↓ Login/Logout ↓
Schedule/Results
↓ Roster ↓
Salaries
↓ Archives ↓
↓ About ↓

Archive → December, 2012

Detroit Pistons year in review: 2013

Plenty of websites do a Year in Review at this time, and PistonPowered didn’t want to be left out. But we pride ourselves on being ahead of the curve, so we’re not looking back on 2012. We’re looking back on 2013, and what a year it was.

Jan. 1: The Pistons ring in the new year with a victory over the Kings. By winning three straight this season, Detroit joins an exclusive club that already includes 26 other teams.

Jan. 17: Playing the Washington Generals to the Knicks’ Harlem Globetrotters, the Pistons lose in London.  Austin Daye decides he doesn’t like British food and loses eight pounds during the trip.

Jan. 31: The NBA All-Star teams are announced, and no Pistons make it. Unlike last year when Greg Monroe was a near-equal to Roy Hibbert, nobody really complains. Except one guy who whines that the league is only about stars and hates Detroit. There’s always that guy.

Feb. 1: Jason Maxiell suffers a leg injury against the Cavaliers that will cause him to miss two games.

Feb. 3: Andre Drummond makes his first start.

Feb. 6: Maxiell returns and scores 10 points off the bench. After the game, Lawrence Frank says Drummond will remain in the starting lineup as long as he merits the spot.

Feb. 8: Before the game, Frank answers the last question he’ll ever face about Drummond starting. With a 12-point, nine-rebound, two-block game against the Spurs that night, Drummond fully entrenches himself as a starter to the point nobody brings up the topic again.

Feb. 21: The trade deadline passes without the Pistons making a deal. A report will later surface that the Pistons were really, really, really, really close to a trade this time, they promise. According to the report, the Pistons offered Rodney Stuckey for DeMarcus Cousins and Francisco Garcia, and the Kings countered with John Salmons for Corey Maggette.

April 7: The Pistons lose to the Bulls and are officially eliminated from playoff contention.

April 10: Pistons beat the Cavaliers.

April 12: Pistons beat the Bobcats.

April 15: Pistons beat the 76ers.

April 17: Pistons beat the Nets, finishing the season on a four-game win streak and with a 32-50 record.

April 18: Joe Dumars says Lawrence Frank will return for a third season. I write a post explaining that Dumars has repeatedly said coaches will keep their job and then firing them days later.

April 19: Dumars meets with the media and reiterates Frank will keep his job. Dumars also says how unacceptable this season was.

May 2: Andre Drummond finishes third in Rookie of the Year voting behind winner Damian Lillard and runner-up Anthony Davis. The placement seems about fair – though Drummond could make a case over Davis and has better per-minute numbers than Lillard.

May 6: Drummond receives a two All-Defensive second-team votes.

May 21: Continuing a tradition, last year’s lottery pick represents the Pistons at this year’s lottery. Andre Drummond brings a lucky penguin toy, but Mumble doesn’t bring the Pistons good fortune. Seeded sixth, they stay at the sixth pick.

June 27: The Pistons draft Shabazz Muhammad, who inexplicably slips when the Cavaliers reach for Tony Mitchell to prove they’re smarter than everyone else and the Kings draft Otto Porter to attempt to add character to their locker room. I write a post arguing Muhammad has some tendencies that could cause major trouble down the road, mainly his need to be a high-volume shooter, but because he’s so talented and potentially such a good fit, the Pistons are very fortunate to draft him. Some commenters bash me for being a hater. Others bash me for not concluding Muhammad’s advanced stats during one season playing for Ben Howland, who’s notorious for making future NBA players look subpar, ensure Mohamed will be a bust. Everyone agrees I’m an idiot.

June 30: Pistons let the deadline pass to extend Austin Daye a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.

July 1: The Pistons agree to terms with O.J. Mayo on a four-year, $48 million contract with a player option for the fourth year – just in case Mayo decides he doesn’t want to make $12.75 million in 2016-17.

July 3: Chris Paul re-signs with the Clippers, and a annoyingly vocal segment of fans complain the Pistons didn’t sign him instead of Mayo.

July 4: Josh Smith re-signs with the Hawks, and the Pistons begin to leak how much they like Charlie Villanueva and brag about all the trade offers they got for him three years ago.

July 15: The deadline passes without the Pistons amnestying Villanueva.

Oct. 1: Pistons open training camp with 16 players, including training-camp invite Terrence Williams.

Oct. 21: Pistons cut Terrence Williams

Dec. 6: Austin Daye scores 21 points to lead the Hornets over Detroit.

Dec. 13: Pistons fire Lawrence Frank after a 6-18 start. Brian Hill is named interim coach.

Pistons start strong, hold on late for back-to-back wins over first place teams

In the first game of a five-game homestand on Friday, the Pistons surprisingly (maybe shockingly) beat the Atlantic Division leading and defending NBA champion Miami Heat. In the second game o f the homestand on Sunday, Detroit beat the Milwaukee Bucks, who lead the Central Division.

Beating the Bucks — a fringe playoff contender at best in the eyes of most before the season started — is certainly less impressive in itself than beating the Heat. But when you combine the two results, it’s a nice accomplishment in a season that has been had sparse moments that can be described as ‘accomplishments.’ The Pistons, as a lot of young teams do, could’ve very easily come into this game a little too overconfident after such a great performance against the defending champs on Friday. The Pistons — as they’ve done so many times previously this season — could’ve very easily folded when a better team came back in the second half and erased a double digit lead. They didn’t do either of those things, and even if excuses can be made for the Bucks — they were playing the second game of a back-to-back after beating the Heat last night, the Pistons are slowly but surely showing a bit of progress. Talk of ‘turning corners’ or other clichés is probably premature. It’s likely the Pistons are not as good as they’ve looked the last two games. But it’s also likely they’re not as bad as they looked much of the early part of the season.

All of that is a long-winded way of saying, despite more than 40 percent of the season being over, it’s still really hard to conclude what this team is. They’re certainly not a playoff team. But they’re also not one of the dregs of the league either. And with significant young talent with immense upside — specifically Andre Drummond, but also Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight — they’re not just a run of the mill bad team either. Most run of the mill bad teams don’t have a potential franchise player like Drummond is, should he continue developing at his advanced rate.

Tonight’s game didn’t change anything about how bad the Pistons have been most of this season, but steadily, if they continue playing as competitively as they have over the last week, they’re starting to rebuild some of the hope that was lost with their horrid start.

Milwaukee Bucks 94 FinalRecap | Box Score 96 Detroit Pistons
Jason Maxiell, PF 26 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +5Jason Maxiell hadn’t reached double figures in rebounding since Dec. 10 and he picked up just his second double-double of the season. He and Greg Monroe helped make everyone in Milwaukee’s frontcourt not named Ersan Ilyasova a non-factor.
Tayshaun Prince, SF 35 MIN | 8-16 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | -2Prince reached 20 points in a game for the second time this season, but it was his offense down the stretch that helped win this game. As much as most fans have celebrated the fact that Prince in the Isolayshaun (copyright Detroit Bad Boys) offense has been used in Moderayshaun (copyright Patrick Hayes) this season, he’s still probably the most reliable Piston to go to in an iso situation, either facing up or posting up. He rarely turns it over and he usually gets at least a decent look. Monta Ellis gave the Bucks their first lead of the game with 1:06 left when he hit a jumper to put the Bucks up 96-94. The Pistons went to Prince on two straight possessions. He got inside and made a short jumper to tie it with 50 seconds left, then after a stop, he drew a foul and made the game-winning free throws with 10 seconds left.
Kyle Singler, SF 31 MIN | 2-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +5Even when he plays bad, Singler always does enough to justify staying on the court. Tonight, he picked up six rebounds, three steals and a block. He also doesn’t get enough credit for how well he moves without the basketball — in fact, he might be the team’s best cutter. But tonight, he was just overmatched with Monta Ellis. Ellis obviously had the quickness advantage offensively, but Singler couldn’t even take advantage of his size advantage when the Pistons had the ball. Ellis’ quick hands made it hard for Singler to get comfortable enough handling the ball to get good shots up.
Greg Monroe, C 29 MIN | 6-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | -1Monroe was solid as usual, other than his three turnovers. His activity on offense also helped get Larry Sanders — who has been playing really well lately — into foul trouble and make him a non-factor in the game. Monroe did get beat a couple of times by Drew Gooden in the third quarter, but other than that, he had a strong all-around game.
Brandon Knight, PG 35 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | -5Knight did two things well in this game — he made 40 percent of his 3-pointers and he played good defense on Brandon Jennings. He shot the ball poorly overall and had three assists with four turnovers though.
Charlie Villanueva, PF 22 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -3Not that anyone should expect great defense out of Villanueva, but he was one of several Pistons bigs who could do nothing with Ilyasova. Villanueva did make up for it some offensively, scoring 11 points. It was his fourth straight game scoring in double figures.
Austin Daye, PF 13 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +4Daye only played 13 minutes tonight, but he made the most of them, making both of his shots, scoring five points, grabbing three rebounds and blocking a shot. Both Daye and Villanueva emerging to be productive rotation members is probably the most surprising thing of the season so far, other than Drummond’s immediate readiness.
Andre Drummond, C 19 MIN | 4-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +3Drummond does what he always does at this point. He was impossible to keep off the glass, he protected the rim and he made a couple of jaw-dropping plays that only he and a couple others his size in the league are athletic enough to make.
Will Bynum, PG 24 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 8 PTS | +6Bynum’s scoring cooled off, as it was bound to do. The good — he didn’t look for his own shot as much and created shots for teammates, finishing with five assists. The bad — he also turned the ball over five times and got beat a couple of times defensively.
Kim English, SG 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 PTS | -2English played! And he got a point and a rebound! He didn’t do enough in his six minutes to positively or negatively impact the game. But it’s Kim English! So he gets a C.
Lawrence FrankFrank had a good gameplan against the Bucks. Milwaukee is one of the better defensive teams in the league, all set up by their fantastic shot-blocking ability. The Pistons went right at Milwaukee’s bigs, particularly Sanders, and it resulted in Sanders playing just 20 minutes. With his point guards both struggling to take care of the ball, Frank also did a nice job adjusting and running the offense through Prince more to help steady things. The complaint is a familiar one — Drummond deserved more than 19 minutes based on his play — but enough went right in this game to overlook that. Frank’s in-game adjustments and gameplans seem to have become much better over the last week or so. Or maybe the players have just become better at executing what he wants to do. Either way, the coach should get credit for it.

Pistons host Bucks in battle of teams that just beat the Miami Heat

Essentials

  • Teams: Milwaukee Bucks (16-10) at Detroit Pistons (10-22)
  • Date: December 30, 2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The Pistons enter this game with momentum after upsetting the defending champion Miami Heat on Friday. Unfortunately, so do the Bucks, who beat the Heat with its full array of players (Dwyane Wade didn’t play against the Pistons because of a suspension) on Saturday.

Many predicted that the Bucks would sneak into the playoffs this season and so far, with the team at 16-10 and tied for first place in the Central Division, that looks like a good bet. The Bucks are led by two dynamic, undersized guards who like to shoot — Monta Ellis averages 19 points and nearly six assists per game and Brandon Jennings averages 17 points and nearly six assists per game. The key to stopping these two players who love to shoot might be … well … letting them shoot. Neither shoots a particularly good percentage from the field. Ellis is attempting three 3-pointers per game and making just 25 percent of them. Ersan Ilyasova, who had a great season last season, has fallen off dramatically and is shooting just 39 percent. Oh, and only semi-related to tonight’s game but still hilarious, check out Ellis’ lofty opinion of himself:

To be honest, I would put myself in the same category as D-Wade. I mean, at the end of the day, the only thing that he has that I don’t have is more wins and two championships. That’s it. As far as playing at the same level? Competing every night? Both ends? Shooting inside and outside? Fast break? Transition? Monta Ellis have it all.”

That’s why I love this league so much. A guy who has really only been barely better than like Lou Williams this year can compare himself favorably to Dwyane Wade. That’s beautiful work, Monta.

So how is one of the worst shooting teams in the league, which seems to have a few ill-fitting parts, staying competitive? The answer is pretty simple — defense. The Bucks allow opponents to shoot just 43 percent (top 10 in the league) and, led by Larry Sanders and his three blocks per game in just 25 minutes per game, the Bucks are the second best shot-blocking team in the league. That could be a bad mix for the Pistons, who have several players who get their shots blocked fairly frequently.

The biggest question for the Pistons will be whether the surprisingly (perhaps I should say SURPRISINGLY!) good bench unit can continue it’s amazing production from the last two games. Andre Drummond has been a reliable contributor off the bench all season, but Will Bynum, Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva have all become productive players of late, surprising considering the fact that all three have spent time out of the rotation at different points this season and all three are coming off of what can be generously described as awful seasons.

Read about the Bucks

Bucksketball

Piston of the Week: Will Bynum

This is a new feature, where we’ll honor the best Piston for his performance each week. Previous winners have been retroactively named at the bottom of the post.

Piston of the Week (12/23/12 – 12/29/12): Will Bynum

28 points per game, seven assists per game, 58.9 field-goal percentage, 7-for-10 on 3-pointers, 28 fourth-quarter points.

With LeBron James and the star-studded Miami Heat in town, it wasn’t James or Chris Bosh who were the stars. At least for one night, Will Bynum was the star. After seemingly regaining his spot in the rotation, he provided a spark for the Pistons in the team’s 109-99 win over the Heat on Friday.

He was the top trend on Twitter, he was arguably the top player in the NBA this week and he’s seemingly emerged from Lawrence Frank’s doghouse in dramatic fashion after his play against the Hawks and Heat this week.

Bynum is a bang-or-bust player; he always has been. These kind of offensive explosions shouldn’t be a total surprise to fans, either. This is the same guy who dropped a Pistons-record 26 points in the fourth quarter against the Bobcats in 2008-09 — and he went out on Wednesday against the Hawks and scored 26 in the fourth quarter and overtime periods in a double-overtime loss.

He single-handedly willed (no pun intended) (ed: c’mon, that pun was definitely intended) the team back after trailing by 22 in the fourth quarter.

It’s just one of those cases where, when Will Bynum’s on, Will Bynum is really on. Part of the reason the Pistons couldn’t complete that miracle comeback against the Hawks was because both sides of Bynum — the good and bad — came to play. The ball wasn’t moving and the crazy looks weren’t dropping late in overtime, and that may have been what doomed the Pistons.

But that doesn’t erase what Bynum accomplished on Wednesday.

Against Miami, it was the exact opposite. There really wasn’t any bad to his game, just a whole lot of good results. Bynum found his teammates early and often in the Pistons’ 41-point second quarter and when it came time to score in the fourth, he took matters into his own hands with 15 in the final stanza.

Sure, some of those contested, 17-foot jumpers make you pull your hair out, but right now they’re dropping and the Pistons streakiest player is on his game.

It’s yet to be seen how long this current streak will last, but after a dynamic week, Will Bynum is your Piston of the Week.

Past Winners

Will Bynum: Small role (always), big numbers (at least lately)

Will Bynum, to put it lightly, has had a good week.

He scored 31 points against the Hawks on Wednesday, and then he had 25 points and 10 assists against the Hawks on Friday. In isolation, those feats – multiple 25-point games and a 25-point, 10-assist game – aren’t all that remarkable. Plenty of players have reached those marks this season.

But most of them are stars – or at least starters. Bynum is, deservedly, a fringe rotation player.

By either measure – multiple 25-point games or a single 25-point, 10-assist game – Bynum is the least-used player to reach that level.

To me, that makes his last two games even more special. Bynum, when he’s clicking, is a joy to watch.

Please don’t mistake this as a case for Bynum to play more. When he’s struggling, he’s brutal. But it’s worth appreciating how he can, seemingly out of nowhere, play like one of the league’s top players.

Will Bynum the biggest star on a court that featured LeBron James and Chris Bosh in Pistons win over Miami

Will Bynum … what you can really say? Actually, Sean Corp of Detroit Bad Boys probably said it best on Twitter. I was teasing him a bit because he — accurately, it needs to be said — pointed out the significant flaws in Bynum’s game and his overall lack of production as a member of the rotation earlier this season. Here’s how Sean responded to me bringing up Bynum’s recent success (25 points and 10 assists against Miami after his 31-point performance against Atlanta earlier this week):

That’s honestly about all you can say about Bynum. When his shots are going in, he’s insanely fun to watch, but he’s still taking a lot of bad shots. When his shots are not falling, he goes from being a really fun, unorthodox player to watch to someone who absolutely kills the team when he’s on the court. But everyone knows what Bynum is by this point, so there’s no need to belabor what’s going on. Every season, Bynum is going to be wildly inconsistent, but he’s also a guy capable, on rare occasions, of winning or nearly winning a game for a team off the bench. We’ve seen that in the last two games, when he nearly got the Pistons a win over the Hawks and, tonight, when he led them to an exciting, improbable win over the defending champs.

To be clear, it wasn’t all Bynum. The entire bench has suddenly become fantastic. Andre Drummond has been very good off the bench all season and Bynum, along with Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye, have gone from being castoffs who, at times over the last couple seasons, didn’t even look like they belonged in the NBA, to looking over the course of two games like a really fun, havoc-wreaking, energy-filled unit over the last two games. I have no idea if they can sustain it, but I know that I have had more fun watching these games than I have at any point in recent Pistons history.

Miami Heat 99 Final

Recap | Box Score

109 Detroit Pistons
Jason Maxiell, PF 19 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -7Maxiell shot OK, but one rebound in 19 minutes against a Miami frontline that, while obviously talented, sometimes plays Shane Battier at the four spot?
Tayshaun Prince, SF 36 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | -11Prince moved the ball and shot OK. He didn’t really slow LeBron James down much when he was guarding him, but who can?
Kyle Singler, SF 31 MIN | 5-11 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | +14Singler shot well, but was also really active moving without the basketball. He helped out on the glass and was his typical smart, opportunistic self.
Greg Monroe, C 28 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-1 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -6Monroe had a quiet game, but then again, so did just about every starter. He shot 50 percent and he rebounded well though, and that’s more than a couple of his fellow starters can say about their performances.
Brandon Knight, PG 20 MIN | 1-3 FG | 4-6 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS | -7Even with Will Bynum playing out of his mind, there is no chance Bynum plays his way into a starting job. And too often, Brandon Knight plays like a guy who feels absolutely no pressure from the players below him on the depth chart. He was passive and a bit sloppy, and he’ll be right out there starting the next game at point guard because the Pistons have no option who can push him.
Charlie Villanueva, PF 26 MIN | 7-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 18 PTS | +21Villanueva’s offense speaks for itself, but what has been truly impressive about him is the effort he’s put into other parts of his game. He’ll never be a great rebounder or a defensive stopper, but he can be better at those things than what we’ve seen from him in his career so far. Tonight, he grabbed six rebounds and really did a pretty nice job closing out on shooters, particularly Shane Battier, when Miami went small.
Austin Daye, PF 29 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +17The biggest thing for Daye is obviously just knocking down shots, and tonight he did that. But like Villanueva, the key for him sticking in the rotation is consistently doing other things at at least an average level. Tonight, he helped rebound and he contested shots. Like with Villanueva, he’s probably never going to be a great, instinctive defender, but his height is certainly a weapon for him defensively. He can get a hand in the face of shooters and bother shots when he wants to.
Andre Drummond, C 23 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +12It’s no coincidence that players with awful defensive reputations like Daye and Villanueva suddenly look formidable when they play their minutes with Drummond. Imagine the impact he might have playing next to … nevermind. Drummond’s production continues to stay consistent, he looks more confident nearly every game and, most importantly, he finely seems to be earning more trust from Lawrence Frank. Better late than never.
Will Bynum, PG 28 MIN | 10-16 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 10 AST | 25 PTS | +17I said most of it above when it comes to Bynum. He has an amazing ability to look like he’s got nothing left as a NBA player, then suddenly absolutely carry a team. The Pistons have fed off his energy and how hard he plays. The entire second unit was sprinting up and down the court with Bynum. When the game ended, Drummond ran up to Bynum to give him a bearhug. Obviously, Bynum probably can’t sustain this. But I can’t deny these momentary flashes when he unleashes a dynamic performance have been some of my favorite moments of the last four years.
Lawrence FrankFor as much flack Lawrence Frank has (deservedly) taken about his rotation, he seems to be coming around. Tonight, his starters clearly didn’t have it. His bench clearly did. And he trusted his bench to win this game for him. That is a great step in the right direction for Frank.

Defending champs in Motown

Essentials

  • Teams: Miami Heat (20-6) at Detroit Pistons (9-22)
  • Date: December 28, 2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The Miami Heat are the proud owners of a six-game winning streak that is highlighted by a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in a Christmas day rematch of the NBA Finals.

During their recent stretch of wins, the Heat have rediscovered their defensive identity and haven’t allowed any opponent to score more than 97 points.

The defense has played better as of late because Erik Spoelstra has reinserted Udonis Haslem into the starting lineup, which has led to sharper defensive rotations as well as more size and resistance on the interior. In addition, Joel Anthony has been getting more minutes of late, which has also provided the team with a boost given his solid post defense, shot blocking and terrific pick-and-roll defense.

With that said, everything tonight will start and end with LeBron James, especially with Dwyane Wade set to serve his suspension tonight for hitting Ramon Sessions in the groin area in a victory over Charlotte on Wednesday night.

The reigning league MVP will see the ball early and often and will dictate everything that Miami does on offense. Whether it’s running pick-and-rolls or pick-and-pops with his big men, posting up near the basket or driving down the lane and finding his open shooters, much of the offense responsibilities will fall on his shoulders.

With Wade absent, expect Chris Bosh to get a fair amount of touches both in the high post and low post as well as the pick-and-roll game with James. In addition, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole will probably be more aggressive than usual as they try to make up for Wade’s scoring and playmaking between them.

As it pertains to defeating Miami, the Pistons will have to simply make shots.

The Heat allow the second most amount of 3-pointers attempted per game in the league, and a large variety of those come from the corners because the Miami coaching staff asks the perimeter players to rotate to the paint to defend ball handlers and big men rolling to the basket in the pick-and-roll. Thus, it’s important for Detroit players to take advantage of the Heat’s scheme if they hope to loosen up the defense and get better driving lanes.

Also, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond will have to play big in this one given Miami’s decencies on the rebounding front. Manufacturing more shot attempts all the while keeping the ball away from a high-powered Miami offense is a great recipe to beat the defending champs.

Because remember, when all else fails for the Heat, they still have LeBron.

Read about the Heat

Heat Index.

Rodney Stuckey-Charlie Villanueva combo makes Pistons play like the NBA’s best offensive team

Me at the Detroit Free Press:

Three long years ago, Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva were centerpieces in the Detroit Pistons’ retooling effort.

There was no player on the roster the Pistons had drafted higher than Stuckey. The year prior, Detroit even traded Chauncey Billups to, among other things, give Stuckey a larger role.

Villanueva was the Pistons’ highest-paid big man, a key free agent addition after his breakout season with the Milwaukee Bucks.

As we all know, that retooling largely has been a failure, as the Pistons haven’t made the playoffs since signing Villanueva and making Stuckey a regular starter. But finally, long after their stars have dimmed in Detroit, Stuckey and Villanueva are playing like the productive combination many hoped they could become.

In the 264 minutes Stuckey and Villanueva have played together this season, the Pistons have outscored their opponents by 39 points. No Detroit combination has played more together and posted a better plus-minus, either in sum or per minute.

Defensively, the Pistons perform about the same with those two on the court. The real boost comes offensively, where the results are staggering. According to nba.com/stats:

• Pistons’ points per 100 possessions overall: 99.9 (21st in the NBA).

• Pistons’ points per 100 possessions with Stuckey and Villanueva playing: 110.7 (equivalent of first in the NBA).

Pistons definitely aren’t having a youth movement, because, if they were, they’d warn everyone first

David Mayo of MLive:

The Detroit Pistons are using the player groupings they think give them the best chance to win. But at 9-21, when might that change to a youth movement?

The answer appears to be not yet, and doing so would require a meeting of the minds that hasn’t occurred, head coach Lawrence Frank said.

"That would be an organizational move," Frank said. "We haven’t even discussed that. But that’s an organization decision."

"If you were to get in a mode where all you’re going to do is play your youth, you need to be very transparent about it," he said. "For us, we’re playing the guys that we think give us the best chance, whether young, veteran, regardless. Like I said, we haven’t even had a discussion about that (but) you’d be very transparent about it."

Honestly, I’m surprised Lawrence Frank even accepted the premise of the question. He’s usually so insistent about always playing to win in the present, I figured he’d never acknowledge the Pistons would even consider discussing the idea of a youth movement. So, I guess this is a sign of progress.

For what it’s worth, the Pistons have the NBA’s 10th-youngest team weighted for playing time.

Dwyane Wade suspended for Heat’s game against the Pistons tonight

ESPN:

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade has been suspended one game without pay by the NBA for flailing his leg and making contact with the groin of the Charlotte BobcatsRamon Sessions.

Wade will serve the suspension Friday night when the Heat visit the Detroit Pistons.

Unfortunately, the Heat still have some guy named LeBron, who’s won 14 straight games over the Pistons.