↓ Login/Logout ↓
Schedule/Results
↓ Roster ↓
Salaries
↓ Archives ↓
↓ About ↓

Pistons travel up north

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (14-21) at Toronto Raptors (16-17)
  • Date: January 7, 2014
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The Toronto Raptors have drastically changed since trading away Rudy Gay. The group has been winning and actually looks like the third-best unit in the Eastern Conference. Indeed, Toronto looks more like a team as opposed to a collection of individuals.

I reached out to Sam Holako of Raptors Republic, the Raptors’ ESPN TrueHoop affiliate blog, and asked him whether this was in fact reality or fool’s gold. His response:

Reality; since the Gay trade, the Raptors have:

  • replaced Gay with Ross in the starting lineup (less usage, more efficient, superior three point shooter)
  • have a very solid bench (added Salmons, Patterson, Vasquez and Hayes) that has has provided depth, shooting, perimeter defense and a backup point guard who doesn’t suck (sorry DJ Augustin, but you sucked)
  • are passing the ball 30 more times a game
  • run more pick-n-rolls and less hero/iso-ball

The last two losses (Miami and Indiana) have been hard-fought games that came down to the fact that both those teams are just better. With their scheduling easing up, expect to see this team win more games than they lose, and potentially take over 3rd in the East by the all-star game.

Holako’s stance on the Raptors confirmed my suspicions and also led me to a place that I felt wasn’t getting enough attention: DeMar DeRozan’s All-Star candidacy. The Raptors Republic scribe graciously shared his opinions on the matter:

No disrespect to Dwayne Wade, but DeMar DeRozan has been more important to Raptors than the other SG who are ahead of him in votes (Dwayne Wade, Ray Allen, Lance Stephenson, and George Hill depending on how you rate him). Since the Gay trade, he’s averaged 21.2 pts 4.9rebs 4.5ast 1.3stl and has led the team to a 10-5 record over the last month (second best in the league).

Thus, Toronto is a team playing well that possesses one of the best 2-guards in the league. One can only wonder what their ceiling is. Holako offered:

This is definitely a playoff team as currently constructed given the state of the East, but I don’t see them winning a round in the playoffs unless they get Chicago AND Joakim Noah doesn’t will them to the 2nd round. I’m much less concerned with them winning a round, then getting playoff experience. This is a very young team, with only Kyle Lowry (19) and Amir Johnson (11) from the core having any playoff experience; note that neither has seen the playoffs since the ’08-’09 season.

Tonight’s tilt with the Raptors will likely say more about the Detroit Pistons than it will about the Raptors. Toronto has changed its identity and found a winning recipe whereas Detroit is still searching for theirs.

The Pistons are struggling at the moment and might need to take a few pointers from the lone Canadian franchise in the Association.

Read about the Raptors

56 Comments

  • Jan 8, 20147:05 pm
    by Vic

    Reply

    What a difference an analytically minded GM makes. Look what Masai did. Got rid of TWO big name inefficient chuckers and all the sudden the team plays elite. We signed two big name inefficient chuckers and our team is falling apart with Iso ball.

    • Jan 8, 20147:37 pm
      by Anthony J.

      Reply

      I’m not as tough on BJ because he for the most part keeps his turnovers low and has shown flashes of a decent passing game. I agree shooting wise he’s inefficient but he is the best floor general we have. Smith on the other hand is watching his talent wither away by playing the 3. Yes he is inefficient as well but then u add to the fact that he has to play away from the basket just spells doom for out “big 3″

    • Jan 8, 20148:06 pm
      by JYD for Life

      Reply

      Vic – if you pull up PG efficiency numbers, Jennings is in the top 5 in a lot of categories…check out stats.nba.com – Case in point as to why analytics don’t tell the entire story. 
      The staff does utilize these tools and have for a few years…Drummond is a stat nerds wet dream and KCPs metrics were off the charts prior to the draft.  
      It’s really a matter of finding a good balance.  If Jennings and Smith were able to fit in, this team would be at or over .500 and there would be a lot less to complain about.  
      A small forward who can shoot (and not 20 times per game like Smith) would do wonders for this team.  
      Drummond is ridiculously raw in the post, but needs touches and plays run for him to develop.  Moose is more polished, but when you spend time trying to post up Smith to keep him “engaged,” it detracts from the development of arguably the two best assets this team has.  
      Adding a SF who can shoot 40% from beyond the arc would be ideal…whether that’s by trading Smith or Monroe or signing someone in the summer (not much out there), imagine two skilled bigs, a slashing Jennings and KCP and maybe a Jeff Green (or similar type) on the wings.  All three could put it on the floor or shoot it.  
      The other huge issue with having the big 3 out there is that the free throw shooting is horrendous.  It was flawed to begin with.  
      Hopefully some moves are made in the next few weeks.  The bench is terrible…in no way should CV be playing in the 1st quarter – as Anthony J pointed out below.  

      • Jan 8, 20148:52 pm
        by Anthony J.

        Reply

        Yeah despite the bad second halfs this pistons team biggest nightmare to me is its free throw shooting. It got so bad for me that I actually prefer them not to go to the line. Just save us the trouble and time of watching free throw bricks like dwight howard

      • Jan 8, 201411:15 pm
        by jg22

        Reply

        Can these analytics fans please become extinct from the internet?
         
        There’s more to basketball than just stats. These people who base everything on numbers are so annoying.

        • Jan 8, 201411:51 pm
          by jamesjones_det

          Reply

          I’ll take them over the Austin Daye supporters that I spend hours arguing with.  Speaking of that bum how many points did he score tonight?

          • Jan 9, 201412:07 am
            by jg22

            i didnt even know he was still in the league

        • Jan 9, 20143:40 am
          by oats

          Reply

          @jg22. How dare people try to quantify what is happening. No, who needs a factual basis for their opinions when you can have an opinion based in bias.
           
          I’m not talking about bias in an accusatory manner by the way. All human memory is effected by personal biases. It’s impossible to avoid. I agree that there is more to basketball than just stats, but avoiding them all together is not the answer either.

          • Jan 9, 20144:44 am
            by gmehl

            Yep just look at where avoiding them has gotten Joe

      • Jan 9, 20143:35 am
        by oats

        Reply

        @JYD for Life. What stats are those that Jennings is top 5 in exactly? I can’t find a single efficiency stat where he is in the top 5.
         
        He’s tied for 5th in assists per game, which is a traditional stat and not one of the advanced stats that analytics guys like. An analytics guy would tell you that he has the advantage of playing a ton of minutes, and he’s only 11th in assists per 36 minutes. Of course, a vaguely competent one would throw out the one guy who has fewer than 200 minutes played on the year, so Jennings would come in 10th. Analytics guys would also like assist percentage, where he finishes 12th if you throw out the one guy with really limited minutes. He’s not even in the top 25 in Assist to Turnover Ratio. The stats would say that he’s a good passer whose totals make him look like a better passer than he actually is. That’s the area that he’s good at. His shooting numbers say he is way below average.
         
        Also, KCP’s stats weren’t that good in college. He had decent shooting numbers, but 37% on 3s in college isn’t really anything special since college percentages are very higher than pro numbers. His real strength from a stats perspective was that he projected as a top rate defender. The overall projection was that he’d be a solid but relatively unspectacular starter. So far his shooting has struggled, which isn’t exactly unusual for rookies, and he is a good defensive player. I’d say the statistical projections for him are still holding up ok, although if his shooting numbers don’t improve next year then he’s likely one of the guys who just didn’t have his outside shooting translate to the longer line.
         

  • Jan 8, 20147:05 pm
    by Brigs

    Reply

    This is what happens when a team takes a chance on a trade once they see things aren’t working out, I also think Cleveland is gonna go on a run similar to the raptors after their trade.

  • Jan 8, 20147:33 pm
    by Anthony J.

    Reply

    Just tuned into the game. Saw josh smith shoot a long 2 and thank God he made it then i saw cv31 enter the game and realize its only the first quarter. We are doomed

    • Jan 8, 20148:21 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Yeah I am putting CV being in this early down to us show casing… or that is how I am dealing with it anyway as it makes me feel better :-)

  • Jan 8, 20148:52 pm
    by Hook Shot

    Reply

    Showcase CV31?  That’s a hoot. No one wants him On their team, expiring contract or not.  

    • Jan 8, 20149:37 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      I’m guessing you didn’t catch the sarcasm in my post

  • Jan 8, 20149:04 pm
    by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

    Reply

    Hahahaha….im so done with mo cheeks and this Pistons team

    • Jan 8, 201411:18 pm
      by jg22

      Reply

      I couldn’t believe it when they hired this guy. He has no clue what he’s doing and is the absolute worst coach for this team. They need a proven guy who can discilpline them. Everything is just a free for all with Cheeks. Its like Romper Room Day Care

      • Jan 9, 20143:44 am
        by oats

        Reply

        My problem is less about discipline and more about scheme and rotations. He is just an awful strategy guy.

  • Jan 8, 20149:05 pm
    by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

    Reply

    No one could pay me to believe we’d be this bad

    • Jan 8, 20149:24 pm
      by T Casey

      Reply

      Really? With a sub par head coach and 2 consummate airheads leading the show, you didn’t think this might happen?

      • Jan 8, 20149:48 pm
        by Herman Neutic

        Reply

        “Misplaced hate leads to false optimism.” Lao T’su

  • Jan 8, 20149:06 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    3rd quarter collapse.. thats their sickness! we need to overcome that

    • Jan 8, 201410:12 pm
      by Pistons

      Reply

      I thought the sickness we need to overcome was Joe Dumars.

  • Jan 8, 20149:13 pm
    by Jopl

    Reply

    Im getting that way. That 3rd quarter was awful.  What was with barely any KCP and too much bad Josh Smith.  Monroe had a good efficient first half and didnt touch the ball at all.  Doesn’t mqke sense

  • Jan 8, 20149:15 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    get bynum out of the game.. please.. he is not helping at all!

  • Jan 8, 20149:20 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    we’re down by 16! thanks for the late ADJUSTMENT COACH MO! you are the worst!

  • Jan 8, 20149:24 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    WHAT THE HELL WAS CHALRIE V. AND WILL BYNUM DOING ON THE COURT….UGHHH F U CHEEKS

    • Jan 9, 20142:16 am
      by Jodi aka "The Guru"

      Reply

      I’m lost…I have no clue why Cheeks continues to play a Jennings/Bynum combo…It’s embarrassing…

  • Jan 8, 20149:25 pm
    by mythx

    Reply

    It isnt the 3rd quarter. This team is awful. Like the year we drafted 4 SF’s we have a totally unbalance roster. The answer isnt on this team and until a MAJOR trade happens this is what we will have. 
    And while Joe will be gone next year he crippled this offseason by trading that pic.  Yes it has protection but we all know that they will make yet another late season run and blow it totally again.
    If players like Smith and Jennings were capable of embarrassment I would say then need to feel it. 

    • Jan 8, 20149:36 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      I really think there’s a 50% chance we end up keeping our draft pick. Isn’t it something like if we finish 9th or lower in the east? Right now looking at this team I can see us finishing even lower…. yes we’re that bad!

      • Jan 8, 201410:23 pm
        by Pistons

        Reply

        Right now I’d say its about 50% we keep the pick. Probably lower though because Dumars doesn’t know when to give up. I think we’ll make trades either as buyers or my hope sellers. Personally I think we should be sellers right now while theres only 2 games between us and the 5th worst in the NBA.

      • Jan 8, 201411:37 pm
        by jamesjones_det

        Reply

        There is currently only 2 team worse than us in the west so to be safe you would want to finish 10th or lower in the east, but the east is so tight with mediocre teams one win could move you from 10th to 7th so really if you want to keep that pick you better hope this team starts dropping players left and right.

  • Jan 8, 20149:30 pm
    by Zdwtr

    Reply

    Hahahaha. This feels like last year

    • Jan 8, 20149:35 pm
      by JYD for Life

      Reply

      oh it’s worse than last year!  They had expectations this year…

  • Jan 8, 20149:44 pm
    by T Casey

    Reply

    I said this before the season and I will say it again. You will not be a quality ball club being led by two inefficient, low IQ players like Smith and Jennings. And things get even worse when you place a sub par head coach like Mo Cheeks at the helm.
     
    We have a squad being led by two inefficient, low IQ chuckers and a poor head coach and people are surprised that most nights we look like a poorly coached team playing inefficient, low iq ball… Go figure.

  • Jan 8, 20149:45 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    My blood pressure dropped…I need help!

  • Jan 8, 20149:46 pm
    by Keith

    Reply

    Good work, boys. Joe D is trying to destroy this team, but you won’t let it happen. 8th pick here we come!

  • Jan 8, 20149:50 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    I seriously I can’t take this anymore…You don’t believe the pain I am in right now.. I am dying. The high expectations I had for this team ugghhhh…they r killing me. I swear I am going to cry????:(

    • Jan 8, 201410:02 pm
      by Keith

      Reply

      Chill, man. It’s not your fault the season is unfolding this way. Just keep reminding yourself that the best thing this team can do is tank and secure their first round pick. Think about it. No one is going to give us a star in exchange for the guys we need to trade (Jennings, Smith, Monroe), and this team isn’t going anywhere with that core. But sub in Wiggins or Parker at the 2/3 and suddenly you have a two-man team that could contend (Wiggins/Parker-Drummond). It’s not perfect, obviously, but maybe it gives our next GM the chance to dump these guys for nothing.

  • Jan 8, 201410:08 pm
    by Hook Shot

    Reply

    Frank is looking pretty good now, isn’t he?
    i do not know if Hollins was approached, but this team would be defending and playing better. There just does not seem to be a plan once the game is being played. I wonder how much input his staff has in forming the game plan or if Cheeks listens to advice. He appears over his head. 

    • Jan 8, 201410:20 pm
      by T Casey

      Reply

      As long as Frank is still Frank, no. Not at all.
      And, as for Hollins, http://www.detroitbadboys.com/2013/12/1/5163438/nba-rumors-lionel-hollins-head-coach-pistons
       
      … I don’t know what more to say.

      • Jan 8, 201411:23 pm
        by jg22

        Reply

        That says it all.
         
        Joe had a proven HC gift wrapped to him by the Grizzlies after their ridiculously fired him for getting to the WCF.
         
        All he had to do was call him up and offer him the job. Instead he gives the job to Mo Cheeks, and THEN goes to Hollins and ask’s him to be Mo’s assistant!!
         
        WTF on earth would make anyone think that Mo Cheeks deserved to be Lionel Hollins boss and no the other way around?
         
        Insanity
         
         

  • Jan 8, 201410:08 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    Dude every year we say the same thing. We had enough! 

  • Jan 8, 201411:07 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    we should’ve selected george karl… not bad coaches!

    • Jan 9, 20142:13 am
      by Jodi aka "The Guru"

      Reply

      I don’t know why we didn’t wait for the Hollins/Grizzlies saga to end…Hollins would have been a nice pick-up for the Pistons…

  • Jan 8, 201411:46 pm
    by Windy

    Reply

    Wheels have officially fallen off…your out of the playoffs in a disaster eastern conference and lost 8 of 9 …mind you that’s losses to wiz, magic, Knicks, raps etc…teams that wouldn’t even sniff playoffs in the west…it’s ugly and getting worse by the day…unwatchable at this point…

  • Jan 8, 201411:51 pm
    by Smitty

    Reply

    Are we in full tank mode?

    • Jan 9, 20142:12 am
      by Jodi aka "The Guru"

      Reply

      No, we’re just having some growing pains…

  • Jan 9, 201412:38 am
    by mythx

    Reply

    Its time to start rooting for the Cavs, Knicks,Nets.  We need to to come in at least 7th worst to have a shot at keeping that pic. Because the Pistons always move down at least one spot.
    I hold no illusions that they will for the first time in club history have their pick move up.
     
     

    • Jan 9, 20141:00 am
      by Smitty

      Reply

      SELL and TANK. I can’t believe I would say that this year, but probably the only time I go to the palace this year will be to watch Nitro Circus on Sunday.
       

  • Jan 9, 201412:49 am
    by MrCarter

    Reply

    Monroe/Jerebko to Boston for Green/Faverani. What you guys think? Gives us a quality small forward with range and length and decent backup center for Drummond too.

    • Jan 9, 201412:58 am
      by Smitty

      Reply

      No way, unless Boston throws in a 1st rounder. I think it’s time to trade Stuckey for a prospect/pick. Trade Smith for an expiring and just continue to lose.

  • Jan 9, 20142:11 am
    by Jodi aka "The Guru"

    Reply

    Damn another freaking lost man!..Monroe with only 29 minutes?.. What’s going on with these Pistons right now???

  • Jan 9, 20144:43 am
    by grizz3741

    Reply

    Cheeks has proven he is not up to this gig .. Lawrence Frank I truly hated .. Maurice Cheeks I truly  like .. but damnned if MC isn’t worse than LF … Yes there are roster problems .. Remember when 80% of the Pistons team were either SG or SF? Haha . now we have Stuckey who cannot shoot from the outside . and KCP can .. but he is never allowed to play in the 2nd half .. and absolutely  no SF on the team ..

  • Leave a Reply

    Your Ad Here