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The ‘Free Vernon Macklin’ movement is underway

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press talked to PistonPowered commenters’ favorite Vernon Macklin about his lack of playing time:

But guys taken that late are normally hard pressed under the best circumstances to get significant playing time. The lockout robbed Macklin of a chance to get acclimated to the Pistons’ off-season program. He has only played in 19 games during mop-up time.

By all accounts he is still engaged and is doing the work necessary to get better. He said teammates are helping him stay focused.

“It’s tough, but it’s not hard to stay focused because I got guys like Ben Wallace and Greg (Monroe) and those guys talking to me a lot and telling me to get my work in,” Macklin said. “It’s not really hard to stay focused. I just got to understand that I’m going through a bump in the road right now. But I’m going to get better and keep on learning, and one day I will be able to play.”

Like most fans, I’d love to see Macklin get a few non-garbage time minutes here and there, but it’s good to hear that he seems to be keeping a good attitude and working hard behind the scenes. Doing the opposite of those things is reportedly the reason another recent second round pick, Terrico White, never got much of a look in Detroit.


  • Mar 5, 201211:46 am
    by neutes


    When can we get a Free Tayshaun Prince from the team movement?

    • Mar 5, 201212:08 pm
      by labatts


      I like it!  Sign me up.  I’ll make the tee-shirts!

      • Mar 5, 20124:27 pm
        by gmehl


        That’s a lot of t-shirts. Hope your rich!

  • Mar 5, 201212:20 pm
    by frankie d


    sorry, but this is exactly the type of substance-free pablum i’ve criticized guys like ellis for producing.
    what he writes makes no sense, unless it is meant to continue to justify the pistons horrendous record of developing young players they draft.
    he writes:
    “Pistons rookie power forward Vernon Macklin knows he is stuck behind Greg Monroe, Jason Maxiell, Jonas Jerebko, Ben Wallace and probably even Charlie Villanueva whenever he returns to the lineup from an ankle injury. ”
    anyone who watches the team knows this is simply not true.
    the only player on that list who macklin is “stuck behind” is ben wallace.
    (monroe could play fewer minutes and macklin could get some of his minutes, but effectively, wallace is playing the minutes macklin could play.)
    and while it would be great to see him actually get some of the minutes that max gets, it is clear that ben wallace is really the guy who is playing minutes that might otherwise go to macklin.
    i guess, theoretically, all of those guys are big guys, so therefore they have an impact on his playing time. in reality, the way the rotation has played out is different and, again, very obvious.
    if ben wallace, 37 year old ben  ”getting ready to retire” wallace, did not play as much, macklin would get more time.  to present something different to fans is simply not an accurate reflection of what goes on during games
    he also writes this:
    “But guys taken that late are normally hard pressed under the best circumstances to get significant playing time.”
    first, who is talking about significant playing time?  just consistent minutes, in non-mop up time, in order to determine if he can play, would work.
    and how does a situation get any better for a guy in his circumstances?
    he gets drafted by a non-playoff team with one of the worst records in the league.
    that team has a desperate need for interior size on both the offensive and defensive end.
    the team’s GM has publicly stated that the team is “rebuilding” and trying to get younger and develop younger players.
    in desperation, they have turned to a washed-up, 37 year old former star who now plays 14 minutes a game at the position he plays.
    what could be a better set of circumstances that any young player could hope to land in?   an expansion team?
    and no, all nba teams do not automatically ignore players simply because they have been drafted low.  plenty of teams – san antonio, utah, to name a couple off the top of my head – make a habit of fostering open competition that opens up the door for guys like macklin.
    again, an insipid,  boilerplate article that sounds like every article written about low draft choices.  
    how about actually reporting some facts specific to his situation:
    does he have bad hands?
    is his footwork horrible?
    does he forget defensive rotations?  
    is he too dumb to remember plays?
    does he have poor timing on his shotblocking attempts?
    is his lateral movement too slow, so that he cannot guard the pick and roll effectively?
    does he set poor screens?
    does he like to occupy the same space that greg monroe takes up, making it difficult to play them at the same time?
    is he a poor defensive rebounder who loses contact with the man he’s supposed to keep off the boards?
    is frank like nate mcmillan, a coach who simply doesn’t trust young players?
    does he appear to have offensive tools and skills that might help the team?
    there are so many facts or opinions that ellis could report and inform readers.  those are just some of those facts that he doesn’t even touch on.
    (instead he cites the lockout as a reason for macklin’s difficulties.  if that is the case, how does one reconcile similar treatment of rookies in non-lockout years?) 
    all you need to know about detroit sports writing was there in a link on the same page as this article.
    mitch albom, a guy who’s been around for decade and is probably the “dean” of detroit sportswriters has a column today, headlined: “davey jones was a monkee and a true teen idol.”
    that is what those guys aspire to…

    • Mar 5, 20128:03 pm
      by apa8ren9


      Now Frankie you are on target.  You raise valid points.  Those are questions we definitely want to know the answers to.  Do they attempt to ask these questions or do they never come up because it could potentially embarrass the player?  Is the paper putting the kaybash on those types of topics?  How could it hurt their already waning readership?  While they are at it, add Daye’s name to the list and see what is going on.  I dont want to hear about his bum ankle when its been a month since he hurt it.  I want to know that he is improving in film study and staying with the coaches and learning the defensive rotations, or if he is not doing that.

  • Mar 5, 20123:44 pm
    by Max


    People complain because the team is bad and Macklin is an unknown who they can project into the void of everything the Pistons lack.
    @Frankie D.  You are grossly underestimating Big Ben’s value in terms of his ability to provide an example of how the young players should aspire to play.   He is still the most skilled low post defender on the team and the Pistons need to learn to play better team defense.   They will miss him next year.
    It seems to me that the Wizards are example of why a team should not completely commit to just throwing young players into the fire every year with no veteran balance to their roster.   Most national commentators predicted they’d be better than Detroit this year but they are much worse by my eye and the reason is that their players collectively don’t understand NBA basketball at all.  They would be much improved if Ben Wallace was there and playing 15 minutes a game and one or two of their young players would play fewer minutes.
    Look at the Kings.  The have a talented roster but they stink.  Why?  They don’t play any veterans.   No one leads by example.  Almost no one understands team defense.   No one holds anyone else accountable.  No one has the creditability to say anything to Cousins–although Chuck Hayes claims he is making the effort, but not to put to fine a point on it: he is simply not Ben Wallace.

  • Mar 5, 20125:19 pm
    by frankie d


    i fully appreciate what ben can bring to the table.
    however, he does not need to play 15 minutes a game to achieve that end.
    he should be an emergency big guy who comes in when a particularly tough big guy – like duncan – needs to be cooled off.  ben could come in, play 6 -10 minutes, show the young guys how it is done,and then he’d sit down and let them apply the lessons they’d hopefully learned.
    having him take a regular rotation spot from younger players is not what a guy in his position should be doing.

    • Mar 5, 20126:03 pm
      by swish22


      You guys both bring valid points to the conversation!  I think Frank wants to win obviously but with joe saying were rebuilding finally it really is time to see what some of the younger guys can do and ESPECIALLY at a position that we are so weak at!   The big thing to me is you really never know what you have until you’re playing real minutes.   Some guys elevate and some deflate when given the opportunity!   Some guys are great practice players who rarely find that consistency in game time situations!   AS a coach you’re  job is getting to the playoffs and now with only 28 games left and being 7 down in the loss column to the current 8th seeded Knicks   you have to ask yourself is it time???    If we go 16-12 in our last 28 games the Knicks would have to go 10-19 for us to tie them!    Both possible but as you most know highly unlikely!
      I’ll be disappointed if Frank doesn’t commit more to the youth movement VERY SOON!

      • Mar 5, 20127:49 pm
        by apa8ren9


        I dont believe you will get to see Macklin for any significant stretch until the final 5-7 games of the season.   The Pistons still have to evaluate Charlie V to see if there is anything there or if he makes it an easy decision to amnesty him.   I’ve said this before, you will see Macklin in the Las Vegas league, there he will get all the time he can handle along with the lottery pick we will get.  We already have 3 and a half (Stuckey) young players in our rotation.   It would be 4 if Daye would cooperate.  Any more than that and I agree with Max we will look like the Wizards or heaven help us, the Jordanairres, err Bobcats.

  • Mar 5, 20127:31 pm
    by Laser


    I generally like Frankie D and his contributions here, and this is no exception. He’s asking the right questions here, and he’s even more verbose than me at my worst.

    I wonder what the issue is with Macklin. I’ve only seen him in a small handful of garbage minutes, and he seems absolutely competent. Why a team that’s so thin up front would leave such a big body on the bench is ridiculous.

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