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3-on-3: Finishing the Pistons’ season

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.

1. Should the Pistons tank the rest of this season?

Dan Feldman: I’m not sure they have much choice. I think we can agree the Pistons weren’t tanking through the end of January, and they won just 17 of 46 games at that point. How much worse can it get? Well, a little, so here’s where I draw the line. I’m against telling players, directly or indirectly, not to give full effort. I’m for playing it safe on injuries and giving younger players the benefit of the doubt when it comes to earning playing time.

Patrick Hayes: Fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t think they have the option of choosing. With the injuries piling up down the stretch, the Pistons are precisely what a bad team should be to close out a season. They are playing hard (for the most part), but don’t have nearly enough talent healthy right now to compete with most teams in the league. If Khris Middleton continues to get big minutes and Kim English and Viacheslav Kravtsov get some playing time to see if the Pistons have anything at all with those three players, the end of the season will be a success. They’ll lose, they’ll get a look at some young prospects and they’ll have more lottery combinations. Win-win-win.

Jameson Draper: Yes. It’s not like they really can’t tank right now, either, due to the losses of Andre Drummond and Brandon Knight. When not making the playoff push, there’s no reason to try to win games. Give young players playing time (they’ve been doing a nice job with that lately – Khris Middleton played 25 minutes on Monday night), and see how they will help the team next season. It’s really the only reasonable thing to do.

2. Should the Pistons play Andre Drummond again this year?

Dan Feldman: If he’s fully, 100 percent, no-doubt-about-it healthy. Otherwise, no. It would be great for Drummond to get more experience, ensure his All-Rookie team bid and give the Pistons a chance to evaluate him playing with Greg Monroe. But Drummond can’t elevate his status within the Pistons’ rebuilding effort. He can only hurt it with further injury. The Pistons already know Drummond is fundamental going forwrard, and they can operate with that in mind without seeing him play another minute this season.

Patrick Hayes: No. For what? When healthy, the biggest, most noticeable flaw in Drummond’s game was simply conditioning. As much as the Pistons needed him to assume a larger role, and as much as his production suggested he deserved one, there were plenty of instances showing that Drummond was just not physically ready to handle big minutes on a game-to-game basis. So start his offseason early, get him on an intense training regimen and have him prepare to be a starter next season.

Jameson Draper: Please no. The Pistons aren’t making the playoffs. Why bring back the most promising player too early? I mean, if he’s completely healed, then give him limited playing time (because in-game action is the best rehab assignment), but if not, they shouldn’t play him. It’s not like it would sell any more tickets at this point.

3. How should the Pistons handle Brandon Knight down the stretch?

Dan Feldman: Knight is a bit different than Drummond, because the Pistons don’t know exactly what they have in Knight. If Knight can become a competent scoring starting scoring guard, there’s no need to spend a lot of money to get one in free agency. If Knight can’t fill that role, the Pistons should pounce on someone like O.J. Mayo. So, seeing more of Knight could change a $40 million (give or take decision). Still, Knight has played more than anyone in his draft class save Chandler Parsons. Maybe it’s time to let Knight rest a bit. Like Drummond, Knight shouldn’t rush back, but the level of caution – especially given a guard’s durability relative to a center – needn’t be quite as high.

Patrick Hayes: The side of me that wants to see the Pistons finally land a top three pick in the draft would emphatically favor shutting Knight down the rest of the way, and if his injury is serious enough that his return could cause any lingering damage at all, I would definitely advocate that approach. But if Knight gets healthy enough to play again, he’s in a bit of a different situation than Drummond. While he’s still certainly in the Pistons’ long-term plans, the actual position he’s best-suited to play is still up in the air. He had some good moments playing shooting guard prior to his injury, and it would be nice to see him get the opportunity to build on those before the season ends. Any opportunity the Pistons have to give Knight big minutes at shooting guard again this season should be taken advantage of so that the team can better evaluate its needs heading into the draft and free agency.

Jameson Draper: I’m not as adamant about not playing Knight as I am Drummond, but if he’s not healthy, why play him? This is pretty much the same response as the last question for me. Even if he’s not as good as Drummond, Knight is still one of the Pistons’ best players. Why risk him being re-injured? The team shouldn’t be trying to win games anyway, so Knight shouldn’t get too much playing time. I say shut him down, but it’s not too big of a deal if he returns this season.


  • Mar 15, 20133:46 pm
    by LT


    Patrick wins

  • Mar 15, 20134:31 pm
    by brgulker


    If the goal is to tank, then get Knight back ASAP and shut Calderon down. Brandon Knight the PG >>>>> (at tanking) than Jose Calderon. 

    • Mar 15, 20134:38 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Haha, I love this strategy.

    • Mar 15, 20135:35 pm
      by tarsier


      At this point, if the Pistons plan to re-sign Calderon, they should keep playing him to make him want to be in Detroit. If not, they may as well give him a very limited role to give their young guys some more burn. Besides, Bynum has earned a chance to play a bit more in what will probably be his final season in Detroit.

      And not playing Jose much, will, of course, earn the Pistons a few more losses. 

  • Mar 15, 20135:26 pm
    by Corey


    If a serious answer is desired, it’s simple: any young player needs experience and should play- IF they are healthy. Rushing one back would be stupid.

  • Mar 15, 20137:43 pm
    by Coach_Ackley


    If we do indeed ed up with a top 5 pick who you all like and think the Pistons should draft?? Wouldlove to see what you all think…

    • Mar 15, 201311:54 pm
      by jacob


      Depends on who is there. It’s so hard to guess right now. Wait until the college season is over and the lottery is set. Look at how much the NFL draft has changed since free agency started.
      Right now.
      2. Smart
      3. Porter
      4. Noel
      5. so we are looking at shabazz or bennet. 

      • Mar 16, 20139:07 pm
        by Coach_Ackley


        Jacob I know this I was just wondering if there was a single player fans would love if we end up top 5 in lottery….But I have 3 Otto Porter, Shabazz and McLemore (which is unlikely unless we get a top 2 pick to get  McLemore)…..

  • Mar 15, 20138:28 pm
    by Jon


    If the pistons can get him for a reasonable deal, i think they should take a chance on tyreke evans. i know everyone thinks he is the second coming of stuckey but stuckey is only average at what they both do best (driving and finishing) while evans might be the best in the league at that. stuckey only gets to the rim 3 times a game this year and is only shooting 55% there while evans gets there 6 times a game and hits 63%. also, stuckey is clearly not as good at anything when he isn’t the pg while evans has shown this year that he can be comfortable at the 2 and he’s even hitting a decent percentage from 3 this year. above all, he’s only 23 and was considered a rising superstar 2 years ago before cousins came in and demanded everything go his way, resulting in the regression of evans. bringing him in could give us a solid three guard rotation (assuming we resign calderon) with either evans or knight coming in off the bench to give us some instant offense. what do you guys think?

  • Mar 15, 20138:37 pm
    by Anthony


    If Knight can come back at 100% I’d play him just to make sure hes a lock at the 2 and if so… Finishing the season with a top 5 pick would be a great deal for us, Porter would be my first choice if i had the chance. The offseason we re-sign Calderon and we have a sick looking starting 5!

  • Mar 15, 20138:56 pm
    by JudKast


    Detroit needs some more “BIGS” in low post.  Tanking would be a good alternative for a higher draft and a solid post up.  Try to keep Calderon – but only if he really wants to be here.

    • Mar 15, 20139:01 pm
      by Jon


      we should look at cory jefferson early in the second round to back up monroe. he’s looked good of late

  • Mar 15, 20139:42 pm
    by Dan


    There’s a problem when 10 teams are competing to see who can lose the most games.  It seems like the same teams have been in this competition for a while.  I’m tired of rooting to lose more games than Sacramento, Charlotte, Minnesota, Cleveland, Washington, and Toronto.  Something needs to change with this team or Lottery process.  The lottery process isn’t going to change anytime soon, so we need a top 3 pick to increase the chances of changing the team.  So i don’t play Drummond because he’ll help the team win games.

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