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The Pistons should be playing even faster

The few times the Pistons seemed to get good shots against Cleveland came either out of guards (usually Brandon Knight) pushing the ball or on broken possessions when a loose ball got batted around and found an open man. Matt Moore at Hardwood Paroxysm makes the case that forcing things should be a fixture of the offense:

The Pistons are still trying to figure out who they are, but the problem is that they may find out they are someone they don’t want to be, and will still be that because it’s better than being nothing. They need to force the issue in being a young team. Monroe stole the ball on a nice play Wednesday night, and as he outlet the ball to Gordon and ran the lane for the give and go… Gordon re-set the offense. You’ve got to force the issue with this team because you don’t get many chances. And to do that you have to have players too young to know better.


  • Dec 29, 201112:27 pm
    by brgulker


    To me, this simply underscores the identity crisis this team has. It’s hard to play at a fast pace when key fixtures of the rotation animatedly refuse to do so.

    • Dec 29, 20112:41 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Yep. Exactly. And the sad/frustrating part is, someone like Prince, for example, is actually pretty capable of running the floor, finishing and sometimes even leading a break if he wants to. He just rarely ever does those things anymore.

  • Dec 29, 201112:30 pm
    by Al


    Why are the Pistons forcing us to watch and hear about other drafted rookies starting and having an immediate impact to their teams and we bench ours and make them come in when the score is already if not almost a 10pt deficit? We have talent but we sit’em because??? How long will they need to see aPG with potential come off the bench and score more effective than the startes and bring more energy than the starters??!!! Talk about frustrating!! I watched all the games (Pre and the 2 losses) and its clear who needs to start at PG and why not groom him now rather than next year SMF’nH…

  • Dec 29, 201112:47 pm
    by Levi Thieman



  • Dec 29, 20111:26 pm
    by flip


    Interestin because I think a root of many of their problems is because they’re playing too fast.

    Its causing unforced turnovers on offense, and on defense they are running back/forth so much, it always leaves them out of position.

    A lot of times, I see they have a perfect defense set with all 5 guys in the right position, late in the clock. If they just held still they’d come up with a stop, and be in perfect position for the rebound. But instead they all start scrambling for no reason, either give up a layup, or wind up out of position for the rebound.

    I think Frank has them playing too fast, too soon. Eventually you want them to play at that speed, but only when they are exp enough to do it without making mistakes every other play. They need to start slow and build up to that speed over the season as they get more exp. He’s expecting them to play at the same level/speed as the Celtics last year and they just aren’t there yet.

    This may be a lame analogy, but I was just playing Tetris online the other day, which I hadnt played in years, and I started off on level 10 thinking I could keep up like I used to. But I could barely move 1 piece without messing up. Then I started on level 1, and gradually worked my way up, and eventually I was playing at level 10 with ease. Thats how Frank needs to approch this team I think

    • Dec 29, 20112:40 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      They’ll certainly still be sloppy and error-prone at a fast pace. But it will also create extra shots, it will keep pressure on opposing defenses and it will be more fun to watch (and play, I would assume). The problem with their personnel and the halfcourt is they just have no one who is going to consistently get a shot for himself out of a halfcourt set at this point. More up-tempo means more opportunities for guys who can run the floor like Jerebko, Monroe, Knight, etc.

    • Dec 29, 20113:38 pm
      by Piston87


      I don’t see how they’re playing too fast.  Most of their shots were coming within the last 7 seconds of the shot clock.  They are just inept in the half court right now and having to force rushed shots as the clock winds down because they don’t have other options.  That’s not an issue of pace.

  • Dec 29, 20112:50 pm
    by neutes


    I don’t see pace as an issue. Are we saying forcing the pace is going to provide better opportunities, or just more opportunities? Because there’s a big difference. There was a sequence where Stuckey ran down for an easy layup and Cleveland inbounded the ball quickly went right back and scored in about 5 seconds, after a couple tips from their big men because they didn’t even leave that half of the court before the ball was back on their end. I guess the question is do you want to lose 80-100 or 100-120?

  • Dec 29, 20112:58 pm
    by neutes


    The more I think about it the more I’d rather play even slower. For one we can’t rebound. More opportunities equals more missed shots equals more possessions for the other team. For another we allow opponents to shoot a ridiculous percentage. More possessions at a higher percentage equals an even larger gap. So maybe I should have said do you want to lose 80-100 or 100-135?

  • Dec 29, 20113:32 pm
    by Max


    I have been saying for several days at least that they need to be a running team.  Thus far, their reflexes during reactions have been very poor regarding teamwork.  It seems like every time a Piston makes a hustle play, another Piston, who he needs to complete the play, is operating in slow motion.  I can only hope this will improve with time but they need to run.
    1) Their guards are easily their best scorers and Stuckey and Knight (from what we saw last night) are very difficult for a defender to stat in front of.  When a defense is not set yet, they will have an easier time getting to the rim and drawing fouls.
    2) They are a very bad rebounding team, but when you are beating the other team up and down the floor and taking quick shots, some of the other teams rebounders (particularly the large plodding types) will still be moving down the floor and not under the rim to compete for the board or block your shot.
    3) Frank has already shown his hand regarding his intention to make frequent and early substitutions so that players can give maximum effort.  Frequent subs on a deep rotation works great with running because sometimes you can exhaust shallower teams that leaves players on the floor longer (or just catch them on the right night) and just run them out of the building.

    4) They have better defensive potential as currently constituted by playing some full court and half court pressure sets and trying to delay teams from executing their half court offenses.  This team is not going to block a lot of shots, but they can pressure the ball and passing lanes and draw charges.  On that score, the most impressive thing about Monroe defensively last year for me was his ability to move out on the floor and add pressure the ball handler ala Horus Grant.
    5) We have already seen that the Pistons, as they did last year, are going to give up a lot of easy baskets.  When you are a running team, you often get an easy basket right back, if the man who was scored on sprints up the floor as soon as the shot goes up or if you just run in general.
    6) As the best thing the Pistons have going for them offensively is Stuckey’s ability to get to the line combined with his proficiency is also the best thing they have going for them defensively—because it allows a small team that should be a running team to set their defense–the Pistons need to go into each and every game with the mentality of trying to get the other team in foul trouble and more possessions means more possibility of getting the opposing team in foul trouble.  The Pistons aren’t going to accomplish such a feat by feeding to post but rather by their guards attacking the rim.

    • Dec 30, 20112:58 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Your sixth point is an overlooked factor for a team’s ideal pace, but I think it works against the Pistons. Detroit doesn’t have many players who can get to the line, and Stuckey doesn’t do it enough to swing my opinion. The Pistons do have, though, plenty of poor defenders who foul too often.

  • Dec 29, 20113:34 pm
    by Piston87


    Agree totally with forcing the pace and I think that’s what Frank wants to.  I noticed several times him motioning to his guards to bring the ball up faster.  Stuckey was the biggest culprit.  He’ll force the issue occasionally but only if he sees an opening for himself, he doesn’t get pushing it up so that his teammates can take advantage of the defense not being set yet.

  • Dec 29, 20113:50 pm
    by frankie d


    stuckey, gordon and tay are all ball-stoppers whose games are predicated on standing and fiddling with the ball while they figure out how to break their own guy down.
    additionally, both tay and stuckey almost always hesitate for one fatal second, rather than making a quick decision.  that is the reason tay is lousy at running an offense despite his handle and vision.  he always waits JUST a moment before making a decision and a pass and within that moment, a defense can usually recover.  watching t-mac run the offense last year showed this fan just how valuable that quick decision-making could be.  i was not a fan of t-mac’s signing, but he did have the ability to get into a defense and make that quick decision and pass to take advantage of a split-second opening.  tay would have the same opening, but he would always hesitate just enough to let it pass by.
    stuckey just doesn’t see the court that well.  he gets tunnel-vision for the basket.  but even when he does see an opening, he usually hesitates.
    when 3 of your 5 starters are pretty much incapable of playing at a faster pace, it is hard to play faster.

    • Dec 29, 20114:24 pm
      by Max


      Your description of Tay is only accurate when the play is actually for him.  When the play calls for him to pass, he moves the ball as soon as he gets it and I think he would’ve benefited stats wise as much as any player if they recorded secondary assists like they do in hockey.  The idea of ball stopper with Prince is just outrageous because you could only make a weak argument in that regard during the past 2 years when he, or anyone else, might be pausing regarding who to pass to because their are no good options and he is being asked to score more than he really should be.
      The comments about McGrady are spot on, but I don’t know many small forwards outside of Larry Bird, LBJ, Scottie Pippen or Grant Hill all time who could run on offense with the court vision of a McGrady.

      • Dec 29, 20114:40 pm
        by frankie d


        i argued for years that tay should run the offense from the forward spot as a way to make up for the lack of a true point guard.  but after watching him play the position, and especially after watching t-mac and comparing how t-mac ran it, it is clear that he simply doesn’t make quick enough decisions to be an effective point man.
        it just takes a second for an opening to close and most times, tay hesitates for that second.
        there was one memorable end of game out of bounds play last year – i cannot recall which game – but tay had the ball out of bounds, free-throw line extended, an open man flashed under the basket, tay saw the opening, saw the chance for an easy lay-up, started to throw the pass, he even made a motion as if to throw the pass, but hesitated just one beat and the opening closed.  he ended up making a safe pass out near the midcourt line and the pistons did not get off a good shot and they lost the game.  a good point guard would have made the pass without hesitation.  t-mac would have made that pass without hesitation.  tay didn’t make that pass and he never makes that pass.  he will always make the safe, easier pass, after he’s thought about it one second too long.  he may make fewer turnovers, but he will miss a lot of opportunities.   it is why, despite the fact that he can usually get into the lane easily, he hardly ever makes a good pass to a cutter or open man.
        it is just his nature.  he is a steady, deliberate player who opts for the safe route every time.  it’s great in certain situations, but it is not a good thing if you are trying to initiate a faster paced offense.

  • Dec 29, 20114:06 pm
    by Jodi Jezz


    I don’t think its about playing an even faster pace, I think it’s about fixing our front-court…Monroe needs to Center to help him in the paint…Jerebko isn’t a starter!..

  • Dec 29, 20115:19 pm
    by Max


    BTW: And this off-topic, but free agent Joel Pryzbilla’s name is being bandied about regarding other teams and while I had no real idea whether Feresenko even would have gotten minutes, Pryzbilla seems like a perfect veteran to me to come off the bench, or maybe even start, and clog the lane for 15-20 minutes.   He’s helped undermanned Portland teams going through chaos make the playoffs in the past and seems like a like ego guy that will be perfectly happy just to have a role. The Pistons couldn’t use what he could give more.  Please sign Pryzbilla Joe!

  • Dec 29, 20115:23 pm
    by Max


    Some of the elite teams are pursuing Pryzbilla but none of them can offer him as large a role.  From what we have seen so far, he would be fully worthy of taking minutes from Daye, Jerebko, Wallace and Maxiell on height and bulk alone.

    • Dec 29, 20116:35 pm
      by frankie d


      not really.
      i’ve watched pryzbilla up close for the last few years here in portland and he is a shell of what he once was.
      he suffered a knee injury then hurt the knee again while he was rehabbing it.
      two surgeries, back to back on the same knee.
      when he came back last year, he was not the same player.  none of the qualities that made him such a good big man previously.  he was playing on one leg, basically.  which is why portland shipped him out to charlotte.
      i would pass.  too bad, cause he was a nice player once upon a time.

  • Dec 29, 20116:29 pm
    by Laser


    I just looked at the schedule and it appears this team is capable of losing 50 games*, even with the shortened season. (*I have a hard time favoring us over anybody else at the moment, but once in a while we’ll have a night where our shots are just falling.) If things go as they should, and the team can’t win any games at all, do you guys expect any activity at the trade deadline?
    Langlois is already talking about the draft– ALREADY!– as a means of adding the big body* we so desperately need (*bodIES is more like it, but that’s a whole ‘nother draft away). If we can’t win any games or be particularly competitive with the roster we’ve got, I don’t see any reason not to flip Stuckey and Prince and anybody else who can fetch young pieces for future use. It’s one thing to live on excuse after excuse, but once the dust settles and we just can’t beat anybody, what’s the difference if we’re losing by a dozen every night or three dozen??
    The real shame here is that Rip’s partially guaranteed expiring contract could have actually fetched us something next year. Waiving him was quite a gamble in that regard, and so far it doesn’t appear to be paying off…

    • Dec 30, 20119:43 am
      by tarsier


      What would Rip’s contract possibly net? Expiring deals are used to bring in players who are overpaid for more years but are better players. So they can be valuable to a contender. To Detroit, the best that could be hoped for is a bad deal (a la Rashard Lewis) attached to a pick or prospect. And being partially guaranteed didn’t really matter. When you can have Rip for $12.5M or not have him for $9M, that means that he is basically costing you $3.5M. He was worth that much, so most teams that would acquire him would have no reason to waive him. I just don’t have any idea what you think Dumars could possibly have gotten for him. Better not to have him and get a chance at increasing other players’ values by having less competition for their minutes. That was definitely addition by subtraction and not something I would fault Joe D for.

      • Dec 30, 201112:08 pm
        by Laser


        1) No idea what he could have gotten. A worse expiring contract attached to a pick? I don’t know. In the right system, Rip would be a solid veteran to add to a contender in need of more scoring. And as an expiring contract, he could help somebody desperate to get under the tax line or make cap room. I’d have to look around the league to see what sorts of contracts would make sense. But the bottom line is that you can’t get anything for him now. He just sits on the books this year and next.
        2) Your hypothesis about increasing other players’ values only works if Joe’s actually looking to increase players’ values and ship them off. I don’t think that’s the case. He’ll never get enough for Gordon or Stuckey to make a trade that won’t leave egg on his face. I believe Joe’s vision is for Stuckey and Knight and Gordon to thrive together as one of the most dynamic guard rotations in the league, which they almost certainly won’t.
        3) You don’t want to fault Joe D for adding by subtraction, but you’ve got to fault him for creating this situation in the first place, where he brought together a group of mediocre players who can’t play together so he has to pay one of them to scram. And before you go patting him on the back, note that waiving rip served to save face more than anything. Joe had no choice but to do SOMETHING about this logjam to avoid the rotation issues of yesteryear, and Rip was the one that saved the most face. It probably isn’t even what was best for the team, considering Gordon is a poor defender with a longer, richer contract. But to the untrained eye Joe looks LESS bad for having cut rip.

        • Dec 31, 201110:57 am
          by tarsier


          1) Yeah, he’s sitting on the books now, but for less money, which could give the Pistons more flexibility depending on what else Dumars does, but worst case scenario doesn’t hurt. If there was a deal right now by which Rip coulda been flipped for a worse expiring with a late first round pick, I’d be happier with that. But given tha2 I doubt that would have happened for another year, maybe not even until next season’s deadline, and it’s possible that by then he would have further eroded his value, I’ll take this buyout for the sure thing of a small positive. If nothing else, it probably gives Knight more minutes (by letting Stuckey play more 2) which I think we can agree is valuable to Detroit.

          2) I agree completely. Except that Knight is probably part of Detroit’s future and he gets more PT now. And that is valuable even barring a trade.

          3) I don’t care if Dumars looks better or saves face or whatever for this move, I still think it improves the team. So I like it. But I absolutely agree that the logjam was his fault to begin with and I still do not approve of Joe as GM. I firmly hope he is made head of the scouting department. He seems to be above average at least at assessing talent in the draft (even if you don’t look at Monroe and Knight). And that way he can stay a loved part of Pistons history without screwing up this team’s future to get a couple more wins each season in the present.

  • Dec 29, 201110:22 pm
    by Ty


    Are line up should be doing this no question.  We lack size so we need to make up for that in other areas and it would improve our offense.  Not to mention it would get us to the line more and create more shots.  This offense should be run and gun like the old Phnx Suns.  Even if we sign a big, that is only one player the majority of the players would benifit from this.  I like the pick and roll, penetrate and dish too but we can’t do that every play.

  • Dec 30, 20118:20 am
    by Vince


    Greg Ostertag anyone? I mean, we lost Fesenko, and aren’t going after Pryzbilla, Ostertag is old but he’s an upgrade over anything we have atm…

  • Dec 30, 20119:52 am
    by tarsier


    If Detroit is gonna go out and get a big, Biedrins seems like the most obvious choice. He can probably be had for approximately a ball bag, his value is almost all on the defensive end, he did once show value which could potentially be partially recovered with a change of scenery, and his acquisition would only hurt the Pistons’ flexibility during the next couple years when BG and CV are under contract anyway (more of a problem if there is a plan to use amnesty clause and subsequent cap room).

  • Dec 30, 20111:25 pm
    by BIG MARV


    Well it comes down to this we already know that Joe D resigned Stuckey and Tayshawn to long-term paying contracts. We all know since this happened Frank had to play the players that got paid which means they are the starters. What happens to this line-up now is that it makes it methodical, nonchanlant and slow. What Frank needs to do is create a quick line up when he sees the starting line up is getting out beaten and they are down by an astunding amount of points. He has to put the quicker and younger line up in to catch up. Thats the only way its gonna work because this starting core wont change for a while. But at least with a quicker second string line up the fans and players on the team wont be disapointed, here would be my quick/speed line up:
    PG: Knight/Bynum
    SG: Stuckey
    SF: Daye/Wilkins
    PF: Jerebko/Maxiel
    C:  Monroe/Macklin (depending on fouls and fatigue if Macklin replace Monroe at Center)
    More exciting quicker and younger and also you have a few of the rotation guys in bynum,Wilkins, Maxiel and Macklin, im not saying rearrange the starting core. I know frank needs a line-up he can trust but this is the emergency switch in case the starters aint doing their job.

  • Dec 31, 20113:47 pm
    by Seth


    Hey Patrick, I bought your book and I was just wondering if your chapter on Darko was a joke because there were a lot of inaccuracies in the chapter especially regarding Darko’s stats. But maybe I read it wrong

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