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Archive → January, 2013

Jose Calderon trade sounds near completion with Pistons looking like winners

Marc Stein of ESPN:

ESPN sources say Pistons poised to send both Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to Grizzlies to acquire Jose Calderon as part of Rudy Gay deal

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Source says Grizzlies will complete 3 team trade w/Toronto by dealing Jose Calderon to Detroit for Tayshaun Prince and second round pick.

Austin Daye, a second-rounder or both – I don’t care. This is an excellent trade with any of those three possibilities.

Grizzlies did background check on Tayshaun Prince today

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Memphis officials spent day calling around to do background on Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince, sources tell Y!

Nobody called me, but if someone from Memphis is reading this, I vouch for Prince. He’s a great player, great guy. Please trade for him, please.

Pistons ‘at front of line’ to acquire Jose Calderon in Rudy Gay-to-Raptors trade

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources say deal will morph to include third team to take Calderon, w/Detroit at front of line to land Spaniard after chasing him all season

Third team not yet in stone but Pistons have had interest in Calderon all season & have two SFs to help MEM fill Gay void: Prince & Maggette

OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. I’m dancing around my house at just the possibility.

Greg Monroe can learn from Roy Hibbert tonight…

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (17-28) at Indiana Pacers (26-19)
  • Date: January 30, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The NBA is a funny league in some respects. The dominant center is slowly becoming extinct, thus paving the way for good centers to be considered as great.

A quick look at the Eastern Conference standings will reveal that Miami has the best record in the east. They do not have anything resembling a prototypical center other than perhaps Joel Anthony; but they manage to get by because of LeBron James.

However, if we look at the rest of the leaders in the conference, you will find something relatively interesting:

  • New York Knicks (second best record in the east) start Tyson Chandler at center.
  • Chicago Bulls (tied for second best record in the east) start Joakim Noah at center.
  • Brooklyn Nets (fourth best record in the east) start Brook Lopez at center.
  • Indiana Pacers (fifth best record in the east) start Roy Hibbert at center.
  • Atlanta Hawks (sixth best record in the east) start Al Horford at center.

Other than the Miami Heat, the top teams in the Eastern Conference all have a center that already has or will participate in the All-Star game — this is conjecture but one has to assume that with Rondo out for the season that Lopez will earn an All-Star selection as a replacement — at some point.

Of all the top teams in the east, an argument could be made that the roster that is mostly similar to the Pistons’ is that of the Pacers.

They have decent or good talent at just about every position, but offer some quality talent in the frontcourt with David West and Roy Hibbert.

It’s worth noting that Hibbert has struggled offensively this season, but his value to this team is still fairly important on the defensive side of the ball.

Since joining the NBA five years ago, the former Hoya has improved defensively to better play alongside his teammates and cover up for them. As the big man has gotten better on this front, so have the Pacers. Have a look at the graphic below showing the team’s defensive efficiency as a whole as well as the breakdown when he has been on or off the court in the last four seasons per NBA.com’s advanced stats tool:

Season

Indiana Def. Eff.

Def. Eff. w/ Hibbert

Def. Eff. w/o Hibbert

2012-13

96.5

96.4

96.8

2011-12

100.4

100.2

100.8

2010-11

103.4

104.0

102.6

2010-11

104.2

102.3

106.3

Obviously, not all of the credit can go the Georgetown product.

Indiana’s turnover in personnel plays a huge part into that and so do the tweaks in the team’s defensive concepts.

But Hibbert certainly deserves some praise because the team has in fact gotten better on that side of the ball as he’s grown and become a better defender.

The Pacers’ center has a good understanding of angles and how to position himself to prevent ball handlers from driving past him when he is out on the floor and how to contest shots while avoiding fouls. Consequently, it’s been hard to score on Indiana in the interior.

This season especially, the Pacers have done an excellent job of packing the paint and preventing teams from getting scoring opportunities at the rim. Indeed, no team allows fewer shot attempts directly at the basket, per Hoopdata. Hence, the Indiana coaching staff has been far less reliant on Hibbert this season to keep players away from the rim this season because as whole they’ve done a better job of simply shutting off the driving lanes.

However, whenever opponents have gotten an opportunity to shoot right at the basket, it’s been incredibly difficult.

According to NBA.com’s advanced stats tool, when Roy Hibbert is on the court, the Pacers yield a mere 51.3 percent conversion rate inside the restricted area, whereas when the 7’2’’ center is on the bench, that figure gains a slight boost and goes up to 55.6 percent. We are looking at a difference between the top and fourth best mark in the league with or without the big man on the floor.

Needless to say, the Indiana Pacers are tough to score on as a whole, but particularly when the five-play veteran is on the court.

But this speaks to something particularly important to Detroit.

Greg Monroe is obviously not the same player that Roy Hibbert is; and really it’s not close. The Pistons’ center has proven throughout his career to be a better scorer, better rebounder and passer. Basically, he’s been the better player.

Mind you, the Pacers’ big man is a slightly better defender.

He rarely if ever gets stuck in no man’s land, where he is just defending air. Every movement has a purpose.

Given his lack of speed, Hibbert always has an eye on his man and another one on the ball. The further away his man drifts from the action, the better his help position gets. The former Hoya is also quite adept at figuring out how long he’s been in the paint away from his man, and typically jumps out the paint towards the ball and then gets back into his help position to avoid and defensive three seconds violation.

His size as well as well the angles he takes typically leave the driving ball handler with one option: go to the basket; which is what the big man wants. There he jumps straight up to contest the shot and force the miss.

Monroe has improved defensively but can still get better.

He doesn’t always sprint back defensively if his man isn’t part of the action, gets caught ball watching and tends to hug his man a split second too long when rotating defensively.

In addition, in pick-and-roll defense, he opens himself a bit too much to one side of the court as opposed to facing towards the ball and being able to change directions whenever needed. Ball handlers take advantage of this by passing the ball to the opposite side of where his body is facing (might be the roll man in pick-and-roll or shooter on weak side of the court) or simply dribbling the ball at him and changing directions to throw him off balance.

Also, he doesn’t always do a good job of helping off the ball if his man sets a screen, which allows shooters to get free.

But fear not Pistons fans, he can improve in these aspects. Have a look at the Pistons’ defensive efficiency as well as the breakdown when he is on and off the court in the past three seasons, courtesy of NBA.com’s advanced stats tool:

Season

Detroit Def. Eff.

Def. Eff. w/ Monroe

Def. Eff. w/o Monroe

2012-13

103.1

102.2

104.9

2011-12

104.0

107.4

97.6

2010-11

109.0

108.8

109.3

Some mixed results, but the results are getting better mind you.

The left-handed big man is good at crowding the air space of opposing big men and preventing their drives because he is typically quicker than them. Also, he can switch out on some perimeter players and contain them, which allows the Pistons to close out defensive possessions late in the shot clock.

Clearly, Monroe has a few things to get better at, but it’s worth noting that he is already a more than capable defender in certain situations.

With that said, Roy Hibbert is an example of how Greg Monroe could improve and become a terrorizing defender that anchors the Pistons’ defense.

When both players meet tonight in Indiana, we may very well be looking at defenses that will mirror each other in the next two seasons, so it’s important to pay attention to its potential growth as it unfolds before our eyes.

Read about the Pacers

8 points, 9 seconds.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

Andre Drummond, Brandon Knight selected for Rising Stars Challenge

Andre Drummond and Brandon Knight have been selected for the Rising Stars Challenge, according to an NBA release.

The game – a replacement for the rookie-sophomore game – will be played Friday, Feb. 15, in Houston during All-Star weekend. The aspect I find more interesting than the game itself: Charles and Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will draft the teams Thursday, Feb. 7 mixing nine rookies and nine sophomores.

Predictions:

  • Drummond will go top four. Kyrie Irving will be No. 1 with Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard and Drummond (not necessarily in order) following shortly thereafter.
  • Knight, if the draft follows the same format as last year, again won’t be picked. Irving and Lillard will be premium picks. Someone will scoop up Kemba Walker, and then there’s a drop to Knight.

I’m a bit surprised Kyle Singler didn’t make it over Tyler Zeller, but the Duke-North Carolina strikes again.

Here is the full pool of players:

Rookies:

  • Harrison Barnes, Golden State
  • Bradley Beal, Washington
  • Anthony Davis, New Orleans
  • Andre Drummond, Detroit
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte
  • Damian Lillard, Portland
  • Alexey Shved, Minnesota
  • Dion Waiters, Cleveland
  • Tyler Zeller, Cleveland

Sophomores:

  • Kenneth Faried, Denver
  • Kyrie Irving, Cleveland
  • Brandon Knight, Detroit
  • Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio
  • Chandler Parsons, Houston
  • Klay Thompson, Golden State
  • Tristan Thompson, Cleveland
  • Nikola Vucevic, Orlando
  • Kemba Walker, Charlotte

Lawrence Frank: Andre Drummond has become ‘arguably our best screener’

Tom Haberstroh of ESPN:

All in all, Frank says he couldn’t be happier with Drummond’s progression as a rookie. But don’t expect Frank to give him the starting gig anytime soon. Little steps.

“I’ll tell you what, (Drummond) went from a guy who didn’t understand screening at all, to now becoming arguably our best screener,” Frank said. “You see the progress made and you love his effort, his spirit, his makeup. If he continues to maintain that type of approach, then he has really good things in front of him.”

I’ll use this as an opportunity to remind everyone that Patrick named screening as the biggest area Drummond could progress this season. Drummond has answered every challenge so far.

Just four teams have gone longer since last All-Star than Pistons

In the last last three years, 26 teams have had an All-Star.

The Pistons aren’t one of them.

Here’s a chart I made for Basketball Prospectus:

Could Pistons serve as third team in Rudy Gay-to-Raptors trade?

Marc Stein of ESPN:

But sources say that the Raptors, undaunted by that stance, continue to pursue Gay and also covet Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur. Toronto, sources said, has made veteran point guard Jose Calderon and blossoming young forward Ed Davis available as the two cornerstones of its offer.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

The final hurdle for the salary dump of Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors hinges on finding a third team to absorb the expiring contract of Raptors guard Jose Calderon, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

"With so many quality point guards, they’re struggling to find a spot for Calderon," one league general manager told Yahoo! Sports.

Preferably, the Grizzlies want a less expensive small forward to plug into the lineup for Gay, sources said. Memphis has been relentless in shopping Gay over the past several weeks.

Hey, I know a team that doesn’t have a quality point guard. Sure, Brandon Knight has good value because of his potential, and Will Bynum has great peaks. But, at this moment, neither is an above-average starting point guard.

Calderon might not be, either – he’s near the median – but he’d be a short-term upgrade who comes with an expiring contract. If the Pistons want to make the playoffs, he would help.

He would also help Detroit evaluate how much a pass-first point guard would help this roster. Calderon is 31, so he’s probably wouldn’t be around once the Pistons’ younger players hit their primes, but perhaps the Pistons need someone of his mold. For the rest of this season, he could help them determine that.

So, whom would the Pistons send to the Grizzlies?

The Pistons have two small forwards of appreciable value: Tayshaun Prince and Kyle Singler.

Prince is the steady veteran who would probably play better in Memphis than Detroit. He’d like the Grizzlies’ slow pace and defensive-first style. Plus, he’s proven as a complementary option on a top team.

Singler is very valuable, locked in for the rest of this season and the next two at $1 million per year. But’s he not as experienced or well-rounded as Prince.

The framework of the trade, if it includes the Pistons, sounds like it would include a few basics:

  • Gay to Toronto
  • Ed Davis to Memphis
  • A draft pick from Toronto to Memphis
  • Jose Calderon to Detroit
  • Prince and/or Singler to Memphis

Here are three trades that would fit the parameters, because I’m not exactly sure whether Memphis would prefer Prince, Singler or require both. All three would include a pick from Toronto to Memphis.

1. Prince version

2. Singler version

3. Prince and Singler version

I’d definitely do No. 1. I’m up in the air about No. 2 and No. 3.

Andre Drummond battled cold during his 18-18 game

John Niyo of The Detroit News:

Andre Drummond was fighting a cold Tuesday, so he might’ve had an excuse. Except he didn’t really need one.

It’s not Michael Jordan’s flu game, but this makes Andre Drummond’s performance against the Bucks last night even more impressive.

More importantly, it hopefully explains Drummond’s apparent fatigue during both the first and second halves. As someone who wants Drummond to play more, I was worried he’s not ready for extra minutes. But if the cold was a factor, he should be past that soon enough.

Andre Drummond’s 18-18 wasted in Pistons’ 117-90 loss to Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks 117 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Detroit Pistons
Jason Maxiell, PF 20 MIN | 1-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -3

He wasn’t as bad as his line suggests, but he didn’t play well.

Tayshaun Prince, SF 24 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -12

Prince often likes to attack Mike Dunleavy when they’re matched up, but he didn’t have much of an opportunity tonight. In the eight minutes they shared the court, Prince shot 2-of-4 and got to the line, where he made 2-of-2.

Greg Monroe, C 24 MIN | 6-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 14 PTS | -11

Monroe scored efficiently – once he got his shot up. He was way too careless with the ball, and his defense was lacking.

Brandon Knight, PG 23 MIN | 3-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 10 PTS | -12

Knight had four turnovers of his own, and he might have been responsible for two of Kyle Singler’s. On one play, Singler grabbed a defensive rebound and threw a short outlet pass off Knight’s fingertips that I think Knight should have caught. On another play, Andre Drummond saved the ball from going out bounds on the baseline by passing to Singler. Singler immediately passed to Knight as Knight turned his head to look up court. I know Knight doesn’t always bring the ball up when it gets in the hands of someone like Rodney Stuckey or Tayshaun Prince, but he should be ready to take it from Singler. On the bright side, I wouldn’t put Brandon Jennings’ 30 points on Knight. That was more of a team failure.

Kyle Singler, SG 28 MIN | 4-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | -14

It speaks to Singler’s activity level that he found nine good shots – of the other two, one was a bad shot and one was with the shot clock running out – but it speaks to his ability level that he made only three of those nine.

Austin Daye, PF 18 MIN | 0-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -5

We often chastise Daye for not doing anything else when his shot isn’t falling, but that wasn’t the case tonight. Daye really got after it on the glass.

Jonas Jerebko, PF 9 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -3

Nine shots in nine minutes – Jerebko played like someone who doesn’t get many opportunities. Oh, right. He doesn’t.

Andre Drummond, C 28 MIN | 9-15 FG | 0-1 FT | 18 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | -21

Drummond notched a double-double in just his first 12:20 of play. He finished with 18 points and 18 rebounds, and Dwight Howard is the only younger player since at least 1985-86 to post those totals. So why doesn’t Drummond get a higher grade? He was lost on defense a bit too often. With Drummond on the court, according to NBA.com/stats, the Bucks rebounded 41 percent of their misses – which would be an NBA high over the full season – partially because Drummond was out of position. He looked gas by the end of the game, missing a dunk, and Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News thought Drummond wanted a break much earlier in the game, too.

Will Bynum, PG 17 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -21

Bynum captained a second unit that turned the ball over on five of its first 15 possessions. That’s when the Pistons blew an 11-point lead in the first half. After that, the Pistons basically gave up – which, to be fair, isn’t Bynum’s fault.

Lawrence Frank

He played Drummond 28 minutes, the rookie’s most in the calendar year, but it shouldn’t have taken Monroe’s foul trouble to get Drummond in the game early. To Frank’s credit, he brought in Drummond even earlier in the second half than the first. Isolated to this game, there’s not much Frank can do when the team makes many careless turnovers and gives up once it gets down.