Category → Notes
Knight averaged a mere four assists a game while playing for the Detroit Pistons last season. That tied him for 38th place in the NBA. Not good.
But Knight insists that stat is rather deceiving.
“I’m not trying to blame anybody,” Knight said while carefully choosing his words. “But the team we had … It was a tough situation.
“When you have shooters, it’s easy to get assists because they’re going to knock down open shots. We had, maybe, one (Kyle Singler) knock-down shooter.
“And I didn’t have any bigs who could stop and pop. The only one we had was Charlie Villanueva and he didn’t play much. And, when he did play, he was with the second unit so I wasn’t playing much with him.”
But that wasn’t the sole reason, Knight says, for his subpar assist numbers last season. He points out that, contrary to public perception, he wasn’t strictly a point guard. He also spent a considerable amount of time at the shooting guard spot.
“In the first half of the season, I was playing the point guard position; in the second half, I played off the ball,” said the 21-year-old Knight, whom the Bucks acquired July 30 from the Pistons in a trade for disgruntled Brandon Jennings. “So, of course, my assists are going to go down. A lot of people outside looking in … they look at the stats. But a lot of them didn’t know that.
The Detroit Pistons have engaged in discussions about acquiring exclusive control of an NBA Developmental League team, Joe Dumars said Friday.
The Pistons’ president of basketball operations was not specific about whom the team had negotiated with, where any such team would be based, or whether the pursuit focused on an existing or expansion franchise.
Chauncey Billups and Rodney Stuckey – not Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – finalists to start at shooting guard
After naming Chauncey Billups the starter at shooting guard for the opener Tuesday morning, Cheeks was asked whether Rodney Stuckey and Caldwell-Pope would get opportunities.
“Probably Rodney will, but I don’t know if Kentavious will or not. I’m not sure,” Cheeks said. “I just don’t think he will be starting at this point. I reserve the right to change my mind, but as of this point, no. It would do him a disservice for me to say, ‘No, he’s not going to start,’ because he’s played as well as anybody in training camp.
“I’m a veteran’s coach. Guys that have been around get first crack at most things, but then they have to do the job.”
This contradicts an earlier report that Rodney Stuckey and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – not Chauncey Billups – were the finalists to start at shooting guard. I tried to sort through the confusion at ProBasketballTalk.
There are a lot of exciting aspects that go along with this #NBArank series, but it’s pretty obvious that the excitement surrounding Tony Mitchell‘s ranking is quite the same as the excitement surrounding the starters and best players on each of the NBA teams.
And with new Pistons’ point guard Brandon Jennings sneaking into the rankings at a surprising No. 70, we get to the point where discussion of, “How’d he rank ahead of that guy?!” is actually worth discussing.
Jennings rankings comes with some shock. Not that Jennings is a bad player, but coming in ahead of guys like Eric Gordon, Bradley Beal, Kyle Lowry and Kemba Walker just seems kind of, well, shocking. Maybe the public perception of Jennings fitting in Detroit isn’t that bad.
Last night’s preseason opener wasn’t available on television — and it didn’t say anything about what this team really is — but Jennings seemed to put together an efficient night (15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and five steals). It’s yet to be seen how that will carry over to real games against NBA competition, but it’s a start.
One final nugget courtesy of Dan: Seven teams have at least four players in the top 70. The Nets, Bulls and Warriors have five. The Pistons, Rockets, Pacers and Grizzlies have four.
What do the seven non-Detroit teams have in common? They made the playoffs last season.
Cheeks said Tuesday morning that Chauncey Billups would start alongside Brandon Jennings in the backcourt and that Greg Monroe, who dropped out of Monday’s practice late with a minor hamstring irritation, would be in the starting lineup with Andre Drummond and Josh Smith up front.
It doesn’t really matter who starts in the preseason, and I’d guess Chauncey Billups is starting for two reasons:
1. It’s a show of respect to the veteran.
2. Maurice Cheeks does not want to tip his hand in the Rodney Stuckey-Kentavious Caldwell-Pope competition. I predict Stuckey will start the next game with Caldwell-Pope to follow, and Cheeks says he’s just rotating them in order of seniority as he experiments with his options.
After five consecutive days of practice and/or games, Frank would give the Pistons the next non-game day off. You could set flight schedules around it. Some of us did.
I asked Cheeks if he had any specific number of work days after which players should rest.
You guessed it, up in the air.
“I’m not going to kill them,” he said. “I’ll be reasonable in when I look at a day off. Have they been playing, been practicing and playing? I’ll be reasonable. I’ll think about when I wanted a day off when I was playing.”
If Cheeks wins, he’s flexible. If he loses, he’s disorganized.Right now, we’re just gathering facts, and we’ll fit them into the narrative once it emerges.
But seriously, Cheeks is probably both more flexible and less organized than Frank. To what degree that tradeoff helps/hurts the Pistons is yet to be determined, but I think Cheeks’ demeanor means the players will try harder to make his approach work than they did for Frank. So, it’s possible Cheeks hurts the Pistons in this regard but more than makes up for it by connecting personally with his players.
That’s what makes evaluating coaching, which so much of happens behind the scenes, difficult. At least Cheeks is nailing the aspect of coaching we will see.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rodney Stuckey – not Chauncey Billups – finalists to start at shooting guard
Cheeks, one day after saying he would use multiple starters at shooting guard during preseason, said the ultimate decision probably comes down to Caldwell-Pope or seventh-year veteran Rodney Stuckey.
Isiah Thomas, in a discussion for NBA TV, was asked whether he would shake hands with the Bulls after the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals if he could re-do it.
“Absolutely,” Thomas said. “Now, and the reason why I would, is because looking back in terms of what has happened, had I had a chance to do it all over again, we should have. We should have took the high road.”
I’m glad Thomas said this.
The Pistons were wrong for snubbing the Bulls, and I’m glad to hear Thomas admit it. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love that the Pistons did it, and it’s one of my favorite stories of Bad Boys lore.
But it went beyond the typical Bad Boys thuggery and made them look like sore losers.
Now, it’s also easy to understand why the Pistons did it.
For one, the Celtics refused to shake Detroit’s hands a few years prior in the same situation. (Kevin McHale, who told the Pistons to beat the Lakers in the Finals, was a Joe Dumars-like exception. McHale’s noble well wishes were caught on camera and replayed rather than scenes of the other Celtics snubbing Detroit.)
More importantly, the Bulls were trashing the Pistons in the media. The Bulls called the Pistons unworthy champions and bad for the league, unfair and over-the-top criticism that deserved strong rebuke.
Want respect? Give respect. Chicago didn’t honor that code.
However, as Thomas notes now, the Pistons should have just shaken hands and they could have claimed the moral high ground for all of history. Instead, the episode is usually treated as the Pistons being wrong. Occasionally, it’s presented as both sides rolling in the mud together, but it’s never seen as Chicago deserving more blame.
Thomas admitting a mistake probably won’t change the narrative, but it should, at least somewhat.
Now, maybe the Bulls will do the classy thing and say they regret wrongly besmirching the Pistons.
Outside of the Houston Rockets, no team made a bigger splash in free agency than the Pistons. They signed Smith to a four-year, $56 million contract and acquired former Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings in a sign-and-trade. Jennings says his new teammates will allow him to be more of a passer than he was with the Bucks, which will hopefully cut down on his inefficiency. The addition of Smith complicates the Pistons’ frontcourt rotation, which already included talented young bigs Monroe and Andre Drummond. Smith can play small forward, but that could negatively affect their floor spacing. If this team can put it together, though, this is a roster that’s talented and athletic, and could make a strong playoff run for the first time since 2009.
It’s quite possible the Pistons could be one of the most entertaining teams in the league. Considering they were quite possibly one of the least entertaining teams to watch in past seasons, that’s a good step.
There are plenty of questions surrounding this team, but when it comes down to entertainment, they should be fun to watch. Fans in Detroit have always been endeared to a team that can be gritty and get the job done on defense — on paper, that’s this team’s strength.
Fans are also drawn to dunks and all that jazz, which is about the only thing you can expect to consistently see from this offense.
That’s all good, but there’s a distinct chance that this team is just a train wreck. Josh Smith‘s missed 17-footers could replace Jason Maxiell‘s misses. Brandon Jennings could be just as careless with the ball as Brandon Knight was. Andre Drummond could just be a big, large manchild who can dunk and do nothing else offensively.
It’s possible, but is it likely? I’d venture to say no. Many of the concerns that follow this Pistons’ roster are overblown. The floor-spacing issues are real, but not as crazy as they’re made out to be. In reality, this team is probably a better shooting team than last season.
But hey, Jennings said he wants to bring “Lob City” to Detroit, so let’s just leave it at that and see where this goes.
In Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, the Detroit Pistons have two of the best young post players in the NBA. Monroe, 23, and Drummond, 20, enter their second season in the league together with high expectations based on their play during the 2012-13 season.
That inspired a question: Are Monroe and Drummond the best young post combination in recent history? In order to answer that question, I decided to look at all of the young post combos since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976, with "young" being defined as any player age 23 or younger.
The pairs were ranked based on the harmonic mean of their regular-season win shares. Why use the harmonic mean rather than the standard arithmetic mean? Because the arithmetic mean will not properly account for vast differences in the two win-share totals.
For example, Shaquille O’Neal had 16.9 win shares in 1993-94, the best figure in NBA history for a player age 21 or younger. Because O’Neal was so dominant, he and Keith Tower — a rookie backup center who played all of 32 minutes — would rank as one of the best young post duos of all time based on the arithmetic mean. The harmonic mean will mitigate the influence of O’Neal’s contribution and increase the influence of Tower’s contribution, pushing the combo toward the bottom of the list.
Kubatko ranked every pair – Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson of the 1992-93 Charlotte Hornets coming out atop – and then returned to Monroe (5.9 win shares last season) and Drummond (4.5).
That performance puts them in the top 20 despite the fact that Monroe slipped a bit after two solid seasons and Drummond missed 22 games and averaged just 20.7 minutes per game.
If Monroe can bounce back to the level he reached his first two seasons and Drummond can increase his minutes with little or no loss in effectiveness, then Detroit’s dynamic duo has a chance to vault to the top of this list.
It will be difficult for Monroe and Drummond to catch Mourning and Johnson, though it’s possible, and that speaks to the optimism you should have for the Pistons.
Monroe will have to shoot more efficiently and cut down on his turnovers, both of which should happen now that the Pistons have more-competent offensive pieces around him. His offensive rebounding also could improve if he spends more time near the basket, because he no longer has to float out to the free-throw line as a hub of the offense. A defensive bump would be nice, too, but maybe merely allowing Josh Smith to guard the opponent’s top forward would be enough.