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What does tanking look like?

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (14-22) at Philadelphia 76ers (12-23)
  • Date: January 10, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

There’s something to be said about where the Detroit Pistons stand today as a basketball club with the Philadelphia 76ers hosting them tonight.

Joe Dumars made a big splash during the offseason when he signed Josh Smith to a lucrative four-year $54 million deal and traded for the services of Brandon Jennings.

What’s more, the plan was for Smith to abandon the power forward spot — where he has flourished during his time with the Atlanta Hawks — to become Detroit’s starting small forward.

There were some concerns over whether the Pistons’ offense would have enough spacing to properly function with Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe consistently sharing the court together, and they were warranted.

Still, others felt that the passing ability of Smith and Monroe would make up for the lack of long-range shooting and allow the offense to operate fairly smoothly. Also, Detroit’s talent would carry them every now and then through a few rough patches. Well, the experiment has been a failure as the midway point of the regular season approaches.

Talks have begun that Smith should come off the bench in a support role and also, we are being told that Monroe’s name has not crept up in trade talks, but the fact his name keeps resurfacing is certainly a source of concern. The franchise is not in disarray yet, but the Pistons are at the red light contemplating whether to get on the overpass that leads to Disaster Freeway.

On the other hand, tonight’s opponent is heading in the same direction, but driving in a different lane.

The 76ers took another approach in the summer and decided to blow up the roster. They sent Jrue Holiday packing and acquired Nerlens Noel. Fearing for Noel’s health, Philadelphia quickly announced they were likely shutting him down for the season.

For all intents and purposes, Philly made the decision to tank. They are giving out minutes to young players this season and trying to figure out what they have. In the process, they quickly realized they had a gem in Michael Carter-Williams.

It’s possible that Philly now has its backcourt of the future with Evan Turner starting alongside Carter-Williams. Then again, Turner comes at a relatively hefty price tag (carries an $8.7 million qualifying offer amount for 2014-15) and could potentially get traded away for other assets.

Make no mistake about it though, the Philly franchise is currently going through a development stage. And yet, their record is incredibly similar to Detroit’s. What does it say about the Pistons’ postseason chances that they have almost as many losses as a team that has no interest in winning?

Consider this: The Sixers went out west and won consecutive road games against the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers recently.

Meanwhile, the Pistons are stuck in a six-game losing streak. What’s more, they’ve been blown out four times during that stretch. When presented with that info, which team sounds like it’s tanking?

Luckily for Maurice Cheeks, his group defeated Philly earlier in the season by double digits and might have a shot at repeating the feat again tonight. Nonetheless, the Pistons are still at that red light and it’s about to change. The freeway awaits.

Read about the 76ers

50 Comments

  • Jan 10, 20145:39 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    If this sh*t continues we should all gather and PROTEST in Detroit! Enough is enough.

  • Jan 10, 20146:16 pm
    by Roger

    Reply

    Philly also had an ownership group that was on board with tanking.  And they didn’t just take four trips to the lottery.  
    Don’t downplay how much the agent connection means that Zach Lowe mentions in his article.  Falk will fight for max money. 
    Stuckey is represented by Leon Rose and the CAA conglomerate.  Joe has some interesting ties to that group.  If you’ll remember, Worldwide Wes often sat courtside when Rip was on the team.  Both Rip and Stuckey’s extensions were pretty generous…I would assume a favor will be returned in the future.  
     

  • Jan 10, 20146:36 pm
    by alex

    Reply

    must win tonight!
    about time to re-allot the minutes in the big3 frontcourt….clearly doesn’t work.
    Look at J-Smoove’s shotchart….beyond ugly:
    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/88430/courtvision-the-worst-shooters-so-far-2

    • Jan 11, 201412:27 am
      by Smitty

      Reply

      Please stop this. HAHAHA. If you defend Josh Smith, just think of what a real sf that could shoot 3′s would do for this team.

  • Jan 10, 20147:10 pm
    by Keith

    Reply

    Don’t jinx us into winning J.M. Falling back into the top 8 is still the best case scenario for the Pistons. We can pretend that all this team needs is more time together to gel, or we can be honest and accept that it is fatally flawed. The latter makes watching games a lot easier.

  • Jan 10, 20147:21 pm
    by smitty

    Reply

    Getting smoked early.

  • Jan 10, 20147:38 pm
    by smitty

    Reply

    Cut will Bynum now

  • Jan 10, 20147:42 pm
    by theother13

    Reply

    Does ANYONE notice that the Pistons play better when Drummond and Monroe are not on the floor together?

    • Jan 10, 20148:14 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      Well, that’s not really true since Drummond + Monroe and without Smith is an effective lineup. Monroe + Smith and Drummond + Smith are also effective. What is awful is Drummond + Monroe + Smith.

      • Jan 10, 20148:17 pm
        by Smitty

        Reply

        This team is awful. I wish we would make a trade.

      • Jan 10, 20148:21 pm
        by frankie d

        Reply

        and that should have been anticipated by anyone who’d watched those players play at all.
        the fact that joe d spent all of that money signing someone who’s presence has not improved his starting unit, is truly incredible.  
        just when i thought joe d couldn’t come up with something more mindbogglingly dumb, he does it again.
        i know that some prominent folks here dismiss the idea, but, imho, this set of signings – smith and jennings – will end almost as badly or even worse than the CV/BG signings.  once everything is finished shuffling as a result of this past summer, it will be an unmitigated disaster.  we are only seeing the beginning of that process now.

        • Jan 10, 20148:39 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          That’s something that will take time before we know if it’s true. I’m assuming you mean both the moves themselves and the subsequent moves caused by those signings. If so, keep in mind that they were so desperate to rid themselves of Gordon that they gave away a pick despite having the amnesty available to rid themselves of him. It will take a lot to beat out those two guys being so bad that they gave away a pick that will likely come in a deep draft class this year. It’s hard for them to do worse than that. Even without that consideration, Jennings is better than Gordon was, and Smith is better than CV. Let’s just say that I’m skeptical that these signings end up worse than BG and CV.

        • Jan 10, 201410:46 pm
          by jg22

          Reply

          You can’t say that lineup with all 3 is useless when it allowed them to beat Miami and Indiana. Its just not a lineup conducive to beating every team, so they should only be starting two of them the rest of the nights, and only go big when they need to.

  • Jan 10, 20149:13 pm
    by smitty

    Reply

    I almost got ready to start believing and then realized that this is Philly.

  • Jan 10, 20149:34 pm
    by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

    Reply

    Point Proven…even though Singler did not have his best 3 point shooting night….Singler played more minutes than Greg monroe…spacing the floor…and Greg was just as effective….

    • Jan 10, 20149:53 pm
      by Jopl

      Reply

      I hope after this game that Cheeks realizes the best thing to do is to space the big men.  If Monroe could accept it, he could be great off the bench

      • Jan 10, 201410:23 pm
        by jamesjones_det

        Reply

        I don’t have much faith Cheeks will pick that up.  Remember the game when he benched JS for a half and the team was gelling pretty well with Singler in the SF spot, he’s never gone back to that so I have little faith he will do anything that would make sense based on tonight’s game.

  • Jan 10, 201410:04 pm
    by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

    Reply

    @Jodi Monroe game would be less affected if he came off the bench….if James Harden, Vinny Johnson, Ginpbli can come off the bench and be game changer why can’t a scoring big? who actual plays better as the go to big?

    • Jan 10, 201411:59 pm
      by Jodi aka "The Guru"

      Reply

      I actually saw good limited minutes from Monroe…I guess @ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS and some of you guys were right…But like I said before, will Monroe’s ego allow him to accept this role for our team?..Good win Pistons!..

      • Jan 11, 20141:13 am
        by Smitty

        Reply

        Just split minutes. Josh does not need to play SF. Monroe can play more center. How fucking hard is that to figure out? Cheeks can start them all and at the 10 min mark bring in Singler for one of the three. Game by game basis. So simple. Which ever player is not working that game or if all are working then just take one out a little later and just don’t put them back together again after that. Wow, just blew my own mind!
         
         

  • Jan 10, 201410:38 pm
    by jg22

    Reply

    Cheeks said after the game that he only played two bigs at a time tonight because the sixers went small, not because he’s thinking of changing the lineup.
     
    But when asked if the success of it would prompt him to look at going with it further, he said “we’ll look at it and see, but its only one game”

    • Jan 10, 201410:51 pm
      by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

      Reply

      Cheeks can’t be that stupid not to notice the difference….most coaches would.look at it like a luxury

      • Jan 11, 201412:04 am
        by Jodi aka "The Guru"

        Reply

        Yeah, that’s spot on…Any coach would love to have 2 6’11 bigs that can either score or be a defensive juggernaut…That’s another reason why I say it would be a great idea to keep those two together for as long as possible…

        • Jan 11, 201412:21 am
          by Smitty

          Reply

          We just beat a shit team.  Nothing to see here.
           

          • Jan 11, 201412:50 am
            by Jodi aka "The Guru"

            Hahaha, +1 for Smitty…

          • Jan 11, 201412:59 am
            by Smitty

            I will say this @Jodi, the first person I would like to see go would be Cheeks. So if you’re all for being patient on the players then at least get a real coach to see if it could work.
             

        • Jan 11, 20146:11 pm
          by Jake

          Reply

          Cheeks is really bad…but it is strange that he was hired to “develop” the young guys and teach Brandon Knight how to be a point guard.  Instead he’s got to deal with Jennings and Smith being less than coachable and an awkward lineup.  Unless everyone is on board (agent and Greg), he wouldn’t be able to bring him off the bench.  
          Team chemistry is already questionable and this could turn into complete chaos.  No chance Smith takes a 6th man role either.  
          One huge knock on Joe is that he did the same thing to Michael Curry (trading Chauncey for Iverson).  The roster both of these guys were asked to coach ended up being significantly different when the job actually started.  
           

  • Jan 10, 201410:40 pm
    by jg22

    Reply

    The Pistons front office/coaching staff would have to want to lose their jobs if they continue starting all 3 at this point. Its clearly in their favor to play only two at a time.

  • Jan 10, 201411:00 pm
    by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

    Reply

    Cheeks is sounding like a stubborn idiot
    ..most night teams have shooters on the floor, that kill us. Defensively…and on offense they pack the paint

    • Jan 10, 201411:05 pm
      by jg22

      Reply

      Exactly what I was thinking. Every team save for Indiana and Memphis have smaller teams today who spread the court with shooters. So if you recgonize you need it tonight against Philly, how do you not recognize it against the rest of the league?
       
      Its not like Philly is even some great shooting team, to where you can get away with being big against other teams, but you better be small to stop those great shooting sixers! lol

      • Jan 11, 201412:17 am
        by Smitty

        Reply

        Memphis just blew us out. It doesn’t matter who we are playing. Having terrible floor spacing will kill. Along with terrible D.

  • Jan 10, 201411:16 pm
    by Adam

    Reply

    Thank philly for the win guys Look I’m the first to say i wished the experiment of all 3 of them starting worked out but when I sat down to watch the game and saw the same starting 5 after our recent horror run I was blown away by the sheer stubbornness of the whole organization to make changes the fact we started so pathetically so early actually forced cheeks hand to make the changes we needed once again thank you philly 
     

    • Jan 10, 201411:21 pm
      by Smitty

      Reply

      We could make a trade or just change the rotations and who plays with each other on the floor and this team would be way better. If the other teams play 3 bigs then fine go with it. If not Monroe+Drummond+Smith= NOOOO!

  • Jan 10, 201411:38 pm
    by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

    Reply

    When u play all three then 2 or the 3 are forced to play outside of their strongest skill….lucky for us we.play the sun’s next and they play smaler

  • Jan 11, 201412:14 am
    by Ryan

    Reply

    Smith to Houston, Asik and Jones to Portland, Meyers Leonard, CJ McCollum and Wright to Detroit. Temporary small forward help plus two prospects for Smith who’s clearly not working out at all. Before you Smith defenders jump on me yes he just had a great night one in which he need 43 minutes to pull down double figures in rebounds, shot 2 for 8 from three and 8 for 23 overall and only managed this against a team that wants to lose. What I’m saying is even his good nights show how much he sucks and how much he really, really doesn’t fit here.

    After we do that deal we swap CV3 for Thaddeus Young. Young is the perfect partner for Drummond and Monroe because he can play with either of them and he can help cover for Monroe’s defensive limitations. Philly would be happy to move him for cap space.

    With these two deals we’d have our big man rotation set, we’d have saved money on Smith’s horrible contract and we’d have some prospects to either keep or use in trade for a small forward. Would love to see Dumars explain why this isn’t much better than any idea he’s had in years.

    • Jan 11, 201412:20 am
      by Smitty

      Reply

      Smith should go. I don’t think Philly would trade Young for Cv haha. I would even trade Smith for cap space.

  • Jan 11, 201412:19 am
    by Adam

    Reply

    Guys if we as an organization is stubborn to make changes to roster rotations what makes u think we will part with the guy who was only signed in the off season it’s just not happening even if it makes sense

  • Jan 11, 201412:28 am
    by Smitty

    Reply

    Tonight proved that we aren’t getting that draft pick.

    • Jan 11, 201412:47 am
      by Ryan

      Reply

      Yup. It seems most likely that we’ll either a) make the playoffs and lose in five games or b) miss the playoffs but not get our pick. If it’s got to be one of those two I hope for the latter because it’s more likely to get Joe Dumars fired.

      • Jan 11, 201412:55 am
        by Smitty

        Reply

        Either way I think gores let’s Dumar’s contract run out. He clearly just doesn’t have it. Although i really like KCP and how he is getting better and starting to attack the basket. If Joe D was only allowed to make trades and draft, but not resign free agents that would be so good.

        • Jan 11, 20146:19 pm
          by Jake

          Reply

          Guys – adding another lottery pick doesn’t make Drummond and Monroe better defensively.  
          KCP is going to be solid and it’s time to fill the roster out with veterans.  
          They need a shooting SF and a bench with a backup PG (what Chauncey should have been) and a backup big.   

  • Jan 11, 201412:40 am
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    Please Dumars make my dream come true and trade for Carmelo Anthony. Please Please Please. Front court of Dre-J-Smoove and Melo would be unbelievable. 
    I don’t care what you guys think but I believe there is a big chance that he resigns.
    BTW Melo Jennings and Smith all went to Oak Hill Academy.
    ————–
    Also how come no body is talking about Josh Smith’s performance. Other than shooting too many threes, he was awesome!! Even Lebron can’t pull this stat line. What an incredible performance. He is so good when he plays the PF position. Today he played the PF position most of the time and it paid off. 

    • Jan 11, 201412:45 am
      by Ryan

      Reply

      Smith is awesome 1 game out of 10. Please reread my analysis.

      Before you Smith defenders jump on me yes he just had a great night one in which he need 43 minutes to pull down double figures in rebounds, shot 2 for 8 from three and 8 for 23 overall and only managed this against a team that wants to lose. What I’m saying is even his good nights show how much he sucks and how much he really, really doesn’t fit here.

      Smith is the one who needs to leave Detroit.

      • Jan 11, 201412:53 am
        by Smitty

        Reply

        If we could trade Monroe to get a legit Sf who can shoot 3′s then fine. If not Smith should be traded for whatever. If we are going to keep both then stop fucking playing the Big 3 together. 5 min a game max. How retarded is Cheeks?

        • Jan 11, 20141:57 am
          by Ryan

          Reply

          Trading Smith should be our first and our second option keeping them and bringing one of the big fellas off the bench should be our third option. Trading Smith should also be our fourth option.

          Why don’t you think that Philadelphia would swap Young for Villanueva? They want cap space and they want to lose Villanueva helps with both of those wants.
           

  • Jan 11, 201412:45 am
    by Adam

    Reply

    Bk people love to the hate he deserves the criticism most times but if he contributes like that  u gotta give him props everyone and then 

  • Jan 11, 201412:58 am
    by Adam

    Reply

    Ryan man we r stuck with smith for better or for worse 

    • Jan 11, 20141:08 am
      by Smitty

      Reply

      I do not like Gordon but a Smith for Gordon straight up works. Gordon has one year less on his contract. So that deal would work for me. Either way the Pistons are not contending right now. One year less on a bad deal would work. Whats up with Datome? 

    • Jan 11, 20141:58 am
      by Ryan

      Reply

      Trading Smith should be our first and our second option keeping them and bringing one of the big fellas off the bench should be our third option. Trading Smith should also be our fourth option. Why don’t you think that Philadelphia would swap Young for Villanueva? They want cap space and they want to lose Villanueva helps with both of those wants.
       

  • Jan 11, 20147:00 pm
    by PortuguesePiston

    Reply

    Trade Monroe, Stuckey and Villanueva for Carmelo Anthony.

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