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Sports Illustrated: Pistons should be focused on developing young players rather than wins and losses

In the above video, Sports Illustrated writer Chris Mannix gives his take on the Detroit Pistons, including his belief that the Pistons will be best-served by giving their young players the bulk of the minutes, even if it means the team falls short of the playoffs.


  • Oct 24, 20129:03 am
    by Keith


    I completely agree with the sentiment, though I don’t think going young invariably throws away a shot at the playoffs. Drummond is our second best big, easily, so he should be playing as much as possible. Moreover, our veterans are all replacement level or worse. Is there ANY dropoff from Tay to Jerebko, or even Middleton if he is hitting from deep? Would the team be any worse with English playing backup 2 instead of the always hurt and aging Maggette? Maxiell losing minutes to Drummond would be a net positive.
    Development is hard to quantify, but our track record isn’t very good. I would rather we work on the players we have than get drubbed in the first round of the playoffs, but I also think playing our young guys gives us the best chance to make the playoffs. Our rookies will be better at the end of the year than our veterans are now. If we want to have a chance, we need to put everyone in position to succeed.

  • Oct 24, 20129:25 am
    by Al


    Agreed, boy does Frank have pressure already! I think the Pistons should just make up there mind already about this rebuilding phase. Play the youth, they act as if we are contenders or something! We are not the Celtics or any other vet team who mix youth with vets to maintain contending hopes. Okc played their youths, yea it took sometime but paid off. I mean come on already, Maxiell, Prince are very good role players but at what cost? A Championship chance?? If so, yea start them then. If not, bring them off the bench plain and simple. Maybe Frank wants to instill certain fundementals to this young team but is it worth getting fired over down the line?? But if all of a sudden the rest of the league is taking notice to our team in which was lost in a black hole at one point, would’nt it make sense to make adjustments or take a gamble that may pay big dividends sooner than later. After all they gambled with the 9th pick in the draft supposedly which surprised many early on…

  • Oct 24, 20129:42 am
    by MrHappyMushroom


    On an equally contestable note, I’ve heard it said that it’s difficult to kill a grizzly bear with a water pistol.

  • Oct 24, 20129:54 am
    by ryan


    I agree with most of what Keith and Al just said and with the general idea that Mannix put forward. I do have one question about the video though. Since when is Rodney Stuckey a small guard? The guy is 6’5″ right? Is that small?

    My plan for the season would have a few key elements:
    -try to showcase Austin Daye, Charlie Villanueva, Corey Maggette and Jason Maxiell so that we can flip them for picks and expiring contracts. Obviously we’re not going to get much but if we could some how get rid of two of them and only take on player back that would open up a spot for Ben Wallace which would bring real value.

    -focus on developing chemistry between Knight, Stuckey, Middleton, English, Jerebko, Singler, Drummond, Monroe and Kravtsov. If Tayshaun Prince can fit in and work with this unit in a limited role I think that’s great if he cannot then he should also be showcased.

    -run plays through Greg Monroe as a major part of our offense. Teams are not well prepared to defend a big man who can score and pass so Monroe should be able to do significant damage especially if the rest of the guys are committed to cutting to the basket instead of attacking off the dribble.

    -forget entirely about the playoffs and focus entirely on teaching, development and building solid habits. I believe if we do this by the end of the year we’ll be better than many playoff teams (not sure if we’ll sneak in or not) and ready to make real noise next year.

    • Oct 24, 20121:14 pm
      by Corey


      Austin Daye, Maxiel, and Maggette are already on expiring contracts. It wouldn’t make sense to flip them for expiring contracts. It would only make sense to trade them for either

      1- a player on a continuing contract who the pistons want more than cap space (ie a GOOD player), or
      2 – a player with a continuing contract that they don’t want, plus draft picks or other players they do really want. This would mean getting a good young player on a rookie contract plus a bad old player on a big contract, or perhaps two veteran players, one of which is good and one of whom is a salary dump by the other team. This is obviously only a good idea if the desirable player is highly desirable.

      • Oct 24, 20122:16 pm
        by Otis


        He said expiring contracts and picks. Like how Joe Dumars should have traded Tayshaun to Dallas two years ago for the injured Caron Butler’s expiring deal and a first round pick that I think would have become Jajuan Johnson.

  • Oct 24, 20129:59 am
    by Jodi Jezz


    Smh, this guy has no idea what he’s talking about…We’ll be fight for the 8th seed this season, I guarantee it…This guy lost all creditability when he said we have two small guards, Knight is 6’3 and Stuckey is 6’5…How is that small??

    • Oct 24, 201212:54 pm
      by Scout


      Yeah that really threw me off.
      In 2011 the average height of point guards in the NBA was just over 6’1″.
      Knight has good size for his position and Stuckey is at most slightly shorter than average. Same size as wade

  • Oct 24, 201210:03 am
    by Vic


    Somebody from Grant land predicted that John is Jurecko will be the best small forward on the business team this year. http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8540932/the-miami-heat-offense-james-harden-contract-more-bold-predictions-2012-13-nba-season

    As far as this sports illustrated article is concerned, I do not agree. I think that the best way for them to develop this to earn it, and if that means sitting behind the veterans until the veteran contract expire or are traded then so be it.
    Plus making the playoffs will make us an up and coming team with lots if young talent, which could be more attractive team to Josh Smith. 

  • Oct 24, 201210:11 am
    by Vic


    What people don’t get is this: if we make the playoffs it will be Because of the young players development by preventing the young players development. If we make the playoffs with Moose and Dre as our best bugs, Knight & Stuck as our top guards, and Jerebko as our best SF off the bench, everybody’s going to see that. We’d basically be the Easts version of the Thunder.

  • Oct 24, 201210:20 am
    by danny


    what people dont understand is that when you have a vet on the team and you dont play, you’re still learning.  they are teaching you hands on everyday in practice.  look at that kanter kid in utah he is going to be a lot better just listen to big al everyday.  There will be a time when the younger guys take over but they need to learn the game first.  shit doesnt happen over night fellas.

  • Oct 24, 201210:45 am
    by jerrific


    I don’t undetstand this at all. Suddenly winning = not developing our young guys and losing = developing them? Last time I checked we are a young team. Many of our players that logged heavy minutes last year are young guys. They are going to play regardless because they give us our best chance to win. The same goes for Drummond, whether he starts at the beginning of the season or not. If the Pistons want to develop their young guys well they need to get them playing time AND win games. We accomplish this through good coaching, playing hard on both ends, and finding the right combination of players that give us the best chance to win. This is just a stupid sentiment altogether, it’s not like we have a plethora of savvy veterans that give us a better chance to win than our young guys. 

  • Oct 24, 20121:09 pm
    by frankie d


    the pistons have been in betwix and in between trying to compete for the playoffs and rebuilding.  it has been tortuous to watch.
    instead of giving young guys PT in order to determine just what kind of players they have, they’ve brought in or kept a continuing line of retreads mediocrities who’ve been just good enough to keep young guys on the bench.
    T-mac, wilkins, tay, max…
    joe d has made a few good moves, and if he gets another 5 years, he may build another contender.  
    he could have expedited the process by doing what mannix is advising, a few years ago.
    i don’t care if drummond starts.  in fact, it will probably help him to bring him in off the bench for 20-30 games or so.  but he has to play regularly, and he has to play 20-30 minutes a night. 
    he’ll look pretty bad some nights, but frank should still throw him out there and let him take his lumps.
    it is the only way he’ll learn and grow.
    however, i am not optimistic and could easily see frank yo-yoing drummond’s PT for a good part of the year.  hope i’m wrong. 

  • Oct 24, 20121:11 pm
    by Corey


    Pistons will only win if their young guys play and play well. Prince and Maxiel and Maggette will not carry this team to the playoffs. There is no chance.

    It will only happen if Stuckey, Monroe, Knight, Drummond, and Jerebko take them there.

  • Oct 24, 20122:14 pm
    by Otis


    This is strange. Am I the only person who thinks it’s highly unlikely that this team is going to make the playoffs? I mean, like, basically no chance at all unless half the East gets injured? Optimism is one thing, but the East has eight teams that look pretty much like playoff locks and a small handful of teams that figure to miss the playoffs but still be better than us. I know we’re all fans here, but why not have expectations that are grounded in reality? SMH

    And aside from all that, making the playoffs means getting the life crushed out of us by one of the East’s juggernauts (realistically, the Heat), which is a small point, because I do concede that there’s some value even in a humiliating first-round sweep. But it also means we lose our first round pick, and if you think we can afford that, you’re far too optimistic about the state of the team.

    • Oct 24, 20122:56 pm
      by labatts


      “the East has eight teams that look pretty much like playoff locks”. 
      I’m not sure…Philly, Miami, Indiana, Chicago, maybe (MAybe) boston.  Then who?  Atlanta?  I think the rest of the teams are pretty weak.  Sure, the Pistons are bad too, but I will be surprised if they aren’t in the mix.

  • Oct 24, 20122:47 pm
    by Corey


    I’d say the odds are solidly against the Pistons making the playoffs. However, there is a shot. It would require:

    1 – Good health, especially amongst the guards
    2 – Drummond to be better than anybody ever expected this year.
    3 – For Prince to either become a backup (e.g. to Jerebko) or to play substantially better than last year.
    4 – Knight to improve substantially, and at least be a starting caliber point guard this year
    5 – Stuckey to play near his peak performance level most of the year

    That’s a lot to ask for, obviously. And I don’t see how they make it with any of those things not happening.  Without #1, the depth just isn’t there. Without #2, they don’t have enough competent big men. Without #3, they waste too many minutes on bad play at the 3 spot. Without #4, they waste too many minutes on bad play at the point. Without #5, they only have one truly exceptional player on the court (Monroe), and that’s not enough.

    So the odds aren’t good, but it’s still fun to ponder.

    On a side note: Out of 8 playoff “locks” if they don’t get injured, you can expect 1-2 of them to fail to make the playoffs. Someone significant will get injured on some of those teams. But you may be right about too many teams standing between us and the playoffs.  Hollinger just predicted the pistons to finish 13th in the east, I think, so he’s certainly not optimistic.

    • Oct 24, 20125:23 pm
      by tarsier


      It would take at least a couple of those things, but not all of them. The reasons you stated of why they’d be set back without each condition always apply to a couple playoff teams. Miami lacks depth. Atlanta and Philly both lacked enough competent big men last year. The Lakers are at least as weak as the Pistons at the 3. The Lakers also did not have a starting caliber PG. Nor did Indiana, Miami, or Chicago. Dallas only had one exceptional player. Ditto for Chicago the previous year.

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