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Three plays against Charlotte showed off basketball IQ of Greg Monroe, Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince

First of all, I hope you all remember the Charlotte game on Sunday. I was really impressed with how the Pistons played in that one. They hustled, they had off the ball movement and they won. Those are all traits they hadn’t shown in previous games. Well, sometimes they won, but quite honestly the Pistons didn’t really play meaningful games against good teams, they mainly played well in  meaningless games against bad teams.

The team has ended the season on a rather high note so I wanted to do a post on the Charlotte game, because it was one of my favorite efforts of the year. You can’t always expect your favorite team to play great or to never have a bad season, but this season was particularly bad. Covering a team on an Xs and Os basis can be harsh with a coach like John Kuester. He runs a lot of similar plays and I can see why the team has struggled so much to get consistent offense. The half-court sets were just very bad at times. I don’t completely blame Kuester for that, the players often stopped executing the plays, didn’t run hard or just didn’t run at all. Something that will kill 100 percent of the teams in the NBA is to have an insufficient amount of movement. You just don’t create enough holes in the defense that can be exploited. The first play will be a beautiful inbounds play by Detroit, the second an alley-oop dunk by Chris Wilcox and the third one another nice pass by Greg Monroe.

The Sneaky Backdoor Play

The play starts out with a lot of players near the free throw line, Rip Hamilton at the top of the key, Tayshaun Prince at the free throw line and Monroe and Wilcox standing at the left elbow. The defender suspects Hamilton will come off a double-screen by Wilcox and Monroe and cheats a little bit to this side of the court. This is how the Pistons normally run the play, so you can’t really blame the defender. I especially love the play because it is such great acting on Tayshaun’s part. Look at him all hunched over looking as if he has no role at all. Rip quickly blows past Tay and the defender gets kind of confused by this. Throughout the play, Tay doesn’t stop to stand around like in the picture. He never gets into a screening position and Rip gets an easy lay-up and two points. This play is a good example how you can use scouting knowledge to your advantage. As soon as you realize the opponent knows exactly what you are trying to do, just switch it up a little bit. I don’t know if Kuester designed the play or if it was an impromptu play, either way it led to great success.



Ooping it up

Rip was hot in this game so Charlotte had to figure out a way how to stop him. Naturally, they tried to double team him and in this case it worked out pretty badly. Rodney Stuckey passes the ball to Rip, who receives it about 14 feet away from the basket, his bread and butter distance to pull up for a jumper or to drive to the basket. Wilcox is standing at the right elbow covered by Kwame Brown.


Kwame Brown is a familiar face to Pistons fans and he is one of the biggest draft busts of all time. I don’t blame him for being the player he is, I blame the Wizards for picking him first overall, he just doesn’t have the talent. Some busts showed the talent to be a high draft-pick, but never put it together, Brown just seems to have a low basketball IQ and very little desire to be a superstar. He’s been playing rather well of late, I guess it’s just a typical late season surge by an average player that makes people wonder if he’ll finally get it together (see also: Rodney Stuckey). The low basketball IQ is showing in this play. Brown comes over for the double-team, but he does so way too early. Hamilton has not even put down the ball to dribble. Usually you start double-teaming a player when he starts to make a move, not when he catches the ball. Wilcox follows a simple rule in this case. Phil Jackson has two rules of thumb, firstly, as soon as you have a clear path to the basket, you cut hard, secondly, as soon as you can see your defender’s head turn, you cut hard. Look at the picture, both rules apply and Wilcox cuts hard.


Rip sees the open space and lobs the ball, Wilcox catches it midair and converts a wide open alley-oop.


Look at Mister Fancy Pants

Let me start this off by saying that it’s been a real pleasure to watch Monroe grow this season. Personally, it’s been my first season of breaking down plays and watching games real closely on a regular basis. While most players on the team didn’t improve at all or regressed, Monroe has shown steady improvement all throughout the year. I chose this play, because this is the reason why I root for him and why I actually started rooting for him, his passing ability.

Tay gets a baseline-screen from Hamilton on the left elbow and opts to go the other way. Players do that from time to time whenever the defender is gambling too much. The smart veteran Prince is he takes advantage of Dante Cunningham here. Boris Diaw comes over to help, leaving his man, Monroe, all by himself. Wilcox is almost out of the picture running out of bounds all the way on the left side. I don’t know what he wanted there, but who cares, he scored.


Tay dumps the ball to Monroe who quickly realizes he has two defenders on him which leaves a teammate open, in this case Wilcox. Monroe is aware of it and as soon as he develops a refined enough offensive skill set and forces teams to double-team him,  I believe he will be deadly in every regard. The comparisons with Tim Duncan aren’t that far-fetched. He has such a great sense of finding the open man. In this case he catches the ball, spins around 360 degrees in the air in order to dump the ball to Wilcox, who has got back inbounds.



It might be typical of this dismal season that the three best plays I found are all not really great play calls, but they do show a high IQ by certain players on the team. To me this shows that we have potential on the team because there are smart players like Rip, Tay and Monroe, who can execute plays perfectly and have a deeper understanding of the game. Without these three the season would have been even worse to watch.

This was the last breakdown of the season as we missed the playoffs and there will be no games played until hopefully November. If there’s a lockout it might take longer. It is a great honor to contribute to this great blog from time to time and to work with great guys like Dan and Patrick. I hope you enjoyed reading my breakdowns as much as I enjoyed writing them. I’m already looking forward to writing more analyses next season and stay tuned for further coverage of the team on PistonPowered!


  • Apr 15, 201112:03 pm
    by Patrick Hayes


    Jakob, loved your breakdowns this season. They were a huge addition to PistonPowered. Can’t wait to read more next season.

  • Apr 15, 20111:37 pm
    by Jacob


    Thank you for dissecting plays all season, it gives the average fan great insight as to what is actually going on on the court. On kind of a down note I would like to see some analysis of Ben Gordon’s last 25 games or so and find out if it is not the worst extended stretch in his career….its gotta be I just want to see some numbers

  • Apr 15, 20113:42 pm
    by Jeremy


    Thanks Jakob, I’ve enjoyed your posts. Would love it if you found a way to get clearer pictures, or even video for next year. Even so, the commentary has been worth squinting and trying to make out jersey numbers. Thanks again!
    Thanks also to Patrick and Dan, you’re my first source for Pistons info these days!

    • Apr 15, 20119:38 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Yep, Ryan is right. Jakob did use video in some of his posts, and Ryan is right about the music too.

      Thanks for reading.

      • Apr 16, 201111:01 am
        by Jeremy


        Actually, I suppose I remember that. Can’t recall the clarity. How did it compare?

    • Apr 16, 20114:51 am
      by Jakob Eich


      Hi Jeremy! Of course I will try to get clearer pictures! Unfortunately the quality largely depends on the internet connection and sometimes League Pass decides to give me bad quality. I will upgrade to the the Premium version next season. Thanks for the kind words though, I’m always open for criticism!

      • Apr 16, 201111:04 am
        by Jeremy


        I suppose another option is just to label people who are hard to make out. Most of the picture is pretty clear, it’s just when people are moving more quickly that it gets fuzzy.
        Regardless, thanks again!

  • Apr 15, 20116:25 pm
    by Ryan


    Jeremy,  I agree on the clarity point, however in a few of Jakob’s previous posts he did use video, and had some sweet music to go along with the video as well  (If i’m remembering  this correctly)

  • Apr 15, 20119:04 pm
    by Sean


    When Rodney and the new line up go to the playoffs next year.  You will be the biggest HYP-O-CRITE to ever write a blog!

    • Apr 15, 20119:39 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      So … what is the point you are making? It’s not OK to say that the Pistons had a bad season, that their offense broke down quite often and that Stuckey, among others, was inconsistent?

      Jakob was making no comment about next season. He was analyzing this season. Get a clue.

    • Apr 16, 201112:24 am
      by Jacob


      Scratching my head at this one ??? Oh well sometimes its better to let people live their ignorance

    • Apr 16, 20114:54 am
      by Jakob Eich


      Do you know the definition of hypocrite? It’s “someone who says they have particular moral beliefs but behaves in way which shows these are not sincere So as for me, I am sincere in my posts, make sure you know what you comment.

  • Apr 16, 20118:31 pm
    by Sean



    ?/?h?p?kr?t/ Show Spelled[hip-uh-krit] Show IPA

    a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.

    a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

    There you go bud.  Feel free to use another escape goat other than the leading scorer and assist man. 

    • Apr 19, 20111:11 pm
      by Patrick Hayes



      “Escape goat.” LOL. I suggest you use that dictionary again.

      As for your comments, treat this like its the grownup table. If you have something you feel Jakob wrote is wrong, respond to it with reasonable analysis. If you can’t do that, and in your two comments so far you haven’t, then perhaps you’re not ready to eat with the grownups yet.

      Yes, Rodney Stuckey led a 30-win team in scoring and assists. He was also disciplined three times during the season for insubordination, he lost both the starting point guard and starting shooting guard spot in the same season and, although he still has a lot of potential, he didn’t take the big step this season most were expecting. When a team wins 30 games, its fair game to criticize every player, coach and executive associated with that produce. Nothing Stuckey did this season absolves him from criticism.

    • Apr 29, 20113:23 am
      by Jakob Eich


      I basically agree with Patrick. Bad teams tend to inflate the stats of average players, making them look like the real deal. Name one playoff team Stuckey would be starting for right now? His skills might be superior to Derek Fisher, but he wouldn’t get the starting job over him, due to to Fish’s supreme leadership. And that’s about it. You really think a player like that is the corner stone of the franchise? He seems to blame everybody but himself. I don’t hate on Stuckey, he could very well be one of the best PGs in the game and I’ve often written he had all the tools, but just seldomly uses them.

      In regard to your second definitions. I’m really flattered that you know me well enough to know my private life opinions. I can’t recall us ever talking privately about the Pistons, so, yeah …

  • Mar 22, 20139:42 am
    by Dylan


    Hey there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!

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