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Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight look like Pistons’ backcourt of the future against Nets

Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight are changing the conversation.

I haven’t bemoaned losses or celebrated wins much this season, other than acknowledging that a few wins necessary to keep humans from becoming too discouraged.  The Pistons would win some games and lose a lot more. I had become detached from their record, because I didn’t think it mattered much this season.

I haven’t assessed Detroit’s different lineups for the same reason. Too many Pistons wouldn’t be with the team when it next contended, so there was no point worrying about who fit with whom.

But wins can be more than just random occurrences. This team isn’t completely overmatched and is somewhat capable of determining its own fate. The Pistons have won four straight games, their longest win streak since winning five straight December 2009.

Some of the players are meshing together, too. Lineup decisions this season could affects future years.

Stuckey (19 points on 7-of-10 shooting with five assists and three rebounds in 26 minutes) and Knight (13 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-3 on 3-pointers, with seven rebounds five assists in a four-foul-limited 17 minutes) didn’t play together much Friday, but they were dynamic when they did. They pushed the pace, shared the ball and shot efficiently. The offense hummed, and the defense, well, was good enough when the offense is churning.

Both also played well with the other on the bench. Knight will have more ups and downs during his rookie year, but hopefully Stuckey is turning the corner – though, haven’t we heard that many times before.

Stuckey played well against the Nets on Wednesday, and played even better tonight. As far as I know, Stuckey doesn’t have any beef with New Jersey. Too often, his good play has been driven by personal grievances. Unless he develops issues with more opponents, that has left Stuckey listless for too many games.

Tonight, he was engaged on and off the court. When Stuckey jumped off the bench to clap for Walker Russell, I swooned.

I’m not ready to declare some great breakthrough for Stuckey. His double-clutch shot led to points tonight, but too often, it leaves him caught in the air without an option.

And I’m by no means ready to declare Stuckey and Knight the Pistons’ backcourt of the future. But Friday, they looked like they could be just that.

And, like dominoes falling, that made everything else go.

Greg Monroe meticulously excels

Greg Monroe will be fine no matter who plays around him. That he could quietly have 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes showed that. His 18 points and 11 rebounds were both his lowest totals in his last four games.

Night in and night, he brings it, and that won’t change.

Jason Maxiell allows Jonas Jerebko to come off the bench

Jonas Jerebko (20 points on 7-of-13 shooting with four rebounds in 25 minutes) was playing at a different speed than everyone else on the court. Coming off the bench suits him, because it prevents him from getting into early foul trouble. Plus, his energy is more noticeable against starters who are a little tired.

Jerebko had been starting at power forward, because the Pistons don’t have a reliable option at the position. For now, though, Jason Maxiell (2-of-2 from the field and 2-of-2 from the line with five rebounds and four blocks in 20 minutes), is filling in just fine. The Pistons need an athletic shot-blocker to pair defensively with Monroe, and 20 pounds lighter, Maxiell can fill that role until the Pistons upgrade the position.

Ben Gordon thriving off the bench

Ben Gordon (14 points on 6-of-10 shooting) appears to be settling into his backup role. The Pistons are asking him to make shots, and nothing more. When he was starting, he was asked to dribble and pass a lot more, and though he delivered some of the Pistons’ best assists of the season, he turned the ball over way too much.

It’s a small sample, so don’t read too much into it, but Gordon is 12-of-17 for 28 points in his two games off the bench.

Ben Wallace attempts first free throws

Ben Wallace attempted two free throws Friday. Of course, he missed both. But entering the game, nobody had played more than Wallace’s 371 minutes without attempting a free throw.

25 Comments

  • Feb 11, 20125:20 am
    by MrBlockedShot

    Reply

    Good win last night, one more for the standings. The Nets looked that they had stop played some games ago. Nothing to do with the Nets of our first meeting, maybe looking forward the draft already? Some bright spots, with Stuckey, Jerebko, Monroe and Knight. Stuckey attacked the rim, Knight was so productive in his 17 minutes of play and Jerebko and Monroe continued their good performances of last games. I love how Jerebko has been playing lately, coming off the bench and energizing the team with his hustle play and quickness. The same about Gordon, it seems he has found his role in the rotation, which I like, coming off the bench and hitting shots, nothing else. But some players,  specially Prince and Daye continue struggling and had awful games. Prince was too selfish again, and kept shooting instead of looking for good passes inside. Both combined for 5/19 , many of them open shots (Monroe only could shot 9 times!!!). Bad news for the ‘offensive hub’ cos Monroe found his points mainly on follow-ups and tips. Whose fault was it?
     

    • Feb 11, 201210:27 am
      by Sebastian

      Reply

      To bad that this is a leap year … March 1st can’t get here soon enough. On that date (March 1), Tay needs to be sent to a contender for their 2012 draft spot.

  • Feb 11, 20127:22 am
    by muggins

    Reply

    I was at the game! It was pretty awesome with Star Wars night. I have to say, Monroe looked sluggish on defense early on, but started owning later in the game. BK went all aggressive at the start of the 4th quarter… not sure what he was trying to prove there, gave up the ball a couple times.

    Maxiell had some epic blocks and Jerebko looked great.

    • Feb 11, 20122:19 pm
      by Tiko

      Reply

      I was at the game too. All that Star Wars stuff was incredibly lame especially the halftime lecture with George Lucas…

  • Feb 11, 20127:29 am
    by pokerpro932

    Reply

    Well, I was personalz shoked to find out the horrible stat line from Tay.I thought he played decent basketball and I didnt see him forcing that many shots.I liked how he pulled up on two fastbreaks instead of forcing a layup.
    Daye looks out of synch for me.I just cant find an explanaition for his horrific shooting.His form looks good,he doesnt have a hitch in his shot,everything looks perfect and it just doesnt drop.
    Monroe was the off hub and it showed.The team made an effort giving him the ball on the high post on many occasions,he just didnt doo many things.He was constantly looking for other players and was trying to be more of a team player.
    Knight was another bright spot.The early foul trouble was really bad news,but he got his stats in the second half,even surpassed them.He was active on both ends and was showing a lot of effort.I cant say he was really good,but he was active and thats what we need from him and expect him to do night in and night out.
    Stuckey also played well and aggresive,but I too am not hesitant to say that he is changing.All those double-clutch shots…somedays it drops,many others dont.
    Jerebko,what can I say,he was great.

  • Feb 11, 20128:36 am
    by Marvin Jones

    Reply

    Daye’s shot if off because he has no confidence in it, so instead of just shooting it with arc, he is aiming the ball which makes it a line drive shot that either back rims or front rims.  Seen it a lot when shooters miss a few they start to try to guide the ball in instead of just letting it fly, watch his shot next game and see how much arc is on the ball, he just has to shoot it up and let it come down which take confidence

  • Feb 11, 20128:42 am
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    Ya ya Pistons won, blah blah blah

    Did any of you guys see Jeremy Lin own the Lakers yesterday????

    Haha sorry, couldn’t help myself there

    On a serious note, granted it was against 3 borderline sorry teams ( the same team twice this week) we looked great out there. Everyone seems to have a role out there and hopefully that continues.

    One thing to note tho: Frank has already said he would tinker with the line up a little more when Gordon is healthy and some nights he’ll start, others he will come off the bench…bad idea Frank.

    Let the players continue to gel. Why mess up a good thing? Gordon is already on record saying him and Jerebko play pretty well off of each other, let them continue to lead our second unit and thrive at it.

    Other than that, our chances of getting Davis are slipping, but I won’t complain cause I rather see us win and build up confidence for our young core to use as momentum next year. If Thomas Robinson is available where we draft he would make us that much better cause he would be ready to contribute right away.

  • Feb 11, 201210:02 am
    by Giles mills

    Reply

    In all honesty I like Thomas Robinson….but as far as TAY goes, I actually see him playing a lot harder… He was actually using his feet to play defense and not just relying on his long arms. When knight was drafted I didn’t know how much I would see of him, with all the guards in front of him vying for minutes I thought he would never play. Now he is out there showing he can really be a legit starting guard… Kudos. Overall the team is actually playing with a sense of purpose Frankie is setting a good foundation

  • Feb 11, 201210:47 am
    by apa8ren9

    Reply

    Very good win last night, that is how you whip a team when they decide they are going to mail it in. Every one was in their proper roles.  We got out on the break and put in some easy baskets.  Now the NJ tour is over and there is a step up in competition coming over the next 4 games.  It would be nice to see them go 2-2 with at least a chance to pull a third win out of these next 4.
     

  • Feb 11, 201212:49 pm
    by Jodi Jezz

    Reply

    I’m excited about a Knight/Stuckey back-court…I wish Dumars would have signed Gordon to a cheaper contract so we could keep him…Even though I hope he doesn’t, I have a feeling Dumars is going to try to trade Gordon at the trade deadline..Dammit!!

    • Feb 11, 20122:22 pm
      by Tiko

      Reply

      I believe the opposite is true. Because Dumars signed him to such a ridiculous contract, we’re stuck with him. No one will trade for that deal until it becomes an expiring. Don’t u understand how this business works?

      • Feb 11, 20123:22 pm
        by Laser

        Reply

        Stick around a while and you’ll get a clearer idea of what Jodi Jezz knows and doesn’t know…

        • Feb 11, 20124:08 pm
          by Tiko

          Reply

          this must be the same Jodi on RealGM.. wow this dude needs to get a clue

  • Feb 11, 20122:14 pm
    by gordbrown

    Reply

    Wednesday their guards outplayed ours  (by playing out of their minds and putting up career like numbers). Friday night our guards outplayed theirs and the game was over halfway through the third quarter. Nice to be on the other side for a change. People were down on Frank but I believe it’s no coincidence that the first two back-to-back days of practice together in the regular season and the offense finally came together (although good health has helped as well). Fuck lottery balls, let’s develop a winning attitude and worry about the draft later.

    • Feb 11, 20123:26 pm
      by Laser

      Reply

      Yep, that’s the plan! The team might not have the right personnel to be competitive with good teams or reach the playoffs, but as long as we work on that winning attitude and eke out as many wins as we can against the worst teams in the league, we can remain in this cycle of sub-mediocrity forever! :)

      • Feb 11, 20123:49 pm
        by gordbrown

        Reply

        An anarchist believes in burning the town down in the hopes that in rebuilding the town will be better. The nihilist believes in burning the town down for the fun of it!

      • Feb 11, 20124:01 pm
        by Sebastian

        Reply

        gordbrown, is 100% on this one in my opinion. Teams don’t get better by getting worst, as the conventional wisdom will lead one to believe.

        Continuous losing, breeds a cultural of losing; attention to the tangibles become dull and incongruient to everything that is associated with winning.

        I say like a professional. Get better individually and as a team and draft wherever WE end up drafting. 

        • Feb 11, 20124:12 pm
          by neutes

          Reply

          I don’t believe in a culture of losing. You know what fixes that? Winning, like, more than you lose. How do you win more than you lose? Get better players. How do you get better players when all of the players you have are signed through 2015 and you don’t have any money to spend and you can’t trade any of them? The draft. And where are the best players in the draft located? Near the top. How do you get a high draft pick? By losing. 

          I wouldn’t care about winning or losing if this team had some sort of financial flexibility or trade assets to improve itself in other ways, but it doesn’t. This team as constructed has one avenue for securing better players at the moment, and winning is putting road blocks on this avenue.

          • Feb 11, 20124:47 pm
            by gordbrown

            The flaw in this ointment is the lottery. I am absolutely sure that someone behind the Pistons, no matter where they finish, will vault ahead of them. This may not be logical but watch it happen. And as evidence of this, the Bobcats (used to be the Clippers but somehow they seem to have turned it around but we’ll see how long that lasts). My thing is that the Pistons have more talent than people give them credit for, but it hasn’t (yet) translated into wins. Part of this is that there are young players who have yet to find their ceilings (being trapped in the basement) and part of this is the chaos that has prevailed for the past three plus years (some of it but not of course all of it due to injuries). But look at Jason Maxiell. Two weeks ago it looked like he was on his way OB. Suddenly he is again doing the things we all loved before. If only some of that could rub off on Daye.

          • Feb 11, 201210:51 pm
            by D_S_V

            How did the Clippers turn it around? Didn’t they draft Blake Griffin? Pretty high up right? He’s the basis of their turn around. Chris Paul was obtained through trading a 7th (Gordon) and 8th (Aminu) pick in the draft also, and Griffin had 100% part of the reason why Paul would even consider allowing that trade in the first place. Having the gall to say that you think we already have enough talent makes me not even want to complete a response, but yeah, Monroe and hopefully Knight and Jerebko are the only talents on our team right now that have the possibility to play a part in future Pistons contending teams. Other than that, we need high draft picks. NEED!!!

          • Feb 11, 201210:59 pm
            by gordbrown

            Everybody needs high draft picks. Doesn’t mean you’re going to get them. Once a team with the 12 best record jumped into the top three. Not holding my breath.

          • Feb 12, 201212:45 am
            by tarsier

            don’t hold your breath for a first overall pick, but surely you do realize that on average, more losses do result in higher picks. for instance, if you have the third worst record and the lottery is won by say 1, 2, and 6, you end up with the 4th pick. but if you had the 4th worst record, you woulda ended up with the 5th pick. so while you may not have won the lottery, your pick was still improved by losing more.

  • Feb 11, 20124:34 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    I said over a week ago that the Pistons might go undefeated this week due to the opponents they were facing but also because it is their first 3 game week of the year.  Maybe, they actually got in some practice and were prepared for these games?

    • Feb 11, 20128:33 pm
      by frankie d

      Reply

      listened to the radio feed from NJ for a while, on nba.com.
      the NJ announcers stated from the very start of the game that detroit seemed to know exactly what NJ was running, that it was like a playoff series because the pistons were prepared for anything that they ran.
      nice coaching job.

  • Feb 11, 20124:41 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    BTW: Monroe is averaging 10 rebounds for the first time this year on the season.

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