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The ‘start Jonas Jerebko’ movement gains some national steam

I’ve always been a huge fan of former Sports Illustrated and current Grantland NBA writer Zach Lowe. After he wrote this in his season predictions column, he’s easily my favorite NBA writer ever now:

Jonas Jerebko Will Be Detroit’s Best Small Forward

Jerebko played mostly power forward this season, and he may well work best as a stretch 4 who hits enough 3s, cuts hard, and defends well enough. He’ll get time there, too, with Detroit working in two project centers beside budding All-Star Greg Monroe. But Jerebko may well be the best small forward on a roster of oddly fitting parts. Tayshaun Prince is in decline, and last season worked too often as if he were a legit no. 1 option. Maggette is Maggette — a free throw machine who does little else, on either end. Detroit fans openly hate Charlie Villanueva, and it’s unclear if he can even get on the floor in the NBA now. The Pistons have no clue what position Austin Daye plays anymore.

Free Jonas!

Jonas Jerebko starting at small forward barring an injury is probably, well, a non-starter, since Tayshaun Prince pretty clearly stated that he’d very much like to be the team’s starting small forward. Prince is still an adequate enough player and respected enough by the coaching staff that I think it’s a longshot his role changes much from last season. But I also think the lineup many Pistons fans, including myself, are dying to watch is one with the team’s five best young players — Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, Jerebko, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

Jerebko is a great fit in that lineup for a variety of reasons. his movement without the ball and cutting ability is a great fit next to Monroe, who is really good at finding cutters. Jerebko runs the floor harder than any Pistons big man, a skill that fits with Stuckey and Knight, who both excel in transition. And with a lineup up front of Jerebko, Monroe and Drummond, the Pistons would possibly have the best offensive rebounding frontcourt in the league.

Anyway, like I said, I don’t think Jerebko is likely to see a lot of minutes, let alone start, at small forward this season barring an injury. But I hope I’m wrong. It’s really fun to think about watching that group play a lot of minutes together.


  • Oct 25, 20122:13 pm
    by Scott Free


    You need the best offensive rebounding frontcourt, if you have both Charlie V and Austin Daye on your squad.

    • Oct 25, 20123:20 pm
      by Keith


      I’d rather they didn’t play at all, but who knows. I think offensive rebounds are not getting enough press. We had the second worst offense in the league last year, and our players aren’t all of a sudden going to be hyper-efficient. If we can’t win with quality of shots (BTW, that’s supposed to be the whole idea behind playing slow as molasses), we have to win with quantity. The only ways to push quantity of shots in our favor are forcing turnovers and getting offensive boards. Our D personnel are going going to be winning any awards, while we have exactly the players to make a run at league leading offensive rebound rates.
      Also, I agree we should start Jerebko at SF. Prince is a crutch, a supposedly skilled veteran who will do his job without complaint or inconsistency. Besides the fact that’s not true, we also utilize him poorly on the court, often throwing away possessions and proper plays in order to get him touches. For an old player with minimal future prospects, every touch he takes in those situations reinforces passive play and uncertain roles for our young guys.

  • Oct 25, 20124:49 pm
    by tarsier


    What bugs me about the Pistons is their seeming total lack of direction. There are three basic ways to determine who gets playing time. The most common (and in many ways, best) is to play your best guys who will win as many games as possible. Alternatively, one can tank. Deliberately put players on the floor who do not give it a great chance of winning. While distasteful, this at least is a strategy. Third, often overlapping with the second, one can develop. Put the players who are expected to be members of the team moving forward on the floor regardless of talent. Maybe experiment and “see what you have”. Once again, while perhaps not the ultimate goal of competition, there is a clear goal.

    The Pistons don’t do any of those. Dumars drafts well. And he is usually pretty good at evaluating talent, too. Even if he flopped on BG and CV. But he continues to appear to have no plan whatsoever. He lets things happen rather than taking control and making things happen. And that is why he should get booted. I am ok with moves that have potential and don’t work out. I am ok with a predominantly holding pattern when in a good place. But doing nothing and just waiting for draft picks? Anyone can do that, and, short of a ton of luck, it’ll never make a legit contender.

  • Oct 25, 20125:13 pm
    by RyanK


    Given Tay’s decline, I think it makes sense to start Jonas…Jonas is part of the future, Tay is part of the past.  If Tay complains, then you send him home until we find a trade to move him.  It really is time to move on completely from the 2004 squad. 
    PG: Knight (35 minutes), Stuckey (13 minutes), Bynum (Zero unless fouls or injuries)
    SG: Stuckey (22 minutes), English (22 minutes), Middleton (4 minutes)
    SF: Jonas (20 minutes), Singler (25 minutes), Middleton (13 minutes)
    PF: Monroe (35 minutes), Jonas (10 minutes), Drummond (3 minutes)
    C: Drummond (30 minutes), Slava (18 minutes), Monroe (zero unless fouls or injuries)
    To play this way would probably hurt our win totals for the season; taking the veterans off the floor.  It exposes some depth issues as well with guys having to cover multiple positions.  This is what we’re looking at if we let all the FAs walk this summer, trade Tay, and amnesty CV.  Hopefully Joe D can add something to the team with all that cap money.

    • Oct 25, 20126:33 pm
      by count that baby and a foul


      you got 58 minutes at sf

    • Oct 25, 20128:52 pm
      by Jack


      Love this lineup except the part w/ 58 minutes at SF.  Everything else is A okay.  And I think the Pistons could be very good playing with a set rotation like this rather than constantly experimenting and giving none of the players a chance to gain confidence and thereby gain consistency.  Players who think they will be taken off for every mistake can’t focus on the game and are always looking to the bench rather than doing what they need to do.  That is play instinctively and with 100% effort.  I read Keith Langlois’s article on pistons.com and it has me worried.  After 7 preseason games Frank says the rotation is still up in the air.  That likely means another year of experimentation with all sorts of weird lineups, messing up team chemistry.  Take the Minnesota game for example.  The Pistons come to within 3 points after being down 20 plus.  Then Frank brings in the bench.  They fall behind by 10 in a few minutes.  So to teach the bench a lesson, i.e. if u can’t produce there are guys behind u who can, Frank brings in the third string players like Daye, and Kravstov, and the next thing you know the Pistons are trailing by 24 again.  This is the most frustrating thing about Frank.  If the Bench is not producing you discipline them by bringing back some or all of the starters, and not go deeper into the bench.  This lineup experimentation bs has to come to an end.  This will hopefully not continue as KL’s article indicates on pistons.com.  The Pistons can not treat the regular season as the preseason, giving players inconsistent minutes at the first sign of them making mistakes.  They also need a chance to make up for their mistakes.  That is how they develop consistency.  I say start our 5 best players, Knight, Stuckey, Jerebko, Monroe, and Drummond, and let the other bits fall into place after that.  But the best players are the ones that should be setting the tempo, not the other way around.  Prince should go the way of CV & Daye and ride the bench.  Thanks for 2004.  But it is time to move on.

      • Oct 25, 201210:24 pm
        by Vic


        This is why I’m excited for the regular season to start. I can understand experimenting during preseason, but he’s got to tighten up and start winning. If the starters can get it back to 3 but the bench loses 21 points, then point made. Bench can’t complain. Let’s move on and start coaching to win.

  • Oct 25, 20125:21 pm
    by Scott Free


    Armchair Coaching, but this would be my rotation:

    Starting Lineup:

    PG – Knight
    SG – Stuckey
    SF – Jerebko
    PF – Monroe
    C – Drummond 

    Second String:

    PG – Bynum (for lack of a better option)
    SG –  Magette
    SF – Tayshaun
    PF – Maxiel
    C –  Kravtsov 

    Situational Players:
    SF – Singler
    SG – English 

  • Oct 25, 20125:28 pm
    by ray


    its too much like right to start the players playing the best….

  • Oct 25, 20129:09 pm
    by Jodi Jezz


    Who ever thinks Jonas is a starter (especially a starter at the 3) doesn’t have a very high basketball iq…

  • Oct 25, 20129:33 pm
    by Desolation Row


    What The Pistons do with their lineup will signify what they are as an organization. Starting Tayshaun at SF only demonstrates more of the same bull$hit. More basketball purgatory. More slowball. More stagnation.

    Dumars is like an auto exec still trying to push a gas-guzzling SUV down consumer throats. Unfortunately for Dumars, there is no such thing as an NBA bail-out (let’s just ignore the Eyebrow Sweepstakes this past summer, shall we?). I’d rather see GM try and fail with the Volt than keep rolling out Suburbans.

    And I’m not even a Prince hater. I loved Tay in his heyday, but let’s be real here: he is getting paid millions of dollars either way, and he wouldn’t be starting anywhere else. Jonas is a better fit than him, both in overall vision and playing style. If Tayshaun’s the invaluable veteran willing to be the “glue guy” for this team the way the Pistons’ front office seem to regard him, he’ll be fine taking a diminished off-the-bench role. If not, what value does he even have? 

    And let’s be honest. Nobody on this thread wants to see Tayshaun starting. We represent the die-hards. If you’re alienating even your most loyal fans with no results to show for it, how are you going to convince casual fans to watch? We already started Tayshaun last season and we didn’t make the playoffs. How about something new for a change? 

  • Oct 26, 201212:54 am
    by Otis


    I give JJ no chance to start over Tayshaun. Haven’t we all been paying enough attention to the way this organization has been run to even discuss it as a possibility? I do think we badly need to trade Tayshaun, because his replacements are finally ready, and seven million bucks is too much to pay for veteran leadership and little else. Veteran leadership costs the vet’s minimum.

  • Oct 26, 20121:01 am
    by Mark


    This would be rotation - 


    I’d go 8 man rotation of our best young players and tell the rest of the roster to forfeit their contracts and leave if they don’t like it.

    We need shooters in the SL. Stuckey is a better PG than Bynum. 2 upgrades with 1 move. Upgrade shooting in the SL with English. Upgrade backup PG with Stuckey.

    Singler is an upgrade over Tay from an energy standpoint and just pure playmaking ability. He impacts the game, Tayshaun does not.

    Drummond upgrades defense, rebounding, shotblocking, and PIP over Maxiell.

    4 capable shooters – Knight, English, Middleton, and Singler. 3 Inside scorers in Stuckey, Drummond, and Monroe. And a little of both with Jerebko. Much better balance than this current rotation. Gets the young guys big minutes, develops more chemistry being tighter rotation, and imo will result in more wins just from the pur passion and effort these young guys will give every night cmpared to the old bums who dont care anymore about winning.

    When Tay said he preferred to sign with a lottery team over a contender, that shouldve been all Joe needed to hear that this guy is not about winning anymore.

  • Oct 26, 20124:43 pm
    by Max


    I still think Prince should start because he is a dependable ball handler and passer and is one of the best players in nba history at not turning the ball over.   Jerebko starting would be infinitely more palatable if he brought some of those qualities or if Knight and Monroe were capable of averaging at least 1 turnover a game less each.  Maybe they can but I would need to see them do it before I would agree that Jerebko should get consideration.   At least I won’t have to watch Ben Gordon’s misadventures of handling the ball for the Pistons anymore. 

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