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The five priorities the Pistons should have for rest of season

At the Detroit Free Press, I laid out the five priorities the Pistons should have for rest of season:

1. Lose

2. Evaluate Peyton Siva

3. Develop Tony Mitchell

4. Develop Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

5. Get Chauncey Billups back on the court for the home finale

Click through to the Freep to get explanations of each.

Also, as a corollary to No. 1, here’s a chart showing the Pistons’ odds of keeping their pick based on lottery seed:

ESPN ranks Tom Gores as NBA’s No. 24 owner

An explanation of the rankings over at ESPN.com:

We asked our ESPN Forecast panel to rate every owner, basketball decision-maker and coach from 0 to 10, and we asked the panel to tell us how important each role is. In particular, we asked the voters to rate each team’s front-office management on its guidance and leadership in terms of how it affects overall on-court success, both in the short and long term.

These ESPN rankings haven’t treated the Pistons well, but owner Tom Gores walked away with the most flattering ranking as the No. 24 owner in the NBA.

Say what you will about Gores, but he hasn’t done anything terribly good nor bad in his early tenure. It appears he’s willing to spend money to make the team better, and  that’s good. It’s also abundantly clear that if a guy — say, Maurice Cheeks — isn’t performing up to Gores’ standard, he’s not going to be given a pass.

There are some who think that it’s Gores’ fault the Pistons are in their current predicament, but I don’t necessarily think that’s the case. It wasn’t unreasonable for him to demand that the team make the playoffs this season, but blame Gores for the Pistons acquiring Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings is a little extreme.

Honestly, I’m not totally convinced Gores knew who either player was prior to their arrivals in Detroit. Gores simply demanded the playoffs, and Joe Dumars decided the easiest route was to throw bags of Monopoly money at both Smith and Jennings.

They’ll eventually make the playoffs under Gores, and a big part of that logic is that Gores has shown that he cares. Think about it this way, at least he doesn’t operate the last-place owner on the list: Knicks boss James Dolan.

John Loyer voted NBA’s worst head coach

An explanation of the rankings over at ESPN.com:

We asked our ESPN Forecast panel to rate every owner, basketball decision-maker and coach from 0 to 10, and we asked the panel to tell us how important each role is. In particular, we asked the voters to rate each team’s front-office management on its guidance and leadership in terms of how it affects overall on-court success, both in the short and long term.

Joe Dumars was voted the league’s worst general manager earlier this week, and now his interim coach John Loyer has joined him at the bottom of the barrel after being voted the league’s worst head coach.

It’s sort of unfair to classify Loyer with the rest of the guys on this list — he’s only in this position because of Maurice Cheeks‘ firing. Of course, Loyer hasn’t done a good job and that’s 100 percent why he’s in last place. It just seems like the Pistons have progressively cared less and less as Loyer’s tenure has chugged on.

After topping the Spurs in his coaching debut, everything fell apart for Loyer. The team never looked any different or better as their record dropped to 6-19 under Loyer.

Here’s the real question: Would a full season of Cheeks have ranked any higher?

Joe Dumars, Pistons’ front office voted among league’s worst

An explanation of the rankings over at ESPN.com:

We asked our ESPN Forecast panel to rate every owner, basketball decision-maker and coach from 0 to 10, and we asked the panel to tell us how important each role is. In particular, we asked the voters to rate each team’s front-office management on its guidance and leadership in terms of how it affects overall on-court success, both in the short and long term.

The Pistons have endured a disastrous season, and being ranked poorly in any capacity shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. With a dysfunctional roster, dysfunctional coaching situation and (apparently) lame-duck GM, the Pistons sit comfortably in the cellar of ESPN’s ranking of the league’s best and worst run teams.

Joe Dumars was ranked dead-last at No. 30 in the front-office executive rankings, which is surprising to no one. Dumars seemed to have regained some of his magic last season when he acquired Jose Calderon and freed up a ton of cap space by moving Tayshaun Prince. But then, of course, he blew all of that dough on Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.

The rest, as they say, is history.

What’s better is that Dumars’ former right-hand man, John Hammond, is ranked one spot ahead of him at No. 29. Currently the Bucks GM, Hammond helped Dumars build the Pistons 2004 title team and looked to have put together a roster mediocre enough to make the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference.

Instead, the Bucks are the worst team in the NBA despite Philadelphia’s recent 26 game losing streak.

While Dumars was ranked last in the GM rankings, the Pistons front office was actually ranked 27th ahead of the Bucks and, of course, the Knicks. It’s worth noting that three of the five teams in the Central Division are ranked in the bottom four here, and that the Spurs rank first in both categories because they’re the best-run franchise in all of sports.

The third and final set of rankings, coaching, will be released on Friday. It’s probably safe to assume interim head coach John Loyer will be slotted comfortably near the bottom of the rankings, too.

Remedy for Pacers struggles? The Pistons

Detroit Pistons 94 Final

Recap | Box Score

101 Indiana Pacers
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 31 MIN | 6-21 FG | 5-6 FT | 16 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +6Tonight’s game featured a lot of Monroe’s signature move: the post-shot scream. Monroe was active on the glass and active offensively, but if you take away his 3-for-5 start, he shot just TWO FOR FIFTEEN the rest of the way. He could have taken 15 jumpers and been better. I agree Greg, arghaahhh.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 37 MIN | 9-20 FG | 3-7 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 24 PTS | -11So, remember how Monroe was great in the first quarter and horrible the rest of the way? Josh Smith joined the party, too! Smith made 6-for-11 shots in the first quarter, and fizzled the rest of the way. His poke-away steal and subsequent diving bounce pass to Drummond was actually really great, though.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 39 MIN | 3-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +3It’s tough to watch Singler on nights when his jumper isn’t falling, but those nights are exacerbated when he’s forced to guard a guy like Lance Stephenson. Say what you will about Stephenson’s playground style, but he had his way with Singler.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 31 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-6 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -5Drummond’s as automatic a double-double as you’ll find in the NBA today. He did a good job overcoming two fouls within the first eight minutes of the game, and his defense was solid around the rim. Fourteen rebounds is nice, but he was competing for boards with the league’s worst rebounding center in Roy Hibbert.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 35 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +2This really wasn’t a bad effort from Jennings. His hailmary shots went down for the most part, and he was a big reason the Pistons had 16 fastbreak points and 17 points off turnovers. But he dribbled right into George Hill’s hands with just under two minutes to go before committing a dumb off-the-ball foul to give Indy a free throw in the final minute. Maybe that deserves an A? I dunno anymore, this all blends together.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +6He went through the motions, missed a three and his night was over by halftime.

Charlie Villanueva, PF Shot Chart 6 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -6Charlie was just so excited that his UCONN Huskies are playing in the Final Four that he tackled Hibbert — a former Big East great himself — while he was trying to tell him.

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 13 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -9Bynum had a few good drives to the basket, but he wasn’t really on the same page as the rest of the Pistons tonight.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -5Nice alley-oop to Drummond in the second quarter. Other than that, nice job cheering from the bench.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 32 MIN | 6-12 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | -16Stuckey was efficient offensively and passable defensively, so par for the course. However, I thought about this during the game, if you’ve got to sign either Stuckey (say, for 3-years, $20M) or Evan Turner (say, for 3-years $30M) who do you pick?

John Loyer
The Pacers have been engulfed in a horrible slump recently, and tonight was the first time they scored 100 points in a game since… wait for it … the last time they played the Pistons on March 15! Also, if you’re interested in seeing the Pistons season in a nutshell, check out Loyer’s response to Paul George’s damn-near-half-court shot.

Tom Gores makes real strides with Pistons’ new D-League affiliation

Me at the Detroit Free Press:

The Pistons will run their own D-League team in Grand Rapids next season, rather than continue sharing a squad with five other NBA teams. That will cost real money. The Pistons will have to hire a coach and a basketball-operations staff, and they’ll likely spend more on scouts to find players to fill the roster.

This season, 14 teams have their own D-League affiliate: three of the NBA’s strongest championship contenders (Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma Thunder), a few threats to advance in the playoffs (Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets), prominent franchises in the league’s power structure (Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks) a team with an extremely promising future (Philadelphia 76ers) and the Cavaliers and Kings.

With the exception of Cleveland and Sacramento, it’s absolutely a group you want to join.

But these teams aren’t well-positioned because they have their own D-League teams. Having their own D-League team is a signal that they’re doing whatever they can to gain an edge. A team that goes out of its way to negotiate a one-to-one affiliation usually is doing many other things right.

The Pistons put themselves one step closer toward including themselves in that reality. Though they will have to back it up with other savvy moves, Gores sincerely deserves credit for paying to alter the Pistons’ prognosis for the better.

3-on-3: Tom Izzo, Pistons head coach?

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.

1.  USA Today’s Sam Amick reports that Tom Gores will chase Michigan State coach Tom Izzo this summer to fill the Pistons head-coaching void. What positives could Izzo bring to Detroit?

Dan Feldman: Izzo has successfully designed and implemented extremely effective offensive and defensive systems at Michigan State. Even if those schemes won’t translate directly to the NBA, I have a reasonably high amount of faith in Izzo’s basketball acuity. His challenge with the Pistons would be different, but he’s shown he can achieve positive results when faced with similar challenges. There’s nobody in the world who has done precisely what the next Pistons coach must do, but Izzo has succeeded in a similar area.

Patrick Hayes: First and foremost, his offensive and defensive systems will work in the NBA. Particularly if you look at what MSU is running on offense this year, making great use of stretch bigs Adreian Payne and Kenny Kaminski, variations of that offense are clearly similar to what NBA teams run. He’s also adaptable to sometimes strange-fitting personnel. For example, he’s had successful teams that feature solid pass-first point guards (think Mateen Cleaves era), teams that make it work with shoot-first point guards (think Kalin Lucas or Keith Appling era) and teams that basically run their offense through a forward (think Draymond Green era). There are some successful college coaches that run systems that you can see would have no chance at working at the NBA level (Rick Pitino wanting to run a full-court press for an entire game, for example), but Izzo is one of the handful of college coaches out there whose system wouldn’t be a big question if he landed with a team with decent personnel.

Brady Fredericksen: He’d bring accountability. The Pistons haven’t had a coach that commands respect and has any clue what the heck is going on since Larry Brown. The Pistons are a rudderless ship as a whole, but if they can find a coach who has a clue and vision and knows how to get the wheels rolling in the right direction,that’s all a rebuilding team needs. The best thing that’d come with Izzo coaching the Pistons is that every Josh Smith 3-pointer would lead to a benching. Every. Single. One.

2. Conversely, what are some negatives that come with Izzo if he were to be the Pistons coach?

Dan Feldman: The key traits Izzo possess — being passionate, demanding and authoritative — definitely work for a college coach. He can’t be such a hardliner in the NBA. There’s no reason to believe Izzo can’t adjust – except that so few college coaches have successfully made the transition. And that’s where the biggest negative lies: opportunity cost. Luring Izzo to the Pistons would cost a lot of money, money that might be enough to get George Karl, Lionel Hollins, Stan Van Gundy, Jeff Van Gundy or Nate McMillan. If you’re going to spend that much, where not go for a proven NBA coach? In terms of candidates below that tier, I like Izzo as much as any NBA assistant or less-successful retread. But he’d cost a lot more than those guys.

Patrick Hayes: We know Izzo can coax effort out of college players, and we know largely how he does it … he’s a tad, shall we say, high strung on the sidelines. That temperament isn’t going to work with NBA players in general, but particularly for a Pistons team that has become quite good at tuning out all styles of coaches over the last five years. Izzo is smart enough to know that, and I assume he’d work to reel in some of his more micro-managing tendencies if he took the Pistons job, but until he proves he’s capable of doing that, it’s legitimate to wonder how NBA players would respond to his occasional and public ass-chewings.

Brady Fredericksen: Patrick nailed it on the head, I don’t know how Izzo’s personality works in the NBA. Can you imagine him trying to coach Smith? His head would literally turn red as a strawberry before exploding. Oh, and you thought teaching Appling to be a good point guard over the years was hard, Tom? Well, let me introduce you to Brandon Jennings. Izzo is the quintessential college coach. He makes a difference in player’s lives and that’s great in college, it’s just at the NBA level guys don’t want or need that. Izzo’s hair-on-fire style works in college, but that isn’t going to work with NBA guys. They’ll tune out the noise real quick.

3. With all of that said, if you had to put a percentage chance on this, how likely is it that Izzo actually takes the Pistons job?

Dan Feldman: 15 percent. I wouldn’t call any potential coach more likely than the field, but if I had to pick one name, it’s Izzo — only because I believe Gores likes him. If the next general manager has a strong preference, that could swing everything. I don’t know when next season’s general manager will be in place, but I know Gores will be there.

Patrick Hayes: It’s still relatively low (I’ll say 3-5 percent range), but the Pistons do have a few things working in their favor. They have a franchise player in place in Andre Drummond. They have an owner willing to aggressively spend (sometimes to his own detriment) to quickly make the team competitive. They are Izzo’s home-state team and Tom Gores is a Michigan State alum. And, perhaps most importantly, Izzo is in the midst of what has been a challenging season. The team is losing seniors Payne and Keith Appling, they are likely losing Gary Harris (a potential lottery pick if he declares) and there’s even a chance that junior Branden Dawson could bolt if he keeps up his strong late-season play and MSU’s tourney run continues. That is a ton of talent to replace and MSU doesn’t have a strong recruiting class coming in next season. I believe Izzo that he is committed to staying in East Lansing, but I also believe he’ll always be intrigued by the NBA. If there was a time to jump ship at MSU, this would be a good time, since the program could be going through a transition phase next year.

Brady Fredericksen: Zero. I honestly think his flirtation with the Cavaliers a few years ago was the last chance. That summer seemed to not only take a toll on him, but also Michigan State. The Spartans were full of veteran players, starting the season ranked second in the nation, but the team absolutely bottomed out, finished 19-15 and barely made the NCAA tournament before being bounced by UCLA. I get that he’s striking out on the one-and-done recruits, but it just doesn’t make sense. I think he’d jump at the opportunity to coach a good NBA team, but the chances he’s had with Atlanta, Cleveland and now apparently Detroit can’t be that appealing.

3-on-3: How far can the Pistons realistically slide?

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.

1. With the race for lottery balls being the only competitive race the Pistons (25-44) will be a part of over the season’s final month, what are their chances of slipping one slot down below the Sacramento Kings (25-45) for the seventh-worst record in the NBA?

Patrick Hayes: Nine of Sacramento’s last 12 games are against possible playoff teams, so I’d say there’s little chance of that happening. The Pistons have six lottery teams, including the two worst teams in the league, on their remaining schedule. I’d say it’s fairly likely that the Pistons perform their annual habit of a modest late-season winning streak rather than get bad enough to pass the Kings.

Brady Fredericksen: Likely. Maybe I’m giving the Kings too much credit, but they’re pesky enough to beat teams they shouldn’t beat. If DeMarcus Cousins puts together a huge week, they could fly right past the Pistons. The scary thing is that the Pistons tend to put together late-season runs out of prime lottery position. They’ve got winnable games against bad teams like Cleveland (twice), Boston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, so I guess those are your “swing games” in this race.

In past years, the Pistons were winning late with fiesty rejects and young players. Now it’s disgruntled vets and (likely) burnt out young guys from yesteryear. This team is bad, so worrying that they’ll magically get hot is, well, probably unneeded. Most of these guys probably want this failure to be over with just as bad as the fans do.

Tim Thielke: The Kings and Pistons are pretty 50-50 for who will finish with the worse record. As an eternal optimist, I’ll pick the Kings to wind up with the better record. But this is a crap shoot that could really go wither way.

2.  What about passing the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers, who currently sit at 23-46 with the sixth-worst record in the NBA?

Patrick Hayes: The Lakers have eight remaining games against possible playoff teams, but they could possibly get Steve Nash and Pau Gasol back this week. And depending on your opinion of whether or not Steve Nash and Pau Gasol still have much of anything to offer this late in their careers, that might help the Lakers pick up some unexpected wins. Still though, I’d err on the side of thinking the Pistons have a better chance of closing the season strong than the Lakers do.

Brady Fredericksen: Possible. The Lakers are confusing. There are some nights where they compete with teams they have no business sharing the floor with, and other nights where they’re flailing around with Ryan Kelly leading the way. I want to say the Pistons can out-stink them, but I don’t think they can. The Pistons play seven more playoff teams, and all could easily be losses, but maybe not enough to sneak this low. If I had to bet on being bad enough to be in position to keep the pick, I’d say they’ll finish with the eighth-worst record — just like always. But, in a cruel twist, Boston and L.A. will sneak up to the No. 1 and 2 picks while the Pistons somehow drop down to No. 9 and lose the pick to Charlotte.

Tim Thielke: The Lakers are definitely a long shot. The Pistons are up two wins with just 13 games to go. The odds of the Pistons having a worse record than the Lakers are under 10%. But there’s probably another 5% chance that they end up tied. The cynic in me, though, insists on pointing out that just as the Pistons could fall behind L.A., they could also pass up the Cavs.

3. If the Pistons slip into the NBA’s bottom five, they’ll 100 percent be assured of keeping their draft pick regardless of lottery movement. What are the chances that the Pistons can pass the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics (both 23-47) for the fourth or fifth-worst record?

Patrick Hayes: Well, here’s the positive (Or is it negative? I’m not sure if positives or negatives exist in discussions of this team and season anymore.): The Pistons have two games vs. Cleveland, one vs. Utah and one vs. Boston among their final games. Losses in all four of those games would significantly improve their chances of keeping their pick. But I’m also not convinced that the Pistons are less motivated to win than any of those other teams. They’re all pretty unmotivated as well. I would put this at close to a zero percent chance of happening if the Pistons beat Utah tonight.

Brady Fredericksen: Slightly possible. The Pistons are only 2.5 games ahead of them, and will actually face off against Utah tonight. For tanking reasons, this is good because not only are the  Pistons chasing the Jazz, but Detroit hasn’t won in EnergySolutions Arena since 2002-03 when Jon Barry scored 10 points off the bench. Seriously. So, with a loss seeming likely tonight will be a step in the right (or wrong?) direction.

Tim Thielke: The odds of falling behind the Lakers, Celtics, or Jazz are virtually identical. But the Pistons won’t out-lose them all. Even if Detroit fails to win another game this season (and I’m optimistically hoping to pull out 11 losses in the last 13), one of those teams would still probably manage to stay behind or tie the Pistons. The 5th or 6th worst record is pretty much the best we can hope for.

Detroit Pistons’ record slips into rut of last four seasons

Me at the Detroit Free Press:

For months, the 2013-14 Pistons could at least claim progress from the last four years, the dismal John Kuester-Lawrence Frank seasons.

No more.

Their winning percentage (.373) has slipped below Frank’s first season (.379). If the Pistons lose their next two games — the expected outcome at the Phoenix Suns and at the Los Angeles Clippers — it also will drop below Kuester’s second season (.366).

This isn’t rock bottom. It’s just more of the same.

The Pistons have turned stale. What was supposed to be an athletic and intriguing mix of talent has two defining characteristics: bad shots and scrambled defense. Even the promise of Andre Drummond has taken a back seat to all the losing.

Josh Smith makes early exit before Pistons bow out in Denver

Detroit Pistons 109 Final

Recap | Box Score

118 Denver Nuggets
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 41 MIN | 9-12 FG | 4-9 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +2It’s not a coincidence that Monroe does well when he’s got room down low, and tonight he had all the space he could handle down low. He was efficient on offense (and 2-for-2 on jumpers), but it’s the four steals and one block that boost his grade up. I have to deduct points for just five rebounds — especially without Andre Drummond.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 23 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -6Well, first he got posterized by Timofey Mozgov, and then he got himself tossed. Normally, like if this were a game the Pistons NEEDED to win, a night like that gets you a big, fat F. But when losing ain’t that bad, and posterizations are just kind of cool, it gets you an A.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 26 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -10Have I ever mentioned that Good Kyle Singler Nights are the best? With the Pistons using a more traditional lineup, Singler looked pretty solid as the main small forward. He rebounded well and scored 10 points in the third quarter.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 30 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 7 PTS | -5I thought these were the kind of games that Jennings thrived in? Apparently not. The up-and-down tempo of this one played right into the kind of quick-thinking play Jennings loves, but he was pretty blah on offense and, along with Will Bynum, absolutely horrendous in attempting to defend Aaron Brooks.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 37 MIN | 8-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | -418 points… on 17 shots. Stuckey shoots, Stuckey scores, rinse and repeat.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 16 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -1This was a prime opportunity for Jerebko to really put together a strong night. Instead, he just kind of floated around. He had some nice rim-runs, but he couldn’t finish once he got there, and his rebounding — like the rest of the Pistons — was underwhelming.

Charlie Villanueva, PF Shot Chart 17 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | -13If the Pistons really wanted to tank, they be letting Villanueva shoot 19 3-pointers per night.

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 22 MIN | 4-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 10 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -7It feels like Bynum has consistently out-played Jennings for about a month now. Unfortunately, while his offensive numbers were superior, his defense was equally bad.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 28 MIN | 2-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -1He looked totally out of sorts offensively, but I like that the recent Fresh Prince of Trillions put together a well-rounded game. Those 10 rebounds were a career high, and he didn’t just settle for all jumpers, shown by the 4-for-4 showing at the line.

John Loyer
Did you know the Pistons are now a comical 1-32 when they trail entering the fourth quarter? That’s not Loyer’s fault, I just felt like we all needed a good laugh. Loyer wasn’t bad tonight. The Pistons looked decent offensively without 10,000 power forwards on the floor at once, and the team hung around even after Smith made his way to the locker room early. Of course, the team’s defense was bad all around, but it’s been consistently bad under Loyer. A loss is a loss; I think that’s how the saying goes?