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It took a while, but Grizzlies finally punish Pistons for poor shooting, turnovers

Late in Saturday’s 100-83 loss to Memphis, I tweeted this:

Pistons shooting 38%, have more TOs than Memphis and aren’t defending Memphis bigs. No idea how they’re up in this game.

The Pistons were leading by two at the time, and they held a slim lead for a good portion of the game. Statistically, though, it didn’t make much sense. The Pistons shot the ball poorly — Greg Monroe, Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight were a combined 15-for-50 and the team shot just 37 percent for the game. Memphis, meanwhile, shot 49 percent for the game and spent much of the game well over that mark.

The Pistons turned the ball over 17 times to 14 by the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies had 19 assists while the Pistons had 15. This was the type of game Memphis should’ve pulled away in much earlier than they did — they finally decided to blow the Pistons out late. After a Stuckey jumper put the Pistons up 78-76 with about eight minutes to go in the fourth, Memphis turned it on and ended the game on a 24-5 run.

It was pretty simple why the game stayed close — the Grizzlies didn’t take advantage of Detroit’s softness inside. Marc Gasol scored 11 points in the first quarter on 5-for-6 shooting. He got position wherever he wanted. He only got seven shots over the final three quarters though. But Gasol is an All-Star, he’s supposed to be tough to handle. It wasn’t just him — Mareese Speights was active, scoring 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Even seldom used Hammed Haddadi met little resistance in his brief cameo. He easily backed his way inside, missed a short shot, grabbed the offensive rebound and went right back up with his shot.

The Grizzlies’ perimeter players played well, particularly late in the game, but they had a decided advantage inside that they inexplicably ignored for big portions of the game.

The Pistons kept it close because Tayshaun Prince played well. Sure, his shots were going in, but that’s not what I was impressed with. I was impressed that he didn’t shoot more. He took only 10 shots, fourth most on the team. Even though the team’s young players, Monroe, Knight and Stuckey, where having bad games, Prince still behaved like a fourth option. He kept the ball moving, he looked to set up others (he had four assists and would’ve had at least two more if not for misses of easy looks) and, even though a case could be made that he certainly could’ve taken a more integral role in the scoring with his shot falling and the others off, he didn’t.

This was the Prince that Dumars had to have envisioned when he re-signed him. The Pistons lost a game they led most of the way and their young players looked pretty bad. Those things aren’t great outcomes, but they’re also part of developing those players. Prince tonight wasn’t an impediment to that development. He wasn’t taking more shots than he should’ve and he wasn’t dominating the ball too much on offense. His game was understated — he’s certainly had a few games this season with better numbers — but this was the first time I’ve watched Prince this season where he actually looked like he could adjust and fit with the team’s young players. With his contract, trading him is no guarantee, so figuring out a way for him to be effective without hindering the opportunities of the other players is key. Tonight was the first glimmer of hope that Prince can be comfortable with a lesser role.

Knight gets a dunk

A knock on Knight, and perhaps a reason he slipped a bit in the draft after being projected to go as high as third overall, has been his athleticism. He’s fast with the ball, but he’s not the explosive athlete a few other recent John Calipari point guards are. Tonight though, Prince found Knight on a lob that he finished with a dunk. It wasn’t contested or in major traffic or anything, but Knight went up high and got it and that’s just not something we’ve seen a lot of from him this season. It was pretty surprising.

He’s never going to be  the Rose/Westrbook type of guard who will go dunk over guys regularly, but it was nice to see that little flash of athleticism from him in an otherwise poor performance.

UPDATE: Thanks to Alex in the comments, here is video of Knight’s dunk:

Ben Gordon injured

Gordon only played 15 minutes and took one shot. He also left the game with an ankle injury, although he did return. In the third quarter, he came up limping after someone appeared to step on his ankle. Since he came back in, I assume it’s not serious, but ankle injuries have been an issue for Gordon pretty much since he arrived in Detroit and they’ve undoubtedly played a part in his up and down play (not blaming all of his poor play on injuries, but I’m sure it has had some impact, particularly his first season here).

I assume the Pistons are still evaluating whether or not to amnesty Gordon or Charlie Villanueva if they decide to use the provision in the offseason. Villanueva’s injury issues have already made him seem like the more logical choice, but if Gordon gets slowed down by injuries again this season, he’ll be right back in the race.

Terrible bench

It has been no secret that Detroit’s bench has no offense and has been one of the worst reserve units in the league this season, but it was really on display tonight. Memphis played last night while Detroit hadn’t played since Wednesday, yet the Grizzlies looked like the fresher team late. The Pistons got 11 bench points (2 of which were on a garbage time bucket by Vernon Macklin). Memphis made runs in both halves to take the lead while Detroit had at least three bench players on the floor. Every Pistons starter except Jason Maxiell played more than 35 minutes.

Memphis, conversely, got 17 points from O.J. Mayo and 12 from Quincy Pondexter. Both guys played big roles in the late surge that broke the game open. The Pistons have just not had a single reserve player all season who has consistently brought positive contributions off the bench. It puts a huge burden on the starters.

73 Comments

  • Mar 3, 201211:25 pm
    by jayg108

    Reply

    I’m usually one of the first to bash Prince’s game (even though I’m wearing his jersey).  You’re write-up on Tayshaun was insightful and hopeful.  I’ll look at his next game with an more open mind.  The whole mentor – students relationship is pretty cool to see on the big stage.

    • Mar 3, 201211:29 pm
      by jayg108

      Reply

      the first time I read the piece, and I guess I assumed he was being a mentor.  I’m just happy he’s not trying to get the new guys to play to his old style of play.

  • Mar 3, 201211:54 pm
    by Jodi Jezz

    Reply

    Gordon is suppose to be our super bench player…I don’t know whats going on with him, he seems to stand still on the offensive end, he passes the ball or pump fakes when he has a good shot, or he turns the ball over…I’m a big fan of Gordon, but he’s got to get his game together…He should be our offensive assassin when our starting unit is on the bench…He should shot at least 12 shots a game…

    • Mar 4, 201212:24 am
      by bg8

      Reply

      part of it is gordon’s fault, especially with all those pump fake, when he should just shoot it. other part is how they are utlizing gordon. most of the time on offensive, gordon is just standing in the corner (which im assuming is due to the play they are running). if you watch gordon during his bulls day, most of his points comes off the dribble, going one on one with his defender, or his pull up/transition 3s. they don’t let him go one on one on offense, and they don’t push the ball to allow gordon to get his transition 3s.

      so mostly, i just thinks it the offense thats screwing with gordon

      • Mar 4, 201212:04 pm
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        Stuckey and Knight both push the ball pretty frequently.

        • Mar 4, 201212:50 pm
          by bg8

          Reply

          they may push it frequently, but when they are pushing it, they are looking to shoot, not pass

  • Mar 4, 20121:52 am
    by Stuckey and Whoever

    Reply

    It makes sense for Tay to be more of a point forward so the offense will flow better.  I think he is right there with knight for the third option.  But regardless for a 3 or 4 option that’s pretty solid for any team.  By the way those guys doing the broadcast in Memphis made a dare I say Memphis statement.  ”The pistons players expect to miss when they shoot so everyone crashes the boards, That’s why they rebound so well.”  Goodness..Anyways with your most talented players struggling on the road = tough to get victories, = Learning process.  But I am OK with the process because I like the progress they have made together.  Bench NEED to be MORE aggressive please.

    • Mar 4, 201212:05 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      As long as Prince isn’t taking the most shots of anyone on the team, I have little problem with him being around. Still don’t like his contract, but at least when he’s not shooting a lot, he’s not taking opportunities from younger guys who need touches to get better.

  • Mar 4, 20125:10 am
    by Kaneda

    Reply

    Is there any way the Pistons could potentially get Love without giving up Monroe? :) Sure their defense wouldn’t be top notch, but the rebounding and offensive skills of those two together would be phenomenal.

    • Mar 4, 20126:52 am
      by swish22

      Reply

      Earth calling Kaneda!!  Hello anybody there????   There’s as much chance as that as Kathy Ireland showing up tonight at my place!!
       Dear lord, Where is the re-incarnation I asked for???    KEvin Porter, Ernie Digregorio just someone, or anyone  who can get me 20 assists on occasion.  Maybe you misunderstood me and thought that was a teams assist number I was looking for!!   I cringe when I see these games with 13-15 total team assists.   Please lord consider hooking us Pistons fans up with a true facilitator!   In return I will work hard to stop hating Rodney “Starbury” Stuckey and his minion of slackies and try to help feed the  poor(me and the family) and I promise I’ll stop thinking of Kathy Ireland in too many ways and positions! 

      Amen!

    • Mar 4, 201212:08 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Step away from the Trade Machine, Kaneda.

  • Mar 4, 20126:32 am
    by frankie d

    Reply

    bench?
    we don’t need no stinkin bench!
    who needs a bunch of stiffs not good enough to start!
    let em suck it up and deal with it …and screw em if they can’t come in and give the team microwave-like instant offense….
    but seriously…
    it might help if the coach actually tried to develop his bench players.
    if he showed some confidence in guys like macklin and daye, guys who have shown at least some ability to put the ball in the basket.  even reserves need love too. 
    when your half – two- of your rotation of bench players - wilkins and ben w. – are over the hill retreads – sorry ben w.!, but the truth is the truth! – who were always known for their inabiltiy to score, what the heck does the team expect! 

    • Mar 4, 201212:09 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      LOL … Austin Daye, the guy who is shooting 30 percent, has shown some ability to put the ball in the basket, eh?

      Would love to see them find some minutes for Macklin, but Daye playing has not helped the offense at all this season.

      • Mar 4, 20121:10 pm
        by frankie d

        Reply

        i guess you will never quite grasp the concept you sometimes have to be very patient with younger players.
        that process, the cultivation of young players – refer again to david thorpe’s “royal jelly” podcast; see doug collins’ handling of jodie meeks – often pays dividends.
        also, it seems incomprehensibly stupid to spend a first round draft choice on a player, keep that player around, have him occupy a roster spot, pay him 3 million dollars and then let him rot without attempting to get  value out of that player. 
        especially when you need the talent that player possesses.
        and yes, daye has shown some ability to put the ball in the basket.
        being essentially tied for the best 3 point shooter on a team for an entire season – .401 vs. .402 – while averaging 20 minutes a game for 72 games, while taking the 3rd most 3 pointers on the squad, that is indeed evidence that a player can shoot.  especially when that player has shown the ability to shoot in that fashion over his entire basketball career.  the .401 3-point shooting percentage is not the anomaly or fluke.  the anomaly or fluke is the poor shooting.  a coach with a better ability to reach and handle young players would probably be able to get a guy like daye back on track.
        detroit fans act as though they’ve never seen a player go through a shooting slump…heck, frank acts as though he’s never seen a player go through a shooting slump.
        but, of course, damien wilkins just brings so much more to the court and the team cannot function without his sterling presence on the floor.  investing PT in order to get daye straightened out would cripple the team by taking that all star, wilkins off the floor.  
        and of course, the same logic applies to macklin and wallace.
        (what is the excuse for continuing to play wallace without giving macklin a shot, when the team desperately needs big guys and when macklin has shown, in limited minutes, a certain aptitude for scoring?)
        and fans wonder why frank has such a poor record.  and how the guy could lose a record number of games in a row.
        he’s a shorter bobby knight, with red hair.  he has no feel for players or the game.
        all he knows are x’s and o’s.

        • Mar 5, 20129:11 am
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          I fully grasp the concept. But I also don’t think you keep running guys out there who aren’t aggressive. I’ll compare with Amir Johnson. I hated how the Pistons handled him. Every time he played consistent minutes, he rebounded, blocked shots and brought energy. But because he was foul-prone, his leash was short. It was maddening.

          Daye? He plays with no energy fairly frequently, he passes up good shots when his sole purpose is to shoot and he’s compounded things this season by being one of the worst shooters in the NBA.

          And it’s funny that you continuously harp on Frank not having any feel for his players when every player has basically said the opposite. Stuckey said he has a coach who “believes in him” for the first time. Prince has commented on his positive relationship with Frank. Knight has talked about how important Frank’s confidence in him has been.

          So sorry, I’m not going to throw the coach under the bus because he doesn’t play a guy who has brought ZERO to the table.

          • Mar 5, 201211:19 am
            by frankie d

            ” But I also don’t think you keep running guys out there who aren’t aggressive.”
            i’ve asked this question plenty of times, but you always ignore it, and i’d really be interested in your response: 
            what do you do with daye?
            btw, it is not true that he has not been aggressive.  he has one of the highest usage rates on the team – right behind monroe, stuckey and bynum and if you take his shot attempts out to 36 minutes, one of the highest per game rates on the team.
            yes, he has not been playing well, but the numbers clearly indicate that he has still been aggressive.
            daye will be around for the next two years, making 3 and 4 million dollars per.
            he is a former first round draft choice.
            if he should not be put back on the floor – in order to salvage his game and his value either to the pistons or another team –  according to your view, then exactly what do you do with him?

          • Mar 5, 201211:27 am
            by frankie d

            players saying positive things about their current coach?
            well stop the presses.  that never happens.
            let’s see what the results are, after a couple of years.
            i’m much more interested in what players and coaches do, rather than what they say. 
            frank clearly has little or no confidence in the young guys he really has to make decisions about.
            macklin and daye being the prime examples.
            stuckey has been a starter for years and wasn’t going anywhere.  revealingly, however, frank started stuckey at his old PG spot until stuckey got hurt and he was forced to put knight in.
            knight is a lottery pick on a bad team.  he’s going to play, unless your coach is a hall of famer like larry brown.
            if i’m prince and a coach is allowing me to distort the entire so-called “rebuilding” process, heck yes, i love that coach.
            i have an opinion about frank.  we’ll see if that opinion is correct.  so far, he’s been the stiff i thought he’d be.  
            i hope i’m wrong, but so far the results are not pretty.
            and if i’m wrong about frank, i’ll be more than happy to acknowledge that fact.

          • Mar 5, 201211:38 am
            by Patrick Hayes

            “What do you do with Daye?”

            I dunno … make him make a shot or two in garbage time for starters? I think he should probably be playing more. They have nothing to lose by playing him. But I’m also not going to cry and act like it’s some tragedy that a guy who has been beyond terrible by every measure this year isn’t getting minutes. Show any sign of life. There haven’t been any this season.

            “players saying positive things about their current coach? well stop the presses.  that never happens.”

            Well, it’s significant when you have a locker room full of players who had no problems previously throwing coaches under the bus. Curry and Kuester both lost control of things pretty early on in their careers. Frank is off to a better start by far in that respect. Doesn’t mean he’s the answer, but he’s clearly created a better environment than the others.

            Also, I think there’s evidence to suggest that your theory that Frank is just an X’s and O’s guy who doesn’t connect with players is wrong. Jason Kidd still talks  about Frank as one of the best coaches he ever played for. Players have usually liked playing for the guy, even if his on-court results haven’t been good.

          • Mar 5, 201212:58 pm
            by frankie d

            “They have nothing to lose by playing him.”
            thank you for saying something that seems obvious to me.
            i don’t have a stake in daye’s future.
            i don’t know him and don’t care about him, personally.
            i am a fan of the pistons, and he is therefore relevant to my rooting interests.
            this has been my simple point from the very beginning.: they have nothing to lose.
            and on the other hand, everything to gain… if he turns his season – and his career – around.
            it seems a no-brainer that you play him, see what happens and go from there.
            after all, the team doesn’t have anything to lose and something positive may come from it.
            and as i’ve said, we will see what happens with frank.  the great thing about sports is that you get a chance to see whether your predictions, your conjecture, play out the way you imagined.
            it’s obvious that frank is a very knowledgable coach.  he knows the game.  however, there is a huge step from knowing the game and being able to coach a team of professional BB players successfully.
            the best coaches –  chuck daly, red auerbach, popavich, phil jackson, larry brown, pat riley – were all guys who were best at dealing with people.  you can always find an assistant to sit at your elbow and break down the game and give you advice.  chuck daly doesn’t win without dick harter and his defensive schemes.  phil jackson and tex winter are always going to be tied to each other.  from what i’ve seen of frank, i’m skeptical about his capacity to deal with the interpersonal communication part of being a good coach.  
            guys like mike fratello may know the game better than just about anyone out there.  but there is a reason those guys are not on benches and a big part of it is their inability to deal with players on a personal basis as well as other guys.

  • Mar 4, 20127:45 am
    by Sebastian

    Reply

    Dam(n) Bem Gordon pick the wrong Saturday (12 days before the Trade Deadline) to get hurt, again.

    WE want be able to trade his azz, now!

  • Mar 4, 201210:00 am
    by Noah

    Reply

    Was it Webb who was on the nba tv roundtable show who was talking about letting bad teams hang around and then blowing them out and laughing about it? Looked like Gay and Mayo had a laugh in the locker room after this one.

    • Mar 4, 201212:10 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Haha, yeah, they certainly found another gear with about 8 minutes left, didn’t they?

  • Mar 4, 20122:07 pm
    by rick77

    Reply

    My question is about Tay’s contract and it goes like this. Why does everyone care about how much Prince gets paid? I mean when we go to work and start a job you dont always get paid for expectation in the beginning but results. The way I see it his contract is for his body of work and not the expectations that everyone else seem to think he should be accountable for. I honestly think it is a situation of complaining about something that is irrelevant. I mean honestly the man is getting paid probably right around market value. Their are some dudes in the league straight dogging it and get paid like all stars this contract is not near all star worthy. Why woud Joe lowball one of his own and expect other free agents to run to Detroit? I think people forget this when they make that argument. If you lowball him then you probably lose out on others. We dont know who is agent is but his agent might be employed by someone who we are trying to attract, and will said agent wanna deal with Detroit if they lowball his client? I think it(contract) probably has one year more than i would like but it is kinda like Chaunceys, and while everyone is complaining his contract that he got was ridiculous at age 31. The amount is right in line for what a player of his caliber should be receiving.

    • Mar 4, 20123:31 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      Exactly!  What does the average starter in the league make anyway since the average player makes around 5 million?  Prince deserves at least a bit of a bump above the average starter for his great versatility, consistency and attendance.    Everyone complains but most teams are carrying a large contract or two for a player who doesn’t even contribute and Prince is a pro’s pro who has never bean beaten out or even challenged for his starting role.    If Prince was paid according to the respect opposing team’s announcers give him, he would be earning a lot more.

      • Mar 4, 20125:23 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        You do realize the average includes superstars, don’t you? Even the most vehement Prince apologist can’t call Prince an average starter. An average starter gives you about 15 ppg on about 46%. And that’s just scoring–arguably Tay’s strongest point these days. Tay gives you 12 ppg on 41%.

        • Mar 4, 20129:16 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          Are you pulling those numbers out of thin air or what?   Either way, determining a starter’s average numbers would encompass all of the stats and I would say the stats argument for Prince would begin with his versatility and elite turnover ratio.  Further, while there will be plenty who oppose me, he has much more value in regard to intangibles than the average starter.

          • Mar 5, 201211:02 am
            by tarsier

            More or less. But an average team scores between 95 and 100 ppg. I didn’t calculate that, but I can see a list of all teams ppg and determine that the average is definitely in that range. And I can also look up bench scoring for every team and the average falls in the 25-30 ppg range. That means the starters are scoring about 70 ppg which means their average is about 14 ppg. I suppose I may have been a teensy bit high with my 15 ppg I said before, it was due to my doing this in my head and rounding along the way. Also, advanced stats at best put Prince as an average player (like PER or EWA), certainly below an average starter.

            As for intangibles, Prince is not the sort of guy who gets everyone else revved up, there is no evidence that he displays any positive leadership characteristics, he often sets an example of playing me-ball, and he is known for calling his coach a buffoon. On the plus side he gives by and large a lot of professionalism, he sets an example for a couple young guys of what a player can do to overcome the physical hurdle of being insanely skinny, and he is an iron man most of the time. Whether those balance out to above or below zero (I’m guessing a zero on intangibles is about average), I don’t know. It’s a judgment call.

            Also, what versatility? In a fantasy context, sure, he gives a little bit of everything across the board. But he is only suited to playing one position both on offense and on defense and he can’t do more things than most guys. He has very poor slashing skills, but is decent in iso, can facilitate when he chooses to, and is a decent shooter (although he doesn’t have the desirable fast release). I honestly have no idea what you are referring to when you say he is versatile. But I’ll agree on the elite turnover rate with the caveat that that has been referenced on this very site and its basis on his unwillingness to make smart passes with some risk of ensuing turnovers (aka anti-Nash/Rubio).

            But my point is, you could have a good debate on whether Prince is an above average or below average player. As far as I’m concerned that easily puts him out of the running for an above average starter.

    • Mar 4, 20124:14 pm
      by gordbrown

      Reply

      People are obsessed with this because before Prince resigned people were excited by the idea that his expiring contract could be used to sign or trade for a much needed big. Of course there really wasn’t a much needed big available although I suppose Okur would qualify. Would our team be better with Okur or Humphries in place of Prince? Hard to say but Prince didn’t do himself (or Pistons fans sanity) any favors with his uncharacteristically bad start or resemblance to last year’s ball stopper experience. But Prince seems to be playing better and the available bigs that were available certainly haven’t set the world on fire this year (Okur has been mostly hurt, Humphries had shall we say an interesting off season, etc.) Not to be a Prince apologist but I’d also like to point out Prince has taken a pay cut to stay in Detroit so there’s that as well. I missed last night’s game but I’m glad to hear that Prince is stepping into a better role and especially that he is committing to moving the ball (I’ve seen some of this in previous games as well). I agree this bodes well for the future. Now if we could only fix the bench.

    • Mar 4, 20125:17 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      so much fail in this post…

      A) If you are trying to build a good team, you do pay based on expectations. You can’t pay based on “body of work” because who cares how well the guy performed in the past except to the extent it can be used to predict future production. Otherwise, hey, Bill Russel is still alive. Let’s convince him to come back on a max deal.

      B) Prince’s contract is not in line with his production, but even if it were, he is a terrible fit with Detroit. So the only reason to sign him is to use him as trade bait to get an asset. And if his contract were in line with his production, he wouldn’t be great trade bait for an asset. He would be if he were underpaid. Hence why you give him a low ball and dare him to find someone who will offer more.

      C) Why would free agents particularly not want to go to a city with a shrewd GM who was good at collecting underpaid talent? That is, after all, a winning recipe. A reputation for overpaying will only increase the contractual expectations of potential future free agents coming to Motown.

      D) “Why does everyone care how much he gets paid?” Because we are Pistons fans and therefore want good things for the Pistons. While Prince’s contract is not an unmovable albatross, it is yet another bad deal on the books clogging up the team’s salary budget. And it’s not invested in a guy who at least has the potential to be a part of the Pistons’ future. If Dumars had thrown that money at someone like Jason Thompson or Chuck Hayes, I would have been annoyed because he was overpaying. But at least, there would be a chance of it being a helpful player to have on the roster down the road.

    • Mar 5, 20129:14 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I don’t care how much Prince gets paid from Prince’s perspective. He got himself a good deal.

      I care because it will be another contract that will be difficult for the Pistons to move as Prince ages. His game has already shown serious signs of decline this season, evidenced by his career low shooting percentage. Players Prince’s age just simply don’t maintain their level of production well into their 30s. It was a bad signing for a rebuilding team.

  • Mar 4, 20123:30 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    an interesting article on player development that speaks to some of the issues raised by the fact that the pistons bench is so poor.
    i don’t need to remind folks here that the pistons have one of the poorest records of using the d-league to develop and/or find players.
    and when they do use it to bring up a player, he’s a 29 year old rookie with no real upside, who has a long connection to the team, even by way of family.
    instead of using all resources available, joe d is sitting, waiting on his phone to ring…

    http://hoopspeak.com/2012/02/andre-emmett-and-the-system/

  • Mar 4, 20123:51 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    I liked the way Prince looked last night but don’t think he should be judged in some rigid way regarding how many shots he takes.   If he is the 3rd or 4th option, there ought to be nights, as happens with every team that doesn’t have bona fide league leading scorers, where the 3rd or 4th option takes the most shots and has a big night.   This is especially true in the Pistons case since Monroe never plays 40 minutes and Prince is leading the team in minutes.   On such nights, he may take the most shots while remaining a 3rd or 4th option since he is 2nd on the team in shots but is 5th in shots per 36 minutes.   I really think the whole subject is pretty overblown based on the per minute numbers and the fact that Stuckey takes so many more free throws than Prince that he is effectively attempting to score on more possessions than Prince.   This means that Monroe and Stuckey are getting more opportunities to score than Prince each game even though they are playing fewer minutes.  If you compare Prince to Knight, Prince is taking about one more shot a game and one less free throw while playing more minutes.   Therefore, the numbers say Prince is basically tied with Knight for 3rd option so far this year and I don’t know why anyone would find anything amiss.    Daye is taking more shots per minute this year than Prince.

    • Mar 4, 20124:11 pm
      by rick77

      Reply

      I never understand the hate for his contract in this forum. Who else could we have and would their resume be better? Then would they really have the desire to play here under the current circumstances and perform to the level of their contract? Alot of unknowns in there and with Tayshaun we know who he is and what he brings to the table. If his contact was 9mill and up thenn we would have a problem I really think his contract reflects what he has done and what he is capable of in terms of helping rebuilding. He could be playing with a contender and just walked and we would be stcuk with Jerebko and Daye. They would get exposed on a regular and who want them after that. At least with a vet you can u can slow play them and allow other teams to see the potential and become intrigued by that potential and wanna pull the trigger. If they get exposed then you have nothing.

      • Mar 4, 20127:04 pm
        by apa8ren9

        Reply

        Totally spot on. There was no one available that the Pistons realistically could have signed that was better than Tayshaun.  We also have no one on our roster that can beat him out of his spot.  You cant argue that.  He has a fair market value contract for his resume.  These are facts.  The hate comes out because the team is bad.  You have to endure rick77 for the team.  The only good news is coming in the off season and it might be scarce.  Endure my friend.

        • Mar 4, 20128:26 pm
          by frankie d

          Reply

          to a large degree this is the same faulty logic that many fans used in order to justify signing  CV.  
          i haven’t forgotten how many fans were actually supportive of the signing and one of the main rationales was that there was no one else out there in that price range, so why not spend the money on CV?
          this is essentially the same logic that is now used to justify tay’s signing.
          the one spot the pistons did not have a need at was the wing.  between jj and daye and stuckey they easily had enough guys to play that position. also, getting a wing player, if it turned out to be necessary, is always one of the easiest things to do.  
          for instance, milwaukee is paying mike dunleavy about half of what tay is making and dunleavy’s numbers are better than tay’s.  tay is scoring more because he’s taking a lot more shots.  dunleavy’s PER is much higher and all of his percentages are much higher.  dunleavy could have been had for a song.
          the huge downside of signing guys like CV and tay and eating up all of your cap space is losing flexibility to make smaller, though potentially very positive, moves where you need cap space to take on salary.
          back when they signed CV they missed out on the chance to pick up a guy like eric maynor, who utah basically gave away because they wanted to dump matt harpring’s salary.  i’m sure utah would have preferred sending maynor to the east, rather than to a western conference rival, but OKC was one of the few teams able to take on the 6.5 million harpring salary. 
          if detroit had not signed CV, had simply kept that money available, they could have probably gotten a nice little first round draft choice point guard in maynor.
          same thing happened this year.  philly basically gave mareese spaights away.  yeah the mareese spaights that just hurt detroit last night.  detroit couldn’t even get in on the bidding because they didn’t have cap room to absorb his salary, and philly didn’t want to get a player in return.  they wanted a draft choice.  
          so memphis got a former first rounder, a very nice young big man, for a second round draft choice, simply because they had flexibility.  
          imho, that is one type of move that joe d has no understanding of at all.  he seems almost incompetent at it, frankly, which is one reason he’s done fire sales on some of his young talent like amir and afflalo.  he’s needed to create space and so he’s dumped good talent to do so, and when you follow the entire range of moves, they end up being mindbogglingly bad and indicative of someone who looks like they don’t know what they are doing.  
          i’d much rather have not signed tay, and then brought a cheap vet in, if one was needed, who would act as a back up to my younger players.  keep your flexibility so that when a guy like spaights is available, you can at least consider whether you want to bring him on board.  instead of being locked out of any trades of that sort because you lack flexibility.
          the team should be maximizing it’s quantity of young players, not accumulating vets who are on the down side of their careers.  especially when signing those guys kills your salary cap flexibility.

          • Mar 5, 201211:47 am
            by tarsier

            Allow me to add that he did in fact bring in a cheap win in Wilkens who is just as valuable to the team long-term as Prince.

          • Mar 5, 201212:29 pm
            by apa8ren9

            This is what you do to justify what I consider lousy points.  We were talking about Prince not CV.  Everything I stated was a fact.  You turned it into these other things.  Your assertion that they would have been fine with just Daye and JJ is WRONG.  Their play has shown that.  JJ is what he is, a very good 6th man with versatility.  You already know my take on Daye.  No matter how you try to spin it, Mike Dunleavy IS NOT better than Prince.  No shape no how.  Prince has a track record with the Pistons that is why he is here.  All of the other things you threw in there are just talking points that you like to justify.  We are rebuilding plain and simple.

          • Mar 5, 20121:38 pm
            by frankie d

            @apa8ren9
            i guess you’ve never heard about comparisons, contrasts or analogies…y’know things you might bring forward to discuss a specific matter?
            hmmm…very strange…so when one discusses certain issues, the discussion is hermetically limited to exactly that narrow specific individual.  and if something that might be relevant and bring light is available for contrast or comparison, one still cannot bring that up?
            very strange…
            your opinion as to whether daye or jj would not sufficiently replace tay is simply conjecture.  we cannot go back and figure out how any player might or might not respond to a different set of circumstances.  what we do know is that joe d drafted those players to do exactly that and they had each produced in a fashion that arguably would allow them to move in his spot.  
            or else, why waste a first round draft choice on daye?
            why sign jj to a fairly expensive contract?
            you are welcome to your opinion about tay or dunleavy.
            i’ve always disliked dunleavy, from his high school days here in oregon to his duke playing days to his mediocre performance as a pro.  i’ve never liked him and have always thought he was much less than advertised.
            however, facts are facts.  and the fact is that dunleavy is performing better than tay is this year.  tay’s scoring more because he’s playing 10 more minutes and taking more than 4 shots more per game.   everything else, dunleavy has better numbers.
            obviously, tay has had a better career.  no rational person would argue against that.
            however, tay’s numbers are going downhill fast.  and considering everything, paying half as much money for dunleavy seems to be a much more prudent way to go.

          • Mar 5, 20123:42 pm
            by tarsier

            Your justification that Prince is better than Dunleavy is entirely track record and not at all what they’ve demonstrated this season?

            Look, everyone agrees that on the all-time scale, Prince easily goes down as being a better player and having a better career than DUnleavy. But we are talking about this year, right now, and this team. For those purposes, what basis do you have to say that Prince is better than Dunleavy. Granted, I woulda been fine with Prince if he were on a one or two year deal. I still woulda much preferred Dumars went after someone with potential to be good for a while (so not Dunleavy) but I also agree with you that this team clearly needed another wing. It’s just that if you’re gonna go get an old wing in the middle of a rebuild, go the Wilkens and his contract route, not Prince and his.

          • Mar 5, 20124:03 pm
            by Max

            Who cares about stats when Dunleavy is a terrible defender?  End of argument as far as I’m concerned.

          • Mar 5, 20125:26 pm
            by tarsier

            I care because Prince has not been a great defender this year either. ALlso, Dunleavy hardly qualifies as a terrible defender. Bad, and somewhat worse than Prince, but not Nash-esque or anything.

          • Mar 5, 20127:18 pm
            by apa8ren9

            @frankie, You can bring up whatever points you want, its the internet.  But I didnt want you to hijack the point I was making with your point that I believe was of no relevance to what I was saying and I needed to say so.
            Back on topic. If daye or JJ could replace tayshaun is hardly conjecture. Neither impact the game to the level needed to replace him full time over an 82 game schedule.  Prince has shown the ability to perform on a .500 or better team.  The others have not, at least not to this point.   Another reason that I get a bit fired up about Daye is because I was happy the Pistons drafted him.  I want him to do well. Right now I feel betrayed. He sucks right now.  He was supposed to show improvement and he still can.  But I dont want to hear about the coach holding him down.  When he gets on the court (he will get more opportunities to play) I want him to perform to the level that warrants more playing time.  There should be no doubt. Frank has shown that he will do that for a young player, your insistance that its Frank’s fault and Daye has no culpability in this infuriates me (as much as you can get about a player you like) because it is wrong.  The fault lies with Daye, plain and simple.  Sometimes draft picks dont work out for all kinds of reasons, like the maturity of the player and they dont get it until they move on.  This might be one of those cases.  I recognize his talent and I want it on our team.  BUT HE SUCKS RIGHT NOW.  And its not the coach’s fault.
            @tarsier – I cannot not in good conscience EVER state that Mike freakin Dunleavy is better than Tayshaun prince because in my gut of guts I know that not to be true. LOL

    • Mar 4, 20125:27 pm
      by inigo montoya

      Reply

      Using PER as a metric, Prince is overpaid.  Prince’s PER is below average, and Prince is being paid above average.

      I know PER is not perfect and does not measure defense, but I still think it would be interesting to get a NBA database, and divide a player’s annual salary by his PER and see which player ranks the lowest in $/PER,   This will give an indication of how much a GM is paying per PER for that player.

      Also it would be interesting to find out which GM is paying the lowest sum of $/PER for the entire team. 

      • Mar 4, 20129:22 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        Efficiency is much better than PER.

        • Mar 5, 201211:28 am
          by tarsier

          Reply

          PER is Efficiency adjusted for number of possessions. They are the same stat. PER stands for Player Efficiency Rating. Unless you don’t mean the advanced stat when you say efficiency. Then you probably mean things like shooting a high percentage and not turning the ball over. Prince is one for two on those.

          • Mar 5, 20124:05 pm
            by Max

            I’m not exactly sure of why it is true, but PER overvalues scoring and undervalues rebounding as compared with EFF.   If you look at a list of the best players according to both standards, EFF reads more like a pecking order of the best players in the league.

          • Mar 5, 20125:35 pm
            by tarsier

            People like to say that PER overvalues scoring. I don’t really think it does. Because it puts a premium on efficient scoring and penalizes inefficient scoring. It does undervalue defensive rebounding, though. Offensive rebounds, I think, it values fairly.

            As for your observation that it better ranks the best players in the league, that makes great sense because both can only work with what is in the box score, while a coach can work with more than that and is therefore likely to give more PT (and therefore more possessions) to better players. And as I mentioned before, PER normalizes EFF to a per-possession stat.

            Incidentally, how does Prince rank EFF-wise?

            Also, I recognize that I am a bit biased against Prince because of how annoyed I am about his contract. But I’d like to think that all the points I make are still valid ones.

          • Mar 5, 20129:37 pm
            by Max

            He’s 129 in EFF per game and is averaging an 11 where as Knight is 134th and averaging a 10.8.   Knight is the sixth highest rookie.  I also took note that Monroe is 17th with a 21.2 and that Stuckey is 94th with a 13.3.   It should be noted that some of the players on the list are either done for the year or haven’t played many games.

          • Mar 5, 20129:42 pm
            by Max

            The flaw I see in normalizing possessions to a per possession stat is that it assumes no causal relationship between the player and the pace of the game.  In many cases there is one as a team will ideally dictate its pace according to its best players.

          • Mar 5, 20129:52 pm
            by Max

            Ok, looked it all up.  Prince is 17th in EFF amongst small forwards and 15th amongst starting small forwards.  That would point to his being an average starting small forward.

          • Mar 5, 201210:06 pm
            by Max

            When you look at PER, Prince is the 34th small forward but stupid things happen on that list like Steve Novak being 9th despite only playing 16 minutes a game.   With EFF, things like that don’t happen.

          • Mar 5, 201210:34 pm
            by tarsier

            Doesn’t matter if the player affects pace. Because a higher pace will also mean the other team is scoring more, which isn’t tracked by PER. That is why normalizing for pace really matters. My point for why EFF may be a decent guide is that it doesn’t normalize for number of possessions (which is pace * minutes). But that will inflate the numbers of those with poor backups, and that definitely decribes Prince.

          • Mar 5, 201210:43 pm
            by tarsier

            What PER says is that in however many possessions there are in 16 minutes, Novak contributes more than Prince does in the same number of possessions. What EFF says is that in 34 minutes of possessions, Prince contributes more than Novak does in 16 minutes. But does he contribute more than Novak would in that many possessions? We have no way of knowing. But at least in a limited role, Novak appears to be the better player (to the extent that PER or EFF can measure these things). Just like a guy who gets 10 rpg in 25 mpg is a better rebounder as best we can tell than a guy who gets 12 rpg in 40 mpg.

          • Mar 6, 201212:29 am
            by Max

            One major fault though is that anyone knows that you can’t simply double the minutes of a player who plays 16 minutes a game and expect them to double their stats.
            Another is that the players who plays 16 minutes a game can devote much more of his energy to those 16 minutes a game.
            Another is that many a role player who comes off the bench has too limited of a skill set (can’t play defense) to play with all of his team’s lineups.
            Another is that the player who plays a lot of minutes might improve his individual efficiency in fewer minutes but at the expense of the team if the team does not have competent backups.
            There are 15 teams who don’t have a small forward with Prince’s EFF.   Lost in the debate over the who is an average starter is the fact that the NBA has a dearth of starting level small forwards.    I am playing in 5 fantasy leagues this year and in every draft, small forward was the position where the talent level dropped the quickest.

          • Mar 6, 201212:43 am
            by Max

            Yet another flaw of both stats is that it doesn’t account for which players can create for themselves and which require circumstances to get them an open jumper.   Most small forwards can’t get the ball up the floor as reliably as Prince and some don’t do it well enough to even contribute in that area.

          • Mar 6, 20129:06 am
            by tarsier

            I clearly recognize that you can’t just double minutes and expect stats to double as I was saying who knows which player would be better if both got 30+ mpg. And lost in both stats is everything that doesn’t show up in a play-by-play. But, if I recall correctly, a player is penalized for their scores that are assisted as some of the credit for the score ends up going to the player credited with the assist.

            And it is also definitely not fair to expect a player’s production in 16 mpg to not increase dramatically by doubling his minutes.

    • Mar 5, 20129:18 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      @Max:

      I agree with you that sometimes 3rd or 4th options will have big games and, on some occasional nights, get more shots.

      The problem is, Prince was leading the team in shots per game until just before the All-Star break when Monroe finally nudged just past him. He’s one of Detroit’s least efficient scorers — he’s not a 3-point threat, he doesn’t get to the FT line very often and he’s having the worst season shooting the ball of his career. Sorry, but he shoots too much. Most nights, him shooting a lot is not helping the Pistons.

      • Mar 5, 20124:09 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        But he only did so as a result of leading the team in minutes.   Further, he is probably only leading the team in minutes because there are a glut of guards and bigs to compete for playing time with each other while Prince is simply much better than anyone else at the three and doesn’t get tired and ask out of the game like Monroe.  If Daye had been able to do anything with the ample opportunity he received early in the year, than Prince would be playing fewer minutes and would probably not even be close to leading the team  in shots taken.  Unfortunately, Daye has played about as poorly as an NBA player can.

        • Mar 5, 20124:19 pm
          by frankie d

          Reply

          i guess if you don’t expend any energy you never get tired and you never have to come out of games.
          there has been one game – the sactown game – where tay has played with any sustained energy and the game is remarkable because of that fact.
          tay is animated, he is hustling and he is actually very effective.
          other than that game, tay mopes around like he’s carrying a piano on his back.
          the idea that he is a fount of energy who can handle heavy minutes is so ridiculous as to be laughable.
          tayshaun prince…energy guy!
          are you serious?  
          he is the total antithesis of an energy guy, and his lethargic play infects everyone else.
          a glut of bigs and a dearth of SFs?
          what team are you watching?  between stuckey and jj and daye, they have more than enough guys who can swing over to the SF spot and eat up minutes.
          and the idea that he’s playing about 35 minutes a game is testament to frank’s incompetence, as no one else in the league understands how and why a guy in his position is playing such a prominent role on a “rebuilding” team. 
          bottom line: prince should be playing no more than 28 minutes a game, and he should be taking fewer than 10 shots each game.
          hopefully, he’ll figure that out in the very near future.

          • Mar 5, 20125:58 pm
            by Max

            You have no idea what it takes to play 35 minutes a game, and especially this year, if you think Prince is expending no energy.   He looks pretty tired at times, as do most of the starters in the league this year, but I still think it’s to his credit that he doesn’t ask out of games.   Frank’s decisions are one thing, but the dynamic that most fans don’t take into account when judging minutes is that most NBA players simply can’t play effectively when they are playing that many minutes.  It is one of the things that separates the men from the boys.
            Monroe is the best player and big man on the team, but he apparently can’t play more than 32 minutes–something Prince can do.   After Monroe, the separation between the team’s big men is slight so there are a glut of players (Maxiell, Jerebko, Wallace, Daye, Charlie V if he ever comes back and Macklin) who are not that much better or worse than each other.  At guard, there is no Monroe and the separation between Stuck,  Knight, Gordon, Bynum and Russell is not that significant across the board.
            At small forward however, Daye has simply been incompetent and Jerebko would put another starter on the floor who can’t create for others or get his own shot.   Prince is a much better small forward than either player and neither is doing enough to put pressure on Frank to reduce Prince’s minutes.  If anything their play has put the opposite pressure on the coach as he really doesn’t have a viable backup at all.   Stuckey is surely the best overall option but he’s a lot shorter than a lot of small forwards and has enough responsibility and pressure in having to learn a new position at shooting guard this year,

  • Mar 4, 20129:31 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    Prince’s consistency and reliability needs to be given more love.  Straight per game stats on players ignores that a lot of players miss 10-30 games every year and also that a lot of them run absurdly hot and cold.   A part of Prince’s worth is his attendance record and usual unwillingness to miss games when he is nicked up.  It makes him a much safer investment than many another player.
    Also, the turn of these arguments leaves Prince in an untenable position regarding whether he can please everybody.   If he plays as Patrick suggests that he should than he will be prevented from statistically justifying his contract to everyone’s expectations.  If he puts up big numbers on the other hand than Patrick and others might say that he is obstinately refusing to cede a major role and preventing the development of the young players.    One way or the other, you are going to read the opinion that Prince hurts the team.   I don’t agree whatsoever.

    • Mar 5, 20129:27 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Prince’s consistency and reliability needs to be given more love.”

      Consistently, this year, he’s been a really poor shooter. Over his career, he’s been consistently better, you’re right. But he’s not producing near that career level right now.

      “A part of Prince’s worth is his attendance record and usual unwillingness to miss games when he is nicked up.  It makes him a much safer investment than many another player.”

      Well, it also makes him a good bet to decline faster too. He’s already in his 30s and, as you’ve mentioned, he’s rarely missed games in his career. Plus, he’s been a part of long playoff runs, played a summer for the Olympic team, etc. He has a lot of miles on him. When you combine that with his slight frame, there’s a good chance that all of those aches and pains he’s played through could catch up with him at some point in the life of this contract.

      “If he plays as Patrick suggests that he should than he will be prevented from statistically justifying his contract to everyone’s expectations.”

      If Prince plays like he did vs. Memphis over the course of the rest of this season, I’ll be satisfied. He didn’t dominate the ball, he set up shots for others and he played well in a complimentary role. This is the opposite of how he’s played to this point in the season.

      “If he puts up big numbers on the other hand than Patrick and others might say that he is obstinately refusing to cede a major role and preventing the development of the young players.”

      First, Prince has never put up “big” numbers. Even last year, when the offense pretty much ran through him at all times and he had a high usage %, he still pretty much had the same stat line he always does.

      If Prince all of a sudden wants to turn into a 20 ppg scorer who shoots 45 percent and 37ish percent from 3, I’m all for him shooting a lot. Unfortunately, he has been shooting quite a bit this season and not at reasonable or even average percentages. That’s a problem. I don’t understand how you can argue differently.

      “One way or the other, you are going to read the opinion that Prince hurts the team.   I don’t agree whatsoever.”

      Haha … yeah, like the post I wrote above, where I said Prince’s play helped the team and was a positive? I love comments like this that completely ignore what was written. If Prince hurts the team in a game, I will write that. If he helps them in a game, I will write that. Collectively this season, he’s hurt the team more than helped them. He’s not the only one who has played poorly, but he’s definitely played the worst out of their players who get major minutes.

      • Mar 5, 20124:25 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        I wasn’t addressing your particular post when I said people will read that Prince is hurting the team but rather the idea that Prince can’t please everyone.  When you said that you would be pleased if Prince played as he did in Memphis you were only accounting for yourself.  Others would definitely react by saying he isn’t scoring and rebounding enough to justify his contract.
        You could be right about the injury issue but you could also be wrong.  Many players continue to basically be themselves into their mid thirties and it seems more relevant to me that Prince is continuing to lead the team in minutes while not missing games than it is that he is shooting a lower percentage.
        Without looking, I assume the average pct is way down this year as it was during the last lockout.  The lack of practice and frequency of games means that players are both less in rhythm and more tired.   Again, Prince is leading the team in minutes and he is over thirty, so this dynamic is likely effecting him more than anyone else on the team.
        In terms of his general decline, he did have some of the best statistical months of his career the past two seasons–in particular, I think he had his best month ever to finish of the 2010 season.  Last year, in 2011, he posted similar numbers to what he had during his entire career while playing fewer minutes and posted the highest per 36 scoring numbers of his career.   He shot 473 from the field last year.
        This year is a very small and suspect sample size.   Earlier this year, people were actually saying Dirk Nowitski was done and had grown fat and satisfied after winning the title.  I thought this was crazy.  Dirk plays great for a decade and struggles for 20 games and he is done?   Well, he sat for 10 games and returned with a vengeance.   I’m obviously not saying Prince is Dirk, but I think the reports of his decline are similarly overblown.

  • Mar 5, 201210:06 am
    by food4thought

    Reply

    Prince should not have been resigned.  This team is rebuilding and already has some bad contracts to use as expiring deals down the line (Gordon, Villanueva)… the desire to spend up to the salary cap every year regardless of how valuable the players are to the long term growth and success of the franchise is a problem I have with Joe… Unless Stuckey, Monroe, and Knight greatly exceed expectations and are not overly paid, this team will not be able to attract big time free agents… we must build thru the draft and develope our young talent as much as possible.  Prince being on this team is preventing a guy like Daye the opportunity to sink or swim in extended minutes, period.  He should not be here… if we want a veteran mentor pressence then there are many cheaper options on the market… just look a Big Ben for an example.  That veteran mentor should be coming off the bench, not eating starters minutes and among the team leaders in anything.  Joe needs to swallow his pride and go all in on a rebuild, not try to sneak into the 8th playoff spot, particularly when the upcoming draft class is universally recognized as very strong.

    Sure, having a guy like Daye playing starters minutes would hurt this team short term, but him gaining experience and potentially improving to the point of being a reliable rotation player SHOULD BE the goal… if they have no confidence in him acheiving this goal send him packing via trade to a team that does, and get back something of value.

    /rant

    • Mar 6, 201212:39 am
      by Max

      Reply

      @FoodForThought  How many free agents as good as a 31 year old Tayshaun Prince have the Pistons signed in their entire history?  That’s food for thought.

      • Mar 6, 20129:21 am
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Does it matter? This question could be rephrased as “how often have the Pistons had significant cap room?” In recent years, once. And they seriously botched it on BG and CV. But there was no reason to believe that other players wouldn’t have signed with Detroit had they been FAs. Players almost always follow the money. Also, one could argue that BG, crappy as he’s been, is better than a 31 year old Prince. And I certainly believe that at the end of each of their deals, Gordon at 29 or whatever will be better than Prince at 35 or whatever.

        • Mar 6, 20124:13 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          Who would argue BG is better than Prince?
          Also, I wasn’t taking recent years.  I was talking history.   Billups was a better free agent.  You could argue Bison Dele was though I wouldn’t.   That’s about it.   Grant Long?   There is no reason for the Pistons to attempt to get under the cap.  It’s downright counterproductive if anything.   Billups was a midlevel exception and that’s all the Pistons will ever need for free agents because if they spend more they are going to be overpaying for the right to sign a player who didn’t have more appealing options in terms of destination a la BG or CV.
          Also, no team has ever won a championship by first getting under the cap and if Miami wins; they will be the first.   Even there, it’s not like the Pistons could get under the cap and sign LBJ and  Bosh.

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