important player was signed as a free agent.  LeBron is the exception, and the fact that Wade and Bosh are around him forces that anomaly.
      Winners are nearly always built in trades and the draft, trades and the draft, trades and the draft.  And think about it– every time Joe has deviated from this, spending more than the MLE on a free agent, it has resulted in failure.  Dude either lost his marbles in November of 2008… or Hammond stole them when he left.

      • Feb 7, 201112:36 pm
        by Jason


        Mike, you couldn’t be more spot on with your last two comments! You cannot build a core in Free Agency, a Miami heat style situation happens once in a lifetime..
        One can try to justify the BG/Charlie V signings all they want – but the fact is Dumars clearly didn’t think things through. Again, im much less angry about Villanueva, I can at least see what Dumars was thinking in signing him. BUT, the BG situation was such a lack of judgement, it makes me sick. After the Iverson/Rip debacle the year prior, why in the world he thought it be smart to throw millions at another Shooting Guard, with sketchy defensive ability is completely beyond me..
        I think Joe D realized we needed a 3-point shooter, with Chauncey no longer on the team. But, to throw 12 million a year to a guy known for basically JUST that – it makes no sense.
        I like Gordon, and I would LOVE to have him on this team at a reasonable contract. On an MLE deal, he would be a great compliment off the bench to come in and put up quick points. But to pay him like an allstar was simply a bad move on Dumars part, and i don’t think we have to wait any longer to “See how things play out” I think it’s already pretty clear…

  • Feb 7, 201112:45 pm
    by Fennis


    I’d agree with this. FA is not a smart way to build a winner. Exhibit A – Aaron Afflalo. Hard to believe that he might be a more valuable commodity than BG or Charlie V.

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