In a twist, get mad at Josh Smith for shooting really well (and hurting the Detroit Pistons’ lottery odds)
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | -1
Monroe made a few nice passes, but that doesn’t begin to hit reasonable expectations for a starting power forward.
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 33 MIN | 10-17 FG | 2-4 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 24 PTS | +8
Somewhere in this world, there’s a person who has seen Smith play only tonight and believes he’s a great jump shooter (6-for-10 outside the paint, including 2-for-2 on 3-pointers) who adequately uses that skill to set up his inside game (4-for-7 in the paint).
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 40 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 5 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +4
Four of Singer’s six highest-minute games have come since John Loyer replaced Maurice Cheeks, and the wing has really responded with some strong all-around efforts. His energy level is almost always high.
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 33 MIN | 6-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 5 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +13
Cousins dunked on Drummond early, but after that, Drummond really applied more pressure defensively. Cousins has clearly outplayed the debate between himself and Monroe. How about Cousins vs. Drummond? Who would you take? That gets interesting. (I’d take Drummond due to youth, but Cousins is further ahead right now.) Drummond appeared to jam his finger at one point, and though he played well through it, it seemed to bother him at times. I don’t expect the issue to linger, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 28 MIN | 1-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +5
In the first half, Jennings shot 0-for-5 and couldn’t keep his man in front of him at all. In the second half, he really stepped up, shooting 1-for-5 and playing forgettable defense.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 15 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +2
I bet Jerebko would have graded well offensively by EPV tonight. He shot well, kept the ball moving and hit his right spots.
|Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 22 MIN | 4-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +3
Bynum was, to say the least, not a model of efficiency tonight. It’s games like this that make me believe he should be used only to increase variance when his team trails late.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 8 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +6
Caldwell-Pope forced a steal and beat everyone downcourt for a fastbreak dunk. That effort play earned him eight whole minutes of playing time.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 32 MIN | 8-16 FG | 6-6 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 23 PTS | +10
Entering tonight, Stuckey averaged 19.6 points on per game on 48.6 percent shooting against the Kings – his best marks against any opponent. And he still topped both numbers in this game. What about the Kings gets him going?
The Pistons’ defensive focus improved from the jump after halftime, and the Kings responded by wilting. Did the Detroit players hold themselves accountable in the locker room during the break? Doubtful. So, in absence of other evidence, I’m giving Loyer credit. Sacramento made one mini-run late, but Loyer shut that down by calling timeout and refocusing his charges once again. If only I didn’t believe the Pistons’ head coach should be guiding his team toward losses at this point, Loyer would have graded well. I can’t too upset with him, though. How do you lose to the Kings at home? It’s not an easy task.
- Teams: Sacramento Kings (22-41) at Detroit Pistons (24-39)
- Date: March 11, 2014
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
The Detroit Pistons will welcome the Sacramento Kings tonight at the Palace of Auburn Hills as well as what I like to call the “High-Paid Player Offense”.
The Kings’ offense basically revolves around their top-three players, and there isn’t a lot of variety in their scheme. Sacramento will run a few set plays here and there, but for the most part, it’s an offense predicated on the pick-and-roll to get things started.
That gets players moving a little, which forces the defense to shift as well. From there, the Kings put the ball in the hands of Isaiah Thomas, DeMarcus Cousins or Rudy Gay, and watch them go to work. Typically, this could produce some mixed results given how predictable Sacramento is on this front.
Have a look at a Kings set that features Cousins:
His teammates eventually get him the ball, but it takes some time before players find a good entry pass, and even then, an argument could be made they were lucky it wasn’t stolen. Once the top guys get their hands on the ball, good things usually follow, but they still need to get it in places where they are effective, which can be challenging.
However, to head coach Michael Malone’s credit, the trio has performed admirably. All three are averaging over 20 points per game and converting north of 45 percent of their field goals as members of the Kings.
Cousins still occasionally takes low-percentage mid-range jumpers, but he’s toned it down a little. Cousins is still attempting shots from the mid-range area, but he’s doing a better job of making sure he is open when doing so. Coincidentally, his conversion rate from this area has improved a little per NBA.com.
The one guy that’s really taken a step forward though is Gay. He struggled with the Toronto Raptors and relied heavily on the High-Paid Player Offense. Gay endlessly dribbled the ball, allowed defenses to load up on him, and he still took a multitude of tough contested shots. Consequently, Gay’s field goals couldn’t hit water no matter how close he was to shore as evidenced by the fact he only hit 38.8 percent of his shots as a member of the Toronto club.
Have a quick look at his shooting percentages as a Raptor from various spots on the floor over at NBA.com. And yet, Gay quickly reversed course in Sacramento. He’s been more decisive, and the offense is more to his liking.
Gay gets more one-on-one opportunities with the Kings as a result of defenders keying in on Cousins. Hence, the former Raptor gets easier attempts at the rim, and the same is true in the mid-range area with defenders consistently retreating towards the paint. The Kings’ offense coupled with its personnel has caused a huge spike in Gay’s shooting numbers per NBA.com.
Thomas, Gay and Cousins are productive players in their own rights, but none of them truly carry the scoring burden of Sacramento. They get their points, but do little to elevate the rest of their teammates. As a result, the Kings are basically an average scoring team.
With that said, it will certainly be intriguing to see how they match up with the Pistons. Sacto’s big three could potentially get neutralized by Detroit’s players at their respective positions. Granted, Detroit is more about potential at this point (still learning how to play together) in time, whereas the Kings “stars” have reached the production phases of their careers.
Read about the Kings
- Measurables: 6-foot-8,235 pounds, freshman forward from Duke
- Key Stats: 19.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 49 percent and 37 percent from three
- Projected: Top five
Matters to No One But Me …
Although I certainly don’t think it’s anything more than the remotest of possibilities, I do think if the Pistons were to offer Michigan State coach Tom Izzo a nice deal and some influence on the roster, now might be as good a time as any for him to consider making the jump to the NBA. There are a host of reasons I think he’d at least consider — home state team, MSU alum as supportive team owner, potential franchise player in Andre Drummond in place, etc. — but foremost amongthem is simply the grind of college recruiting. Izzo and MSU recruited a lot of prized recruits extremely hard, seemed to get close to a few, and have come up relatively empty (although I do think they picked up some solid under the radar guys both prior to this season and coming in next season). Anyway, the one that hurt the most was probably Jabari Parker:
After being recruited by Spartans coach Tom Izzo since his freshman year at Simeon Career Academy, the 6-foot-8 Parker said the main reason for deciding not to go to East Lansing came down to the presence of star sophomore Branden Dawson.
“Branden Dawson, me and him play the same position, and it’d kind of be a controversy if me and him were on the same floor running into each other,” Parker said Thursday at a press conference following his televised announcement at his high school gym. “So I just wanted to go to a school that was fitting.
“I don’t want to mess up his thing. Me coming in there would be kind of disrespectful. I just want him to do well.”
If that was indeed a key reason for picking Duke over MSU, that’s a very nice gesture by Parker, who very obviously was and is a better player and prospect than Dawson. But perhaps the Pistons luck into top-three selection. Might the opportunity to draft Parker who, by all accounts, developed a strong relationship with Izzo on the recruiting trail, also be another carrot to dangle in front of Izzo if Gores really is interested in making a huge offer to lure him away from the comforts of East Lansing?
Fits with the Pistons because …
First and foremost, he’s a prototypical NBA wing, right? He can hit the three, right? Those two descriptors alone, no matter who they are directed toward, probably qualify you to start and be an upgrade for the Pistons at shooting guard or small forward.
Parker, however, brings more to the table than just his NBA-ready build and shooting ability. He handles the ball reasonably well and has also handled the pressure of stepping in as the primary scorer in the Duke offense well. Credit where it’s due — which may be hard since hating Duke is a pretty common hobby these days — Coach K has assembled a really fun team to watch (Duke and Michigan are my two favorite offenses to watch in the country this season) by finding players who perfectly complement Parker’s skillset. Duke has shooters who open driving lanes for Parker, they have bigs who can move and not clog the lane and Parker essentially has free reign as the focal point of their offense. He’s done well with that responsibility, playing efficiently, pushing the ball at times and playing unselfishly and deferring to teammates rather than forcing his shot. He’s also a good rebounder (although that number is helped by him sometimes playing more of a frontcourt position than a perimeter one depending on Duke’s lineup) and averages more than a block and a steal per game, giving hope that he could develop into a solid defender down the road.
Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …
So … about that defense.
Note the “offensively” qualification above when I wrote about loving to watch Michigan and Duke, because there is really no comparison to those two teams at the other end of the court. Michigan mixes their fun, unselfish, pass-happy offense with a strong defense. Duke … not so much. EDIT: Yeah, so no idea why I thought Michigan was a good defensive team. I think all of the complaining I read yesterday about Caris LeVert and Jordan Morgan getting left off the All-Big Ten Defense team clouded my thinking. Michigan is pretty much the same as Duke — beautiful offense, defenders who struggle to stay in front of people. Maybe I was hypnotized by all of those Nik Stauskas celebratory twirls. The lesson here is to never doubt my own interpretation ever again.
Parker has not yet developed much defensively, although his size, athleticism and intelligence suggest he could. Playing with a shot-blocking center like Andre Drummond (if he can develop better defensive instincts) would help, but as a rookie, it is highly likely that Parker would not do anything to help the Pistons fix their defensive shortcomings.
Parker’s assist total is also relatively low. With talented players around him (Rodney Hood and Rasheed Sulaimon), and with Parker’s ability off the dribble, I would expect that he’d find open teammates for buckets a little more regularly. Parker also, despite his strong percentages, went through some shooting droughts throughout the season, so he could be a bit streakier than a shooting-desperate team like the Pistons might like.
And, although this is being nitpicky, his free throw percentage (currently 74 percent) could be a bit higher considering how good a shooter he is overall.
At any rate, Parker is no longer considered the top prospect in this draft, but he’s still clearly a potential All-Star and maybe more if he develops.
From the Experts
The longer the season goes on, the more scouts are switching their allegiances to Parker as their favorite to go No. 1. He’s a scoring machine. He has a high basketball IQ. He can play multiple positions on the floor, and his lack of elite defensive abilities combined with the occasional struggle against long, athletic defenders are the only real knocks on him at the moment.
And perhaps we can use that as a hint as to where Parker’s game is headed. In some ways, he’s similar to Paul Pierce: Parker lacks a lean frame, but has tremendous strength and surprising athleticism. He’s unafraid as a scorer and can bully smaller wings on the block.
If Parker can develop the same sort of craftiness on the defensive end to compensate for his lack of elite quickness, he could pester talented players the same way Pierce has in the NBA. What’s more, Parker willingly competes on both ends and has been a solid help defender and shot-blocker down low.
-Terrific size at 6-9
-Very advanced scoring instincts
-Outstanding shooter with feet set, as well as off the dribble
-Capable of generating good looks in mid-range area with size, high release point and ability to fade and create separation
-High basketball IQ. Plays under control. Makes the extra pass
-Can post up a bit, mostly to shoot a turnaround jumper
-Good anticipation skills for rebounds/blocks. Shows good instincts tracking offensive rebounds coming off the glass
-Has a go-to mentality. Very confident in his abilities
-Allowed himself to get extremely out of shape during injury, gaining a substantial amount of weight
-Body still looks very loose
-Struggles to get all the way to the basket in the half-court
-Doesn’t have the first step needed to turn the corner against better defenders
-Tends to settle for a lot of low percentage shots, contested pull-up jumpers with a high degree of difficulty
-Lacks great lateral quickness. May struggle to contain explosive small forwards off the dribble
-Effort on defense looks questionable at times
In an interview with SI.com this week, ESPN Films vice president and executive producer Connor Schell said a documentary on Detroit’s championship years titled "Bad Boys" will air on April 17 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. More than 40 people were interviewed for the film, including 10 members of the championship Pistons teams as well as opposing players such as Jordan. Following the film, ESPN will immediately air a one-hour discussion on the Bad Boys era that will be hosted by Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose. ESPN NBA analyst Doug Collins will also appear along with several Pistons players from that era.
Something NBA fans will be excited about, according to Cocoros, is Thomas talking about Bird’s famous steal in Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals in 1987. That story has been documented often from the Celtics side but rarely have viewers heard from Thomas and other Detroit players about it. "Isiah lives and breaths this stuff," said Cocoros. "His memory and recollection on how things went down and what he knows about this team is amazing."
Cocoros said he discovered never-before-seen footage of the team inside the locker room before and after games, as well as compelling footage of Daly’s huddles. Daly passed away in 2009, but Cocoros said viewers will feel his presence throughout the film. "You will hear how the players talk about Chuck and what a father figure he was for these guys and the way he handled himself," said Cocoros. "He’s not around to talk about the team but you don’t miss him at all in the film. He comes across as truly the guy who tied it all together."
I planned to watch this regardless. Nearly ever 30-for-30 I’ve seen has been excellent, and one on the Pistons certainly piques my interest.
But documentaries like these sometimes bore diehard fans of the subject, which would probably describe a large number of this site’s readers. We’re already so familiar with the topic, and the show is packaged for a wider audience, that no new information is revealed.
But that doesn’t seem like it will be the case here at all.
I’ve gone from intrigued to on the edge of my seat waiting for this to air. It’s great that Pistons will have something to look forward to after the regular season ends April 16.
For the fifth straight year, I’ll be doing the internet’s foremost amateurish Detroit Pistons draft prospect evaluation for PistonPowered. But after five years (see 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 versions), how do we keep things fresh? Well, mostly by doing everything the same. But also, reader interactivity! In the past, we’ve just unveiled these one by one, but this year, I don’t want to pick all of the prospects we feature myself. So here’s how it will work:
- We will write about 32 total prospects (two per week through the week of the draft in June, 16 weeks from this week).
- I have picked 20 to write about — Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Devyn Marble, Nik Stauskas, Patric Young, Dante Exum, Marcus Smart, Doug McDermott, Glenn Robinson III, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, Dario Saric, Aaron Gordon, P.J. Hairston, Adreian Payne, James Young, Noah Vonleh, Keith Appling, Tyler Ennis and Gary Harris.
- You guys are going to pick the other 12 we feature, simply by voting in the comments of this post. Of the guys I haven’t named above, you can vote simply by typing the name of a prospect you’d like to see written up in the comments. You can vote today through Friday (I’ll tally up total votes at the end of the week and the top 12 vote getters will be written up).
- Seriously, lots of people please vote for Travis Bader (sidenote: I will probably write Bader up anyway even if you don’t vote for him).
Honestly, this series each year is my favorite thing to write for PistonPowered. Gauging the pro potential of college prospects always leads to a wide range of opinions, and with the hype of this year’s potential draft class, there should be a lot of spirited debate. I’m certainly not any better at predicting success than anyone else (although I will take credit for claiming Draymond Green had a legit NBA future earlier than anyone else on the internet thought it was possible and totally calling Reggie Jackson’s potential … we won’t talk about my Charles Jenkins prediction), but my hope is these profiles give insight to a wide range of opinions on the prospects, not just my thoughts.
Unfortunately, the best part of the season for Pistons fans for far too long has been the lead-up to the draft. So everyone try and pretend that the Pistons aren’t in danger of losing a lottery pick and hopefully these profiles can allow everyone to have a distraction from the Pistons scoring 35 points in a quarter and still LOSING THE QUARTER and similar shenanigans as the season winds down.
The Pistons use Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond more than 18 minutes per game, a solid chunk of playing time for arguably the team’s top three players.
“We want to get our best players on the floor together, and that’s just the way we do it,” Loyer said.
Except Detroit has been terrible in the 1,140 minutes the trio has shared the court.
With those three, Detroit’s net rating is -7.5. Of the 43 threesomes to play together so much this season, only one has been worse and just two others are even in the range.
Teams typically don’t stick with something that isn’t working this long – at least when they’re trying to win.
Do the Detroit Pistons hold each other accountable?
“No,” Brandon Jennings said directly.
Pistons ride big games from big three (Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond) to tanking victory (actual loss)
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 39 MIN | 8-15 FG | 6-7 FT | 14 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | +3
Monroe’s offensive energy level was extremely high, and he did everything you’d want from an interior scorer. He frequently put himself in good position before receiving an entry pass. When he caught the ball further out, he worked his way inside with little wasted movement. He hit the glass hard, generating scoring looks that way, too. Add a few nice passes, and this was a really strong offensive game for Monroe. But also kept taking himself out of position defensively, losing track of where the action was headed. At least he defended well on the ball.
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 39 MIN | 12-24 FG | 1-5 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 28 PTS | -2
Smith overcame his shot selection for efficient scoring output. Defensively, he repeatedly erased the Celtics’ at the rim, showing real skills as a backline defender.
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 38 MIN | 2-7 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | -2
Singler was mostly quiet, but the defensive issues with him playing shooting guard remain.
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 38 MIN | 8-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 22 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | -9
Forget versatility. The ability to grab a high percentage of available offensive rebounds and then convert those into points is an important and underrated skill, and Drummond might rank as the NBA’s best at it. As long as he can do that, he’ll remain near star quality overeall. If the rest of his game comes together, watch out.
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 39 MIN | 5-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -3
Jennings isn’t as good as Rondo, and it’s unfair to ask him to be. But watching Rondo (18 assists, 0 turnovers to the Pistons’ 17 assists, 16 turnovers) turn this lemony Boston roster into lemonade, even if the juice is only mediocre, just magnifies the disparity between Jennings and the NBA’s high-end point guards. Also, Jennings must do a better job getting back on defense.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -8
Jerebko’s defense makes me sad. It’s not just that he’s too tentative, which he is. But after seeing him play without abandon earlier in his career, I just long for that fearless Jerebko.
|Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 22 MIN | 4-9 FG | 10-12 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | 0
Bynum scored 15 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter. For the season, Bynum has scored an incredible 47 percent of his points in the fourth quarter. That period is just, um, a quarter of the game, man.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7
|Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 17 MIN | 1-4 FG | 1-3 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -7
Stuckey really squandered a chance to pad his scoring average against the Celtics’ replacement-level guards.
The Celtics broke the game open when Jeff Green shot 3s over the Pistons’ zone. Loyer gets points for creativity. More points for losing and improving Detroit’s lottery odds. But Loyer watching a seemingly prepared team go through the motions doesn’t exactly instill confidence in anybody.
- Teams: Detroit Pistons (24-38) at Boston Celtics (21-41)
- Date: March 9, 2014
- Time: 6:00 p.m.
- Television: FSD, NBA TV
What to look for
The Detroit Pistons will be on the road this evening for a matchup of subpar teams. The Boston Celtics, much like the Pistons, have a bad record and lack talent for the most part.
When looking at the last 10-game stretches for both franchises, it’s not pretty. Collectively, they have won five of their past 20 contests. This means they have a total of 15 losses during the same time span, but then again, things could be worse.
The Philadelphia 76ers have lost 16 straight games and could potentially lose every remaining game on their calendar this season. It’s a little things that count in life.
Philly is perfecting tanking, Boston is doing its best to look competent (and competitive) while losing games, while Detroit is doing…something.
The Celtics and Pistons are only separated by three games in the victory column, but both units had opposite goals at the start of the season. An argument could be made that Detroit is in the process of recalibrating objectives for the sake of borrowing Philadelphia and Boston’s path.
By accumulating losses, these teams give themselves a chance at acquiring perhaps a top-five pick in the NBA draft. The fascinating thing about the Pistons is that we cannot unequivocally state they are in sabotage mode.
If they were, they likely would have kept the coaching staff intact and come up with a few bogus injuries to their starters for the sake of ensuring they were not too good. But that’s not what’s happening.
The Pistons are giving it their all, and well, it’s leading them in the same direction as the Celtics. Which team has more of an incentive to win tonight’s contest?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Read about the Celtics
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 32 MIN | 8-17 FG | 4-4 FT | 15 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | -8Monroe was the only guy keeping the Pistons in the game early. Sorry, I retract that. The Pistons weren’t in the game early. But Monroe may have been the only reason they weren’t down 40.
He was also a part of one of the stranger sequences I’ve seen recently in which a Minnesota turnover led to an easy dunk for Greg… which he proceeded to clang hard off iron. That put the ball far behind the Pistons who’d led the break (Monroe, Drummond, and Smith???). So that gave Pekovic on easy dunk on the other end… which he clanged hard off iron. The Pistons actually managed to convert the ensuing fast break.
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 29 MIN | 4-14 FG | 5-8 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 13 PTS | -32Smith shot poorly (Smithly?) and his defense wasn’t exactly impressive. He did have a nice fast break block to clean up his own mistake, though.|
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -33Singler, as has been discovered long ago, is not a highly capable defender at SG. Hence some assertions that the Pistons look like they’re tanking. But Singler didn’t do much with his 30 minutes.|
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 21 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -9Drummond fouled out in 21 minutes and didn’t have too much of an impact in those minutes. For those hoping for a Pistons victory, that’s unacceptable.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 31 MIN | 6-13 FG | 4-8 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -23I was conflicted on Jennings as he never looked like he was playing well, so I intended to give him a poor grade. But then I looked at his box score and it was excellent, apart from the fact that he was part of the lineup that let the Wolves put this game out of reach.
Good game anyway, Brandon. Why couldn’t you do this more when a successful season was still a possibility?
|Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 18 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +4Jerebko did all we could reasonably expect of him and more.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF Shot Chart 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +8Villanueva played? Are we sure the Pistons aren’t tanking? Anyway, his production was about what it should be for 8 minutes.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 14 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +18Datome couldn’t hit a shot (his only reason for being one the team), but somehow, his defense was a part of the Pistons storming back. Not that they ever put the game in doubt, but at least they made the final score respectable.|
|Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 21 MIN | 6-14 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +12Bynum was awesome. And he was really fun to watch. And that wasn’t diminished by any concern by the possibility that he may cost the Pistons a loss thanks to the early performance by the starters.
Somehow, Detroit’s PGs (in 53 minutes, so there were 5 minutes of SG there) combined in this game for 34, 8, and 8 with 2 steals to 3 turnovers and rock solid shooting.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 20 MIN | 2-5 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +13KCP had his first good game in a while. Nothing especially noteworthy, though.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 16 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -15Stuckey really helped Detroit lose this one.|
Some would give him credit for the Pistons’ comeback. I do too, but I also give him credit for the early going that made that ultimately futile.
The Pistons lost by a reasonable margin to a better team. The rotations and plays looked decent, but not exactly brilliant.
Loyer coached a mediocre game.
Two Things We Saw
- Man, that was fast. For the first while, I had to check my browser settings because it looked like the video feed may have been playing at a slightly increased rate. But no, the Pistons and Wolves were just running hard on every early possession. That style of play favors the Wolves.
- Minnesota rapidly jumped out to a huge lead early, taking a 20 point edge in the first quarter. That’s really hard to do. They continued to dominate for most of the game, getting a 31 point lead just before the end of the third.The fourth quarter was all Pistons as the Detroit bench hammered the Wolves’ reserves. If I believed in the sports version of “momentum”, I would have thought the Pistons had a legitimate shot when Bynum brought them within 11 with 2:44 remaining.
But in spite of the domination required to close the gap that much, overcoming a double-digit deficit in under 3 minutes is awfully implausible.