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Pistons’ defensive progress must catch up to offensive progress to win games like tonight’s loss to Suns

If there’s anything to take away from the Pistons’ 109-101 loss to the Suns tonight, it’s this: the Pistons’ defense still needs work. Their defense wasn’t great against the Kings, but Detroit shot so well, it won, anyway. Tonight, their defense cost them.

The Suns aren’t especially strong defensively (20th in the NBA), but the difference between their defense and Detroit’s was clear. Down the stretch, Phoenix funneled Pistons into perfectly rotating helped and forced stops when it needed them most.

It’s been great watching the Pistons’ offensive progress – especially in the backcourt, where Rodney Stuckey (23 points and eight assists) and Brandon Knight (17 points and six assists) took steps forward tonight. But Detroit’s defense, although it’s improved too, has lagged behind in the progress department.

I don’t say this to admonish the Pistons – it’s great that even one side of the ball is beginning to look decent after a dreadful 4-20 start – but just to point out what else must come before they win games like this one.

32 Comments

  • Mar 17, 201212:37 am
    by RationalSportsFan

    Reply

    Dan, I didn’t tune in until the 4th quarter…is there a good reason Greg rode the pine for the whole 4th?  Did I miss something?

    • Mar 17, 20127:30 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Monroe has not been playing that well for the past month.

  • Mar 17, 201212:46 am
    by JOW

    Reply

    This team still lacks rebounding. How many times did the suns get 2 or 3 chances? At this stage of Ben wallace career he is a horrible rebounder and should NEVER play with maxiell at the same time.

    • Mar 17, 20122:09 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Ben Wallace is currently 41st in the league in rebound rate (% of rebounds grabbed by him while he is playing). That is not stellar, but nor is is shabby. It puts him ahead of the likes of Garnett, Smoove, Ibaka, and Pekovic.

  • Mar 17, 20121:05 am
    by Max

    Reply

    Greg was sitting because Ben was having a turn the clock back night,
    The Pistons do need to get better defensively but the Suns have a basic advantage in that their bigs are much better shot blockers.

  • Mar 17, 20123:47 am
    by Vince

    Reply

    That was ok, I think we played well. Just need to ramp it up on D… thought that was Frank’s speciality? Unfortunately Wallace is showing his age, he can’t compete properly against physical player, might as well give Macklin his minutes so he can develop but I know that’ll never happen. 

    On a different note can we just waive Daye and Wilkins and pick up Terrence Williams off waivers? Good upgrade at SF imo. I’m getting sick of Wilkins lack of an offensive game and just sick of Daye in general. Terrence is an athletic scorer who plays decent D, something the bench could need, him and JJ coming off the bench would be something my dreams are made off.

    Oh and when’s the next Mad Ants game? Wanna watch Macklin owning the D-League.

  • Mar 17, 20128:26 am
    by vic

    Reply

    this is why i’m leaning towards john henson over Jared sullinger. but if we keep losing we might get back into davis/drummond territory!                                                                     Davis- Drummond -Henson/                                                     Melo- Ezeli-Machado/                                                                 Crowder – Draymond- Royce White

    • Mar 17, 201210:25 am
      by Daye and Knight

      Reply

      I like Royce White, but in every mock draft I’ve seen so far he’s not even projected to go in the second round. Is there a reason for that like maybe he plans on staying in school? Haven’t really heard much on him but I like his game.

      • Mar 17, 201211:36 am
        by oats

        Reply

        White is a sophomore, and most don’t think he’s going pro just yet. He also has some serious baggage. He was at Minnesota before Iowa State and ran into some problems. He plead guilty to theft and disorderly conduct after he was accused of stealing $100 worth of clothes and assaulting a security guard at the Mall of America. He also was accused of stealing another student’s laptop while at Minnesota, White also suffers from an anxiety disorder, similar to the one Brandon Marshall has, and he is being medicated for it. Apparently he was supposed to transfer to Kentucky after his problems at Minnesota, but his fear of flying and the previously mentioned anxiety disorder led to him having a panic attack and missing his meeting with coach Calipari. Fear of flying is a no joke issue when you are talking about NBA schedules. Still, I don’t think his baggage prevents him from being a first round pick when he decides to go pro, and I personally think he is worth the risk. Still, I expect him to stay in school to put some more polish on his game and to get some more distance chronologically speaking from his past legal issues.

        • Mar 17, 201210:46 pm
          by vic

          Reply

          for our last pick, he’s definitely worth the risk. dude is a baller. just held his own with Kentucky… and people with those types of issues usually see a need to go pro. I wouldnt take him before Jae Crowder or dray green though

  • Mar 17, 201212:05 pm
    by Nick II

    Reply

    I don’t know if its the system that he plays in with UCONN, but to me Andre Drummond sucks. Can someone tell me why he’s not playing to his potential cause on Espn mock draft he slipped down to 6.
    And I’m thinking he might end up with the Pistons.

      • Mar 17, 201212:37 pm
        by Daye and Knight

        Reply

        There’s a chance the top 5 could be Davis, MKG, Robinson, Barnes and then maybe Drummond. I still can’t see him falling past the top five just yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me too much if he did. If he falls to the Pistons there’s no way we’re passing on him. With that being said…he could decide to stay in school and try and work on his game, something he should wisely consider.

        • Mar 17, 20121:17 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          I haven’t heard a really good explanation, but I have my guess. It is partially because UConn’s system isn’t built around him this year, but that’s not the main thing. Actually, I can’t think of any UConn big men that were all that good as freshmen, which suggests either that the system is hard to learn or that Calhoun tweaks it around the guys he already has in the program before the season starts. As I was about to say, he’s a very raw prospect, but a good athlete. He is scoring a bit better than Okafor did as a freshman (+2.3 pts/gm), but he is not quite as good rebounding (-1.2 r/gm) or blocking shots (-1.5 b/gm). If I had to guess, I’d say the main issue is that Drummond’s roughly an Emeka Okafor level talent and people think he’s better than that. That’s not an insult, Okafor is a good player. Drummond, like Okafor, fits a huge need for the Pistons, and he does have the potential to be more than that seeing as he is quicker than Okafor and supposedly a little taller. If he ends up in Detroit I’ll be happy, but my expectations for high end of likely outcomes for him as a player are much closer to Okafor than to Howard.
           
          He’s such a good fit for Detroit that they would have to think long and hard about taking Drummond even if the lottery gave the Pistons the 2nd pick in the draft. For people a little less desperate for a big man he might seem like too much of a reach. A lot of teams want scoring in the front court, so Sullinger could also jump Drummond. I could also see someone desperate for perimeter help deciding Perry Jones is a 3 and taking him, or taking one of the Beal, Lillard, Lamb group of guards. Actually, I could see someone deciding Perry Jones is Sheed 2.0 and taking him to play the 4 over Drummond. There’s also Tony Mitchell from North Texas with his eye popping stats, it just takes one team willing to take that risk on that guy (and I hope Detroit does some due diligence on that guy, even if I am not convinced he should go as high as Detroit will be picking). Something weird could happen allowing Drummond to slip and me to rejoice since Davis is the only player who is a better fit in Detroit’s most glaring area of need. I’d bet on Drummond being in the top 5, but you never know.

    • Mar 17, 201210:52 pm
      by vic

      Reply

      its the system, the coach, the guards. but its also him. he definitely needs to grow but the best place to do it is very not Uconn.         but even playing at 25 percent of his potential he still avgs 12, 10, and 3. He has the most double doubles as a freshman than anyone in Uconn history, including emeka okafor. If your 25% and you’re still a double double with 3 blocks, please sign me up for that 6’11 270 lb ‘bust’

  • Mar 17, 20121:29 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    didn’t see the game.  only saw highlights. 
    but it looked like stuckey was guarding dudley, who had a big game.
    why was stuckey guarding dudley?

    • Mar 17, 20121:38 pm
      by frankie d

      Reply

      never mind…
      just saw the starting lineup and see that dudley is starting at guard.
      good move by gentry and a huge matchup problem for other teams.
      i like it.  make them adjust to you. dudley’s size and strength obviously was a problem.  seems like he had defensive problems with stuckey, but then lots of players have problems with stuckey.
      its the same theory i have with daye at SG.  yea, he’ll give up points, but he’ll also cause huge headaches for the other team because of his size and length.
      looks like it’s a move and strategy that has worked well for phoenix.

  • Mar 17, 20124:29 pm
    by Nick II

    Reply

    It seems like after all this time Stuckey and Maxiell all of a sudden developed some jumpshots LOL.

  • Mar 17, 20127:00 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    L Frank just put guys in position to take advantage of there strengths. Max always had the jump shot he just was never in his spots to gather himself to make them , therefore limiting his confidence in taking it. Stuckey is in his comfortable position now and has less pressure to perform plus he’s playing at a faster pace which he always wanted. Also because he has more freedom he can combine what he’s learn from playing Pg into shooting guard. It’s like having too point guards. Thats what makes them dangerous.

  • Mar 17, 20127:14 pm
    by apa8ren9

    Reply

    That was a tough loss.  It was a good effort, but Phoenix just made more plays at the end.  Maybe Frank should have had Monroe in for JJ for better rebounding at the end but the matchups in favor of Phoenix worked for them tonight.  And to be fair, Ben was playing very well so Frank rode him to the end, just didnt work out for us.   On to the next game.

  • Mar 17, 20128:14 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    “…And to be fair, Ben was playing very well so Frank rode him to the end, just didnt work out for us.”
    what is the team mission?
    is it making the playoffs?
    is it rebuilding so the young players will be better prepared in the future?
    if, as the gm states, the team is doing the latter, how does playing a guy who is going to retire  next year advance the stated team mission?
    have to say, i didn’t see the game so i cannot comment on what happened, but i did see that monroe did some good things – rebounded well, shot ok percentage – and one thing that has been a pattern is the fact that he struggles, but often adjusts during the course of games.
    who cares if ben is having a good game.  the coach should be trying to get the best player on his team prepared to work through tough games and opponents.  benching him does not help his development.

    • Mar 17, 20128:53 pm
      by domnick

      Reply

      Greg must improve his defense… he was really outplayed by Gortat…

    • Mar 17, 20129:31 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      Frank demands that guys exert effort on defense. Kind of hard to preach defense to everyone but not care that Monroe is playing terrible defense. Besides, benching guys is not necessarily more harmful than rewarding them for doing the wrong thing. Monroe is at the point where you don’t just ignore poor effort. Monroe has proven he’s not just a second year player, Frank should treat him like the near All Star performer that he is. Frank is asking more of Monroe than to just score a bit and rebound, and I’m good with that. Normally I’d be happy with that kind of production from a sophomore big man, but Monroe’s play shows me he is past that stage of his development and it’s time for him to start working on becoming the kind of guy that shouldn’t be omitted from All Star games no matter how bad his team is.

      • Mar 17, 20129:54 pm
        by frankie d

        Reply

        the thing about monroe is that he adjusts during games and his play later in games is often very different than it was at the beginning or middle of the game.
        i recall one game where he was playing poorly defensively.  then a guard, i think it was sactown’s little isaiah thomas blocked his shot.  
        after that, he was a terror on defense.  he blocked shots – including a payback block on the guard, made a couple of steals and was extremely active, defensively.
        it would be good if he was less inconsistent, but he is a  young guy and it is one of the things that you see with him.
        as a result, i’d hope the coach would see fit to, say, sit him down, talk to him, let him know what is needed, and then put him back out on the floor to let him work on his weak points.
        no player gets better on the bench.
        its not a huge issue, but something similar has happened a few times.

        • Mar 17, 201211:17 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          Eh, Frank gave him 3 quarters to get his act together. Maybe you feel it’s a little quick, but 27 minutes of crappy defense through 3 quarters of play seems like enough time to me. I wouldn’t criticize putting him back out there, but I’m good with Monroe getting plastered on the bench for the 4th if he is playing such poor defense. Then again, at times it felt like if Frank benched everyone playing poor defense then he wouldn’t be able to field a 5 man unit.
           
          I’d like to reiterate, I do think Monroe should be judged harder than everyone else except maybe Stuckey when it comes to their defense because they are the 2 best players on the team. Max, Wallace, and JJ also get graded tough on their defense since they generally aren’t productive if they aren’t playing good defense, but that’s a basic productivity check that Monroe has to pass on top of grading his defense. That said, Monroe shouldn’t be just graded on his defensive performance since he isn’t that good of a defender yet. He should be judged on effort and whether or not he just misses assignments. He’s too smart to miss assignments as consistently as he did against Phoenix.

    • Mar 18, 20122:48 am
      by Max

      Reply

      @FrankieD….a coach a GM ought to be on the same page in some ways but a coach’s job is to try and win games and Dumars has always admirably stayed out of trying to influence his coach’s decisions and left the rotations to them,   You do have a point when you bring up that Dumars could make moves that force Frank’s hand but weighing Frank’s substitutions against Dumars quotes or your own perception of how the team should be operating long term is like comparing apples and oranges.  Frank’s job when he is making substitutions is judge what five man lineup gives him the best chance of winning each 48 minutes…period.  And maybe Frank wouldn’t sit Monroe if he didn’t ask out so often.  Such behavior can hardly inspire confidence when another player is playing well.

      • Mar 18, 20124:02 am
        by frankie d

        Reply

        @max
        your are absolutely correct.
        frank is trying to win games.  period.
        almost all coaches would approach their job in that same manner – a couple would take a longer range view – so he is not unusual in that respect.  
        i actually don’t blame him in a way.  every coach sees his win/loss record affected every game.   no one, amateur or pro, wants their record to be anything less than what it could be.
        that is where the gm comes in.  he has to set the rules, and either give the coach more or less room, depending on the moves he makes.
        again, frank is just doing what any coach would probably do in his situation.
        hard to blame any coach for doing that.  
        which is why it is even more important to make sure   the rest of the guys know the truth.

        • Mar 18, 20129:40 am
          by apa8ren9

          Reply

          It really didnt go that deep for this instance Frankie.  Frank was just trying to win the game. Monroe was getting outplayed and this was a down game for him.  Ben actually had some timely baskets and the way the game flowed down the stretch with the Pistons were in it until Channing Frye hit the contested 3. Its debatable that there was a point he could have put Monroe back in.  Frank rolled the dice and lost this one.  We’ve got a tough one against the Clippers Sunday afternoon, so we will see what happens.

  • Mar 17, 20128:52 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    we really need a Center that can guard and rebound the ball… Greg was not good last night.. as he was outplayed by Gortat…
     
    i dont know who are the other bigs that we can draft aside from Davis that fits to toughness and defensive philosophy…

    • Mar 18, 201210:38 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      It’s not that big a criticism to be outplayed by Gortat. Gortat is a very good center. He has proved himself to be on probably the second best contract in the NBA after Lebron (excepting rookie deals and max deals since those are set by the CBA).

  • Mar 17, 20129:17 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    royce white…the best player on the floor in the kentucky/iowa state game.
    too bad he’s such a head case.
    if he wasn’t, he might be the first choice in the draft.

    • Mar 17, 20129:47 pm
      by frankie d

      Reply

      or i should say, the most talented player.
      his play is a bit up and down, even in the course of a game.
      davis sustains the same level of effort and effectiveness for 40 minutes.
      if white could do that, he’d be the best.

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