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Baffling lineup switches continue to be the story of the Pistons’ season in loss to Spurs

John Kuester hates being a sympathetic figure. That’s the only conclusion I can draw.

After he made the decision to bench Rip Hamilton, he earned some support among a large segment of Pistons fans who had been pleading for that move for a while. Then he blew it when he failed to inform Hamilton of his decision and when the story of Kuester sending an intermediary to talk to Hamilton for him was leaked, public opinion turned and Kuester looked like an aloof, poor communicator who alienated a respected veteran player.

Then the boycott/not a boycott happened and Kuester once again became a bit of a sympathetic figure (don’t get me wrong, everyone still thought he was a terrible head coach, they just felt kind of bad for him). And that lasted, what, a couple weeks?

Kuester, of course, eroded that goodwill once again when just before game time he decided that Rodney Stuckey, who had played really well over the last four games, was no longer starting, and Tracy McGrady, who had been a DNP-CD for five straight games, was back in. No explanation, nothing to see here. This kind of thing happens everywhere, right? Why should Kuester have to explain a move that, without any context provided, looks kind of insane?

Now to be fair to McGrady, he never deserved to be removed from the rotation in the first place, and he proved it against San Antonio. McGrady finished with 15 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and just two turnovers and was the deliberate, in-control decision-maker he was throughout most of his tenure as starting point guard.

The Pistons lost, of course, as teams that allow opponents to shoot 80 percent in the first half tend to. But they played hard in the second half, got within five points a couple times, took care of the ball and shot the ball better in the second half after starting the game slow offensively.

But there’s also plenty to second-guess. The Pistons were shredded by Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. They shot 19-for-26 and combined for 40 points and 12 assists. They were constantly in the paint, either finishing, finding teammates slashing to the basket or hitting open perimeter shooters. The Pistons’ best defensive guard, Stuckey, only played 15 minutes. He certainly couldn’t have guarded both of them, and if he played more, maybe they both still have great game. After all, Stuckey might be the best defensive guard the Pistons have, but he’s still far from a stopper. But the point is, just as there was no rhyme or reason to bench McGrady, there wasn’t a reason, unless something happened in practice (which isn’t out of the question, considering Kuester and Stuckey have clashed before), to bench Stuckey either.

I’m all for playing the guys who work the hardest. I’m all for sending messages to guys who have poor attitudes or work habits by cutting their playing time. But Kuester’s lineup switches are beginning to look more and more like a guy who long ago lost the respect of the locker room clinging to the only thing he really has left to control — the playing time.

McGrady in means Bynum is out

Will Bynum‘s all-or-nothing style grates on the nerves of certain commenters who shall remain nameless.

I’ve long maintained that Bynum’s style often trends into selfish on occasion (though not on the exaggerated scale that some in the comments here like to portray) is a result of the fact that his spot in the rotation and on the team has never been secure. He plays like a guy on a 10-day contract every time he steps on the court.

Bynum didn’t play against San Antonio, and this comes on the heels of a February in which he did the following:

  • 12.6 points per game
  • 4.9 assists per game
  • 1.5 steals per game
  • 1.6 turnovers per game
  • 50 percent from the field
  • 38 percent from 3-point range

He has flaws. He’s a defensive liability and often breaks off the offense in order to look for his own shot. But when he’s shooting efficiently and not turning it over, and he was great in both of those areas in February, he’s an asset in the 20 or so minutes per game he plays. February was one of the best months of his career production-wise. He played hard and he kept the Pistons in games a few times when starters were struggling.

And of course when March started, his minutes were immediately cut by 10 per game through the first three games of the month, culminating with a DNP-CD in the fourth game. I totally understand the need for the Pistons to have an odd man out in the rotation. But the fact that Bynum was actually the most productive guard on the team for the month of February and still lost his rotation spot fully explains why Bynum plays the way he does. He has the quickest hook on the team, whereas other guards, particularly Stuckey, have been given incredibly long leashes when it comes to getting minutes regardless of how inconsistently they produce.

Spurs get physical with Daye

Austin Daye and his upside have been a big topic of discussion over the last few days here (what else are we supposed to talk about, really?). Against San Antonio, the Spurs exposed what remains his biggest weakness: he’s just not strong enough to handle physical defense.

Daye shot 2-for-6 in 24 minutes. He didn’t get many looks at threes because the Spurs have several wing players who are very good at closing out on shooters. And when Daye reacted by putting the ball on the floor, the Spurs’ defenders were good at making contact with him without drawing fouls. Daye can’t back down stronger defenders and he gets pushed out further than he wants to operate. He also fouled out because Richard Jefferson and Manu Ginobili made a point of going at him defensively.

To Daye’s credit, he fights. He fought when he was put in the insane position of trying to be a power forward and guard players like Zach Randolph early in the season, and he meets the challenge when burly wings like Jefferson push him around. He still rebounded and he still did his best defensively. Those are extremely positive things that show he’s a competitive, tough guy. But until he adds muscle, good teams like the Spurs are going to be able to do that to him, and it’s going to hurt his ability to provide consistent production.

Matt Bonner is a great value

One of the common defenses of the Charlie Villanueva signing is that stretch fours are becoming a vital component of NBA teams, so it’s OK to splurge on a shooting big man who is somewhat limited in other phases of the game. I’ve made the case myself at times that I don’t think Villanueva’s contract is as obscenely bad as some others.

But scratch that. Matt Bonner blew up all of those lame Villanueva contract justifications. For half the cost of Villanueva, Bonner is a better shooter. On top of that, he’s a player who has improved defensively in San Antonio, he’s a better rebounder than Villanueva and, as we saw last night with his ability to put the ball on the floor a little bit, he’s added to his offensive repertoire. All of that from a player considered a one-dimensional shooter when he was in Toronto.

Monroe vs. Duncan

There was a lot of talk pregame about the work ethic and demeanor of Greg Monroe in comparison to Tim Duncan. Monroe started pretty slowly against the Spurs but finished strong, notching 16 points and 12 boards. He also did a nice job defensively on Duncan in the second half. Duncan made his first six shots, but didn’t have another make after the early part of the third quarter. He was still his always effective self, scoring 15 points with 12 rebounds in 32 minutes, but the fact that Monroe rose to the occasion and got better as the game went on was another positive sign for his growth.

49 Comments

  • Mar 9, 201111:05 pm
    by qm22

    Reply

    It is baffling, and one wonders when this organization is going to provide answers. They are not trying to win or develop their youth, although Monroe is developing despite it all.

    One thing I might disagree with was the story about an intermediate going to tell Hamilton he was getting benched. Reports coming out after the “boycott” said that Hamilton regularly cussed out Kuester.

    • Mar 9, 201111:29 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “One thing I might disagree with was the story about an intermediate going to tell Hamilton he was getting benched. Reports coming out after the “boycott” said that Hamilton regularly cussed out Kuester.”

      Those reports didn’t come out for a long time though. Certainly, after more information came out seven or eight weeks after the benching and the report of the team official approaching Hamilton rather than Kuester, it made more sense. No one would approach a guy who regularly berated him in front of everyone.

      But my point was at the time of the benching, people began to side with Hamilton because they didn’t know what was happening behind the scenes.

    • Mar 10, 20111:45 am
      by rick

      Reply

      I’m with you, we all blame Kuester and the players, for these stupid decisions, and rightfully so, but in the end, its the Pistons organization that has to pay the bill for all this madness thats turned them into a laughing sock around the league. Kuester and the players will go their own ways next year, but Joe could still to be around, so why is he tolerating this? Its all his responsibility. I understand with ownership in flux, his hands are tied financially, but that has no bearing on doing the things that are free, like developing your young players.  From jerking around the minutes of Daye and Stuckey to lowballing Monroe’s shot attempts, its almost as if they are trying to SLOW DOWN the development of their players, not speed it up. Even the dumbest organizations in the league know that when the playoffs are out of reach, you sit the vets who couldnt get it done, and give the young guys big minutes EVERY game after. Not one game here, one game there.

      And if they honestly believe they can still make the playoffs, they dont deserve their jobs anyways for inability to analyze properly. If they cant see this team is not going to make the playoffs, then thats really bad evaluation skills.

      This is all Joe’s responsibilty as GM and its like he doesnt even care what happens.

      • Mar 10, 20111:47 am
        by rick

        Reply

        btw, I’m agreeing with qm22 that the franchise needs to provide answers, not about him disagreeing with this articke, Just to clarify.

  • Mar 9, 201111:15 pm
    by Rodman4Life

    Reply

    This whole season has been like the twilight zone or something.  I didn’t really think we were going to make the playoffs, but this stuff you just can’t make up.

  • Mar 9, 201111:28 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    Am I the only one who realizes that Greg Monroe is incapable of defensive rebounding?! He is 10th in the NBA in offensive boards (probably went up after tonight, but idk I didn’t check) and 70th in defensive rebounding. We lose chances at possessions because of missed defensive rebounds and because of Kuester not incorporating Monroe into the offense (except off of screens) he has all the time in the world to anticipate where the ball will come off the rim for a put back….overall I’m just trying to say that Monroe’s inability to rebound on the defensive end DOES hurt this team AND masks Monroe’s overall growth.

    • Mar 9, 201111:32 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      He gets 20 percent of available defensive rebounds. That rate puts him in the top 35 in the league.

    • Mar 10, 201110:10 am
      by jack

      Reply

      I would not say he is incapable of defensive rebounding.  He is averaging 4.1 defensive rebounds and 2.9 offensive rebounds for a total of 7 over the whole season.  But as a starter – 31 games since January -  out of 8.8 rebounds, 5.1 defensive and 3.7 offensive.  Another thing is the Pistons are allowing opponents to shoot above 48% from the field, second worse in the NBA.  That does not leave a lot of defensive rebounding opportunities.  Add to that what Patrick said and that makes him an above average Defensive rebounder and an excellent offensive rebounder.

    • Mar 10, 20111:28 pm
      by Trav

      Reply

      I don’t think that is fair to say at all.   You do understand it’s hard to rebound when his teammates don’t help box out, unless your ben wallace or Rodman.  He’s the best rebounder on the team behind big ben.

  • Mar 9, 201111:36 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    Understandable Patrick, but isn’t his percentage only applicable to the Pistons? That statistic, while impressive, will be different for different teams depending on something as simple as who is playing there, it does not mean he is a top notch defensive rebounder. Look at tonight, 9 of his 10 boards were on the offensive boards and if I was watching the right game the majority of his points were the result of the rebound. Monroe needs a lot of work before being compared to Tim Duncan as I read in that blog post earlier today because Duncan knows how to rebound.

    • Mar 10, 20119:15 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      No, it’s not only applicable to the Pistons. It’s the percentage of available rebounds that he grabs when he is on the court, not just the percentage among Pistons.

      I certainly agree that he’s not the rebounder Duncan is, but few are. Monroe is a very solid rebounder though, much better than he was in college actually.

  • Mar 9, 201111:40 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    His rate of offensive boards also seems to rise in games where he plays against the leagues top defenders, such as, tonight against Tim Duncan or on March 2nd against the T-Wolves where combined 16 out of 21 rebounds were offensive.

    • Mar 9, 201111:41 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      …meant to say top rebounders

  • Mar 9, 201111:48 pm
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    I think its safe to say that if they don’t let the Spurs shoot 80% in the first quarter then they might of had a shot at this game. To his defense (as bad as he is) Kuester did say all spots were up for grabs so i don’t care who he puts in as long as they give there all. Apart from Monroe and Prince no one else has excelled to the point that they deserve a starting spot.


    This whole season to me has been like biting your finger nails. You know you shouldn’t be doing it but you do and before to long you get one of those pulls down the side which ends in pain.
     
    Anyways I will try not to be too depressed about this loss and who knows maybe the Nets can still overtake us and give us a better draft slot.

    • Mar 10, 20119:17 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Spurs actually shot 80 percent for the entire first half, not just the first quarter.

  • Mar 10, 20112:22 am
    by Fennis

    Reply

    I agree with you, PH. I’m not the biggest Bynum supporter by any stretch but there is no reason for the guy to get a DNP. For one thing, you’re going up against one of the quickest guards in the league in Tony Parker. Second, Bynumite is the ONLY player that’s supported Kuester through thick and thin as far as I can tell from an outsider’s perspective. All that to get thrown under the bus without explanation?
     
    It’s bad form to beat the dead horse that is Kuester, but the guy just doesn’t have the leadership skills to coach in the NBA. And as much as I love Joe D, and think it would be mistake to fire him given how hard it is to land a successful GM in this league, he has to be held accountable for this fiasco.

    • Mar 10, 20119:19 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Yeah, it’s not so much that Bynum got benched. It’s that he got benched after by far his most productive month of the season and maybe the most productive month of his career.

  • Mar 10, 20113:14 am
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    For anyone that doesn’t remember Kuester stating that all spots were up for grabs (see below link). I am not defending him as i am all for a steady rotation but this team is anything but steady. Kuester is definitely not helping himself with the rotation changes he has made but the players on this roster are so inconsistent with form it is not all totally his fault. The guy knows once the team is sold he is gonna be fired so i am sure he doesn’t care too much.
    http://www.detroitbadboys.com/2011/3/1/2023307/john-kuester-all-starting-jobs-up-for-grabs

  • Mar 10, 20113:36 am
    by Kaneda

    Reply

    I can’t seem to understand why Maxiell is still part of the rotation. What a waste of money and pt.

    • Mar 10, 20119:18 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      My hunch is he wouldn’t be if Ben Wallace were with the team right now. But with Wallace out, someone has to play, especially against a frontline as big as the Spurs.

  • Mar 10, 20115:19 am
    by Tom Y.

    Reply

    @gmehl1977 is the rotation inconsistent because the players are inconsistent or the other way around? I’d say it’s more likely players are inconsistent because of the rotation, the relationship with the coach, the unbalanced roaster etc. This may be the most hectic team in the league right now.
    The question is, what are you trying to achieve? I think to start building a more stable identity you have to establish some constant roles. Right now it seems just random and I don’t see how it’s helping players development. Actually ok, I do get the idea that this may be supposed to instill competitiveness and a willingness to work hard at practice, but I doubt it’s effective. You can’t not reward Stucky’s and Bynum’s good play and plug McGrady (who’s probably leaving after this year anyway) in as starting PG.

    • Mar 10, 20117:02 am
      by gmehl1977

      Reply

      I think it has been proven over the last 2 seasons that most players on the roster are inconsistent. This is how i would grade every player on the roster for in consistency from A to F (A being consistent to being F inconsistent) for this season:

      Stuckey: B-
      Bynum: C+
      Hamilton: E
      Gordon: D
      MCGrady: B
      Daye: C+
      Prince: A
      Summers: D
      Villanueva: E
      Maxiell: E
      Wilcox: B
      Wallace: B
      Monroe: A-

      • Mar 10, 20119:43 am
        by jack

        Reply

        The funny thing is Monroe ranked his performance a D this season when he was asked about his play because the team was not winning on a consistent basis.

  • Mar 10, 20117:45 am
    by jack

    Reply

    Kuester said all the spots were up for grabs, but I don’t understand benching Stuckey.  He had been averaging 20.8 points on 49% shooting, six boards, and 8 assists over his last 4 games compared to Ben Gordon who only averaged a little over 12.8 points 40% shooting, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists over the same period.  Plus while Gordon is a defensive liability, Stuckey is an above average defender who can guard all 3 perimeter positions.  If Kuester is allocating playing time and starting positions based on merit then Ben Gordon should have come of the bench, something he does not mind doing -and a position from which he is equally effective.
    Stukey has not been utilized properly.  He can play either guard spots efficiently and he should be getting anywhere from 15 to 20 shots per game.  In my opinion he can put up 24 to 25 points on a regular basis if that were to happen.  In-fact 90% of the time he gets that many shots he scores 20+ points.
    In my opinion Rip, John Kuster, and Prince need to go.  The young talent needs to be given more opportunities and a chance to grow.
    I am looking forward to next year when the Pistons could feature a starting front court of Daye, Jerebko, and Monroe.

    • Mar 10, 20119:21 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Yeah, doesn’t make sense that Gordon has been a fixture in the rotation and has had a pretty bad season.

      • Mar 10, 20119:39 am
        by jack

        Reply

        What makes it worse is Afflalo is averaging similar stats in Denver in the same amount of minutes and is better defensively than Gordon, yet he is still on his rookie contract while Gordon is making 12 million a year.  Can you imagine how much better the Pistons cap situation would have been if the Pistons had kept Afflalo, not resigned rip, and not gotten Gordon via free agency.  I don’t see the team being any worse off, not that it would matter.  Either situation would not have made them a playoff team but they could have made some moves in free agency last year or over the coming years.

  • Mar 10, 20118:24 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    Patrick doesn’t mention Bynum’s biggest negative when assessing his game and statistics are blind to this fault because they do not relate game situations.

    Bynum’s decision making when the game is on the line………it is almost guarrenteed that Bynum will try to be a hero and take a bad shot, make a bad decision to drive to the basket, or get caught without options and turn the ball over at the crucial moment of the game.

    and for those of you who think i am a Bynum hater – i like Will. I do have a prejudice against small guards because of their limitations defending and seeing passing lanes but…..i respect Will’s game and what he can bring to the table physically on the court. It is his head, his mental game, that i just cannot bear watching. Someone tell him he is a point guard. Someone roll back the tape of all those games in February that he played well, sit him down and show him how he always makes the wrong decision in the crunch. Show him the tape of his open teammates at those times. Somebody tell him that defenders and opposing coaches know his tendencies. Nothing is secret in the NBA. Tell him to figure it out or he will ride the pine the rest of his career. He has game. He could play a real positive role for the Pistons. But not unless he figures it out.

    Patrick’s comments on Daye are on point.

    I don’t think there is anything left to say for Q. Can anyone still blame the players for trying to get this joker fired? They have had to put up with this unprofessional foolishness all season. As Tay said: “this has been a wasted year”

    • Mar 10, 20119:27 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I didn’t mention Bynum’s decision making late in games because I think it’s an overblown issue. He’s certainly made some boneheaded plays late in games. But he’s also spurred some huge comebacks in games the Pistons starters put the team in a hole.

      And I don’t think Stuckey, for example, is a particularly good decision maker at any point in the game, late game or otherwise. How many forced shots or charges has Stuckey had in key situations over the last three years?

      If Bynum truly does make too many bad plays late in games, there’s a simple solution: Play him his 20-24 minutes earlier in games. If he’s a liability late, just take him out. My point is just that it doesn’t make much sense to remove a guy from the rotation who was playing really hard, whether you like his style or not, and had arguably the most productive month of his career.

      I agree that Bynum could play a positive role for the Pistons, but is it his fault there has been no role defined for him? This is his career in a nutshell: He’s either out of the rotation, getting spot garbage time minutes or he’s tossed out there when the team is behind big. Those situations kind of breed a guy to play a thousand miles an hour, to look for quick shots and to treat those minutes as an audition. And he’s actually had a pattern of helping the Pistons erase some huge leads the past two seasons. But if they want him to play a certain role, it would behoove them to explain what, exactly, that role is and not just toss him out there and say, “Well, see if you can make something happen.”

    • Mar 10, 20119:51 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Also, thought I’d point it out here since the original place you posted the comment is a few days old now, but to a point you made that Daye playing so many minutes with Bynum negatively impacts Daye’s production:

      Daye has played only 460 of his nearly 1,100 minutes this season with Bynum. So there has to be other explanations for the fact that he hasn’t shot the ball particularly well for as good a shooter as he is.

  • Mar 10, 20118:59 am
    by rick

    Reply

    I am laughing my collective @$$ of at the assertion that if you plug Daye, Jerebko, and Monroe in the lineup that we get instant success. Face kids the Stones are not good and just because you all may be pissed at the current roster does not mean you can mitch mash the lineup and assume that these guys will be the future. Daye is scrawny and until he gets bigger he will be labeled soft Now lets be real before we anoint Jerebko as the truth. He is not Kevin Love or David Lee and until he starts putting up  those numbers I will not be impressed with a few highlights from a 27-55 season.He is good,but great ?and starter? Everyone wants the success that we achieved before but until Joe finds a few hidden gems I will not be fooled by some kid who he says is the truth, when most teams build their championship rosters through trades and free agency. I will just wait til the time comes. I mean Detroit was not relevant for about 13years and had a nice run the last few years. We will get there again , I just don’t think half the team we see now will be here. Reminds me a bit of the 2001 team coached by George Irvine. Decent players mixed in with a bunch of role players.

    • Mar 10, 20119:29 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I don’t think anyone wants to see those guys play with the assumption that they will make the team better. They will just make the team more fun to watch. People like watching young players who play hard. People don’t like watching overpaid veterans who underachieve. I think if the three young guys had played major minutes from the get-go this season, played hard and showed growth in their games, fans would’ve been OK with it even if the team won 10 games all year.

  • Mar 10, 20119:15 am
    by Tom Y.

    Reply

    @gmehl1977 sure, they’ve been inconsistent over the last few years, but I never said their inconsistency was created by this year’s mess – since the Chauncy trade it’s been between somewhat messy to horribly, rediculously messy. It’s very hard for players to maintain consistency in a losing team, with a messy situation and bad chemistry. Some guys, like Monroe, have a really special attitude and will keep the positivity and hard work no matter what is going on around them, but most others are effected to some degree.
    Take Stucky for example, it’s often been said (including by myself) that his development was hurt by his environment, and you can argue both ways, but isn’t this another blatant example? He plays some of his best ball ever, just ahead of a decision to probably sign him to an extention, and then is removed to the bench?
    What I’m saying is you have to start stabilizing the situation, if it’s so hectic the coach has to start creating the consistency himself.
    BTW nice rankings, I mostly agree though I would rank Summers “higher” for being rather consistently bad and Stucky lower.

  • Mar 10, 20119:29 am
    by jack

    Reply

    Rick, I just said the front line of Daye-Jerebko-Monroe had potential and would like to see how they work,  I never compared Jerbko to David Lee or Kevin Love.  Obviously Daye needs to bulk up but you can not call him soft when he is willing to bang with power forwards like Randolph.  Obviously that is not the ideal match up for him and I put the blame on kuster for putting him in that situation.  But he has shown that he can hold his own defensively against any small forward not named Lebron or Durant.  Lets face it nobody in this league can.  You misunderstood my point.  I was not saying that lineup is guaranteed to make the Pistons an elite or even a playoff team but it is worth taking a look at.  Obviously the Pistons need to make moves via free agency and trades, I agree with you on that.  But I still think that lineup has potential.
     

    • Mar 10, 20111:53 pm
      by rick

      Reply

      you are correct jack and all I am saying is I like you love the Stones, I just cannot stomach what I have been watching lately. I hate to blame it all on “Q”  but if the team was consistent with their approach with what they are going to be I would be o.k. with it. I just think with the carousel of coaches certain player have not had the time or chance to develop. I get what Joe was thinking when he drafted Stuckey. A Billups clone but bigger and stronger, but what he failed to realize is that Billups , when he became good it was under great coaching by Saunders in Minny, Carlisle in Detroit as well as Brown. Stuck has not had that but when he showed his potential he had a stable coach at the time(Saunders). Face it Quester started Daye at power forward this season and had many options available to him. He could have stretched bench if he started right lineup all season and kept them players playing with one another. I think honestly that the players felt that they had a right to speak up, now whether they were right about the way they did or not is another thing, but c’mon guys this guy does not seem like he could coach a NBA all star team if he had a chance. I think he would screw that up. I think their could have been a coach out there who could have done something with this team. I doubt “Q” has that much say in personnel matters , and in my opinion that is important for a coach. He knows what he needs and what will work and it just seems that he is playing NBA LIVE 2010 w/o a clue. Classic case of a “Puppet”!

  • Mar 10, 201110:12 am
    by LEVI

    Reply

    patrick, i am having difficulty understanding why, on a team with this many small guards, (we will count mcgrady as a small guard because he plays point) you have bynum penciled in for 20-24 minutes. in my opinion that is too many. in my opinion, although he is obviously a very talented player, Bynum is the worst guard on the pistons. 20-24 minutes is too many for the worst guard on any team, especially a team that regularly dresses 5 guards, 3 of them point guards. Bynum is the third best point guard on the pistons.

    • Mar 10, 201110:31 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Because he out-played every guard on the team in February, and Kuester said his rotation would be based on who plays the hardest/best.

      For the record, I had no problem with Bynum being out of the rotation early in the season. Made sense.

      But when he was given minutes, and he played productively in those minutes while other guards, notably Gordon, McGrady and Stuckey, didn’t have strong months in February, Bynum deserved to keep his spot in the rotation.

      Think about it — Stuckey has had a very poor season, to the point where he lost the PG spot for over two months. Then he’s put back in, has just four good games in a row, and everyone freaks out because he lost his starting spot after that. But look at Bynum. He gave good, productive minutes for an entire month, and he’s back out of the rotation with nary a peep from anyone? Makes no sense if this is truly an effort-based rotation.

      • Mar 10, 20116:01 pm
        by gmehl1977

        Reply

        Unfortunately it is not how good you are playing but rather how much you earn. If we want to get rid of any of the dead wood on this team then you have to shop them. I would say CV, Rip, Maxiell, Wilcox, McGrady and even Stuckey have been on the block at some stage.

      • Mar 10, 20116:29 pm
        by 2Tough

        Reply

        Stuckey has had a very poor season?  Is that a joke?  He’s probably been the second most consistent player on the team, and he’s certainly been much better than Will Bynum.  LOL @ acting like Stuckey’s season was nothing but garbage, and then he had 4 outstanding games.  Not even close to what has actually happened.

        • Mar 11, 20118:55 am
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Well, let’s see. He’s shooting 42 pecent despite taking a large number of his shots from inside 15 feet. He’s averaging his lowest number of assists per game since his rookie season. His rebounding, steals and scoring are all slightly down from last season. On top of that, he lost the point guard position to a man who is 30-years-old, has bad knees and had never played the position before this season. I’d say that qualifies as a bad season.

          Is he a terrible player? No. Has he lived up to the expectations the organization had for him? Not by a long shot.

          “He’s probably been the second most consistent player on the team”

          Sorry, you don’t get credit for being consistently mediocre on a bad team, especially when he was handed the starting PG job three seasons ago and hasn’t really improved noticeably in that timespan.

          • Mar 11, 20114:30 pm
            by 2Tough

            42% is actually an indication that he’s making less jumpers this year, because his finishing at the rim is around 58% this year (compared to under 50% the last couple years).
             
            Haha, using per game numbers.  Now that’s funny…
             
            Yes, his per game numbers are down because he’s playing 4 minutes less than he did last year and even less minutes per game than his second year in the league.  His per 36 numbers of 18/5.5/3.5 certainly don’t indicate a decline in play.  His true shooting % is also up over 6 percent from last year.
            Stuckey is sure as heck a lot better than Will Bynum, who you constantly slobber over in here.  He may or may not have “lived up to expectations”, but that is more due to the expectations from fans being ridiculous in the first place.  Stuckey, a 15th pick out of small Eastern Washington, has exceeded any reasonable expectations of him.

          • Mar 11, 20119:29 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            By the standards of a 15 pick, Stuckey is a fine player. By the standards of a guy Joe Dumars felt would turn into a franchise point guard? Or a guy who said himself before the season that it was time for him to take over and lead the team? Stuckey has been a major disappointment on those two fronts.

            The fact is, he has the physical tools to be one of the better point guards in the league, and he just isn’t even close. He’s not even a serviceable starting point guard right now. He’s a poor decision maker, he’s a poor passer and although I think his greatest asset is the ability to be a great defender, his effort at that end of the court comes and goes.

            If Stuckey had been drafted by Detroit, not been anointed a the only “sacred cow” by Joe Dumars and not spent every offseason talking about taking “the next step” or acting like he’s the second coming of Russell Westbrook, then I would have no problem with his level of production right now. But Stuckey has done all of those things. He and the organization have talked big and both have failed to deliver. So yeah, even if Stuckey has had some incremental improvements, his season is still a disappointment.

            As for Bynum, Stuckey should be better than Bynum. He has every physical tool that Bynum doesn’t. But you know what? He’s not significantly better, and that says a lot about both guys. Bynum works his ass off. He’s made himself into a rotation caliber player in the NBA. Stuckey, on the other hand, was handed a starting job on a good team, handed major minutes and he hasn’t become the player that Dumars had the faith that he’d become.

  • Mar 10, 20117:22 pm
    by swish22

    Reply

    Maybe Kuester joined the illuminati.  You know “Order out of Chaos”  (LOL)

    Incredible game for Monroe.  HE just keeps working hard and getting better and playing that well against the most fundamentally big man argueable ever should only bolster his confidence!  Hes the reason I keep watching with an eye on the future!
     

  • Mar 11, 20119:26 am
    by wowzer

    Reply

    Pat, you’ll never have an objective conversation with 2tough regarding Rodney. He is a huge Stuckey lover that it’s borderline sick.

    • Mar 11, 20119:45 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Haha. Well, we already have Austin Daye, Ben Gordon and Will Bynum lovers around here. Might as well add a Stuckey apologist to the mix I guess.

  • Mar 12, 201111:17 am
    by 2Tough

    Reply

    Uh, Stuckey is significantly better than Will Bynum, and it’s absurd to think that Stuckey also hasn’t worked hard.  Just because YOU don’t like the guy personally (for failing to live up to YOUR expectations of him) doesn’t make him a bust or a lazy player, like you’re claiming he is.
     
    Stuckey has talked a big game? Is that a joke?  All Stuckey did is say the right things…  he wants to get better, he wants to lead, etc.  Besides his comment about this team being one of the better teams in the league last summer, he hasn’t said anything that he shouldn’t have said.  Your boy Bynum, however, stated that he was going to be the starter this year and he failed miserably to live up to that hype.

  • Mar 12, 201111:19 am
    by 2Tough

    Reply

    Also, I wasn’t aware that 30 minutes a night is considered “major”, considering about 80 or so players in the league play more minutes than that, or the fact that the 39 win 2009 Piston ball club was “good”.
     
    Nice try though.

    • Mar 12, 20115:50 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Stuckey was 2nd, 1st and 3rd in minutes played in the last three seasons respectively.

      Stuckey is a better prospect still, I’m not doubting that. But better player right now? FG%: Stuckey 43, Bynum 45. 3-point %: Stuckey 27, Bynum 32. TS%: both are 53. EFG%: Stuckey 45, Bynum 47. Assist %: Stuckey 25, Bynum 29. Turnover %: Stuckey 13, Bynum 15.

      The reality is, both guys are pretty average. Both guys have noticeable holes in their game. One guy, though, has played significantly more. One guy has been given a long audition as starting PG — he had about 2 and a half full seasons to win that job and prove he was capable of being a quality starting PG in this league. While just about every other player on the roster except for Prince has been yanked in and out of the lineup and lost starting jobs for less, Stuckey kept his through it all. Bynum has never been given a shot at the starting job, and he really has produced comparable to what Stuckey has on per minute and advanced stat basis.

      I’m not making the case that a team that starts Bynum at PG will be a good team. But obviously, Stuckey hasn’t proven to be a PG who excels at setting up teammates consistently, running an offense consistently or playing defense consistently. I don’t expect a guy who named his blog after Stuckey to take an objective view of things, but clearly Stuckey hasn’t tapped into his vast potential. His physical tools suggest he should be better than a mediocre guard. Very few PGs in the league have his mix of size, strength and quickness.

  • Mar 13, 201111:59 pm
    by Scout Taron

    Reply

    Hayes admits that he’s an ESPN poster through his knowledge of 2tough’s blog?

    • Mar 14, 20118:25 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Nah, someone sent me the link. Here and Twitter are the only places online where I comment nowadays.

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