Archive → February, 2013
“Buyout?” Maggette said. “For what?”
I explained that, perhaps, he’d want to join a playoff team.
“No, not this year,” Maggette said. “I love my teammates. We’ve got a lot of young guys and a great opportunity for me to help this year. I’ll have an opportunity to see what happens next season. We’ve got two months left. Like I said, we’ve got some things we can improve on, and I help with. So, I never thought about it.”
If Maggette wanted a buyout, I wouldn’t blame him. He hasn’t played in the last 34 games, as the Pistons have clearly shown a willingness to roll with their younger players.
If he accepted a buyout for his salary minus the league minimum and signed with a winning team, he wouldn’t lose any money, and he’d have a chance at a championship. The Pistons could use his roster spot to an audition a D-Leaguer(s) the rest of the season. It would be a win-win.
But if Maggette wants to stay with the Pistons – whether or not it’s because he has not options to sign elsewhere – that’s his prerogative and good for him for choosing to make the best of these next two months.
WASHINGTON – Jose Calderon had 18 assists and just two turnovers against the Wizards last night, becoming the only Piston besides Isiah Thomas to accomplish the feat since at least 1985-86. Greg Monroe was asked about Calderon’s stat line after the game.
“He got 18?” Monroe said. “Jeesh. I didn’t know he had 18. That’s amazing right there – 18, two. Everybody in the league knows how good he is as far as setting up his teammates and getting other people open shots.”
Calderon had no turnovers until two costly ones in the final 43 seconds.
“I played him 30 seconds too long,” Lawrence Frank said. “The thing that’s so great about Jose is the first thing he did walking in was, ‘My fault.’”
Before we laugh at someone else’s expense, watch this video:
Based on that clip, and that clip alone, did Trevor Ariza make the shot?
Yeah, I don’t know either, and I wouldn’t fault anyone for taking either conclusion, though I’d lean toward yes.
Anyway, now that we realize any of us could have made the same mistake, let’s laugh at someone else’s expense.
For what it’s worth, the Pistons beat writers all told Lawrence Frank after the game they thought the shot had done in. Frank said he knew it hadn’t, and from my view (opposite end of the floor), it was clearly short.
“Welcome back, young fella,” Villanueva boomed as he left the locker room. “Welcome back.”
“Thank you, sir,” Knight said before continuing his response to the media.
I’ll take a cue from Knight and show my appreciation, too.
After missing the last three games – his first-ever DNPs – Knight scored a career-high 32 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including 5-of-6 on 3-pointers, to lead the Pistons to a 96-95 win over the Wizards on Wednesday.
Knight’s performance was hardly transcendent, but this season, when every Pistons game is quickly forgotten, it might come as close as we get. With Knight sidelined, the Pistons lost by 32, 18 and 11. Facing his first return after a missed game, Knight quickly changed the Pistons’ direction with 12 points, two assists and no turnovers in the first quarter.
“Our fight just wasn’t really there,” Knight said of the three games he missed. “So, me, as one of the leaders, just wanted to come back and make sure I provided us with some fight.”
The Pistons responded like Knight hoped.
Jose Calderon’s defense tightened on John Wall, who finished with more turnovers (seven) than points (six). Kim English raced the floor to get 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions. Jason Maxiell played stifling defense, finishing with seven defensive rebounds, four blocks, a steal and a well-earned, game-best +21 plus-minus rating in 26 minutes.
All fed off Knight’s fight.
There’s room to pick apart Knight’s game – especially his four turnovers, including two on the first two possessions of the second half – but I’m just going to note those miscues and move on.
Knight played brilliantly offensively. He ran the pick-and-roll to create space, ran hard around off-ball screens and pushed up court during fastbreaks to get his points. Most of his arsenal was on display, and it was a joy to watch.
Defensively, Knight struggled,which he admitted after the game, citing his knee injury.
“I wanted to play last game,” Knight said. “So, it’s not good. There’s going to be some discomfort, just a matter of how much and how much you can play through. I always play through some discomfort, different things that you guys don’t always know about.”
I asked Knight about preparing after his first missed games, and he dismissed any significance, saying he prepared for every game as if he were playing. That’s a veteran answer from a 21-year-old.
It can be easy to forget how many situations Knight has yet to experience, but tonight, he got a new one, and that could pay off later. I can imagine Knight, relying on his experience tonight, getting injured in the playoffs a couple years from now and coming back without missing a beat.
Nearly every night, there are lessons like that for Knight to absorb.
The same can be said for Greg Monroe, the 22-year-old who had 26 points, 11 rebounds and four steals Wednesday. He stopped hesitating on his mid-range jumper, and not only did he make shots from that area, it opened the rest of his offense.
Monroe’s and Knight’s 58 combined points were the most they’ve ever scored together in a game. Of course, they had plenty of help from Calderon, who had 18 assists, including six to each Monroe and Knight. Knight was asked whether the Pistons were unstoppable when he and Monroe played so well.
“Not necessarily unstoppable, because we still almost lost,” Knight said. “So, it’s not about offense. It’s about making sure, no matter what’s going on offense, it’s about making sure we’re getting stops on the defensive end.”
Another veteran answer and also a very correct one. Trevor Ariza ended the game on a personal 8-0 run before missing a 3-pointer as time expired.
With Monroe and Knight playing well simultaneously, we glimpsed where this team was hopefully headed after last season. Those two looked great, but a one-point win over the Wizards hardly constitutes the end goal. As the Wizards shot 25-of-40 in the paint (63 percent), it became clear how fortunate the Pistons were to draft Andre Drummond, a potential rim-protecting difference maker.
Monroe and Knight are nice pieces to rebuild around, but they’re not nearly enough.
They were enough to win Wednesday, though, and that counts for something. There has been a lot of talk about whether the Pistons should start tanking, and Lawrence Frank basically admitted before the game he’d begin more lineup experimentation once the Pistons are officially eliminated from the playoff race. As a fan, that’s satisfying. But for the current players, these days must be torture. It’s important – if for no other reason than to keep morale high enough to keep working hard – they experience some success, some good feelings.
With postgame of Georgetown’s just-concluded win over Connecticut playing on the locker-room television, Monroe stopped teasing Villanueva and Drummond long enough to talk about Knight.
“He’s a big part of what we do,” Monroe said. “So ,whenever he’s on the floor, guys do feel better.”
Brandon Knight is listed as a starter for tonight’s Pistons-Wizards game. In the three games Knight missed, the Pistons lost by 32, 18 and 11. So, if the Pistons fare better tonight, that would clearly proves how important Knight is to this team.
That, or it would show the difference between playing the Wizards and playing the Pacers and Hawks.
WASHINGTON – Brandon Knight stood in a Verizon Center hallway staring at Arnie Kander’s feet.
Kander demonstrated a footwork drill like a dance instructor teaching steps, and Knight mimicked it. They repeated the drill a few times.
Knight practiced yesterday and participated in today’s shootaround, but he’s still a game-time decision pending Kander’s call, Lawrence Frank said.
Thankfully, the Pistons aren’t rushing Knight back this time.
“There has to be zero hesitancy that he can do what he does,” Frank said.
- Teams: Detroit Pistons (22-37) at Washington Wizards (18-37)
- Date: February 27, 2013
- Time: 7:00 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
The Washington Wizards have won seven of their last 10 games and have played much better basketball since John Wall returned to the lineup. In fact, Wall’s return prompted Randy Wittman to glue Jordan Crawford to the bench and eventually trade him to the Boston Celtics where his gunning talents will more than likely be appreciated.
The Wizards have played some good basketball as of late, but it’s worth noting that one their losses in this recent stretch of success came at the hands of the Detroit Pistons.
On February 13th, Detroit hosted Washington and won by double digits thanks to a Pistons 31-point scoring outburst in the fourth quarter.
Lawrence Frank’s group destroyed Wall and company on the boards, winning the rebounding battle 48 to 32, with Greg Monroe pulling down 18 boards on his own.
Also, the Pistons converted 9-of-18 shots from 3-point range, with Jose Calderon connecting on six-of-nine treys.
The long-range shooting may or may not be reproduced, but the effort on the boards certainly has to be replicated if Detroit plans on stealing one on the road tonight.
The Wizards surrender 99.8 points per 100 possessions (tied for eighth in the NBA) because they collectively rotate to the paint to close off driving angles and display a great amount of discipline as far as helping and recovering.
In addition, they are quick to jump into passing lanes and swipe at the ball whenever ballhandlers try getting to the rim against them. They are quite similar to the Memphis Grizzlies in this respect and it consequently forces teams launch from the outside to loosen up the defense.
The last time these teams met, Detroit was able to take advantage of Washington’s defense by hitting from downtown to open things up a little, but the Wizards still forced 17 turnovers.
If the Pistons protect the ball and get on the boards, it should go a long way towards helping them take this contest from the home team.
Read about the Wizards
The Pistons have won five straight games over the Wizards, including victories by 32, 9 and 11 points this season. What gives? Via Gene Wang of The Washington Post:
“I don’t know, man. I think it’s sorcery, some evil witchcraft involved, because it just doesn’t make any sense,” forward Martell Webster said of the Wizards’ track record against Detroit. “I’m going to stick to that. I believe really there’s some sorcery going on. That’s the only thing that can explain this.
Webster pulled an impressive twofer by insulting both teams playing each other tonight. The Pistons apparently aren’t good enough to dominate any other team without magic (but don’t tell the Celtics), and the Wizards can’t solve their deficiencies without blaming sorcery.
Who leads current Pistons in mid-range shot attempts this season?
It’s not Jose Calderon, Will Bynum, Jonas Jerebko, Kim English, Kyle Singler, Rodney Stuckey, Corey Maggette or Brandon Knight – all of whom are making at least a third of their shots from that range.
It’s Jason Maxiell.
Of all Maxiell’s shots, 60.2 percent are mid-range jumpers, according to nba wowy!. That’s more than any Piston besides Khris Middleton, who’s played just 94 minutes this year. No other Pistons big man takes mid-rangers on even 30 percent of his shots.
The problem, of course, isn’t just that Maxiell shoots too many mid-range jumpers. The problem is he doesn’t make them.
Maxiell shoots just 32.8 percent on mid-range jumpers.
Worse, Maxiell takes those jumpers in lieu of inside shots. Maxiell (60.8 percent) actually shoots slightly better inside three feet than Greg Monroe (60.4 percent), but Monroe takes 59.3 percent of his shots at the rim compared to 31.9 percent for Maxiell. In fact, Bynum, Stuckey, Singler and Knight all take a higher percentage of their shots at the rim than Maxiell.
Maxiell’s problem is simple. He takes a lot of of jumpers and doesn’t make many of them.
It was reported he might return early, but a team spokesman said there has been no change in his timetable to return.
Team officials said during the first week of February he might come back in 4-6 weeks. That would put his return in mid-March to early April.
Take your optimism, and shove it.
The Pistons should obviously wait until Drummond is fully healthy before he returns, so patience should be praised. I was just hoping that previous report meant Drummond would be fully healthy sooner than expected.