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Dare to be good or great even…

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (3-3) at Minnesota Timberwolves (3-2)
  • Date: October 24, 2012
  • Time: 8 p.m.
  • Radio: WWJ-950 AM

What to look for

The NBA may now be about LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade for most, but historically the league has always been about getting stud players at the point guard and center positions.

Consider the previous tandems of Bob Cousy and Bill Russell, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain (the Logo played point the year they won the title), Oscar Robertson and Lew Alcindor, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Anfernee Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal and Tony Parker and Tim Duncan; all of these pairings were built with the idea that they would contend for titles and save for the Penny and Shaq group, they all helped produced championships.

How does this relate to the 2012-13 Detroit Pistons?

Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe are obviously nowhere near the previously mentioned players in terms of stature, accolades and accomplishments; but is it truly far fetched to expect them to be the next good if not great point guard and center tandem?

So far this preseason, that question has been one that kept popping in the back of my mind. It’s obviously a premature statement, but consider the leap that Knight has made so far, and well one could potentially see great things happening this season. Granted, we have yet to see him play a regular season game this year and thus we still need to see how he adjusts to playing with a bulls eye on his back; but the former Kentucky Wildcat has been impressive so far in the exhibition season.

Brandon Knight has shown flashes of brilliant ball-handling that may very well make him one of the toughest covers in the league in both the half-court and open court.

In addition, he has taken the ball to the basket with confidence and attacked big men almost with reckless abandon, which should prove to be a positive for the Pistons.

If there is one area where he could definitely use some improvement, it would be in the pick-and-roll game; where he needs to figure out how to toy with defenses with the threat of the jump shot, floater, drive or pass.

Obviously, Detroit’s ascension will be a two-part process.

Indeed, Greg Monroe will have to continue to improve as a big man for the Pistons to become a good team. Currently, he has shown the ability to play in both the high and low post thanks in large part to his multiple skills: he can shoot the ball, play back to the basket and deliver pinpoint passes to streaking teammates. Ideally, he could refine these skills and become an even deadlier offensive player.

But for the Pistons to truly take a big step, the former Hoya will have to become a better team defender.

So far this preseason, his defensive energy has been consistent but his focus on the other hand has not. There are times at which he has been a step slow rotating — which leads to him fouling — and other occasions where he failed to box out or even bother getting into rebounding position; and that is just unacceptable. Although many are seeing Andre Drummond’s potential to be a game-changer on both ends of the floor, it’s still important that the team’s best player and the one with the skills to be the defensive anchor act as such.

With that said, the Georgetown product is now entering his third year in the league and big men can take time to truly blossom defensively as evidenced by Tyson Chandler and Andrew Bynum’s recent seasons, but it’s still important that he figures things out defensively if the Monroe-Knight tandem is going to be anything beyond average, good or great.

Keep your eyes on the synergy between them, it might just be the most important one on the team.

Read about the Timberwolves

A Wolf Among Wolves

18 Comments

  • Oct 24, 20128:42 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    I’m following the game on ESPN’s Gamecast, and I’m happy theres no TV coverage, 6 TOs in the first quarter??? Shooting 17% from the field? Outrebounded something like 16-5? 27-10 in the first quarter? Wow. This is horrible just to follow.

    • Oct 24, 20128:54 pm
      by Vince

      Reply

      Yeah I stopped following, game is getting ridiculously out of hand.

      • Oct 24, 20129:08 pm
        by ray

        Reply

        and druumond got a whooping 6 minutes

    • Oct 24, 20129:12 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Quick Vince open your eyes so i can poke them out and then you can do mine. How the hell are we getting our a$$es handed to us when there 2 best players aren’t even playing?? Is it lack of effort or are we really that bad?? The score is 52-29 at halftime so i am thinking now that the game is essentially a blowout it would be a great time to see Monroe and Drummond on the court together for some extended minutes.

      • Oct 24, 20129:18 pm
        by Vince

        Reply

        That would seem the logical answer, but it seems Frank is… well being Frank, I don’t want to see Prince and Max in the starting lineup anymore, they bring nothing to this team that the young guns don’t already have. 

        I’m extremely disappointed at the moment, the effort is terrible, just when I thought the Pistons  had changed they come out and play what is the worst basketball I have ever seen/followed. They should rethink their playoff hopes and lineup if they’re getting blown out by a Timberwolves team without Love or Rubio.

  • Oct 24, 20129:08 pm
    by ray

    Reply

    great job Lawerance, while all the other team where building chemistry with their strongest line-up …you were finding ways to keep aging players, and average players in the line-up…. results…we are getting spanked by a under manned t-pup team,,, that are missing their 2 best players….

    • Oct 24, 20129:12 pm
      by Vince

      Reply

      Words do not explain how pissed I am at Frank right now. Get Max and Prince out of the damn lineup, set a defensive tone and start Drummond and Singler/Jerebko.

      Very shitty shooting and rebounding performance by the Pistons, you saw it here first, at this rate they won’t score over 65 points tonight.

      • Oct 24, 20129:17 pm
        by ray

        Reply

        One thing I notice about average to poor coaches they are stubborn and will keep losing….and struggling as long as they are losing and struggling their way….

        i dont care that its the Pre-season…you have to make adjustments 

        • Oct 24, 20129:23 pm
          by Vince

          Reply

          Its not even that, the fact that the lineup really hasn’t changed when it should have is one of the reasons I’m so peeved. Drummond is so much better than Max, and Singler/Jerebko are creeping up on Prince.

          DAMN IT FRANK, GO WITH THE YOUTH MOVEMENT.

          If I were Joe, the minute Prince said he might cause trouble if he didn’t start is the minute he was officially on the trade block, at this point I’m just angry at everyone and everything in the Pistons organization, there is no reason this squad shouldn’t be able to compete with the T-Wolves, thats no knock on them, I just feel we have the necessary talent to have an impact on this game but they’re just chilling on the bench watching the “Vets” getting their asses handed to them.

  • Oct 24, 20129:14 pm
    by ray

    Reply

    why is Maxiell playing soo much? Id rather us suck with Drummond in the line up

  • Oct 24, 20129:21 pm
    by ray

    Reply

    someone please name all of the other teams that would have Drummond coming off the bench,,,that has the same talent level as the Pistons?

  • Oct 24, 20129:42 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    Oh wow 21-1 run to start the 3rd :O

    I take back only some of what I said. These are the Pistons I want to watch. Damn. 

  • Oct 24, 20129:45 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Conspiracy theory of the day: Maybe Frank has been instructed not to win too much this year so we can keep our draft pick. In that he knows if he actually plays Drummond more the we are much more likely to make the playoffs. I don’t care if Drummond starts but i just want to see him play more with the starters throughout the game. Having said that i am trying to remain patient and am just hoping that maybe Frank is holding back his best lineups for the regular season next week. Gotta have hope is guess :-)

  • Oct 24, 201210:12 pm
    by Corey

    Reply

    My annoyance is that all the statements at the start of camp about having no incumbents and all rotation and starting spots being an open competition appear to be false. Prince and Max are not impressing. Jerebko at least should be starting over one of them. Maybe Drummond too.

    • Oct 24, 201210:24 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I agree with you. It would’ve been nice if Jerebko played well tonight with Prince having another bad game to really put that pressure on, but he’s been bad too tonight. Singler, on the other hand, had another solid outing and it’s going to be hard to not find a spot for him.

  • Oct 24, 201210:36 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    It is painful to know that we drafted 4 small forwards in 2009 with 2 of the 3 ending up being flops. Oh and the one we didn’t keep totally torched us tonight with 5-8 from downtown. Did Daye even hit 5 3pts in total last season??
    Austin Daye – pick 15
    DaJuan Summers – pick 35
    Jonas Jerebko – pick 39
    Chase Budinger – pick 44

  • Oct 24, 201210:39 pm
    by Vic

    Reply

    Tay and Max were the only Pistons with a positive plus/minus… So to be honest they can’t really suck all that bad if they are the only two positive players defensively in a game where we lost by 19.

  • Oct 24, 201210:42 pm
    by Vic

    Reply

    This game was really scary though. Hopefully Frank is still experimenting… Monroe needs to wake up and our ball movement is atrocious. We really need a pass first pg, really bad – if only for games like this

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