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Preseason Opener: Maccabi Haifa at Detroit Pistons

Essentials

  • Teams: Maccabi Haifa at Detroit Pistons
  • Date: October 8, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket, 1270 AM
  • TV: none

What to look for

The Detroit Pistons’ preseason will debut tonight at the Palace of Auburn Hills against Maccabi Haifa.

Tonight’s contest is merely an exhibition game, but it will be a look into the makeup of the team under Maurice Cheeks. This game will not be enough to form a definitive opinion on the direction of the Pistons, but it’s still a great way to get a first impression of the team.

The roster and coaching staff from 2012-13 are all but gone. The 2013-14 Pistons are a bit more diverse and more talented. Acquiring the likes of Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith and Chauncey Billups will do that for a team.

Unless something drastic occurs, Jennings and Smith will be in the starting lineup tonight. Expect at least one hookup from them that generates some “Motor Lob City” chatter.

Keep in mind, the Pistons have already been rated as one of the 10 most watchable teams in the league by virtue of their two new acquisitions as well as their young players.

It’s worth paying close attention to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope after he has gotten a few minutes on the court. Nerves may initially get the best of him, but how he adjusts offensively to the speed of the game will be telling even against a non-NBA team.

Speaking of which, most of the NBA teams have limited their projected starters to roughly 20 minutes worth of playing time. However, that has been against competition from the Association.

The Pistons’ coaching staff might want to get a victory when faced against a non-NBA opponent. If such is the case, consider it a win for the fans if the game is close because it will likely result in big minutes for Detroit’s best players.

More specifically, many will be keeping an eye out for the tag team of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe (with Smith playing alongside them). The tandem has some intriguing potential and could very well be the best emerging big-man pairing in the league.

Former Pistons coach Lawrence Frank rarely gave Drummond a healthy amount of minutes next to Monroe but Cheeks appears headed in a different direction in comparison to his predecessor on this front.

Indeed, Frank only played the second-year player 9.4 minutes per game with Monroe per NBA.com. The two-man group yielded 102.9 points per 100 possessions in 2012-13, which was about league average. Perhaps we get a glimpse tonight for a prolonged period of time of what it looks like when they play heavy minutes together.

Granted, Maccabi will be playing on the backend of a back-to-back set that started last night against the Phoenix Suns. They were blown out in Arizona and it’s entirely possible the same fate awaits them in Detroit.

Read About Maccabi Haifa

MH Basket.

30 Comments

  • Oct 8, 20137:20 pm
    by Corey

    Reply

    the only way Drummond and Monroe are likely to play more than perhaps 15 mpg together is if Jorts ends up playing a lot of the backup center minutes.  Otherwise, monroe will play center for at least half his minutes.

  • Oct 8, 20137:26 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    I don’t care if this is a preseason game, I’m just glad basketball is back. I seriously think the guy that can make a huge impact on our season is Datome. If he can hit the ground running and win coach Cheeks trust he might even be in the running for ROY. His much like KCP’s game is what we need and lack from other guys on the roster. All i know is we will competitive this season and from where we’ve been the last half decade I am for the first time in a long time excited about our outlook. Hopefully we can get some early wins this season too.

    • Oct 9, 20133:40 am
      by Some Dude

      Reply

      Datome would have to average 15+ points to win ROY. That award is all about numbers, look back at the past ROY guys, they all led rookies in scoring/minutes. With Datome to come off the bench, I don’t see that happening. KCP is easily the more likely candidate for Detroit.

  • Oct 8, 201310:18 pm
    by The Guru

    Reply

    KCP will be our future 6th man…I’m calling it right now…

    • Oct 9, 201312:11 am
      by jamesjones_det

      Reply

      Not a good start for him tonight, 1-12 from the field.  However he did grab 6 boards.

      • Oct 9, 201310:22 am
        by I HATE FRANK

        Reply

        His defense and quickness is NBA Ready….he had plenty of open looks and didnt force anything…so I can only assume a guy that known for shooting and scoring the ball that didnt force anything…just had a poor shooting night.,,, not a real concern…

        That was by biggest problem with him in college he is streaky, and doesnt have a vareity of ways to score…

        • Oct 9, 201311:07 am
          by The Guru

          Reply

          @I HATE FRANK: Someone who has a streaky game is best used as a 6th man…KCP might be a bigger Ben Gordon with defense…And if that becomes true, I would love that!..At least KCP isn’t scared to keep shooting the ball, plays defense, and he tries to get rebounds…KCP going 1-12 last night shows me that he’s confident in his jumper…

          • Oct 9, 20131:04 pm
            by oats

            That’s crazy. Ben Gordon with defense is a top 10 SG easy and would likely be in the top 5. I seriously doubt that Pope will be Ben Gordon good as a shooter though, so I’m not actually projecting him as a top 10 SG anytime soon.
             
            Defense is what makes Pope a reasonably likely starter. Yeah, the streaky shooting is a little problematic, but streaky shooters are always a threat to heat up so they have to be defended like a good shooter even in their off games. Then when he has an off game he will still get enough value from his defense to guarantee he almost always has a positive impact on the game. That’s not the kind of player you’d want to rely heavily on, but it is exactly the kind of player you want as the 4th or 5th best starter. The NBA is littered with similar players that are starting. Jared Dudley, Aaron Afflalo, Danny Green, Thabo Sefolosha, Wes Matthews… I’m not certain that means he will be a starter because those guys are often quite valuable off the bench too, but it is extremely rare for a team to have a starting lineup that doesn’t feature at least one relatively marginal talent.
             
            That is what I think you are missing though. The difference between the 4th or 5th best starter and the 6th man is pretty minimal. I really find it hard to label anyone as just a 6th man unless they have a hard time fitting into a single position. Those positionless players are often more valuable coming off the bench because that makes it easy for them to bounce between the positions they are good at playing. KCP meanwhile is a pretty typical 2 guard. The kind of guy I think you are trying to describe is either a low end starter or a 6th man, but it doesn’t really matter which one of them they are. Whether they end up as a starter or not has more to do with how the team is constructed around them than on their talent level, so it is pretty much impossible to predict which role one of those guys will actually have.

          • Oct 9, 20132:10 pm
            by tarsier

            Name a shooter who isn’t streaky. Seriously, they don’t exist. The closest you get are players who get to put the ball up 20 times a game because that makes it less likely to have a truly transcendent or abysmal performance. But if you cut them down to sets of 10ish consecutive shots, they’ll be just as streaky.

            Also, when talking about Ben Gordon, are we referring to Chicago Gordon or Detroit Gordon. Those are very different players. 

          • Oct 9, 20132:48 pm
            by The Guru

            @Oats: I’m predicting KCP as our 6th man because I think we’ll continue to use a 2 PG back-court…Using Jennings/Billups or Jennings/Stuckey as our starters would help Jennings get his shot off and help our team overall by having 2 players distributing the ball…KCP can come off the bench still playing around 27-30mins per game by playing both the 2 and 3(3-guard rotation) position…When I say streaky, I mean that by saying someone is either hot or cold..There is no median!..Ben Gordon and Jr Smith fit that bill perfectly and after watching yesterday’s(i know it’s one pre-season game) game I thought KCP looked pretty similar…
             
            Sefolosha starts by default because his team’s starting five has immense offensive power…Dudley, Granger, Mathews, and Afflalo are all starting caliber players though…All four of those guys play defense and they all can knock down the open jumper…Dudley, Mathews, and Afflalo could definitely be considered a 4th or 5th option in the starting five…You made some good points, so I can see where you’re coming from if you argued that KCP could be our 4th or 5th option in our starting five…Like I said earlier, I’m just predicting that our priority is to stay with 2 PG back-court…Dumars loves 2 PG’s together running the show…
             
            @Tariser: I’m talking about 1st year Detroit Gordon plus defense…If KCP continues to shoot with confidence he can average around 13-14ppg off the bench just like Gordon did…The catch to this is that we get a guy who plays defense and isn’t scared to go to the paint and grab a couple of rebounds…Gordon didn’t do either of those…

          • Oct 9, 20139:52 pm
            by oats

            I was using career average BG. 19.4 points per 36 minutes and true shooting percentage of .548, and throw in quality defense and I’d call that a top 10 SG. Even Detroit Gordon would be a surefire starter if he played good defense. He put up 15.6 points per 36 with a true shooting percentage of .548 in his bad year in Detroit. That’s definitely starting caliber player, and even that could be a top 10 SG since the position is so weak. Seriously, try to come up with a top 10. Wade, Kobe, Harden, Johnson, and Iggy should definitely make it. If Paul George counts then he is in ahead of Iggy, although he is likely to play more at SF than SG. After that I think I’d take Klay Thompson next. That’s 7, and I’m already getting to the point where I’m considering some awfully limited players. 
             
            Back to my main point, if KCP can put up 13-14 points per game with solid shooting numbers in starters minutes while also playing quality defense, then it is a no brainer that he would be a capable starter.  Yeah, the key to my point is that he would be the 4th or 5th option offensively. Assuming the 3 big men and Jennings are on the team for awhile, that makes KCP the likely 5th option. Even if he’s only in the 10 point range that Danny Green is in, that is enough to be the 5th option on a team with the scorers that Detroit has. 
             
            Also, I don’t think Detroit is prioritizing 2 PGs. I don’t think Dumars drafted KCP and then talked about how he was the only guy on the depth chart with the position label of SG on the entire roster just because he wanted a SG to come off the bench. I just don’t think Dumars sees it as a necessity that the team start a combo guard at the 2. Jennings is not a combo guard. He is a point guard that can play off ball some. There really is no need to pair him with a combo guard, and if the team wants to be able to move him off ball as a change of pace then they can use a bench player to give him those opportunities. What’s more, the combo guards currently on the roster are likely not going to be on the team by year 3 for Pope. To me that suggests that it is reasonably likely that KCP will start eventually. It definitely isn’t a certainty, if the team finds a better option then I think that Dumars won’t hesitate to pick him up. That player definitely could be another combo guard, I just don’t think that’s some sort of priority.

          • Oct 9, 201311:53 pm
            by The Guru

            Very good post Oats…You made some solid points…
             
            After Klay Thompson, I would put Eric Gordon, Kevin Martin, and Tyreke Evans…That’s a pretty weak crop, but just like you said, the SG position is weak…

    • Oct 9, 20133:41 am
      by Some Dude

      Reply

      Future starter and all star.

  • Oct 8, 201310:20 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    we dominated for like 85% of the game

    • Oct 8, 201311:34 pm
      by Anthony J.

      Reply

      Definetly. I was there today and although it was only preseason, the crowd was pretty enthused and energetic. As for them dominating the game I loved that smith hit his 3 point jumpers (take it for what it’s worth though since it is only pre-season and against a random European team) and the fact that spacing didn’t seem to be much of a problem. Monroe usually had plays for him to attack the basket and everyone else to clear out which worked. Smith and Monroe  also threw excellent passes today as well. The 4th quarter was a bit of a drag though considering we had most of the scrubs in by that time.

      • Oct 9, 20131:13 am
        by Otis

        Reply

        1. Israel isn’t in Europe, but I did chuckle when I read that. I think it’s technically in Asia.
         
        2. I don’t think we’ll learn much about the team’s outside scoring until they’re playing meaningful games, but a game against non-NBA competition will demonstrate absolutely nothing at all.

        • Oct 9, 20135:26 am
          by Tom Y.

          Reply

          Israel competes in European tournaments though, both basketball and football (soccer). We don’t win often but Maccabi Tel Aviv has won Euroleague titles. So I think you could call Maccabi Haifa a Euro team.

        • Oct 9, 20137:41 pm
          by Anthony J.

          Reply

          Ditto to Tom. As for the second thing, I do agree and I tried to stress that as well. But each game no matter who or what game it is always has something that can be taken away from it. I felt that chemistry was a big step in this game mostly which is good.

    • Oct 9, 201312:13 am
      by jamesjones_det

      Reply

      The scoreboard looks nice but don’t look at the shot chart, I think we may have hit 8 outside jumpers.
       
      It’s only preseason so no panic yet but it’s a bit discouraging to look at. 

      • Oct 9, 20131:15 am
        by Otis

        Reply

        There’s never a bad time to panic when you’re three most important players, who need to excel together, can’t consistently score outside of five feet. Poor spacing is about the surest way to completely neuter a good collection of overall talent. Much, much better to have no inside offensive presence whatsoever than no threat of outside shooting.

      • Oct 9, 20131:23 am
        by Otis

        Reply

        James, according to my count, we hit only five (5) shots away from the paint. Five. For this team and its particular questions, this is as discouraging as any one stat from a meaningless preseason game could be.

        • Oct 9, 20133:46 am
          by Some Dude

          Reply

          Lets not forget that not only is it a preseason game, it’s their first competitive game in general. They’ll be rusty, other teams and players around the league are still rusty. Can’t judge anything from this game. We need at least 5+ meaningful games to see how good/bad they’ll truly be. As of now, first preseason game, I’ll give them a pass. 

  • Oct 9, 201312:19 am
    by Jay

    Reply

    Please tell me you guys are gonna be doing grades and a review from here on out like last year

  • Oct 9, 20131:28 am
    by Otis

    Reply

    The entire team made just FIVE (5) three pointers and ZERO (0) other buckets more than five feet away from the basket. Plus Smith made three of those shots, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. We’re not going to be able to push around legitimate NBA competition inside like this, certainly not if they have nothing to worry about besides the paint.

    • Oct 9, 20132:13 am
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Hey on the flipside at least our perimeter defence is going to better this year. We might not be able to hit outside shots ourselves but hopefully we can at least limit our oppositions outside shooting.

  • Oct 9, 20133:31 am
    by gtg2013

    Reply

    Both Jerebko and Bynum with a DNP-CD in a preseason blowout? Yikes. (Datome and Siva were hurt, right?)

    • Oct 9, 20133:49 am
      by Some Dude

      Reply

      Cheeks is probably just figuring out the rotation. It’s easier to evaluated 10 players rather than all 15 at one time. The DNP guys will probably play in the next game, and some of the guys that played the first game will sit out.

      • Oct 9, 20136:47 am
        by @GPMasters

        Reply

        Yeah he’s said as much. No CV in the next game, for example.

  • Oct 9, 20134:40 pm
    by kiya

    Reply

    The Preseason is nothing im just happy that basketball is back and all i want to see is the pistons making the playoffs this year

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