Richard Hamilton must have played amazingly in yesterday’s practice and today’s shootaround.
A day after John Kuester told the Pistons, according to Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit news, “The way we practice, the way we do shootarounds will dictate who plays and who doesn’t,” Hamilton went to “plays” from “doesn’t.
But unlike the the last two times Hamilton returned to the lineup, HOAM didn’t grace us with his presence. Hamilton just sort of wandered around the court without much direction in his 26 minutes against the Bucks tonight, making just 4-of-17 shots for 10 points.
When your leader in attempts makes just four shots, as Hamilton was and did, you’re probably going to lose – and the Pistons did, 92-90. The game really wasn’t that close. Credit the Pistons for hanging around, but they trailed the final 11:42.
Hamilton’s shot selection wasn’t as poor as his percentage indicates, but it wasn’t great, either. He missed some shots he’ll typically make and some shots he’ll typically miss.
Basically, he just missed a lot. Hamilton hasn’t missed as many shots as he did tonight in more than a year – since Feb. 27, 2010.
He shot a lot, but he wasn’t incredibly selfish, passing when it was obviously prudent and collecting three assists.
But shooting took priority. Hamilton – playing in his first game in 24 days – just looked flat. He showed more enthusiasm taking shots than anything doing anything else. He’s taken more shots per minute in just five other games this season than he did tonight.
It was like he was trying to make up for lost time as far as attempts. Next time, I’d rather it appear like he’s trying as hard to make those shot as he is to take them.
Still, I have no problem with Hamilton returning to the rotation. I wanted him out of it because he was playing terribly. Ben Gordon hasn’t lit the world on fire in his expanded minutes, I can’t complain if he loses playing time.
Plus, with Tracy McGrady out with whatever’s keeping him out, there are even more minutes to go around.
Hamilton also made two steals – one a very nice play out of a Bucks timeout, one where he was at the right place at the right time. Hopefully, he can build on that.
Otherwise, he better keep showing a ton on practice. His performance tonight shouldn’t keep him in the rotation for long.
Tracy McGrady doesn’t play – again
Alleged boycotter Tracy McGrady hasn’t played since the alleged boycott. Maybe it’s time to remove those allegeds?
For the third straight game, McGrady didn’t play. Even Richard Hamilton got to play! That leaves just Tayshaun Prince, who might actually be hurt,* and Ben Wallace, who’s away from the team after his brother died, as the only other potential boycotters not to see the court since.
*If he is hurt, but travelled with the team to Philadelphia, wouldn’t he be expected to attend the shootaround?
So, what’s up with McGrady?
Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:
Tracy: “You have to ask Mr. Kuester that. He hasn’t said anything to me about not playing.” #Pistons
T-Mac: “My job is to come in here, do my role, whatever that is, I don’t know. Am I disappointed? I want to play.” #Pistons
Actually, I don’t think there’s gonna be more drama. I think Tracy will play tomorrow #Pistons
McGrady became the 10th Piston to start and received a DNP-CD this season. At this point, it’s easier to list the three players who haven’t: Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Tayshaun Prince (I guess).
Rodney Stuckey beats up on little guards
As I wrote when Rodney Stuckey showed flashes of brilliance against the Pacers, Stuckey takes advantage of his size against smaller point guards, but fewer small point guards start in the NBA than did when the Pistons handed Stuckey the starting job.
Tonight, Brandon Jennings (6-foot-1 and 169 pounds) and Earl Boykins (5-foot-5 and 133 pounds) guarded Stuckey. Predictably, Stuckey played aggressively and effectively – 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block.
This performance came a game after Stuckey posted 28 points, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals against the Jazz. But in that game another small player, Devin Harris – 6-foot-3 and a generous 190 pounds* – guarded him.
Wednesday, the Pistons will face the Timberwolves – who start 6-foot-2, 175-pound Luke Ridnour – so Stuckey will probably excel again.
I’m not ready to write about Stuckey turning a corner, or even merely putting together a hot streak, until he continues the trend against John Wall on Sunday. For now, it appears the schedule has come together the right way for him.
Greg Monroe gets beat up by backup bigs
The glass-half-full version of Greg Monroe’s night: with 13 points and nine rebounds, he was only a board short of his fifth straight double-double.
The realistic version: With the Pistons down four, Monroe grabbed an offensive rebound and made a layup at the buzzer while the Bucks basically just watched. Monroe was largely ineffective in 37 minutes against a depleted Milwaukee team.
The Bucks didn’t have their top-three interior players – Andrew Bogut, Ersan Ilyasova and Drew Gooden. Jon Brockman (eight points and eight rebounds), Earl Barron (nine rebounds) and Larry Sanders (eight rebounds) had their way inside.
We can’t expect Monroe to shoulder the load every night. He wasn’t awful against the Bucks, but he didn’t swing interior play in Detroit’s favor.
The Pistons badly need to get him inside help during the offseason.
Leave a Reply