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The Pistons can hold onto a lead if they can get it to 23 going into the fourth quarter

Brooklyn Nets 95 FinalRecap | Box Score 111 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 31 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +11A solid, efficient game for Monroe in which he didn’t get burned by his counterpart. That doesn’t happen every day.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 35 MIN | 9-16 FG | 4-5 FT | 8 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 1 TO | 23 PTS | +19Over his past dozen games, Smith has been shooting better than 47%. Still not great, but a huge uptick from the sub-40% level he had been shooting at for the season before this stretch. It helps when he can finish even with a defender’s finger in his eye.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 39 MIN | 6-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | +8Singler was the team’s worst starter tonight and he still put together an above average game.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 40 MIN | 7-12 FG | 2-8 FT | 22 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | +12Drummond continues to be a beast. Now if he could only hit some free throws…

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 39 MIN | 8-13 FG | 5-5 FT | 10 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 8 TO | 26 PTS | +21Efficient scoring, good defense, and a near triple-double? If he didn’t nearly get a quadruple-double due to turnovers, I’d be sorely tempted to give out my first ever A+.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 10 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +1Jerebko managed to not mess anything up too badly, but the Pistons were mostly at their worst with him on the floor.

Chauncey Billups, SG Shot Chart 9 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -5Billups is totally washed up. It’s hard to post a line this bad when your team throttles the other. Also, his defense was a primary culprit in letting the Nets almost get back into it in the 4th quarter.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 8 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +10KCP played well when he was on the floor in spite of missing a couple shots. He played some of the better defense I’ve seen from him so far and his steal and subsequent feed to Smith was huge. I’m not sure why he only played 8 minutes. But that did mean he didn’t end up doing a whole lot.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 29 MIN | 6-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +3Remember how fans always used to wish that Stuckey would become more consistent? Well, he’s now the epitome of consistency, but he’s not really any better.

Maurice Cheeks
I’ve lost all faith in Cheeks, but I’d put the blame on him if this went the other way so I guess I have to give him some credit tonight.

56 Comments

  • Feb 8, 20142:03 am
    by Javell

    Reply

    I dont even know if i want to make the playoffs…. After that 4th qrt i seen….

  • Feb 8, 20142:49 am
    by Guest

    Reply

    Gotta disagree that Stuckey isn’t any better this year.  He’s come into his own as a go-to scorer off the bench.  Before this year started I wanted him gone, but he’s been one of their best players and I wouldn’t mind seeing him come back whatsoever, now that he finally has a set role that he’s comfortable and productive in.

  • Feb 8, 20143:45 am
    by grizz3741

    Reply

    So mad about the season as a whole that this win won’t win me over .. Bad Piston Fan? Maybe .. but the past 6 seasons have not been too much fun .. KCP should be starting .. and even more importantly .. run the offense so that he shoots the damn ball 10 to 12 times .. Our future at SG is not Singler .. a bench SF … and Singler won’t make it through many starting SG assigments this well .. Still Singler is a gamer and a team player .. but off the bench or as an emergency starter only ..

  • Feb 8, 20145:07 am
    by efranks

    Reply

    Come on negative Nancy. Other than all of the Jennings to’s it was a solid game. You gave positive grades but hater comments. I understand that you don’t want to give a underachieving team like this too much credit but come on cuz. They got it in tonight 

    • Feb 8, 20145:24 am
      by jg22

      Reply

      Agree on the positive grades/hater comments. whats up with that?
       
      He said Smith is better than 47% his last 6 games, but then said thats still not great. 47% for a guy playing a perimeter role a lot IS great.
       
      Also Singler had a great game. He did exactly what he’s in there for – make 3s and hustle plays. 
       
       

      • Feb 8, 20148:55 am
        by oats

        Reply

        Smith isn’t exactly a perimeter player, and 47% field goal percentage isn’t enough to make Smith an efficient shooter. He’s probably playing more than 50% of his time at PF in this 12 game stretch. He’s also lowered his 3 point attempts to 2.3 in that stretch, which is probably a wise decision since he’s only 4 of 28 in those 12 games. That’s not really what you’d expect from a perimeter player. He’s also been poor from the line by shooting .491. The end result is that his shooting efficiency is still poor. He’s got a true shooting percentage of .492. That’s way above his abysmal mark of .464 for the season, but it’s still bad even for someone playing all of their minutes on the perimeter.

        • Feb 8, 20149:41 am
          by Huddy

          Reply

          Exactly, FG% is relative.  If Drummond was shooting 50% that wouldn’t be a horrible number, but if it was because he was shooting 5-6 errant shots from 18ft and beyond then that would be a poor percentage compared to where it should be for his play style.

    • Feb 8, 201411:13 am
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      Other than Billups, I think all of my comments were predominantly positive with negative disclaimers. Because almost everyone played well but they also all flashed something that they really need to keep working on.

      • Feb 8, 20142:59 pm
        by JYD for Life

        Reply

        yeah, but you omitted the run they went on in the second quarter with Chauncey pacing things.  So I would have guessed a C at least.  His defense wasn’t the problem…Stuckey failed to chase Terry back a few times and everyone else stopped playing on the offensive end.  
        If he were healthy or had anything left in the tank, the narrative of this season would have been completely different. 
        This team needs a legit backup big and a true PG who can lead off of the bench (and for the stretches where Jennings decides he doesn’t want to play).  
         
        You guys laugh when I say things like go after Jameer Nelson/Big Baby or Humphries or Andre Miller…but stabilizers are exactly what this squad needs (aside from a different coach). We wouldn’t be having these discussions about tanking and needing a draft pick to add talent if they had guys who served a purpose or played a role off of the bench or pushed the young guys in practice.  Even a guy like Chris Kaman (again, laughter will ensue) could have helped all year.  
         
        Relying on a washed up Jerebko who has never won and a ball hog stuckey or a score-first Bynum to lead for extended stretches will get you nowhere.  You get zero leadership out of those guys.  Yes, they play great at times with Stuckey out there, but he brings it (like smith and jennings) only a fraction of the time.    
        Chauncey was exactly what they needed…

        • Feb 8, 20145:07 pm
          by Tim Thielke

          Reply

          Have you seen Stuckey this season? There aren’t a lot of more consistent players in the league. He brings it absolutely every night. Now, “it” isn’t all that much, and that’s a problem. But that’s a very different problem than the one you seem to think exists.

          • Feb 8, 20148:03 pm
            by JYD for Life

            Well he brings a lot of putting his head down and chucking.  That’s a problem.  But you’re right, he’s at least consistent at doing that.     
            If you gave Bynum 12 shots per game and 26 minutes, he would produce very similar results.  At a fraction of the price.   

          • Feb 8, 20148:46 pm
            by JYD for Life

            He’s also consistently mediocre on the defensive end.  

  • Feb 8, 20146:38 am
    by Ryank

    Reply

    If Mo Cheeks would have coached the same exact game and the team would have lost, he’s have earned a D or F.  These grades have little objectivity.  The three things that are certain: Drummond is the teacher’s pet and will always get a high grade, The Pope’s never going to get his due, and grades swing widely depending on if it’s a win or a loss….particularly Cheeks’.

    • Feb 8, 20147:22 am
      by jerrific

      Reply

      What would you grade a 22 rebound and 16 point game?  The grades are heavily affected by previous performance on this sight. I don’t know if that is the intent of this site’s writers, but it is evident in virtually every post game report.  With that in mind, it makes some sense that certain people (cheeks, smith, jennings in particular) will tend to get harsher grades, while others (pretty much just drummond) will tend to get more leeway. Also, seeing as winning is the point the entire game, doesn’t it make sense that the grades would be affected by it? This would apply particularly to the coach because he is in charge of so many crucial aspects such as the game plan and lineup management.  I’ve seen this complaint multiple times in the comments and I really don’t understand it.  

      • Feb 8, 20144:42 pm
        by Ryank

        Reply

        Drummond had a good game, but even in games he doesn’t play well he still gets artificially high scores.  Drummond deserves an A this time, but will often gets an A when the team loses…other players get hit when the team loses.  Drummond doesn’t get equal appraisal.
         
        Cheeks can coach his best game, the players can fail to execute, or the other team can be better…it doesn’t show up in his grade.  He gets a good or bad score solely on win or lose.  Sometimes a team does everything right and still loses.  Sometimes a coach wants a time out in the closing moments and his team doesn’t call one…causing the loss.  The point is, I see Cheeks doing a lot of good things; most of all not letting the lunatics run the asylum.  He’s a good coach and he’s not given any credit on this site…he’s treated like Frank or Kuester who were terrible.  

    • Feb 8, 201411:23 am
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      Yes, “grades swing widely depending on whether it’s a win or a loss”. Particularly if it’s a blowout one way or the other. You know why? Because when the Pistons blow out the other team, they are usually playing a lot better than when they get blown out.

      And Drummond almost always gets a good grade. You know why? Have a look back through this season and tell me how many bad games he has had. He not always dominant, but he’s almost always good.

      And KCP gets shafted by the writers here? He got a positive grade (albeit barely) for a game in which he had 0 point, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, and missed two shots all because I thought he should have received more playing time and would have contributed more if he had.

  • Feb 8, 20147:26 am
    by JYD for Life

    Reply

    Agree with you JG – if he were shooting 47% for the entire season, we would not have a ton to complain about.  Even if that is from smith not playing a perimeter role.  

    • Feb 8, 20149:05 am
      by oats

      Reply

      As I said above, he’s got a .492 true shooting percentage which is still bad. It’s not abysmal like he’s been this year in total, but still bad. He’s still be a bad shooter, he’d still be taking too many shots, he still has a tendency to play out of control, and he’d still be awful at defending the 3. That’s all of the same things to complain about, it’s just that the first point wouldn’t be emphasized quite as much.

      • Feb 8, 20143:03 pm
        by JYD for Life

        Reply

        totally agree, oats!  
        But if we had 46% overall from Smith, we might be a few games closer to .500.   He’s terrible, no doubt, but a team could survive with him shooting 46% – look at the Hawks for the past 7 years.  
         
         

  • Feb 8, 20147:40 am
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)

    Reply

    We begged josh smith to shoot less threes, we begged him to attack the paint more, and he has, we waned to see better defense and he has….our struggles has more to do with coaching and player rotations than the play of Josh Smith…he finally look comfortable 

  • Feb 8, 20148:17 am
    by jay

    Reply

    You know these writers talk alot about numbers especially when talking about how bad Josh Smith is or how efficient MOOSE is.  But the numbers I never read about on this site is that the better duo by the numbers is Smith n Drummond. Moose is a solid young player but he is not the next Tim Duncan. I think we as pistons fans over value MOOSE  a lil bit.  Joe needs to.trade MOOSE.  We can survive Smith contract (which in my opinion is not a bad one ) n still move forward as a team.  Smith is the overall all around better player between the two.  So unless Smith is in the locker room walking around telling everybody to kiss his ass,  he’s the one we need to keep. 

    • Feb 8, 20149:45 am
      by oats

      Reply

      There is an argument that the Smith/Drummond pairing is better than the Monroe/Drummond pairing, but the difference is pretty slight. It’s also based on a pretty small sample size because Monroe and Drummond have spent such a small time without Smith on the court with them. The numbers suggest that Monroe and Drummond without Smith is a good lineup, but it’s hard to conclude how good with how limited their time on the court is. They should probably be graded with a simple pass/fail due to that, and they’d get the pass. It is totally fair to say that Smith/Drummond has been better because we have enough information to actually give them a good grade, but there isn’t actually enough evidence to say which one will be the better combination going forward.
       
      That’s all before we take into account the age discrepancy. Drummond is 20 and won’t even begin to enter his prime until he’s 24. Monroe will be 27 and just entering his prime then, and the odds are also good that he will be a better player at 27 than he is now. Smith will be 32 and probably either in decline or about to start his decline, and the odds say that he is most likely already as good as he ever will be. Choosing Smith over Monroe because he is arguably the better PF right now is short sighted. Admittedly if Monroe is traded for another player who is young it won’t be much of an issue. Detroit would have to move him for a young perimeter player and still get equal value in the trade for it to make sense to move Monroe, and I really don’t know if that is feasible with his trade value where it likely is right now. Detroit looks like they should be desperate to right the ship and make a playoff push, and everyone looking at it thinks they need to move one of the big men. Nothing screws up trade value like desperation. If a trade that nets a fair value return for Monroe is actually there then by all means do it. I’m skeptical that it exists, and given that I’d prefer to dump Smith because he’s not as good of a piece long term.

      • Feb 8, 201410:28 am
        by gidi

        Reply

        All correct, by I guess it depends if the Pistons are willing to look at the really long term benefits (i.e. building around Drummond and Monroe in order to have a team, that is winning in, say, 3-4 years from now). Apparently they don’t since otherwise they wouldn’t have brought in Smith and Jennings and given that they have been bad for the last couple of years I understand that they would rather try to win now and in the nearer future. Nothing wrong with having a veteran star player (= Smith) leading a couple of younger guys into the play offs within the next few years, even if in the end, the star might be over the hill before the jung guys are in their prime. The point is that one wants to establish a winning culture already now and not allow the young guys to look too far into the future. Now, that being said… I don’t think it was wise to designate a proven loser like Smith to be your Top Dog for the next couple of years. However, by now the mistake is already made and I feel that it would be better to stick to the original plan than to wiggle wound again (tanking, or not? winning now or not? etc) Trade Monroe + x for a young perimeter player who can shoot and defend and look where the team will be in a year from now. what have you lost? Ok, Monroe, who is playing his best on the C position, but there you still have one of the best prospects in the league with Drummond. And in return for Monroe you presumably got a nice talent on SF or SG. So why not ry to do that?

        • Feb 8, 201411:16 am
          by oats

          Reply

          Because I don’t think you are getting a young perimeter player that can shoot, defend, and a trade is nearly an equivalent value to what is being sent out. I bet we’re looking at only 3 of the 4 qualifiers at best, and probably only 2 of the 4. I think we’re looking at something like Gordon Hayward, who is shooting poorly this year and is only a so so defender. I’d probably do it if they take on JJ for Brandon Rush’s expiring deal, but I don’t know if they would want to do that. Washington would likely send Ariza and Porter. Ariza can shoot and defend, but he’s older and his deal is expiring. Porter might be able to do those things and is young, but he sure as hell hasn’t proven he can do any of them. Boston would gladly give us Jeff Green who is both older and has had some health concerns. Boston would probably do Avery Bradley instead, but he’s only an average 3 point shooter and this is the only time he’s even been that good. If this turns out to be a fluke in a contract year that deal really stinks. Even if he did just improve he’s still not equal value for Monroe as an undersized SG, and I don’t know if Boston is willing to chip in a draft pick or two to make it a fair deal for Detroit.
           
          My best guess is that there just isn’t a Monroe trade that actually makes sense. I’d rather just try to undo the Smith signing by moving him for a shorter deal than get too little in return for Monroe.

          • Feb 8, 201411:17 am
            by oats

            In the first sentence that was supposed to be are not getting…

          • Feb 8, 201411:27 am
            by gidi

            I don’t think that Boston would give up Bradley… they like him too much. Green is a possibility (and in my opinion not a bad one), so why not? I would also think that Afflalo could be had. I agree that the list is not too long, but Smith’s contract is, at this point, virtually untraceable… and even if, the Pistons would most likely need to swallow an equally bad long term contract… which could only be justified if one really thinks that Monroe+Drummond will make a great front court pair in the future. I personally don’t see it that way. Monroe is not reaching his full potential as PF. His midrange shot is not good enough, his defense is mostly horrible. As a C in league which is going small-ball all around, he might be very valuable, but defending the quick and athletic PF’s of other teams, will always be a huge problem for Monroe. 

          • Feb 8, 201412:00 pm
            by oats

            Jeff Green is an average starter who is 27 and had serious health issues. That’s a terrible trade for Detroit without getting multiple first round picks back to make up for the fact that they are sending away a talented young big man who has only missed 3 games in his career. Afflalo’s a 28 year old SG whose improved play might be a fluke. This also is right back to what I was talking about with backing Monroe over Smith. Their career arcs are just too far off from Drummond’s, and right now Drummond is the best chance for this team to be a contender. Those two will be 31 and 32 when Drummond turns 24 and Detroit’s chance to actually contend should just be opening. That means that either the window will be really short or Detroit will have to scramble to replace them with younger players without taking a step backwards, and that’s really tough to do. When trading a long term asset like Monroe they need to get a similarly long term asset in return. Those guys don’t cut it.
             
            As for Smith, I think he could be moved because I’m not really looking for something good for him. I’d settle for doing little more than getting out of his deal sooner. If Boston would send out Humphries, Brooklyn would send Pierce, or Phoenix would send Okafor then I’d be happy with that. For that matter, I’d move him for Ben Gordon’s expiring deal even though there is a zero percent chance Dumars does that. I’d probably do Smith for Garnett, but he would exercise his no trade clause. I wouldn’t do Smith for Bargnani straight up, but I’d do it if I could toss in Datome for Hardaway Jr. I’d also do something like Smith, JJ, Bynum, and Datome for Stoudemire and Hardaway Jr. It’s not that hard to end up with a similar value to Smith in free agency, so just getting out of his deal is enough.

          • Feb 8, 20141:07 pm
            by johnnyboy

            Sooner or later the decision to sign or not sign Monroe has to come down to his worthiness of a max deal. Is he a max guy based on HIS talent? Is he worth a 4yr/62M deal? His lack of a mid-range jumper and poor defense lead me to believe is not worth 15.5M per.
             
            Bringing Smith into the conversation just muddies the waters.

          • Feb 8, 20143:23 pm
            by JYD for Life

            Oats – I’m gonna have to disagree with you on the Green assessment.  He’s seemingly healthy and not at risk for anything else going wrong.  I get that he’s inconsistent in Boston, but look at that roster…he’s not an “A” guy, but as a “B” player, I think he makes our starting 5 more complete, athletic and dynamic.  He is capable of scoring 40 points in a game.  I’m not sure Monroe is…and while that doesn’t matter, it says something about Green being a bit better than average at the SF position.   
            I think he’s great value for Monroe if they include some pieces with him or possibly Brooklyn’s 1st rounder this year.  But if you get Green, swap expirings for Humphries and figure out how to get Joel Anthony (can’t be traded with another player), you not only give Boston a young big, but you give them the incentive of shedding 4 million off of next year by taking Anthony.  You also still have a backup big should you not re-sign Humphries.  That type of deal could propel us to the finish we need to get into the playoffs this year and beyond.    
             
            Haven’t looked into the insurance coverage of his deal, but I’m sure Boston didn’t sign him without factoring that in.  
            Read this: 
            http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/dan-guttenplan/2013/03/07/all-about-heart-look-jeff-greens-remarkab   
            He seems, by all accounts, to be a pretty good dude and obviously has “heart” to want to get back out there after his surgery.  As our 3rd or 4th option, he could actually be huge for us. 

          • Feb 8, 20143:27 pm
            by JYD for Life

            Also – I would (as we talked about a week or two ago) love to see any of those deals to get rid of smith! Even Stoudemire, if they got a prospect like Hardaway with him.  Arnie might even be able to help Amare.  

          • Feb 8, 20144:55 pm
            by oats

            @ johnnyboy. Monroe averaged 16 points and 9.6 rebounds last year. This year his production is down because his touches are way down, but his efficiency is up. His defense is definitely a problem. The system this team uses is really bad and it makes him look worse than he actually is though. I don’t think the mid range jump shot is actually important. The mid range shot is the least efficient shot in the game, and Houston is currently providing ample evidence that offenses are perfectly capable of running without it. The reason to have it is for spacing purposes. I think Monroe’s passing ability combined with how dangerous Drummond is as a cutter actually provides enough space for them to coexist. They need 3 perimeter players that can actually score on the perimeter and Detroit currently lacks that, but that has little to do with assessing Monroe’s value. Given that Monroe can create space with his passing I’m not that concerned with the mid range shot, especially since Monroe is actually quite good at that little bull rush move he uses from the high post.
             
            I actually do think that all adds up to someone worth that a max deal since he’s 23 and still likely to improve. That actually makes it sort of similar to the Conley deal that everyone thought was an overpay at the time. It’s a bit of a gamble because if Monroe makes no progress at all it will end up being a bit of an overpay, but if the team does a solid job monitoring him they could probably move him before it becomes obvious that the deal was a mistake. I also don’t think he’s actually getting that $62 million. If I’m not mistaken, the Pistons are the only team that can offer him that much since they are the only ones that can offer him the 7.5% pay increases. Another team would max out at 4 years and about $58.6 million, and then Detroit would match that offer sheet. That’s exactly how the Pacers handled Hibbert and they have him at 4 years and $58 million after matching a maximum offer. All of that is assuming he even gets a maximum offer from another team. I would bet that he will, but that’s not exactly a guarantee. I personally think his age is worth the $4.6 million over 4 years premium compared to that deal that Smith is on.

          • Feb 8, 20145:06 pm
            by oats

            @ JYD for Life. I have to admit that the health concerns aren’t a big factor, but it was still a serious enough condition that it should be factored in to some small extent. I think his defense is really overrated, and I think his stats are seriously inflated by being on a bad team with a good coach. He’s not a bad 3rd or 4th best player, but he’s peaked at that level. Monroe is also a solid 3rd or 4th best player, but he has a small chance to morph into a number 2 guy. I’d bet against it, but just having that as a possibility makes him more valuable.

            I also judge these two guys based on their value to Detroit for the length of Drummond’s post rookie contract. So we’re talking about the 5 years after Green turns 30 versus the 5 years after Monroe turns 26. I know there is no guarantee that either player would still be on the team in that time frame, but their value in that time frame can be estimated. Green will need to upgraded on while Monroe likely wouldn’t. That means that if Monroe has to get moved he will more likely have a higher return than Green will. It would take a lot more than a pick likely to be in the 20s someplace to make up for that. I would need Bradley or Boston’s pick, and they won’t even consider either of them along with Green.

            Green’s also had exactly as many 40 point games as Stuckey, and I consider Stuckey an average SG. So no, I don’t consider that to be proof that he’s better than an average SF. I also don’t see it as a sign that he’s close to fair value for Monroe. I don’t know if Monroe is capable of putting up a 40 point game if he was to get roughly 30 shot attempts (counting plays used by getting fouled as attempts) like Green used. I also don’t know if Monroe would be willing to use that many possessions on shooting when he’s such a skilled passer. Still, even if the answer to either is no, Monroe’s got 4 years to get to that point because he’s 4 years younger than Green. Even if he doesn’t, it’s not exactly that reliable of a way to compare the two players.

          • Feb 8, 20145:22 pm
            by Tim Thielke

            “Monroe averaged 16 points and 9.6 rebounds last year. This year his production is down because his touches are way down, but his efficiency is up.”

            That is true, but his efficiency is not up enough. Over his first three seasons, Monroe’s efficiency steadily dropped as his role steadily increased. With more shot creators on the team now, his usage has settled in between the levels of his first and second seasons, but his efficiency has settled in between the levels of his second and third seasons.

            In other words, just two years ago, Monroe was touching the ball more and playing a bigger role in Detroit’s offense–and he was doing it more efficiently. So has he gotten worse since his sophomore season? I certainly hope not, but that’s what the evidence would suggest.

          • Feb 8, 20146:24 pm
            by johnnyboy

            @oats, Monroe will have to play PF as long as Drummond is with the Pistons. Looking at the top PF’s in the league I see guys with mid-range jumpers (Nowitzki, Bosh, Griffin, Aldridge, Love, Randolph, Duncan, Davis, Milsap, West, etc.). The threat of an outside shot opens the floor for teammates along with driving lanes for themselves. Late in the game Monroe is often stymied because the driving lanes are shut down by defenders sagging in the paint. Monroe can pass the ball well, but he hardly has the market (good passing big men) cornered. His numbers are down across the board playing PF (he gets plenty of touches). When allowed to play center his numbers look much better (closer to his historical norms).
             
            As to future improvement, I’m sure he will, but how much? He will never be a rim protector, his foot speed is unlikely to get better as he ages (making it difficult to guard the mobile PF’s), and he has shown no improvement to his jump shot (no improvement to free throw shooting either). He is what he is, a good young center asked to change positions by Drummond’s presence.
             
            A max deal for Monroe would be comparable to what Cousins received, 4yrs/62M, maybe a little more with the larger cap this year. His agent is known for finding teams willing to pay the price for his clients. The Pistons only advantage is having the option of matching any offer. The money is the same for all teams wanting to sign him to an offer.
             
            His contract would escalate, making it harder to move in the later years of the contract. I just think there are too many holes in his game to deserve a max deal.
             
            Smith’s contract should have nothing to do with Monroe.

          • Feb 8, 20146:25 pm
            by oats

            I don’t think that he’s gotten worse. The difference between shooting .521 and .513 from the field is negligible, and that was with better floor spacing since he wasn’t sharing the court with Smith and Drummond for most of his play time. It only makes sense that going from a middle of the road 3 point shooting team to the worst 3 point shooting team in the league would cause things to get a bit tighter in the paint, and that matches up with my eye test. I guess he’s also had his free throw shooting fall since that year, but I suspect his free throw shooting that year was just a fluke. I’d also throw in the fact that his defense looks a bit better despite this scheme making no sense, although admittedly he doesn’t seem to be doing as well on that side of the ball as he did early in the year. I actually think that he’s playing better this year given the change in team dynamics from that season. His progress has largely plateaued, but a lot of guys plateau for a couple years before making another leap.

          • Feb 8, 20147:05 pm
            by oats

            @ johnnyboy. I think you are reading too much into the positional stuff. I think the correct way to use Monroe and Drummond would have them both not really filling either position really. Drummond takes the better post scorer while Monroe gets the other guy. On offense Monroe can play from the high post where he can work as a passer or work to get to the hoop, or he can play from the low post while Drummond works as a screen setter and cutter. It’s really not that hard for them to create enough space for each other, although the team would have to stop running so many isos and switch to a more motion based attack. You can space the floor with shooting, or you can manufacture space with movement. A team playing Monroe should do the latter.
             
            I agree that he’s a fairly limited player, but he could get to be quite a bit better. His defense will always be bad, but he might get it to closer to average. If he improves his passing and develops some better post moves he could be an 18 point, 10 rebound, and 5 assist guy. That’s a good player even with the poor defense.
             
            As for the max deal, looking at it, I am pretty certain I have it right. First of all, Cousins signed his deal based on next year’s projected cap and not the one for this year. So that’s what Monroe is likely to get maxed at unless the cap jumps by more than is currently expected. According to the CBA FAQ, the 7.5% salary raise is limited to players who are being signed when the team has their Bird rights or they are extending him, which means that only the Pistons are capable of having it escalate at that rate. Other teams are limited to a 4.5% raise unless the player qualifies for the Gilbert Arenas exception, and Monroe doesn’t qualify for that. That’s also the limit for raises in a sign and trade. So yeah, the max from another team should be around $58.6 million using the current projection for the cap.
             
            Smith’s deal absolutely should be taken into account when discussing what Detroit should be willing to pay for Monroe. I’m not saying that overpaying Smith means they need to overpay Monroe. I’m saying that moving both of them is almost certainly the wrong move, so the odds strongly favor that one of them and not the other will be gone soonish. I’d guess that if it’s not by this summer then one of them will be gone next off season. Since both of those things are true, how much Smith is making is relevant in discussing how much the team should be willing to give Monroe.

          • Feb 8, 20149:07 pm
            by JYD for Life

            @oats – you’re right about the usage rate for Green, but that type of guy/player is what this team needs.  Someone who works hard (doesn’t seem to engage in the steady regimen of alcohol and Denver-esque smoke that Smith does – one of the many reasons we just need to dump him) and would fit in well on a team.
             
            I wouldn’t worry too much about the age thing.  It’s good to plan ahead, but as you mentioned, he’s certainly replaceable, so that could happen in a few years.  It might not be feasible to have all of the starting 5 peak at the same time (and by no means is that a bad thing).  
             
            At this point, I’m torn and don’t envy Joe’s position because severing ties with a player like Greg would be tough.  Especially because it is easy to see that he can eventually play with Drummond.  If AD continues to evolve into an elite defender, then there is no reason they can’t move forward without a defined position.  As you mentioned above, you just matchup based on the other team’s skill sets.  If there is a mobile, scoring PF, put Drummond on him.  He’s athletic enough that he can do it, just not disciplined/seasoned enough to yet.  
            Ideally, I would love to see one of the moves where Smith is dumped and then go after Green or a comparable player.  Ainge is tough to read though.  I’m not sure what he is expecting in return for Green…or anything else on that team for that matter.  It’s also difficult to see any team jumping on Smith.  
             
            If they could work a Green/Bradley/Bass deal for Monroe/CV/Stuckey, I think Boston gives up more this season, but probably wins the trade in the long run…but not by much.  That type of deal gives us an additional asset (albeit another young guy on a restricted deal in Bradley – who I think is what we can eventually expect KCP to be, but would obviously help us more in the near future).  

          • Feb 9, 201412:51 am
            by johnnyboy

            @oats, Couple of things. First, thanks for the info on the contract situation You are correct about the 58.5M. That’s the most the Pistons will have to pay Monroe. My mistake.
             
            I don’t agree about the positional issue. 82Games.com breaks down a players positional performance. Offensively and defensively Monroe rates much better as a center. Monroe will never be able to guard the mobile/better PF’s in the league. We certainly don’t want one of the best rebounders in the NBA (Drummond) pulled away from the basket guarding mobile PF’s. This would also take away the rim protection Drummond provides. Monroe provides zero rim protection. Not to say Monroe can’t play PF, it’s just not his best position. He’s not worth the money playing the PF position.
             
            Speculating on Monroe’s potential is a double edged sword. Looking at the stats is a mixed bag. He hasn’t improved his defense or shooting in the 3.5 years he’s been in the league. His move to PF has shown a decrease in numbers across the board. A case could easily be made (statistically) he has regressed.
             
            The reason I say Smith’s contract should have no bearing on Monroe’s contract, is because it doesn’t. Whether the Piston’s decide to move Smith or not, is not going elevate or downgrade Monroe’s talent level. A players contract should be based on his talent. Monroe is either a near max player or he isn’t.
             
            Just my opinion, but any player making close to max money should be a two way player. If not a two way player, they should be elite either offensively or defensively. Monroe isn’t.
             
            Examples of players coming off their rookie deals and getting max money are Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins. Monroe is a notch below the max level guys.

  • Feb 8, 20148:46 am
    by Hook Shot

    Reply

    we cannot move forward with this inept coach. They had a good game last night without Garnett 

  • Feb 8, 20148:52 am
    by Domnick

    Reply

    He had 9 assists but also had 8 turnovers…. I wont give him an A.. He should be B- for me..
    but the important thing is we won…

  • Feb 8, 20148:57 am
    by MitchEPooh

    Reply

    Good: JSmooth cutting into the lane instead of jacking up 3s. Tough to stop.
    Drummond in beast mode.
    Team shot over 60% for most of the game, until the meltdown.
    Points in the paint.
    Jennings before the 4th.

    Bad: KCP looked useless. That’s why he played only 8 minutes.
    Jerabko. What happened to this guy?
    Billups. Don’t be the last one to know it’s over. He entered the game and Nets immediately went on a 15-2 run.

  • Feb 8, 20148:59 am
    by Vic

    Reply

    If Smennings could shoot efficiently and pass like this permanently, JD Fieldhouse wouldnt be in the position their in. Coach still sucks, if they can only play smart in an emergency.
    I will give credit to Smith for improving his shooting overall… Still don’t trust it long term though
     

  • Feb 8, 20149:02 am
    by MitchEPooh

    Reply

    Hey Tim, if Cheeks said that the blowup with Bynum was nothing, why was he benched?

    • Feb 8, 201411:25 am
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      Good point. If just Jennings and Stuckey had played, it would not be noteworthy. But Billups should not be on the floor before Bynum.

  • Feb 8, 20149:09 am
    by Mike

    Reply

    I love that I’m beginning to see others realizing that smith has been somewhat of a scapegoat. Fine, we was playing poorly and they were losing. Now with more consistency, his game is better. Looks more comfortable. The team is still losing a majority of games, despite his better play. i believe poor team defense and bad coaching and the real issue, and one of those stems from the other. Also. It’s been 6 years since the playoffs, But not for this team, that’s half new to detroit… Are we being too impatient with all of them?? Trade stuckey and Charlie for the best 3 and d sf, you can get, and I’d trade Monroe if the return were good enough…

    • Feb 8, 201410:11 am
      by oats

      Reply

      Smith was being blamed because he has taken on a huge role while also being the single worst rotation player. There clearly are a lot of reasons the team was losing and it’s not fair to only put the blame on him, but he did deserve a lot more of the blame than any other player. Then again, I’ve seen an awful lot of blame directed at Jennings and Cheeks so I wouldn’t say he’s been unfairly singled out.

    • Feb 8, 201411:19 am
      by johnnyboy

      Reply

      Smith’s scapegoating  was/is largely unfair. JoeD gave Cheeks an unbalanced roster where Smith is playing out of position as a SF (he’s a PF). Throw in a rookie with obvious offensive limitations and Monroe’s PF limitations. It’s the perfect storm of inefficiency where Smith has taken the brunt of fan anger. 

    • Feb 8, 201411:28 am
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      I can’t speak for everyone, but my impression was not that Smith was the reason the Pistons were bad. They were already bad without him for the last several years. But he was supposed to be a primary reason they’d be better this year. And so far he hasn’t been. And if that happens while he posts abysmal lines night after night, he will catch a lot of flak.

  • Feb 8, 201410:05 am
    by Windy

    Reply

    Any interest in jared Dudley? SG/SF that can actually shoot 3s and play a little defence? Surprised I haven’t seen people bring his name up considering they want to move him…

    • Feb 8, 201410:38 am
      by oats

      Reply

      I rather like Dudley, but I don’t know if it makes sense for the Clippers. They want to get bigger by all accounts, but he’s no where near worth Monroe. Do they want JJ? Would JJ + Harrelson do it? I’m skeptical. They might consider JJ and Singler, but the gap between Dudley and Singler is small enough and the age difference big enough that I think I’d want something else coming back. They don’t have a second round pick to send out this year, so I’d be asking about Reggie Bullock. I’m looking at JJ and Singler for Dudley and Bullock. I would still throw in Harrelson if they want him. I’d do it, but would the Clippers?

    • Feb 8, 201410:38 am
      by Huddy

      Reply

      Two more season and a player option at 4 mil a year for a guy shooting worse from downtown than Singler?  Not interested.  Not a bad player, but not a difference maker.  

      • Feb 8, 20143:30 pm
        by JYD for Life

        Reply

        agree with Huddy here…Also, we don’t really have anything they need.  Jerebko is not worth it and we don’t have a backup big to trade them…Which is what it appears they are looking for.  

  • Feb 8, 201411:29 am
    by gidi

    Reply

    Smith’s contract is supposed to be “untreadeable” not “untraceable”.

  • Feb 8, 20141:15 pm
    by LT

    Reply

    imo in three years Bullock will be the top player in that hypothetical trade 

  • Feb 8, 20145:18 pm
    by Parsons

    Reply

    “Dumars rumored to be in the mix for Cavs’ GM job. I don’t think his job in Detroit for the last 6-7 years warrants that kind of interest.” Hoopshype

    I will chip in for his plane ticket to Cleveland. I would be so happy if this happens and Dumars goes to Cleveland. Let him be someone else’s headache. I highly doubt this happens though but hey I can hope. None of the Cavs fans in the comments were happy though, gee I wonder why. One guy said “he’s been so bad in Detroit that the Cavs job is proper punishment!” I agree.

  • Feb 8, 20146:09 pm
    by microjfox

    Reply

    Let’s trade Joe D and Josh Smith for luol Deng. I would love to get rid of Smith and have a hard working vet like Deng. We would improve a great deal.

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