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Pistons loss to Houston shouldn’t be that discouraging

Coming off a promising preseason, hosting a beatable team at home to open the season and with one of the most exciting rookies in the league on the roster in Andre Drummond, the Pistons actually had some positive buzz heading into the season for the first time in a few years. On top of that, with the NHL locked out, MLB season over and college basketball yet to start, for a brief window, they were the only game in town. And nationally, with a lot of interest in the debuts of James Harden and Jeremy Lin, a lot of eyes were on the Pistons opening night.

The results were a loss that included a blown 11-point lead, some awful defense and Drummond only getting 13 minutes of playing time. Judging by the comments on this site and that I saw on Twitter in the aftermath, the performance had a bit of a deflating effect. In today’s Detroit Free Press column, though, I made the case that it shouldn’t:

Losing a winnable game, especially one that the team had a double-digit lead during the late part of the game, is never acceptable. But the bad ending overshadowed the fact that the Pistons were entertaining, even if the end result was a loss. The offense was faster, the ball movement was better and, even though the defense was porous, the Pistons were active in passing lanes and came up with 12 steals, which led to several transition opportunities.

After four years of bad basketball, fans are understandably hungry for a team that competes for a playoff spot. But if the Pistons aren’t quite at that level yet, the fact that they’re watchable is a significant improvement from where they were prior to this season.

23 Comments

  • Nov 2, 201211:41 am
    by DasMark

    Reply

    No question, the responses following that loss were frustration and disappointment. I was certainly guilty of them. 

    We all bit into the hype, despite every non-biased critic stating this is a 30 win team, we wanted them to be wrong, and we convinced ourselves they were. 

    I for one, am taking a step back and waiting for a larger sample size of games before making any more harsh judgments.  

  • Nov 2, 201212:13 pm
    by NEED4RINGS

    Reply

    Any real pistons fan would of been guilty of believing we’d be more than what the analyst/critics have been accustomed to proclaiming about the pistons over they last couple years We see the size that we desperately needed in Drummond, Slava and the promise of of developing young guys on the roster. Ultimately it is a long season and if the younger players particullary Drummond can establish a starting role and exceed what his current projected workload is that will defenitely boast exciting basketball and like last year some good pushes towards the playoffs.

  • Nov 2, 201212:20 pm
    by danny

    Reply

    THIS IS A PROCESS! It’s crazy that one game in people are already frustrated.  yes we have been bad for 4 years and now its starting to turn the corner.  It still will take time, the guys we are relying on to be our core are still kids.  21/22/19 yrs old, come on relax a bit.

    • Nov 2, 20121:20 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      But what part of what you just said there does not apply to the Rockets (apart from the last 4 years bit)? I, for one, am fine with the Pistons losing. But they gotta play the guy with the most upside on their team (Drummond). I can see pulling him in a tight game when he does not appear to contribute as much as someone else. But this game was not like that.

      • Nov 2, 20124:46 pm
        by danny

        Reply

        ok they lost a game to the rockets so what.  1 teams got to lose, if we won then that means we were going to be a great team?  no it takes time.

        • Nov 2, 20128:47 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          It wasn’t that they lost. It was how they lost. Yeah, one game is not a big deal. But this one game reaffirmed all the negative impressions we had about the team, coaching, etc.

  • Nov 2, 201212:47 pm
    by Al

    Reply

    Yep me too, high hopes that are still there. If they win the opener is everything sovled now? lol nope, so that being said I did see alot of positive things in that loss but its frustrating to watch across the league and see so many rookies get more than enough playing time than our high lotto pick. Maxiell did what he does and probably should have stayed in the game longer actually. But 13min is a joke. They had dunk after uncontested dunk in that game. Monroe is a stud but he simply cannot play defense. So keep the big guy in there to clog up the middle, sub Monroe with Maxiell. Is it really that hard??? This is nothing new to the Pistons, we draft and dont play them. And it may chnge this year with Frank, but, we have a glaring problem with protecting the paint and I just dont see how Max and Moose combo gives us a better chance at fixing the problem sooner than later with a new line up change aka Drummond. 

  • Nov 2, 20121:02 pm
    by RyanK

    Reply

    The next 7 games, 6 of them are on the road and the only home game is against OKC.  I don’t think we will start the season 0-8, but 2-6 or 1-7 is very likely.  This is a rough stretch.  Unfortunately the more I see this team the more I realize how overrated Brandon Knight is.  He’s a good guy, but he’s so predictable that every pass is as likely to be a turnover as an assist.  Stuckey is a much better point guard and that’s not saying much.

  • Nov 2, 20121:41 pm
    by Ray

    Reply

    i just want us to have an “Identity”

    IF WE ARE A TERRIBLE TEAM! but we have Drummond,Monroe,Middleton,English and Knight …then atleast we are a YOUNG TERRIBLE TEAM! …Btw: that my Dream Line-up …..

    If we Start Drummond, Monroe and Jerebko …Then We Have a MIX Of SIZE and Skill in the Front Court….

    SOMETHING that gives us an Identity… Maxeill and Prince starting screams Medicore!!!!

  • Nov 2, 20121:52 pm
    by sop

    Reply

    Very disappointing that no one could lockdown Harden. We need better D. We’ll see what happens against PHX but this could get dismal real quickly.

  • Nov 2, 20122:01 pm
    by the snake

    Reply

    I agree with you Ray. Tay has a career-long track record of mediocre performance as does Maxiell. The numbers don’t lie. I have thought about Jerebko at the 3 too…anybody we have would automatically be more productive than Tay just by bringing a personality to the floor that isn’t passive to a fault. Tay honestly plays like he is an all star that can’t risk an injury or something. Maxiell tries hard but is too short and not skilled enough. English shows a lot of promise at the 2. Stuckey doesn’t fit anywhere but could be a good sixth man. Knight needs to stop playing like a worse version of Allen Iverson but I think he has plenty of potential. Drummond will be a beast for us or somebody else eventually. I have a bad feeling about coach Frank. I don’t think I would be able to take little dude seriously if I was a seven foot tall guy with too much talent to relate to a bummy coach. Monroe is skilled but he is weak, scared even. In psychology they call it the jonah complex, being too scared or your destiny (his is to be a great player.)

  • Nov 2, 20122:13 pm
    by the snake

    Reply

    My desired starting lineup: knight, english, singler, monroe and drummond
     

  • Nov 2, 20122:44 pm
    by NEED4RINGS

    Reply

    I could definitely see tay tay being moved this year if the production at starting SF isnt impacting the team and tayshaun gets weary with the young team. Not to mention SFs like lebron,Melo,Durant,Granger gerald W, bring a young energetic style that tayshaun has lost considerably only with age, patience and it comes in question to me. I bet T-Will would have been a good body/defender to put on James Harden Just saying.. The main thing I would like to see gone from this team is the timidness I seen at times against the Rockets young or not.

  • Nov 2, 20123:02 pm
    by KBHou

    Reply

    Hey Patrick–Could you provide some commentary to help us get into the heads of management? 

    It seems the front line has up-and-coming (and potentially complimentary) players who now suffer mainly from inexperience and Frank’s resistance to use them consistently. I’m more curious as to what Dumars envisions for the backcourt.

    Does he really believe Knight and Stuckey have the talent and chemistry to comprise the backcourt of some contending Pistons team that exists three years from now?  The decision to re-sign Stuckey seems to indicate this. Is this just the best available backcourt now, or is this the actual long-term plan?

    • Nov 2, 20123:47 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Could you provide some commentary to help us get into the heads of management?”

      Oh man, I wish I knew. I would love to have like 30 beers with Joe Dumars sometime just to hear him explain his reasoning behind some of the moves they’ve made. I don’t even want to do it because I want to see it publicly reported — I would just love to hear a no-spin version of moves he’s made, his reasoning behind them and hear his honest opinion on what went wrong.

      But honestly, it’s really hard to gauge. No one has access to the inner-workings of the team and when Dumars does interviews, he almost comically goes out of his way to say nothing of substance to the media. And those who have had a chance to interview him haven’t exactly asked great, detailed questions all the time either.

      But here is my best guess at some of your points from an organizational perspective:

      “Does he really believe Knight and Stuckey have the talent and chemistry to comprise the backcourt of some contending Pistons team that exists three years from now?”

      My hunch is that he doesn’t think that, and that he doesn’t expect it. I’m sure Dumars is smart enough to know that Knight and Stuckey are probably never going to develop into All-Star caliber players. Stuckey is already solid and near his prime and Knight is improving, will probably also be a solid starter/third guard type of player and is a good locker room presence.

      Stuckey and Knight are not going to be a starting backcourt on a good team if they’re among your best overall players, as they are right now. But, if Greg Monroe continues to improve, if Andre Drummond is a star, if the Pistons make a significant trade or upgrade in free agency at the small forward position, then yes, its feasible that they could start for a contending team if your 3-4-5 positions are far superior players.

      “The decision to re-sign Stuckey seems to indicate this. Is this just the best available backcourt now, or is this the actual long-term plan?”

      Signing Stuckey for a reasonable deal (he’s better than DeMar DeRozan, for example, and DeRozan got far more money) is better than the alternative of letting him walk for nothing. I don’t know that Dumars is married to anyone on this team long-term. What he’s doing is collecting enough assets to upgrade talent. Teams that make trades for stars need young players on rookie deals, expiring contracts and draft picks, generally. Right now, he has a ready supply of two of those things and they’ll continue to add more with a lottery pick next season.

      The team obviously has to sell this group to fans, and that’s why you see a lot of rhetoric and talk about these guys being cornerstones. Other than Monroe and Drummond, I don’t think anyone on the roster, behind closed doors, is considered a cornerstone. And I actually think that Monroe could even be had in a trade depending on how good the return was. As we’ve seen, though, trades for big time players are pretty rare and they’re usually always complicated, so you can’t send a message to your players that you’d consider shopping any of them in the right deal, or they might not play as hard. You can’t sell that message to fans, either, because they need fans to watch this team, buy merchandise, etc.

      I know that Dumars preaches patience, I know that he talks about these guys like they are going to be Pistons starters for a long time, but I generally don’t believe much of it. His track record as a GM suggests he’s not overly sentimental and that he’ll make a trade if he thinks its a good one. I understand the worry — if they really think they have the core of this team established and don’t have to make significant upgrades still, that’s definitely a concern. But more than anything, I think they’re just putting out a PR message and trying to win fans back while they search behind closed doors for ways to improve the roster.

      • Nov 2, 20123:51 pm
        by Ray

        Reply

        I disagree… Knight is All-Star Talent, the problem is he has to have the ball in his hands, and you must give him freedom…

        I hate that he bounces back and forth between PG, To SG , to Spot Up 3 point Shooter…

        Give him, keep it simple and tell him to attack… over coaching is killing him right now

        • Nov 2, 20123:54 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          “Knight is All-Star Talent”

          Who is he going to be better than in the East? Kyrie, Rondo, Rose, Deron Williams? I can’t ever see him getting in that group talent and production-wise. Wall has all the tools to be elite too. Jrue Holiday is far better as a PG than Knight is. I mean, the East is loaded with good point guards. I think Knight can be a very solid player, but I’d be shocked if he ever sniffs an All-Star game.

      • Nov 2, 20126:54 pm
        by anotherchris

        Reply

        Im inclined to agree- re Joe isnt in love with anyone on this team.
         
        I dont think Joe will ever blow up a team completely and will always keep experienced guys who can contribute around. I also think he is a bit discerning/ risk averse/ a little cynical and this is why we havent seen too many trades.
         
        Unfortunately- what detoit has now are a bunch of guys who would be the third/ fourth/ fifth/ sixth contributors on a championship or playoff calibre team. The guys we have on the team who are savy and experienced are not talented enough to lead on the court. No doubt there is benefit in having experienced individuals who take a professional approach on the team. But-we still need to catch up re talent.
         
        I dont dislike Rodney Stuckey or Tayshaun Prince. They are good basketball players. But- alongside the other peices we have- they are inadequate for consistent wins.
         
        Brandon Knight will never be an All Star. At best I see him being is as a Sacramento Kings era Mike Bibby- who was a great point guard and fit for that system. Knight is still far from that level- and our roster is far from having the balance he could benefit from.
         
        I like Greg Monroe but he will never be a no 1 ‘put the team on his back’ kind of guy. His personality and style of play is best suited to a being a 2nd/3rd piece. Also- with guys like Monroe, Drummond, and Guards like Knight and Stuckey- we need better three point shooting to compliment them.
         
        The roster is incomplete. But- look at Indiana. Maybe the third best team in the East and not too far from contending. It took them a couple of seasons to make that jump between mediocre and competitive. It is not a stretch to think we could be at that level in two seasons. We will not make the playoffs this season and I doubt that joe really expects us to.
         
        Lets see who makes progress throughout this season and hopefully soon we can push for a few more upgrades.

  • Nov 2, 20123:22 pm
    by V.

    Reply

    Look, things are going in the right direction. The real bad news this week is not the team’s play-I expect uneven-but that two guys who would fit in great here and be FAs next year, Taj Gibson and Ty Lawson, signed extensions. 

    I thought BK regressed a bit, more experienced observers disagreed. But Singler and English showed they can hit the NBA 3, and that usually translates to some sort of success in the league. Both being picks in the 40s, IIRC, that sort of thing is encouraging. 

    I have high hopes for Andre. It’s going to take him a while to figure things out, but I’m confident he will and once he does, BOOM. It’s hard to have Monroe and Andre on the floor at the same time right now, and Andre is going to make some big blunders, especially in knowing where he’s supposed to be on offense and in defensive rotations, but he’ll learn. That’s why he’s a 15 min a game player for right now.  

  • Nov 2, 20123:47 pm
    by Ray

    Reply

    @ Patrick…Can we start Paypal Account or something so that we could all Donate to buy Coach Franks at least one good suit? I mean atleast a Tie? HE HAS TO HE WORST DRESSED COACH EVER!!!

    Cmon!!! PLEASE CONSIDER IT I’ll be the first to Donate 10 Dollars!

  • Nov 2, 20125:00 pm
    by Vic

    Reply

    It’s not a reason to worry, because we still have some pretty good young players. But it is a reason to worry because of the pattern that is starting to emerge with coaching decisions, and the noncompetitive way decisions are made. 

    Frank is preaching system system, and Houston just came in and beat our system with talent. We have a potential superstar talent and it’s on the best for the majority of the game. No one else in the league does that. This is a talent league it’s not a high school basketball camp. Talent plays, then you coach after that to get the best out of your talent. I don’t think maxiell has ever hit 19 and 10 even in a preseason. The mentality of the coaching staff and the front office, if it does not change, is a reason for concern… Because   No talented free agent wants to play for a team run by politics or a nerdy system that does not win games.

    With the type of talent that Drummond has, he needs a confident and liberating environment. He doesn’t need to be treated like he’s some kind of special needs child brought along slowly. Teach him all you want in practice, but unleash him in the games. Play to win. I’m not even saying he has to start, but he has to play 25 minutes.

    FEED THE MONSTER AND THE BEAST. THE MOOSE AND THE BRAHMA BULL. MONROE AND DRUMMOND. 

  • Nov 3, 20127:56 am
    by Venice

    Reply

    Let Charlie V. play ! WOOOO !there might be some idiot team that might try to trade with him if he played a bit better .which i doubt it will happen .haha

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