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Pistons play awful, Andre Drummond looks like a rookie for first time in loss to Heat

Andre Drummond didn’t have an awful game tonight. His final numbers — eight points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes — were solid. But he also looked like a rookie for the first time in preseason action in the first half while the Miami Heat were still playing their key players in the first half of Thursday’s 105-78 Miami win. Drummond was a step slow on defense for the first time and he picked up five (!) first half fouls in about nine minutes.

To his credit, Drummond played nine more minutes in the second half without picking up another foul, but playing against a fast, active team that defends, attacks the basket and … uh … happens to be pretty good exposed him a bit. He’s fully equipped to play well, or even dominate on occasion, against the league’s mediocre or bad teams. Against a good team, though, that is aggressive, talented and relentless, he’s still behind. LeBron James (13 points, eight assists, four rebounds and four steals), Dwyane Wade (21 points, 9-for-13 shooting) and Chris Bosh (17 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes) all took turns picking Detroit apart early, and this game was really over within the first few minutes.

Drummond was nowhere near the worst Pistons on the court Thursday — plenty of others will vie for that honor. But the game did expose a case against starting him. First and foremost, if he starts, he could pick up early, quick fouls against good teams. He’ll also be facing starting caliber players for most of his court time, rather than coming in off the bench and having a chance to take advantage of the opposing team’s reserves. For a young player who the team wants to build confidence, sometimes a reserve role is best suited to do that.

I’m most interested in seeing how Drummond responds to this game. It should be said that it is great progress for Drummond that he’s raised expectations for himself already to the point that an average outing can be considered a bit sub-par for him. Sometimes, a young player struggling a bit can snowball and become a prolonged thing. Veteran players generally rebound quicker. If Drummond comes back with another strong performance in Detroit’s next game Saturday, that will be a good indication that he’s ready to seize that starting job.

Tonight’s game isn’t worth dwelling on too much, so here’s a few quick-hitting thoughts:

  • Corey Maggette left the game with what is reportedly a calf strain in the first half. He didn’t return, but according to the TV broadcast, it’s not thought to be serious.
  • Brandon Knight has consistently had turnover problems this preseason. He had three more in 23 minutes Thursday. He shot well again and he continues to get more assists, so it’s easier to overlook, but the Pistons need him to take better care of the basketball.
  • Rodney Stuckey and Tayshaun Prince are still struggling shooting the ball this preseason. They were a combined 5-for-16 against the Heat.
  • At least they aren’t struggling as bad as Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva though. Daye was 0-for-8 and Villanueva was 2-for-6 in limited minutes. I just don’t see how either guy can be considered an option for the regular rotation at this point.
  • Jonas Jerebko had his worst performance. No idea why, really. He wasn’t forcing things much or taking shots he didn’t seem comfortable taking. He just looked a bit off. Ben Gulker of DBB points out it may have had something to do with the fact that he was playing in a preseason game in the same arena, against the same team where he tore his Achilles tendon in 2010.
  • Slava Kravstov only played four minutes. Not sure why, but he seems to be the only one of the team’s rookies who hasn’t received an extended look this preseason. He hasn’t looked bad in his limited minutes, it just seems strange that we’ve yet to see more of him.
  • That about covers it. Just an ugly, ugly game to watch and a performance I hope the Pistons don’t repeat any time soon. Non-competitive games against good teams have been all too familiar in recent years. Hopefully, this was just a result of Lawrence Frank‘s incessant preseason lineup tinkering and not a sign that the team isn’t as far along as we’d hoped.




  • Oct 19, 201212:53 am
    by Day and Knight


    This was a good read, I agree with everything above. As much as I love Knight, he needs to take care of the ball more. He has been impressive outside of that, and his passes are hitting p,ayers where they should (mostly) we just keep missing (Stuckey, Prince).

    Everyone knows how much I love Stuckey…it’s well documented in the archives (Stuckey Slappies) but he hasn’t really impressed me this preseason. I won’t worry about that until he plays like this in the season, then we have a problem.

    The last thing you said about Drummond I couldn’t agree more! If he plays solid the next game (and the rest of the way) he definitely deserves a starting spot next to Monroe. Having Drummond not only helps our defense, but it allows Monroe to play PF and not get beat up by opposing big men and letting him use more of his energy on the offensive side of the floor.

    Starting J Max is cool if you’re ok with being mediocre or slightly less than. He’s a veteran which is why he’s starting but honestly outside of that there’s no arguement to be made unless Drummond can’t find his groove again this preseason. Think about this Maxiell supporters: would he start on ANY other team in the league? That is all.

    • Oct 19, 20121:24 am
      by Mark


      My guess is the same lineup will start against CHA on Saturday and get off to a great start, and that will be all the proof Frank needs to go with them the rest of the way. LOL

  • Oct 19, 20121:12 am
    by Mel


    Stuckey will be alright, I’ve noticed this the past few years is that he start the season slow. Then he eventually gets into a groove, lets just hope he it doesn’t take until the second half of the season before it happens. The Heat is on another level now, its not fair to compare the Pistons to them. Drummond may have played like a rookie but he still produced which is good. Daye and Charlie need to go

    • Oct 19, 20123:14 am
      by bobby


      we can’t not compare the heat to the pistons. they’re both teams in this league right? if the pistons actually make the playoffs as people hope, it would be the heat that we play. calling a game ‘not fair’ because the team is good isn’t the mentality a potential playoff team should take. even at that, we should be able to hold our own and not get beat by 30 ish points

    • Oct 19, 201211:56 am
      by BIGMARV


      Yeah stuckey starts slow and picks it up slow but he dont pick it up until the last month of the season when basketball wins is not important no more to this current piston team, because they will be long gone out of the race. He has to pick it up now if we want to make at least the 8th spot he has to play out of his mind this year no excuses.

  • Oct 19, 20121:26 am
    by domnick


    too awful… the score is saying that we didn’t put up a fight! im sad about the performance.. after first game in the preseason.. we didn’t see any progress…. except against Orlando…

  • Oct 19, 20121:32 am
    by Mark


    As much as Drummond may have seemed like a rookie tonight. To put into perspective how bad our starting lineup needs a change – Drummond, the rookie, posted 9 pts and 8 rebs on 4-8 FG in 18 min. Tayshaun and Maxiell COMBINED for 8 pts and 8 rebs on 4-12 FG in 43 combined min!!

    • Oct 19, 20123:11 am
      by bobby


      but do you think drummonds production would be as high if he were competing against starting units? i fear not, and he could foul quickly and get fed up of dealing with the best centers in the league. better to take him off the bench in the beginning of the season. let him see each center in the league first then start him

      • Oct 19, 20125:02 am
        by Mark


        He played 12 of his 18 min against the defending champs starting unit, if I’m not mistaken.
        iirc he came in at the 6 min mark of the 1st/3rd qtrs and went against the Heat’s starters for the last half of both qtrs. 

        That reverse alley oop dunk up on youtube was over LeBron, Bosh, and Ray Allen. He jumped in between 3 future HOF’ers and reverse dunked an alley-oop. I think he will be fine. Last thing they should do is baby him like they did Darko. The guy’s got a grown man’s body and a grown’s man. I say just put him out there from the start. Worst case scenario he struggles or gets in foul trouble, then you can always go to Maxiell if nec. He at least deservers a fair chance though first, based on his play thus far. I don’t see him being foul prone either. He avg only 2 fouls/gm in college.

        • Oct 19, 20125:05 am
          by Mark


          …despite being one of the best defenders. If he fouled a lot, he wouldn;t be known as a good defender. He will get screwed on some calls being a rookie, but every rookie will deal with that. Its not going to stop NO from starting Anthony Davis.

    • Oct 19, 20124:55 am
      by Vic


      Right. If that’s him struggling, what’s the rest of the team doing? It just shows he’s on another level talent wise

  • Oct 19, 20127:18 am
    by Ray


    Franks brought Drummond in down plus points…The Heat still had Lebron, Bosh and Wade on the floor…and We Brought Drummond in with Jerebko, Bynum, Maggette….shots were poor, passing was poor, we got killed in transition… Drummond 2nd half was the only Bright spot….in the first half he had 2 hustling for the rebs fouls, and then a ticky tack foul on Wade…  overall he was good…

    and considering 8points 9rebs in 18 minutes…. he only been averaging 17minutes per-game anyway

  • Oct 19, 20127:27 am
    by Ray


    Franks is holding back B.Knight and it hurts the offense….Brandon is soo good tony parker-like in transition, but they continue walk the ball up court, and not press the issue, we only play fast when were up 20pts…

    • Oct 19, 201211:36 am
      by Keith


      This has been a problem with our offense for the last decade. We do not create easy baskets. Part of it may be a “defensive philosophy” whereby we slow down the game to get our defense set, but that’s disregarding our personnel. We don’t defend all that well even in the half-court, and our conservative offense doesn’t generally stop teams from running on us. Right now, the efficiency of our offense is probably going to fall directly into how well we rebound on the offensive end. We run a bad offense that focuses waaaaaay too much on mid-range shots, so the only way we can overcome is by giving ourselves significantly more chances to shoot. This is another reason Drummond-Monroe could be such an important pairing. Both crash the offensive glass to create more and more effective scoring chances.
      Again, I completely agree that Knight has not been given the opportunity to properly develop. We will often ignore a run-out in order to set the offense, which is stupid since our half-court offense was almost the worst offense in the league. Knight should be pushing the ball a lot more, pressuring the defense into committing early so he or teammates have better shots off passes. Having him dribble at the top of the 3pt line while we run slow, predictable sets hinders him and the rest of the offense.

      • Oct 19, 201212:00 pm
        by Ray


        completely agree…

        We have not game changing superstars…like a Derrick Rose, Kobe, Westbrook, Durant, or lebron or even a Rudy Gay….

        But we do have skilled players… Greg is Skilled Big man…

        Knight/ Stuckey are skilled Combo guards that can push the ball, and get to the basket…AS LONG AS THE DEFENSE DOESNT HAVE TIME TO SET! …. We should be pushing the ball, even after the other team scores….Greg, Drummond, and Jonas are very good offensive rebounders and we should use that to our advatange … quicker shots… get away from draining the shot clock down just to get a 17-20 foot jumper anyway….

        Draining the shot clock is only good or works when your defense can control the pace of the game, but if in 1 minute of game time…your opponent has gotten off 5-6 shot attempts and you have only gotten off 3….. simple math to who has a better chance at winning that game..

  • Oct 19, 20128:03 am
    by Moe


    for the millionth time trade daye and charlie v they both do nothing but waste time and roster spots

    • Oct 19, 20128:51 am
      by Tom Y.


      I think this was Daye’s last chance, and considering he blew that as well, I doubt he’ll be playing much the rest of the way. Frank’s not going to jeopardize the team’s play and chemistry just to showcase him (and anyway showcasing him just lowers his trade value).

      • Oct 19, 201210:15 am
        by gmehl


        It’s a pity we can’t trade him to a European team. Of damn it, they know he is shit too after he stunk it up in Russia.

    • Oct 19, 201211:29 am
      by Keith


      We should probably just release Daye for the roster spot. CV might be worth using the amnesty, but he’s probably untradeable. Sit him and play other players, there’s no real incentive to do otherwise.

  • Oct 19, 201211:01 am
    by Corey


    how soon Drummond starts isn’t as important as his minutes. He should play at least 20 min in every regular season game, unless foul trouble prevents it. When Frank finds Drummond is getting 28 or more minutes and finishing most games, then he should start. 

  • Oct 19, 201212:14 pm
    by Ray


    I hate the idea of not starting Drummond…he had looked better than 99% percent of the roster….he has out played the Russian, and clearly out played Maxiell, and everyone said he’d have to earn it….HE HAS!…NO OFFENSIVE plays are run for him other than alley-opps and he averages 10ppg almost 2 blks in 18minutes…5.5 rebs ,,,,now they are saying look at the level of compeition he did it against… SO WHAT! there are only 1 GREAT team in the east, and 2-3 REALLY GOOD TEAMS… the rest is open game….. Anthony Davis until his last game was shooting 44% …he had a 4-12 shooting game…averaging 1blk per game … No one thought bring him along slowly ….looked questionable on defense….

    Perception of Drummond is horrible….if I was Drummond and i busted by butt to get into shape, i have worked hard gone beyond the coaches expectation, and clearly outplayed my competition….id be pissed off if I didnt start…

    • Oct 19, 201212:38 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Saying he shouldn’t start yet isn’t saying he hasn’t played exceptionally well and better than almost everyone on the roster.

      I think the argument against starting him is they want him in the best situation to succeed. He’s still really inexperienced. Anthony Davis played big minutes and a huge role on a national title team during his one year of college basketball. Drummond played a complementary role on a mediocre team.

      Right now, he’s best situation to succeed might be dominating against other teams’ second units coming off the bench. I don’t really see what it matters that much whether Drummond starts. As long as he’s getting 20-25 minutes per game (or more if he can handle it and stay out of foul trouble), it doesn’t make a difference whether he starts or not. 

      • Oct 19, 20125:34 pm
        by Scott Free


        I’m with you Patrick.  Drummond has chemistry with the second unit, and his defensive presence ensures other teams wont pull away while our starters are resting.  Plus that bench squad is fast-paced and frenetic which (I believe) complements Drummond’s style and thus far shields the fans from how “raw” he is.  I think his deficiencies would be on display in a slower set-offense.  

        I also fear what Drummond’s starting would do to Monroe, who is most effective under (or near) the basket.  With spacing such an important issue with modern ball, i’m not sure the Pistons could afford to park 2 near 7-footers underneath the basket when we rely so heavily on dribble penetration from our guards.   I also think Monroe’s offensive rebounding/scoring potential is muted in the high post.  

        And lets not forget Maxiel.  With Jason you know what you get, an undersized, but gritty rotation player.  The Pistons didn’t succeed last year until he was injecting into the starting lineup.  I don’t see him as effective on the second unit (which has come to rely heavily on Drummond’s unique abilities).  

  • Oct 19, 20124:56 pm
    by Ray


    I guess this is where disagree, playing with the starters gives him the best chance to succeed…. They will create easier scoring opportunities …defensively he’d be a stronger for monroe and the starting unit…and he has earned it … We have been cries about needing size, athleticism, game changing players…we finally get one and we want to give him 20-25 mins off the bench…smh

  • Oct 19, 20126:23 pm
    by Holy Crow


    The rigors of an 82 game season make it improbable that a 19-year-old kid with one year of college ball would be inserted into the starting lineup of a responsible NBA team. That being said, Drummond could still be the Rookie of the Year leading a second unit. And like Corey said, it’s not starting, it’s the minutes that really matter. The most important thing is protecting  Andre’s  health and psyche because this kid is SPECIAL.

  • Oct 19, 20128:24 pm
    by gmehl


    I have noticed from reading comments throughout pre season a similar pattern forming to last season where everyone was whining to start Knight. By memory Knight started by around the 10 game mark. He was playing really well off the bench as a spot up shooter/tempo changer and then once he became a starter his production plateaued to an inconsistent level. It was mainly due to him seeing the other teams best players/defenders.

    Now i am not saying the same will happen to Drummond but there is a very high chance it can and will once he does start. As much as i want Drummond to start now and become the second coming of Dwight Howard my better judgement says what is the hurry. We have 82 games to go to enjoy watching this kid develop. It is important that we get it right with him and speeding up his development could ruin him. Him starting won’t be determined because he is already better than Maxiell but rather when he is ready within himself to handle the load of back-to-back games and 5-6 road game swings. I say we give the kid 10-15 games (reg season) to acclimate and then if it looks like he is ready to handle the load then start him. Also remember big guys always take longer settle (eg Andrew Bynum).

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