↓ Login/Logout ↓
↓ Roster ↓
↓ Archives ↓
↓ About ↓

Greg Monroe plays well in victory, but if he had someone like Byron Mullens at his side, wins would be more common

Think Lawrence Frank wanted this one?

Every Pistons starter played at least 29 minutes against the Bobcats tonight. The only other time that happened this season was when the Pistons hosted the Pacers on New Year’s Eve and were still looking for their first victory of the season after an 0-3 start.

In case that weren’t enough to hold Charlotte at bay, Frank called a timeout when the Bobcats cut the lead to 15 with a modest 9-3 run in the fourth quarter.

It was probably all overkill, but when you’re 2-9 and haven’t won in 11 days, there’s no taking chances. Thankfully, Frank’s safety paid off with a 98-81 win over the Bobcats, who are legitimately worse than the Pistons.

But Frank wouldn’t have to treat victories like precious diamonds if he had a better roster.

Early, when the game was still somewhat in doubt, Greg Monroe and Byron Mullens in engaged a fun one-on-one battle. Monroe banged inside a bit more to finish with 19 points, nine rebounds, five assists. Mullens worked more from the perimeter to finish with 18 points and seven rebounds. Neither defended particularly well, but Monroe had more moments of effectiveness.

Rather than write about the battle between Monroe and Mullens, though, I’d rather address why Monroe isn’t playing with Mullens.

The Bobcats traded a 2013 second-round pick for Mullens before the season, indicating any team could have acquired Mullins if it wanted him – not that anyone else did. Nobody could’ve reasonably predicted Mullens would become even a capable NBA player. In two years with the Thunder, he scored 39 points.

But the Bobcats took a chance on Mullens, and it has paid off with a good NBA big man. Think the Pistons could a young 7-footer averaging 11.9 points and 4.6 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game to pair with Monroe?

I’m not upset the Pistons didn’t trade for Mullens, specifically. I’m upset they continue to leave their 14th roster spot vacant without auditioning a big man.

Tom Gores is saving a few hundred-thousand dollars with this strategy, and that’s not an insignifant amount of money. He certainly didn’t position himself to own an NBA team by throwing away money.

But, in this case, the risk is worth it.

Another big man would allow every other player on the roster to develop in a role he’ll fill when the Pistons become good, because the Pistons won’t become good until they add another big man.

Another big man would also help the Pistons win a few more games, and that would boost attendance. The Pistons are still better than at least one other NBA team, as tonight showed. With the addition of a Mullens-caliber player, they might be better than a few other NBA teams. That might seem insignificant, but aren’t wins like tonight’s more entertaining than the double-digit losses we’ve grown accustomed to? Wouldn’t trips to The Palace become more common if the Pistons were better, even just a little?

I don’t pretend solving this problem will be easy. The Pistons’ odds of finding a rotation-caliber, let alone legitimately good, player are low.

But the odds are are zero as long as they don’t try.

Jonas Jerebko gets back on track

Jonas Jerebko emerged from his slump – 4.0 points (on 7-of-24 shooting), 2.5 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.3 blocks and 0.0 steals per game in his last four – with 12 points in the first quarter. He finished with a game-high 22 points (on 9-of-12 shooting), nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Jerebko has a future playing with Monroe (how all Pistons, except Brandon Knight, should be evaluated now). Offensively, his off-ball cuts should allow him to receive many Monroe passes. Defensively, his activeness compensates for Monroe’s sometimes-heavy feet.

Patrick thinks that future is at power forward, and I think it’s at small forward. I know I haven’t changed my mind, and given how stubborn Patrick is, he probably hasn’t, either.

Brandon Knight runs offense smoothly

Brandon Knight is learning how to play in the NBA.

At times, he attacked. At times, he spotted up. For the most part, he picked the correct approach for the correct time.

Knight scored 13 points, dished four assists and quietly grabbed 10 rebounds – all stellar numbers.

But what impressed me most were his zero turnovers. This was his first turnover-less NBA game after averaging 3.4 per contest entering, and that he did it while playing 35 minutes is pretty impressive.

Will Bynum injures ankle

In the second quarter, Will Bynum rolled his ankle after making a runner and landing on Tyrus Thomas’ foot. Mike Abdenour evaluated him, and Bynum stayed in the game.

But Bynum didn’t return in the second half, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the injury keeps him out when the Pistons host the Warriors on Sunday.


  • Jan 13, 20129:36 pm
    by ryan


    I agree 100% nothing has pissed me off more in recent years than our terrible player development and seeming unwillingness to invest in a project or two not to mention giving up on other projects along the way.
    I was very worried that we would draft Byron Mullens with the pick we eventually used on Austin Daye so I’m not a big fan but for a second round pick? You take those chances and then you give the guy a shot.

  • Jan 13, 20129:39 pm
    by Gil


    I had assumed at this point Dumars was keeping the roster spot open for the next wave of free agents coming- when overseas players come back to the United States.  Wouldn’t it be better for them to wait a month for a possible Kenyon Martin then “auditioning a big man”- especially when 9 out of 10 big man auditions ends with a player that can’t help the team?  if they don’t sign someone to that 14th spot after all the proven NBA players come back, then that would be a stupid waste.  I can live with them leaving it open right now.

  • Jan 13, 20129:47 pm
    by gordbrown


    Try not to get too low after a loss and too high after a win. Pistons are 1-1 against bad teams. But they are also improving. Also why no Maxiell. Not that I’m complaining but curious nonetheless.

  • Jan 13, 20129:49 pm
    by ryan


    Kenyon Martin?? WTF?? Talk about a past his prime player. He wouldn’t be a big help now or part of our future.

  • Jan 13, 20129:50 pm
    by vic


    The future is bright as long as they keep feeding the Beast… they looked like a real basketball team tonight. Hitting the paint first and continually, is how even a high school team learns how to open up their offense.
    Let’s keep getting better! I understand the desire to have another big, but I’m not sure how they were supposed to prophesy that BJ Mullens was going to be a problem. They’ve made so many mistakes I’m sure Joe only wants a sure thing, with proven talent or stats to back it up. Can’t wait till the Draft!
    Drummond/ Davis/ Sully

  • Jan 13, 20129:59 pm
    by Victor Fontana


    What catch my eyes in this box score:

    5 assists from Mr. Monroe.
    Double-double for Brandon Knight on 5-11 shooting
    11 turnovers for the Pistons

  • Jan 13, 201210:05 pm
    by domnick


    there can’t be more games like this coz our opponent is just Charlotte….
    but improvement is existent…. and the sense of urgency by Jerebko was there….
    if we can move forward then im fine with the losses.. but if someone is helding us back.. then its not a good news…
    For me… its time to dump someone who doesnt really help our team

  • Jan 13, 201211:00 pm
    by Sebastian


    I’m with Feldman. Try to make a move for a complimentary big, now. Forget waiting for the draft.
    Does anybody realize how much development, I should say erosion that can be experienced during the remaining 54 games if WE try to continue playing with the same inferior and ill-designed roster. If WE can make a move, now, for a complimentary big then the team can grow going forward, rather flounder around like fish out of water.
    Move: Our 2012 first round pick, Charlie V., and Austin Daye to Washington for JaVele McGee and Chris Singleton.
    JaVele McGee has the ability to check the versatile PFs, like Love, Stoudimire, Aldridge, Bosh, Dirk, etc. and Monroe can check the ploding Centers, who play closer to the basket. Monroe could get away with banging with guys like: Howard, Gasol, Bynum, DeAndre Jordan, etc. And, Monroe can take advantage of these guys on the offensive side of the floor.
    Having a guy like McGee, again, would help defensively with block shots, defensive rebounding. But, McGee would also help OUR fastbreak offense, as he would be the big that would run the floor; also could help big time in the transition defense.
    Another bonus with the this trade proposal is the addition of the versatile rookie Chris Singleton. Singleton is a good defensive SF/PF and is young (rookie from FSU) and tall.
    Oh and WE get rid of some of OUR trash (Charlie V. and Daye).
    Joe get the Wizard brass on the phone. They are struggling and would love to have two 2012 first round picks.

    New Line-up

    PG- Knight/Bymun
    SG- Stuckey/Ben G.
    SF- Jerebko/Tay
    PF- Monroe/Singleton/Maxey
    C- McGee/Macklin/Big Ben

    WE could still make the playoff, if WE pull this trade off over the weekend.

    • Jan 13, 201211:59 pm
      by Jodi Jezz


      Sounds good, but would the Wizards accept the trade?..

    • Jan 14, 20123:50 am
      by Shane


      Probably one of the worst ideas i have heard of… no offense. You want to trade a potentially amazing pick for McGee(who can ONLY block/grab some boards here and there) and a guy who has yet to show even one impressive statistic this year.

    • Jan 14, 20127:53 am
      by Jakob Eich


      No, no, no. You don’t trade for a Wizard right now! I don’t want any player from the Wizard roster, there’s a reason why they are the joke of the league. They have a proven and capable coach in Flip Saunders, and they still suck! Blatche and McGee have many highlight reels where you can see how low their basketball IQ is. Anyone who watches a game of McGee will see that for every amazing block or dunk he will have one absolute bone-headed play! We will have a better chance to get rebounds and a low-post presence in the draft or if we get a high-pick trade it for a real low-post player.

      Also, why does everyone say Monroe is a natural PF? He’s putting up great numbers at C, why would he a better fit at PF? I don’t see him as a real C anyway, he spends a lot of time in the high-post. It’s true, we need another C, but we don’t need to panic and get a quick fix, we need a solid decision.

      • Jan 14, 20129:05 am
        by Sebastian


        Folks, why should WE try to position OURselves for a player that may not be available when OUR turn to pick comes. Besides, the Drummond kid has said that he may stay in college, I actually doubt that he will say this come May, thought.

        But, the Drummond kid’s game may not compliment Monroe’s. ANd, the Davis kid is no better than McGee is.

        I don’t forget that McGee is young himself. He has knowledge about the League and experience playing against other Centers.

        These hyped-up guys that are currently in college is not like known quantities like McGee.

        Although, I do like the idea about trading the pick to Houston for their #6 and #16.

        Maybe, moving Charlie V. and Daye and the pick to Houston for Thabeet, T. Williams, and their #6 Nad #16 is a deal worth pursuing.

        • Jan 14, 20121:28 pm
          by Steve K


          I was also thinking Thabeet should be available. Joe D could get him for a 2nd rounder perhaps. He’s got like 11 minutes all season.

          I never liked his game and especially didn’t like his potential as lottery pick. But he’s certainly worth a 2nd round gamble. He’s athletic with a low basketball IQ. If he was taught to focus on just one thing — help defense — he may fill a massive hole in this team.

        • Jan 14, 20122:00 pm
          by Jodi Jezz


          I agree…Too many people are putting too much hope in an unproven college player…For all we know these players could bust in the NBA…I think we should target a young defensive proven professional big man…I wouldn’t mind trading our 2012 1st rounder for McGee…At least we know he isn’t a bust and can build muscle around his thin frame…The basketball IQ will come from playing around veterans…The Wizards have no veterans with history of success…

          • Jan 14, 20123:06 pm
            by tarsier

            Of course we put our hopes in unknowns. Unknowns could be great. you could go for a proven quantity like McGee and you will get a solid player, but that’s it. Improve a bit, make the playoffs a couple years, if everything breaks right maybe make the second round until Monroe gets fed up and leaves. No, adding proven quantities is for contenders (or teams one piece short of a contender), bad teams need to swing for the fences because then there is a chance of getting a franchise altering star, and if not, you just continue to suck and have another opportunity to swing for the fences the next year.

  • Jan 13, 201211:11 pm
    by Mark


    I wanted Mullens where we picked Daye in 2009, and now he’s showing why he should’ve been the pick. He probably never be an All-Star, but was a solid-skilled 7 footer from the Big Ten, who are usually fundamentally sound big men.

    Not sure why we didnt give up a 2nd rounder for him, but OKC still has another young project big that is wasting away in Aldrich that we should try to steal somehow.

    Great games for Monroe and Knight, and nice to see Jerebko play off them so effectively, thats how the roles should be on this team. And also nice to see Gordon, Bynum, Tay, etc all deferring to Monroe, and acknowledging that this isn’t their team, its Greg’s.

    Too many times they dribble around, shooting, pretending to be MJ, when they are avg guards at best. This inside-out offense through Monroe is beautiful to watch, and how it should be.

    And defensively, each guy dug in and guarded their man, while also helping each other on breakdowns. Amazing how easy the game is and fun to watch when you play fundamental basketball.

    As long as Monroe remains the go-to guy every posession, I don’t care if Gordon is starting. Just stay out of the way and let Monroe/Knight do their thing.

    • Jan 14, 20123:08 pm
      by tarsier


      Much as Daye doesn’t look too great, there are several other players who would’ve been much better picks than Mullens, most notably Holiday, Lawson, and Blair.

  • Jan 13, 201211:56 pm
    by Travis


    Unless you are getting a superstar, Detroit shouldn’t trade their 1st round pick of 2012. Especially not for a cap dump and a non all star big man

    • Jan 14, 20122:18 am
      by Ant


      I totally agree with you 100%…. Were going to get a top 5 lottery pick this year if we continue at this pace so we have a chance on a guy like Drummond who could start in the NBA today! Cap space is really BS because who needs CS when the big names like Howard wont play for detroit because were not a “contender” nor “ideal” when it comes to weather! lol Rebuild though the draft with a couple solid choices by someone other than Dumars and like the Lions we can make it to the playoffs and conted in 2013!

  • Jan 14, 20122:04 am
    by David


    Bottom line, I think a little more patience has the potential to pay off bigger for the Pistons than a solid but not great player added at the cost of draft position.  I think Knight, Barnes and Monroe looks better moving forward than Knight, Mullens and Monroe.  Ditto with Davis, Drummond or Sullinger.

    I don’t think, if you want to be a contender, that you give up a chance at a high draft pick by acquiring new talent that makes a team marginally better now.  I think you figure out what players you are going to keep.  Who’s going to work with Monroe?  Make moves to gut the roster for additional draft picks if possible.  Any contender want a stretch 4 that provides an offensive spark off the bench for a later first round draft pick?  Gordon anyone?

    If you get a taker for one of your bad contracts for a combination of expiring contracts and draft picks, you can then ditch the other bad contract with the amnesty clause.

    Now look at what you have.  Another potential young star player.  Maybe another late first round talent or two to develop from trades.  Free agency money from bad contracts gone (maybe).

    I agree that adding a Mullens type now would make the Pistons more platable this year.  But I worry that adding a player or two like that might doom the Pistons to mediocrity for several more years.  I still think they need another star or two.  And those come from high draft picks.

    I think this year the focus needs to be on shortening the roster to players that work with Monroe.  Unless Sacramento decides to dangle a player like Cousins (young, big, star).  I just don’t see that being a likely scenario.

  • Jan 14, 20122:09 am
    by Ryan


    Sebastian..what are you smoking dude?

    Mark–you made up for Sebastian’s comment.

  • Jan 14, 20122:18 am
    by damian


    perhaps we should sign jarrid famous, or darnell lazare of the d-league?
    i hope we have some semblance of a shot to sign josh powell or josh boone, hell even nenad krstic when overseas play is over.

  • Jan 14, 20128:29 am
    by vic


    a rash and stupid trade would be rash and stupid at this point. No 2012 pick should ever be traded, unless you are giving up #5 to Houston for #6 AND #16 (trade 1 for 2)

    • Jan 14, 201210:27 am
      by apa8ren9


      I agree. Let someone else panic with a trade.  As much as guys rag on Dumars, remember even in a room of stupid people, (NBA GM’s) Dumars is definitely not the stupidest! LOL

    • Jan 14, 20123:10 pm
      by tarsier


      Why does everyone keep talking about trading for Houston’s 6 and 16? We don’t have any idea where anyone is picking yet.

  • Jan 14, 201210:23 am
    by apa8ren9


    I have to say I dont even bother going to the news or freep for game by game analysis.  I come straight here.  Great analysis with opinion thrown in for thought keeps me coming back,  plus all of the commenters.  I know all of you are Pistons fans – even the crazy ones.
    I was thinking about the same point as Feldman,  that Dumars doesnt even have a project on the roster and I just dont know why. Maybe its his philosophy that he wants a known commodity since they have a propensity to be overpaid.  Its frustrating to say the least but we know we have Monroe.  We are developing him and he is learning to be the man.  We are still losing games and will be in the lottery so the tankers cant say anything about that.  This season is both sad and on target at the same time. And I am happy for one night that they won and Charlotte is still way worse than us. (Take that Micheal Jordan)

    • Jan 14, 201211:57 am
      by Jakob Eich


      Thank you for the kind words!

      I am not really sure what Dumars plans are. I can say that he is trying to build something, a contender hopefully, I just don’t see his plan in detail. I like Monroe and Knight on this roster, but if you have a lottery pick you basically have to take someone unless you trade the pick. Other than that, we have a mix out of overpaid veterans and young talent. It’s true that you want to have a mix, but not that kind. I’m alright with Tay and Ben being on the team to mentor the young players. We don’t have the assets to trade anyone right now, hopefully we’ll be able to do so soon. I agree, it was nice to see a win!

  • Jan 14, 201212:10 pm
    by Talan


    You see a lot of project bigs being traded around for nothing, and they become serviceable.
    Timofey Mozgov thrown in that melo trade. He’s now starting for a good denver team.
    Gortat thrown in with vince carter. Now starting.
    Mahinmi working out well for Dallas.
    Haddadi looks good for memphis.
    Hawes for philly.
    Splitter signed from overseas for cheap.
    None of these guys will be stars, but they were undervalued at one point and got snapped up. It’s our turn to find one! I like Jason Thompson in Sacramento.

    • Jan 14, 201212:23 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Mozgov and Gortat were much more than throw-ins. They were key pieces in the trades. The 76ers gave up Samuel Dalembert, a solid center, to get Hawes. The Spurs drafted Splitter in the first round.

      You’re aiming too high. The Pistons should be looking at someone like Chris Daniels.

      • Jan 14, 20122:09 pm
        by frankie d


        thanks for the post.  excellent point.  when i saw the mullen transaction, i couldn’t believe that joe did not get in on the action.  in fact, i recall that there was buzz that dumars had real interest in mullen when he came out.  why he would not be interested in getting him cheap a couple of years later, makes no sense.  mullen may or may not develop, but he definitely has certain skills – a good perimeter shot, length – and considering the pistons’ needs, you’d think they’d take a shot at someone like that.
        as a fan, it has driven me crazy that joe d simply doesn’t take a chance on young guys, especially young big guys.  instead of signing veteran small forwards who stick around for a year and then leave after playing 20 minutes a game, i’d much rather see him devote that roster space to a young guy who might, just might develop.  
        you’re right about mozgov and gortat, but there have been plenty of guys who have shuttled around, lots of times for peanuts and there is nary a peep from joe about interest in those players.
        i actually think that joe’s lack of interest reflects his design for the team.  i truly think that joe believes that he has his center and PF and that he doesn’t need a more traditional big to compliment monroe.  makes no sense to me, but looking at his actions and words, that is my conclusion.
        he’s made statements about building the type of team that orlando has, with hybrid forwards and i think that is exactly what he is doing. 
        i would really like to see a local reporter actually ask joe d just what he is thinking and why he does what he does.  as a fan, it is extremely frustrating to have a stone wall of silence from the front office, with joe only speaking every blue moon to his designated media mouthpieces and then being the obvious, but anonymous “source” for stuff he wants to get out to the public.

  • Jan 14, 20121:28 pm
    by Brett


    If you want to add a 7 footer (ok 6’11) that wants to shoot jumpers and play horrible defense, then just wait a week or so for Charlie to come back. I get what you’re saying about adding a young big with some upside, but Mullens is not that guy. 

    We need an athletic shot blocker type that will play down low, allowing Greg to play more in the high post. I have never heard of that Daniels guy you mentioned, but looking at his size and stats I wouldn’t mind bringing him in (if it’s cheap.)

    • Jan 14, 20122:25 pm
      by frankie d


      i thought mullen did a pretty good job on monroe.
      those dribble-drives that monroe torched bogut with, mullen stayed right with monroe and mullen’s quickness and length bothered monroe whenever monroe tried to blast past him.  bogut is supposed to be a very good defensive center, but mullen was much more effective against monroe.  monroe was only 9-20 against charlotte while he went 12-16 against milwaukee.
      it could just be that one matchup, but i was definitely surprised, as i’d never been a fan of mullen.

      • Jan 21, 20121:36 pm
        by Brett


        He’s 7′ and in his last 5 games he has averaged .2 blocks in 30.6 minutes a game. We need an athletic shot blocker to pair with Monroe, not a guy that won’t go near the paint.

  • Jan 14, 20121:37 pm
    by Steve K


    Re: Sebastian’s trade…

    I think you all are being a bit harsh. People are always infatuated with potential. And the draft is the prime example. The Pistons are likely looking at a top 5 pick. Most fans envision that top-5 pick turning into Michael Jordan. The more likely scenario is that pick turns into Michael Beasley, OJ Mayo, Tyrus Thomas… serviceable players.

    Bottom line– you need to remember the true value of that pick. That player coming out of college is an unknown. McGee is a 4th year player averaging 11pts, 9reb, and 3 blocks (!!). That’s solid production.

    Is it worth the Pistons top-5 pick? Probably not. But it’s not an absurd idea.

  • Jan 14, 20121:44 pm
    by Talan


    27 year old D-League call up? At least he’d be cheap. 10-day contract couldn’t hurt. Maybe I was aiming too high, but maybe your aiming too low. I was thinking someone who would have more of an impact. Recent big man D leaguers haven’t amounted to much. Jeff Adrien, Earl Barron, Chris Johnson, Jeff Pendergraph. All decent but we need more than that. 

    We have assets, Bynum, Daye, Stuckey,Villanueva.  Or we just suck bad this year and get a big man in the draft. The latter will probably happen and work out for the best.

    • Jan 14, 20123:15 pm
      by tarsier


      Bynum and Villanueva are not assets. i love Bynum but he is paid what he should be as a change of pace guard off the bench. Villanueva is paid way too much, making him a negative asset. Daye right now has very little value. If he could get back to the level of play he had over the summer/preseason, that’s be another story. So of what you mentioned, really just Stuckey.

  • Jan 14, 20121:45 pm
    by D_S_V


    I wish Davis and Drummond could fuse together so we’d have Davis’s skills in Drummond’s body and then we fix the lottery so we get first pick and take Andranthony Drumavis. Wait, that’s not possible?

  • Jan 14, 20122:30 pm
    by Talan


    Kosta Koufos? Dudes played 90 minutes this year. Denver has Nene and Mozgov for center depth. 
    Utah has serious frontcourt depth, they can’t keep everyone happy there.
    Pekovic has fallen out of the rotation in Minny.
    Ryan Hollins isn’t playing this year.
    Sean Williams from Dallas.
    Are there any guys overseas?

  • Jan 14, 20122:59 pm
    by frankie d


    JJ’s problem has been pretty simple, imho.  he’s been getting into foul trouble and has not been able to settle into the game.  one reason he’s been getting into foul trouble has been because he’s been physically overmatched often and has had to scrap to hold his own.  
    one reason he was able to stay out of foul trouble last night is that charlotte has a bunch of “hybrid” forwards -like detroit’s= and it was easier for him to stay out of foul trouble.
    charlotte really didn’t have a single guy with a legitimate low post game.  thomas and to some degree, biyombo, were the only guys that really attacked the rim, at all, and thomas played the 3 while ben was on biyombo, for the most part. 
    what is happening to JJ is pretty simple.  he is playing out of position and having to foul bigger, stronger players in order to try to hold his own.  the solution is also pretty simple: put him at a position – SF – where he won’t have to play against bigger and stronger players every night.

  • Jan 14, 20123:41 pm
    by Ant


    Im not sure about which international players are expected to be available for the draft but PLEASE stay away from them!!! Thats the last thing we need to happen again even though after Darko the team started playing in the finalls but we were a totally different team then!~ lol

    • Jan 14, 20129:40 pm
      by tarsier


      Right, Detroit got an international bust so it should stay away from internationals. Come on!! That’s like saying they shouldn’t draft a lefty if they got a bust of a lefty at some point. Besides, Jerebko is an international player and he was a total steal.

      • Jan 15, 20121:15 pm
        by Ant


        He was a steal for a second rd. pick but had they taken him in the first round of next years draft would you think as much of him or would you blame Dumars for another international bust? lol Jerebko is too inconsistant still to make him a steal but just because he was a second rd. pick and actually starting makes him a solid pick since most second round players dont even make a team! I just think international players get too much credit for how they play over seas than what they deserve.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your Ad Here