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Archive → January, 2013

New Suns coach Lindsey Hunter didn’t fear challenging Larry Brown with Pistons

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

Prince recalled Hunter’s vocal leadership during the title season when coach Larry Brown would seek his counsel.

"He always spoke his mind, especially when Larry Brown was our coach," Prince said. "Coach would always ask Lindsey … whether Coach Brown thought it was the right idea or the wrong idea, he just wanted to hear it from his perspective because Lindsey got so much knowledge. He played the game that long and had been through so many things."

Remember when one of John Kuester’s big head-coaching qualifications was that he didn’t fear challenging Larry Brown while an assistant with the Pistons? Good luck, Lindsey!

Jonas Jerebko’s father reportedly calls Lawrence Frank ‘a square type,’ wants Frank fired; Jerebko blames media

Jonas Jerebko has not played in 28 of the Pistons’ last 29 games, and he played just six minutes in his lone appearance. It’s a long string of DNP-CDs for a player accustomed to be a superstar in his native Sweden and a productive starter and reserve in Detroit.

Well, Jerebko’s father appears to blame Lawrence Frank.

In a translated version of an svt.se article (hat tip: Sean Corp of Detroit Bad Boys), Chris Jerebko said:

Detroit’s coach is a square type and hopefully he is not there next year

To be fair, approximately 100 percent of parents of NBA players who ride the bench want their son’s coach fired. This is only newsworthy because Chris Jerebko said it, not because he thought it.

Jerebko – who previously said, “Of course I’m disappointed, but all I can do is keep working hard, and that’s what I’m doing” – doesn’t seem to care about the report. Jerebko, via Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press:

"I didn’t read the story, so I don’t know what it said. Everybody has a right to their own opinion. It’s media. They probably twisted it."

That’s certainly possible. I don’t know enough about svt.se to vouch for its credibility. But I’d guess the quote is accurate. And if Chris Jerebko didn’t actually say he wanted Frank fired, I could find plenty of people to say it instead.

As far as controversies go, this one rates as pretty small. Jerebko played poorly to start this season, and initially, Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye played well in his place. Villanueva and Daye have slipped lately, and it appears Jerebko is in line to regain his rotation spot.

At that point, it will be up to him to prove he deserves to play, and if he does, this will all fade away.

Kim English finally gets his draft-night handshake with Adam Silver

Kyle Singler isn’t the only Piston who had a productive trip to London.

Kim English, drafted 44th overall last year last year, tweeted:

I didn’t go to the Draft! So here is my draft night hand shake. 7 months later

He also linked this photo with NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, who announces second-round picks:

This is just another reminder why Patrick created an “Everybody Loves Kim English” category for this site.

Kyle Singler gets ‘London Buckets’

Kyle Singlerfamed trick-shot artist and occasional Detroit Piston – took his act to London:

Andre Drummond ranked 29th-best player under 25

As expected when ESPN released its top 25 under 25, Andre Drummond made the “Next 10” list, ranking 29th overall. Amin Elhassan:

This might be a little high for a rookie, but Drummond is a player I’ve scouted since high school and always felt would be a game-changer in the pro game, where he has more space to operate. An elite rebounder on both ends of the floor (offensive rebounding percentage: 16.4; defensive rebounding percentage: 25.7), Drummond combines tremendous size and length with once-in-a-generation athletic ability, including a great "second jump" and excellent reaction time.

Offensively, he is a "go get it" player, meaning his elite catching ability combined with his length and springs allow him to convert bad passes into high-percentage shots (0.687 FG% at the rim). This agility and athleticism also allow him to be a terror on the defensive end, able to protect the rim, guard in the post and show and recover on pick-and-roll coverages. The most underrated aspect of his still-developing game is his passing ability, although the numbers don’t bear it out at this time.

That puts Drummond third among rookies, trailing only Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard. Not bad for someone the Pistons drafted ninth overall.

And it’s interesting Elhassan notes Drummond’s passing ability, a skill not typically recognized. Drummond often shoots immediately after receiving the ball – because his offensive game is based on lobs and putbacks – so there are few opportunities for him to get assists. But every once in a while, he delivers excellent-for-a-big-man passes, which are hopefully a sign of things to come.

Nate Robinson out-Will Bynums Will Bynum and the Pistons

Detroit Pistons 82 Final

Recap | Box Score

85 Chicago Bulls
Jason Maxiell, PF 32 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +2Maxiell had an OK game. He was active on the glass, blocked a couple of shots and was solid defensively against a frontcourt that always seems to give Detroit problems. He just played too many minutes, but that’s not his fault.
Tayshaun Prince, SF 34 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +4Prince was a little too ball-dominant tonight and didn’t look to set up shots for others all that often. He’d been doing a better job of that lately, including five assists last night.
Kyle Singler, SF 25 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -5Singler seems to have bounced back from his shooting slump. He’s now 17-for-31 in his last four games.
Greg Monroe, C 37 MIN | 4-13 FG | 1-3 FT | 8 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -4Monroe shot poorly, but he still gets an adequate grade because he passed well, only had two turnovers and, unlike their last meeting when Joakim Noah had 30 points and 23 rebounds, Monroe held his own defensively.
Brandon Knight, PG 34 MIN | 4-9 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +2If not for missing all of his 3-point attempts, Knight would’ve had an A tonight. He distributed the ball well, he only turned it over twice and he shut down Kirk Hinrich (not the hardest task these days, but still).
Charlie Villanueva, PF 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1Villanueva didn’t play in the second half and when he was on the court in the first half, he might as well not have been.
Austin Daye, PF 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | +4Ditto for Daye. Granted, neither guy did much of anything in the first half and Daye, in particular, has been slumping lately, but with the offense sputtering in the fourth and the team in the second game of a back-to-back, I’m mildly surprised that at least one of them didn’t find the floor again. Also, remember when we were coming up with nicknames for this bench? Good times those were.
Andre Drummond, C 22 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -3Same broken record with Drummond. He played 22 incredibly productive minutes, more productive than any other big man the Pistons put on the court, and his coach is still spoon-feeding him as if he’s the second coming of Hasheem Thabeet.
Will Bynum, PG 16 MIN | 3-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -6Bynum’s shot was off and he didn’t really create many opportunities for others, disappointing considering he did a great job of both creating and taking care of the ball just last night. Tonight, Nate Robinson played the Bynum role for the Bulls, scoring nine straight points early in the fourth quarter, helping the Bulls erase a double-digit lead.
Rodney Stuckey, PG 26 MIN | 5-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | -8Stuckey’s shot was off and he led the team in 3-point attempts despite being a terrible 3-point shooter.
Lawrence FrankPart of the issue in the fourth quarter was obviously the Pistons running out of steam some on the second game of a back-to-back and the first game of a road trip. The other part of the issue was Lawrence Frank deciding the second half of the second game of a back-to-back was an appropriate time to stretch out his starters. Honestly, if Frank has seen enough of Villanueva and Daye, I’m totally fine with that. But are there not other options who could’ve just taken their second half minutes? Playing the starters extended minutes just made absolutely no sense tonight.

Traveling to Chicago

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (16-25) at Chicago Bulls (24-16)
  • Date: January 23, 2013
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

Fresh off a home victory against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Chicago Bulls will host the Detroit Pistons tonight and try to win back-to-back games as they attempt to gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings.

These two teams met previously on December 7th, and the Bulls were victorious thanks to a career night by Joakim Noah. The former Gator was sensational on his way to 30 points, 23 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks on 12-for-19 field goal shooting.

Noah’s performance was in fact quite impressive, but it highlighted Chicago’s ability to dominate the interior as the Bulls scored 58 points in the paint and finished the game with a 41-28 rebounding edge.

That contest was a shootout by Chicago’s standards, as both teams scored over 100 points but the rematch could in fact offer fewer fireworks.

Tom Thibodeau’s team does a wonderful job of overloading the strong side of the court and forcing ball handlers on the wing to make the cross court pass to a teammate on the weak side of the court. More often than not, it’s the only option available for teams that run side pick-and-rolls against Chicago.

The Bulls’ defense requires players to constantly be in help positions, thus they often look like they are in a zone defense because of all the ground they cover and territory they survey as the ball handler gets ready to make his move on the wing.

In addition, with Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson patrolling the paint and playing active pick-and-roll defense as well as great individual defense — on perimeter and interior against big men — it makes things complicated for opponents to produce high quality shots.

And keep in mind, Kirk Hinrich, Richard Hamilton, Luoul Deng (when healthy and available to play) and Jimmy Butler are all good individual defenders whose deficiencies are nullified under Thibodeau’s superior defensive scheme.

But the vaunted Bulls defense still has the tiniest of cracks.

The players play a bruising physical brand of basketball, but if officials call the game a little tightly, it takes away from Chicago’s level of aggression on that side of the ball. Also, the Bulls are a great rebounding team collectively, but if teams spread them out and make them chase after the rock through screens and solid ball movement whereby good shots follow, they can get out of rebounding position and allow the opposition to sneak in for second chance scores.

This happens particularly against teams with good low post players, because they tend to help create high percentage shots for teammates after getting swarmed on the block or because multiple defenders rotated to them when diving to the basket after a pick-and-roll and thus allowed another player to shake free. The Portland Trail Blazers (LaMarcus Aldridge), Los Angeles Clippers (Blake Griffin) and Los Angeles Lakers (Dwight Howard) to name a few were capable of matching up on the boards and corralling a few offensive rebounds against the Bulls this season precisely because of this.

Obviously, Detroit does not have any outstanding post player to attract this type of attention, but running some action between Greg Monroe and a ball handler could serve as an adequate alternative provided that the Pistons focus on sharing the ball to get defenders moving to open up the lanes for drives and offensive rebounding position. If Lawrence Frank and the rest of the coaching staff simply allow Brandon Knight and company to camp out on the perimeter and avoid moving without the ball, the Pistons might set the sport of basketball back a few years with a low final point total.

Read about the Bulls

Bulls by the Horns.

Forbes values Pistons at $400 million, 22nd in NBA

Forbes released its annual valuation valuations of NBA teams, and the Pistons ranked 22nd at $400 million.

When Tom Gores bought the franchise in 2011, reports varied whether he spent $325 million or $420 million. So, I’d suppose these types of projections – though not necessarily Forbes’ specifically – are a big deal to him.

Personally, it doesn’t affect me one bit how much the Pistons are worth – as long as they’re making enough profit to put a quality product on the floor and not asking taxpayers to fund them. Currently, the Pistons are an above-median spender (the problems are due to spending unwisely rather than not spending) and own their arena, so in that regard, I’m happy.

Maybe the Pistons will seek to limit costs this summer, when they could choose to save rather than fully use their cap room, but we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.

Pistons pick up defense in second half, cruise past Magic

Orlando Magic 90 Final

Recap | Box Score

105 Detroit Pistons
Jason Maxiell, PF 23 MIN | 3-8 FG | 5-5 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +12Maxiell notched his fourth double-double of the season, and did so in far fewer minutes than his others took him to achieve. He also helped force Glen Davis into an awful 4-for-16 shooting night.
Tayshaun Prince, SF 25 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +18Prince didn’t do much that stood out offensively or defensively, but his five assists tie his second highest single-game total of the season.
Kyle Singler, SF 33 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | 0Singler played within himself on offense and was great on the glass. He didn’t play well defensively because he’s still a non-shooting guard playing most of his minutes at shooting guard.
Greg Monroe, C 29 MIN | 6-12 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +6Monroe was efficient on offense and, for the first time this season, did not have a turnover in the game.
Brandon Knight, PG 33 MIN | 7-17 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | +8The bad — Knight had four of the Pistons’ eight turnovers in the game. The good — he was excellent defensively against Jameer Nelson. It’s no secret that I’m not convinced Knight is a full-time point guard in this league long-term. But one part of his upside that I’m fully sold on is his defensive potential. He has the quickness and long arms to pressure the ball, get in passing lanes and contest shots. He did a bit of all those things tonight.
Charlie Villanueva, PF 13 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +1Villanueva didn’t shoot well overall, but he hit two 3-pointers and six rebounds in 13 minutes for a guy that averages just over five boards per 36 for his career is almost miraculous.
Austin Daye, PF 6 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -4Daye is now just 3-for-13 in his last six games. His tendency in his career has been to let a couple of missed shots turn into a lot of missed shots over a long string of games. The Pistons have plenty of wing options begging for minutes, so if his slump lasts much longer, Daye won’t be in the rotation anymore.
Andre Drummond, C 24 MIN | 5-7 FG | 1-4 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +13Drummond, once again, was the best player on the floor for the Pistons. He was a huge presence on the boards, he blocked shots and he even got two steals as well.
Will Bynum, PG 26 MIN | 7-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +6Bynum’s scoring and shot-making was impressive, but once again, his six assists and one turnover were far more impressive. When Bynum slows down just a bit and doesn’t look to ram the ball down someone’s throat every time he touches it, he’s actually capable of providing competent backup point guard minutes. Hopefully his more steady play over the last few weeks continues the rest of the season.
Rodney Stuckey, PG 25 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +18With Villanueva and Daye not scoring like they were a couple weeks ago, Stuckey had his second best game of 2013.
Kim English, SG 4 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -3Hey, minutes for everyone’s favorite out-of-the-rotation Piston Kim English! He made a shot and got a steal too, so maybe he’ll be next in line for minutes if Daye continues to falter.
Lawrence FrankNo real complaints about Frank tonight. The offense looked great all night and the Pistons made some defensive adjustments and broke open a close game in the second half. And Frank even played Drummond 24 minutes. That’s still not enough, but baby steps. We’re getting there.

Magic success to continue versus Pistons?

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic (14-26) at Detroit Pistons (15-25)
  • Date: January 22, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FS Detroit Plus

What to look for

Entering tonight, the Orlando Magic have lost back-to-back games against the Charlotte Bobcats and Dallas Mavericks and will be looking to bounce back this evening when they take on the Detroit Pistons.

Jacque Vaughn’s group has been victorious against Lawrence Frank’s twice this season already; with both games having completely separate identities.

The first contest in mid- November proved to be a shootout as evidenced by the teams scoring a combined 216 points. Orlando was a little better, as they stretched the court with their shooting — they converted seven of their 17 attempts from downtown — and simply dominated the rebounding battle. Indeed, the Magic finished the contest with a 44-30 rebounding edge as well as 14 offensive rebounds.

The second game occurred in Orlando less than a week later and was a tough defensive battle in which both teams struggled from the field and points came at a premium. Orlando grinded out a double-digit victory by making a few more shots than their opponents.

Both teams devised better strategies the second time around to make the game a little ugly; and the Magic flexed their muscles on the interior and held Detroit to 16-for-29 shooting (55.2 percent) right at the rim per Hoopdata.

Not so coincidentally, the Orlando Magic have won the battle on the boards in the previous two games, and have been victorious in both instances. Needless to say, this area will go a long way towards determining the winner tonight.

Glen Davis in particular has been a menacing player on this front, averaging 13.5 rebounds per game against the Pistons this season, as well as 4.5 offensive boards.

While focusing on Big Baby, it will be important to pay particular attention to J.J. Redick because he has hurt Detroit this season. On November 16th, he came off screens and also took advantage of a rotating defense to score 23 points on 13 shot attempts.

On November 21st, with Detroit keying in on him a little more when coming off screens and daring him to put the ball on the floor, he struggled from the field but did a good job of creating scoring opportunities for his teammates and dished off seven assists in their comfortable double-digit victory.

The Pistons will have their work cut out for them tonight when they take on the Orlando Magic in what has been a one sided feud so far this season. However, Detroit will get a chance to strike back tonight and will travel to face Orlando one last time on January 27th. But if they plan on tying up the season series, they have to start with a victory tonight.

Read about the Magic

Magic Basketball.