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Fourth-quarter toughness returns in Pistons win over Cleveland

For the second straight preseason game, the Pistons looked out of sync defensively, exhibited poor shot selection and talent-wise looked to be on par with a Cleveland team that was the league’s bottom feeder last season. But I don’t care about any of that for the moment. For the first time in what seems like years, the Pistons showed toughness down the stretch in a close game and came from behind to win on the road. That was not a common occurrence in the John Kuester era, and I know this game doesn’t count, so I’ll try not to get too exuberant.

After getting beat on the glass by Cleveland Saturday, the Pistons out-rebounded the Cavs 46-43 tonight, and a big reason why is their guards were unafraid to mix it up. Brandon Knight, Will Bynum and Rodney Stuckey all crashed the defensive glass in the fourth quarter, pulling in multiple rebounds to help the Pistons erase a Cleveland lead. Bynum also made a nice play to get an offensive rebound and put-back on a Greg Monroe miss to cut the lead to one with :08 seconds left.

The Pistons made two impressive defensive plays on attempted in-bounds plays late. After Bynum cut the lead to one, the defense forced Cleveland to use a timeout as the Cavs couldn’t get the ball in-bounds under the basket. Then, after the timeout, Cleveland again struggled to get the ball in and a bad Luke Harangody pass was deflected and stolen by Knight.

Bynum pushed the ball up and, in non-Bynum like fashion, made the right decision by slowing up a bit and hitting a cutting Austin Daye, who was fouled and went to the line for what proved to be the game-winning free throws. I’d grown so used to seeing Bynum attack the basket on similar plays so often that it surprised me he didn’t get tunnel vision and had the awareness to look for the trailing Daye.

Lawrence Frank drew up two nice plays late in the game out of timeouts that got the Pistons good shots. On one, Monroe caught the ball in the post and found Knight for an open three with a nice cross-court pass. Knight missed the shot, which would’ve put the Pistons up one with :14 seconds left, but it was as open a look late in the game as any team could ask for. The second play resulted in Monroe catching the ball near the basket with only one defender to beat. Although Monroe took an awkward looking shot, the way everyone had cleared out on the play allowed Bynum to sneak in and get the offensive board.

It was far from a flawless performance — a defensive miscommunication on Cleveland’s final play resulted in a wide open 10-footer for Harangody, but he missed at the buzzer. At this point though, no one is expecting close to flawless out of the Pistons. After watching the team the last three seasons, most fans will simply be satisfied with effort and toughness on a night to night basis. Tonight was a step in the right direction.

Austin Daye is going to play a lot

Regardless of which lead guard is on the floor — Stuckey, Knight or Bynum — Daye’s presence on the court makes them better. Daye was, at times, a train wreck tonight, particularly when he tried to take more than a couple of dribbles. When the ball isn’t in his hands, though, he makes all three of Detroit’s penetrating guards more dangerous. All three have a tendency to attack the basket even when a shot isn’t there and all three tend to get caught in situations where the passing angles aren’t great. Daye helps alleviate this a bit. He frequently gets himself into position to catch and shoot quickly and, at 6-foot-11, he’s an easier target to hit with a wild pass than a diminutive perimeter player like Ben Gordon, for example.

Through two preseason games, Daye has had moments where he looked lost. He’s also scored a relatively effortless looking 18.5 points per game. Daye will make plenty of mistakes this season, but the Pistons are clearly going to need his offense and shooting quite often.

Greg Monroe’s offense is a work in progress

Monroe looked incredibly uncomfortable with his back to the basket. His footwork was awkward. He’s not quite strong enough to back his man all the way to the basket and he’s not quite athletic enough to catch and make quick, explosive moves to either shoot over or go around his defender. He seemed much more comfortable catching the ball away from the basket where he can face up. He moves much faster and makes more decisive moves with the ball when he’s facing or in the high post than when the Pistons try to go to him deep inside.

His defensive rebounding was solid for the second straight game, but he was surprisingly shut out on the offensive glass. He had at least one offensive rebound in all but six games after November last season when his workload increased, so hopefully this is nothing to be concerned about. Also, on the positive side, his free throw stroke looks much better this season. He seems more relaxed at the line and he was getting more arc on his shot. If his form looks that good all season, he’ll shoot much better than the 62 percent mark he had at the line as a rookie.

The leadership question

There were two players whose body language I paid close attention to tonight: Knight and Tayshaun Prince. For Prince, the reasoning is pretty simple. He hated the disarray of the last two seasons and hated the losing. Although he played consistently most of the season, his frustrations were clearly visible in his body language. There were times he glared at young teammates who made silly mistakes in games. There were times he yelled at John Kuester when he made mistakes. There were times when he just looked really disinterested.

I didn’t see those things tonight. I know this was just the first preseason game. I know that, after signing a generous extension, Prince should have nothing to be displeased about. But this is something that will be important to watch this season. Prince is one of the most intelligent players in the NBA, and if he’s actively engaged with his young teammates, teaching them the game, teaching them the correct defensive rotations or just little nuances that he has understood so well from his experience playing on championship level teams, he’ll become an extremely valuable resource. Tonight, he was engaged, he was talking to young teammates on the bench, he was greeting teammates as they came back to the bench for timeouts and he genuinely looked much happier than he has looked in years.

As for Knight, part of earning minutes at point guard on any team is earning the trust and support of teammates. I don’t know how vocal he is, but his toughness and energy was infectious. His hands were in passing lanes. He was diving on the floor. He was pushing the pace. He was looking to distribute and set up shots for teammates. With Prince, Ben Wallace and a few others on the team, the need for Knight to be vocally assertive isn’t a pressing one. His shot selection was questionable and he made a few errant passes, but if his style and energy can rub off on teammates in a positive way when he’s on the court as it did tonight, he’s going to play big minutes, whether he’s making mistakes or not.

Macklin makes his case

If the Pistons were not so thin up front, Vernon Macklin would be an even longer shot to make the team than he already is as a late second-round pick. But as we know, the team has little depth up front and one of their veteran bigs, Jason Maxiell, didn’t play well tonight, grabbing just three rebounds and turning the ball over three times in just over 20 minutes. Macklin, on the other hand, hustled, grabbed five rebounds and didn’t make too many mistakes in his first extended minutes with the Pistons. If Macklin can hustle and rebound, that will be enough to get a few minutes a game on this team. Wallace will be limited this season because of his age. Maxiell has not yet shown that his massive decline last season was a fluke. Jonas Jerebko fouled out for the second straight game. Minutes are there for the taking if Macklin can make positive plays when he gets chances.

The guard picture

There were several things to like about the way the guards played for the Pistons tonight. Knight was aggressive. Bynum, Knight and Stuckey helped on the glass. Stuckey was a monster attacking the basket, getting to the line and making 10 free throws. And Frank showed a lot of creativity with the lineup. I don’t know if Frank will ever use a Bynum-Knight-Stuckey three guard lineup during the regular season because the trio will have obvious defensive problems, but they sure did give the Pistons a surge of energy for a few minutes tonight. They are three of the faster guards in the league, all three are fearless (sometimes to a fault) when attacking the basket and all three, although not great defenders, can use their quickness to get in passing lanes and Knight and Stuckey have long arms that bother smaller opposing guards.

If those three, along with Daye, are getting heavy minutes and being used interchangeably during the season, I think the Pistons will be fun to watch, even if they’ll be a little erratic. The problem is Ben Gordon was missing, and there’s no telling how many minutes he’s going to get as the team’s highest-paid player during the season. I don’t think anyone watching tonight’s game missed Gordon all that much with the tenacity Knight, Bynum and Stuckey played with.


  • Dec 20, 201111:06 pm
    by flip


    Matt Dery just said at the end of the postgame show that he thinks Kaman is the Pistons main target, and they are “going to pursue him heavily until the trade deadline, hoping to get him here and resign him long-term”. Problem is he cant be traded again just yet,

    Joe said during the game that getting a big man is their main priority, and whether it happens before the season or shortly after, thats their main focus.

    Add it all up, and it sounds like they are going after Kaman, but they have to wait until he is allowed to be traded again.

    Does anybody know when that date is in the new CBA?

    I think its a month, but not sure.

    Either way, great to hear we are going hard after Kaman.

    • Dec 20, 201111:27 pm
      by Vince


      I’m sick of this Kaman talk, the guy is garbage! Macklin has hardly played and it seems he’s being written off! Go after a young player with potential or at least someone who ain’t injury prone or who’s actually played a full season! Lots of names come to mind: Jason Thompson in Sacramento, Paul Millsap in Utah, Kris Humphries in NJ all of which are in the Pistons’ price range! If you’re looking for older guys there is Brandon Bass who ain’t too bad,  Dalembert who’s still a free agent! Rookie wise, I still think Joe D should take a look at Greg Smith out of Fresno State, he went undrafted, he’s 6″10, 250 pounds, great athleticism and averaged 11 points and 8 boards in two seasons in the NCAA! So many more guys out there with more potential than CHRIS KAMAN!!!!

      Jeeeeeeeeeesus, I don’t understand what the hype is about that guy, way better players out there that suit our needs!

      • Dec 21, 201112:09 am
        by Dan Feldman


        Maybe Macklin is being written off because he has hardly played. It’s not like Lawrence Frank is delegating minutes at random.

        Thompson, Millsap and Humphries would all likely come at higher costs than Kaman.

      • Dec 21, 201112:12 am
        by flip


        I’d say talent-wise and having the rare ability to score consistently in the low post makes Kaman better than any of those guys you listed.
        I like Macklin, but our biggest problem, and has been for the last 2 years, is the lack of an experienced/consistent scoring big man in the frontcourt.

        Thats the missing piece to making all these perimeter scorers work. Your not going to get that from any rookie or guys you listed. Monroe is still to raw to rely totally on him for that. He needs some help up front. And Kaman is 10 reb/gm guy that will make our defense better too just by not giving up extra posessions. He’s not the nest big man in the league by any stretch, but where else can you get a 7 foot, consistent low post scorer, capable of 20 ppg, and 10 rebs?

        • Dec 21, 201112:22 am
          by Vince


          “Capable” being the key word, Kaman is injury prone. We could’ve signed Humphries for the money we gave Stuckey (Don’t get me started on him), I just think Kaman should be on the bottom of our list, but then again, we’re probably at the bottom of the list already…

          @Dan We could’ve signed Humphries, we can still sign Dalembert, Thompson is a FA next year (his current contract is 7.5M/year I think – we could afford that), we could’ve gone after Millsap as well, but no, we can’t even get Big Baby’s attention, that is sad, and now we’re going after an aging injury prone vet, I just think we could do better than Kaman… and yeah Frank knows what he’s doing by not playing Macklin, there probably is a reason, I just think that we might as well give him minutes considering this season is going to suck hard record-wise.

          • Dec 21, 201112:43 am
            by Dan Feldman

            Humphries’ rebounding stats were inflated by playing next to Brook Lopez.

            Why make a long-term investment in Dalembert at his age? And if you don’t, why would he come here?

            Millsap is a good, young player. The cost for trading for him is likely high, at least higher than Kaman.

            Macklin isn’t the type of player you hand minutes because you’re going to lose, anyway. First-round pick sometimes get gifted minutes. Guys picked in the 50s don’t.

          • Dec 21, 20112:46 am
            by Vince

            I’ll give you the Brook Lopez fact, he’s still a big body down low though, and to be honest I do not want Dalembert in Detroit, I was using him as an example as a better big than Kaman… I’ll agree again on Millsap, they’re loaded at PF/C and they’ll still ask for something in return if we want a trade… I disagree on Macklin though, give him a chance, he’s a big in a team lacking them, at best he becomes a rotation player, at worst, well he’s a secound round bust, low risk, meh reward.

    • Dec 21, 201112:47 am
      by neutes


      So Joe’s plan is to have a front court of Monroe and Kaman? Jesus. I guess we’re just giving up on defense these days. Who the hell is he going to trade for Kaman anyway?

      • Dec 21, 20112:41 am
        by Vince


        I know, its the stuff you find in nightmares…

      • Dec 21, 20116:25 am
        by detroitpcb


        nuetes, from watching Monroe try and play low post offense it is obvious we need a big who can score. Milsap would be my first choice. Or Jefferson. i think Utah is the trade pardner. They are going to move a big.

        Stuckey showed his value tonight. How many two guards in the league get to the free throw line 10 times?

        Knight should have passed the ball to Daye on that one sequence out of the time-out. Daye is the best clutch shooter on this team and if he is open at the end of a game his teammates need  to get him the ball.

        The biggest problem with this team is Ben Gordon. He absolutely has to be moved.

        • Dec 21, 20119:14 am
          by Patrick Hayes


          Why is Utah the trade partner? Because they have players the Pistons want? A lot of teams in the league would take Jefferson or Millsap. The only players on Detroit’s roster who would interest Utah are guys/picks the Pistons probably won’t move — Knight, Monroe, 2012 first rounder. Utah isn’t going to take bad contracts for those guys, so that rules out Gordon, Maxiell and Villanueva. Guys who just signed like Stuckey, Prince and Jerebko can’t be moved yet. There is not a single trade between Detroit and Utah that makes sense for both teams.

          • Dec 21, 20119:54 am
            by neutes

            I am however opening up to the idea of moving Jerebko if the right deal was out there. He’s a quality player, and I’d like to have him off the bench in an ideal situation, but he’s not a deal breaker.

            And if by some chance we’re trading something to NO for Kaman, why aren’t we going after Okafor instead? That makes no sense there. Who would want Kaman?

            I’d even be open to trading Knight before he shows that he’s not going to be a productive player and still has some value.

            Why can’t there just be a market for overpaid one-dimensional undersized shooting guards that don’t even exercise the one facet of their game they are supposed to be good at resulting in net zero productivity?

            That being said I don’t want any of Utah’s bigs, unless we’re talking one of the younger guys.

          • Dec 21, 20119:58 am
            by Patrick Hayes

            Oh, I’d definitely move Jerebko in the right deal too.

            As for Kaman, I’m less offended that they’d trade for him than by the fact that they apparently want to trade for him AND extend his contract. I’m not sold on Utah’s bigs either. They’d be offensive upgrades, but Millsap and Jefferson won’t make the frontcourt defense any better and pairing either with Monroe essentially means the Pistons would have no shot blocking presence.

  • Dec 20, 201111:14 pm
    by Jayg108


    What about all those made free throws! Almost all of the boys were perfect, and they obviously needed every one.

  • Dec 20, 201111:15 pm
    by khandor


    When Ben Gordon is not in the line-up, then, the Pistons will not have a problem distributing minutes between Stuckey, Daye, Bynum and Knight at the 1 and 2 spots. As I’ve said for the last 2+ seasons, however, when B-Gordon IS in the line-up, Detroit’s chemistry at the 1 and 2 2 spots will not be good enough to win games on a consistent basis. IMO, the Pistons will be best served by going with Stuckey, Gordon, Knight and Daye … and using Mr. Bynum – who is certainly good enough to bring back a solid asset in return – in a package deal with Charlie Villanueva to better balance out the rest of their roster. There are more than enough solid players on Detroit’s roster to compete for a playoff position – i.e. Stuckey, Gordon, Prince, Jerebko, Monroe, Knight, Daye and Maxiell – if Joe D. is able to successfully trade Bynum and Villanueva.

    • Dec 20, 201111:34 pm
      by Vince


      Personally I’d trade Maxiell and Bynum to Utah for Millsap.

      • Dec 20, 201111:38 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        Why would Utah do that trade? Maxiell is absolute dead money and Bynum is a backup point guard who is 28 and doesn’t have anymore upside at this point in his career. Millsap is an energetic forward who doesn’t have a terrible contract who averaged 17 and 8 last year and shot 53 percent. He’s only 26.

        I get that Utah has an abundance of bigs, but for the most part, they are really talented. If they trade Jefferson or Millsap, they’ll get a lot more value than Maxiell/Bynum.

        • Dec 21, 201112:08 am
          by Vince


          Wishfull thinking to be honest, I’m just dissapointed we didn’t pursue any bigs apart from Glen Davis and Chris Kaman, theres so much more talent out there than those two…

      • Dec 21, 20112:18 am
        by pacman


        I reckon Joe D would also personally do that trade.

      • Dec 21, 201112:35 pm
        by khandor


        A Maxiell and Bynum trade to Utah in exchange for Millsap makes little sense from a Jazz perspective. A worthwhile trade proposal discussion only exists for a deal which makes sense for both teams. Since Bynum and Maxiell … or Bynum and Villanueva, for that matter … are both limited players it makes sense that the Pistons should only be setting their eyes on a <a href=”http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=7gfmwyb“>useful Big</a> who has serious questions about the current state of his own game, but who might just pan out in a good way that could, possibly, benefit the Pistons, if things were to work out for the better.OTOH, it should also be the case that, if the acquired player does not work out for the Pistons, his contract situation can still be useful when it comes off the books in the not-too-distant future. Click on the link to see one example of such a trade proposal, IMO. Cheers

        • Dec 21, 20112:46 pm
          by Sebastian


          Khandor, I personally don’t think that the Jazz would be willing to let Okur go at this juncture for two reasons:
          1) His $10 million salary will come off of their books on June 30, 2012.
          2) They will want Okur to stay around for this season, as a mentor/confidant to Kantor. They, both being from Turkey will help to acclimate Kantor to the NBA and Salt Lake City.
          WE should strongly consider offering Ben G. and Maxey for Millsap and a second or Jefferson.

          • Dec 21, 20113:00 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            I agree that Utah wouldn’t take on long term salary for Okur, but why would they have any interest in Maxiell and Gordon? Maxiell is dead money. He might not even make Detroit’s rotation, and they have maybe the worst frontcourt in the league. Gordon is way to expensive for a team that has cut salary and committed to youth, plus they have a very intriguing lottery pick in Alec Burks set to take over at shooting guard. They could do much, much better for any of their bigs if they really are trying to trade one.

          • Dec 21, 20119:21 pm
            by khandor

            I agree that Utah might not be willing to add Bynum and Villanueva in exchange for sending Okur to Detroit. However, I disagree with those who might think that the Jazz would automatically reject this proposal. IMO, Utah would at least consider it, since they might view Bynum as a cost effective upgrade from Earl Watson and that Villanueva might be able to provide them with some needed perimeter shooting/scoring at the PF position, given that none of their current stable of Bigs can effectively stretch the floor, if Okur is not yet fully recovered from his torn achilles injury. Unlike the Jazz, however, Detroit might not need Mehmet to be able to shoot the ball from distance like he once did in order to be an effective defensive rebounder for their squad this year. I also agree that the Jazz would prefer to Okur for this season, both, as a mentor for Kanter and the Cap relief his contract presents for summer 2012. That said, if Bynum and Villanueva are not able to bring back even a modest asset like Okur [i.e. damaged goods] then, in reality, how good are either of these two players to the Pistons moving forward?

          • Dec 22, 201110:00 pm
            by khandor

            As I mentioned to you earlier in this thread, IMO, Utah would not have outright rejected a <a href=”http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/12/22/nets-trade-for-mehmet-okur-to-fill-in-for-injured-lopez/”>trade proposal from Detroit concerning Mehmet Okur</a>. Although plenty of others may choose to question the rightness of some of my opinions regarding matters NBA-related but, as the old saying goes: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Cheers :-)

          • Dec 22, 201110:09 pm
            by khandor

            Do you think Utah got a big haul in return for Mehmet Okur?

  • Dec 21, 201112:52 am
    by Jodi Jezz


    Speak for yourself, if we had Gordon playing tonight we would of won by +10…

    • Dec 21, 20112:40 am
      by Vince


      HA. Haha. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Oh Jodi Jezz, your comments always make my day.

    • Dec 21, 20113:07 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      I’m surprised you even watched the game since BG was out of the lineup.

  • Dec 21, 20111:46 am
    by Piston87


    “I don’t think anyone watching tonight’s game missed Gordon all that much with the tenacity Knight, Bynum and Stuckey played with”

    I could do with missing more of Gordon.  I liked the Bulls version of Gordon that had an excellent FG% and 3P%, you can live with that guy not bringing defense or playmaking to the table.  The Pistons version of Gordon not so much.  I enjoyed the Knight, Bynum, Stuckey and Daye guard rotation tonight.

  • Dec 21, 20112:14 am
    by frankie d


    the two cleveland games showed how desperate the team is for front court help.  the idea that a guy who might be able to  help should be ignored because he is…what…a rookie…a late second round pick….
    exactly what has ben wallace and maxiell demonstrated that says that someone who just might be able to help should be ignored?
    the pistons interior defense, and their rebounding – despite the numbers tonight – have been pitiful.  any and everyone should be given a shot to help.  the only way to determine whether a player can contribute is by giving them the opportunity.
    based on last year’s performances and what has been shown so far, it is obvious that the guys who have been playing on the front line – ben, maxiell, and even JJ and monroe – have not been able to competently defend and rebound in a competent fashion.
    let someone else try.
    in fact, if i was joe d, i’d seriously look at fesenko, the former utah center.  as mediocre as he was, he would still be a defensive upgrade over what detroit has now, and has had for the last couple of years.
    while joe is signing yet one more small forward – wilkins – he ignores the real problem.

    • Dec 21, 20112:39 am
      by Vince


      “the idea that a guy who might be able to  help should be ignored because he is…what…a rookie…a late second round pick….
      exactly what has ben wallace and maxiell demonstrated that says that someone who just might be able to help should be ignored?”

      EXACTLY MY POINT! Well the Ben Wallace part anyways, Maxiell is way too inconsistent.

      Otherwise… Fesenko… really? I mean, we need help down low, but Fesenko?

    • Dec 21, 20113:11 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      Macklin rebounded OK, but he wasn’t exactly a defensive standout. He was late on a few rotations and, like all rookie big men, he’s not as strong as most NBA frontcourt vets yet. My point wasn’t necessarily that Macklin is ready to play and contribute. It was just that Jason Maxiell is really bad, so bad that a late second round pick and marginal prospect stands a chance at beating him out for minutes unless Maxiell turns things around quickly.

  • Dec 21, 20113:00 am
    by frankie d


    this is from the hollinger profile on fesenko.
    i’ve watched a fair amount of utah basketball – i live in a western conference city – and have watched him the last couple of years.  he is definitely a presence.  and definitely better, defensively than anyone detroit has right now.  he’d probably only be good for 20-25 minutes, but that would help immensely.
    this is what hollinger says about fesenko.  (he is an unrestricted free agent who could probably be had for a very cheap price.)
    the profile:
    • Enormous center whose size makes him a major defensive presence.
    • Hugely foul-prone and mistake-prone offensively. Horrid foul shooter.
    • Professionalism needs improvement. Also struggles to finish around rim.

    The best-kept secret in the NBA right now is Fesenko’s monstrous defensive stats. It’s not that one or two metrics point out his defensive value; it’s that all of them do, without any pointing to the contrary.
    Last season the Jazz were an eye-popping 11.91 points per 100 possessions better on defense with Fesenko on the floor, and this is not a new trend. The season before it was 8.67; in limited minutes his first two seasons he also had a strong differential.
    Synergy Stats, meanwhile, rated Fesenko as the second-best defender in the entire league among players who faced at least 150 opponent plays; the season before he was first. And according to 82games.com, opposing centers had a PER of just 10.4 against him; the season before it was 12.9.
    Despite his size, Fesenko doesn’t block a ton of shots or dominate the boards. He just uglies up the game for opponents with his sheer hugeness, especially since he moves his feet fairly well for his size. And he can still get better — he wasn’t always fully engaged in Utah and needs to step up his commitment.
    Now for the bad news. Fesenko has been fairly disastrous offensively. He tends to bring balls back into shot-blockers when finishing at the rim, he’s a 39.8 percent career foul shooter, he’s clumsy, and he has no shooting range or ball skills.
    Additionally, his towering foul rate limits his impact — Fesenko commits one every 4.94 minutes for his career, making it virtually impossible for him to play extended minutes. Nonetheless, he can be a very effective, low-cost backup center, and if he can make a few more plays offensively he’ll have real value.
    certainly not a perfect center, but he is young, can perform a valuable function and he is cheap.
    he’d be the best defensive center on the club if he was in detroit.

    • Dec 21, 20113:12 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      I’ve wished the team would pursue Fesenko for a couple of years now. He’s kind of slow and stiff, but still a huge upgrade for this roster.

    • Dec 21, 20117:17 am
      by detroitpcb


      appreciate the link but don’t post them without saying you have to be an insider to get to read them

  • Dec 21, 20118:42 am
    by vic


    hopefully gordon and CV were out because they are being traded to Charlotte and Utah,For al jefferson, or Kaman. hey both can score in the post, and Kaman was an all-star 2 years ago.  Pick up Fesenko, and we have a team

    • Dec 21, 20119:27 am
      by Steve K


      Wishful thinking no doubt.

      Yesterday’s game was slightly less terrible than the first one, but this team is indeed more fun to watch. The turnovers, though, are so plentiful and of the ugly variety that I can’t help but think opposing fans feel sorry for us.

      Still, somehow they pulled it out. And, yeah, it’s an exhibition, but every game this year will be like an exhibition. They’re not competing for anything tangible. Lawrence Frank really has his work cut out for him.

      Is it me or did Knight seem to rush his shots tonight? Moreso than the first game.
      Stuckey, though, looked solid and a calming presence. I knocked him on these boards, but last night he was worth the contract.

  • Dec 21, 20112:52 pm
    by frankie d


    both millsap and jefferson are problems defensively.
    millsap is undersized as a PF and not quick enough to guard SFs.
    very nice player – great rebounder and excellent energy guy who is expanding his offensive game – but he simply has problems because of his size.  and he’s not a crazy, barkley-type athlete who can make up for his short stature with extreme athleticism.
    jefferson is just an awful defender.  if he gets about 10 away from his defensive goal, he is like a fish out of water.  minnesota traded him because it was impossible to have jefferson and love on the court at the same time, they are both so slow, defensively.  horrible on the pick and roll, if a big guy can put the ball on the floor, he’ll go right around jefferson.
    excellent rebounder and one of the best low post offensive players in the league, if not the best, but he kills you defensively.  a nice guy to have on your team because of his offensive ability, but he is definitely not the guy detroit needs, as they need a defensive presence.  primarily…

    • Dec 21, 20113:20 pm
      by tarsier


      Detroit just needs good players regardless of whether they specialize on O or D. As constructed, they need more D but that is because BG and CV are on the roster and neither of those should be in Detroit’s long term plans anyway.

      • Dec 21, 20119:26 pm
        by khandor


        IMO, Ben Gordon has a future with a good team in the NBA. Charlie V, however, does not.

  • [...] Patrick Hayes of Piston Powered wonders if Lawrence Frank might have found a wacky lineup wrinkle on a team full of potential wacky lineup wrinkles: And Frank showed a lot of creativity [...]

  • Dec 21, 20119:01 pm
    by Jason


    Two things I would like to add about last nights game if anyone cares.

    1.) Cleveland had huge energy and toughness after about 7 or 8 minutes. I would say the type of energy that was uncontrollable to some extent by Detroit.

    2.) We are kind of transitioning to a faster pace offense for sure. I beleive this contributes a great deal to the turnovers and sloppy play last night.

    Just my two cents. We still have a long way to go but I very optimistic.

  • Dec 22, 201111:31 pm
    by Sam


    Love this quote

    “No matter what the situation is for me, individually, you have to lift the team up,” Knight said. “It doesn’t have to be through scoring or getting assists, it’s being a good teammate.”

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