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Greg Monroe’s brilliant offense, Pistons fade in loss to Golden State Warriors

It’s an absolute pleasure to watch Greg Monroe play offense. We’re not far from discussing whether he’s the NBA’s most skilled big man, and some have already suggested he’s the best player in his draft class.

Apparently Lawrence Frank loves seeing Monroe with the ball in his hands, too. That’s why, when the Warriors committed an illegal defense in the second quarter, he chose Monroe to shoot the technical free throw.

Yes, he chose Greg Monroe, a career 65 percent free-throw shooter. His other options on the floor:

Of course, Monroe made the free-throw, one of his career-high 13 makes on a career-high 14 attempts.

The Pistons went to Monroe early and often tonight, and he didn’t disappoint. With 2:43 left in the third quarter, the Pistons trailed by just three. At that point, Monroe had 23 points and seven rebounds.

He finished with 25 points and eight rebounds.

Granted, Monroe sat for 2:26 of that span. But with or without him on the court, the Pistons didn’t take advantage of his special offensive skills. In the game’s last 14:43, Monroe attempted only one shot, which Ekpe Udoh blocked, and just two free throws, which came from a non-shooting foul. That’s when the Warriors stretched their lead to 15 to win by a misleadingly narrow margin, 99-91.

This is partially Monroe’s fault. Even with his rest, he looked tired. He didn’t rebound or take care of the ball as effectively as he did in the first half.

But regardless of blame, it was a problem tonight.

Maybe Monroe needs to condition a little better. Maybe the Pistons need to get him the ball more when he’s on the court. Maybe both.

Regardless, I enjoy watching Monroe play basketball, and I enjoy watching the Pistons win games. Those two will go hand in hand, as long as Detroit doesn’t have more reliable offensive options.

Unfortunately, tonight, I didn’t see enough Monroe to see a victory.

David Lee pushes around Jonas Jerebko

David Lee gave Jonas Jerebko a lot of trouble, scoring 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Lee was too strong for Jerebko and frequently established strong interior position.

The Pistons tried Ben Wallace on Lee, but Lee was too quick for him.

I’ll score this one as a point in my running debate with Patrick about Jerebko’s best position. He’s a small forward, man.

Just to clarify, I’m talking long term. The Pistons lack interior options right now, so Jerebko might be their best power forward, and I have no issue with him playing the position this year. But I still think his best position going forward is small forward.

Monta Ellis shakes quality defense

Rodney Stuckey defended Monta Ellis well, especially in the first half. Even Ben Gordon did a decent job of bumping Ellis out of his comfort zone.

But Ellis is a good offensive player and eventually worked into his comfort zone. He scored 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting and used his speed to create passing lanes, dishing seven assists.

It’s just a reminder that Stuckey, who’s capable of defending well in spurts, certainly isn’t a lockdown player.

Tayshaun Prince scores empty 20 points

Tayshaun Prince scored 20 points – the most he’s scored in his last 27 games – but the output wasn’t exactly a sign of great things to come.

With a minute and six seconds left and the Pistons trailing by 14, Prince had scored just 14 points. Then, he made two 3-pointers, including one at the buzzer. Without those garbage-time shots, I probably wouldn’t be including Prince in this recap.

He also benefited from playing 40 minutes – his most since Feb. 2, 2011 – because Damien Wilkins missed the game for personal reasons.


  • Jan 15, 20129:34 pm
    by Vince


    I think the offense should keep going through Monroe, and for the love of basketball can Gordon be benched and can we get rid of Daye?? Start Stuck at the 2 and deal Daye for cash considerations for all I care, there’s no room for him on this team.

    Anyways, thought we had them till I watched the third… at one point we let the Warriors get like 5 Offensive rebounds in a row and they converted twice (Lucky for us) and then there is Daye jacking up 3s like he’s playing like last year, ridiculous, I know its a compressed season and we must rest the players to limit injuries but DAYUM, let Monroe play 40 minutes and maje the offense go through him.

  • Jan 15, 201210:03 pm
    by vic


    It’s so sad to see how David Lee owns the Pistons consistently. My wife had never been to a basketball game, but a few years ago we went to see them play the Knicks and she asked “who’s that Alpha Male guy, and why is he doing whatever he wants to them?”

    Greg was good, but maybe just too tired… or maybe they stopped passing it to him.

    Knight stopped attacking, that also helped stagnate the offense.

    Stuck may not be lockdown, but he’s big and strong, and I’ll take that. Not many people can “lock down” Monta Ellis.

    Yes I agree Jerebko is a 3, totally.

    1 more game closer to Andre Drummond – who can give Monroe some help offensively, and push him to the 4 so Alpha Male doesn’t abuse us next year.

    • Jan 15, 201210:06 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Threes can usually dribble or shoot though. That’s my issue with him at the position. He can’t consistently take anyone off the dribble and he can’t be considered a reliable spot-up shooter.

    • Jan 15, 201210:57 pm
      by gmehl1977


      I don’t know if you know but Andre Drummond said in a statement that he will be returning for his sophomore year so we might not get him after all. maybe we can suck that bad we can get Davis instead.

      • Jan 15, 201211:02 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        Well, Monroe said he was returning to school too and changed his mind. I don’t buy Drummond’s comments just yet.

        • Jan 16, 20121:55 am
          by gmehl1977


          I sure hope so man. By next month i am sure we will all be looking in the direction of the draft for that little thing we call hope.

  • Jan 15, 201210:03 pm
    by Laser


    1) Regarding Jerebko: He’s a tweener, plain and simple. He doesn’t really fit either position to a t. It seems like a waste of time to squabble over which position he’s “best” suited for; this isn’t quite the same debate as the Stuckey combo-guard debate, because the latter is about who’s running the offense.
    2) Regarding Daye: We’re witnessing the result of having an insane-o roster with way too many perimeter players with no pecking order last season. This is the trade-off for whatever positive things some of you might argue came out of the Tracy McGrady signing, and trying to fit Gordon and Hamilton into a rotation. Langlois likes to argue that throwing a rookie into the fire is likely to shake his confidence, but at least rookies have an automatic excuse for struggling; what excuse does a third year player have when he’s playing this bad?
    3) At least Knight started again. That’s something. If the dream scenario is to rehabilitate Gordon’s value and ship him out, this is probably the way to go. Stuckey’s never going anywhere, and he’s not going to set a ball-sharing tone on offense anyways. He’s probably best suited to be a sixth man, third guard, instant offense off the bench kind of player, and any time we have the luxury of playing a guy in his most natural role, it’s a small victory.

    • Jan 15, 201210:10 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Re: Daye, isn’t it possible that he’s just not good? I mean, why does there have to be a built-in excuse for him? Maybe he’s just a bust. He got good, open shots tonight. He got decent minutes. And he did the same things he’s done all season — miss good looks at the basket. I’m sure it’s a confidence thing to some extent, but it’s not like he did much in the minutes he got the last two years to suggest the dude was a can’t miss rotation player. We might just be finding out he’s not good enough to play a big role on a NBA team. I hope I’m wrong and it turns around, but 20 percent shooting and 0-for-13 from three is hard to argue against.

      • Jan 15, 201210:40 pm
        by Laser


        Hey, I think he’s fucking useless. I’d ship him off to a middle eastern country and sell him into homoerotic servitude if that was an option. I would have drafted Ty Lawson in the first place, and the last fucking thing I’d ever have done is draft a project small forward.
        But once we drafted him, we should have fucking DONE something about it. He’s had flashes of real potential, but he’s been starved for minutes and a consistent role. We have nothing to lose by trotting him out there night-in and night-out. You’ve shown sympathy for Bynum’s plight, having to play like he’s never going to touch a basketball again because for all he knows he won’t; I have similar feelings towards Daye.
        Now maybe we already fucked the project by not playing him in his rookie year and adding another small forward so he’d have even fewer minutes at his disposal his second year. Maybe he’s forever ruined by the fact that he should be climbing towards young veteran status, since he’s an almost-lottery pick on a terrible team, but instead he looks more unsure than the average rotation rookie. But the bottom line is that we have nothing to lose by giving him some burn. We’re not playing for anything, even thirteen games into the season, so let’s not wait any longer to get this kid’s feet wet.
        We’ve got a decision coming up whether or not to pay him $3 million next season, and if he’s not rotation worthy on this team, we can’t possibly afford to pick up that option. Because if it’s a confidence/rhythm issue (which it appears to be) it’s not going to get better as long as he’s on the bench.

        • Jan 15, 201211:05 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          The difference between he and Bynum’s plight, as you know, is that Bynum has been productive in the scant minutes he gets. This season, Daye hasn’t. The last two years, last year especially, I absolutely thought Daye was getting hosed out of minutes he’d earned by at the very least knocking down threes.

          This year though, it’s hard to make that same case. He’s playing for a different coach who is trying to set a different tone, and Daye has literally done nothing positive on the court whatsoever. I’d love for that to change, but it’s just really hard to argue at this point.

        • Jan 15, 201211:13 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          Honestly, just to add even though I’ve mentioned it before, I really like Daye. Love his jumper, love his height on the perimeter and I think he works really hard. But I want to see him get mad. That’s something that is really missing for me.

          He should’ve been made about not getting minutes last season, and I don’t mean in a boycott shootaround kind of way. I’ve been waiting for some fire from him on the court. I wanted to see him come into a game, any game, and just shoot every good look or even not so good look he got. Adopt some of that Bynum attitude — if you’re only going to play me once a week, I’m going to get up a week’s worth of shots in these 10 minutes.

          That’s why something like a shooting slump could possibly kill the guy’s confidence the way it has. He’s too passive or nice, and when he doesn’t hit shots, he takes it too hard or fears he’s never gonna see the court again. I don’t think I’ve seen him take a bad shot all season. In fact, I’ve been more irritated that he routinely passes up good open looks to try and drive. There are guys who don’t have a lot of confidence in the first place, so if they slump, it’s incredibly hard to pull them out of it and I think Daye might be one of those guys.

          • Jan 15, 201211:36 pm
            by Laser

            Bynum’s older, with more experience, and he’s got the ball in his hands. Daye’s trying to fit into an offensive system. They’re in very different situations. Bynum also has the mental toughness to keep on pushing. I don’t know if that’s something Daye can develop, but he hasn’t got that just yet.
            As for his attitude, he’s drinking the fucking Kool-Aid, that’s all. Bynum may have played angry, but he’s had a “grin and bear it” approach since he’s been here and getting shit on constantly. The organization is projecting the attitude is that the rotation is based on what’s best for the team, which means that the best thing Daye can do is put his head down, work hard and wait for his turn. All things being equal, that’s the way it should work. But this team doesn’t need the maximum number of wins this season; that does them no good. But they knew the guy’s attitude when they drafted him, and if this is their approach, they’re getting just what they ask for.
            The team’s really working against itself here, and that’s been a recurring theme that makes it harder and harder to hold out any hope or even root for them. There’s nothing to lose. I don’t care how much he drags down the team. Test him adequately, give him some of those five game stretches to gauge him, whatever. Just don’t pick up next year’s option if we’re looking right at his career trajectory.

  • Jan 15, 201210:04 pm
    by Patrick Hayes


    I will certainly give you that he’s not strong enough to defend many PFs. My problem with him as a SF is that I don’t think he’s good enough offensively to play that position full-time either — the release on his jumper is so slow that fast SFs will quickly close out and contest jumpers even when he’s left open and, as we saw tonight, he tends to over-dribble sometimes, which is a problem since he’s not a great ball-handler.

    I just don’t think his future is at either position. He’s a forward and potentially good role playing energy guy/perimeter defender, but it’s a mistake to consider him only a SF or only a PF.

  • Jan 15, 201210:26 pm
    by frankie d


    @ PHayes
    gerald wallace is a small forward who does not fit your definition of a typical SF, but he dominates many SFs – including durant – with size, aggression and strength. without the handle or shot. JJ may be able to do the same.

    • Jan 15, 201210:38 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Wallace developed a reliable 3-pt shot in Charlotte and, at his peak, would absolutely murder people off the dribble along the baselines. He’s certainly not a traditional SF offensively, but I still think his ability to slash is something Jerebko doesn’t have yet.

    • Jan 15, 201210:40 pm
      by tarsier


      Wallace is also a top 5 SF (James, Durant, Melo, Wallace, Deng/Granger). Jerebko’s ill-fitting is a bit more pronounced because he is not as incredibly good.

      • Jan 15, 201211:08 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        Exactly … if Jerebko was the physical specimen and freak athlete Crash is, then it absolutely wouldn’t matter that Jonas doesn’t handle the ball or shoot so well.

        • Jan 15, 201211:46 pm
          by frankie d


          disagree. i live in portland and watch wallace every game. his way of being an effective SF is very similar to jj’s.
          wallace dominates by virtue of his power and aggression. in fact, i think jj is much more skilled. a better passer, ballhandler and he is a better all around player. they both have slow, streaky outside shots.
          Interestingly, wallace swings to the 4 sometimes and he is nowhere as effective.
          put jj at the 3 and i think you’d see a similar impact.

          • Jan 16, 201212:02 am
            by Patrick Hayes

            You’re not watching an in his prime Wallace though. Dude was a beast and a much different player a couple years ago in Charlotte before his physical style and diving all over the floor slowed him down.

        • Jan 16, 20121:10 am
          by frankie d


          oh, i saw him before.  not every game, as i see him now, but he is a guy i always wished detroit had gone after.
          and even in his relatively advanced age, he still dominates most small forwards.  he owns kevin durant.  treats him like a little child.
          he is still a very dominant SF, who literally just plays through players.  his handle is so-so, but it doesn’t matter, because he simply powers through defenders, when he is playing the SF.  
          now, when he plays the PF, the result is very different.  sometimes he does OK, other times, it is pretty ugly, as Wallace gets overpowered.  
          it is essentially the same dynamic that JJ goes through at PF.  
          the reason i point him out is that he is a non-conventional SF, someone without typical wing skills, but he is still very effective as a wing player because of other attributes.
          i think that description fits JJ to a tee.

      • Jan 16, 20122:04 am
        by frankie d


        @ tarsier
        you wrote:
        Jerebko’s ill-fitting is a bit more pronounced because he is not as incredibly good.
        so when does JJ get a chance to show how good he could be at the SF position?
        how do you know what kind of SF JJ would be?

        • Jan 16, 20123:19 pm
          by tarsier


          That’s a fair point.
          But JJ is nowhere near as good at PF as Wallace is.

  • Jan 15, 201210:31 pm
    by frankie d


    on daye…
    i think the pistons have done a textbook job of destroying the confidence of an emotionally fragile player.
    will he get his confidence back and eventually help some team? i think so..
    but the team has made that prospect much tougher.

    • Jan 16, 201212:03 am
      by Mark


      Daye is finished. Whether the team’s or his own fault, who’s knows? But all he had going for him coming into this year was being a spot up shooter, as he’s pretty much bad at every other aspect. But now that his jumpshot is gone, we see he is completely useless. And he hurts you being on the court, from his bad D, bad shots, and bad turnovers.

      The year after next is a team option year. Its safe to say they won’t be picking up that option, and imo will look to trade him now or in the summer. If they can’t find a taker by next years trade deadline, imo they will just let him walk next summer.

      • Jan 16, 201212:07 am
        by Mark


        He should go to the D League right now and try to get his jumpshot back, but if it doesnt work, going to the D league only hurts his trade value. I personally just dont think he’s mentally cut out for professional sports, or physically… but thats a given.

        He’s still pretty young and could certainly mature, but if I’m the Pistons I’m not picking up his option to find out.

        Pistons need to start paying for guaranteed production and stop shelling out money for potential.

        • Jan 16, 20121:29 am
          by frankie d


          ridiculous. to suggest that  a young player is finished  based on an early season slump while that player gets limited playing time is just so mindboggingly stupid that it is hard to quantify how stupid it is.
          i guess you could have said the same thing about jodie meeks of the 76ers before he broke out of his slump against detroit in a 4th quarter when he scored 17 points.  meeks’ slump was almost as bad as daye’s but his coach, doug collins not only kept playing him, but kept him in the starting lineup.  and eventually, because meeks is a shooter and shooters eventually break out of shooting slumps, he broke out of his and torched damien wilkins – a supposed defensive stopper –  and detroit for 17 points.  and now collins has his shooting guard back. meeks has hit 21 of 43 shots since breaking out against detroit.
          shooters go through slumps.  if you’ve watched nba basketball for any length of time, you see lots of shooters go through short slumps or long slumps.
          rarely…rarely rarely does a shooter like daye just lose it.  it is certainly possible, as is anything, but the idea that such a rare result would occur here is amazingly shortsighted.
          now, i agree that any options – including a d-league stint should be considered – but the problem is in the manner in which this team develops – or does not develop – young players.  for every young player who gets a chance and takes advantage of it, there are several who simply wash out because the team never gives them a legitimate shot. the list is too long to run down now, but it is a reality with this franchise.   it is one of the big reasons that the team is in its currently sad state.  
          for an extremely different and more successful approach, look at how SA handles its vets and young players and it’s transition away from tim duncan.  they kept their core stars – duncan, parker, ginobli – and shipped out the complimentary vets for younger players and actually gave those young players a chance to play and develop.
          dumars did the exact opposite.  he shipped out or let go his core players, bringing in lesser players to replace them, and then he expected role players to somehow fill in the holes vacated by his  core players.  and instead of bringing in young players to replace the complimentary players so that they could possibly develop into something more, he has brought in a steady stream of broken down vets.
          SA paid and developed “potential” and they are still one of the league’s best franchises.  detroit paid for predictable, veteran guaranteed production and we see where this franchise sits now.”

  • Jan 15, 201211:58 pm
    by Mark


    Monroe was tired. I blame Frank partially for how he was using him on defense. Too often Monroe was out on the perimeter chasing guards around in the 2nd half. That also left him out of position for rebounds, only getting 2 in that half. Why did Frank choose Monroe to be the big to go out and double, when that’s pretty much all Ben/Jonas/Max can do – provide energy/hustle plays. Should’ve saved Monroe’ energy for the offensive end instead.

    Plus, GSW’s uptempo style always seems to make every half-court, traditional Center tired by the end of the game.

    Monroe also played 39 min, 7 above his avg. Big men aren’t like guards who can handle 40/gm consistently. I think they played him too min. I dont think he was unconditioned, just a myriad of other factors all coming together at once.

    • Jan 16, 20121:35 am
      by frankie d


      good point about monroe chasing guards on the perimeter.
      frank should have adjusted immediately.  he should have switched defensive assignments.
      i’m sure mark jackson was more than happy to have detroit’s best interior defender and rebounder hedging out on guards 25 feet away from the basket.  in fact, it looked like he had monroe’s man, udoh, just hang out on the perimeter to specifically take monroe from the basket area. even if there was no pick and roll or screen happening.
      just one more indication that frank is a bad game coach.
      he has no feel for a game’s flow.  no ability to make on-the-fly adjustments.
      my guess is that he needs to look at the game film and then he’ll make adjustments.
      the problem is that you can lose plenty of games by being so slow to respond.

  • Jan 16, 20122:07 am
    by gmehl1977


    Seeming you mentioned Ty Lawson and the fact we should of taken him instead of Daye i thought i would post this article for ESPNs Chris Palmer’s top 5 NBA most underrated. Feel the pain as you read the words ‘best bargain in the game at $1.6 million per season’. The top 5 were Kyle Lowry, D.J.Augustin, Ty Lawson, Wesley Matthews and and Paul Millsap.

    This is the piece on Lawson:

    All Lawson has done is emerge as the best player on what looks to be a quality playoff team. Sure, he’s benefited from the absence of J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler by seeing his minutes increase — up from seven per game last season to a career-best 33.2. But it’s about more than floor time, as Lawson, like Lowry, is one of four point guards averaging at least six assists and 1.9 steals.

    “Shooter” is not the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of Lawson, but he’s a career 50 percent shooter from the field and a solid 39 percent for his career from behind the arc, which is better than All-Stars Chris Paul (36) and Rajon Rondo (24). Of course, part of his overall field goal percentage is due to the fact that he gets a lot of quality looks at the rim thanks to fearlessness when driving among the trees. He’s shooting 63 percent at the rim, but his 50 percent conversion from 10-15 feet is nothing to sneeze at.

    Lawson is doing all this while earning just $1.6 million this season, which could make him arguably the best bargain in the game.

    • Jan 16, 20122:09 am
      by gmehl1977


      This was in reply to Laser @ 11.36pm. I don’t know why it posted down here.

  • Jan 16, 20124:18 am
    by Max


    No use thinking about who should have been drafted instead of Daye because if they had drafted a great player like Lawson, they would have won at least a few more games and then they would not have gotten Monroe in all probability.  Since I’d rather have Monroe, I feel like everything broke right to that point–Monroe is that good.   Some teams stink for a decade before they get a real star to build around and it is usually isn’t an unusually skilled big man with high character.   I’ve been a die hard Pistons fan since about 86 and they have never drafted an offensive big man of the caliber of Monroe and have probably never had one period since I’ve been watching.

  • Jan 16, 20129:19 am
    by frankie d


    agree 100% with daye comments. right on target. imo, it is likely he will leave here, land with a good franchise and blossom. maybe never a star, but a solid rotation player who starts sometimes. and he’ll end up as another wasted #1 pick.

  • Jan 16, 20128:20 pm
    by Max


    There is no reason why Daye couldn’t be flipped rather than wasted.  Darko hadn’t shown much and the Pistons now have Stuckey to show for him.

    • Jan 16, 201211:40 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Milicic was a way higher ceiling prospect than Daye though. Guys taken second overall in a historically good draft get more “prospect” leeway and hold value longer even if they aren’t producing than mid-first rounders like Daye.

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