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Lawrence Frank’s pregame comments prove a little too prophetic in loss to Philly

Jason Maxiell couldn’t be contained on the offensive glass against Philadelphia. Fortunately, the Sixers figured out that even if he grabbed an offensive board (he had six of them in 26 minutes), there was a good chance he’d give the ball right back to them (he had five turnovers). One of the things I always loved about Chris Wilcox was his insanely high turnover rate (except, miraculously, in a contract year) despite the fact that he rarely touched the ball for very long. Maxiell had a Wilcox kind of game — active, athletic, not terrible in most statistical categories, but five turnovers? Seriously?

But I’m just kidding a bit with that intro. Maxiell had a sloppy game, but to have your worst loss of the season (the last time the Pistons lost by 29 or more was last March), it takes a special kind of poor performance, and the Pistons delivered. Rodney Stuckey returned from his All-Star vacation, which lasted one extra day than everyone else’s, to at least score some points (17 on 5-for-12 shooting) despite joining Maxiell in the five turnover club, but he also wasn’t the worst player on the court.

Brandon Knight continued to take OK care of the ball (three turnovers in 28 minutes), but does a low turnover rate from your PG really matter if he only gets one assist and shoots 2-for-8? But he also wasn’t the worst player on the court.

After a 2-for-10 performance, Tayshaun Prince‘s career-low field goal percentage fell to 40 percent on the button, dangerously close to joining Austin Daye, Walker Russell and Will Bynum in sub-40 percent territory. The only difference is Prince has taken more shots than all four of those players combined (and not just a few more … roughly 100 more). Ouch. But Prince was still not the worst player on the floor.

That distinction goes to Ben Gordon. Gordon bested Prince with a 1-for-10 shooting performance. Prince also grabbed one more rebound (4-to-3) and dished one more assist (2-to-1). They were even on turnovers. I’ll give the nod for slightly less horrible to Prince. It was close though, hard to project the winners. Like Santorum-Romney all over again.

Before the game, Lawrence Frank gave this interesting comment to reporters:

“Sometimes, guys are still on break,” he said. “Physically, they’re here. But you see it. The first game on breaks sometimes are a little bit funky, for both teams, because you have no rhythm of practice or playing.”

I dunno … Philly looked pretty awesome. But seriously, I read that before the game and I thought, “I wonder if they had like a horrid shootaround or practice or whatever today and Frank said to himself, damn … better do some preemptive damage control.” Then, Stuckey helped provide some clarity too:

“It didn’t really feel weird, I picked it up and it was just the same-old, same-old,” he said of his return to practice Monday. “But taking five days back and you start running, it’s a big difference. Other than that, my body feels good. I think the first couple of minutes, everybody’s going to be huffing and puffing, but other than that, everything’s going to be good.”

OK, got it. Don’t expect teams to play competitively before or after breaks. No wonder the Pistons discounted those tickets tonight. This is normally the point where I write ‘check back for updates.’ But, now that I’m familiar with the etiquette, I think I’ll ease back into my post-All-Star schedule slowly too. No need to go too hard … there’s a game tomorrow anyway, amiright?


  • Feb 28, 201211:03 pm
    by Richard


    I think the Pistons should try and trade for Marcus Morris in Houston is not using him right at all..

  • Feb 28, 201211:09 pm
    by Stuckey and whoever


    Too many turnovers, I know we are not the most crisp team moving the ball.  But these guys look like they just got back from spring break or something.  Rough way to start back up the second half at home.  Phillys garbage time players are even solid, they are just a too tough of a match for us right now.

    • Feb 28, 201211:13 pm
      by Mark


      PHI’s not even that great, imo. Just shows how bad we are. They’re a good defense, but they rely on fastbreak for all their pts.

      • Feb 29, 20121:30 am
        by frankie d


        philly’s talent is not appreciably better than detroit’s talent.  for instance, they have no one as dominant as greg monroe.  their talent is, imho, very similar to detroit’s.
        they start a rookie at center, an old vet with bad kniees at PF, and a second round draft choice who goes through bad shooting streaks at SG.  and they have a much, much better record than detroit.
        how does that happen?
        one word: coaching.
        collins knows how to get the best out of his young players and frank is in the process of either retarding or destroying the careers of at least a couple of potentially very important young players on the pistons.
        it is pretty simple.

        • Feb 29, 20129:27 am
          by swish22


          The only thing thats simple to me is that this is a poorly constructed team by the GM with NO point guard still and little direction!
          Either turn the point over to Knight or find another point guard.  Stuckey is no point guard and he doesn’t create good looks for the other two guards or anybody else as far as that goes.  I could see him sitting down a few of these tonight in the starting lineup.   Prince, Stuckey and Gordon should all have their minutes cut back.  No excuse for not being ready last night.  I know they’ve already got their millions coming so it’s not that important to put forth the 110% I used to be accostomed to being a die-hard pistons fan!   If a guy hasn’t figured out how to not pick up his dribble 30 feet from the hoop by the time he’s 25 there’s little hope he ever will!   In Stuckey’s defense he shouldn’t be running the point and that’s my biggest criticism of Franks so far!  HE’s in a very tough position to try and win with Joe’s old but newly enriched friends!      O.K.  Stuckey’s Slackey’s give me your best shot!

        • Feb 29, 201210:04 am
          by Patrick Hayes


          “philly’s talent is not appreciably better than detroit’s talent.”

          Serious? Monroe is the only player on Detroit’s roster who would get minutes for Philly. Iguodala is an All-Star. Lou Williams is probably the best sixth man in the league. Jrue Holiday is superior to Knight in every way. Hell, Thad Young and Williams, who don’t even start for the Sixers, would be Detroit’s second and third best players. Evan Turner doesn’t start either and he’d be no worse than Detroit’s 3rd or 4th best player.

          Yes, Collins can coach. But Philly has great talent that is far superior to Detroit’s.

          • Feb 29, 201210:18 am
            by tarsier

            And don’t undersell Brand who went through a couple bad seasons but now puts up fantastic per minute numbers. As was pointed out, his knees aren’t great so Collins doesn’t play him heavy minutes in the regular season, but per 36, he gets 14 and 9 with 2 blocks. Those are nearly Hibbert numbers and Hibbert was also an all-star on a comparable team.

          • Feb 29, 201210:32 am
            by Patrick Hayes

            Yeah, my fault. Brand is still really solid and tough defensively.

          • Feb 29, 201212:28 pm
            by frankie d

            i love it when folks suffer from amnesia.  sort of like the old soviet union, where history just disappeared.
            well, i have a good memory and i remember philly, pre-collins. i remember them very well.
            before collins, these very same players were looked at as a bunch of limited and failed role players that no one wanted.
            does anyone else remember those days? 
            yea, the years before collins were disasters, and the year before collins took over, the team was 27-55.
            27-55 with the exact same players that collins took the next year to a 41- 41 record and essentially the very same players that he now has on top of his division.
            some inconvenient facts:
            the 41-41 team had the exact top 6 rotation players as the 27-55 team, with only hawes and turner as the  new 7th and 8th men.  turner contributed very little and dalembert – who was traded for hawes – was a superior player to hawes.  (at least that first year, there was a clear drop off from dalembert to hawes.)  
            so these very same players who are now being praised so highly, were considered dogs who had suffered through a couple of bad seasons, and many of those players were on the trading block. 
            brand?  anyone willing to pick up his contract could have had him.  detroit was one of those teams considering it.
            igudola?  after he signed a ben gordon-like contract and the team went in the tank, he went on the trading block and the only reason he wasn’t traded was because no one wanted to pick up his very expensive contract.    people thought of him sort of like they now think of ben gordon.  before collins, no one knew what to do with him.  was he a SG?  a SF?  heck, years ago – and even against detroit in the playoffs – he even played some PG.  his career, his numbers and his play on the court was a mess, as up and down as  any confused second or third year player. 
            sweet lou williams? a philly version of rodney stuckey pre-collins.  he played the point and SG.  he started a bunch of games the year pre-collins.  while it was obvious that he was a talented scorer, no one knew if he was a PG or a SG, a starter or a bench scorer.  again, an erratic, though talented, player whose impact was dulled because of confusion over his role.
            thaddeus young?  very similar to williams.  he started lots of games his first three years.  but no one knew if he was a SF or a PF.  he shot  164 and 138 3 pointers his second and third years in the league.   like williams, while everyone could see a talented BB player, he was a tweener, a combo forward, who was being horribly misused and who was not as effective as he could be. 
            when the sixers drafted holliday, he’d never really been a PG.  yes, he was a great athlete and he had talent, but he’d never shown that he could play the point, anywhere.
            enter collins.  
            he establishes a team identity.  he gives all of those problematic players – guys  who are now supposedly such good players – roles that fit their talents.
            holliday is his PG, but philly doesn’t really play with a traditional PG most possessions.  all of their players initiate offense, so holliday’s limitations are well -hidden.  and his pluses – his athleticism, ability to defend, his speed – can all be exploited.
            he put both young and williams on the bench.  it doesn’t matter if they are PGs or SGs or SFs or PFs.  they both play and they do what they do.  williams is free to score without having to worry about running an offense.  young can run and hit the boards and put the ball in the basket in a number of ways.  and, oh yea, he’s shot 3 3-point shots this year, a great and welcome development for a player with his ability on the offensive boards.  instead of wasting his time on the perimeter, he’s now under the basket where he can do real damage.
            iggy?  collins told him to defend and shoot that 3 point shot and run the offense if needed and, yes, now he is an all star and no, no one is talking about dumping his contract anymore.   but that certainly was not the case a couple of years ago.  and a different coach may have taken a different approach, the same one other coaches had taken, and instead of the all star award, iggy could easily have ended up bouncing from one team to another as everyone tried to figure out what to do with him.
            pre-collins, philly was doing the exact nonsense that detroit has been doing and continues to do.  
            they signed AI, the year before collins, started him 24 games and played him 32 minutes a game, while their young guards had to sit and watch.
            nocioni was playing 17 minutes a game, stealing minutes from their young players.
            jodie meeks was only playing 19 games, 12 minutes per, in garbage time.
            collins stopped all of that.
            no more AI.  nocioni is relegated to garbage time minutes, as a couple of rookies now get the minutes he was playing.  it was very ironic to see nocioni in garbage time, playing against detroit’s young guys.  what was wrong with that picture?  and how can anyone not see how significant that contrast is?  the better team is playing their old retread in garbage time.  the lottery team is giving its retreads prime playing time while dumping its younger players into garbage time.  and the lottery team is taking the correct approach?
            the only “old” guy in the rotation, brand, is absolutely necessary, but collins makes sure he only plays 27 minutes per game, and he makes certain that his young guys get quality time, not garbage time.  players understand clearly that a coach lacks confidence in them when they only see the floor after the game is decided.  that is not happening in philly, so instead of the roster being populated with dead weight, he’s getting positive contributions out of his young guys.  
            and as i’ve mentioned plenty of times, he inserted meeks into the starting line up in order to provide 3 point shooting, and he lives with meeks’ limitations – not very good defensively and he’s a horrible passer and he is extremely streaky – but he balances the floor and the rotation and he works.
            no, philly is no more talented than detroit.  but what they have done is hire a very good coach who has turned the team around and is obviously developing his young players.  
            this is interesting because what we have are two different approaches, with 2 different teams and different coaches.
            one team is being successful, while the other team is spinning its wheels and continuing to be mired in mediocrity.
            but folks still defend the failed approach…

          • Feb 29, 201212:53 pm
            by neutes

            Players can get better, ya know? Philly is so stacked it would take Michael Curry to mess that up. They are about 10 deep with above average players. You just pick a name out of a hat and put him out there. Louis Williams is better than Holiday, but Collins doesn’t play him more minutes, where’s the criticism for that? And their Pythagorean win-loss record is 26-9, while the team is only 21-14.

          • Feb 29, 201212:55 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            No one is defending anything about Detroit’s strategy in this thread.

            People are rightly calling you out for a ridiculous statement that Philly and Detroit have roughly the same amount of talent. That’s absurd.

          • Feb 29, 20121:06 pm
            by frankie d

            absurd?  hardly.
            two years ago, philly had the exact same record as detroit.
            with the very same players on their roster.
            now, that very same team, with the very same players is at the top of it’s division.  
            they have improved their talent.
            with the addition of monroe, one of the best big men in the league already.  that addition alone makes them a better team.
            yet, detroit is tracked to have a worse record than it had two years ago.  while philly – again, let me repeat – with the very same players is at the top of its division.
            what is absurd is the argument that somehow,, someway, the coaching has not had a positive impact on the performance of the players and that the players have somehow miraculously gotten better…just because.
            i notice that no one reallfy wants to address the real substance of what i’ve said – that these are the very same players who underperformed years ago.
            they don’t because they cannot.
            philly is so stacked now? 
            talk about absurd!!! these are essentially the same players.  with an old retread pushed down to the bottom of the rotation.
            if they are so great, why was philly trying to give iggy away?
            why were they trying to dump brand?
            why was williams such an erratic player?  
            of course, the coach doesn’t matter…the coach just gets paid millions of dollars because franchises like to pay useless employees millions of dollars!
            what a freakin joke!

          • Feb 29, 20121:18 pm
            by neutes

            Dude, I’m pretty sure the year you’re referring to Brand was either injured or coming back from his injury and not playing that well. The next year coincided with Brand playing better ball because he was healthier, on top of that growth from certain players. This year he has Turner, Vucevic, and Hawes that have improved the record. I get that your trying to say Collins made these players better, but I’m not sure I’m buying it. I think they were probably going to be good either way, but I’ll give Collins credit for his focus on defense and getting players to buy into the system.

          • Feb 29, 20121:27 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            “what is absurd is the argument that somehow,, someway, the coaching has not had a positive impact on the performance of the players”

            No one ever said it had no impact. You are just giving coaching way way too much credit. Philly has a lot of really good players who have improved. Collins is a better coach than they’ve had and his defensive system fits their personnel perfectly, but Holiday, Williams, Thad Young were all going to improve. Brand got healthier. Iggy is still Iggy, one of the best defensive wings in the league.

            “i notice that no one reallfy wants to address the real substance of what i’ve said – that these are the very same players who underperformed years ago.”

            It’s really quite easy to address. They got better as they got closer to their primes, in the case of young players. Thad Young years ago was a raw, rail thin 20 year old who probably could’ve used another year or so in college. Now, he’s 24, stronger and NBA-ready. Williams a “few” years ago was hitting 28% of his threes. Now he’s hitting 38%. Holiday years ago was at UCLA. Brand years ago was coming off a serious knee injury and never fully healthy his first year with Philly.

            There’s not much substance to what you are saying, to be honest. You’re saying a lot of words. But I just think you’re crediting Collins with too much here. You’re acting like the only reason they were bad a few years ago was because of bad coaching. They were bad for a variety of reasons  – youth, injuries, Holiday not being on the team, trying to make Williams into a PG, etc. Collins has helped, but they were destined to get better naturally as well as they grew and as Brand got healthier.

            “if they are so great, why was philly trying to give iggy away?”

            Because he makes a lot of money and the team was in the process of being sold. Philly was looking to shed long-term salaries if it could to make itself more attractive to buyers. Obviously, they weren’t just looking to “give” Iggy away. They wanted value in return in the form of young players and expiring contracts. Obviously, they never found what they wanted. That doesn’t mean no one wanted Iggy. I would think just about any team in the league would love to have him as their starting SG or SF.

            “why were they trying to dump brand?”

            Because he sucked for a good year and a half until his knee got healthy. Now, he’s still overpaid, but significantly healthier than he was after signing in Philly.

            “why was williams such an erratic player?”

            Because he was an inconsistent perimeter shooter. This season, his perimeter shot has been much more reliable.

            “of course, the coach doesn’t matter…the coach just gets paid millions of dollars because franchises like to pay useless employees millions of dollars!”

            The coach does matter. Your conclusion, though, that Philly’s improvement is solely attributable to Collins who, honestly, has been a pretty mediocre coach in his career record-wise and playoffs-wise, is just not a strong one.


          • Feb 29, 20122:31 pm
            by frankie d

            “Collins has helped, but they were destined to get better naturally as well as they grew and as Brand got healthier.”
            if players just naturally get better as a normal process then why hasn’t jason maxiell done the same?
            ben gordon should be an excellent player now that he is in his prime years.  why isn’t he having a season reflective of being in his prime?
            CV is in his prime years, also, why isn’t he just naturally playing as well as a talented player in his prime should play?
            rodney stuckey has been in the league for 5 years and is on the cusp of his prime.  why hasn’t his performance reflected that. he is “naturally” going to get better and just “naturally” achieve to a certain level?
            tayshaun prince is in his prime after 9 years in the league.  why is his performance substandard if players just “naturally”  perform to a certain level? 
            “They got better as they got closer to their primes, in the case of young players. ”
            if this statement is true, why hasn’t it appeared to work for so many of the pistons.
            maxiell, gordon, CV, stuckey, bynum, even daye…according to  your theory, they should all be getting better as they approach their prime, regardless of the coaching decisions that affect their careers.
            btw, did you even listen to the podcast that david thorpe did  on “royal jelly” that was linked to, via the post on greg popovich that was here in late january?
            thorpe’s view is exactly the opposite of what you are arguing right now.  thorpe’s view is that a large percentage of players in the league will either fail or succeed based on how the coach handles them. 
            the facts are what they are.  collins has taken the same team and achieved quite a bit with them.  (in fact, i think this philly team, absent dalembert and essentially without hawes, as he’s played only 13 games this season, is less talented.) 
            and absent collins, this philly team would be mired in the same muck it had been mired in, with the same record.

          • Feb 29, 20122:37 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            (starting new thread in response below, just so it’s not so hard to keep finding the reply button)

        • Feb 29, 201210:09 am
          by Marvin Jones


          Philly’s talent is much better than Detroits, they bring Young, Williams and Turner off the bench for heaven’s sake how can you say our talent is equal to theirs? Our biggest problem is our bench, despite the turnovers it was a 2 pt game after the 1st qt, then the bench comes in gets outscored 11-0, ball game over. Our first unit isn’t bad but a lineup of Gordon, Bynum, Jerebko, Wallace and Wilkins is brutal and tough to watch running around with no one wanting to take a shot. So to say our talent is equal to Philly’s is beyond crazy. 

  • Feb 28, 201211:11 pm
    by Mark


    Big Marcus Morris fan. I wanted to draft him at 8. I think he’s going to be an all-star caliber SF once he develops.

    Dumars doesnt seem interested in doing anything that requires effort though. His plan is to sit back, let his scouting guys tell him who to draft, and acquire every player through the draft. Making a phone call and working out a trade to either buy or sell is asking too much.

    Going by this plan, adding 1 good player a year, we should be a good team by like 2018 maybe, lol.

    • Feb 29, 201211:16 am
      by neutes


      why is anyone talking about Marcus Morris? Once he develops? He sucks and has shown nothing to warrant his name even being mentioned when it comes to playing basketball. He’s played a whopping 17 minutes. Yay more tweeners that don’t play either position well.

  • Feb 29, 201212:23 am
    by Tiko


    30 games left… I hope we lose 25 of them…

  • Feb 29, 201212:43 am
    by DVS


    It was an ugly game to watch. Nobody did much other than Monroe and Stuckey.
    No sure why bynum got back into the rotation over Walker Russel either. He is really sucking of late.

  • Feb 29, 20124:02 am
    by Josh


    14 assists to 23 TO’s. Ouch.

  • Feb 29, 20128:06 am
    by Steve K


    Good defensive teams make the Pistons look historically bad.

    Agree with Frankie D on the coaching thing. Frank is not in Collins’ class. He’s doing quite a fine job in Philly.

  • Feb 29, 20128:12 am
    by labatts


    Yes, this game was awful.  Thank goodness the Spartans were playing.  Wait – that game sucked too.  Thank goodness the Wings were playing.

  • Feb 29, 20128:36 am
    by domnick


    can we get some roster makeover… it clearly needs some trades…!

  • Feb 29, 201210:03 am
    by Josh


    I wouldn’t mind seeing a trade for Morris maybe throw Austin Daye, and Bynum at Houston for Morris and Flynn. I still would see if LA would want Prince as well with that exception and their first round pick. I still think Gordon should be amestied because he is terrible not the player I thought we would get. Charlie V will always have value especially if he can come back and play somewhat decent. He is a very poor Rasheed Wallace. I would like to see some changes cause this team is embarassing. I hope stuckey, knight, and monroe continue to develop cause they are the only three really worth keeping on this team as of right now JJ is close I think he is a decent 7th man on the team. Come on Pistons lets turn it around.

  • Feb 29, 201210:07 am
    by brgulker


    How many games this season has the story been the same? Tayshaun, terrible. Ben Gordon, terrible. Brandon Knight, terrible. Rodney Stuckey, almost good but not quite good enough. 

    Wouldn’t it be great if there were some type of analysis that could be done that would suggest whether or not these types of players are worth the investment?

  • Feb 29, 201210:09 am
    by Patrick Hayes


    Houston isn’t going to trade Marcus Morris, unless he’s part of a bigger deal for a star player.

    He’s been learning a new position (Houston sees his future at SF, not PF) and the Rockets always tend to take things slow with their young players (Patrick Patterson was really solid last year, but it took him quite a while to get regular minutes). Can’t see Houston giving up on Morris so soon.

    • Feb 29, 201210:31 am
      by domnick


      i’d rather get Markieff Morris from PHX

  • Feb 29, 201210:30 am
    by domnick


    if we’re not gonna trade, then lets just tank in for Next Draft… by getting more lucky and no.1 draft position is ours… lets build from there

  • Feb 29, 201211:51 am
    by Josh


    The sad thing about trying to make any trades is no one would want any of our players besides monroe and knight and stuckey and those are probably the only three we want to keep. I would like to see Macklin get some PT he was huge at Florida. I think he could be decent 6-10 minutes per quality game time. Spelling Monroe and Maxiell. Also, at this point I feel like its time to stop the Austin Daye experience he will always be all about potential this summer we read article after article about how this year he was going to lead the pistons in scoring really help this team. I don’t understand why this kid cant get it together. Trade him and make him someone elses problem.

    • Feb 29, 20121:55 pm
      by tarsier


      imagine that, both the pistons and other teams want their players on good deals and don’t want their players on bad deals. i think that’s the problem for every team trying to trade.

  • Feb 29, 20121:20 pm
    by frankie d


    and yes, posters do defend the detroit strategy.
    they defend playing retreads like wilkins.
    philly has taken a totally different approach.  i’m certain nocioni hustles and plays hard in practice and he’s a vet and he has “earned” PT because of all those things.
    but his butt is tied to garbage time because collins understands clearly how detrimental it is to give an old retread like him priority over young, developing players.
    so he lives with the mistakes of his young players because he understands the team’s mission and what it is ultimately trying to do.
    and defending the benching of young guys like macklin and daye because of slumps is exactly what i am talking about.
    and collins takes a pointedly different approach.
    as i’ve asked: can anyone imagine frank telling his players to shoot and not worry about making shots?
    that is exactly what collins has done and it is exactly why his team is playing with such confidence.

    • Feb 29, 20121:31 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Uh … maybe he’s just not giving Nocioni minutes because Nocioni sucks? Evan Turner and Thad Young are both clearly, clearly better players than Nocioni.

      Damien Wilkins sucks, but statistically, Austin Daye has been possibly the worst player in the league this year.

      You are arguing apples and oranges here and making conclusions that aren’t there. Collins isn’t playing Turner and Young big minutes to develop them, he’s playing them big minutes because they are good players. They are his best options. That is not the same conversation as saying, “Man, it would be nice of Austin Daye could at least prove he’s better than this terrible journeyman player before he gets a regular rotation spot.” There’s just no comparing the situations at all.

      • Feb 29, 20122:06 pm
        by frankie d


        not true about nocioni and turner.
        nocioni had better numbers than turner last year.
        a couple of numbers are in turner’s favor, but if you extrapolate out to 36 minutes, nocioni’s numbers are better.
        turner was up and down last year, while a vet like nocioni is going to give you exactly what he has always given you: hustle, good defense, decent 3 point shooting.
        what is clear is that collins has made a decision to play the youngsters and sit the vet.  it is a policy decision that has helped the team.

        • Feb 29, 20122:37 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          Again, when your young player is in his second year and was the second player picked in the draft, that’s a different discussion than a player who is in his third year and wasn’t even a lottery pick. Plus, when Turner has been given minutes this year, he responded by not being the worst player in the NBA.

        • Feb 29, 20123:20 pm
          by tarsier


          How were Noc’s numbers better?
          He shot equally poorly, but more often (taking shots away from better shooters), he had a lower free throw rate. Per 36 minutes, he rebounded the same, assisted less, and turned it over more. And most importantly, as Patrick pointed out, this was a very different case from Daye because Turner was a freaking second overall pick and a rookie!

          This is more like the fact that Knight is getting big minutes even though he has not clearly outplayed Russel Jr. or Bynum. You can see he has more talent, but he is not yet outproducing them except as a result of greater minutes.

    • Feb 29, 20122:01 pm
      by tarsier


      I think it is well understood by most avid NBA followers that currently Collins appear to be second to the front runner for COY (Pop). So obviously he is doing a hell of a job. Nobody is arguing against that. And put him in charge of these Pistons (while preventing Dumars from doing anything stupid) for a couple years and I wouldn’t be surprised if in three years they were fighting for a top 4 seed out east. However, I also wouldn’t be surprised if they could do that under Frank. Understand that I think Collins is a better coach than Frank, but not so much better that he could wring out more than a 2-5 game improvement from this squad this season.

      • Feb 29, 20126:37 pm
        by frankie d


        thank you for stating the obvious.
        the idea that collins is not a better coach than frank, is so demonstrably false that it is truly amazing that anyone would try to argue the opposite.
        yes, he is a better coach.  and i’d argue that the difference would be more than 3-5 games.  
        in fact, based on collins’ past record and the fact that monroe is playing so much better, i could easily see detroit winning close to half their games and competing for the playoffs.
        most nba teams drool over the idea of having a young center like monroe.  and when teams get a guy like him, they usually make a positive move.
        collins would have the guys playing tough defense – as his teams always do – and he’d have an effective offense centered around monroe’s post play and the shooting of gordon, daye and knight.
        philly is very similar to detroit in that they have no shotblocker.  
        that missing part has been fatal to detroit, but philly is one of the league’s top defensive teams even though they lack a shotblocker. 
        i’ve said from the beginning of the year that detroit is not that bad.  they have talent.  yes, it doesn’t really fit that well, but whenever you have mismatched talent you just have to figure out a different way to exploit it.  collins is really good at doing that and i don’t doubt that he’d do what he’s done at every other team he’s coached – including michael jordan’s washington team – and figure out a way to win.
        frank has obviously not done this.
        does anyone think that this year’s team is worse, personnel-wise, than last year’s team?  or the team the year before?
        and if the team has better players, which appears pretty obvious to me, why is the record so much worse?

  • Feb 29, 20123:04 pm
    by Patrick Hayes


    @frankie d:

    “if players just naturally get better as a normal process then why hasn’t jason maxiell done the same?”

    Dude … Maxiell, first of all, is older. At one time, Jason Maxiell was a rookie. Then, in subsequent years, he got better. Why didn’t he get better the last couple years? Well, he was out of shape, something he freely admits was his own fault.

    “ben gordon should be an excellent player now that he is in his prime years.  why isn’t he having a season reflective of being in his prime?”

    Injury problems since he arrived in Detroit, plus he was a bit overrated when the Pistons signed him. He’s not exactly a young player, either. He had been in the league five years and was 26 when the Pistons signed him. Maybe his prime is over, hastened by his collection of injuries.

    “CV is in his prime years, also, why isn’t he just naturally playing as well as a talented player in his prime should play?”

    Because it’s not a contract year? Injuries for him too? I dunno. Some players just don’t have the personal motivation to succeed. I think it’s pretty safe to say Villanueva seems like the epitome of one of those players. Never been in good shape? Check. Never been interested in using his size in the paint on offense? Check. Never been interested in playing defense? Check. First player in NBA history to Tweet during a game? Check. I mean, what more signs do you need that the guy isn’t all that committed to the game?

    “rodney stuckey has been in the league for 5 years and is on the cusp of his prime.  why hasn’t his performance reflected that. he is “naturally” going to get better and just “naturally” achieve to a certain level?”

    Rodney Stuckey has gotten better every single year he’s been in the league despite playing for horrid coaches in Curry and Kuester. Could a good coach have gotten more out of him? Sure. Has he just naturally got better as he physically matured and got more experience in the league? Absolutely.

    “tayshaun prince is in his prime after 9 years in the league.  why is his performance substandard if players just “naturally”  perform to a certain level?”

    Prince is not at all in his prime in any way.

    “thorpe’s view is exactly the opposite of what you are arguing right now.  thorpe’s view is that a large percentage of players in the league will either fail or succeed based on how the coach handles them.”

    Thorpe’s view is that coaches control minutes and that minutes are the most vital thing that young players can get. If you’re trying to convince me that Austin Daye would be a good player right now if he played for Popovich instead of Frank/Kuester, I’m not buying it. There’s a fantastically good chance that Popovich would have the same problem with Daye that other coaches have: he’s soft, his confidence shatters easily and he can’t defend any position particularly well. Popovich isn’t afraid to play young guys at all, but he also doesn’t continuously throw out young guys who suck onto the court. Frank hasn’t been afraid to play young guys either. Knight has played huge minutes (more overall and per game than Kyrie Irving, a far superior player, actually). Monroe has played all the minutes he can handle, and he’d be playing more if he had better conditioning and could handle 35-38 per game. Jerebko has played a lot, and would’ve played more had he not occasionally struggled with fouls. Young players who can play will get minutes for Frank.

    “the facts are what they are.  collins has taken the same team and achieved quite a bit with them.”

    I wish you’d quit calling them the “same” team. Jrue Holiday alone makes them not the “same” team. He’s solidified the point guard spot for them and allows Lou Williams to play off the ball, where he’s far more comfortable. I’m sure the previous coach in Philly would’ve loved a steady PG so that Williams wasn’t forced to play that position. That makes a huge difference.

    Plus, prior to his injury, Hawes was playing like an All-Star this year. I’m hesitant to give Collins all the credit for that. It’s a contract year for Hawes. He was pissed that he didn’t get an extension. Guys like Hawes who are talented but kind of lazy put things miraculously together in contract years all the time.

    “and absent collins, this philly team would be mired in the same muck it had been mired in, with the same record.”

    There’s absolutely no evidence to support this. Collins has had an impact, there’s no question. But any decent coach would win games with that roster in this conference. They are a talented, deep team with one of the best defenses in the league. Collins absolutely deserves coach of the year consideration, but it’s not like he’s some miracle worker here. He’s winning with a talented squad. You’re giving him points because previous coaches didn’t have a developed Holiday at PG and they didn’t have a healthy Brand.

    • Feb 29, 20124:34 pm
      by apa8ren9


      Frankie loves to dig in on a singular point and beat it to death.  I understand what you are trying to say frankie, but again you are off base again solely for the purpose of trying to defend your point.  Collins is a good coach for what Philly is trying to do.  Make the playoffs and show some improvement in team culture.  Of course he is not the long term answer and before long he will either retire or get blown out of there.  It wont end with a championship. That’s it.  That is the Doug Collins recipe. No more no less.  It doesnt end well and if you dont take the correct next step as an organization after DC than you are right back with the rest of the bottom dwellers.  I know you know this Frankie.  You have kept up with the league and see how this goes.  Its no secret what will happen in Philly over the next 2-3 years.  But its good enough for Philly.  We have to take a different tact because DC wasnt available for us to use in our development cycle.  We have Frank.  But right now this season is a throw away.  Nothing is going to happen until the off season when we blow some of these dudes outta here.

  • Feb 29, 20124:53 pm
    by frankie d


    totally disagree.
    in fact, collins is THE difference.  and it is the same roster.  same players 1-6, with a less talented set of players further down the roster.
    collins has taken chicken-shyte and made chicken salad out of it.
    in fact, my guess is that he could even take CV and turn him into a quality rotation player.  CV has the talent, which is why teams keep taking a gamble on him.  its just a matter of getting to him and using him in the right way.
    collins would probably do it, the same way he turned terry mills into a chunkier robert horry.  before collins and after collins, t-mills never played the same way he played when collins had him in detroit.  CV reminds me so much of t-mills. collins was able to get to mills, get him to play to his potential, and mills was an integral player for collins’ detroit teams.  i’d bet he’d be able to do the same with CV.  
    i hate CV for what he’s not done on the court, but i don’t think he’s a bad guy.  in fact, i’d bet he’s pretty embarrassed by everything that has happened to him, about him and he’d probably respond favorably to collins.
    the best coaches take guys like CV – and hawes – and meeks and get stuff out of them that no one else is able to get.
    is he able to do it long term?
    apparently not.  but to deny that he’s done something special with philly, and that frank has not done the same type of thing with detroit is to deny what is right in front of one’s eyes.
    and to the idea that frank plays young players who earn it, i have one word: macklin.
    btw, why didn’t collins bench meeks when meeks performed so poorly at the beginning of the year?  he had a vet like nocioni on the bench.  a tough, gutty defensive minded guy who can hit a 3 pointer.  why didn’t he turn to that option rather than continue suffering with a guy who did little else but shoot, but who wasn’t shooting well?

    • Feb 29, 20125:15 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      How do we know that Macklin has “earned” it? Maybe he’s a dog in practice or something? Again, Collins is playing young guys who have major pedigrees — Young, Hawes and Turner were lottery picks, Vucevic and Holiday were first rounders. Big difference between those guys and a late second rounder with a limited skillset like Macklin. And I say that hoping the plays at some point, but players like Macklin aren’t just gifted minutes.

      Even Collins’ second round players were not just given minutes. Meeks had a good season shooting last year to earn his spot, Williams was already an established, if streaky, player before Collins took over. Lavoy Allen is playing b/c they’ve had big time injury issues and he forced his way into the rotation by playing great.

    • Feb 29, 20125:38 pm
      by tarsier


      Mmmmm… chicken salad made out of chicken shit. Sounds delicious. There’s a reason the expression is took lemons and made lemonade.

      • Feb 29, 20126:39 pm
        by frankie d


        i prefer the chicken based saying.  a bit stronger.

        • Feb 29, 20126:52 pm
          by tarsier


          And also makes zero sense.

          • Feb 29, 20128:18 pm
            by frankie d

            are you kidding? you’ve never heard of that expression?
            its something i’ve heard used repeatedly over the years.
            a very graphic, useful analogy.

  • Feb 29, 20125:29 pm
    by frankie d


    i think you are grasping at straws in order to differentiate the way that frank handles things and the way that collins has handled his young guys.  
    how can a guy like allen get minutes on a playoff team while a guy like macklin gets garbage time on one of the league’s worst teams?  tony battie is sitting there, ready to play emergency minutes if and when necessary.  how come collins turns to a young guy, while frank continues to play ben w.?
    amazing that you cannot simply acknowledge that collins has done a remarkable job of bringing a bunch of young players a long way.  when other coaches – frank included – have dealt with similarly situated young players totally differently.
    i know full well what frank would have done with meek if he had been coaching meek.  he would have sat him down and possibly lost him.  that collins took a different approach and was successful speaks volumes for his decisions as a coach and is directly responsible for his guys playing so well.
    he could have easily sat meeks and brought in nocioni.  he could have easily played battie.  
    he didn’t.  he turned to the young guys, or stayed with them, and they rewarded his confidence with improved play.  
    and even accepting your cramped view of what thorpe refers to as “royal jelly”, there is no doubt that collins gave both players lots of it – PT – and they responded.  
    frank, on the other hand, is afraid to put macklin in at any meaningful point.
    and from what macklin shows when he plays he is certainly intriguing as a prospect.  and if one of the worst teams cannot give a young player a chance at a poisiton of need, when will that player ever get a chance under this coach.

    • Feb 29, 20125:46 pm
      by tarsier


      We all hope Macklin gets minutes. And maybe he would under Collins, maybe not. It’s impossible to say. But let’s assume he would. Great.

      That still doesn’t change the fact that the one thing everyone in the world except you can see is that Philly has much more talent on it’s roster than Detroit. Are they overachieving in the regular season? Yeah. Is Detroit underachieving? Maybe, definitely before their 7-2 stretch. Now it’s hard to say.

      But they still don’t have nearly as much talent. They have two players who play at the level of an NBA starter in Monroe and Stuckey. And it’s a bit of a stretch to include Stuckey. I definitely wouldn’t have before said 7-2 stretch.

      Prince also has sufficient talent, but he is another story altogether. We don’t know the Frank-Prince dynamic. If Frank isn’t demanding that Prince defer more, shoot less, and generally play harder, that’s a problem. But if he is and Prince just keeps playing the way he does, what is Frank to do? Put in Daye who will play less hard, less smart, and less well, but also less obstinately? Maybe, but I dunno if that would be a great decision.

  • Feb 29, 20127:01 pm
    by frankie d


    monroe is a near all star.
    stuckey is a solid nba player who is one of the rare players who’s imporved in each of his first 4 years.
    tay is a starter on a title team, an olympian and one of the best role players in the league, when he plays that role.
    knight is a talented rookie who is, the 4th best 3-point shooter among rookies.  
    last year, austin daye was one of only 4 non-wing players to shoot over .400 in 3 point shooting.
    ben gordon is a  former 6th man of the year.
    jj is a combo forward who came out of nowhere to make the nba all rookie second team.
    are there holes in the roster?  you bet.  you could drive a hummer through the roster holes, but there is talent.
    philly has huges holes also.
    they don’t really have a point guard and make do with a point guard by committee approach.
    they do not have a shotblocker and make do with pressure defense.  
    they really don’t have a low post option – other than creaky old brand, who is really not a prime time option anymore – but they make do with transition baskets and confident shooting. 
    i stand by my view.  
    detroit is not totally devoid of talent.
    no one saw this disaster of a season coming, based on its talent.
    just as no one expected philly to leap out in front as it has, and so much of the discussion about philly has concerned whether they were for real, as the record far outstripped its perceived talent level. 
    it is up to the coach to get prince to play the best way.
    it is up to the coach to get his former 6th man of the year to play like that again.
    it is up to the coach to bring along unkown, talented rookies like macklin and squeeze good minutes out of them.
    it is up to the coach to not bury talented young players.
    it is up to the coach to hide a team’s big flaws and maximize it’s talents.
    so far, frank has miserably failed to do those things, while collins has excelled.

    • Feb 29, 20127:08 pm
      by tarsier


      People expected about 20-25 wins. The Pistons are on course for 21. How is that “no one saw this coming?”

      Stuckey is a below average starter. Yeah, he has improved each year, but very slightly. And we have yet to see whether he is better this year than last. Gordon has sucked for years and is actually outplaying many people’s expectations this year. Daye shot better last year, but he still played terribly overall.

      • Feb 29, 20128:22 pm
        by frankie d


        i don’t know of anyone who expected this team to have its worse winning percentage in 20 years.  which is exactly what they are on pace for now.

  • Feb 29, 20127:21 pm
    by frankie d


    Philadelphia is reloaded with top draft pick Evan Turner and a new head coach Doug Collins but it won’t be enough just yet. The 76ers have a very dysfunctional roster at the moment loaded with bad contracts (i.e. Elton Brand) and an overload at guard and small forward. Evan Turner will turn heads but this team doesn’t quite have yet but perhaps very soon they will. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made the playoffs but its not going to happen this season. I would compare this team to when Kevin Durant broke in with the then Seattle Sonic.


    PG: Jrue Holliday
    SG: Andre Iguodala
    SF: Evan Turner
    PF: Elton Brand
    C: Spencer Hawes


    F Thaddeus Young
    G Louis Williams
    F Marreese Speights
    F Andres Nocioni
    G Willie Green

    that is what SI said about the sixers last year.  they predicted a 36 win season.  you’d have to insert jodie meeks and 2 rookies to have the team’s current starting 5 and the top 10 rotation players.

    The Pistons drafted Greg Monroe and beyond that nothing much in the Motor City. The Pistons are relying on a healthy Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince and for Ben Gordon to step up. Last season, the Pistons were looking like a playoff team with their additions but ended up coming way short, this season the Pistons look to fall short yet again in a now talented Eastern Conference.

    PG: Rodney Stuckey
    SG: Richard Hamilton
    SF: Tayshaun Prince
    PF: Jason Maxiell
    C: Greg Monroe


    G Ben Gordon
    C Ben Wallace
    F Austin Daye
    G Will Bynum
    F Charlie Villanueva

    this is what they said about detroit, predicting a 35 win season.  notice they anticipate pretty much the same lineup that starts today, with knight replacing hamilton.  detroit is actually bette todayr, imho, because monroe has improved so much.  he’s gone from being an unsure rookie to one of the best big men in the league and in the top 5 in PER in the eastern conference.  and stuckey has taken another step forward. this year.

    obviously, i am not the only person who thinks that the two teams are fairly close in talent.  it is not absurd, unless everyone else who thought the same thing is also thinking in an absurd fashion.
    espn had the two teams 11 and 12 in the east also.  i guess everybody is just being absurd and has been absurd for years now.
    who woulda thunk that everyone would just be so freakin absurd as to think that the sixers and pistons had similar talent.
    geez… SI is absurd and doesn’t know what they were talking about…espn is absurd and didn’t know what they were talking about….

    • Feb 29, 20127:37 pm
      by tarsier


      You mean, obviously you weren’t the only one back when all this was written a year and a half ago. If you meant you were the only one who thought so now, why didn’t you use such previews for this season?

      Let’s just say that Young, Holiday, and Brand are much better than those writers thought. And they would probably agree with me on that (we are all wrong sometimes–I concede that Monroe is better than I thought he would be back then). There are others too, but those three are the most glaring examples.

      • Feb 29, 20127:43 pm
        by frankie d


        my point is simple.
        the sixers and the pistons have very similar talent.  they had very similar talent last year when those previews were written.  
        but doug collins took over the sixers, installed his system, began developing his young players and philly took an unexpected leap forward.
        detroit on the other hand, took a step back.
        and this year, detroit has taken a further step back, even though the team is more talented, imho, than the pistons’ team last year, if only because of monroe’s improvement.  and philly has taken another step, to seperate itself further from detroit.
        but the fact remains that the talent base of both teams is/was very similar.
        and as those reports indicate, i certainly wasn’t alone in believing it.
        so-called experts believed the same thing.

        • Feb 29, 20127:55 pm
          by tarsier


          thank you for reiterating my point with your use of tense. “so-called experts believed the same thing.” not they believe the same thing. they used to. but we get more information and realize that sometimes we used to be wrong.

          • Feb 29, 20128:17 pm
            by frankie d

            of course, and that is because they have separated themselves from detroit because of the superior coaching job that doug collins has done.  he has taken players and helped develop them, helped make them better players.
            however, that does not mean that detroit’s players could not achieve in exactly that same fashion if they enjoyed a similar benefit in coaching.
            the talent, the potential there to be exploited, is the same as it was last year, when the two teams were thought to be so similar in talent.  
            in fact, it is remarkable that the two rosters are still almost exactly as they were last year.  and in my view, detroit;’s roster has improved dramatically because of monroe’s improvement, while it could be argued that philly’s talent base has been diminished because of hawes’ injury and because they are now relying on two rookies that were not accounted for last year.
            remember, philly and detroit started off from the same place last year.  they had suffered the same record the year before and came back with very similar teams the next year.
            now, in 2011-2012, philly is in a very different spot and the beliefs, the opinions,of the “experts” will necessarily change.

          • Feb 29, 20128:38 pm
            by tarsier

            fair enough:
            your opinion is that they were right and collins is even more of a miracle worker than everyone else thinks he is (hence why patrick was saying that you put him on the level of pop or phil–because probably even they couldn’t do that with detroit’s talent level). and that frank is even worse than kuester.

            my opinion, and just about everyone else’s (most likely including these experts you cite), is that they got it wrong a year and a half ago.

            i don’t really see anyway that either of us could possibly prove our opinion is the correct one.

          • Feb 29, 20128:53 pm
            by frankie d

            i guess we will see how good a year collins has as a coach.  he may have a year similar to what popovich typically has. we’ll see.
            imho, a good coach would have this pistons’ team in the playoff hunt.  easily.
            a good coach could do wonders with a big man like monroe and a talented set of wings like detroit’s. 
            most importantly, it is not absurd to believe that detroit’s talent is not appreciably worse than philly’s.
            as i’ve shown, last year, when the teams had the same core players and the same basic 9-10 man rotations, lots of experts agreed that the rosters were very similar.
            so i guess if my opinion is/was absurd, the opinions of all of those “experts’ was just as absurd.

          • Feb 29, 20129:45 pm
            by tarsier

            “so i guess if my opinion is/was absurd, the opinions of all of those “experts’ was just as absurd.”

            1) “if my opinion was absurd, the opinions of all of those “experts’ was just as absurd.” –TRUE

            2) “if my opinion is absurd, the opinions of all of those “experts’ was just as absurd.” –FALSE

            Because it is absurd not to take new information into account and modify one’s opinions on the basis of said new information. And we have about 120 games worth of new information since theopinions of these “experts.” You have yet to respond to this point which I have made repeatedly.

          • Feb 29, 201211:11 pm
            by frankie d

            you fail to recognize the central point: the “talent” base that i’m referring to, that was referred to last year, is essentially the same.  (a couple of players have been added to each squad, but they are both remarkable similar to their teams from last year.)
            the only difference in the equations for each team has been the input of the coach over the last 16 months or so.
            that input doesn’t change the “talent”.  it may change how that talent responds in an nba game environment, but the talent is the talent.
            again, the talent is the same as it was at the beginning of the 2010 season.  the coaches are different.  the way players respond is different.  for better or worse.
            it could be 5 games or 10 games or 150 games and it would not change the initial judgment of observers at the beginning of last year, when the two teams, the two sets of players, the talent, were considered to be essentially of the same quality.
            and yes, everything has changed because of the input of the 3 coaches who have been involved in the process, but the change has not occurred because “new information” has been brought into the evaluation process.
            that “new information” is actually a change in the value of the players, their effectiveness, as  a result of their respective experiences with the coaches.  some players have increased in value, some have decreased.
            it is literally impossible to try to determine how each player may or may not have responded, IF they had been coached by different coaches, if their playing experience was different.  it cannot be done.  and any attempt to simply say, at this point, that one must take into consideration “new information” is ridiculous.  it is like trying to construct a counterfactual and arguing that the counterfactual actually carries weight.  
            that counterfactual might be interesting and it may contain more than a germ of truth, but it ultimately involves nothing but conjecture as to what might have happened, if…. 
            if one wants to include “new information” when considering the play of the two squads, imho, what can be said is that philadelphia’s players are obviously playing better, and performing better, and that may reflect a number of factors.  
            better coaching, more playing time, more confidence, improvement of their individual skills on their own, possibly a more accurate assessment of individual talent.
            who knows.
            but it is literally impossible to return to that point in history when the two teams were in very similar circumstances, with an exact record the year previous, with most observers believing that the two teams were very similar in talent, and determine whether a present evaluation rests on a more accurate view of a player’s native talent or how much a  present evaluation involves a player who has improved because he has benefited from superior coaching and a superior environment for his skills. 
            geez, i’m sounding like max now.  its time to go…

        • Feb 29, 20127:56 pm
          by tarsier


          my use of we there will hopefully not be misconstrued as my claiming to be one of the so-called experts but rather that we all get things wrong, experts and not alike.

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