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Pistons limp-wristed pass their way to another blowout loss

The Pistons five game blowout streak continued Tuesday, largely due to a familiar problem: turnovers. They turned the ball over 20 times against Dallas.

Detroit is now averaging 18 turnovers per game over their last four. Against the Mavs, it was pretty easy to see why — the guards are terrible passers. Brandon Knight, Will Bynum and Ben Gordon all had turnovers because they consistently threw careless passes. One-handed bounce passes in traffic. One-handed floaters that were easily picked off by defenders. Passes at horrid angles into the post. Bounce passes when there should be lobs. Lobs when they should’ve thrown bounce passes.

With Rodney Stuckey still out and Tayshaun Prince playing hurt and in a more limited role in the offense, the Pistons simply don’t have a perimeter player who can be trusted with the ball. Making matters worse against Dallas, the poor passing made it more difficult for the Pistons to get their best passer, Greg Monroe, more involved in the offense in the first half.

Bynum, Knight and Gordon individually are all capable of helping the Pistons. Knight continued to be a presence on the glass, collecting five rebounds against Dallas. He’s averaging 6.3 rebounds per game over his last four games. Bynum scored 20 points off the bench and continues to be the Pistons’ best guard at finishing drives inside. Gordon didn’t shoot the ball well, but got to the line and continued to make an effort to pass, with three assists. But collectively, all three are just way too mistake prone for the Pistons to have any success when they are all getting heavy minutes.

Picking on Monroe a bit

Greg Monroe‘s offensive evolution is the lone bright spot of the season. He didn’t get enough touches against Dallas. When they fed him in the third quarter, he scored efficiently using an array of post moves. But there was a consistent problem against the Mavs: he’s not a very good screen setter. On several possessions, he went to set screens and was kind of in a sideways position, making it easy for the defender to fight around him. Now, the guards are partially to blame here as well — Gordon, Knight and Bynum were, at times, all guilty of taking off too soon before Monroe could get into position.

It’s a nitpicky thing considering Monroe’s vast improvement in other aspects of the offense, but he could really help out the struggling guards by setting stronger screens allowing them to possibly get a bit more separation as they go around them.

Jonas Jerebko is not being Jonas Jerebko

In his Beyond the Boxscore column for Yahoo!’s Ball Don’t Lie, Kelly Dwyer pointed this out about Jerebko during the Chicago game:

The group is run by a man in Lawrence Frank that has a clear understanding of what each player is worth, at this middling point, but he just can’t manage to get through to these dunderheads. Like, perhaps, the part where Jonas Jerebko is supposed to slide over and take a charge because his NBA type resembles a hustling role player who can’t really contribute anywhere else. Instead, Jonas declines, and prefers to launch a long two-pointer on the other end.

That passage can pretty much sum up Jerebko’s play of late. He’s become a jump-shooter (and not a good one) who is not making the hustle plays or crashing the offensive glass, the things that made him valuable in the first place. He shot 2-for-6 against the Mavs and had zero offensive rebounds. It was his second straight game getting shut out on the offensive glass. He’s shooting just 31 percent in his last five games.

There’s great debate around here about what Jerebko’s ‘natural’ position is. I’m of the opinion that he doesn’t have one. I will concede that he’s probably too small to be a full-time power forward. But the last handful of games make me question whether he has the skillset on offense (in particular, the ability to hit open jumpers) to be effective as a full-time perimeter player. Whatever he is, he’s been a very good player for the Pistons when he plays with energy and is active around the basket on offense. Those elements have been missing the last few games.

Knight’s shooting

I do want to close on a positive here. Knight knocked down all four of his 3-point attempts tonight. He hit his only attempt against Chicago, so he’s now hit his last five after a cold stretch that saw him hit just 5-of-24 from three. It was important for him to get on track simply because so many of the 3-point attempts he was getting and missing were good, open looks. This, of course, does nothing to disprove the knock on Knight coming out of college that he’s a notoriously streaky shooter. As we’ve seen, though, he’s just a tad less athletic than some of the other young point guards in the league. If he can add that 3-pointer as a consistent part of his arsenal, he will become a much more dangerous player.

32 Comments

  • Jan 10, 201210:33 pm
    by Pratik

    Reply

    Someone please get this to Lawrence Frank:
    Personally, like many fans and players, I’ve been disappointed with the Pistons effort in the first 10 games of the season, but I want Lawrence Frank to really open his eyes, and recognize the talents of his roster. Jonas Jerebko flourished during his rookie season, subbing in for an injured Tayshaun Prince, not playing PF. Greg Monroe is not a starting center in this league. Ben Gordon needs to come off the bench. Last year, although we had an awful season, our bench was in the top 5 of the nba scoring nearly 32-35 points per game. This year we are scoring less then 83 pts a game as a team. Frank needs to change his strategy now!
    Today you saw V. Macklin finally get a few minutes, he is the only other young big guy available. We need to work with what we have, I’m not going to try and give suggestions to trade, because honestly no one on the Pistons roster right now is an asset, the way we are playing. Frank preaches about defense, but fails to utilize his best defensive line up. As Rick Carlisle said it’s a strike first league, you have to start games off well. Our line up is not capable or strong enough to do so, night in and night out.

    This is what the Pistons lineup needs to look like, if they want to turn things around:
    1. Brandon Knight (I don’t care if he is ready or not, we have to develop him for the future, the more he plays the more he learns, if he is making too many turnovers as he tends to a lot, Stuckey can bring the ball up the court).
    2. Rodney Stuckey (Is a combo guard, yes he doesn’t shoot the ball well enough to be a SG, but he knows his role is to attack the basket, he can do that, Chauncey is starting with Chris Paul for the Clippers, why can’t we start 2 point guards, our defense will automatically improve in the backcourt, and he can work with Knight and set him up for jumpers as well)
    3. Jonas Jerebko (This is the position, where JJ can be himself, and run when Knight and Stuckey push the tempo on transition, he can also be a mismatch for other SF’s in the league)
    4. Greg Monroe (There is so much pressure on Monroe right now, we run the offense through him, expect him to be our defensive stopper as well, Monroe can develop into our Tim Duncan, but we need a big body around him like David Robinson provided for the Spurs, to rebound for him – playing next to him, taking some pressure off of him, so he can focus on offense)

    5. V. Macklin (Is our only option to play center, and he’s really not that bad, he got a chance to play tonight – when no one on the Pistons roster was competing, I’m not saying he’s the answer, but he’s young, has something to prove, and is another big body on the floor).

    With this lineup our defense is a lot better, our offense may still be lacking, but if we can get stops, we can definitely increase the tempo of the game and score in transition, this lineup also creates some balance, for our bench to come in and be effective, and really give us that spark – that we need to close quarters.

    Bench:
    1. Will Bynum
    2. Ben Gordon
    3. Tayshaun Prince/Austin Daye
    4. CV/Max
    5. Ben Wallace

    I’m hoping Patrick/or Dan has Franks email, we need to contact him, or someone please please get this to him. Also, Prince signed his extension for a reason, but if that reason ensures that he starts every single night, that’s bull shit. He agreed to be a veteran and leader on this team, he never seems to inspire or fit that role. When the team gets down big, or is playing awful, instead of lifting his teammates he simply gets frustrated and doesn’t talk, isn’t vocal. BENCH HIM! At least until he is 100 percent ready to play, he is playing hurt at the moment. His numbers are also down! You need to try something different. This is the lineup that will get you wins. So frustrated, after another blow out loss.

    • Jan 10, 201210:48 pm
      by David

      Reply

      Don’t worry, I have Lawrence Franks e-mail. I’ll get this to him ASAP. Now we can salvage this season.

  • Jan 10, 201210:39 pm
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    I am not going to bother analysing the so called game we played tonight. I will say one thing and that is if we a tanking it at the moment then we are doing a damn good job. I see the Wizards won tonight so it wont be long now till we have the worst record in the league :-(

  • Jan 10, 201210:46 pm
    by Pratik

    Reply

    We are not even fun to watch anymore, it’s like watching a struggling high school team trying to learn how to not turnover the ball?!?!?! So frustrating. Not sure how we managed to get two quality wins over Orlando and Indiana this season. Hmm..maybe Rasheed Wallace will come back from retirement to help this group if Prince convinces him. Probably not. No other player would want to sign with the pistons.

    • Jan 10, 201211:04 pm
      by gmehl1977

      Reply

      Yeah i am starting to think that is why Andre Drummond said he is going to stay another season at UConn. I think even he can see we are going to finish bottom 3 in the league and probably doesn’t want to end up with us.

  • Jan 10, 201210:56 pm
    by Murph

    Reply

    Jerebko’s problem is that he’s an energy player, but because of a combination of factors, he’s runninng out of gas.  JJ’s playing more mpg than ever before, he’s playing more games in a shorter period of time than ever, he’s coming off an injury, and he’s playing at a heavier weight than ever.  All thos factors combined are wearing JJ down, IMO.  And an energy player without any energy doesn’t have a lot to offer.

    JJ needs to play fewer minutes.

  • Jan 10, 201210:58 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    I think Jerebko’s play is being frustrated by foul trouble lately and he’s not adjusting well.
    They need Stuckey back more than anything or any lineup change right now and if Knight was coming off the bench, he would add to the bench’s scoring.  Not really sure which lineup I’d prefer guardwise but Knight might actually benefit a lot from starting off the game as an observer and he does get in foul trouble.
    I can’t see putting Tay on the bench though because the team needs his ball handling, shooting and passing too much to allow the starting lineup to become even less capable of getting any offensive rhythm going.
    The Pistons have usually been a good turnover team, even the last couple of years and Stuckey, Prince and Monroe were all elite in that regard last year.  The trouble is that Knight and Gordon have just been horrible in terms of throwing the ball away and this has never been a team that won when they turned the ball over.
    The schedule has been just brutal so far and I can only hope that playing the Bucks and the Bobcats can turn things because they are the worst opponents the Pistons have seen in what feels like weeks.
    It was good to see Macklin contribute, but I’d like to see him get some regular, non-garbage time minutes before I think of him as a possible starter.  That said, starting Wallace or ugh, Maxiell might give the team some more bulk and shot blocking than starting Jerebko.  I love Jerebko but his hustle could help the team off the bench too and Monroe doesn’t guard the rim all that well yet.

  • Jan 10, 201211:01 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    Someone asked how we beat Indiana and Orlando:  Stuckey played so it wasn’t a train wreck of turnovers.

  • Jan 10, 201211:06 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    You know, I just looked and every game this season so far was against an opponent who has a 500 record right now or better.

  • Jan 10, 201211:12 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    Jerebko has always been overrated and now er are seeing the truth. He’s a decent energy player, but has zero offensive skill-set, and his man defense is horrible. If he’s not making hustle plays, he’s useless. That pretty much defines the characteristics of a bench player, which is where he should be playing.

    It seems that since Darko, fans get over-excited over any Dumars draft pick that isn’t a complete bust. Jerebko is nothing special.

    btw, Patrick, You said this was 5 blowout losses, I believ this makes 8 blowout losses on the year. All 8 losses have been blowouts. Never seen anything like this before.

    Even the 2 wins were blowout-like wins. Never seen a team go 10 games and not play 1 close game to the end.

  • Jan 10, 201211:38 pm
    by Pete

    Reply

    Well from what Ive seen .. i think the Pistons need to get a VETERAN PG to mentor Knight..NONE of the guards are going to help him develop his game. Second some how some way get some more athletes on this team.. Watching 6’10 and 6’11 guys attempt and miss layups and cant defend the rim is ridiculous. Im pretty sure Jason Thompson from the Kings, Tyrus Thomas from the Bobcats, S.Samuels from the Cavs,Andris Biedrins from the Warriors,J.Johnson from the Raptors,Andray Blatche from the Wizards,Paul Millsap from the Jazz,Cole Aldrich from the Thunder are probably all available…I know Joe D cant be sitting there saying ..”hey we got a good team..they just need to jell and play hard….” If he is..he needs drug testing…LOL

    • Jan 11, 201212:03 am
      by ryan

      Reply

      “If he is..he needs drug testing..” That’s so true. I wouldn’t be in a hurry to make a move but I would certainly be looking. Paul Millsap would be a huge addition who could help us tremendously on the boards and while not a great defender he’s better than anything we’ve got now.

  • Jan 10, 201211:47 pm
    by Talan

    Reply

    I was starting to get disappointed with Brandon Knight, but a quick look around at other rookies put things in perspective. What worries me most though, is that Detroit is seems to have a culture of losing after so many years of winning. What changes that? Players, coaches, owners? We have so many new pieces everywhere. We seem mentally weak as well, our body language is defeatist. Tayshaun is supposed to be our glue guy and our veteran presence. The man plays with no effort. Ugly season ahead, but i’ll root for them!

  • Jan 11, 201212:24 am
    by Mark

    Reply

    A leader Tayshaun Prince is not. A leader doesn’t mope around with his head down when his team is getting throttled by 30 pts. A leader gets in his teammates faces and challenges them to fight back, and tells them what they need to do to play better.

    Tayshaun does none of that. He’s just another cog in the machine of defeatists on this team.

    btw, Dirk was a +42!!!! tonight.

    • Jan 11, 20121:14 am
      by gmehl1977

      Reply

      Yeah that’s what happens when you shoot 9 of 10

    • Jan 11, 20121:20 am
      by Laser

      Reply

      There are a dozen reasons Tayshaun needs to go. Hopefully this season is when it happens.
       
      First and foremost, I know he’s hobbled, but the guy has been virtually invisible this season. He was certainly one of our best players last year, and he’s got the ability to be one of our best players now, but for a combination of reasons it just isn’t happening. On a turnover-prone team with atrocious offense, he should be valuable as a steady veteran hand.
       
      But we’ve been even more guard-dominant than usual this season, with an emphasis on playing at a faster pace. These don’t bode well for Tayshaun finding a niche here, and at $7.5 mil a year, we can’t afford to have him limping around as dead weight. He’s one of the few guys on the team who would be more valuable to the team as a trading chip.
       
      We’d be wise to rest him until he’s at 100% (since the team’s losing with flourish with him in the lineup), get his skinny ass healthy, and ship him off to someplace where basketball is played.

      • Jan 11, 20123:23 am
        by gmehl1977

        Reply

        “get his skinny ass healthy, and ship him off to someplace where basketball is played”

        This comment is exactly right. Sit Tay until he is healthy and split the minutes at SF between JJ and Daye. I think the best thing to be would be to bring Wallace into the starting line up so Tay can rest and get better at least for a couple of weeks. Go with C-Wallace PF-Monroe SF-JJ SG-Gordon PG-Stuckey. You would have to play Max as backup PF and Macklin as backup C. I know its nothing to rave about but hopefully CV could come back soon and split minutes at PF and Max can log minutes at C. Just my 2 cents but it is clear that Tay is hampered by that knee. The only thing he is going to do is make it worse so maybe its better to ride Wallace until his tank is empty. Laser who do you think would be the front runners for us to trade Tay to IF he was to able to prove his fitness?

        • Jan 11, 20129:08 am
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Prince actually said after the game that he’s completely healthy and that he’s playing poorly because the offense has no fluidity, not because of his knee.

      • Jan 11, 201210:02 am
        by neutes

        Reply

        You know Prince isn’t going anywhere right? Not for a long long time. We have to make sure that after we draft Harrison Barnes that he has someone to sit behind for the entirety of his rookie contract.

  • Jan 11, 20121:56 am
    by Shane

    Reply

    One thing I noticed with Knight was that he was very hesitant to drive to the hoop which I feel is where he would do the most good with setting up players etc. There were many instances in the game tonight where the Pistons would  just end up passing the ball back n forth at the top of the arc for 20 of the 24 seconds and then force something up or turn it over

  • Jan 11, 20124:44 am
    by Mr. BlockedShot

    Reply

    I think our best starting lineup is Knight, Stuckey, Jerebko, Monroe, Macklin.
    Why? Here are my reasons:
    1) Knight needs minutes to improve his game. He had a lot of turnovers lately and his shot was errant, but he´s a streaky guy and he´s adjusting to nba game, so he needs time and we have to be patient. We have nothing to lose as things can´t be much worse than now are. I think he is the best guard asset we have, and can´t remember a draft pick with that perspective since the Grant Hills days.
    2)Stuckey is a combo guard, not a first-pass guy. He likes to score and likes to drive, probably more than anything. But at least he´s not losing so many balls. He takes care of the ball. It´s sad to say we´re missing him so much, but´s how things are. No turnovers no fast breaks with easy layups…Knight-Stuckey combo is much better than any other in my opinion.  
    3) I don´t know what happens with Jerebko. I doesn´t look like his “old” himself. It looks like he´s barely able to dunk the ball?? He´s missing energy ? WOW…After more than one year of rehab and prepare yourself to be ready for the season…you´re out of gas in less than 10 games?? come on!!!Maybe our expectations on him were too high, but you´re right: right now he´s got no hustle, no energy.. Anyway, he´s our best option right now at SF: Prince is injured (so Frank PLEASE rest him, bench him till it´s ok), and Daye seems a D-League player at most.
    4) Monroe should feel more confortable at PF. His performance would be better I guess.
    5) Macklin is a raw project. I think he is very limited in offense (not many moves to the basket, weak legs and no sight of shot skills so far) and has to put more weight on that body (not too much anyway). But, apart from Wallace (our best defender right now) I can´t see any better player there. He´s a big body, with long arms, and needs minutes. He will get better for sure. Ands as for him…it happens the same, we don´t have anything to lose. I envision him being a decent rotation player ig he gets playing time.

    As for Prince, you pointed it perfectly, he´s not a leader, and I think he´s never been…When the team is down he seems to be more frustrated and down than ever. We can´t trust him to be the go-to guy when things get bad. To me, his resigning was only a good notice if he´s healthy and comming off the bench. No more 30 minutes games please. Rest him until gets healthy. Give Daye an oportunity to prove wether he´s capable of something or not. If not ship him right now.

  • Jan 11, 20128:53 am
    by Steve K

    Reply

    What’s discouraging to me is the lack of motion on the offensive end. During the two wins, the Pistons impressed me with their off-the-ball movement.

    Lately, they’ve regressed to the iso team we’ve all come to hate. Watch BG or Bynum dribble, dribble and launch a deep 2-pointer.

    I know they’re playing stiff competition. It was a murderer’s row schedule. I feared they’d start 1-9. Well I suppose I should be happy they at least pulled out 2 wins. Still, the way they’re losing these games is disheartening… especially with regard to BG and Prince. Those guys look so pathetic. I’m having a hard time thinking of a player who has fallen as far as BG without an injury to use as an excuse.

  • Jan 11, 201210:25 am
    by vic

    Reply

    the main problem is that Brandon Knight is playing scared to drive and get into the paint. Its taking away his options, so he’s throwing away bad passes. He just has to play through it and get better while Stuckey is injured. Bynum is playing courageous, and the team is doing much better with him at pg. But Bynum is limited passing and shooting. We have to get Stuckey back, but we have to use this time to get Knight driving fearlessly again. He is capable of being much quicker and dangerous than he is playing right now.

    • Jan 11, 201212:01 pm
      by Shane

      Reply

      Bynum turns it over alot and also the deficit increases when he is playing

  • Jan 11, 201210:29 am
    by vic

    Reply

    on a positive note, every loss is a step closer to
    1. Andre Drummond
    2. Anthony Davis
    or
    3. Jared Sullinger

    Even if we fall lower than that there’e a lot of good bigs this year, that are actually big - Thomas Robinson, Arnett Moultrie, Cody Zeller, maybe even Meyers Leonard

    • Jan 11, 201210:30 am
      by vic

      Reply

      well, Thomas Robinson is not really big, but he’s a beast

    • Jan 11, 201211:06 am
      by gmehl1977

      Reply

      It would be good if we can get 2 bigs from who you have named

      • Jan 11, 201212:02 pm
        by Shane

        Reply

        I would be pleased with a big like a center(Drummond would be sweet) and a small forward that way we can get rid of Daye

  • Jan 11, 20123:58 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    making the commitment to run the offense through monroe would cure lots of ills.
    first, it would cut down on the ridiculous number of turnovers that the guards are making.  
    monroe is simply a better decisonmaker and while he will undoubtedly have turnovers, my guess is that he will take much better care of the ball.
    most importantly, if he runs the offense, the other players will start to move a lot more.  instead of standing around on the perimeter watching the guards, dribble and then shoot, they will start to make cuts and maybe even go backdoor every once in a while.
    just another reason to wonder about frank.
    he has the best passing big man in the league.
    he has a group of guards who keep making horrible turnovers.
    why would he even hesitate to turn the half-court playmaking duties over to the guy best suited to handle those duties: monroe?
    what is the hold up?
    it is not rocket science.  they use monroe in that capacity often enough now.  just make certain that he is the focus, rather than an occasional option.

  • Jan 11, 20124:16 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    gerald wallace proves that you don’t have to be a great shooter to be a very effective SF in the league.
    wallace’s shot is here and there, very inconsistent.  but he has lots of ways to put his mark on a game, and he does it very effectively.
    like jj, wallace is also capable of swinging over to the 4 spot, but he is much more effective at the 3.  he can defend some 4′s, but he will be dominated by the better 4′s.  against most 3′s, however, he dominates them because of his strength.  he literally just plays through them, because of his superior strength.  when his shot is on, he is capable of scoring 40 points, but he can be a good SF even if he is not hitting his jumper on a particular night.
    jj is capable of doing the same things.  because of his superior size and length, he could probably dominate most SFs.  and on those nights when his shot was on, he could have a big scoring night.
    i don’t know what jj’s “natural” position is, but it is pretty clear that he’d perform best at the 3.

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