Category → Game Review
|Greg Monroe, PF 37 MIN | 8-14 FG | 1-8 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | -5Monroe played well and put up solid counting stats. But all the missed free throws made it much harder for the Pistons to scrape their way back into this one.His defense continues to be good this season in one-on-one situations but he’s not good at rotating and ending up where he is supposed to.|
|Josh Smith, SF 38 MIN | 7-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | -5Smith was way too quick to shoot from deep, but he was hitting more than not in this game. His interior D is magnificent, but if he plays alongside Monroe AND Drummond, he really needs to work on his perimeter D. He has enough length to get a finger on a lot of jumpers.|
|Andre Drummond, C 38 MIN | 7-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -16Were you wondering how Drummond can help space the floor with that awful shot? Wonder no more, Drummond was setting phenomenal screens for the guards allowing them to repeatedly get open shots in the lane. Yeah, you can have a diverse offense even while getting most of your points at the rim. And his box score stats were pretty solid too.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 39 MIN | 8-22 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 14 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 23 PTS | -1Jennings was again trigger happy. The volume was ok. But he should only be shooting when he’s open or the clock is running down. Otherwise, move the ball around and see if you can get a higher percentage look. His assist count was deceptively high. Jennings wasn’t passing that well. His teammates just shot a lot after getting the ball instead of passing it further.Jennings’ breakaway alley-oop to Drummond was awesome, though. Because it wasn’t flashy for the flash, it was flashy because that was the only way he could get a clean pass to Drummond with two defenders right on them.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 26 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -22Pope had the most epic steal I’ve seen so far this season when he stuffed Blake’s pass with both hands. Apart from that, though, his defense was not as good as expected.|
|Tony Mitchell, PF 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2Nothing of consequence happened in Mitchell’s 49.4 seconds.|
|Josh Harrellson, PF 1 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2Nothing of consequence happened in Harrellson’s 49.4 seconds.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -5Jerebko didn’t get much burn, but when on the floor he did a good job of taking what the Lakers gave him. When they backed off, he drove. When they collapsed, he kicked out, when they jumped out on the shooters, he established good position. He also played solid D but got torched anyway. For so little time on the court, he sure had a lot of threes drained over his hand in the shooter’s face.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +10Datome was useless. He probably should have played more, but not based on anything he did in this brief appearance.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 20 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -20Singler’s stat line fit my impression of his game. I felt like I could remember seeing him out there quite a bit, but I couldn’t remember any plays he was involved in.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 30 MIN | 8-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | -7Stuckey had some really ugly TOs. First he threw the ball directly out of bounds. I still have no idea who that pass was intended for. Then he tried to thread a pass by Xavier Henry. Look, there are just some guys not worth making risky passes around. Henry is one of those guys.But overall, his offense was good. Stuckey manhandled smaller guards on the block. Unfortunately, he didn’t do much to stop them from responding with open jumpers.|
I’m not sure if Cheeks understands the value of taking a timeout when the other team is playing well. It gives your team a chance to regroup and reenter the game feeling confident and ready to stop the bleeding.
Two Things We Saw
- The Pistons really need to work on their transition game on both ends.
- The Pistons played some solid defense down the stretch. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was pretty good. And the Lakers just kept draining shot after shot. Credit this one to a game well played by the Lakers.
There are no must-wins this early in the NBA season, but this was a necessary step for the Pistons.
They’d lost 21 straight road games against Western Conference foes and had gone just 1-38 record in their last 39 such games. It was a symptom of a team that often couldn’t win, but never believed it would, even when facing similarly weak opponents.
The Pistons lacked talent and were mentally weak. They clearly upgraded their talent this summer, but it hadn’t been clear whether they’d fixed the other problem.
It’s still not clear, but at least their condition has improved.
The Pistons are a much better team than the Kings and should win most games like this. This victory doesn’t deserve wide celebration, but a loss would have caused real worry.
Now that we know the Pistons are progressing, it’s time to set higher expectations – like seeing them win a Western Conference road game outside Sacramento for the first time in more than three years.
|Greg Monroe, PF 30 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +7
The once-oft-made comparisons between Monroe and DeMarcus Cousins have become less relevant now that the Pistons have surrounded Monroe with actual talent. Detroit’s success is no longer so desperately tied to Monroe (though Sacramento’s is still very reliant on Cousins), but I was still drawn to the matchup. I’m not sure which player I’d prefer given all factors, but games like this show why Cousins has a much higher ceiling. Cousins (26 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks) is an amazing athlete and has great size. At times, it seemed like he just flew around the court. Monroe can still produce, but because he’s not on that level athletically, he must labor to make more of his plays.
|Josh Smith, SF 44 MIN | 6-13 FG | 7-10 FT | 8 REB | 7 AST | 5 STL | 4 BLK | 4 TO | 21 PTS | +11
He was more successful on his bad shots than his good shots, so hopefully this game doesn’t reinforce Smith’s desire to take long jumpers early in the shot clock. He was also aggressive getting to the rim and making plays for teammate, though. On the other end, Smith mostly did not force the Kings into offensive mistakes. Rather, they did that to themselves. But Smith put himself in position to take advantage of Sacramento’s miscues. In previous years, the Pistons haven’t had players who have the athleticism and defensive awareness to make opponents pay for making the ball available. I’d like Smith to force the issue more in the long run, but against a bad offense tonight, he successfully made the defensive plays available to him.
|Andre Drummond, C 36 MIN | 7-13 FG | 1-3 FT | 18 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 15 PTS | +7
Used his size well to score and rebound in traffic. As teams focus more on him, Drummond will have less space to operate, so this type of growth is imperative – especially on a Pistons team that struggles to space the floor.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 39 MIN | 5-14 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +11
I didn’t love Jennings’ shot selection, but he did a good job of getting up court and the Pistons’ into their offense quickly. He threw an alley-oop off the backboard to Drummond, who looked stunned to receive it but still finished. Players should use the backboard like that more often.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 21 MIN | 2-5 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +1
Caldwell-Pope is clearly a starter in name only, with Rodney Stuckey and Kyle Singler both playing more than him. But it seems Caldwell-Pope is a legitimate part of the rotation now, and that should only help his development. Generally, I believe players should hunt 3-pointers rather than long 2s. But Caldwell-Pope has clearly been jittery from long range early in his rookie year. I definitely don’t mind him scooting inside for slightly easier looks just to get his confidence up, as Caldwell-Pope did a couple times early. Hopefully, that helps put him on the right track.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 7 MIN | 2-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -5
Jerebko made the most of his limited minutes, and games like this boost his case for re-joining the rotation. When he focuses on cutting and spotting up for open shots rather than over-dribbling, like he did tonight, Jerebko is effective.
|Luigi Datome, SF 1 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +2
Only the very best shooters in the NBA can come in cold and knock down shots. Maybe we should accept that Datome is not one of the very best shooters in the NBA. He could still become a helpful rotation piece, but it’s time to lower expectations for the time being.
|Kyle Singler, SF 23 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +3
Singler was definitely active, leading both to shots inside on offense and fouls committed on defense.
|Will Bynum, PG 8 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -7
Might Bynum be headed out of the rotation once Chauncey Billups gets healthy? Bynum didn’t do much tonight.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 30 MIN | 6-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +5
Stuckey played well from mid-range, both shooting and passing. He’s not a good 3-point shooter, and he struggles to finish at the rim. Perhaps, this is becoming his niche.
I was very curious what Cheeks would do after pledging lineup changes, but Billups’ injury forced his hand. Interestingly, Cheeks used Smith, Monroe and Drummond together 31 minutes, just shy of the season-high 32 minutes they played together against the Grizzlies. Is that a long-term shift? Not necessarily. Those three have struggled defensively as a trio, though they were excellent together tonight. Usually, Detroit’s jumbo front line leaves too many shooters open, because Smith, Monroe and Drummond lack the collective foot speed to cover enough ground. But the Kings, who are still getting used to running an actual offense after years of bad ball, weren’t prepared to take advantage with deft passing.
|Greg Monroe, PF 31 MIN | 6-15 FG | 3-6 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -29Monroe’s offense was underwhelming and his defense brought back memories of last year. His two free throw misses to close out the first quarter were killers. The Pistons were struggling so much to put the ball in the basket and couldn’t afford to waste freebies.|
|Josh Smith, SF 19 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -15Smith continued to attempt bad shots. This time, they weren’t falling. And he wasn’t contributing in other ways either. Completely unacceptable.|
|Andre Drummond, C 29 MIN | 8-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +1Drummond was the only good Piston starter in the game. Without him, Detroit probably loses by 30+.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 27 MIN | 5-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -31This performance was the epitome of bad Jennings. He was quick to hoist shots, missed a lot more than he made, didn’t get his teammates involved, and had 3 TOs to no steals.|
|Chauncey Billups, SG 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -12Billups is still technically a starter. but probably not for much longer. His role is rapidly declining. With games like this, it’s no surprise. But Billups’ ineffectiveness is relatively excusable relative to many of his teammates’ because it wasn’t sustained over much time on the floor.|
|Tony Mitchell, PF 13 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -4Mitchell put Lee on the line on two separate occasions when he wasn’t even shooting. And he made a goaltend. His numbers were decent for how much time he spent on the floor but he wasn’t playing smart.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +1Jerebko only played garbage minutes, but he doesn’t look likely to get much more in most games these days. If he wants to regain a larger role, he has to do better in these limited opportunities.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 17 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +3Datome was a rare bright spot in this matchup. He shot well, defended adequately, and generally did a good job of being somewhere the ball could get to him. Performances like this should be consistently achievable. If that happens, Datome should team with Singler and maybe Pope to form a solid, reliable corps on the wing.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 18 MIN | 1-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -5Singler needs to grab a few boards in 18 minutes. He was part of the reason the Warriors creamed the Pistons on the glass. Given how poorly his teammates shot the ball, Singler should have tried to take on a bit more of a scoring role. But his play in this game wasn’t going to move the needle much either way.|
|Will Bynum, PG 21 MIN | 4-8 FG | 6-10 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +13Bynum did exciting Bynum things. He came into the game, brought a ton of energy, didn’t get sloppy, scored efficiently (although not as rapidly as we’ve sometimes seen), and would have given Detroit a shot at a comeback if the hole wasn’t so big.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 24 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -1Pope’s shooting left something to be desired, but it looked a lot better than it has in some games. His D was also solid and he got his most minutes of the season. Here’s hoping he has played his way into a bigger role because his upside is a lot better than Singler’s or Jerebko’s.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 28 MIN | 2-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -11I would say that Stuckey’s shockingly good shooting to start the season had made him overconfident, but he’s always been that way. Stuckey, if you have to take a tough shot because the team’s sets got blown up, go for it and I hope it goes in. But they should be a last resort. Today, we saw more typical results to Stuckey’s shooting.|
Cheeks didn’t coach particularly well, but i don’t think he could have manufactured a win here by coaching the best game anyone ever has. Still his grade has to suffer for pulling Drummond with foul trouble, especially in the 2nd quarter. He was easily the best Piston on the floor. Trust him to rein it in a bit. Also, Smith should have gotten some more time. He was awful, but given the desperate situation, he was more likely to play superstar ball and bring the Pistons back into the game than almost anyone else on the roster.
Three Things We Saw
- The Pistons attempted 17 more shots than the Warriors! And they took more from downtown and got to the line more frequently. They had 12 steals and just 12 TOs, to Golden State’s 5 and 23. It’s really hard to lose when those sorts of numbers happen. To lose by 18? That’s insane.
- Apart from the lack of minutes for Smith, the lineups looked a lot better this game. Lots of time with two of Detroit’s “big three”. Relatively big minutes for Pope and Datome. I want to see how this rotation holds up when they’re not playing an opponent that hits 60% of their shots.
- The Pistons may have only been losing to better teams so far, but this is unacceptable. Worse teams beat better teams regularly. Any given loss is understandable, but the succession of them isn’t. Detroit should probably be winning at least 30% of their games against teams expected to make the playoffs.
|Greg Monroe, PF 37 MIN | 9-17 FG | 1-1 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 19 PTS | +3Pretty good effort from Monroe, who may have run out of gas late. Like it or not, he’s been the team’s most improved player this season. He’s not perfect, but when the offense ran through him, it looked good. It’s hard to knock him a ton defensively either, considering he helped contain LaMarcus Aldridge, who’s historically cooked the Pistons, to 8-of-19 shooting.|
|Josh Smith, SF 36 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -7For someone who’s been active on the boards all year long, Smith was a non-factor tonight. Shot selection wasn’t the problem — making shots was the problem. Nicolas Batum is a heckuva matchup for anyone, and Smith slowed him, but Batum still won this round with Smith. Smith’s best role in this offense is as a distributor. It’s just a matter of when he figures it out.|
|Andre Drummond, C 42 MIN | 8-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 16 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | -3Drummond came back strong after a lackluster couple of games. He rebounded, dunked and just did Andre Drummond things. His game is so elementary, but what he does, he does great. Heck, Maurice Cheeks even trusted him on the floor late in game, which is nice to see.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 32 MIN | 11-24 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 28 PTS | -6Where to start? He’s the reason the Pistons made another late comeback, but he’s probably one of the main reasons they fell behind. He freelanced enough on defense to the point of legitimately having no idea where his man was at times. He used about 90 percent of his screens as avenues to the basket, rarely looking for the pop or roll man. He has glimpses of being a, ya know, point guard. But just as many glimpses of being the volume shooter that no one wants to play with.|
|Chauncey Billups, SG 14 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -4He’s looking his age, and it’s becoming more and more clear that his days starting are nearing an end. He definitely can still help this team, but trying to guard starting shooting guards isn’t that role. I’d bet, with Tuesday’s game at the Warriors being a back-to-back, he’ll sit while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope gets a shot.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 5 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -6So, you want to know how to “Villanueva” a game? First, come in and hoist up a 3-pointer immediately. Alright? But follow that up by just hovering around the 3-point line on defense, then miss a box out or two and come out of the game with two or so points points and a minus-6 plus/minus in five minutes. Charlie V’s season debut? Villanueva’d it.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 23 MIN | 0-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -5It’s hard to hate Singler when he plays hard. He does little things when his shot isn’t falling, and that’s good. Problem is his shot hasn’t fallen this season. He’s 2-for-12 from deep, and that has to change for the Pistons’ second unit to succeed — and for him to stick in the rotation.|
|Will Bynum, PG 16 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | 0Typical game that makes you love, hate, then love again before eventually hating Bynum once again. When he’s out there, the team runs a little bit and he makes things happen. But he just wasn’t as big a spark against the Blazers. Plus, all the guards lose points for the massacre that was defending Mo Williams in the first half.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 34 MIN | 4-15 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -2The shot wasn’t falling today — and, strangely, it has been recently — but he didn’t play a terrible game outside that. His block of a Joel Freeland dunk in the second half was really impressive, and during the Pistons’ fourth-quarter comeback, he shared the lead guard duties while Jennings playing off ball a bit.|
Well, the Pistons’ defense wasn’t totally his fault, but boy was it bad enough to feel like it. I can’t even think of a joke to make about the team’s 3-point defense because the defense was the joke. It just didn’t seem like there were many, if any, adjustments on that end. Also, why play Charlie Villanueva? Honestly? If he was just going to shoot from deep, why not play Luigi Datome? This was another game where the team showed flashes, but as the coach, he has to start finding a way to capture those flashes. I did like that he shortened the rotation, but it’s still not a finished product. Until he figures out who can be the floor spacer — Caldwell-Pope? Datome? — then there are going to be some ups and downs. He needs the team to start playing defense before worrying about making 3-pointers, though.
|Greg Monroe, C 39 MIN | 8-13 FG | 4-5 FT | 15 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | +6Monroe did everything we could ask of him in this game. His work around the rim was inspired. Most of his shots came against two or three defenders but his post moves allowed him to repeatedly make just enough space to get off a clean shot. He even did a good job defending one-on-one, although he needs to work on his adjustments when the ball comes in and out of the post. Monroe also had three pokes that I saw leading to steals by his teammates.|
|Josh Smith, PF 33 MIN | 10-20 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 25 PTS | 0I would harp on his shot selection, but if he were more discriminating, he probably would have finished 6-14. Smith hit a lot of bad shots and missed a lot of good shots. In the third quarter, he nearly blocked Durant with his foot. It was an obvious foul, but a thing of beauty nonetheless. I’d give him a B+ if he hadn’t bitten on Durant’s pump fake when the Pistons were trying to claw their way back into the game.|
|Andre Drummond, C 23 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -9Drummond played 23 minutes? He did not make his presence known.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 35 MIN | 7-17 FG | 4-6 FT | 5 REB | 11 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | +4This is basically what you hope for from Jennings. The efficiency wasn’t great but he was drawing lots of attention away from inside and making quick decisions (whether to shoot or pass). He got the ball to his teammates in good positions and his shooting was solid.|
|Chauncey Billups, SG 28 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 3 PTS | +13Billups looked a lot better than his stats. But that doesn’t take much. If in and outs were worth a point, he would have scored every time he put it up. You don’t get a good grade when you’re scoreless until the last three and a half minutes, though.|
|Jonas Jerebko, SF 4 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -10Accomplished nothing in his cameo.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 12 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -18Datome wasn’t accomplishing anything on D, so he really needed to be knocking down some shots. The FG% is alright, but he was terrible at getting open on the perimeter. His teammates could get him the ball from up top, but he didn’t seem to realize that he needed to be a safety valve for bigs down low.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 23 MIN | 2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +4Singler took good shots, but the Pistons needed him to hit more. His defense was very shaky, his only way to slow anyone down was by fouling them. And his unnecessary foul with 17 seconds remaining sealed the Pistons’ loss.|
|Will Bynum, PG 13 MIN | 2-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -13Bynum played like Bynum: wild and exciting. Against the Thunder, it was not very effective. He was very lucky to have no TOs.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 7 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -4Pope didn’t give Westbrook much trouble so there was no reason for Cheeks to keep him in.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 23 MIN | 5-7 FG | 5-7 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | -18Stuckey was fantastic. He has been the best shooter on the Pistons this season and it isn’t close.|
|Maurice CheeksCheeks should have taken a time out during the Thunder’s killer 17-2 run. He should have played Drummond more with one of Monroe and Smith and less with both. But overall, he did a solid job and didn’t set the Pistons back. My standards for him are low and he reached them.|
Three Things We Saw
- Whew… that 17-2 run to close out the third quarter and open the fourth was a killer. The Pistons recovered and got back in the game, but they’d just given up too much ground to ever retake the lead.
- After an initial rash of TOs, I was pleased by the ball security. But the Pistons got beat up on the boards. They won’t win many games when that happens.
- The Pistons managed to hold Westbrook without an assist. Durant was incredible–as he is wont to be. Adams really impressed, he looked about as good as Ibaka. Watch his progress going forward. If he can keep this level of play up, the Thunder should be favorites to come out of the West.
|Josh Smith, SF 37 MIN | 5-16 FG | 5-8 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | -28
Unlike last game, Smith doesn’t get the same late-in-the-shot-clock reprieve for his poor shooting tonight. Even when Smith shot as the shot clock neared expiration, that was often because he held the ball until it was too late to do anything else. His passing was easily at a season-worst level. His defense of Paul George was ordinary at best, but Smith was active as a help defender.
|Greg Monroe, C 35 MIN | 5-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -22
The Pacers battered Monroe, but he still produced a quality game. Monroe was working hard defensively and even had a chase-down block of Lance Stephenson. The massive, and seemingly offensively improved, Roy Hibbert gave him trouble, though.
|Andre Drummond, C 34 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -18
The Pacers were much more concerned with getting back defensively than grabbing offensive rebounds, so Drummond had several easy boards. He contributed positively defensively, but this was one of his least impactful night.
|Chauncey Billups, PG 24 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -15
I knew I shouldn’t have talked my self into believing Billups could consistently replicate his opening-night performance. Billups looked old tonight.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 36 MIN | 6-20 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | -7
Jennings was way too erratic during the game’s more-organized stretches, when both teams used their top players. But he provided a spark during the Pistons’ hectic 16-2 run late in the fourth quarter. Wait, don’t the Pistons already have someone for that role?
|Luigi Datome, SF 12 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +18
Replacing Jonas Jerebko as the backup power forward, Datome could be dangerous in this role, because he’s such a skilled long-range shooter. A big question will be his defense of opposing bigs, but he worked really hard fronting Luis Scola and pushing Scola off his spots. That worked in a physical game like this one, but on other nights, that brand of defense – necessary given Datome’s size disadvantage as a four – could just draw a lot of foul calls. Oh, it would help if Datome actually made his outside shots (0-of-4 on 3-pointers). I can chalk up tonight to bad bounces and a small sample, but I’m at least aware of the possibility that Datome can’t shoot well, at least right now, while exerting so much energy on the defensive end. Overall, I found Datome’s performance encouraging. It just wasn’t good tonight.
|Kyle Singler, SF 27 MIN | 3-7 FG | 7-8 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +26
Singler played hard and made hustle plays on both ends. He seemed to provide exactly what the Pistons needed. His +26 is certainly a bit fluky, but chop that in half, and it still matches what appeared to be a really good effort.
|Will Bynum, PG 16 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +6
In his first game as a reserve this season, Bynum entered the game and immediately made his presence known – on defense. Prior to Bynum getting off the bench, the Pacers had been making the Pistons’ defensive rotations look particularly slow. But Bynum was a real pesky defender, and his backcourt steal and layup was a real gem. Overall, his defense checked in as just above average, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. He completed an alley-oop to Drummond, of course, but Bynum’s offense was relatively unremarkable.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 4 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +9
Caldwell-Pope didn’t enter until fewer than four minutes remained and the Pacers led by 17. He played well, though I’m not going to read too much into the sustainability of his shot-making after he hit a couple against a team that had already called it a night. But hopefully, this will give Caldwell-Pope confidence. That’s what he needs most.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 16 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -9
Stuckey repeatedly drove recklessly into the lane, but he didn’t draw any fouls, though he did commit two charges.
Going to a zone in the first half caught the Pacers off guard and helped get the Pistons back into the game. I also liked giving Datome – rather than Charlie Villanueva –a chance in place of Jerebko. But Josh Smith is hijacking the offense with his missed shots and turnovers. He needs a, even if just slightly, reduced role. The ability of Smith, Monroe and Drummond to each pass well helps the offense flow when those three share the court, but I’m not sure it’s enough. Too many of those passes are turning into turnovers, especially against a top defense like Indiana’s. Also, how did Cheeks not instruct the team to foul down five points with 32 second remaining? A comeback still would have been unlikely, but at least it would have been possible.
|Josh Smith, SF 36 MIN | 7-15 FG | 1-3 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 6 TO | 15 PTS | +9
His shooting wasn’t quite as bad as the stat line suggests, because he got stuck with the ball on the perimeter late in the shot clock a few times. But his six turnovers were absolutely as bad as the stat line suggest, even if many of them came from overly aggressively seeking looks near the rim for teammates. At least he was a bull defensively.
|Andre Drummond, C 40 MIN | 7-13 FG | 1-4 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +9
Drummond made it look easy at times with five dunks and two layups, seven coming off assists and one off an offensive rebounds. He both defended actively while still defending the rim.
|Greg Monroe, C 37 MIN | 7-14 FG | 1-4 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 15 PTS | +10
After missing his first three shots because he went up too weakly inside, Monroe took it much harder to the rack. Once it became clear Monroe had found his groove, he should have gotten the ball more than Smith did. Some of Monroe’s defensive issues seemed due to his switch from center to power forward. When pulled away from the paint, Monroe sometimes looked unsure of where to position himself.
|Chauncey Billups, PG 21 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | +10
Billups saw, by far, a season low in playing time. When on the court, he didn’t make much of an impact.
|Will Bynum, PG 17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +14
Avery Bradley had a very easy time getting by Bynum. On the other end, Bynum didn’t shoot well, but at least he took care of the ball. His chemistry with the other starters showed, too. Bynum assisted every other starter, including throwing an alley-oop to Drummond.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 11 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 2 PTS | 0
When Jerebko had the ball, disaster was often near.
|Kyle Singler, SF 21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 3-3 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +2
Impressive as a cutter, poor as a spot-up shooter. Singler’s defense yielded mixed results, but his block of Gerald Wallace’s late corner 3-pointer was awesome.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 31 MIN | 5-12 FG | 3-6 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -4
Jennings, making his Pistons debut, didn’t mesh seamlessly with Detroit’s jumbo front line. Shooting 5-of-12 is poor, and four assists with two turnovers in 31 minutes is just OK. But Jennings’ quick hands created four steals, which led to seven Pistons points. That more than made up for his acclimation issues. There’s plenty of time for Jennings to develop chemistry with his teammates – especially if he’s defended that aggressively.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 27 MIN | 1-5 FG | 8-9 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | 0
Stuckey repeatedly created good shots, an excellent positive indicator for the rest of the season. But he typically either missed or drew a foul, a net positive tonight, but that could swing either way. Stuckey can control his defense, tough, and he defended hard and effectively.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION
With Jennings and Stuckey back, Caldwell-Pope unsurprisingly fell from the rotation.
The Pistons definitely have more talent than the Celtics, but once Boston stopped trying to match Detroit’s size, the Celtics stretched the floor and gave the Pistons trouble. The Pistons continued their aggressive ball movement, but that is increasingly leading to turnovers. I didn’t expect Cheeks to solve the backcourt rotation the very first game every guard was healthy, but that’s the coach’s next task.
That was… aesthetically pleasing until the game started
The Pistons debuted their navy blue “Motor City” uniforms, and matched against the Celtics’ classic whites, they looked sharp. But once the game began, a combined 45 combined turnovers and 17 percent 3-point shooting made for an ugly contest.
Rodney Stuckey entered his first game of the season for the Pistons on Friday and promptly missed a wide open layup. After that, he proceeded to be the most efficient offensive player either team put on the court and helped the Pistons nearly win a road game against one of the league’s best teams from last season.
Trailing by 10 points with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, Stuckey scored six points and assisted on a Chauncey Billups three-pointer to help the Pistons out-score Memphis 20-8 in the final minutes of the third and enter the fourth quarter with a lead. Stuckey left the game with just under eight minutes remaining and the Pistons up by two points. He scored 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting in 23 minutes and, along with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who scored 13 points in 18 minutes off the bench, provided the Pistons’ backcourt with a needed spark as Billups struggled shooting the ball (1-for-7) and both Billups and Will Bynum struggled to defend Memphis starters Mike Conley and Tony Allen, who combined for 38 points on 13-for-22 shooting.
The Pistons led by six with just over a minute remaining, allowed Memphis to tie the game, then ran out of steam in overtime. Maurice Cheeks didn’t go back to Stuckey or Caldwell-Pope despite their success and the defensive lapses (and poor shooting, in Billups’ case) of his starters. The loss of a lead in a winnable road game and a perplexing coaching decision are certainly worthy of questioning, but the overall takeaway from this game is a positive. In my mailbag the other way (by the way, keep sending me questions for it — patrickhayes13(at)gmail(dot)com or on Twitter @patrick_hayes), I mentioned that the Grizzlies were a team I was really looking forward to seeing the Pistons play, not just because they’ve had success with a big lineup devoid of shooters like the Pistons are trying to, but because they’ve been one of the league’s toughest, most physical teams over the past few seasons. The Pistons … haven’t been, to put it delicately. Talent deficiency aside, at no point during the past four seasons have the Pistons ever looked like a team that can play with the intensity or physicality necessary to even compete for a playoff spot, let alone get one. I wondered how this more talented version of the Pistons would respond to arguably the league’s most physical team, and the answer is a favorable one.
Greg Monroe is not a good defensive player, but he had some solid defensive possessions against the Grizzlies. Stuckey played under control while at the same time using his strength and quickness to his advantage — he has not always been able to combine those things at the same time throughout his career. Monroe, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith were active defensively, combining for nine steals and five blocks. Caldwell-Pope played confidently in the second half after an erratic first half. Cheeks, for that matter, didn’t bury his rookie on the bench after KCP forced some things that weren’t there on offense in the first half. The overall result is not a favorable one — the Pistons are now winless in their last 19 Western Conference road games (hat tip, Vince Ellis). At some point, good efforts in a tough road loss to a good team will still be net failures, and that point will signify when Pistons basketball is truly back to where it needs to be. But this is still a process and although the Pistons didn’t leave Memphis with a win, they did leave with continued reasons to be optimistic about where they’re headed this season.
|Josh Smith, SF 44 MIN | 7-23 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 3 BLK | 5 TO | 19 PTS | +5Let’s start with the obvious negative — Smith shot too much. Like, way too much. It wasn’t even just a matter of him missing good looks — that’s frustrating, but I don’t have a huge issue with him taking jumpers within the offense if they’re decent shots. But too many of his shots were forces — 23 shots for a guy struggling is just way too much, especially on a night when Greg Monroe was having some success inside.
So why the C grade? Everything else. Despite Smith’s poor showing on offense, he still rebounded, he still passed well, he still defended, he still blocked shots and he was a terror in passing lanes. That’s why you live with occasionally ugly shooting nights.
|Andre Drummond, C 48 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-1 FT | 16 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -11As we became accustomed to last season, Drummond compiled his statline extremely quietly until you suddenly look at it and realize, “Wow … he has a double-double and I barely even noticed.” His 48 minutes may have been a tad too much (“48 minutes? That’s three games worth of playing time for him!” – Lawrence Frank) — he was winded, particularly in overtime, and was slow to react on Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol buckets inside late. Still … he was enough of a game changer that my “Andre Drummond Defensive Player of the Year” campaign remains viable.|
|Greg Monroe, C 41 MIN | 6-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | +5As mentioned above, Monroe needed more touches. He was scoring efficiently against every defender Memphis threw at him. More importantly, he battled defensively against Gasol and Randolph. In the first two games of the season, he’s moving his feet better and reacting more quickly on defense than he ever has. That’s still not leading to overall solid defense from him — there are still lapses on his part — but he has no doubt worked on his defense and that’s starting to show.|
|Chauncey Billups, PG 32 MIN | 1-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -11Billups struggled shooting, he struggled on defense and he had a clean look at a game winner in regulation that he missed. He ran the offense well as expected. He’s now played more than 30 minutes in two straight games, and that’s probably too much, especially on a night when the Pistons had two other guards having great games.|
|Will Bynum, PG 32 MIN | 7-11 FG | 3-5 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | -15Bynum scored efficiently, he passed well and he made some big plays late in the game on offense. He was also a sieve defensively against Mike Conley.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -7Jerebko didn’t play in the second half. He wasn’t very active on offense in the first half, but he rebounded well … until the final play of the half when he, Monroe and Drummond all stood and watched as Randolph had an offensive rebound fall in his lap for a layup at the buzzer. Not sure who was more at fault on the play, but they were all in position to make that rebound more difficult for Randolph.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -3Singler shot well, but was a step slow on defense most of the night and was late closing out on shooters. Not the typical solid Kyle Singler effort that we grew accustomed to last season.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 18 MIN | 4-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +8Caldwell-Pope drove into traffic twice in the first half and attempted to get off wild shots that Cheeks looked displeased about. When he returned in the second half, he stopped trying to drive the ball, he knocked down two open jumpers, he made nice cuts and he filled the lane on breaks. Caldwell-Pope’s defense is enough to make him an option to play most nights. If he can focus his offense on simply taking the shots that come to him, he could be earning a lot of minutes by the end of the season.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 23 MIN | 8-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +14I said most of it above, but Stuckey’s performance was really what made this a competitive game. The Pistons were flat before he entered the game, and his energy clearly rubbed off on teammates, particularly Caldwell-Pope during their minutes together in the third and fourth quarters. Stuckey, for all of his baggage from years of the organization trying to pinpoint exactly what he is, could be an incredibly valuable player for this team if he’s engaged. That, of course, has always been the question with him — whether he can keep his motivation level consistent. This season so far, he’s 1-for-1 in being engaged. This was a very good performance that hopefully signal positive things to come.|
|Maurice CheeksI loved how Cheeks handled Caldwell-Pope. He yanked him in the first half when he was a little erratic, but he still went back to him in the second half. The Pistons have had several coaches in recent years — dating all the way back to Larry Brown — who have been far too impatient with young players. It was great to see Cheeks having confidence in Caldwell-Pope, and I’m glad Caldwell-Pope was able to reward that trust with a good second half performance.
What I did not like — with the offense struggling late in the fourth and in overtime, Cheeks didn’t go back to Stuckey or Caldwell-Pope. Bynum and Billups will both be important players this season, but both are also situational players. Just because they happen to be starting right now doesn’t mean you have to roll with them no matter what. Play the hot hand or hot hands. I’m not sure it would’ve changed the result of the game, but it certainly would’ve caused Memphis to have to make a late adjustment.
Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith shine (at times, at least) in season-opening win over Wizards
|Josh Smith, SF 40 MIN | 8-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | +13I love: Smith shooting 5-for-5 on 2-pointers, all of them at the rim. I like: Smith playing point forward and setting up his teammates, Smith’s defense tonight, Smith shooting 3-of-7 on 3-pointers. I can live with: Smith turning the ball over four times when he’s so eager to create for others. I can’t stand: a couple of Smith 3-point attempts, which were really forced.|
|Andre Drummond, C 26 MIN | 6-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +4Playing 17:43 in the first half, Drummond had 10 points, eight rebounds and one foul. He was an absolute beast on the glass and uses his quick hops to dunk whenever he got the ball near the rim. He didn’t excel individually defensively, but he moved well around the floor and bothered the Wizards in several areas of the court. It seemed, at times, they didn’t want to challenge him. Playing 8:35 in the second half, Drummond had two points, zero rebounds and four fouls. I don’t know whether he got tired, but the Pistons can’t afford to have him foul so much. They need him on the court more.|
|Greg Monroe, C 41 MIN | 6-15 FG | 12-15 FT | 16 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 24 PTS | +8Following a Josh Smith turnover to open the game, Monroe had turnovers on the Pistons’ second and third possessions. After that: 24 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and two turnovers. He’s been a near All-Star the last two years, and he’s already making his case this season. The Wizards had little answer for him and had to keep fouling him.|
|Chauncey Billups, PG 31 MIN | 4-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +6Billups was the perfect steadying force for the Pistons’ offense, making 4-of-5 3-pointers to go with five assists and only one turnover. Giving Smith such a prominent role comes with the risk of ugly stretches, and Billups is a great foil to the higher-potential but more-erratic Smith-led offense.|
|Will Bynum, PG 38 MIN | 7-13 FG | 4-6 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | +9Bynum scored well early and scored well late, but he forced a couple unnecessary long 2s just as the Wizards began their comeback in the second half. It seemed Bynum just wanted to take a short break from working hard for a good shot. Then, John Wall started to give him trouble on both ends. I understand Bynum’s struggles against Wall, a better player. But the Pistons can’t just waste possessions on bad shots because they’re content with a double-digit lead. Overall, though, Bynum played well, if not a little sloppy.|
|Tony Mitchell, PF 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Made a brief and meaningless cameo late as Maurice Cheeks stuck to an eight-man rotation.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 8 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-3 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | 0Uneven play and didn’t get much burn. Did Cheeks stretch a seven-man rotation to eight to give Jerebko spot minutes? Did Jerebko’s play lead to a reduced role? Did Cheeks plan all along to play Jerebko just a few minutes?|
|Kyle Singler, SF 27 MIN | 2-6 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +8Cheeks’ pet took five 3-pointers, all from the corner. So, good news: Maybe Cheeks doesn’t hate that shot anymore. Bad news: Singler made only one of them tonight. In the long run, making those shots will be his role. Tonight, though, he rebounded well for his position and had a nice and-1 on a drive to the basket.|
|Peyton Siva, PG 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Made a brief and meaningless cameo late as Cheeks stuck to an eight-man rotation.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0
Made a brief and meaningless cameo late as Cheeks stuck to an eight-man rotation. I was actually a little surprised Datome got in considering he missed so much time due to injury. If Cheeks just wanted to give his rookies a chance to get the debut monkeys off their backs, OK, nothing to see here. If he wanted to reward Mitchell and Siva for playing hard during the preseason, then why play Datome, too? Maybe he wanted to break the ice for Datome working his way into the rotation. Most likely, I’m reading too much into all this.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 27 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +7Caldwell-Pope shot 0-for-7 outside the paint. On the bright side, he got into the lane, where he shot 4-for-5, and he defended with effort.|
|Maurice CheeksThink Cheeks wanted this win? With Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey out due to injury, Cheeks didn’t chance his first Pistons games on players he didn’t deem worthy of playing. He just shortened the rotation. I loved the ball movement early, but I didn’t think he quashed bits of laziness quickly enough once the Pistons got up by double digits.|
|Andre Drummond, C 35 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-4 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -8
This wasn’t Drummond’s best effort, and he still had 14 rebounds. His post-ups yielded mixed results, and generally, the key was how deep he got before catching the entry pass. He seemed to get tired late as the Wizards came back, and they took advantage.
|Greg Monroe, C 36 MIN | 5-13 FG | 8-10 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | -2
Monroe also looked tired late in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter when the Wizards made their run, even more so than Drummond. But Monroe was better throughout the game. When Josh Smith plays – he had the night off to rest – Monroe won’t be depended on to this degree, but it’s nice to see Monroe flash such an all-around game.
|Chauncey Billups, PG 32 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +1
It seemed Billups deferred to his younger teammates at times, even though he’s better-equipped to run the offense. The veteran clearly understands the point of the preseason. And when Will Bynum and Peyton Siva set him up, Billups delivered, including a key 3-pointer late.
|Peyton Siva, PG 23 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -9
Siva played within his limits, which are still pretty constricting. He’s a rookie second-round pick, after all. Ideally, enough guards will be healthy by opening night to keep Siva on the bench, but if he must join the regular-season rotation, I want him to play like this. Let the better players shoulder the load, defend aggressively and avoid mistakes.
|Kyle Singler, SG 25 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -1
Singler has a real knack for getting open. Four of his baskets were assisted and all four by different players (Peyton Siva, Will Bynum, Chauncey Billups and Greg Monroe). This wasn’t a matter of Singler having exceptional chemistry with a single teammate. It was Singler seeing the court well and playing with passers good enough to take advantage.
|Josh Harrellson, PF 6 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +13
Made a jumper and a nice pass, but didn’t have an opportunity to make much of an impact.
|Tony Mitchell, PF 16 MIN | 4-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +2
He looked very good offensively, getting to the rim and even making a jumper. He used his athleticism to more than make up for his occasional defensive positioning issue.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0
Villanueva didn’t play in the second half due to a sore back. Could this injury give Jonas Jerebko a victory in their battle to be the backup power forward?
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 23 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +3
For the most part, he worked hard to get good shots, and that’s appreciated. Can I be a little greedy and ask Jerebko to work just as hard at defending and rebounding? His intensity while handling those less-glamorous tasks seemed to pick up as the game went along.
|Will Bynum, PG 25 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 9 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +13
I figured Drummond was the bigger component in all the great alley-oops he received from Bynum last season, but maybe Bynum deserves more credit for throwing quality lobs. Not only did Bynum connect with Drummond tonight, he also threw oops to Caldwell-Pope and Mitchell.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 17 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +3
Same story as the rest of his preseason and summer league. I liked his defensive effort, and he rebounded well for his position. But he has to make shots. Going 1-for-5 on 3-pointers just won’t cut it, and time is running out to show he’s fixed his jittery shooting
|Maurice Cheeks, Coach
Not only did the Pistons have an impressive 29 assists, those came from 23 different passer-finisher combinations. That indicates a true acumen for team-wide ball movement (and tonight, off-ball movement by players) rather than exploiting a particular matchup, and the Pistons need good ball movement to counter the lack of perimeter shooting in their starting lineup. I also liked Cheeks playing Monroe and Drummond big minutes. Those two need to be in shape to handle major roles in the regular season.