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Pistons edge Raptors, cripple chance to improve lottery odds

As the Pistons and Raptors struggled during the first quarter, I thought to myself, “This is like a preseason game.” Minutes later, one of the Raptors broadcasters described the game as having a “summer-league flow.”

Sadly, that was probably more apt.

I don’t know why the Pistons played so poorly in their 76-73 win over the Raptors – a game in which the Pistons shot 36.6 percent on all field goals, 13.3 percent on 3-pointers and 62.9 percent on free throws. It’s important to remember that they’re a bad team, and bad teams are prone to playing badly.

Did tanking play a part? I don’t think so. The Pistons de-activated Vernon Macklin, a young player who could use more NBA minutes, and Lawrence Frank really stuck with his reliable veterans.

Were the Raptors that good? No.

I don’t know whether this is relevant, but I keep going back to a recap I wrote after the Allen Iverson season:

Michael Curry made me feel stupid (which proves I’m not another NBA coach).

“I think Joe (Dumars) was madder than anybody else about us losing all those Sunday games, and usually that has something to do with what you were doing Saturday night,” Curry told the Detroit Free Press after the season.

I never made anything of the Pistons’ 4-12 record in Sunday games last year. It just seemed like coincidence.

Then Curry dropped the bomb, and it all made so much sense.

I felt duped. The team had quit, and I should’ve known better.

Most Valuable Player

DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan had 16 points, three assists and an impressive fastbreak block through three quarters. So, of course the tanking Ratpors benched him for the fourth quarter.

Defining moment

Greg Monroe blatantly goaltended an Alan Anderson shot with 22 seconds left and the Pistons up one – though the refs missed the violation. The difference? The game and several lottery combinations.


Brandon Knight and Ben Gordon, who scored 19 points each, playing well together. Earlier in the season, those two sharing a backcourt turned Detroit into Turnover City.


  • Apr 22, 20129:17 pm
    by tarsier


    Cleveland, Toronto, and New Jersey can all theoretically still tie Detroit by winning out while Detroit loses out. Realistically, the only team that can still catch the Pistons is the Warriors. They are one game behind with two games left for each club. Come on, Pistons, you can get the nominal draft position of 8th still.

  • Apr 22, 20129:26 pm
    by Haan


    Can’t wait to hear what Frank’s post-game rap was.  I imagine something like this: “Some people just don’t understand how badly these guys want to win.  One thing will always be true of this organization.  From Joe Dumars to the guy on the bench hoping for minutes: we’re committed to winning.”  Sigh.  I foresee us picking around #13 next year.  And #15 the following year, circling back to the territory of Stuckey and Daye.

  • Apr 22, 20129:44 pm
    by starlight0997


    This is how I see things now. The Pistons simply need a proven player, not a potential draft pick. And by proven player, I mean at least a David West caliber player. As far as the drafts are concerned, it seems like the Pistons, for most likely the third straight year in a row, aren’t “bad” enough to “tank” to the top five of the lottery.

  • Apr 22, 20129:59 pm
    by Eric


    So… Why are Daye and Macklin on this team again?

    • Apr 22, 201210:26 pm
      by tarsier


      Because they were drafted… I don’t understand this question.

      • Apr 22, 201210:30 pm
        by Eric


        Uh. It’s not hard to draw conclusions. Why are they even on the team if they aren’t even going to play. Daye should have been traded. Macklin never received decent minutes at any point of the season. Taking that into consideration and the fact that Franklin said he would “experiment” at the end of the season, then my question is pretty is simply to understand.

        • Apr 22, 201211:42 pm
          by tarsier


          ah, fair enough. yeah, daye appears worthless. i don’t know what sorts of offers there were for him at the deadline. the best i can imagine getting for him is a 2nd rounder or a young guy who was similarly out of favor with his team (a la Hickson). but even that would be worth doing.

          macklin is late 2nd round rookie. we all wanna see him get more minutes, but its hardly a travesty that he’s not. frank has a lot more info to work with than us (since he sees these guys in practice) so by and large it’s probably reasonable to trust his decisions for minutes.

    • Apr 22, 201211:15 pm
      by D_S_V


      Haha, don’t worry, I “got it”.

  • Apr 22, 201210:17 pm
    by Travis


    Macklin hasent proved he can beat out any other big man, and the pistons organization seems to really give minutes to the best guys who have earned it. And daye is a mystery to me too. There was “potential” but he certainly has not made a solid move of reaching it.

    • Apr 22, 201210:26 pm
      by Eric


      Daye failed when he was given the minutes to prove himself, while Macklin NEVER had the chance to prove himself

  • Apr 22, 201210:45 pm
    by Travis


    You prove yourself in practice against the rest of your team. No one knows what he showed there besides the pistons organization, but L.Frank is going to have a hard time earning respect from veterans when he plays a min wage guy ahead of them if he is not a better player. Esecially when he isent a young prospect. He is what, 25? And a second round pick

  • Apr 22, 201211:33 pm
    by Nick II


    Detroit needs to make a phone call and resign Cheick Samb LMAO.

  • Apr 23, 201212:20 am
    by Talan


    Anybody else feel like other lottery teams are getting great performances out of bench players thrust into starting roles? Charles Jenkins drops a ton of points, Greveis Vasquez dropping double digit dimes, Gerald Green dunking…etc  We’ve had none of that. No pleasant surprises here. I was hoping for Daye to break out or Macklin to get some time to shine. Nothing to see here, just bad basketball. 

    FYI, I saw on hoopshype a quote from Kyle Singler saying that he wants to come to the NBA next season. I’m interested to see what he will bring.

  • Apr 23, 20121:01 am
    by Talan


    Pistons need to make some smart organizational decisions this summer. Our core players of Knight, Stuckey, JJ, and Monroe will improve during the offseason. We need to help them out by surrounding them with capable players. Amnesty needs to be used on someone, I’d use it on Gordon because of the enormity of his contract and how easy his production will be to replace. Tay is declining and we shouldn’t of signed him, but he is still serviceable. Split his minutes more evenly with JJ at the 3. Draft a big man even if he isn’t the best player available. Drummond, Zeller, Sullinger, Henson, Moultrie, any of them will help.

  • Apr 23, 20121:30 am
    by Daye and Knight


    Yes! We won!!! That means we get Sullinger!!!!! Let’s celebrate! Where’s that bottle of champagne we were gonna open the next time we won the championship…hell might as well crack that bottle open cause we ain’t winning shit for years! Where’s my good hat at…

  • Apr 23, 20121:58 am
    by N1ck


    2010 Monroe, 2011 Knight…
    If you look at those drafts, we picked the best possible players for this franchise.
    If we do the same this year we have a new core for years to come.
    We can do good with the 9th. Very good actually.

  • Apr 23, 20122:19 am
    by Tiko


    Please trade Stuckey for a a mid first and future first

  • Apr 23, 20122:41 am
    by frankie d


    the pistons are a joke.
    and anyone who writes as though the coach is somehow in possession of secret info that justifies his taking questionable actions is drinking the koolaid.  
    we see what we see, and that should be sufficient.
    when macklin plays, he looks at least competent enough to warrant further time.  especially under the circumstances.  and especially when that PT would come at the expense of a guy who is supposedly retiring.  the fact that they choose not to play him is an indictment of the organization’s philosophy and way of dealing with players.
    and i don’t buy the nonsense about frank being in possession of some secret practice info that lets him know that macklin shouldnt play.  no, frank is just your typical nba coach who would rather sink with old guys rather than possibly live with uncertain young players.  the fact that so many fans continue to spout the party line is truly astonishing.  one would think that they would be wiser after hearing the same nonsense time after time.

    • Apr 23, 20126:04 am
      by tarsier


      Every coach is in possession of “secret practice info.” Although, it’s not so much a closely guarded secret as it is just not out because it’s not very interesting.

      Kinda like how most people I know don’t know my middle name. Not because I am worried people will find it out so I keep it a secret, but because I have no reason to tell them. Nobody cares.

  • Apr 23, 20122:51 am
    by frankie d


    and when the draft happens, all of the people who have talked about how proud they were that the team did not tank will bemoan the fact that the team will just miss out on very talented draftees. 
    gosh, they will say…if only we had better draft position….
    and somehow, they will not see the connection of trying to win every meaningless game with the eroded draft position.
    geniuses, all….

    • Apr 23, 20124:14 am
      by France



    • Apr 23, 20126:05 am
      by tarsier


      on the plus side, it doesn’t matter what they think. whether they hope for the pistons to win or lose has no bearing on whether they actually do.

    • Apr 23, 20129:38 am
      by MNM


      No, it’s ok.. Many of the people around here want that 6-7 to 6-9 undersized power forward Jarred Sullinger, who is PERFECT for a team that has an unathletic powerforward who already has problems defensively..Jesus…frankie d, your one of the only ones who gets it.. It’s kinda comforting.

  • Apr 23, 20123:19 am
    by Trent


    I am beginning to think that the Utah Jazz’ overstock of big men may be a chance for a potential trade with the Pistons. Derrick Favors is still yet to show any real signs of being the player people thought he would be out of college (although I think he will be). Maybe trading Jonas & Will plus this years first rounder and maybe a conditional 2013 first rounder to grab this guy. He would add length, athleticism and defence not to mention so nasty ass highlights along the way (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SKYpEVkiSA). Would they go for it? They’d get 2 first rounders, a developing wing and some cheap depth at the point. If he doesnt fire for us, his contract isnt a huge burden i.e CV31. I am beginning to see this pick as a bargaining chip rather than a future piece of our next dynasty as I was when we were around 4-25…

    Any thoughts?

  • Apr 23, 20124:41 am
    by MrBlockedShot


    Utah has a lot of bigs, including their last pick, Kanter, who had limited PT this season. He still has a long way to go. But they have some interesting players the Pistons could take a look to as Favors and Al Jefferson. I like how Favors have deleveloped this year, after a weak first year in the league. But, depending on which pick we finally get, it might be too expensive for us taking that trade. I’d rather have Bynum traded for a second round pick and Tyler Zeller selected with our first rounder. Get an athletic PF/C (I belive we can find one suitable for us in the second round) and Zeller plus keeping Jerebko makes more sense to me.  Should Dumars decide to go for Sullinger I would make the trade you’re proposing right away though. Lottery day TBD yet?

  • Apr 23, 20129:27 am
    by vic


    If Macklin doesn’t get more PT next year I’ll be mad. He’s done very well while out there.

    I’d love to see the Pistons trade for Al Jefferson or Ekpe Udoh. More Ekpe Udoh.

    We’ll get a good draft pick, I’m not worried about a couple of positions.
    If we don’t get Davis or Drummond, then either:

    PJIII/Kyle Oquinn/Machado 

    That way we get a shot blocker, a forward, and a pass first pg.
    We’ll be well on our way back to the playoffs, even next year.

    • Apr 23, 20125:40 pm
      by tarsier


      Except that it totally misses what people’s gripe with tanking is. Rational fans don’t get upset that teams do their best to contend at some point withing the rules of the system, even if that means tanking. We hate that the system rewards tanking.

      It’s almost an exact parallel to flopping. I totally understand why players do it and if they didn’t, we could rightfully question their will to win. But I hate that the system rewards flopping.

      In both cases, my problem is entirely with the system. Fix the incentives, and the behaviors will correct themselves.

  • Apr 23, 20126:19 pm
    by starlight0997


    I’m not too sure about agreeing with Jonas, even if we are talking about the eighth seed in the East. This is probably the best Eastern Conference we’ve had in years (at least more than a decade, Ill check). Only two teams have the possibility of “dropping” out: Orlando and Boston. Orlando only if Dwight Howard leaves. Boston if the Big Three (and Rondo) disperse. So that takes care of who “drops,” the other side is, of course, the Pistons improving. Although I (or should I say “we all”) see the Pistons improving, how much will it take to get (back) to playoff contention?

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