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Poor shooting, turnovers plague Pistons in loss to Toronto Raptors

Well, I might just retire from writing about Pistons open practices.

I wrote about Andre Drummond looking a step slow defensively and rushing things on offense, then he promptly went out and was a game-changer on defense and only took good shots at the rim on offense in a win over the Toronto Raptors. I wrote about Slava Kravstov looking like the more ready defensively and offensively of the two rookie centers, then in his preseason debut Friday against those same Raptors, he looked a bit slow defensively, picked up three fouls in 17 minutes and turned the ball over four times.

I think the obvious conclusion is that both players could potentially help the Pistons at times this season, but both could also have moments when their inexperience is a liability. Kravstov made all three of his shots and all four of his free throws for 10 points, so at the very least, both guys should be high percentage finishers around the rim and both guys are athletic enough to go up and over opposing players. That’s a skill the Pistons need and probably something that will get both on the court most of the season, even if their minutes fluctuate back and forth.

Drummond only played five minutes Friday, scoring two points with a steal and a block. It would’ve been nice to see how he followed up his breakout performance in the first preseason game, but Lawrence Frank lived up to his promise to basically only use a 10-man rotation.

In Friday’s game, it was another rookie big man who proved to be too much to handle. Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas is active and strong inside. The Pistons struggled to keep a body on him and he finished with 11 points (4-for-7 shooting) and eight rebounds in 29 minutes. He looks to be as good as advertised. If that continues, if Drummond continues to improve at a fast rate and if Anthony Davis is who most everyone thinks he is, this year’s class of rookie big men in the league will be really special.

Unfortunately, I guess I’m compelled to write more about what actually happened on the court tonight. Here goes …

The stretch four … uh … competition? I guess?

The assumption is that Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye, who the team seems to consider more of a four than anything else at this point judging by their preseason comments, are competing for one stretch four role. If that is truly the case behind the scenes, neither guy is off to the greatest start. Villanueva played Wednesday and shot 3-for-12 and 0-for-5 from 3-point range. Daye played Friday and shot 2-for-11 and 0-for-3 from 3-point range.

Both guys have deservedly taken turns being the punching bag of Pistons fans for their underwhelming performances over the last three seasons. I think many wouldn’t mind seeing one or both playing for a different team. Unfortunately, though, the Pistons really need a credible 3-point shooter, so unless a trade is made to bring someone in who fits that description, the Pistons are depending on one of these players to get it going by the end of preseason. As a team, they are 4-for-31 from 3-point range through two preseason games. That has to get significantly better or they have no chance at their stated goal of making the playoffs.

Jonny Flynn and Terrence Williams get in

Dan and I have written enough about how little a chance Flynn and Williams have of making the team that I don’t need to spend a lot of time rehashing. Both got a chance to audition tonight, though, and for once, something I wrote from that open practice recap actually played out on the court. Flynn was underwhelming (although he was one of only two Pistons to shoot better than 50 percent) with two assists and three turnovers in 12 minutes. Williams didn’t shoot well (1-for-4), but showed off what his size and vision can bring to the team as a backup guard. He had five rebounds, four assists and three blocks in 24 minutes.

I still don’t think either guy earns a spot, but both times I’ve seen Williams on the court, I’ve seen exactly why Frank is intrigued by him as a point guard. He sees the floor incredibly well and, despite being much bigger than most point guards, he’s quick enough to stay in front of them and his length can be really bothersome. If he’s committed to playing defense, the team could use a lockdown perimeter defender who can also pass on the bench. That might be worth finding a spot for if some other players continue under-performing.

Tayshaun Prince’s shot isn’t falling

My New Season’s Resolution is to stop harping on Tayshaun Prince so much. I think it’s obvious through two preseason games that he’ll probably have a reduced role in the offense and, in the first game, he genuinely was one of the players who helped the Pistons have really good ball movement.

One area for concern though — he’s shot just 5-for-18 in two games. Prince shot a bad percentage last season overall, but that was mostly because he got off to a brutal start to the season shooting. He picked it up in the second half some, but his poor shooting early on is part of why (though far from the only reason) the Pistons started the season so poorly. The team needs him to start the season stronger, so hopefully the long preseason this year helps him get off to a stronger regular season start.

A few other notes …

  • Brandon Knight wasn’t as aggressive attacking the basket tonight, which was disappointing, but he did finish with five rebounds and five assists in 19 minutes. He turned it over three times, but everyone will live with some turnovers as long as his assist numbers keep trending up.
  • Greg Monroe once again didn’t fare well against Valanciunas, but he did get better at not getting his shot blocked. Monroe had his shot blocked four times in the opener, none were blocked tonight.
  • Rodney Stuckey played a little out of control. He got to the line five times and scored 14 points, which is fine, but he had four turnovers with no assists and he shot five 3-pointers. It’s good that his range is extended out to the 3-point line now, but I’m not sure him shooting that many threes in a game will ever do the Pistons much good.
  • Kyle Singler shot 3-for-12. Between him and Daye struggling to shoot, Khris Middleton not playing at all yet and Corey Maggette and Prince being old, I like Jonas Jerebko’s chances of playing a lot of small forward this season more and more.



  • Oct 13, 20121:18 am
    by Vince


    Tonight’s game was so frustrating. Started off well, but the second unit wasn’t upto the task, some of the things I noticed tonight was:

    - Daye at the 4 is a joke, Davis/Johnson/Bargnani had their way with him
    - His shooting is horrid, rebounding is alright
    - He has a lot of negative body language, seems to have a chip on his shoulder
    - I’d rather have anyone from Toronto on our roster than have him on the team, that says a lot


    - Pretty disappointed in his performance, especially early on
    - Seemed confused on D, too slow for some rotations and didn’t seem as explosive defensively
    - Did not go for rebounds (!), it may be preseason but that scared me, he didn’t box out and just stood there
    - Foul prone – I guess that comes with being a rookie forward in the L
    - … and then he woke up!
    - Can be a beast down low, showed some hustle, still sluggish on D and rebounding (Reaaaally hoping its not a recurring story)
    - At this point, it looks like Drummond is going to get more minutes at Center


    - Loved his game!
    - Seemed comfortable at the point
    - I really want him on the team


    - Oh dear god why is he being used as a spot-up shooter


    - Can’t complain, they looked good out there, not many mistakes (except for Stuck’s TOs)

    Otherwise, they need to learn to shoot FTs, and dunk the ball correctly, because that was just embarrassing. Moose’s knees seemed to have gotten really tired in the third/fourth. Since when is Gray 270 lbs?? Valanciunas is an absolute beast, Calderon and Stuck/Knight jawing off was entertaining, as was the Stuckey/DeRozan comp. Can’t wait to see English in action, Flynn is disappointing, need better ball control, 3PT Shooting is horrendous, need to be stronger on the boards as a team.

    Beef over.


    • Oct 13, 20121:41 am
      by Mark


      I liked Williams too. Daye is complete garbage. If both continuer to play the same throughout pre-season, here’s no logical reason why Daye shouldnt be bought out and TWill signed for the year.

      We can use an athletic defender like him who can guard all 3 perimeter positions. He held Ross to 1-7FG tonight. Thats a MUCH more valuable skillset than Daye’s 1 in 10 games hot shooting.

      • Oct 13, 20123:08 am
        by Vince


        I would be very disappointed, but not surprised if the Pistons retain Daye and waive Williams. T-Will is an absolute stud, especially compared to some of the other players on this roster, he plays good D, has good ball skills, his passing is nice – he had an amazing dish to Drummond I think it was today – he’s a decent shooter and if he plays the point he will have a huge size advantage. 

        Daye is just disappointing, even based on stats, and ceiling/potential the Pistons should just waive Daye to get T-Will or Flynn a roster spot. T-Will is the better of the two though, and I’d rather have him than Flynn on the roster.

        Either way I won’t be holding my breath about Joe D’s decision concerning Daye/Williams. 

      • Oct 13, 20125:16 am
        by Tom Y.


        I think that’s a really good idea – it doesn’t look like they’re going to get anything of value for Daye in a trade, and he doesn’t help the team, so basically, the cost of cutting him and signing Williams is only whatever they’ll pay Williams. And I don’t think he’s going to have any lucrative offers, so we could probably get him on a cheap 2-year deal and see what he can give us.

  • Oct 13, 20121:34 am
    by Mark


    I agree on pretty much everything here. Good recap.

    On Tay, he should be coming off the bench at this point in his career. Period.

    I love what he brought to the 04 teams, but in all honesty he’s not that great of a player. He just fit that team perfect and flourished mostly because he got overlooked every night with all the other talent around him. Plus there was just a special chemistry on that team.

    Take that chemistry away and he’s avg at best. Which is what we have now. Which is what is so frustrating because an avg at best SF should not be entrenched in our lineup and immovable.

    We need more energy and confidence from that position and Tay just doesnt bring it. Jerebko would provide that, plus I think he’s a better scorer/shooter than Tay is at this point too.

    After seeing our bench thus far, I think we could usse a veteran like Tay leading that 2nd unit as well, where the Isolayshaun offense may actually help us, since we lack a go to scorer with that unit.

    idk, I just think the coaching staff is foolish if they think we are going anywhere with this current starting lineup. Tay/Max should not be starting. Sure, we might not be going anywhere anyways, but then what is there to lose by starting Drummond/Jerebko instead? 

    I’m excited for this season, but if I have to watch Maxiell and Tay start all year, knowing we have better players rotting on the bench, that excitement is going to wane quickly.


    • Oct 13, 20122:13 am
      by Tom Y.


      I’ve more or less given up on Tay not starting. He said he wants to start and benching him might make for some more bad atmosphere in the locker room. And it would also embarass Joe and confirm to everyone that it was a mistake resigning him for so long and so much. Frank won’t want to do that. 
      I do think he’ll play less minutes and be less of a focus of the offense though, which is something I guess.

      • Oct 13, 20123:12 am
        by Vince


        Tay is in denial about what it is he can produce, the only way I see Tay moving out of the starting lineup is due to injury, or hopefully a trade. If anything, after the Rip fiasco, they know not to anger a vet on a young, struggling team; JJ/Maggette are better than him at this point, and I’d rather have his minutes go to Jerebko, unfortunately that ain’t happening if Tayshaun is still around.

      • Oct 13, 20124:10 am
        by Mark


        I agree and that whats so frustrating because  it seems to be all politics as to why he’s still starting.

        I do think maybe once/if Drummond gets into the starting lineup Tay won’t be so noticeably lacking. Kind of like with the 04 team where he had 4 All-Stars around so whether he played good or not really wasn’t a deciding factor in winning/losing. But with Maxiell and Tay both beign non-factors, thats too much pressure on Knight, Stuckey, and Monroe.

        Tay is decent, but no defense feels threatened at all by him. They only really have to account for 3 players in our starting lineup, and those 3 just aren’t good enough yet to win most nights playing 3 on 5. 

        By adding Drummond to the mix though, now the defense has 4 major threats. Even if Drummond’s only threat is lob dunks, that in itself is major concern for defenses if he’s dunking on them regularly. Then Tay could maybe just chip where necessary like he did on the 04 team. Plus Drummond will bring so much energy, Tay’s lack thereof may not be so noticeable. But if Maxiell is to stay in the starting lineup, Tay needs to go. We can’t have 2 non-factors like that in the starting lineup and make the playoffs. 

  • Oct 13, 20122:50 am
    by bball4224


    Holy crap Daye is useless. I honestly don’t get how anyone would prefer him playing over Charlie. Charlie at least puts work in during the off-season and doesn’t whine about EVERY SINGLE CALL. Austin Daye is a shooter that can’t shoot, he refuses to gain any weight, he always does stupid things while he’s on the court, and throws a hissy fit about every single call. I wish the refs would T him up so he would shutup or continue to whine and get thrown out.

    Two years ago was a fluke. The only other good thing he ever did was “Daye Walking” and he hasn’t done that since his rookie season (and doesn’t even involve basketball!!!)

    end rant.

  • Oct 13, 20123:18 am
    by Seto


    Very good recap…We tried new guys, it was not so surprising that they struggled…but as you all I like T-Will too, he played very well, defended and didn´t forced anything. And his passing was much better than the stats shows, because many times he got the ball right to the shooters, but they just were not able to make those shots…I really hope we will see him play today

  • Oct 13, 20125:58 am
    by MrHappyMushroom


    Obviously, Williams is better than Daye.
    If the Pistons decide, though, that they need at least a couple of potential 3 point shooters, I’d also find a way to keep Williams over Bynum.
    We all like Will B.  But what are the chances he becomes, say, a top 150 player in the League?  Pretty much nil.  And the Pistons aren’t in a place in which a good season by a role player will mean a lot; I don’t see a lot of difference between 34 and 37 wins.
    Williams as developing into a top 150 or so?  Not great. But maybe.  10%? 15%.  He’ll be cheap and he also offers some flexibility.  His defense looked really good tonight.
    I gotta think a better team would take Will B off our hands–maybe sort of a poor man’s JJ Barrea?

    • Oct 13, 20127:21 am
      by Tom Y.


      The thing is, Daye is mostly a ‘potential’ 3-point shooter. He doesn’t realize that potential consistently enough to be worth keeping, IMO. The same goes for CV actually, so both guys that we’re supposed to be keeping for their shooting, are actually not reliable shooters. Certainly they haven’t been good enough as shooters to make up for their other deficiencies.
      I say cut Daye now, sign T-Will, and amnesty CV next summer. Give JJ, Singler and English minutes and see if any of them can develop into good shooters (English seems to have the best chance), and if needed get more shooters next summer via draft/trade/signings.
      I wouldn’t cut Bynum – he’s pretty good as a backup and may have some trade value closer to the deadline with his expiring contract. 

  • Oct 13, 20125:59 am
    by Domnick


    not to worry about much in the preseason… we still got plenty of preseason games before we can conclude… but tonight… i hate daye for not being able to knockdown open shots… these are shots that should go in… defensively.. bad too… his rebounding has improved…
    singler.kravtsov… well lets have another look maybe against Milwaukee tonight..
    it doesnt matter if we win or lose… our objective is to improve and win lots of games in the regular season… my hopes are high… i believe we can be better than today!

  • Oct 13, 20128:05 am
    by Day and Knight


    Knight should have ended up with more assist tonight but we kept missing FG after FG. I’m really impressed with the way Knight has played and I think he has the potential to average 6+ assist this season. His passes didn’t look like they were forced, he was actually setting up players nicely…oh and Daye is a lost cause so I had to change my name to “Day and Knight” instead of using “Daye” he should be moved or released.

    • Oct 13, 201210:22 am
      by MNM


      We are proud of you.  This is a big step in recovery.

  • Oct 13, 20128:46 am
    by RyanK


    The more I see this, the worse I feel about the upcoming season.  They are a mix matched group of players…most of them are tweeners.
    I think they can play well if they move the basketball and set each other up…but that will take time to develop. 

    • Oct 13, 201212:57 pm
      by Mark


      Fortunately the team we’ll see in the reg season will look much different from the one last night. The rotation will be shorter and the starters will play more minutes.  I wouldn’t judge based on how that 2nd unit played last night, as that was the first and probably last time they will have played together.

      Our starting lineup has played OK so far. So if they are to play 30-35 min every night, we should at least be a competent/competitive team with a chance to win most nights. BUT, they can be MUCH better if they just start Drummond already. idk what Frank’s problem is, but his obsession with Maxiell is really getting old. It reminds me of Carlisle with Michael Curry at SF. The difference is Carlisle had valid reasons to stay wth Curry as he had won 50 game and a playoff series wtih him. Maxiell got us into the lottery. Its absurd that he is guaranteed a starting spot. 

      • Oct 13, 20125:15 pm
        by RyanK


        Max can block shots and is a wide body in the lane.  If Drummond or Slava can play solid D, and protect the basket, there’s no reason to keep Max in the rotation.  From what I read, Monroe is no “automatic” from 15 feet…that’s a stretch 4, so we can cut Daye and CV also. 

        • Oct 13, 20125:27 pm
          by RyanK


          From what I read, Monroe is now “automatic” from 15 feet…that’s a stretch 4, so we can cut Daye and CV also.

  • Oct 13, 20129:24 am
    by Vic


    Daye is the stretch 4… Even though I doubt that will be a big role. His shots will fall eventually, and at least he can rebound.
    Slava will wake up and get acclimated… Drummond still has him matched at least. They should share the 5 immediately. Monroe should start at 4 and be the 3rd string 5.

     Love T Will… Gotta find a way to keep him. Wish we could amnesty CV oR send Middleton to europe for a year

    • Oct 13, 201210:23 am
      by Tom Y.


      When you say his shots will fall eventually, what do you think his 3Pt.% is going to be for the season? Of his 3 years so far, only the 2nd was above the league average (which I believe is about 35%). He shot 40.1% that year. But his 1st year was just 30.5% and his 3rd was a horrible 21%. I don’t see a reason to believe he’s going to be above the league average this year – he’ll probably be in the low 30′s, and even that may be too kind.
      If someone is cut to make room for T-Will, I don’t see who else it could be – the least useful player on the team, with probably no trade value, who anyway has just one year left.

    • Oct 13, 201210:41 am
      by tarsier


      Cannot use the amnesty at this point until next offseason.

  • Oct 13, 201210:18 am
    by Paul


    Daye is absolute GARBAGE at both ends of the floor, and whines at everything! Sorry Mr. Gores, but you need to eat that contract and get him the hell away from this team. His trade value is non existant and there is NO sign that it’s gonna change. Nobody wants a 7-foot man-baby whose only talent is to cry at EVERY call. Use the roster spot to sign Terrance Williams and we’ll all forgive the failed Daye Experiment.

  • Oct 13, 201210:38 am
    by tarsier


    I see no reason why T-Will can’t be a comparable player to a Tony Allen–the worst player of a contender’s starting 5, but not a liability on either end even on a very good team.

  • Oct 13, 201211:34 am
    by Vic




  • Oct 13, 201211:48 am
    by Vic


    5 assists in 5 minutes in that game.


    I don’t get nba politics.  

  • Oct 13, 201211:56 am
    by israelipiston


    Detroit will be a very mediocre team with Tay and Maxiell starting and playing a lot. Potentially we COULD be better with other younger players who have upside playing instead of these 2.

    To use a baseball example – The Oakland A’s played lots of rookies including 2 rookie starter in the playoffs and went very far.

    It is time for the pistons to make some gaming changing moves and play the youngsters. We have noting to lose by doing so. I would love to see JJ at the 3 and move monroe to the 4 and play Drummand and Slav at the 5. 

    • Oct 13, 20121:03 pm
      by Mark


      Thats exactly how I feel. There’s no chance of them being anything more than mediocre with this current starting lineup. If Frank honestly thinks this starting lineup is going ot lead him anywhere than I’m starting to question his ability.

      If they start Drummond and Jerebko, at least there’s a chance of being something better. 

  • Oct 13, 20121:40 pm
    by George


    Daye was a terrible pick from the start.  A late first-round prospect, drafted 15th overall, with interest publicly broadcasted for weeks before the draft.
    I don’t want soft players on the Pistons, be it physically or mentally.  Daye is a pillow as far as toughness is concerned.

  • Oct 13, 20124:15 pm
    by Nine_Fat_Stalks


    yes, let’s all start questioning Frank’s coaching ability after two preseason games in which he’s switching up the lineups for evaluation purposes.

    • Oct 13, 20124:47 pm
      by Mark


      Try 44 reg season games. That lineup has been together more than 2 pre-season games and its proven to be mediocre at best.

      Tonight he trots out Jerebko/Monroe up front after seeing it for 24 reg games already where they went 4-20.

      It just makes no sense to me why he continues searching through the same combos he already spent all last year evaluating and proving that they either didn’t work or were nothing special. He’s got a bunch of new pieces to work with now and he keeps trotting out the same old garbage lineups. If he’s using preseason to experiment, he’s not doing a lot of useful experimenting.

  • Oct 13, 20125:19 pm
    by Nine_Fat_Stalks


    and yet, somehow, life goes on. Y’all are a whiny bunch.

  • Oct 13, 20125:20 pm
    by israelipiston


    IMHO JJ is not a 4 – he cannot cover 4s – remember how every unknown power forward feasted on Detroit when JJ was playing the 4. He must play the 3

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