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PistonPowered Mailbag: Pistons fans DEMAND Gigi Datome

The majority of questions I received early this week for the mailbag revolved around intriguing Pistons rookie and international hoops veteran Luigi Datome and why he wasn’t in the rotation yet. Obviously, those questions were posed before last night’s loss to Indiana, where Datome got a crack at some early minutes. I received six questions (or, in some cases, outright pleas for Maurice Cheeks to play him), but in the interest of not subjecting everyone to Datome overkill, I’m only going to answer a couple this week. Still though — thanks for all of the questions that have been coming in and remember to keep submitting them to patrickhayes13(at)gmail(dot)com or on Twitter @patrick_hayes.

First thing’s first, though. It seems my column Monday about my first experience taking my son to a Pistons game offended at least one from the inked/goateed sect of our readership. That was certainly not my intent, but here’s a tweet that was sent to Dan Feldman after my column ran:

First, apologies to Feldman for costing you a follower, but it’s likely not the first time and, fingers crossed, certainly not the last time I’ll alienate a reader. But as for the point C. Max was making? I wasn’t generalizing solely based on looks. I was generalizing based on a combination of looks (I forgot to add the Tapout shirt one of them was wearing to the description too, a major oversight on my part) AND loutish behavior. For example, I could conclude from a C. Max tweet suggesting that Josh Smith shooting a lot of threes is OK because Kevin Love and James Harden do that J. Max doesn’t know much about basketball, specifically that he doesn’t know why it’s generally bad for a career 28 percent 3-point shooter (and 25 percent so far this year) to take a lot of threes and it’s generally good that career 35 percent or betters shooters take them. Now, that would be a generalization because I really don’t know C. Max or his overall knowledge of the game, but it’s a somewhat informed generalization because I did witness at least one crazy, nonsensical tweet.

I have nothing against tattooed folks and, I suppose, some people can pull off the neatly trimmed goatee look. I’m not one to judge. I was not trying to offend. But the collective body of work of the duo sitting next to me — acting drunk and surly, shouting swear words at professional athletes and looking like they enjoyed a good fistfight — was enough for me, as a typically reclusive individual, to have at least a bit of wariness about asking them to stop saying fuck so much. As I wrote, it was an anti-climactic ending and they were reasonable people who didn’t react by putting me in the triangle choke.

So … what was the point of writing this again? Oh yeah … to remind C. Max that, although there are ways to defend Josh Smith’s tendency to launch threes, comparing his shooting to that of Kevin Love and James Harden is not a winning argument. I hope you’ve learned a valuable lesson here.

Also, I love all of our readers.* Although I occasionally make jokes about the fashion sense/appearance of others, it is always done in a playful way. I’ve made my own unfortunate facial hair/jewelry decisions in the past. I have no room to talk. I would never dream of talking someone out of dramatically storming off in a huff to read content elsewhere — I’m a huge fan of dramatically announcing your intention to quit doing something oblivious to the fact that no one cares about your personal reading/following decisions. But if you think that throwaway line in a story meant to illustrate how even boorish, stereotypical sports fans couldn’t ruin an entertaining in-arena experience was some sort of egregious generalization, well, … you better have a fainting couch ready for when you’re confronted with an actual harmful generalization. Now, on to basketball questions.

* – Most of our readers.

You think we need Rudy Gay? We need a shooter & play maker in that starting 5! Harrison Barnes/Jeff Green? What about trading for & developing Perry Jones III? Mr. Hoffa Woods on Twitter

Wow, second straight week that a Rudy Gay question makes it into the mailbag. I’ll start there — no, I don’t think Gay helps the Pistons with their critical issue on offense, which is a lack of perimeter shooting. In fact, he probably further complicates things. He shot 41 percent last year and he’s off to an awful start this year at 32 percent. His 3-point shooting for his career has been pedestrian at best and terrible the last few seasons (not Josh Smith terrible, but still not good). Gay is a ball-dominant, volume scorer and I wouldn’t be willing to part with any of the Monroe/Smith/Drummond group to get him. I think both Monroe and Smith are more functional playmakers.

Now, Harrison Barnes is an intriguing name. If the Pistons do decide to move Monroe at some point, Golden State is an interesting match. A package that includes Monroe and expiring contracts for Barnes (or Klay Thompson, though I don’t know if GS would consider that) and David Lee is at least worth not hanging up immediately. I’m not saying I’d do that trade for sure, but I think there are justifications for each side to do it. Monroe’s passing would be a fantastic fit with all of the shooters in Golden State and Barnes is a great prospect on a rookie deal who would fill a position of need.

Jeff Green’s off to a great start this season after a nice return last season (his 39 percent 3-point shooting last year and 40 percent so far this year are particularly appealing). He’s also getting to the line a reasonable amount this season. It would likely take Monroe as a starting point to get him. As for Perry Jones III, I wouldn’t say that him developing into a functional, useful NBA player is impossible, but I would say that the Pistons are not exactly the optimum organization for being patient with raw, young talent. Cheeks has a definite preference for veterans and the Pistons have had a mixed success rate with player development during Joe Dumars’ tenure as team president. Unless the asking price for Jones III was very cheap (like OKC giving him away for a future second rounder or something), I don’t know that he’d be worth gambling on. There’s a very small likelihood that he pans out. He’s looked lost every time he’s seen the court for them.

Having watched all games during the first week of play, it has surprised me to see Luigi Datome still having not played any meaningful minutes (0:16 vs the Wizards). I understand he missed the entire preseason, and there may are some questions about his ability to adjust to the pace of the NBA game, especially on the defensive end. However from all recent accounts from the media and fellow players, the man can shoot the ball lights out. I feel that his shooting could be very helpful in the second half when the Pistons seem to start getting a bit sloppy and start rushing things. My feeling is that he could be a great complementary piece to slowing down the offense, hammering the interior with 2 of the bigs, and serve as the perfect complement on the wing to knock down uncontested 3s. My question is why have we not seen any of him on the court as of yet? I think every Piston fan is dying to see what this guy is made of, and it seems like a shame to waste such an intriguing prospect and instead settling on playing guys like Jerebko who, although has not played horribly thus far , we all kind of know what we’re going to get at this point. – Chris

It does appear that Datome is going to see minutes ahead of Jerebko for the moment, although he’ll need to shoot significantly better than his 1-for-7 performance last night to keep that spot. I honestly expect that backup forward spot to be in flux most of the season. The Pistons have several options to get minutes there, and none of those options are particularly ideal. It was also kind of a revolving door last season.

With Datome, all that is going to matter is shooting. In his game recap, Dan mentioned that Datome’s defense of Luis Scola was stellar, despite being undersized. That’s nice, and frankly expected considering his international experience, but it ultimately doesn’t matter much. Jerebko can play competent enough defense against backup frontcourt players. Datome is only going to separate himself if he provides offense, which Jerebko doesn’t — Jerebko’s spot-up game hasn’t developed much and he’s a train wreck whenever he tries to take people off the dribble or do too much, which is what got him benched last year.

I think Datome will get a few games to try to win that rotation spot. If he doesn’t, it will be on to the next one, which means … *shudder* … probably a Charlie Villaneuva sighting. So, please, Luigi, please win that spot. I wouldn’t count out Josh Harrellson, either. He might have to wait for Villanueva to flame out, but he’s a decent shooter who has played competently in very limited NBA minutes. Tony Mitchell is probably buried on the bench until next season considering Cheeks’ preference to not play rookies, but if the Pistons really do struggle to find good minutes at that spot, Mitchell will have to get a look by default at some point.

Seems like we had an all-athletic team with Josh, Drummond, KCP, Mitchell. I’d like to know if Cheeks is a perfect fit to our group. To me, it seems like George Karl should’ve been hired to take over L-Frank. We lost against Indy tonight. I’m not happy with the way we played on both sides of the floor. Our defense didn’t stop George at all, like there was no resistance. This is Smith’s job isn’t it? We played better against the other bigs, but not that good against their Backcourt. I expect our team to win this game. This is doable. But we need a better coach. – Dominik

To be perfectly honest, no, I don’t think Cheeks is anything more than a seat-warmer until the Pistons get good enough to hire a more accomplished coach. In the past, Joe Dumars has made comments suggesting that he doesn’t think a coach matters all that much if the team isn’t very good — and that philosophy would certainly explain his last couple of hires. I don’t necessarily disagree with it, either — Phil Jackson could’ve coached those rosters the last four years and they still would’ve been lottery teams. So if your talent level isn’t where it needs to be, it doesn’t make sense to spend huge money on a bigger name coach.

Now, this season, the talent level has obviously improved. The Pistons are competitive but not contenders. With another move or two, they could be positioned to vault into the upper-echelon on NBA teams, and when that happens, I think you’ll see another coaching change. It would surprise me if Cheeks lasts more than two seasons. So who would replace him? George Karl would be really interesting from an offensive perspective and Lionel Hollins had great success with a large frontcourt and very little perimeter shooting Memphis, so it’s conceivable he could make sense of this Pistons roster. Those are two “name” guys who would probably be at the top of my list.

As for last night, yeah, there’s not much to say about the defensive performance. It should be noted that Paul George is really, really good and could be in the conversation with James Harden for best shooting guard in the league right now, so guarding him is no easy task. He has to get most of the credit for that performance — he’s really hard to defend no matter who you throw at him. But yes, I agree with you — with Smith, Rodney Stuckey, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and even Kyle Singler, the Pistons have some perimeter guys all capable of giving some different looks defensively and nothing they tried with George worked.

How long will it be before we see Mitchell or Datome on the court? Jerebko is play is uninspiring. KCP’s absence also worries me. Do you believe Cheeks ‘veterans first’ mentality could be a detriment to us trying to build up a young team. Or will it pay dividends once we trade Stuckey this year? Maybe its just me, but I feel that these young kids might be inefficient, but they cant be much worse than what we’re seeing – Jason

I addressed the first part a bit above, but to recap, now that Datome is in the rotation, I think we’ll see that continue for a few games. If he doesn’t play well, I think we’ll see, in order, Villanueva, Harrellson, then Mitchell. It’s possible Cheeks could just go back to Jerebko too, who hasn’t played awful, but he doesn’t really bring the offense the second unit could use.

I share your concerns about Caldwell-Pope and Cheeks’ mentality. I praised Cheeks for going back to Caldwell-Pope in the second half vs. Memphis after he’d made a few mistakes in the first half. I’d like to take that praise back now. Caldwell-Pope followed up his best performance as a pro with a DNP-CD. That’s straight out of the Kuester-Frank Manual of How to Handle Young Players. If Cheeks keeps it up, he’ll soon be reading the Kuester-Frank follow-up edition, “How to landing an assistant coaching job after you get fired.”

Whether Caldwell-Pope’s shaky shooting comes around or not, the Pistons need his size, athleticism and defensive ability in their backcourt. Will Bynum is possibly the worst defensive player in the league. Chauncey Billups is too old to play defense. Stuckey has only occasionally played interested defense in his career. Caldwell-Pope was drafted in the lottery largely because scouts noticed how consistently he defended. So he better play or the Pistons better be prepared to get shredded every time they play a team with a decent shooting guard.

 

35 Comments

  • Nov 6, 201312:13 pm
    by pt

    Reply

    Yes. You need Rudy Gay. Please take him. It won’t cost you anything in return. Just the expiring contracts of Stuckey/V. That’s it. No draft picks. He’s basically free. Take him and keep him forever. 

    p.s. Watching Rudy Gay play basketball is nauseating, painful and increases the likelihood of me harming myself.

    • Nov 7, 20131:39 am
      by smithneedsanafrobandwagonfan

      Reply

      I hate you. We didn’t need Jason Collins and we don’t need Rudy.

  • Nov 6, 20131:35 pm
    by sebastian

    Reply

    Mr. Hoffa Woods on Twitter may be on to something worth pursuing. Moose, Jerebko, Singler, and Charlie V. for Harrison Barnes and David Lee.
    Moose would be a replacement for David Lee. Lee is 30 years old and a very solid player who has three years, including this current season, with a whopping $13,878,000, $15,012,000, and $15,493,680 that the Warriors may not want to continue paying and Harrison Barnes would be a perfect solution at the starting SG position and could move over to the SF postion, when Josh moves to PF or goes to the bench.
    Moose is the player that Warriors still wished that they would have drafted in ’09. Singler would be closer to home and maybe do some of the same things that Barnes provided, during his rookie season. Jerebko would be a scrappy option for Mark Jackson to turn to, at times, and Charlie V.’s expiring contract would help to offer salary relief going into the next Free Agency period. Who knows, Charlie V. may help them, some, this season.
    Joe may need to get the Golden State folks on the phone, sooner, rather than later.
     

     
     
     
     

    • Nov 6, 20131:45 pm
      by sebastian

      Reply

      Forgot to add the link to the previously proposed trade – http://basketball.realgm.com/tradechecker/saved_trade/6347549.
       

    • Nov 6, 20132:46 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I’d be OK with the idea of a trade with Monroe-Barnes as the main pieces (although I’d much prefer Thompson to Barnes), but I think throwing Singler in is too much. The Pistons are giving up the best player in the trade in Monroe and they’re taking the worst contract in Lee. No need to throw in a cheap, solid rotation player too unless GS is going to give up a draft pick(s).

      • Nov 6, 20133:13 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        Why is Monroe definitively better than Lee?  They are pretty similar other than that Monroe is a better scorer inside with Lee being the better shooter.   Monroe is also younger with more upside.  

        • Nov 6, 20133:20 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Haha … it sounds like you just mostly explained why.

          Monroe has a better offensive game, they’re both fairly bad defensively, both decent rebounders with Lee maybe a bit better there, but Monroe is improving and Lee isn’t. So if you consider their production fairly equal now and factor in age/offensive skillset/upside, it clearly favors Monroe. Also, Lee has an injury history too and Monroe has been very durable so far in his career. 

          • Nov 6, 20135:26 pm
            by Max

            All true but Lee’s shooting probably make him a better fit with Drummond and the Pistons in general and if Barnes is in the package too I’d say that more than offsets the difference between Monroe and Lee.  Who knows whether he might not become the best player out of the three and I doubt the Pistons could resign Monroe and sign a player of Barnes’ caliber with whatever they’ll have left.  That said, I’m not an advocate of trading Monroe yet.  

            BTW: When is the earliest date Smith could be included in a trade?    I’m beginning to wish Doug Collins had been brought back since he famously told Thaddeus Young he wasn’t allowed to shoot three pointers even though he was probably shooting them a little better than Smith.  

          • Nov 6, 20138:07 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            I believe Mike Woodson told Smith to quit shooting threes once, and when he did, he had his best season. Then he went right back to it and quit listening to Woodson’s pleas. Smith is a really good player and unfortunately, just seems set in his belief that the three (and perimeter shooting in general) is a big part of his arsenal. Hopefully his defense and passing end up being enough to cancel out the occasionally god-awful shot selection because I’m not sure he’d be receptive to a coach imploring him to stop at this point. But I do agree with you … if a coach has a chance to impose something on Smith, it’s definitely going to have to be a stronger personality than Mo Cheeks.

    • Nov 6, 20133:45 pm
      by D_S_V

      Reply

      No. Don’t want Lee’s contract. I’d rather have Monroe than Barnes.

      Trade Josh Smith. 

      • Nov 6, 20138:09 pm
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        I would definitely prefer that … don’t think it’s likely, though. Smith represents the marquee acquisition of the Dumars/Gores era, so I doubt they’d cut bait this quickly and I also doubt teams would give up anything close to equal value considering the length remaining on Smith’s deal.

    • Nov 7, 20131:47 am
      by smithneedsanafrobandwagonfan

      Reply

      There are better deals out there. If youre giving up Monroe, you need to take teams to the cleaners while Monroe looks like an all-star, which he has through the first four games. Portland has LaMarcus Aldridge. Would you give up Smith and Monroe for Aldridge and Batum? Maybe toss in Stuckey for Matthews? You now have two TRUE three point threats on the perimeter and add an All-star caliber power forward who fits next to Drummond. I can live with Chuck Jennings if you make that deal.

      • Nov 7, 201310:51 pm
        by frankie d

        Reply

        even though i live in portland and watch the blazers all the time – and am still a pistons’ fan – i’d never thought about monroe for aldridge before.
        it is actually a trade that might work in both teams’ favor.
        while i think monroe is a superior talent to aldridge – better ballhandler, better low post scorer, better rebounder, more heart – aldridge is a guy who would fit well next to drummond.  
        i might make that trade, if everything else – aldridge makes a shyteload more money than monroe so other guys would have to be included, obviously – was ok.  i would make the trade straight up, but i would hesitate if it involved including much more detroit talent in order to get the salary numbers right.
        aldridge is not the franchise player many fans think he is, because of his numbers.  he is ideally, a number 3 guy on a team, though on the right team, he might function as a decent number 2 option.  fans who think he is a franchise player, a number one option on a good team simply have not watched the blazers play much basketball.  portland fans have long ago given up that fantasy. 

  • Nov 6, 20131:49 pm
    by MIKEYDE248

    Reply

    It’s a shame that you have to write an apology for asking the foul mouthed guys to watch what they are saying around your son.  The reason you were trying to describing them was probably to express your fear, or concern about what might happen to you once you asked them.  Good thing that they listened to your concerns and adjusted their behavior.  All you were trying to do is give a thumbs up to what a great experience you had at the Palace and of course someone had to find something negative about your story.
    People like C. Max have to realize that ever time someone describes someone else or makes a comment they aren’t stereo typing someone or profiling them, just describing them.  I’m surprised he didn’t complain about you trying to take away their rights to freedom of speech also.

    • Nov 6, 20132:53 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Yeah, it’s not like I thought they were bad people because of their appearance. I only made fun of their appearance after they revealed themselves to be loudmouths. Ah well. If it helps, my apology for offending him was totally insincere.

  • Nov 6, 20132:04 pm
    by pistons moribund

    Reply

    “Will Bynum is possibly the worst defensive player in the league.”
    I completely agree.  Not sure why so many people believe that being pesky means good.  Really hoping that MFWB will get traded somehow with CV and Stuckey.  Then the reboot will be complete.  Still cannot fathom the bias that inconsistent offense/hero ball is somehow better then good defense.  The going to work era was always about defense, that why the games sometimes didnt go over 70.  If the other team cant score, they cant win.  Pretty simple.

    • Nov 6, 20132:54 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Bynum is useful in the right role. He’s just not playing the right role right now. I blame that more on how many minutes Cheeks is choosing to play him rather than Bynum. At this point, everyone knows Bynum’s strengths and weaknesses … he’s not changing. So the solution is just don’t start him or play him starter minutes. Use him as a change of pace/instant offense guy and he’s fine.

      • Nov 6, 20135:38 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        I’m not happy with Cheeks but I’m willing to give him a break so far regarding Bynum with the provision that his minutes go down and I think they will.  Remember that Bynum is the only PG Cheeks has had any time to grow comfortable with at all with all the injuries in the preseason and that Jennings and Stuckey weren’t even ready at the start of the regular season.  

        • Nov 6, 20138:11 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Yeah, I’ll wait and see before calling it a complete failure … Bynum has played a lot out of necessity. But there have also been opportunities to go to other players — late in the Memphis game is the glaring example when Stuckey and KCP both had it going and sat down the stretch and in OT — and Cheeks stuck with Bynum. Hopefully the minutes/role decreases. 

  • Nov 6, 20134:46 pm
    by Duke

    Reply

    Why all the hate on Will, you can find holes in every player on the team game. Bynum’s been a bright spot for us the last few years. However I guess it’s just easier to target him as our problem?

    • Nov 6, 20135:33 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      I feel like some are bitter about any of the players that have been part of the team’s struggles during the past few years and are treating them unfairly.  

      Bynum is certainly not the worst defender in the entire league and I wouldn’t even call him the worst defender on the team with Chuck V around.  I also doubt the statement would have even been made when Jose Calderon was starting last year.   

    • Nov 6, 20138:14 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I wouldn’t say that anyone is “hating” on him. Bynum has a good number of fans around here. But it’s also perfectly OK to point out that there are some very noticeable flaws in his game, particularly his defense. It was particularly abysmal against Memphis and he has long been one of the worst guards in the league at fighting through screens.

      He brings value to the rotation, he’s just playing too much right now. 

  • Nov 6, 20135:36 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    I like Rudy Gay….look at his number in the first 5 years before the trade…nope he live up to the contract but he is still a rare talent

    • Nov 6, 20138:17 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      He’s the classic eye test player. He has prototypical size and athleticism, he seems to be asmart and  well-liked teammate who regularly makes spectacular highlight reel plays. But with the exception of a couple seasons, he’s never been more than an averageish player despite all of those physical tools. This season, in particular, he’s off to an awful start and his prominent role in the offense in Toronto is really hurting them because he’s taking touches away from Jonas V.

  • Nov 6, 20135:38 pm
    by Rodrick

    Reply

    Did anybody see him pushing the ball up the floor this guy can run we could use him at Small Forward. He is listed at 215 so not only can Gigi shoot he can handle the ball if he has to. But i liked him last night those shots he let go were good shots they just didn’t fall he will be fine, he is going to be the x factor on this team

  • Nov 7, 20131:51 am
    by smithneedsanafrobandwagonfan

    Reply

    Who will earn the nickname “Chuck” first?- Jennings or Smith?

  • Nov 7, 20133:58 am
    by joe

    Reply

    Base off Cheeks latest decision’s, I think he’s more concern with playing Veterans over Rookies, than the Pistons actually winning games. Just off the last minute’s of the Indiana game, it’s clear that this team a much better team with KCP on the floor, but because Cheeks is letting his stupidity influence his decision making, the Pistons will be nothing more than a 500 team. 

    • Nov 7, 20139:21 am
      by Vic

      Reply

      excellent assessment. 

      Hopefully his self-preservation instinct will kick in and he’ll start trying to win games instead of keep his good ol’ boys happy. 

      • Nov 7, 20139:22 am
        by Vic

        Reply

        I mean I just don’t understand how any coach could coach against their own record in favor of making a player momentarily happy. Every loss goes down in the history books.

  • Nov 7, 20138:24 am
    by Some Dude

    Reply

    Stuckey provides value to the team, and has been playing alright so far. But I doubt it carries on for too long, eventually he’ll go through a slump and that’s when KCP takes over. Just a matter of time people, just chill out and wait.

    • Nov 7, 201310:42 am
      by joe

      Reply

      It’s difficult to take over when your coach is not even considering playing you, unless it’s a blow out? I’m just saying.

  • Nov 7, 20138:33 am
    by hoophabit

    Reply

    Patrick didn’t “have to apologize” regarding C. Max’s unhappiness.  He was just using it to have a little fun (four paragraphs worth.)  Really, who cares about one “fan” who says he is no longer following PistonPowered?  Certainly not the vast majority of us, who wouldn’t even know if Patrick didn’t tell us.  The boorish behavior described requires no explanation from Patrick regarding his request that they clean it up for juvenile consumption.

    I have to agree that calling Bynum “the worst defender in the league” is hyperbole, but I get the point.

     It doesn’t help anyone’s credibility to accuse Cheeks of “stupidity” because he is giving vets first opportunity at roles.  KCP shows lots of promise, but it’s not as though he came out setting the league on fire.  Datome wasn’t even available until recently.  Four games is a little early to declare Cheeks a failure.  This greatly changed team is off to a decent start and is playing tough and resilient basketball.  They are in a process of shaking things out, and there is no reason to be drawing conclusions as yet as to whether Cheeks is a good coach for this team.  It’s silliness to suggest he lacks mental acuity because he doesn’t do exactly what some fan would wish.  I’m going to go way out on a limb here and suggest that Cheeks knows more about basketball than any fan on this site. 

    • Nov 7, 201311:42 am
      by joe

      Reply

      I disagree, If the Pistons was a puzzle they would be a lot of pieces in the wrong places. I understand Josh Smith playing in wrong position, but lets keep it real, the Pistons have 4 point guards and 2 shooting guards, it’s shouldn’t be that hard for the coach to figure out at what position, who should be starting and who should be coming off the bench. I’m ok with KCP not starting yet, but it’s no way, you can tell me that, the way KCP played so far, he deserve Darko minutes.

  • Nov 7, 20139:26 am
    by Vic

    Reply

    Great Answer:

    “I share your concerns about Caldwell-Pope and Cheeks’ mentality. I praised Cheeks for going back to Caldwell-Pope in the second half vs. Memphis after he’d made a few mistakes in the first half. I’d like to take that praise back now. Caldwell-Pope followed up his best performance as a pro with a DNP-CD. That’s straight out of the Kuester-Frank Manual of How to Handle Young Players. If Cheeks keeps it up, he’ll soon be reading the Kuester-Frank follow-up edition, “How to landing an assistant coaching job after you get fired.”
     
    Whether Caldwell-Pope’s shaky shooting comes around or not, the Pistons need his size, athleticism and defensive ability in their backcourt. Will Bynum is possibly the worst defensive player in the league. Chauncey Billups is too old to play defense. Stuckey has only occasionally played interested defense in his career. Caldwell-Pope was drafted in the lottery largely because scouts noticed how consistently he defended. So he better play or the Pistons better be prepared to get shredded every time they play a team with a decent shooting guard.”

    Accurate Assessment. Totally agreed. I don’t think Bynum and Billups and Stuckey are that bad at defense. They are just bad at defending shooting guards. They all happen to be point guards, and would better serve the team by defending the point guards on the other team. Here’s the thing: most other teams don’t play 4 point guards!

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