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. The sample size has been small, but what how would you grade Peyton Siva‘s performance so far at the almost-midway point of the season?
Dan Feldman, PistonPowered: The Pistons have an offensive rating of 83.8 when Siva is on the court. The only point guards who’ve led their teams to worse offensive ratings are Eric Maynor, Isaiah Canaan and Jannero Pargo. Siva has shot poorly and turned the ball over at an extreme rate. Of course, it’s a small sample, and Siva is just is a rookie, but he hasn’t shown any potential during NBA games for belonging in the league next season. At least he got his contract guaranteed for the rest of this season, which is a positive indicator for his behind-the-scenes work. GRADE: F
Brady Fredericksen, PistonPowered: Think back to the Pistons’ preseason loss in Orlando. That was a game where he finished with 12 points and eight assists — but also shot 3-for-10 and had nine turnovers. He also played without a backup, and labored through 47 minutes in a loss where the Pistons shockingly blew a big lead. That game literally meant nothing, but he worked his butt off the entire game. His play hasn’t been pretty this year — just like it really wasn’t in that game — but he’s giving this his best try. I know you don’t want to reward a guy for being a hard worker, but if Siva’s bringing that kind of energy in practice for the Pistons, he’s doing all they could hope for right now. Even if his play on the court as stunk (hint: it has), he’s still proving to have some sort of value to the team, perhaps in practice, if they’re continuing to invest in him and his future. GRADE: F+
Ben Gulker, Detroit Bad Boys: Coming out of college, Siva looked like a long-shot to stick in the NBA, and so far in (only) 76 minutes as a pro, he’s looked like a long-shot to stick in the NBA. Of particular concern is a nearly 62% turnover rate, which is definitely inflated by such a small number of minutes, but certainly doesn’t do anything to inspire confidence that he’s capable of handling NBA defenders. I know a lot of fans have been asking for more minutes for Peyton — and that’s understandable given some of the erratic guard play — but right now, he’s simply not part of the answer. GRADE: D
2. The sample size has been even smaller for Tony Mitchell, but what how would you grade his performance at the almost-midway point of the season?
Dan Feldman: Mitchell has scored efficiently and rebounded and blocked shots at high rates — all during garbage time. He remains the only Piston not to crack the rotation all season. I’ve enjoyed his late-game highlights, but they’re not enough to have me calling for his playing time to increase. Mitchell is talented, and maybe on a team with less big-man depth, he could have a bigger role. GRADE: C
Brady Fredericksen: There’s no recent Piston who’s been more exciting in garbage time than Mitchell. He’s hit 3-pointers, he’s dunked, he’s gotten to the free throw line — he’s basically doing everything he possibly can in the minute-and-whatever time he gets at the end of a blowout. I talked to Mitchell during Summer League, and he’s aware that his motor scared some teams off during the draft. Those stints of bat-out-of-hell play show he’s at least trying to give it his all when he gets in games. He’s just a fun player — definitely one who isn’t ready to be a full-time contributor — but in the minor minutes he’s gotten, he’s been a pretty fun player. GRADE: B-
Ben Gulker: In even fewer minutes than Siva, Mitchell has looked like the raw athlete that has a chance at becoming a rotation-worthy big man if he puts the time into disciplining and refining his game that excited many of us when Joe Dumars selected him. Opportunities are certainly limited given the Pistons’ frontcourt, but as a second-round pick on a second-round contract, I hope he sticks for at least one more season. Where will you get another big man with this kind of upside for less than a million bucks per season? GRADE: B
3. He’s bounced in and out of Maurice Cheeks‘ rotation thus far, but what grade has Josh Harrellson earned at the almost-midway point of the year?
Dan Feldman: Harrellson has been extremely productive. He does all the big-man things — score inside, rebound, block shoots — well, but he also leads the Pistons’ top 10 players in minute in 3-point percentage (37.0)! That’s partially an indictment of this roster’s shooting, but good for Harrellson. Unfortunately, the Pistons’ optimal lineup — featuring a staggered use of two of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond — leaves no meaningful role for Harrellson. GRADE: B+
Brady Fredericksen: Remember how we had the running joke of Everyone Loves Kim English? I think Harrellson could eventually get that with fans, too. The guy’s nickname is Jorts, he’s huge and he likes to shoot 3-pointers; what’s there to hate? But he’s not a great defender against agile, athletic guys and he’s lead-footed, but when he comes into the game for those short stints, good things happen. I don’t think his recent lack of PT has been all his fault — Cheeks is trying to find a sustainable rotation — but the good flashes have been much more apparent than the bad ones from Jorts so far. GRADE: B+
Ben Gulker: I am a huge Jorts fan. How can you not be? If anyone on the Pistons deserves more minutes (and more shots), it’s this Josh. When given time, Jorts has provided respectable rebounding and plenty of hustle, but more importantly, he is a fantastic three-point shooter. Unfortunately for him, he’s playing behind a franchise-caliber center, and he’s not particularly suited to defending mobile power forwards (playing him out of position is rarely an option). I’d love to see how a Monroe-Harrellson frontcourt works with three other shooters on the floor for extended minutes. On paper, it should work on offense, but I’m not sure we’ll get. This grade will certainly seem high to a lot of people, but relative to expectations and contract size, Jorts is performing as well as could be hoped. GRADE: A+
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