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Pistons should tank and tank hard

Me at the Detroit Free Press:

At 23-35, the Pistons are 3.5 games out of playoff position, 1.5 games ahead of the NBA’s eighth-worst record and two games ahead of the league’s seventh-worst record.

The Pistons could settle for the NBA’s eighth-worst record and an 82.4% chance of keeping their pick after the lottery. But the seventh-worst record would go much further, upping those odds to 98.1%.

Neither trying to make the playoffs nor tanking successfully will be easy, but tanking is more likely to work.

The eighth-place Atlanta Hawks are on pace to win 37 games. To match that, the Pistons must finish 14-10. Detroit hasn’t had a 24-game streak that strong since 2008-09.

I’m not against the Pistons making the playoffs, even though I believe keeping the pick would be more beneficial to their future. You can’t always look to the future, though.

After four years in the lottery, a postseason berth justifies itself.

But I just don’t believe that the Pistons will make the playoffs, and finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference carries no more satisfaction than finishing 11th. It would just mean losing a valuable asset.

I often hear a few common oppositions to tanking:

1. The Pistons need veterans, not another young player. They’re already too young.

I guess Warren Buffett is too rich, Beyonce too attractive and Terence Tao too smart.

Being young is not a problem. It’s a strength. And it’s not as if getting a higher pick will stop the Pistons from signing a decent veteran with their cap space this summer.

But know how teams like Detroit get really valuable veterans? Drafting them. Seventeen of this season’s 25 All-Stars are playing for their first team.

2. If the Pistons keep their pick this year, they could send Charlotte an even more valuable selection later. The pick is only top-one protected in 2015 and unprotected in 2016.

I’ll take that chance.

With Drummond (20), Monroe (23), Brandon Jennings (24), Kyle Singler (25), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (20) and even Josh Smith (28) forming the Pistons’ core, substantial internal improvements already are likely. Because the Pistons would know they’ll almost certainly lose the pick next year, they’d also focus on building for the present — making a surge forward in 2014-15 even more likely.

3. Tanking isn’t guaranteed to work. Even the NBA’s worst team gets only a 25% chance at the top pick, and draft picks bust all the time.

Show me a plan that is guaranteed to work, and I’ll support that one instead.

The Pistons don’t need the No. 1 pick to justify tanking. They just need a top-eight pick, allowing them to get one more talented rookie before the players already on the roster improve to the point that picking so high is impossible.

Speaking of the players, this should have nothing to do with them.

The decision to tank should come from the top, owner Tom Gores. Gores can bypass team president Joe Dumars, an apparent lame duck who historically has opposed tanking, and address coach John Loyer directly. The coach doesn’t have to like it, but if his boss wants it, Loyer must execute the plan.

The players, though, should always be called upon to play their hardest. Their effort and development should not suffer.

90 Comments

  • Feb 28, 201411:12 am
    by bonerici

    Reply

    to make 8th place in the lottery we need about 30 wins, and have to go 7-17 or 30%, to make 8th place in the playoffs we need 37 wins or so, and your math is good, we have to go 14-10 or 58%, right now we are performing at a steady 40%, so we need to perform 10% worse or 18% better.
    We will probably finish right around 40% get a few wins and a few more losses than wins.
    Depressing.   The closer we get to the finish line the more sure we are of both missing the playoffs and losing our pick.

    • Mar 1, 201412:41 am
      by Rusty

      Reply

      The Pistons Will tank just by playing.  They don’t need to try. They have good young players.  They just need a leader.  Gores is a good owner he just needs a GM who knows talent.  Joe was hungry. Then his stomach got in the way..

      • Mar 1, 20142:12 pm
        by ?

        Reply

        They have good young players.  …he just needs a GM who knows talent.
        reconcile those two statements please.

  • Feb 28, 201411:15 am
    by YeezusdaDon

    Reply

    Imo if they wanna tank and be quiet about it all they have to do is give the young rookies some more playing time …come on joe d and mr gores , I could run this whole organization by myself ..what’s the plan here 

  • Feb 28, 201411:15 am
    by Branden

    Reply

    It’s funny, because point #2 is so strong of an argument against your case, that it undermines your article. Tanking for Gary Harris, Dario Saric or whatever prospect doesn’t separate himself after the top 5 are gone, is not worth it.  
     
     

    • Feb 28, 201411:38 am
      by Vic

      Reply

      there’s always hidden talent in the draft beyond the big names in the top 5. 
      last year it was MCW, Burke.
       
      this year its Kyle Anderson.
      Plus a big chance of Smart dropping past 5.
      If Anderson shoots up the draft boards, Doug McDermott could be the best shooter in the NBA available at 8… perfect to space the floor.
      Get a defender at PG like Deonte Burton in round 2 and your set

      • Feb 28, 201411:22 pm
        by Mo Cheeks

        Reply

        Burke is hidden talent? He is having an incredibly inefficient year. Don’t get me wrong, he has all the tools to become a good player, but right now calling him hidden talent doesn’t make sense.

        • Mar 1, 201412:40 am
          by Jordan

          Reply

          Gordon Haywards been horribly inefficient too but we’ve seen the type of player he can be on a decent team.

        • Mar 1, 20145:49 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          Burke’s shooting poorly, which is pretty common for rookies, but he’s a really efficient passer. Rookies that can put up a 3-1 assist to turnover ratio are rare. I’d say that he’s clearly talented and one of the best rookies from what is admittedly a pretty weak class. The question should be how he could be considered hidden since everyone knew who he was and he was usually projected as a top 6 player in that draft.

    • Feb 28, 201411:39 am
      by jerrific

      Reply

      Every draft has players that fall outside of the top five that end up being more successful than anticipated. Besides, how is adding a young prospect not worth it when the most likely alternative is missing the playoffs and losing the pick? 

    • Feb 28, 20141:56 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      I’m really high on guys like Gary Harris or Tyler Ennis as prospects, so I really disagree. I think this draft is about 10 deep with guys that have the potential to be good starters, and this team desperately needs good starters. They’ve got Drummond and a pair of big men that are good as long as they can play one of the power spots. That means that only 2 positions are filled with good starters, although Jennings is also legitimately a starter. KCP could get there still, but he hasn’t been so good that the team shouldn’t consider adding a potential upgrade off of him. I guess there is an outside chance that if he moved to the starting SF role full time that Singler could be pretty good, but I’d bet against him being more than a low end starter at best. That’s just not good enough.
       
      Oh, and jeriffic is right that it doesn’t exactly take a lot to be worth it when the alternative is losing both the pick and the missing the playoffs anyways.

  • Feb 28, 201411:18 am
    by Branden

    Reply

     What an awful trade that was, including the most valuable trade asset of the 2013 summer to free up money for FA. Not being able to trade the pick for a player better than Brandon Jennings was the day Gores showed what an awful owner he is.
     
     

  • Feb 28, 201411:22 am
    by sebastian

    Reply

    IF OUR Pistons continue to win at the 40% (.396%) rate that this unappealing campaign has produced this far, then WE will only win roughly 10 more of the remaining 24 games, thus netting 33 wins (33-49).
    At this rate if WE are able to secure losses to NYK, Boston (2), Cleveland (2), Hilly, Milwaukee, and Atlanta, it will go along way to helping to retaining OUR 2014 pick.
    Tanking is the new winning!

  • Feb 28, 201411:22 am
    by joe

    Reply

    If pistons want to resurrect this team, they need to hire Hollins and do a sign and trade with Monroe (don’t forget Jennings) to boston for Rondo and Green. 

    • Feb 28, 201411:54 am
      by MIKEYDE248

      Reply

      Rondo was listed as one of the top two over rated players in the league.  I tend to agree.

    • Feb 28, 201411:24 pm
      by Mo Cheeks

      Reply

      I’d want Olynyk too

  • Feb 28, 201411:24 am
    by Waulie

    Reply

    The only way to really tank is to sit Drummond, Monroe, and/or Singler for significant time.  If you try anything else, you results aren’t going to come close ”tanking hard” since the other players playing right now have been basically terrible.  So, which and how many of those three young, productive players do you send to the bench to maximize the chances of your tank plan working?  What are the consequences of not giving those three young, productive players the minutes they deserve?

    • Feb 28, 201411:48 am
      by jerrific

      Reply

      Not true, playing those three with smith at four is also an effective tanking strategy.  That lineup has to many defensive weaknesses to have any hope of winning most games.  

  • Feb 28, 201411:30 am
    by brgulker

    Reply

    The Pistons just have to keep doing what they’re doing under Loyer, and they’ll be picking in the Lottery. That might be unfair to Loyer. The defense is the biggest problem – maybe Bibby is at fault the most. 

  • Feb 28, 201411:33 am
    by sebastian

    Reply

    *not Hilly, but Philly

  • Feb 28, 201411:42 am
    by YeezusdaDon

    Reply

    Guys like siva, datome, Mitchell , kcp and Cv could all be playing and chucking up shots there’s the line up right there
    ..pg siva
    ..sg kcp
    ..sf datome
    ..pf Mitchell 
    ..c Drummond ….haha I like that line up

    • Mar 3, 201412:36 pm
      by Chris Woj

      Reply

      Too young, too incompetent, gives too many minutes to guys who will never play for the Pistons. I’d go with…
       
      PG – Jennings / Siva – Jennings is, like it or not, the starter the next two years.
      SG – KCP / Singler / Stuckey – Singler gets development minutes, too slow at SG to REALLY be a benefit to the team. Stuckey has no more use for us, no longer featuring him for a trade, not bringing him back next year – why play him at all.
      SF – Smith – Same as Jennings, he’s here for three more years… gotta play him. If only to keep the peace.
      PF – Monroe / Mitchell – Giving Mitchell significant minutes does what we need, he doesn’t need to start.
      C – Drummond / Jorts – Because they’re both awesome.

  • Feb 28, 201411:44 am
    by jerrific

    Reply

    If the pistons really want to tank they just need to hand the reigns over to Jennings in the fourth, and play the three bigs. Hero ball and terrible team defense will take care of the problem for them, all the while playing their “best” players.  

    • Feb 28, 20141:22 pm
      by Vic

      Reply

      yep… and since the biggest names/ biggest money gets the PT and the ball, they will definitely be tanking

    • Feb 28, 20143:31 pm
      by baines

      Reply

      I’d add  Bynum to the Jennings and 3 bigs in the 4th quarter and we are guaranteed to fail!!

      • Mar 1, 201411:25 am
        by Vic

        Reply

        Funny that also happens to be the best strategy either coach could come up with

  • Feb 28, 201412:38 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    Should they tank?  
    Of course.  It is a no brainer at this point.
    Will they tank?
    Of course not.  It would make too much sense and run counter to the totally nonsensical way the franchise has been run for the last 6 or 7 years.
     

  • Feb 28, 20141:09 pm
    by JVS

    Reply

    Can’t agree more vehemently.  The longer it takes them to realize it, the more likely we end up in no-mans-land.  What a great asset it would be to have the pick/player to pair with some of the parts we need to reconfigure into a shooter or better balanced lineup.  Else we are just in the same mess next year, wasting the primes of a number of these guys.

  • Feb 28, 20141:31 pm
    by JudKast

    Reply

    I hate the word tank..   sounds so juvenile – best to think of what they would do as “strategizing” – its a chess match and Pistons would do well and serve a purpose in getting any pick within the eight. They are not that far from having a winning record – IF THEY ARE TAUGHT TO PLAY DEFENSE !!!

    • Feb 28, 20145:55 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      It’ actually called milking the system. Also if the players don’t know how toplay defense by the time they make it to the NBA… they never will. They need a coach that implements the correct defensive stuctures is what i think you might mean.

      • Feb 28, 20147:30 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        Very few players know how to play NBA caliber defense when they enter the league.

  • Feb 28, 20141:44 pm
    by MIKEYDE248

    Reply

    I guess it all comes down to which draft will end up being the better draft, this year or next?

  • Feb 28, 20142:18 pm
    by oats

    Reply

    The article argued that the team could tank by playing the big 3 together and leaving Singler at SG because the current starters are awful defensively. It’s true that their defensive rating of 111 is truly awful, but they have a 114 offensive rating which is really good and better than the league’s best offensive rating. They actually have a positive plus/minus, something the previous starting lineup couldn’t claim to have. Admittedly the minutes are pretty limited and I have no idea if that offense can keep up at this pace, but this starting lineup is sort of working.

    • Feb 28, 20142:54 pm
      by Rob

      Reply

      But the most important thing is the win-loss record, check that one out

      • Feb 28, 20143:39 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        Is the starting lineup always completely to blame for the win-loss record, especially when playing some pretty good teams? This lineup is outscoring their opposition on the year, and it’s hard to fault them for that.

        • Feb 28, 20144:05 pm
          by Rob

          Reply

          Definitely most important

          • Feb 28, 20144:21 pm
            by oats

            Me: The starting lineup is playing pretty well.
            You: They are losing.
            Me: If they are outscoring their opponent then they aren’t really to blame for the losing.
            You: They are losing.
             
            This is a really dumb argument…

          • Feb 28, 20144:47 pm
            by Parsons

            I’m confused if our lineup could out score anyone we wouldn’t be 23-35. Dallas, Golden State, Portland they play tougher teams than us but they actually win games. We’re 4-7 with Singler starting so +- really isn’t helpful here. If your implying the bench kills us I would tell you our bench only has 2 players they can’t hurt us that bad. Besides Stuckey and Bynum have outplayed our starters lately.

          • Feb 28, 20146:57 pm
            by oats

            They have an offensive rating of 114 and a defensive rating of 111, for a net of +3 points per 100 possessions. That’s not great, but it’s decent enough to win games. If the goal is losing then the team should go with a lineup that has a negative net rating, like the previous staring lineup that had a 101 offensive rating and a 105 defensive rating.
             
            As for the bench not hurting them, it clearly has to be. If the starters out score their opponents and the team loses then the bench absolutely has to be at fault. It is somewhat fair to question if the starters are winning their matchup by enough for a thin roster to hold on to the win, but that’s not really the same thing as them actively contributing to a loss. If it’s being promoted as a way to facilitate tanking then the lineup should be actively contributing to the loss.
             
            It’s also not true that the bench is only two deep. Jerebko has gotten reasonable minutes the last few games, and KCP has had a couple games where he got some too. More than that, just because they are individually better doesn’t mean their lineup is better. Say they sub out Drummond and stick in Stuckey, which is often the first sub being made. That lineup has an offensive rating of 99 and a defensive rating of 113, for a net of -14 points per 100 possessions. The problem isn’t that Stuckey is a bad player or that he is playing poorly, the problem is that the lineup kind of stinks. That sort of thing can easily happen with a poorly constructed roster.

          • Feb 28, 20146:59 pm
            by oats

            I forgot to mention it, but statistical analysis has found that point differential is a better predictor of future success than win-loss record. Yeah, the plus/minus stuff does matter.

    • Mar 2, 20143:06 am
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      Oats, not sure where you’re getting your numbers, but entering the Rockets game, I have the Pistons’ current starts with an offensive rating of 106.1 and defensive rating of 114.9.

      • Mar 2, 20147:29 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        Ah, I see. I was using 82games.com which apparently isn’t up to date. It has that lineup at only 126 minutes played, but NBA.com has them at 218 minutes played and the numbers more closely resemble the ones you gave since I’m checking it after the Houston game. That 82games.com data probably hasn’t been updated since Singler entered the starting lineup then. Thanks for the correction, and I’ll be careful with using 82games.com data from here on out.

  • Feb 28, 20142:22 pm
    by pablum

    Reply

    “Help the Pistons lose games.” — (Dan Feldman, Detroit Free Press., 2/2814). 
    1. Will Bynum has just taken B. Jennings job for all practical purposes (starting PG’s do NOT ride the bench in the 4th). But rather than let Loyer coach and determine who will actually be our starting PG for our future you say — “Help the Pistons Lose Games.”
    2. Josh Smith’s career as an NBA player is on the line, including any potential value he has to us (as a player or in a trade) and rather than let Loyer coach and let this play out you say — “Help the Pistons Lose Games.”
    3. Moose: Will he or won’t he be worthy of being a max-player? Why worry now? “Help the Pistons lose games.”
    4. Loyer. Is he a bonafide NBA coach or not??? Why even find out? What’s it matter to him anyway, it’s just his first shot at the big show! — “Help the Pistons lose games.”
    5. Gores. An owner who has now been derided by several pro-hoop’s media figures in this town as an “idiot”, and business reporters as “sleazy” (just go catch lunch at Russell Street with the usual suspects from Crain’s Detroit Business next door, or better, read that Huff Post article I linked to Gores a week ago, OMG) — so Gores. This is the guy? This guy. He’s the person that makes “Helping the Pistons Lose” Okay?
     
    Really, Dan? 
     

    • Feb 28, 20143:48 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      1) This isn’t likely to be figured out this year due to all the uncertainty around this, and even if it was the team losing wouldn’t necessarily hinder their ability to evaluate Jennings.
       
      2) Smith is playing well as the team is falling apart and the strategy laid out asks for Smith to keep doing what he’s doing. I’m not seeing the problem.
       
      3) The Pistons should already have their answer to this. If they don’t have it now then they won’t have it by season’s end no matter what happens the rest of the way.
       
      4) I don’t know if that answer could possibly be provided by these Pistons. Keep in mind that he has them squarely outside of the playoffs and losing ground. Besides, the Pistons don’t owe it to Loyer to give him the best shot possible, they owe it to themselves to put themselves in the best position long term.
       
      5) I don’t even know what this point is…

      • Feb 28, 20145:21 pm
        by pablum

        Reply

        (1) Oats. You simply do not get it. Get out of your theory mode and be a real player. Your very identity is being challenged. Your entire genius hoop’s life you have always and only thought of yourself as a bonafide killer, a closer, clutch, the mother-fuckin-man, the next AI. This is who Brandon Jennings is. This is how he thinks of himself, check out his twitter, etc., etc.,– Tupac’s all over him. So for him to fail over these last 24 games is a real big deal. It means something. If he can’t take his job back from will bynum, it means something. And if he can’t take his job back, for toe or any other reasons, he certainly won’t be branded as our starter for next year.
         
        (2)The “problem” is the thesis: “Help the Pistons LOSE games.”
         
        (3) Right. But nobody really knows. And “Help the Pistons Lose games” doesn’t clarify it. There’s too many good counter- arguments out there.
         
        (4) Sure it can. Loyer’s amply proved it to me he’s a boanfide coach, however little that means; he’s a fucking coach. His benching of Jenning’s is brilliant; whatever our recent record, as Mayo and others have noted, we’re clearly playing better as a team, and you must give credit to Loyer for that. And That’s where you and I differ. Because I call out all the still key decisions that must be made on this team to be resolved as precisely as fucking possible in the last 24 games and you can’t do that if you TANK Oats. You can’t. So fuck that. And there’s loyalty too, to Loyer, yes Rip Hamilton Sir, there is.
         
        (5) Dan is trying to reconcile that tanking isn’t cheating by adhering to the imaginary boundary that exists between owners, whom he deems can ethically tank, and players (and coaches I presume) whom, he thinks should never tank because that would be cheating. This I believe is fairly Dan and the crews premise/thesis on tanking. So Dan directly says as long as Gores is the one tanking then tanking is fine. And you don’t understand my point about this? What if Tom Gores is not the most reputable guy, I mean, just to put it reasonably. I mean it’s not like something like betting by a player or coach or a player/coach ever happened; or you know, whatever…Let me tell you about rich people Oats. They really are the Great Gatsby’s… 

        • Feb 28, 20146:25 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          1) I really don’t think his position as the starting PG will be determined by his play in either direction. He’s still the starer now. He struggles in the 4th, but he’s still better than Bynum and would get the start over him next year if the team stands pat. If the team can add someone who is a better PG than him via trade, free agency, or the draft will determine if he is the long term starter. For that matter, even if they don’t upgrade off him they might have to move him to get a deal done. The remaining 24 games of the year won’t outweigh the previous 347 that he has played in his career.
           
          I’m also of the opinion that benching Jennings is not nearly as brilliant as you make it out to be because the vast majority of players aren’t really that effected by that sort of thing. They don’t like it and might respond to it for a little while, and that response is not always positive, but that effect is almost always gone by the next year if not well before then so it doesn’t mean a lot in the grand scheme of things. Some guys will internalize it more than that, but it’s extremely rare. Even if Jennings is one of those guys, I don’t see how whether or not he regains his spot in the closing lineup this year is that important.
           
          Last but certainly not least, this isn’t really all that related to the tanking issue. They can still tank while sitting Jennings in the 4th, or they can tank while reinserting him because he figured out that it makes sense to continue passing the ball in the 4th quarter. These two things are not mutually exclusive.
           
          2) Yeah, that has nothing to do with Josh Smith. You don’t like tanking and I get that, but your point wasn’t relevant to the conversation. Smith’s value can go up or down independently of the team’s attempts at tanking.
           
          3) I don’t see how tanking not clarifying things makes a difference when nothing will clarify it.
           
          4) He hasn’t proven jack to me. He’s inserted Singler into the starting lineup and that has sort of worked, but they look like the same team to me. I mean, how are they clearly playing better when they are 2-6 under Loyer. I can find several 8 game stretches where the Pistons looked at least this good under Cheeks, so he would have to do a lot more than just have the team be a little more competitive in 8 games that feature 6 losses to have proven he can coach.
           
          As for loyalty, the team should be loyal to their fans first and foremost. Part of that obligation is do as much as possible to assemble a good team. Since they are unlikely to make the playoffs that means tanking to add another young asset. As far as I’m concerned, the obligation to the fans trumps loyalty to an interim coach. Let them give him an interview for the job to keep his name out there and then give him good recommendations in the future if they want to be loyal to him.
           
          5) Actually, Dan has the coach changing his game plan to a less than optimal one so the coach would have to be complicit in the tanking. It also has absolutely nothing to do with cheating at all. Asking a player to play poorly can hinder his development and hurt his trade value. He doesn’t want to set the precedent of telling the players that it is ok to not try to win, and I agree wholeheartedly. You always want the players feeling like they have to keep working to get better. Nothing in there is related to cheating or ethics. So what kind of guy Gores may or may not be is not in any way relevant.
           
          By the way, I don’t consider tanking to be cheating or dishonest in any way. It’s playing to the rules set by the league. The league decided to reward losing, so teams that can’t be good should try to lose games until they get good. I’m not terribly fond of the fact that the league has set up such strong incentives in favor of losing, but as long as they are there a smart team will take advantage of the NBA’s way of deciding on draft picks.

          • Feb 28, 20147:02 pm
            by pablum

            (1) ”I don’t see how whether or not [Jenning's] regains his spot in the closing lineup this year is that important.” [Yeah. You sure Brandon Jennings feel the same way? It'd be a personal humiliation.]
            (2) “Smith’s value can go up or down independently of the team’s attempts at tanking.”    [ Yes.  But you can't possibly be arguing that tanking will have NO effect on Smith's value. Can you?]
            (3) “I don’t see how tanking not clarifying things makes a difference when nothing will clarify it.” [MOnroe playing his ass off to make the playoffs will clarify it. Not tanking, which you seem to be arguing will have no real effect on anyone, Josh Smith, Or Jennings, or really anyone, as far as I can tell. Nope. No one affected by tanking seems to be the logical thread here.]
            (4) Oopps. I stand corrected. If Loyer’s affected by tanking, so fuckin’ what…
            (5) “Dan has the coach changing his game plan to a less than optimal one so the coach would have to be complicit in the tanking.” [Yeah. I'm sure all NBA coaches will appreciate this.]

          • Feb 28, 20147:59 pm
            by oats

            1) It sucks for him I guess, but that’s so far away from what you are talking about that I don’t get why you even bring it up. He can work to re-establish himself while the team tanks around him, but whether he does it or not has little bearing on his long term outlook with the team.
            2) Yes, I can. His value is currently going up while the team performs worse around him, and it can do so while tanking. Trust me, he can play really well while the team loses if they dust off Siva for 10-15 minutes a game.
             
            3) Yes, that is a logical thread that no player is really effected by a decent tanking strategy. Unless of course you count the positive effect it could have by giving Mitchell and Siva some burn that they otherwise wouldn’t. Well, I guess it might piss off Bynum or Stuckey to watch Siva cut into their playtime a bit, but they are old enough that it won’t harm their development and neither looks like a long term piece for Detroit anyways.
             
            Keep in mind that Monroe isn’t being asked to give less effort because that actually might be harmful to him. The team will just surround him with some bad lineups, some of which they are using already while trying to win. So if the team is really undecided and it is his effort down the stretch that will be the deciding factor they can still evaluate him on that.
             
            4) Yep. What’s best for an interim coach should never trump what is best for the organization as a whole.
             
            5) To reiterate, the coach is always less important than the organization as a whole. He’s getting paid to coach the team in whatever manner the organization feels is appropriate. If he can’t handle it then he can quit. If he wants to get paid and have a reputation as being amenable to the demands of the team then he can suck it up and do his job. I know that sounds harsh, but this is a business we’re talking about and he’s being well compensated for his work.

          • Feb 28, 20149:12 pm
            by D_S_V

            Your attempt to reason with this individual is admirable, but IMO, false hope at best. I’ve perused this site and read pablum enough to know that his vision of the structure of the NBA is not current, and never will be. So to try to reason with him regarding things like the purpose of tanking, John Loyer’s worth, or the quality/value of Brandon Jennings is… well I won’t tell you what to do. But I fully expect a numbered response from pablum that (hopefully) includes a reference to weed smoking and/or his trophy wife!

          • Feb 28, 201410:38 pm
            by pablum

            (1) Listen D_S_V, you would do well to be elderly and have a trophy wife who also enjoys her share of puffy.You would do very well indeed, young lad…
            (2) And I enjoy that you dub me archaic. You and your ilk think innovation has somehow evolved from affirming the perverse ideal that “Helping the Pistons Lose Games” is eminently logical and without the slightest potential to threaten the integrity of the game. How archaic of me to reject this premise entirely and avow the ancient and cliched idea that hoops warriors bust their ass out there to win every game.
            (3) I chalk up your sentiments about Loyer with those of others who think nothing of writing off people’s careers. Loyer’s 49. 49. He miraculously got this shot as an NBA coach with the completely unexpected axing of Cheeks. He’s patently improved the play of the team. Read David Mayo’s last several articles for MLIVE identifying how the team has improved under Loyer. Again, he’s 49. This is likely his one&only shot. And you think nothing of wiping it out. Whatever, you say. That’s the biz. Well — hold on, ’cause I need t do this shot of 15 year-old single malt — Okay. That’s better. Fuck that. Fuck treating people like that. GIve Loyer the decency of at least a chance, especially if he’s showing signs of growth, or, I guess, you can just go start fucking your brother’s wife.
            And one other thing, Oats. Loyer’s benching of Jenning’s is brilliant. It was risky, unexpected, and it showed brilliant mentorship to Jennings, a real, potentially difference making moment that you again wipe away as nothing, as a move of no merit at all. I want to take that coach’s clip-board and smack you over your head for this.
             (4) Now what’s the fucking last thing. Yeah. Tom Gores. The more we see the more we should pray for Dumars to remain.

          • Mar 1, 201410:35 am
            by JYD for Life

            Guys – they went into tank mode the minute they signed Smith and traded for Jennings.  
            Those two are losers and Barkley was right…they will never get it.   
             
            I’m in Houston for the weekend to watch the game with a few friends.  
            We used Uber to get back to the hotel last night and our driver asked where we were from…
            once he found out we were Pistons fans, he let us know that he drove Jennings around on Thursday night to a few local establishments that a lot of gentlemen frequent.   He was accompanied by a woman who “worked in the industry” and they were meeting Josh Smith (and probably a few other guys) up there.  
             
            Where they were going isn’t the issue, it’s more the fact that “it wasn’t an early night for them,” according to our driver.  
            We asked if BJ tipped him well after learning that Über is currently operating for free here and is going through a trial run and working through the proper channels to legitimize the business.  ”Surprisingly, No,” was his response.  
             
            My point is that the argument about these guys caring too much or going against their DNA to compete doesnt hold much weight when I hear things like this.  
             
            Its not to say that young millionaires shouldn’t have fun, but maybe wait until you’re not fighting for you Playoff lives to have late nights like that.  
            Sorry…if these guys wanted to really win, they’d be in the gym at midnight getting up shots or studying film in the 4 seasons hotel…

          • Mar 1, 201411:27 am
            by D_S_V

            Wait… you’re taking shots of a 15 year old single malt? And you question my decency…

    • Feb 28, 20143:57 pm
      by bonerici

      Reply

      u said it so good pablum good response

  • Feb 28, 20143:16 pm
    by Nick

    Reply

    the pistons should do these things in order this summer
    1-hire lionel hollins- new coach that works good with our bigs
    2-try to get our pick back and select a sf or pg.  i think gary harris or rodney hood are great underrated picks
    3-trade smith and jennings for amare stoudemire 
    4-rebuild around a young core in a lineup of
    pg-gary harris
    sg-kcp
    sf-singler
    pf-monroe
    c-drummond. Its an effective lineup, very young and  will thrive for years to come

    • Feb 28, 20144:00 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      Gary Harris has shown exactly zero PG tendencies in college. I know some guys make a conversion to PG in the pros, but they usual have shown some inkling of that prior to getting there. I really can’t see a guy who averages 2.8 assists and 1.9 turnovers in 33 minutes ever turning into a starting NBA PG. I’d rather bet on Marcus Smart doing it, and I still think he’s more likely to be a SG than not. If I was going PG then I want Tyler Ennis. He’s also really good defensively, and while he is only so so as a shooter he is actually a really good passer for a college player that excels at taking care of the ball.

    • Feb 28, 20144:06 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      Oh, and I still wouldn’t count KCP or Singler as core pieces by any stretch of the imagination. They might be good starters eventually, but right now they haven’t exactly given a ton of hope that it will happen. Singler is probably best off as a career bench player, and if KCP’s shot never comes around then he’s just a defensive specialist off the bench. I prefer keeping them on the team, and I am open to the possibility of them becoming solid starters, but that’s a long ways from considering them core pieces.

    • Feb 28, 20146:41 pm
      by deusXango

      Reply

      IMHO Gary Harris can’t hold a candle to Tyler Ennis, and what we need desperately is a PG with a brain (Jennings won’t think his way through a game). Our guard corps is a mess! Draft Ennis, sign Grievis Vasquez and Thabo Sefalosha, and keep KCP…the rest can go!
      Trade Jennings and Smith for a promising, starting SF and resign Monroe; that’s addition by subtraction.
      C- Drummond/Harrellson
      PF-Monroe/Mitchell
      SF-yet to be determined
      SG-Sefalosha/KCP
      PG-Vasquez/Ennis
      As good as any other imaginary lineups, and better than what we have now.
        

  • Feb 28, 20143:36 pm
    by sebastian

    Reply

    Yo, Nick, you forgot: Resign Rodney Stuckey.

    • Feb 28, 20144:17 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      Stuckey is a good player, but he still isn’t a natural fit in Detroit. They really need some shooters. Relying on a rookie (Gary Harris in Nick’s plan) as a shooter and hoping KCP will find his shot just isn’t a smart way to address the team’s shooting problems, especially since the bench doesn’t already have any proven NBA shooters. I doubt the team can both add a shooter or two and still retain Stuckey, so the only logical thing to do is let Stuckey walk. It kind of sucks that a pretty good player would be leaving for nothing, but it makes more sense than continuing to have one of the worst 3 point shooting teams in the league.

    • Feb 28, 20144:30 pm
      by joe dumars

      Reply

      Jesus, people really need to get over Stuckey. The guy has been here for 7 or 8 seasons, and theres little to show for it. Dumars overvalued him, and stuck with him too long.
      Stuckey’s in a contract year. Its no coincidence hes having a contract year now. Its his last chance for a good contract for himself.

  • Feb 28, 20144:20 pm
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)

    Reply

    A 10-6 March puts us in the play off the hawks are falling apart

    • Feb 28, 20144:52 pm
      by Parsons

      Reply

      Then we’ll have Sheed crap us a rainbow, get out his unicorn, and ride it all the way to the NBA Finals.

    • Feb 28, 20145:10 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      The Hawks are looking bad and have a tough schedule coming up, but the Cavs are coming on strong while the Knicks have a pretty weak schedule in March to potentially make a run. I’d bet with Detroit’s March Schedule that they would likely go 7-9 if they are really trying to win, but I will admit that the Cavs have an even tougher schedule. If all 4 teams try to make the playoffs then that 4 way race for the last spot will likely be pretty tight, and I don’t like Detroit’s odds of coming out on top of it. Maybe I’m just a pessimist, but I think Detroit has the worst odds of doing it. The Cavs are playing the best, the Hawks have a 3 1/2 game lead, and the Knicks have the easiest schedule. I don’t get what Detroit’s advantage is in trying to make a run.

  • Feb 28, 20144:36 pm
    by Zeiram

    Reply

    The article makes it sound all too easy. Right now Hollingers Odds predict the Pistons to finish right where they are and I tend to agree. Besides Cleveland I see no eastern team catching the Pistons.
    The West has a lot of teams better than the Pistons but due to them playing West their win/loss record won´t reflect it.
     
    Phil, Mil, Utah, Lal, Sac, Orl are locks to finish behind Detroit, so that leaves Cle,Ny, Bos, NO, Den and Min (6 Teams) “wrestling” with Detroit for the 7th and 8th worst spot. Right now 50% of those bubble teams are worse than Detroit.
    Without a truly dedicated tank job the Pistons will not finish worse than 21th, so disaster zone it is.

    • Feb 28, 20145:50 pm
      by Brady Fredericksen

      Reply

      The Pistons are 2.5 games “out” of a top five pick. I think you’re overrating the Pistons if you don’t think they’re capable of a good ol’ rollover in March (like they did last year).

      • Mar 1, 20147:22 am
        by Zeiram

        Reply

        What I am saying is that there are too many bad teams. As I have shown there are 6 Teams that are a lock to finish below the Pistons or do you see any of the listed teams leapfrogging Detroit?
        So at worst (best?) the Pistons will finsh 23th or 22th (with 22th the border to keep the pick). To achieve this 6 other teams have to be worse than the Pistons half of which play in the West and are therefore due more losses against quality competition. Unless New York gets it act together (which I seriously doubt) Detroit won´t slide that far. It´s simply too much to overcome.
         
        It´s not enough to simply become worse, other teams have to become better. And besides Cleveland I see no team making a push out of the bottom.
         
        But we will see, right now I think the odds of keeping the pick are in line with the playoff chances which means pretty slim.

  • Feb 28, 20149:03 pm
    by jangul

    Reply

    Last year Drummond missed like 20 games with a back injury. Should we send Jeff Gilooly out to baton his knee so we can get our chance at the next Rodney white or Brandon knight? That draft pick was traded for Josh Smith. Everybody knew that coming in. And no amount of of tanking is going to change that. This team has more talent already than the lottery teams behind us and can couple other teams ahead of us. The guy we need in the draft, parker, will absolutely not be there at 8. What will be there is an unproven player likely to be a journeyman that we can pick up this summer or any summer with the mle in free agency. Quit fetishistizing these  lottery picks.  The only way we get an impact player is if we win the lottery. If you’re going to bet on that long shot to turn the franchise around , then all is lost. We need to stop focusing on  this  pick which no reasonable lesson should have expected us to keep after we signed josh Smith and concentrate on getting value for Monroe in a deal, hiring the best possible coach, and finding good  complimentary talent with our available cap space.

  • Feb 28, 20149:08 pm
    by Hook Shot

    Reply

    Just stank and tank. 
    Get an athletic wing who can create his own shot. Say no to Marcus Smart. His shot selection is terrible. If it is possible trade down..

  • Feb 28, 20149:17 pm
    by OOtis

    Reply

    Trevor Ariza and Avery Bradley, anybody?  Those guys would help this team in so many ways………..
     
    Someone mentioned trading Jennings and Smith for Stoudemire.  If we get a new GM, I expect a contract clearing trade like this – another step back, but an unwind of the Joe D era…….

  • Feb 28, 201411:19 pm
    by Mo Cheeks

    Reply

    Is this even a question? The answer is yes. We are obviously going nowhere fast and I’d rather have a top 8 pick than a first round exit.

  • Mar 1, 201412:45 am
    by jangul

    Reply

    Keeping the pick this year doesn’t save us a draft pick, it just gives the bobcats next year’s pick with practically no protection on it. We can pay our debt now and ensure we  give away  at worst a 9th pick in this draft  or we can tank and potentially  give away  the 2nd pick  in next year’s draft. Every year we try to evade paying what we owe, the potential consequences get worse.The team traded a pick to clear cap space to sign Smith. That pick is gone. We have smith. that pick we spent to get him has to be paid out,  this year or next, and now is as good a time to give it away a any while it still has protection on it. Or we could try to keep  gaming our way  out of it until we end up like the grizzlies in 03 losing the number 2 pick to us that could have been used to draft Bosh,, Wade, or melo.

    • Mar 1, 201411:33 am
      by Rob

      Reply

      It will only be worse next year if our team is worse and I don’t think that is likely, at least I would hope not.

    • Mar 1, 20147:10 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      The team should almost certainly be better next year after an offseason to address their problems and starting next year with someone who isn’t Mo Cheeks to coach the start of the year. Then throw in that if they successfully tank they would have the draft pick as an added source of talent. It would take some seriously impressive incompetence to get that much worse next year, and I’d rather the team not plan on being incompetent. On top of all that, the current projections are that this draft is going to be stronger than next year’s draft.

  • Mar 1, 20142:01 am
    by @GPMasters

    Reply

    Cavs won last their game in hand on us last night, otting is with the joint 7th worst record in the league alongside the Pellies. Just need to keep losing. My fear now is the usual late season win streak…

  • Mar 1, 20145:54 am
    by jangul

    Reply

    We are not tied for 7th. There are 8 teams with worse records than us. We are  tied for 9/10 with the  pelicans and are 2 games ahead of   the 8th place jazz.

  • Mar 1, 20146:09 am
    by grizz3471

    Reply

    Very original article … laying out soundly all the options, consequences and probabilities .. I think most of us would like the Pistons to NOT loose their pick IF the Pistons are not going to make the play-offs .. Can we vent again in rage at losing that draft pick for the dumbest of reasons?

  • Mar 1, 20147:43 am
    by Tyrone

    Reply

    No matter what happens the odd of keeping or losing this years draft pick are about 50 / 50 at this point because of the lotto system.
     
    I would much rather see the pistons compete and try to win all games from here to the end of the season and just play the cards that are dealt.  The team is a young team and IMO tanking is building the wrong culture.  They are professionals, who should play hard every night and put in the work during the off season to get themselves better so the same result is not next season. 
     
    Making the play offs at 7 or 8 will not be a victory.  Tanking is not the answer also.  I think this draft is going to be a good draft, personally I would hope that the Bobcats get this years pick so as a franchise we can put that behind us an move forward.  We still have a little cap room to adjust the roster next season.

    • Mar 1, 201412:20 pm
      by Huddy

      Reply

      “Because of the lotto system”?  So you mean because even if they get in the 7th worst spot there is only a 98% chance (or 8th spot 82% chance) they keep it so that somehow equates to 50/50?
       
      your other points are a perfectly fine way of thinking though.  IMO(supported by the history of upsets in the eastern conference playoffs) there’s a 98% chance they lose in the playoffs at the 7th or 8th seed so I prefer 98% chance to get an assets to a 98% chance I get to watch a meaningless ass whooping at the end of the season.

  • Mar 1, 201410:00 am
    by hoophabit

    Reply

    I’m not sure the Pistons really need to tank.  Their schedule going forward is pretty brutal.  Our cadre of largely turnstile guards playing their very best will likely preserve our draft pick.

  • Mar 1, 201410:24 am
    by Parsons

    Reply

    http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2014/02/brandon_jennings_embarrassing.html

    Jennings just ripped the team. Called it embarrassing we only gave Cheeks 50 games. Called it embarrassing we’re not in the playoffs. He also said “I feel like it’s still the same. It’s still the same. Not much has really changed, if you asked me.” when asked about how we responded to the Cheeks fire. This year is the Kuester season part 2. Just waiting for the mutiny. Although watching us play the last 7 games I think it already started.

    • Mar 1, 20145:48 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Jenning just boughti his ticket outta town. That is if anyone wants him.

      • Mar 1, 20146:47 pm
        by Parsons

        Reply

        I believe whoever becomes our GM next year will blow up the team anyway. I think job 1 will be a coach and priority 2 will be to rid the team of its disfunction. I just hope whoever gets the job will have room to breath. Gores needs to learn a GM only becomes great if you let him do what he wants and leave him alone. The coach and GM should work together to build the team. They can’t do that with some guy breathing down their necks while barking insane orders or having a GM who can’t pick coach who knows what their doing. If a coach doesn’t have a system how can a GM get him players who succeed in his system? I hope this gets solved by next year.

  • Mar 1, 201411:55 am
    by vic

    Reply

    Let me know when Singler is the SF, KCP is the SG, and Stuckey is the PG…
    and the big 3 are rotated. At this point i don’t care if its Smith, Monroe, or Drummond coming off the bench.
    Anything less than that is a tank job… And we’ll get the 8th pick with no problems… bring in Hollins.
    I’m kind of like Pablum I don’t trust Gores… Joe Dumars is bad at spending money, but at least we know Joe D can do well if he’s allowed to hire a good coach.
    Gores only good attribute is his impatience, and we know what that did for Rick Carlisle and Larry Brown. I’d be petrified if Pistons basketball was all Gores. Bad owners with too much pull can destroy a team worse than a gm can.

  • Mar 1, 201412:31 pm
    by Hook Shot

    Reply

    Jennings ripping the team? That’s rich. He is part of the problem.  Perhaps if he defended his position better instead of the matador defense he plays, dribble penetration would be slowed allowing for proper rotation of the bigs to cover his sorry azz. we would be in the hunt for a playoff spot and Cheeks would still have a job. Dump this guy ASAP. 

    • Mar 1, 20145:59 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Perhaps if he defended his position better instead of the matador defense he plays, dribble penetration would be slowed allowing for proper rotation of the bigs to cover his sorry azz
       
      This is why a guy like Rondo would work better with this team because he wouldn’t allow that penetration right up the guts of the defence. Of coarse the team would struggle shooting the 3 ball so it would be a must that you’d have to upgrade at SG. Still with the clip Jennings hits his 3s at would it really matter having a guy like Rondo not shooting 3s at all?? The problem was always to get Rondo you’d at the bare minimum would’ve been giving up Monroe and Stuckey so we’d never of been able to see the lineup of Monroe, Drummond, Smith, Singler/KCP and Rondo.

  • Mar 1, 20146:37 pm
    by Parsons

    Reply

    Why is tanking such a league wide issue? Are you really going to tell small market teams the ONLY way I want you to get better is free agency. Even if they implement this ridiculous draft wheel you’ll have the same problem and may even have a worse problem. Millwakee is mathematically out of the playoffs and now you tell them the wheel of stupidity says you pick 25th. Why is Milwaukee going to try the rest of the season? They’re literally playing for nothing. Why not just implement a real salary cap with no exceptions? That would put everyone on equal ground. Yes the Heat still have 3 stars but the cap would be full and the only other players they could afford would be rookies and minimum contracts. That would also free up a lot more free agents and trade options due to teams hitting the cap. I believe in a league where 1 guy makes such a difference this should be a no brainer. Its at least giving options rather than restricting them like taking away the draft.

    • Mar 2, 201410:34 pm
      by Jason

      Reply

      Why not give all lottery teams equal odds to get the top pick, and do it to select all 14 lottery picks. That way it wouldn’t matter if you finished in with the worst or 14th worst record. Teams would have no motivation to tank, as it wouldn’t change their odds.
      Being that the system rewards abysmal play, I am rooting for the pistons to competitively lose the rest of the season. They need to begin building around Drummond, this team doesn’t compliment his style at all. 
      Billups for GM, so he can convince Melo to play alongside Drummond, and one of Monroe or Smith. Probably won’t happen, but never know. 

  • Mar 1, 20146:43 pm
    by T Casey

    Reply

    He’s right, it is an embarrassment. But, coming from the guy who shoots more than almost anyone on the team at an abysmal 37% from the field, constantly over-dribbles, and plays little to no defense most nights? A lot of it starts with you, dude.
     

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