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Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight combine for 13 turnovers in loss to Memphis

Detroit Pistons 78 FinalRecap | Box Score 90 Memphis Grizzlies
Jason Maxiell, PF 31 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -2Maxiell struggles defensively against a lot of bigs, but Randolph is the perfect type of player to match him up with. He’s strong enough to hold position and he’s not at a huge height disadvantage, so he’s athletic enough to bother Randolph’s shots. He’s always adequate from a technical standpoint defensively, but tonight, he was good and he helped force Randolph into a 3-for-8 performance.
Tayshaun Prince, SF 35 MIN | 6-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS | -11Prince had his best all-around game of the season. He was efficient offensively and had his best defensive performance in ages, harassing Rudy Gay into a 6-for-17 shooting night.
Kyle Singler, SF 39 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -7A month ago, I would’ve considered this a fine game for Singler, but to his credit, he’s significantly raised expectations. Also to his credit, he didn’t shoot well, but he still impacted the game in other ways, particularly with his rebounding and defense.
Greg Monroe, C 31 MIN | 7-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS | -10This frontcourt was a tough matchup for Monroe. To his credit, he was physical, he fought for shots in the paint despite not being as strong as Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph, he rebounded and he came up with two steals. But his seven turnovers were a killer.
Brandon Knight, PG 27 MIN | 3-9 FG | 4-5 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -3Listen, Knight has done some positive things of late. This game was a gigantic step back for him. He had six turnovers, he was careless with the ball, he shot poorly, he had no assists (and most of his teammates shot well, so the excuse that he made plays for guys who just missed shots doesn’t hold in this game) and Mike Conley put on a clinic. Like I said, Knight has done some things better this season, but this was an awful performance.
Charlie Villanueva, PF 15 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -3Villanueva had his worst shooting game since he was inserted into the rotation, but — surprise! — he doesn’t get that poor a grade. Ordinarily, if Villanueva’s shot isn’t falling, he’s not helping. Tonight, he battled defensively. Villanueva got back on defense on a breakaway by Darrell Arthur in the second half, stripped the ball from Arthur, Arthur got it back, then Villanueva blocked the shot. I’m harder on Villanueva than most players because he’s just been too bad a player for too long in Detroit to get much benefit of the doubt, but he’s definitely headed in a more positive direction than he’s been in years over the last few games.
Corey Maggette, SF 15 MIN | 0-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 3 PTS | -3Maggette came to Detroit with a reputation for being a get-mine type of player. Tonight, he didn’t make a shot, but he had three assists, a steal and got to the line four times — his trademark — in 15 minutes. I think he’s past the point of helping a team much in a rotation, even a bad team like this one, but I still haven’t minded his presence on the team. He’s seemed like a legitimately positive veteran presence, and to be honest, this team hasn’t had a lot of those in recent years.
Andre Drummond, C 19 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -9I will go into more detail on Drummond below. No, I’m not giving him a good grade for his performance tonight, but that’s kind of a positive at this point — he, like Singler, has advanced to the point where a game with respectable numbers is sub-par for him because of the standard he’s already set for that. He hurt the Pistons on the court at times tonight, but I still can’t give him enough credit for how ready he’s been to contribute meaningful minutes this season.
Rodney Stuckey, PG 28 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 6 PTS | -12Stuckey had an awful shooting game, continues to take a baffling number of 3-point attempts despite his awful percentage and he didn’t get to the line at all tonight, usually a huge part of his game. But all that aside, he was still by far the best point guard the Pistons put on the floor tonight.
Lawrence Frank, Coach | True to his word, Frank has shortened his rotation. He stuck with Drummond for 19 minutes tonight despite some fairly noticeable mistakes Drummond made, so that’s a positive. With the team struggling shooting the ball, it would’ve been nice to see a bit of Kim English tonight, but considering that Prince and Singler were playing strong defensively, it’s hard to get too worked up about that.

Drummond’s pluses and minuses

If you put Drummond on the court for any amount of time, he’s going to block shots and he’s going to rebound. Those are extremely valuable skills, ones that should be earning Drummond more minutes and skills that the Pistons sorely lack. But because his readiness is such a surprise, there’s also a tendency to overlook his liabilities. Three plays, in particular, stood out for me against Memphis. Both cost the Pistons cheap baskets near the end of quarters.

In the final minute of the first quarter, Drummond got an offensive rebound. That’s good, and part of what makes him so valuable. But you know how Ben Wallace used to get an offensive rebound, then almost in one motion, toss it out to someone on the perimeter to reset the offense? That was instinctive to Wallace, a part of the play that was as vital as the rebound itself. Drummond hesitated. He didn’t immediately know where to go with the ball, then he brought it down low and it was stolen by Memphis. The Grizzlies went to the other end and Jerryd Bayless hit a jumper to give the team a 22-21 lead.

Late in the third quarter, the Pistons forced a Memphis miss, Drummond was in position to get the rebound, he grabbed it but didn’t do it aggressively, it slipped out of his hands and the Grizzlies kept the ball. Bayless again hit a shot that gave the Grizzlies a 76-66 lead. The Pistons would’ve had time to cut the lead to six heading into the fourth and instead went in down by double-digits because of something as little as failing to secure a rebound.

Drummond also had a play in the second half where he grabbed an offensive rebound, was positioned far under and away from the basket, jumped in the air like he was trying to attempt a shot, realized he couldn’t get one off and then threw a week wrap-around bounce pass toward the 3-point line that was easily stolen by Memphis.

Pointing those things out are not my attempt to pick on Drummond. Like I said, despite his shortcomings, he’s way too productive to not play significant minutes. But if you closely examine the mistakes he does make, they are the types of mistakes that tend to drive any coach at any level crazy. I don’t agree with the way Frank has used him to this point, but looking closely at Drummond’s mistakes at least makes it easier to understand that Frank is not necessarily crazy for having a quick hook at times. Drummond is supremely talented, he’s still arguably the second best big on this team, but he also still has a long way to go before he’s close to a finished product.

The missing Kim English

I alluded to it above, but I was hoping to see English get a few minutes tonight. English has played well in his limited time this season and seemingly disappeared from the rotation. But buried in this column by David Mayo at MLive was an explanation:

Specifically, it was English’s defense against Jimmer Fredette that was the issue.  The Pistons took a tough loss that night in Sacramento, in a winnable game, and it was because of their defense, not because they didn’t score enough.  It’s no coincidence that English hasn’t played a meaningful rotation role since.

Fredette scored 12 points off the bench in that game. Not sure what, specifically, English did or didn’t do defensively, but the Pistons as a whole were awful on D in that game. I’m still a huge English fan and wish he were playing, but at least that’s an explanation.

The Pistons were legitimately in this game

Don’t let the largely poor grades above fool you. The Pistons did some great things in this game. Overall, the defense was very good, led by Prince and Maxiell. They out-rebounded the Grizzlies and shot a little better. Sloppy games by Knight and Monroe were legitimately the difference. The Pistons were competitive most of the way despite an awful performance taking care of the ball from Monroe and Knight. The Pistons are not good enough to beat anyone, let alone one of the best team’s in the league, while making unforced errors. Tonight reinforced that, but everyone should feel a little positive that the defense was strong enough to keep Detroit close most of the way. That’s a significant improvement from just a couple weeks ago.

29 Comments

  • Nov 30, 201211:46 pm
    by Lorenzo

    Reply

    Monroe absolutely got man handled in the paint tonight, Gasol backed him down like he was a guard. I know its never going to be his forte and Gasol is a bad match up for him– but all the same Monroe simply has to get stronger.

    Knight and Stuckey’s performances were beyond words today…neither played with any direction. Stuckey seems to put up the most terse shots not matter where he is on the floor. This game was a bad match up for the team as a whole but these kids will have to learn how to win some of these grind it out games to progress in this league.

    • Dec 1, 20125:56 am
      by Mark

      Reply

      I agree with your take on Monroe defensively. However, he pretty much did the same thing back to Gasol on the other end, so it evened out. Though Monroe actually shot better on the night. 

      Gasol was 6-17 and Moose was 7-15.

      We all know defensive is never going to be Monroe’s strength, which is why I didn’t understand Frank not going to the Bull-Moose frontcourt and putting Drummond on Gasol late in the 2nd qtr when MEM made the big run that ultimately decided the game. The 2nd half was even. The 1st 18 min of the 1st half was even. It was just that last 5-6 min of the 2nd qtr when they started to exploit Monroe’s defense with Gasol. That seemed to open up MEM’s whole offense, because then we had to send help for Monroe and got all out of sorts. 

      It was a simple adjustment that Frank could’ve made, by simply bring in Drummond for Maxiell, and moving Monroe onto Randolph who was struggling and Monroe could’ve handled. I was disappointed in Frank for not recognizing that. I think had he done that right away, we go into half time only down 4-5 probably and not so deflated. But he didn’t make the adjustment and we never really recovered, even though we came back to tie it in the 3rd, it felt like we were playing from behind from then on and MEM was already too confident.
       

  • Nov 30, 201211:52 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    did see the game, but I trust what you are saying.

    soo I cant speak on the game…

    hopefully we’ll bound back 

  • Nov 30, 201211:54 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    “meant i didnt”

    and this was Knight worse game of the month… 

  • Dec 1, 201212:12 am
    by Otis

    Reply

    As for the part about the Pistons legitimately being in this game, it’s hard not to guess that top teams are going to take them lightly. Heck, mediocre teams might take them lightly. The Grizz didn’t start with much urgency, and the better team is going to put the clamps down in the last six-or-so minutes of any close game and win most of them. The top third of the league simply have to bring their C game to beat the Pistons most nights. The middle third can get by with their B game. Heck, some nights the bottom third (aka the Pistons’ peer group) will get a win with their B or C game…

    Many of this team’s biggest problems were on display tonight. I don’t care if Max and Tayshaun were your best players (especially in losses), I’m getting so sick of seeing them here. Knight is highly unlikely to be the answer at PG ever, and either he or Stuckey should probably be traded. Also, on a related note, just because Greg Monroe is your best player to run the offense through, doesn’t mean he’s a GOOD player to run your offense through. This team needs a floor leader, distributer, playmaker badly. Monroe is a smart player and a good passer, but he just isn’t good enough right now to run an NBA offense full-time, and it’s too risky to bank on the hope that he ever will be.

    This roster just needs so much work. They have the assets and the flexibility to reshape it significantly and be GOOD by next season, but they seem to be DEAD SET on building a team around a core of unspectacular complementary players.

  • Dec 1, 201212:22 am
    by Otis

    Reply

    Side note: Hey Patrick and Dan! I saw speculation that Lamarcus Aldridge is unhappy and wants a trade out of Portland. What do you suppose it would take to get him with Greg Monroe as the centerpiece. Not saying this is necessarily the answer, but this team needs some legitimate star power. They have plenty of role players, and a star like Aldridge would not only help the team immediately and be a legitimate first option, he could add the credibility this team sorely needs to perhaps get a decent free agent to sign here. There’s something pathetic about having zero players on the roster that anybody wants to play with.

    Plus, it would be nice to be able to have some leadership on the roster that pulls weight in the locker room AND on the floor. Personally I think Tayshaun is still around not for his leadership but because he’s Joe’s best friend, and it would be nice to ditch that excuse and ship him to a contender already.

    And yes, not that Aldridge would be especially happy to be here either, but a change of scenery is a change of scenery, and we do have the flexibility to build around him. We need one player worth building around, and he’s not on the roster right now.

    • Dec 1, 201212:31 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Are you convinced LA is that guy? I’m not. Like him, but dude’s having a bad season. He’s never been a dominant rebounder for as big as he is and he’s not an elite defensive player.

      A trade for him, if Portland really wanted to deal him, would likely take Monroe, two of their expiring deals and probably a future first or Singler. That would be a ton to give up for a guy I’m not sold is a max guy.

      Are you that sold on Aldridge as a cornerstone that you’d give up that kind of haul and pay him near max money for the next three seasons? Are you that convinced that Monroe, who is already a superior rebounder, getting much better offensively, younger and still on a rookie deal, won’t eclipse Aldridge’s production?

      I just don’t see a Monroe-for-Aldridge swap as any kind of win for the Pistons. 

      • Dec 1, 201212:05 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        You really think it would take that much to get LA?He’s good, but Monroe is already arguably  a better player. I imagine that if the trade was expiring deals and Monroe for LA, Portland would be the one needing to throw in a first rounder, not Detroit.

        • Dec 1, 201212:08 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          And I still don’t think I’d make that trade. But it seems a lot more reasonable than your proposal.

  • Dec 1, 20123:03 am
    by Vince

    Reply

    Mmm. I was happy with everything except for the amount of turnovers… 

    Disappointed Kravtsov didn’t play, equally disappointed that JJ and English are still glued to the bench. Any word on whether the Pistons are sending Middleton to the D-League? Or is he going to waste away on the inactive list like Vernon did last year?

    English got benched for poor D? Damn. If a rookie is getting benched for poor D then I’m surprised the starters weren’t at the beginning of the season, if Frank is trying to send out a message, its a pretty poor one. A solid three point threat who in my eyes offers good scrappy defense is benched for one mistake, whilst Daye is still chilling on the pine. I’m neutral on CV, I’m unhappy he is playing, but I’m happy he is producing at an adequate level. JJ, Slava and English should be playing.  

  • Dec 1, 20123:18 am
    by Desolation Row

    Reply

    This team looked 10 turnovers away from being a respectable playoff team in the East.

  • Dec 1, 20124:14 am
    by gmehl

    Reply

    That 1st quarter was a real heart breaker. We should of led by 10 points but we wasted our opportunities. I am starting to think that Knight has trouble running a fast break. He messed up 2 in this game and many others i have seen this season.

    One positive to take from the game is that at least we hung tough with one of the top teams in the league. We have taken a small step forward but the key will be if we can maintain moving forward over the next 5-6 games.

  • Dec 1, 20126:01 am
    by Mark

    Reply

    No way I’d trade Monroe for Aldridge, who is not a superstar btw.

    Monroe is a superior rebounder and playmaker, and he’s almost just as good of a scorer, plus he’s much younger. Also Monroe is a consistent paint scoring big, which is rare, whereas Aldridge is mostly a jumpshooting big which is not hard to find.

    imo the only thing preventing Monroe from being better right now is the consistent midrange shot. Once he gets that down he will be the better big man. 

  • Dec 1, 20129:35 am
    by Vic

    Reply

    Can’t get mad about this game… Just the fact that they competed shows how much the team has changed. There are a couple things I would have done differently, but the errors weren’t too egregious. The hustle and fearlessness of Kim English and Jonas Jerebko would have been in, Msggette would have been out.

    But really this shows how much we need a pass first pg in the mix. Knight has to look to score to be effective, and so does Stuckey, but having someone that can just run the team and keep the ball would be so valuable. 
    That being said, with Maxiell likely leaving this year, im tempted to think they probably still need to go big in the draft. 

  • Dec 1, 20129:58 am
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    ?”|  
    In the previous two games the Pistons were 21 for 31 for 3′s …..

    Last night they only made 4….

    Knight in the previous 4 games stroking the 3 ball with confidence averaging 4-5 attempts, once against I didn’t see the game, but by the numbers he didnt play his game. He only attempted one three pointer in the final minute of the first qrt…and his next three attempt didnt come until the beginning of the fourth qrt…6 to’ds is bad no matter how you cut it, and im sure Memphis defense had alot to do with it, but maybe Knight was pressing a little at the end of the day he only attempted 9 shots, win or lose for us to compete Knight MUST get up 15-17 shots per-game

  • Dec 1, 201210:13 am
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Your point about Drummond is well taken Patrick, and Im not going to rant about how we have a terrible coach, I guess a 5-12 records means he’s not going any where.

    But Starting Drummond would have PERFECT even if it was just for that game, Drummond could have started the game against Gasol, it would have a been a better defensive match up, and physically it would have saved Monroe and gave him more energy on the offensive side of the ball. Also, even if Drummond had got in early foul trouble, Bring in Slava and Maxiell.

    All of the mistakes Drummond made could have been avoided, or limited. However, when you are not giving then the experience he needs to develop games like this is going to happen. 

     

  • Dec 1, 201210:24 am
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    MEMPHIS is Currently the BEST NBA in the league, and I dont wanna act surprised we lost to them.

    But…

    We are still a team with no identity, and that what scares me. 

    We arent a Good/Great Offensive team..
    We arent a Good/Great Defensive team
    We arent a Good/Great Transition Teams
    We arent a  Good/Great Rebounding team
    We arent a  Good/Great Athletic team

    The only thing we have is SIZE!, and we dont use it effectively 

    Normally if a team does not have an identity within the first 20 games they wont have one for the remaining 62 games, and even more likely they wont even sniff play offs.

     

    • Dec 1, 201212:11 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      By an identity, do you mean an area of excellence?

      • Dec 1, 201212:49 pm
        by I HATE FRANK

        Reply

        or even an area of consistency!

        Im not going to harp on it, but if we started Drummond,….

        Drummond
        Monroe
        Prince
        Singler
        Knight

        Thats alot of length and skill on the floor together….

        its an Identity  

  • Dec 1, 201210:30 am
    by Juan

    Reply

    THE FIRST FRANK MISTAKE WAS BRING Stuckey FOR Singler the only decent shooter  after that MEM only has to close the paint and the lead gone.

    • Dec 1, 20121:47 pm
      by vic

      Reply

      now i remember, i did notice that. i guess that could be considered a Frank process nonsens move

  • Dec 1, 201211:05 am
    by Corey

    Reply

    Pistons have an identity: a struggling team where the most talented players are young and inexperienced. Games like this, where a talented, veteran, well-coaches team just beat them even though they played hard, are part of the process.

    i was really impressed by one thing about Memphis: running an offense against them is HARD. It seemed like they contest every pass. It’s no surprise we had too many turnovers. Their game is to keep the defensive pressure on constantly to force additional mistakes. Monroe needs some floor spacers around him before he’ll be able to run efficient offense against a D like that. And more experience.

    they played a competitive game against one of the best dreams in the league on their home floor. Not so bad, really. Heck, a few weeks ago they weren’t even watchable.

     

  • Dec 1, 201211:36 am
    by danny

    Reply

    as much as a I love Drummond he does have a lot to learn.  On defense he steps up too much on the pick n roll and he gives people base line on post ups.  I dont know if this is Frank’s plan or just Drummond playing how he thinks to play.  Hire big Ben and get him some real help in there.  I’m afraid Frank isnt going to be the one that motivates and helps our new boy.

  • Dec 1, 201212:18 pm
    by Domnick

    Reply

    I like the way we played in the 1st qtr.. We didnt let the lead away.. We played hard the entire game and its encouraging..

    the only reason we lost is turnovers..

    another thing to notice is.. monroe has not been a consistent scorer yet… He cant hit outside shots… He cant postup and throw a hook shot against a stronger bigman….

    Thats one thing i really noticed and its a weakness on monroe’s offense.. He needs a guy like hakeem or ewing to teach him these stuffs… He needs to get better at those things 

    • Dec 1, 20121:05 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      You think hey get an experienced rebounder, post players, shot-blocker, defender to develop Drummond…

      But who we have to mentor Drummond? –  ROY F’n RODGERS!!!!!

       http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/r/rogerro02.html

      NOTHING about Rodgers screams GREAT DEVELOPMENT COACH!!!!

      Decision like this make true fans scratch their heads….” i cant find the article, but I remember Franks saying he only want Roy Rodgers to pretty much develop and work with Drummond”

      Roger career was over at 26!!! only played one 82 game season as a rookie…. never a dominate rebounders, or post player, or defender…. WHY IS HE DEVELOPING OUR FUTURE? 

      • Dec 1, 20121:24 pm
        by bugsygod

        Reply

        Just because i guy couldnt play in the league doenst mean he cant coach.  Hell all of the top coaches were poor players, pat riley, phil jackson, popovich, george karl, van gundy’s, etc.  If you did more research Roy is regarded as of the the top big man coaches in the league!  Drummond is running well ahead of EVERYONE’S expectations, dont you think part of that is coaching?  Drummonds motor has not been a question all year.  Drummonds problems right now, are experience and lack of grown man strenght.  Look at Monroe as well, has he not improved a great deal since his rookie year??  Maxiel i think is having a career season.  Our primary bigs are all having good to great seasons, but you say none of this is due to the coaching staff?  IMHO the bigs have been developing really well under Frank and mainly the big man coach Rogers.  

        • Dec 1, 20127:00 pm
          by Domnick

          Reply

          well there’s a improvement on drummond from his motor and mental standpoint but on monroe’s game.. he still lacks a real-low post back to the basket game.. he can’t even shoot over gasol as he got blocked.. yikes.. i dont even see monroe doing some hooks
          we need him to dominate inside aside from high post and using his quickness to get a shot off.. he needs to learn how to play back-to-the-basket to counter the likes of gasol, perkins, howard, etc… he also needs to have a CONSISTENT jumpshot in the perimeter… coz he is really shooting that inconsistently.. only two people i know that can teach him that is — PATRICK EWING and HAKEEM OLAJUWON..
           

          • Dec 1, 20128:43 pm
            by Bugsygod

            Drummond is 19 and Monroe 22 were talkin how good they are now.  Yes drummond questins was motor , but the team has him focusing on his strenghts rebounding, blocks, interior d and run the floor. Thats good coaching.  Monroe has improved every year, he shoots the jumper much better than he did. Hes a much stronger finisher around the rim.  Some say he may be an all star this year. Would you have thought that two  years ago?  thats good coaching. There young give them some time. Wow!

  • Dec 1, 20121:19 pm
    by bugsygod

    Reply

    Little harsh with the grades i think.  We do have to give credit to the players for offensive production too.  Monroe was good on offense, but poor defensivly.  Knight i would say D-, because he did get 10pts and got into the paint a ton, just turned it over way too much and was too out of control.  To take 3 plays out of the entire game for Drummond and say he played poorly is really harsh.  He still ONLY got 19minutes, so those mistakes become magnified.  If a plyer getting more minutes makes those mistakes, its easier to forget.  Still cant understand the reason not playing Drummond more against a Big front line. 

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