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Richard Hamilton returns, shoots a lot, shoots some more, game ends with loss

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.” #Pistonsless than a minute ago via TweetDeck


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.” #Pistonsless than a minute ago via TweetDeck


Tracy: “Nothing surprises me anymore. So Mr. Kuester decided not to play me.” #Pistons #moredrama?less than a minute ago via TweetDeck


Actually, I don’t think there’s gonna be more drama. I think Tracy will play tomorrow #Pistonsless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

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.

*He was listed at 175 pounds at Wisconsin. Sure, he may have gained weight in the NBA, but he doesn’t look that much bigger.

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.

20 Comments

  • Mar 2, 20111:22 am
    by wowzer

    Reply

    I highly doubt tmac will play another game in a Pistons uniform knowing how vindictive  dumbass Kuester is. Buy him out so he can sign with a contender.

    • Mar 2, 20118:35 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Three weeks ago, everyone said Rip would never play another game for the Pistons, and he’s playing again.

  • Mar 2, 20113:17 am
    by eshai

    Reply

    At what point does the SG blame game shift to Gordon?

    Any other player on any other team making his salary and playing as bad as he has since coming here would be public enemy #1.

    Here, he just kind of hides in the background and gets a free pass. I dont get it.

    I agree with all your points on Rip, and the article is well deserved, but at some point the attention needs to shift to Gordon I think.

    • Mar 2, 20118:35 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Well, I think Gordon is better at fading into the background because he’s quieter than Rip. Guys who publicly complain, as Rip has, tend to face more public scrutiny when they don’t play well.

      If/when Rip is moved, if Gordon doesn’t improve significantly, the criticism of him will certainly be more pointed.

      • Mar 2, 201111:12 am
        by Jason

        Reply

        I think it’s safe to say alot of Rip’s “public complaining” ahs to do with some other factors as well. First, Gordon wasn’t getting those interviews.. He wasn’t being asked the tough questions, because he wasn’t in that position.  Gordon didn’t go from being the focal point of the team, to being told he was no longer play..
         
        So its tough to say Rip was complaining publicly, as if he chased down reporters and said “You gotta hear this!” I can guarantee he didn’t want to have those conversations at all, but he’d go forward with them regardless.
         
        Anyways, my point is that it’s alot easier for Gordon, in this situation – to hide in the back, because he isn’t the one who was stripped of his role.. (He’s the one that was given waaaay too much money, for what he could ever bring to this team – so what in the world would he have to complain about??)
         
        Also, lets not dog RIP too much on his awful shooting night. It’s one night.. He hasn’t played in WEEKS, surely he’s going to be a little rusty… Now, at the same time – he’s a professional basketball palyer who makes over $12 million dollars this season, he should be able to shoot better then that, i agree. BUT, lets not make too much of it..
         
        I was just extremely excited to see RIP back on the court, it told me that he put his BS aside, and worked his ass off in practice.. AND, i commend Kuester for giving everyone the shot.. I don’t get why people are having an issue with Kuester doing this, sure its a little late in the year for changes int eh rotation – BUT, i’m happy he’s recogniuzed that this might be the only way to calm the storm in piston land..
         
        As far as the T-Mac DNP, I don’t even know what to say….. I am, however happy because every day that he is kept on the bench, its the more disrespected he will feel, and will that much more ensure that he WILL NOT be back next year… (Paying him a *real contract would be asinine. )
         

        • Mar 2, 201111:43 am
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          I wouldn’t dog Rip too much for his awful shooting if he didn’t put up so many damn shots. An off night considering he hadn’t played would be understandable. But at some point, maybe just pass up a few of those looks, you know?

          • Mar 2, 201111:55 am
            by Jason

            Yeah, you’re right.. At some point, he has to realize that it wasn’t his night, no matter how much he wanted to impress – after given another shot to play.. That’s something he has to recognize, so that’s a fair criticism.
             
            What’s your take on how the DNP’s will affect T-Mac’s decision this off-season? I can’t see it being positive, and if Dumars is serious about wanting him back, he can’t be overly happy about seeing him on the bench. Is that safe to assume?

          • Mar 2, 201112:06 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            I think it was a stretch to think T-Mac would come back anyway. If you follow him on Twitter, he’s frequently complained about the weather here (he’s a Florida guy), I believe he sill lives in Florida or Texas in the offseason (can’t remember for sure) and he’s also mentioned that he doesn’t want to sign another 1-year deal.

            Dumars has to say he wants him and every player back b/c it’s just what GMs do. I didn’t take it that seriously when he said he wanted him around long-term.

  • [...] Richard Hamilton returns, shoots a lot, shoots some more, game … [...]

  • Mar 2, 20119:16 am
    by wowzer

    Reply

    Rip has 2 years remaining on his deal tmac will go at seasons end so the Pistons have to play Rip but not so with mac.As i said, i will be flabbergasted if he ever plays again.

    • Mar 2, 201111:16 am
      by Jason

      Reply

      Thank you!! At least someone recognizes that like it or not, Rip is going to be part of this team if he cannot be traded… And if you want any chance at a trade, you should probably keep him in basketball condition by playing him, it’s not like we have a chance at the playoffs anyways, so what do we have to lose?

  • Mar 2, 201110:03 am
    by ds

    Reply

    I’d thought TMac was ill – I didn’t see him on the bench yesterday. But the tweets make it sound like he wants to play, but the coach has him out of the rotation.
     
    So he had a ‘headache’ for the one game, and has been DNP-CD since?
     
    What a fubar, I can’t believe we didn’t trade him at the deadline for something.

    • Mar 2, 20113:45 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      If he had pulled this stunt before the trade deadline, I bet they would have.

  • Mar 2, 201110:21 am
    by wowzer

    Reply

    Tmac’s play did not warrant his benching. He had scored 13 double digit points in the last 17 games. In his last game he had 16 pts 12 assists 5 boards. How can you hve summers ahead of him in the rotation. Last time the  Pistons played the bucks he had 20 points  in a win up on the Bucks home floor in a game that the Bucks ere at full strength.

    He was averaging 14-5 -3 in the his last 5 games.This comes back to Kuesters childish attitude. There is a reason why the majority of the team hate him  

    • Mar 2, 20113:47 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      HJe wasn’t benched for his play. He was benched, I think, because Dumars was the only GM who’d touch him this summer and he repaid that faith by boycotting Friday’s shootaround.

  • Mar 2, 201111:12 am
    by Jason

    Reply

    I think it’s safe to say alot of Rip’s “public complaining” ahs to do with some other factors as well. First, Gordon wasn’t getting those interviews.. He wasn’t being asked the tough questions, because he wasn’t in that position.  Gordon didn’t go from being the focal point of the team, to being told he was no longer play..
     
    So its tough to say Rip was complaining publicly, as if he chased down reporters and said “You gotta hear this!” I can guarantee he didn’t want to have those conversations at all, but he’d go forward with them regardless.
     
    Anyways, my point is that it’s alot easier for Gordon, in this situation – to hide in the back, because he isn’t the one who was stripped of his role.. (He’s the one that was given waaaay too much money, for what he could ever bring to this team – so what in the world would he have to complain about??)
     
    Also, lets not dog RIP too much on his awful shooting night. It’s one night.. He hasn’t played in WEEKS, surely he’s going to be a little rusty… Now, at the same time – he’s a professional basketball palyer who makes over $12 million dollars this season, he should be able to shoot better then that, i agree. BUT, lets not make too much of it..
     
    I was just extremely excited to see RIP back on the court, it told me that he put his BS aside, and worked his ass off in practice.. AND, i commend Kuester for giving everyone the shot.. I don’t get why people are having an issue with Kuester doing this, sure its a little late in the year for changes int eh rotation – BUT, i’m happy he’s recognized that this might be the only way to calm the storm in piston land..
     
    As far as the T-Mac DNP, I don’t even know what to say….. I am, however happy because every day that he is kept on the bench, its the more disrespected he will feel, and will that much more ensure that he WILL NOT be back next year… (Paying him a *real contract would be asinine. )
     

  • Mar 2, 201111:54 am
    by Fennis

    Reply

    Rip over T-Mac? Is this a basketball decision, or Kuester folding to political pressure among the players? The only good coaching move this season was the elevation of T-Mac into the starting lineup. All of a sudden T-Mac is the guy who doesn’t measure up in terms of attitude and practice performance? Kuester is the biggest b.s. artist I’ve seen since… Michael Curry. Come on, Joe. This coach-clown carousel is threatening the franchise. Does anyone else think we went cheap on the last two coaches because management didn’t want to spend in the years leading up to the franchise sale. You can’t get coaches cheaper than what we paid for Curry and Kuester. Maybe I’m being an optimist, but once this sale goes through I think we could be headed to greener coaching pastures. We went from studs — Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown, and Flip Saunders to super duds — Curry and Kuester. Money must have something to do with it.
     

    • Mar 2, 201112:09 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Well, remember, Carlisle was not a proven coach when hired. He was an assistant and he came cheap. He just happened to pan out and be a good coach.

      Carlisle, Curry and Kuester were hired at times when the franchise was kind of in transition, so investing in a big money coach wasn’t prudent. Saunders/Brown were hired when the team was viewed as a title contender, so investing in a great coach might have been the difference (and in Brown’s case, I think it was the difference).

      I think the team sale has certainly impacted the amount Dumars can spend on a coach, but his history has always been to hire a cheap coach when the team isn’t supposed to be that competitive, so I think that played into his last two hires.

    • Mar 2, 20113:51 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      Fennis, completely agree with Patrick’s assessment of the coaches.

      As far as McGrady over Hamilton, Kuester said guys had a fresh slate to show the right things to earn playing time. There’s no doubt Hamilton did more poor things off the court throughout the season than McGrady did, but recently, who knows? Judging by McGrady’s absence from the lineup, I’d say there’s a good chance it’s him.

  • Oct 18, 201312:41 am
    by pit 37

    Reply

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