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The Pistons never met a turnover they didn’t like

Lawrence Frank calling a timeout and then storming as fast as he can towards the other side of the court is quickly becoming one of the few entertaining things to watch this season. One of these times, he’s just going to walk right into the stands and never come back.

There were no shortage of moments that would disgust the most even-tempered of coaches in Tuesday’s loss to the Knicks. Landry Fields made his first six shots. Carmelo Anthony, famous for never passing to anyone ever, had five assists by halftime. Amar’e Stoudemire plays no defense, yet the Pistons rarely attacked him, either with penetrating guards challenging him or by looking for post players to establish position. But above all, the unforced turnovers are the most unwatchable problem the Pistons have right now.

Turnovers have plagued Brandon Knight this season, but that’s to be expected as a young rookie point guard forced into huge minutes because of all of the Pistons’ backcourt injuries. The trend, though, is spreading. Greg Monroe had six turnovers by the start of the fourth quarter. The team as a whole turned it over 20 times and did so in a variety of ways.

Some of them were the brainless type. Monroe made a weak outlet pass without bothering to notice that a Knick was standing right in between him and his target. Austin Daye, with no defensive pressure, simply dribbled the ball off his foot as he tried to advance it up court.

Some of them were bad calls. Monroe is getting no respect from officials. Tyson Chandler played him physically, reached in frequently and on more than one occasion stripped the ball away from him while having a chunk of arm or jersey as well.

Some were the Rodney Stuckey variety — aimlessly driving into traffic, drawing easy charge calls or throwing the ball away after getting caught in the air with nowhere to go.

As a result, the game was obviously another difficult one to watch. There are few positives to point out with the Pistons, which is why I admire Fox Sports Detroit not really trying anymore. Ryan Field was sharing LeBron James’ reaction tweets about Blake Griffin’s dunk on Kendrick Perkins and FSD was running stories about the Madison Square Garden renovations. Really, what else are they supposed to talk about? The Pistons have now lost 10 of 11 games, including six straight. Four of those six have been by 20 points or more. Knight’s play has fallen off drastically. After a semi-positive three-game stretch that looked like Tayshaun Prince was coming out of his shooting slump, he’s regressed back to his mean this season.

The Pistons aren’t going to stumble onto many positives that result in wins this season. Instead, they should be focused on smaller goals. Reducing the turnovers will keep games more competitive. Getting Monroe more touches will make the offense run more smoothly. Those should be the team’s two immediate priorities.

Greg Monroe needs to shoot way more

At the risk of being a broken record … you know what? … scratch that. I will continue to scream about this point as long as it is an obvious and obnoxious trend. Tayshaun Prince shoots way too much. Greg Monroe shoots nowhere near enough.

Monroe is one of the most efficient scorers in the league this season. Prince is a terribly inefficient scorer. It’s ridiculous that after tonight’s game, both guys are attempting 12.3 shots per game. Prince is shooting 41 percent this season. He never draws fouls and he doesn’t create shots for teammates. He is way too involved in the offense.

Although Monroe doesn’t draw a lot of fouls yet, he does get contact on many plays. He’s still a young, unproven player, and he’ll eventually get those calls. On top of that, he shoots a high percentage, he puts pressure on a defense and he sets up good shots for teammates.

Prince was signed to be a veteran leader. I’m worried that Prince’s interpretation of that might make him think that means he’s a go-to player. If Monroe is going to keep developing, Prince needs to take a backseat in the offense and be the complimentary player his skillset suggests he should be.

Walker Russell is the team’s best passing guard

There’s strong evidence that Walker Russell is only a temporary Piston who will probably play elsewhere when the team’s other guards get healthy. The great thing for Russell is he’s created a market for himself by showing in Detroit that he’s a smart, capable bench player who probably should’ve been in the NBA sooner. The unfortunate part for the Pistons is that if he does indeed go elsewhere, they’ll be back to a collection of guards who aren’t particularly good at setting up others.

Prince doesn’t deserve the entirety of the blame for the offense running poorly — he’s just taking too many shots and stopping the ball. Knight and Stuckey are also bogging down the offense. Knight’s turnovers are a problem and Stuckey is still too often over-dribbling and not creating good passing angles to get the ball into the post. Neither player creates easy shots for teammates. When Russell is in the game, he’s able to change the tempo, he has good court vision and awareness and he routinely gets players open jumpers or layups. Russell isn’t a long-term piece given his age and non-guaranteed contract, but the Pistons’ offense will get worse if he’s not on the roster.

Jerebko gets it going

Hopefully, after playing only 15 minutes tonight, Jonas Jerebko is primed for a big contribution tomorrow. Jerebko, who has struggled with his shot of late, hit all four attempts tonight and grabbed four rebounds. He also got a little feisty with Renaldo Balkman late in the game.

It might be time to start Jerebko again. The Pistons are getting jumped on at the beginning of games. Maybe Jerebko’s energy to start the game could prevent them from starting in such big holes.


  • Jan 31, 201210:21 pm
    by Willie


    Give me the stat when Greg Monroe shoots over 20 times a game.  I am sure there is not a lot of them so Ill let you slide there Patrick.  I think he would be around mid to low 40% if he consistantly shoots over 20 times a game.  Not saying he can’t get there, but I don’t think he is ready for that ….yet.  That is a lot to ask for a second year player for anyone.  What is his average shots per game?

    • Jan 31, 201210:31 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      He’s shot 20 times twice this season, making 19 shots combined in those games, so just a shade under 50 percent.

      I’m not saying he should shoot 20 per game. I’m saying he should be their No. 1 option, I’m saying he should get more touches and take more shots than the others. He’s not Tim Duncan, but he’s proven to be way more efficient with the ball than anyone else on the team. That’s just not an arguable point. He needs more touches, Prince needs fewer touches.

      • Jan 31, 201210:38 pm
        by frankie d


        monroe is their best offensive option. and i trust his judgment more than any other player’s. with the possible exception of russell.
        he should get the ball, in a position to score or pass each timen downthe court. considering the pistons’ slow pace, it is hard to see how that will hurt. most teams would kill for a big guy that they could start their offense with.

        • Jan 31, 201210:42 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          Prince’s comments after the game were interesting. He kinda sorta blamed the offense being run in a passive aggressive way. He said (paraphrasing some) that the team doesn’t know what to do when they can’t get the ball to their first option.

          Now, speculating, I would assume that the first option is Monroe. And judging by what I’ve watched, I would lay the blame for not getting the ball inside on the players on the court. I think it’s pretty clear that’s where the coaches want it to go. Prince, Stuckey and Knight create such horrid spacing on the perimeter though, that the passing angles are often bad. Then once they can’t get a good pass off, it becomes iso city.

          Frank’s not the type of coach who is critical of players in the press, but I’m really interested at what’s at work here. Prince is right when he says that the movement stops when they can’t get the ball where they want it. His implication was that the coaches have to do something about that. I think he’s right — the coaches should put players in the game who make more of an effort to pass it inside.

  • Jan 31, 201210:27 pm
    by frankie d


    tay is an example of the peter principle in basketball.
    he obviously does envision himself as the #1 option, if only by virtue of seniority. he is clearly delusional, on that issue.
    the offense needs to go through monroe. period. why that has not been agreed upon and implimented is a mystery.
    on the knicks broadcast clyde frazier descibed knight’s ballhandling as “atrocious”. hard to disagree. for knight’s sake and the teamm’s sake, they have to take the pressure of running the offense off knight. let him ease into it.
    and let a guy more suited to it – monroe – initiate the offense.

  • Jan 31, 201210:34 pm
    by Max


    I don’t know whether Monroe lacks the energy to take more shots or not because I simply don’t understand why he isn’t averaging more than 32 minutes a night.    Kobe Bryant is playing over 38 minutes a night and the Pistons need Monroe on the floor even more than the Lakers need Kobe.  There were games earlier where Monroe seemed much more involved and aggressive and since he is so far and away the Pistons best player, I just have to wonder if Frank and Monroe know something we don’t know regarding why he isn’t even approaching being a league leader in minutes per game.

    • Jan 31, 201210:37 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Stamina is an issue with Monroe and has been all season, he pretty frequently asks for a sub and gets tired. I still think he can get more than 12 shots a game in those 32 minutes though.

  • Jan 31, 201210:42 pm
    by Max


    I see.  I agree with you that he should take more shots in those minutes but if he is having those issues, it could speak to inconsistent levels of aggression.   Hopefully, he’ll work on his conditioning this summer so he can play more minutes and more actively without asking for a blow.   The Pistons need him to average franchise player minutes if he is gong to be their best player.  A more normal schedule will probably take care of some of the problem too.

  • Jan 31, 201210:44 pm
    by frankie d


    and when he is in the game they frequently ignore him as they dribble around the perimeter. imho, that happens because the coaching staff has not committed to using him as the offense’s hub.
    it should be drilled into everyone’s head: pass the ball into monroe at the mid or high post. that should be the way the offense starts.

    • Jan 31, 201210:47 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      See Prince’s comments that I mentioned above. Sounds like getting Monroe the ball is drilled into their heads, they’re just not doing it.

  • Jan 31, 201210:48 pm
    by Max


    I agree Frankie, but I’d also like to see Monroe call for the ball more.   He needs to be less unassuming and step on some people’s toes.   What is going to take for him to flash some anger?

  • Jan 31, 201210:58 pm
    by Max


    It pisses me off that the Pistons are last in blocks.

  • Jan 31, 201211:09 pm
    by frankie d


    thanks. interesting quote. i had draftede and submitted the previous post simultaneous to your other reply. missed it before i hit “submit” !

  • Jan 31, 201211:20 pm
    by Max


    Can a player received in a trade he was signed under the old CBA be traded and amnestied?  As in, if a team were to take BG or CV off the Pistons hands, would they do so knowing they could amnesty them afterwards?

    • Feb 1, 201212:50 pm
      by sebastian


      Max, no a player can only be amnestied by the team that originally signed the player prior to the current CBA.

  • Jan 31, 201211:26 pm
    by bg8


    agreed, monroe need to shoot more. but once bg comes back, monroe shot attempt should increase or at least get more free throw.

    i haven’t been watching the game the past couple of weeks since bg weren’t playing, but im assuming monroe shot attempt will go up once bg comes back is because don’t bg pass to the bigs quite often on the pick and roll. i don’t remember the other guards passing to the rolling big on pick and roll that often. maybe im just bias, im not sure but thats just what i remember seeing most often

    • Feb 1, 201212:12 pm
      by tim


      yes, pretty sure you are just bias.  Len Bias.

      You only watch when Ben Gordon plays?  you have terrible taste in basketball.  sorry

  • Jan 31, 201211:26 pm
    by Willie


    I think 15 to 17 shots a game for monroe would do well, on top of that using him as a hub so you could send Knight and Stuckey cutting to the basket more which they are good at.  And that should help our FG%  Until they get someone in there who can set screens (Big Ben who is around the age of Moses, and Maxcell whos on the bench) this offense is going to be pretty motionless.  And the Pistons only play defense when there offense does well.

  • Jan 31, 201211:33 pm
    by Herman Neutic


    I agree with the comments on Monroe getting more touches, but what about Stuckey driving more and shooting less from the outside? It seems like he draws fouls when he drives, but that, unfortunately, he misses an inordinate amount of lay ups in the process?

  • Feb 1, 201212:13 am
    by Laser


    1) Re: Russell… This is essentially why you don’t spend $10 million on unspectacular guards. Not one, and especially not three of them. Looking a bit like Russell’s made Bynum obsolete, but at least Bynum’s contract makes sense. Stuckey, Gordon and Rip are wildly overpaid (even at Rip’s buyout cost which is apparently $8.5 mil this season and $6.5 next). To pour those kinds of resources ($$$) into a backcourt that contains ZERO (0) potential All-Stars is maddening. Half our cap space on three guys, one of whom we’ll be writing a FAT paycheck to play elsewhere for a while to come. And a D-Leaguer comes in here and right away does a better job of making his teammates better. NBA-quality guards are a dime a dozen. They’re found everywhere. Late in the first round, in the second round, cheap free agent pickups, or if you can get Joe Dumars on the phone he’ll probably dump a top-notch one on a rookie contract for a million in cap space. The mind boggles.
    2) The fact that Joe Dumars gets to skip right from “evaluation” and “wait and see” and some hogwash about his hands being tied by an ownership transition (the second ownership was switched and he was still without options ends that fallacy) directly into “we’re in a rebuilding stage” and “it took three years when i came here to restock the talent base,” without an iota of responsibility for the three years that got us here, makes me sick. Sick to my stomach. And angry.

  • Feb 1, 201212:35 am
    by Willie


    I don’t think Stuckey is wildly over paid, on top of that we had him for cheap for how many years?  I do agree on BG, but his numbers all of sudden ran south when he got here.  Rip had a great career but you don’t pay someone on there way out that much and the same thing goes for Tay.  And its not like Joe Dumars is Andy Reid ( or Eagles GM ) or anything, we won a champonship in what 4 years after Dumars got here (Should of been 2).  Were not the Yankees of the NBA its going to take time to get back towards the top.  But I’m not happy with all the bad coaches being hired.

  • Feb 1, 20121:49 am
    by MrHappyMushroom


    Patrick–do you ever attend team press conferences? Do you have connections with someone who does? If the answer to either is yes, could you find a way to get the following question publicly posited to Larry Frank?:

    “Coach, even the most casual and indifferent basketball fan would find it batshit crazy that Jonas Jerebko–one of the few legitimate assets that the team has and a part of any future that this franchise could have over the next decade–got fifteen minutes of playing time (during which he scored fifteen points), whereas Damian Wilkins–who is lucky to be in the league and who is certainly not part of any long term plans–was given over 20 minutes, in which he scored three points.

    What would you say to critics who think you must be completely fucked in the head for managing your roster like this?”

    Feel free to edit for clarity and lack of desire to be banned from the Palace.

    • Feb 1, 20128:59 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      I don’t, haha. I would guess that since the game was pretty much out of reach from start to finish, they didn’t play Jerebko much to save him for tonight. Or at least that’s what I hope. I expect him to get big minutes vs. NJ since this is the only close to winnable game for them on this road trip. If he doesn’t get more than 20ish minutes, then I have no idea what’s going on with him.

    • Feb 1, 201212:37 pm
      by frankie d


      what is interesting is that wilkins PT is now coming at jj’s expense, whereas previously, it was at daye’s expense.
      if you look at the game logs over at basketball reference, you see that daye’s minutes started increasing at game 12, the memphis game.  after that, wilkins minutes basically stayed the same and even increased, especially during tay’s 2 game absence.  
      but jj’s minutes have taken a dive.  not a steady dive, but a clear pattern has emerged: wilkins minutes essentially stay the same.  he is in the rotation, seemingly no matter what.
      but jj and daye get their PT cut depending on….who knows…
      now, what is the excuse for playing wilkins?
      previously, it was because daye was playing so horribly, and without energy and aggression.
      none of that applies to jj, but still wilkins ends up getting PT that rightfully should go to a young player who is supposed to be part of the pistons’ future.
      wilkins: the ultimate coach’s security blanket.  he makes a coach like frank feel all warm and fuzzy!

      • Feb 1, 20121:02 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        He’d played 20 more more minutes every game this season except one until getting below 20 minutes the last four games. In one of those games, he fouled out in 17 minutes. In another, he had four fouls in 18 minutes. Not sure what accounted for the reduced minutes last night or against Philly, although he (and everyone else) did play pretty bad vs. Philly.

        Last night, I think it’s possible he only played 15 minutes b/c it was a blow out and they will probably need him big minutes tonight since I would guess Wallace won’t play much or at all in the third game of three straight.

        • Feb 1, 20123:28 pm
          by frankie d


          but i think you have to look at jj’s PT in context. and that context has to include wilkins PT and daye’s PT. and if you do that, imho, the pattern is clear: wilkins plays, while the other guys fluctuate. it really doesn’t make sense. wilkins is an incredibly mediocre performer. never a good offensive player, he’s now lost the quickness that made him a good, though not great, defender. now, he gets abused regularly. he is, however a “responsible” defender and i’m sure that he is where he is supposed to be, when they break down the tape. but what justification is there for starting and playing him 34 minutes in 2 straight games when you have 2 young players who need those minutes, and who both got less PT?

  • Feb 1, 20123:33 am
    by Tom Y.


    I think Greg’s ability to produce is limited by the team’s play. Opponents know he’s our first (and almost only) option, and though he seems to have adjusted a bit to the increased defensive pressure, what would really help him is teamates moving, making themselves avilable to passes, being threats themselves (so he can get more space to operate).
    Unfortunately (or fortunately, lottery wise), that’s probably not going to happen very often this year. I think it would happen more often with JJ starting and playing big minutes, and Tay out of the rotation. But I do like where this way of playing is taking us in the rankings. If we trade Tay at the end of the season we can get the best of both worlds – one addition by subtraction and one by addition :)

  • Feb 1, 20124:52 am
    by gmehl


    2nd last…for now

  • Feb 1, 20127:54 am
    by vic


    Jerebko needs to start again. we’ll still get abuse by bigs but at least we’ll have a better offensive flow.   Yeah and it is quite hilarious how someone from the D League can come in and outperform all of our high caliber combo guards by doing simple things like ‘executing a bounce pass in the paint’.      I think Joe really overvalues people that play like him, and undervalues pass first pgs.  This is why we would have been better off drafting Julyan stone or Isaiah Thomas for our last draft pick. They both had great assist rates. and Thomas is killing it whenever he plays for the Kings.  I think Knight needs to watch 100 hours each of Steve Nash, Magic Johnson, John Stockton, and Ricky Rubio.  If we somehow end up with andre drummond and Kendall Marshall or scott machado this draft, I would be glad. a good 3 guard rotation  knight shooting, stucky defense, marrshall/machado passing. Its an underrated talent, but it makes teams work

  • Feb 1, 20121:56 pm
    by MrBlockedShot


    Hard to say but after watching this game I needed some sort of relief and watched Thunders vs Clippers. It was like I was watching guys from another planet playing basketball, really weird feeling. With this season Pistons I´ve almost forgotten what´s to have fun watching basketball… If the team keeps playing that I´m planning on giving up on watching Pistons games, too much for my mind…hehehe

  • Feb 1, 20122:46 pm
    by Max


    I’m the kind of fan who’d rather watch a meaningless Pistons game when they stink no matter who they are playing over any marque matchup in the league.

  • Feb 1, 20123:06 pm
    by RussellC


    I posted this on antother article but

    I don’t pretend to know as much about basketball as Joe Dumars but I have lost faith in him and his ability to rebuild the team. Some of the moves he made and didn’t make are listed here
    Let go of Aron Afflalo and Amir Johnson to create more cap space for Gordon and Charlie V when David Lee, Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass were also free agents. Lee and Gortat were restricted though.
    Drafted Daye two spots ahead of Ty Lawson
    Drafted Summers and Jerebko instead of DuJuan Blair
    Drafted Walter Sharpe instead of DeAndre Jordan.
    Did not amnesty Maxiel.
    Re-signed Rip
    A frontcourt of Gortat or Jordan, Bass, Blair, David Lee, Amir and Prince along with Stuckey, Afflalo, and Lawson would be a pretty good team. They may not have been able to pick up Monroe or Knight in the draft but they would not have had this embarrassing drop off.

    My team has become a joke and a lot of this cannot be blamed on Mrs. Davidson. To end up with a team of apathetic jumpshooters has to be blamed on someone, namely the talent evaluator.

    • Feb 1, 20124:35 pm
      by vic


      I agree somewhat with that statement. Joe D is a good talent evaluator, he just overvalues guards with the exact same talents he had as a player. He needs to mix it up

  • Feb 1, 20125:52 pm
    by Max


    It’s all about the As and Bs and you are focusing on the Cs, Russel C.
    Forget Gortat and Lee.  They were not possible and Jordan is nit picking in the extreme so let’s just say Sharpe was a wasted pick.
    Resigning RIP was the worst thing Dumars ever did in my opinion because it went against what could reasonably be called logical regarding the possible upside of the Billups trade……………I’ve always imagined and this is purely speculative, given the timing of how everything went that RIP completely lost his shit when Billups got traded and Dumars monumentally caved by granting the extension to prove to RIP he was still valued and that the team wasn’t going to be wiped away.   After their previous playoff exit, the rumbles of Dumars’ “I have seen enough”, “There are no holy cows here” and “We will rebuild when the bigs are no longer dominate” percolated all summer and it was actually very surprising that they went into the season intact.  I thought they were just looking awesome through the first four games like they were going to just roll through the league and then, as suddenly as any trade in history, came the announcement that Billups was gone.   It was many hours later or the next day, I’m not sure, before RIP got his extension.
    Afflalo, bad move.  Johnson, shrug.  You’re nit picking and playing Monday morning quarterback.   Afflalo is a C+.  Johnson is a C-.
    Brandon Bass.  Now there is a C.  Shrug.
    Now, with Daye two spots ahead of Lawson, you are finally at least talking about a player who is at least a B.   However, the 15th pick is generally considered a bit of a crap shoot, the Pistons weren’t looking for a PG at the time and a lot of teams regret passing on Lawson who had such a great college career.   Nevertheless, Lawson granted.
    Summer and Jerebko ahead of Blair.   Blair’s knees may still lead to an early exit as with Roy and we are talking about 2nd round picks here.  Not a game, not a game, 2nd round picks.  I mean what are talking ’bout.
    What would amnestizing Maxiell have done other subtract a player who is contributing?
    You mentioned that we wouldn’t have Monroe and Knight if we had retained Afflalo and Johnson and drafted Lawson and signed Bass and I agree with that but I disagree about which package I’d prefer because at this point, Monroe and Lawson are both solid Bs, but I think Monroe has a better chance of becoming an A and it’s all about the base.  If Knight becomes a B or can even approach what Lawson becomes, it’s not even close.

  • Feb 1, 20126:15 pm
    by Jayg108


    By midseason, your webmaster is going to need to switch the words “Comments” with “Complaints”

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