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Archive → February, 2013

Brandon Knight on notice after NBA trade deadline

Zach Lowe of Grantland wrote about everyone and everything that “is on notice” after the NBA trade deadline, including Brandon Knight:

This is the next big question for the Pistons, flush with cap room this summer and going forward. The acquisition of Jose Calderon turned Knight into something like a shooting guard, and it wasn’t going all that well before Knight’s knee injury last week; Knight has shot just 37 percent with Calderon on the floor, per NBA.com, and he has generally been shaky so far as a lead NBA guard. He’s a little small to play 2-guard full time, though it’s handy in the 2013 NBA to have point-guard types capable of running a side pick-and-roll in a pinch. Knight still projects as a good defender, and his 3-point shot has been solid from day one.

And this is only his second year. But the Pistons have to start thinking about his future, and his future salary, right now.

You can ignore what I wrote after the Pistons traded for Jose Calderon, but when Lowe writes, you better listen.

Al Horford, Hawks take out spiraling Pistons

Atlanta Hawks 114 Final

Recap | Box Score

103 Detroit Pistons
Jason Maxiell, PF 17 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -6He’s been playing his worst ball of the season and a matchup with uber-athletic Josh Smith wasn’t going to remedy that. He didn’t do much when he was out there, and it’s become pretty obvious that once Andre Drummond returns in the next week or so, Maxiell’s days as the starter are probably limited.
Greg Monroe, C 31 MIN | 5-9 FG | 5-8 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | -11Monroe bounced back nicely from a pair of rough games against the Pacers tonight. With Max’s play slipping and no other legitimate rebounder around, he’s been one of the guys who’s really been affected by Drummond’s absence. Monroe is a good rebounder, but right now, he’s the Pistons only rebounder.
Jose Calderon, PG 33 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 9 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 7 PTS | -10He’s in a bit of a shooting slump, but the nine assists are the most he’s had since before the debacle(s) against Indiana. His neck beard is looking as good as it has during his Pistons tenure, though, so there’s that?
Rodney Stuckey, PG 36 MIN | 10-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | -18Stuckey’s struggled with his shot this season — and part of his success tonight was the fact that he took most of his shots at the rim — but from outside 10 feet, he’s shooting a putrid 36.5 percent. Then again, he’s only shooting 39 percent overall, so, yeah, yuck.
Kyle Singler, SG 29 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -9Solid. There’s not a lot that Singler is going to do that really wows you outside of make his shots and do what he can on defense. Unfortunately, that defense against Kyle Korver slowly deteriorated as the game went on.
Jonas Jerebko, PF 24 MIN | 9-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 21 PTS | +4Maybe Jerebko isn’t quite as bad as everyone thought. He’s done a lot of his recent damage with the game out of reach, but that’s how every game has been recently. Basically, his entire game is based around hustle and he was all over the place tonight; in a good way. He even topped it off with a slick behind the back pass to Slava Kravtsov for a dunk in the final minute.
Charlie Villanueva, PF 7 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -9These “wait, Charlie V still plays for the Pistons?” games are becoming more and more frequent.
Khris Middleton, SF 23 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +6He just, kinda, stands around when he’s on the court. He’s active on defense, but on offense he just looks around and either stands in the corners or at the top of the key. Looks like a rookie getting playtime for the first time in basically an entire year.
Viacheslav Kravtsov, C 17 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | 0I get that it’s nice to see guys on the bench thrive when given the chance. When Slava got his double-double against Indiana, it was cool to see him doing well, but there’s a reason he wasn’t playing before. Outside of that game, he’s averaging 4.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.5 fouls in his last five games.
Kim English, SG 23 MIN | 2-5 FG | 6-6 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -2He was active, but again, his shot hasn’t been there yet this season. He is getting more comfortable, though, and once a young guy kind of gets his footing, you’d hope the jumper comes. Without that, he’s not doing much to help.
Lawrence FrankThings went to hell once he gave Monroe and Calderon a break early in the second quarter. Part of the problem was Brandon Knight and Will Bynum being out, but without Monroe or Calderon, the Pistons offense is non-existant. He is playing the kids, so that’s something, but the team’s also been victim to opposing scoring runs the size of tidal waves, part of the reason they’ve dropped five of seven by 10-plus points.

Pistons are worse than last season

With tonight’s loss to the Hawks, the Pistons drop to 22-37.

Why is that significant?

The Pistons’ winning percentage is now lower than last season, when they finished 25-41.

Earlier in the year, Lawrence Frank argued this season’s 7-20 Pistons were better than last season’s 7-20 Pistons, and he was right in that narrow view. But as I said at the time, that didn’t matter.

But who cares whether the Pistons are better through 27 games than they were last year? Progress should not reset during the offseason. We were told repeatedly the Pistons had turned a corner last season, starting 4-20 and finishing 21-21.

Apparently, Frank wants to be judged as if last year’s progress never occurred.

As Patrick wrote, Frank’s teams tend to improve throughout the season, and these Pistons could still to do that, but with just 23 games remaining, time is running out.

Pistons host the Hawks tonight

Essentials

  • Teams: Atlanta Hawks (31-23) at Detroit Pistons (22-36)
  • Date: February 25, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The Detroit Pistons just recently loss back-to-back games in a home-and-home set against the Indiana Pacers.

Indy flexed their muscles defensively much like they have all season, and held the Pistons to 82 and 72 points respectively in the two contests. With Detroit getting blown out in both games, it prompted us over here at Piston Powered to verify the trends involving Lawrence Frank teams getting routed.

The Pistons have had trouble scoring the basketball this season, consequently good defensive teams have given them a lot of trouble.

This is particularly pertinent going into tonight’s game against the Atlanta Hawks because they only allow 101.3 points per 100 possessions (tied for ninth in the NBA).

One might be inclined to believe that Atlanta might simply shut down Detroit and produce another route at the Palace of Auburn Hills. But not so fast.

On January 4th, the Pistons defeated the Hawks at home despite only producing 85 points. The odd thing about that contest was that Frank’s unit should have produced far more points but just consistently missed point blank shots at the rim.

The Pistons scored 52 points in the paint, thanks to a staggering 38 shots right at the rim.

The average NBA team takes 25.5 shots at the basket and converts 64.4 percent of those looks per Hoopdata. But in the case of the Pistons, they produced far more than the average amount of these said shots, but only converted half of them.

Brandon Knight and company generated these attempts by beating defenders off the dribble, cutting to the basket after pick-and-rolls, victimizing players in the post and pounding the offensive glass (17 offensive rebounds).

It’s worth noting that Josh Smith and Al Horford served as an impediment at the rim and altered a few shots here and there, but for the most part Detroit players manufactured some quality looks at the rim.

Granted, if the last two Atlanta games versus Sacramento and Milwaukee are any sort of indication, the Hawks may have very well made the necessary adjustments to take away the same shots the Pistons produced in their last encounter.

The Hawks were victorious against the Kings and Bucks thanks to stout defensive efforts that only yielded 40 points in the paint on average from both opponents. That figure is coincidentally the exact amount they allow per game on the season and represents the seventh best mark in the league.

Considering that Detroit is a subpar offensive team, it would behoove them to generate as many easy shot attempts as possible. If Frank can diagram a few sets to take advantage of the Hawks’ rotations and get a plethora of looks at the rim, the Pistons should have a great chance of defeating Atlanta at home tonight.

Read about the Hawks

Hawks Hoop.

Will Bynum on Tyler Hansbrough: ‘There’s some love going on. That’s all’

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

Bynum on Tyler Hansbrough: "There’s nothing but love between me and Tyler Hansbrough. There’s some love going on. That’s all."

Will Bynum: a man who can punch another man in the stomach and then say “There’s some love going on. That’s all.” Never change, Will. Never change.

Lawrence Frank’s teams blown out more often than record suggests would happen

The Pistons lost to the Pacers by 32 and then 18, and nobody took more heat for the defeats than Lawrence Frank.

When the Pistons lose and we give Frank anything other than an F in our postgame grades, commenters get upset. When the Pistons lose big and we give Frank anything other than an F in our postgame grades, commenters go ballistic.

The same phenomenon doesn’t exist, at least not nearly on the same scale, when we give starting players good grades in losses.

Do people really believe Frank’s performance more closely correlates with the Pistons’ success than Greg Monroe’s, Brandon Knight’s, Kyle Singler’s Rodney Stuckey’s or any other key player’s? I just don’t think coaches are that important, at least not relative to the team’s minutes leaders, and I think most Pistons fans accept that – except for when it comes to blowout losses.

There seems to be an underlying belief that blowout losses are the fault of the head coach.

I believe blowouts happen for many different reasons, and I’ve seen no compelling evidence that coaches are more often to blame than other factors.

But if you believe blowouts reflect on the coach, Frank grades poorly.

Defining a blowout is arbitrary, so I’ll show you 10-point, 15-point and 20-point losses. By any of those three measures, the Pistons have been blown out more often under Frank than their winning percentage suggests they would be.

The New Jersey Nets under Frank were also blown out more often than their record suggests.

These bad losses might mean Frank is a terrible coach. They might not. There are so many other uncontrolled variables that I wouldn’t make any definitive conclusions. But, as the evidence mounts against Frank, add this to the pile, even if it alone doesn’t make the case.

Brandon Knight expects to play again this season

David Mayo of MLive:

Brandon Knight sticks to game-time decision as his status, also says he doesn’t expect to miss rest of year. ??? #pistons

Good news!

Lawrence Frank local head coach most likely to be fired

Jamie Samuelsen, writing for the Detroit Free Press, ranked Tom Izzo, John Beilein, Brady Hoke, Mark Dantonio, Jim Leyland, Mike Babcock, Jim Schwartz and Lawrence Frank by

I’m not sure any coach works harder than Frank, but the facts are the facts. Pistons coaches just don’t last very long. Fans aren’t flocking to the Palace to watch this team play. And owner Tom Gores can’t have a ton of patience when it comes to either Frank or GM Joe Dumars. Still, the Pistons play good defense on most nights and rebound the heck out of the ball. They’ve been playing better since the acquisition of Jose Calderon but still suffer humiliating losses like they did over the past week and a half to Memphis and New Orleans at home.

I completely agree with Samuelsen. Frank will likely finish this season, but I’d call it even money he begins the next.

Corey Maggette a buyout candidate

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

Should we keep an eye out for more major buyout candidates?

KB: I thought Jermaine O’Neal would be the biggest one, but he says he’s staying in Phoenix. I don’t know why he would do that; New York, Miami and Boston certainly would’ve been interested. Beyond that, I view Corey Maggette and Raja Bell as the most likely candidates.

I nearly posted shortly after the trade deadline Corey Maggette could be bought out, but I held the post because I’m not convinced Maggette can play anymore. His style doesn’t hold up well with age, and he hasn’t played at all since Dec. 15. Contending teams could do better, and I’d advise Maggette to reject a buyout for less money than the Pistons owe him unless he has a guaranteed next destination.

For the Pistons, it would be nice to sign a younger player in Maggette’s place. If Maggette accepts a buyout for his salary less a minimum salary, that should be no problem. But if Maggette commands his full salary in a buyout, the Pistons might not have room under the luxury-tax line to sign a replacement.

Andre Drummond could return within week

Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press:

The news also was good concerning Drummond, who suffered a stress fracture in the fifth lumbar vertebra in his back. The team designed a brace, and Paolucci said he has progressed to the point where he could be ready to hit the court within a week or so.

The original prognosis on Feb. 8 was for Drummond, a center/forward, to be out at least four to six weeks.

The Pistons have been difficult to watch while Andre Drummond has been out, but they’re improving their lottery position. Drummond makes this team better right now, and while I want to see a better product on the floor, I have the patience to realize more losses this season are helpful.

More importantly, the Pistons should wait until Drummond is completely healthy for no other reason than he’s essential to Detroit’s future and it’s in the team’s best interest he can play as much as possible in future seasons.