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

Pistons signed Damien Wilkins and Walker Russell because they always play how Rodney Stuckey played tonight – hard

Making his way to the court before the game, Rodney Stuckey high-fived Jonas Jerebko, hugged Charlie Villanueva, hugged Austin Daye, tucked in his jersey and then did something few Pistons have done lately.

He smiled.

This was no forced smirk, but a wide grin. Speculating, I’d say he was excited to play the Portland Trail Blazers – the Seattle native’s de facto hometown team – and put on a show for his friends and family watching on television in the Pacific Northwest. Remember, Stuckey (or someone using his account) tweeted he “would go ASAP” to Portland during his contract negotiations with the Pistons.

Whatever his motivation tonight, mission accomplished.

Stuckey scored a season-high 28 points, matched a career-high four 3-pointers, dished five assists, grabbed four rebounds, had just one ball stolen in 38 minutes, took a charge and and even dunked(!) in the Pistons’ 94-91 win. This was a complete performance, and it came in a game it appeared meant a little extra to him.

For the rest of the Pistons, tonight was set to be just another game. It was the second game of a back-to-back and came on the heels of a four-game losing streak – each loss coming by at least eight points. We’re more than a quarter of the way through the Pistons’ season, and it’s clear they’re a bad team.

But that doesn’t matter to two players: Walker Russell and Damien Wilkins.

The Pistons were +11 in the 10:43 those two played together, including a second-quarter run that gave Detroit the lead for good. Russell and Wilkins moved the ball, defended with energy and inspired their teammates to do the same. It’s fitting the game ended with Jason Maxiell diving on a loose ball at midcourt – and a win.

Leaving the arena after every game with a loss becomes demoralizing. These are human beings, not robots. As much as it’s ideal for this team to keep losing and keep improving, it’s not that easy.

If they keep losing, remaining focused on improvement becomes a bigger challenge. If they win more, they forsake precious lottery combinations.

Players like Wilkins and Russell allow them to walk a middle ground.

Russell spent the last few years as a D-League guard and Wilkins has an unguaranteed minimum contract for a reason. They’re not good enough to lift the Pistons out of the lottery, but they’re good enough for wins like this one every once in a while.

I don’t know whether Stuckey will play with the same drive in Detroit’s next game, but I’m quite confident Wilkins and Russell will.

That’s why they’re here.

Bash Brothers

Jonas Jerebko (11 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes) and Jason Maxiell (seven points, seven rebounds and a steal in 26 minutes) definitely benefited from the style Walker Russell and Damien Wilkins dictated tonight.

Jerebko is an excellent ball-handler and passer – for someone who shouldn’t be relied upon to do either often. His strong off-ball cuts set him up to receive passes when the ball is moving well, and he’s capable of making an extra pass or dribbling to force a scrambling defense to collapse, but the Pistons shouldn’t consistently rely on him to create for his teammates. Tonight, they didn’t.

Defensively, both players are best with other good defenders, and the Pistons played strong team defense tonight. Maxiell likes to be physical, but sometimes that takes him out of the play to rebound or help, so his teammates must compensate. Jerebko has the nimble feet to scramble and help and trap, but that’s only effective when his teammates are playing at least decent man-to-man defense. Tonight, they were.

I loved the way both played until Jerebko’s night ended prematurely when his mouth fouled Craig Smith’s elbow, resulting in this:

pp jerebko blood

Brandon Knight scores tonight, but tomorrow?

Brandon Knight scored 14 points, and following 22 points against the Grizzlies yesterday, this is the highest-scoring two-game stretch of his young career. He often took advantage of Portland defensive lapses to get inside for either layups or free throws, which was helpful tonight.

But I’m not sure how much it means going forward. As Knight proves he’s capable of attacking and finishing, defense will gameplan for him and take away the wide driving lanes he saw tonight.

Don’t get me wrong, Knight’s scoring was in no way a negative. I’m just not convinced it’s a big positive. I was much more impressed with his three assists and only one turnover – even if both those numbers are deflated by Knight looking more for his own shot tonight.

Greg Monroe does more than score

The Pistons were guard-dominated and didn’t go to Greg Monroe often tonight, but he was still involved, including a big tip shot late in the fourth quarter. He finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and two steals in 30 minutes.

He has scored below his season average in each of his last four games, and I hope that trend will stop. But as long as he’s not the focal point of the offense, it’s nice to see him still work hard on the glass and defensively.

Austin Daye receives DNP-CD

Austin Daye had his good and bad moments against the Grizzlies, but Lawrence Frank held him out tonight. For someone lacking confidence, Daye will probably suffer in the short term. Hopefully, in the long term, this process will make him mentally tougher.


  • Jan 21, 201211:33 pm
    by Daye and Knight


    I been saying all year Stuckey needs to start…glad to see you’re finally on board Patrick lol

    • Jan 21, 201211:35 pm
      by Daye and Knight


      And I’m referring to the last blog where you said “its ova” for Gordon starting…good write up Dan

  • Jan 21, 201211:53 pm
    by Max


    I feel like a weird trend is developing where the theme of the article regarding a win finds a way to knock the player who played best.
    Maxiell answered some haters tonight.

  • Jan 22, 201212:15 am
    by Vince


    ^ Just to reply to Max, Yes he has, if he plays like this every game I’ll be happy to watch him play, I’m just not sure he’s that consistent.

    Otherwise this was a great game, I am so happy that Stuckey finally started at the 2 and its payed off! I still think Jerebko should be starting at PF, Russell played good tonight, and I really liked how the Pistons played hard and fast (Fast only sometimes), Frank needs to up the tempo on offense, we have a team capable of running the floor and pushing it up the court so why not benefit from that? On a few occasions I saw Knight just sprint down court and get the easy lay-in, same goes with Russell who ran the floor and looked for cutters, though there weren”t many. This teams future rests in a run and gun offense much like the Suns used to have, too many times I’ve seen our offense just lag off and die when we slow the ball down or just dribble too much, this is why we need to push the tempo, not every team would be able to keep up with us if we adopt this type of offense but I think we would have to work on conditioning and finishing at the rim much more than the Pistons are now.

    Apart from that I think the Pistons played great tonight and showed a lot of patience, I hope they keep playing like this, win or lose they’ll be more entertaining to watch if they play like this every night.

  • Jan 22, 201212:27 am
    by Mark


    I agree. While its ideal in principle to lose as many games as possible in a meaningless season, the negative side effect that has on Monroe/Knight could outweigh the positives that could come from getting the top pick.

    You don’t want them to get so demoralized and used to losing that they start to develop that losing culture, where they just go out and play to pad stats for their next big contract – potentially from another team.

    Good win tonight and Knight/Stuckey should be starting the rest of the season. In fact, even when Gordon does return, I’d rather Walker Jr get ALL of his minutes still.

    IMO, its no coincidence that we have  our best game of the year taking care of the ball and attacking the basket in the game where Gordon doesn’t play.

    He’s an overdribbling, bad shot taking, careless turnover machine, with a loser’s mentality. We need no part of him from now on. They need to stick him on the bench with Charlie Brown for the rest of the year.

  • Jan 22, 201212:48 am
    by frankie d


    it may have also showed that stuckey might be a better offensive player against SGs.
    he can use his quickness and speed against defenders.  against PGs, they are usually quick enough to stay in front of him and he ends up trying to overpower them, which usually ends up in a lot of ugly scrums.  
    not sure which type of matchup is better, but the argument that his size advantage at PG is the best way to exploit his talents may have suffered tonight.
    his speed/quickness advantage at SG may be better for him and the  team long term.

  • Jan 22, 20121:27 am
    by Max


    I think Frankie D is right and I feel like Stuckey’s ability to drive on Paul George was one of the decisive factors in the win over Indiana.
    Also, I kind of agree with Mark about Gordon but I wouldn’t go as far as to say he shouldn’t get minutes and even decent minutes but I’d like him to be put on the bench and for Frank to look at BG, Bynum, Russell and Daye and manage the minutes amongst them based on matchups.  They are very different players on the whole and used properly could form a decent platoon of sorts to create problems for other teams.
    Stuckey has practically been the best player on the team ever since the Chauncey deal for good or ill and whatever his flaws, he is their most productive passer, their most reliable ball handler and one of their best and most versatile defenders and athletes.   When you add this to the fact that his ability to get to the line with great frequency and efficiency is easily one of the best features of the team’s entire offense and defense, there is no way he shouldn’t be starting and especially given the general level of talent on the roster.   If the Pistons had Durant and Westbrook or Parker and Duncan it might make sense, but on this roster I just don’t see it.

  • Jan 22, 20121:35 am
    by bg8


    come on guys, its just one game. we’ve seen them (as a team or as an individual) play great one game, and then stink it up for a long while.

    • Jan 22, 20129:26 am
      by Daye and Knight


      It’s no coincidence you would say that lol “bg8″ why don’t you and the real Ben Gordon go somewhere and kick rocks

  • Jan 22, 20121:35 am
    by Max


    Another thought I have is that whatever happens going forward regarding Bynum, Russell has some aptitudes as a PG that neither Stuckey or Bynum and possess and he should at the very least be kept around as another influence for Knight.  He is a rookie, like Knight, but he was born in 1982.
    Also, Stuckey did make the comment after the game that the groin will be an issue all season…..

  • Jan 22, 20122:03 am
    by Josh


    Savor this while you can. We got the Heat, Thunder, and Philly next week.

  • Jan 22, 20122:14 am
    by Max


    You know, this is the first season I have ever experienced where I am moderately okay with going 0-3 over a three game stretch if the team plays hard and competes.
    As much as I would enjoy seeing this team develop crazy chemistry somehow and somehow get to the playoffs, the Pistons recent standing as the second worst team and now this win which elevates them a couple of spots I think, makes me realize that I am pretty ambivalent with consideration to the ping pong balls.

  • Jan 22, 20122:26 am
    by Shaun


    Knight and Stuckey are the future guards good to see them both!

  • Jan 22, 20122:27 am
    by Max


    I have a major crush on the notion of the Pistons getting Davis or Drummond.  They are both such phenomenal looking unselfish passers that I just gush when I imagine either of them paired with Monroe.

  • Jan 22, 20126:18 am
    by ryan


    I know what you mean Max though I only really feel that way about Anthony Davis well him and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. How can we get the both of ‘em?

  • Jan 22, 20126:57 am
    by vic


    i too am excited about Drummond & Davis… or and Fab Melo in round 2.   Definitely keep Russell and make him a part of that bench guard platoon. He’s the only real PG. They gotta go back to running thru Monroe though.

  • Jan 22, 20128:16 am
    by gordbrown


    Interesting that when Stuckey and Knight played together last night, Stuckey ran the point and Knight played at the 2 on offense. Not a coincidence that the team got off to a fast start or that Knight’s TOs were way down and even respectable. I’d be interested to see the stats of Knight and Stuckey playing together. I know they’re much better than any other combination so far this year. On the other hand, sad that Gordon has broken down: he was just starting to show signs of life.

    • Jan 22, 20128:56 am
      by gmehl1977


      I don’t know who i want to amnesty more…BG or CV. I think i am leaning towards BG because he is owed a lot more $$$$ and we have guys that can replace what he does. BG is not worth his contract and is a defensive liability and does not fit with the pistons culture. Having said that CV is also a defensive liability and is not worth his contract either but i think the thing he has got going for him is he is big which we don’t have much of. As you saw last night with a Stuckey Knight backcourt BG was easily replaced. Knight seemed to be playing SG and he did an ok job. It would be great if you could get rid of both BG and CV but you obviously can’t so i am going with BG simply because he is owed more. Next step would be convincing CV to accept a buyout and then we can get this thing going in the right direction. Dan/Patrick maybe you guys could add a poll who they think is best to amnesty out of those 2 guys.

      • Jan 22, 201210:55 am
        by Steve K


        Amnesty Gordon for that exact reason. He’s owed more the next two seasons. $9M more.
        So the Pistons save $9M in the cap (not in Gores’ pocket, though).

        Further, it’s easier to trade a big than a guard. I can’t imagine a team wanting CV and his $8.5M per year contract, but I never thought I’d see Washington find a taker for Arenas. So I guess ya never know.

        • Jan 22, 201211:19 am
          by tarsier


          well arenas’ contract was only slightly worse than lewis’. twould be like trading cv for turkoglu.

  • Jan 22, 201211:34 am
    by apa8ren9


    Good win, its definitely something I didnt expect.  I am glad they were able to make the plays down the stretch to win.  Getting even going down to the last 5 minutes of a close game and learning how to compete and win is the experience that is needed for Knight and Monroe.  Great analysis from Dan with some opinion thrown in.  Walker came in on a plane from South Dakota and is making an impact.  Daye I’m looking at you.  There is a day off and probably a practice so you better strap it on so you can get some run and make the most of your next chance.

  • Jan 22, 20121:12 pm
    by MrBlockedShot


    It´s always cool to see your team getting a win, in spite of it´s making it harder for having a good chance at getting the #1 draft pick. But, somehow I think we do need some wins, not only for the fans but also for the players to give the best of them. Right now Stuckey is a must in the starting lineup. We have had a lot of shooting slumps and tons of turnovers. He seems to take better care of the ball and his strong drives to the basket results in deffensive fouls,  trips to the line and easy points. As far as I´m concerned I would go with Knight and him in the starting backcourt. Gordon and Walker off the bench. I´m a bit concerned about Monroe´s game lately. Where´s the offensive hub? It seems a lot of balls are not going to him to drive, pass or shoot. He simply has dissapeared in the offense, only making some tips and offensive rebounds basically. I don´t know if it has something to do with Prince´s renaisance…but I miss so much the inside and outside game wich I think was productive for us, don´t you agree?

    • Jan 22, 20123:16 pm
      by gordbrown


      There’s a couple of things happening here. The biggest one is that team’s are watching film and Monroe close to the basket is being consistently double teamed. So team’s are doing their homework and are working harder to keep Monroe contained, denying him the ball, overplaying the pass when he gets the ball, etc. I think that’s what opened Stuckey up some last night. Secondly, Monroe’s slump started with him getting into early foul trouble. So that’s had a bit of an effect as well. Hopefully, stronger play, especially from the perimeter and Monroe’s being more careful with his fouls will address this in the next little bit.

  • Jan 22, 20124:45 pm
    by Max


    One thing about Monroe is that Frank put Big Ben in the starting lineup because he said the schedule was going to turn rough in terms of facing big defensive front lines so maybe that has had something to do with Monroe being used less on offense lately.   That said, he had a big game against Bogut.

  • Jan 22, 20128:11 pm
    by Cantrell Marcus


    As daily readers of this blog, you have inspired us to start our own.Our names are Cantrell Marcus and Gunner White. We are 16 years old, and are senior writers for a blog that we started. If you wanna be entertained, and informed please visit http://hebankeditin.blogspot.com

  • Leave a Reply

    Your Ad Here