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Piston of the Week (4/1/2013 – 4/6/2013): Greg Monroe
22 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals and one block per game, while shooting percent from the field.
He was just plain good. The more he plays like he did this week, the better of the Pistons will be. It doesn’t matter if they should be losing games or if wins make fans angry — seeing Monroe, one of your building blocks going forward, play well is a good thing.
Not to mention, Monroe is heating up now, and getting ready to play in a contract year next season…
- 3/25/2013 – 3/31/2013: Greg Monroe
- 3/18/2013 – 3/24/2013: Charlie Villanueva
- 3/11/2013 – 3/17/2013: Rodney Stuckey
- 3/4/2013 – 3/10/2013: Jose Calderon
- 2/24/2013 – 3/3/2013: Greg Monroe
- 2/16/2013 – 2/23/2013: Jose Calderon
- 2/10/2013 – 2/16/2013: Jose Calderon
- 2/3/2013 – 2/9/2013: Greg Monroe
- 1/27/2013 – 2/2/2013: Brandon Knight
- 1/20/2013 – 1/26/2013: Greg Monroe
- 1/13/2013 – 1/19/2013: Andre Drummond
- 1/6/2013 – 1/12/2013: Greg Monroe
- 12/30/2012 – 1/5/2013: Austin Daye
- 12/23/2012 – 12/29/2012: Will Bynum
- 12/17/2012 – 12/22/2012: Greg Monroe
- 12/10/2012 – 12/15/2012: Rodney Stuckey
- 12/3/2012 – 12/8/2012: Rodney Stuckey
- 11/26/2012 – 12/1/2012: Brandon Knight
- 11/21/2012 – 11/25/2012: Greg Monroe
- 11/12/2012 – 11/18/2012: Kyle Singler
- 11/6/2012 – 11/10/2012: Greg Monroe
- 10/31/2012 – 11/4/2012: Greg Monroe
|Greg Monroe, C 32 MIN | 7-12 FG | 4-6 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | +8Monroe had a productive all-around game and was pretty sound defensively. It helped that Joakim Noah was out, but Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson routinely brutalize the Pistons’ frontcourt and both were quiet tonight.|
|Andre Drummond, C 23 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-3 FT | 14 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +11When Drummond is on the court, the Pistons are at least competitive with the middle-tier teams in the league. Tonight, they built leads every time Drummond was in the game, including into double figures in the first half. When Drummond left the game, those leads evaporated quickly. Drummond’s had better statistical performances in his young career, and he did pick up three fairly quickly first half fouls that caused an early exit, but he was a game-changer for all 23 of his minutes. I do have to mark him down slightly for this though. Ouch.|
|Jose Calderon, PG 34 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | 0Calderon didn’t rack up a large number of assists (Drummond cost him one by botching a perfect lob that should’ve been a dunk, although Drummond did get his own rebound and convert), but he ran Detroit’s offense perfectly. Calderon does a lot of things well offensively, but I love watching him watch for the right moment to hit players coming off of curls to quickly catch and launch. He does it perfectly nearly every time.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 37 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 5 PTS | +6Credit where it’s due for Knight — after re-injuring his ankle and breaking his nose in Friday’s game, he came back two days later and played 37 minutes. Unfortunately, they were pretty unproductive minutes.|
|Kyle Singler, SG 27 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -2Singler, once again, was remarkably average. He hit open shots, he helped on the glass and he was overmatched trying to guard Chicago’s quicker wings. As has been written relentlessly this season, Singler was a great find for the Pistons in the second round who will be a valuable rotation player once he’s playing in the right role in that rotation. Starting and playing big minutes at the two or three isn’t the right role at this point, but he’s doing an admirable job competing at that spot.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 18 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -11After Jerebko was one of very few bright spots on Friday, it was disappointing to not see him get more minutes tonight. But I’ve long ago given up on trying to figure out how minutes are distributed/justified on this team.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 24 MIN | 4-13 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -10It was nice to see Villanueva playing aggressively and looking to drive when Chicago was closing hard on him when he caught at the 3-point line. His shots were falling and he had a few tough misses on floaters that were good looks that he’d normally hit.|
|Khris Middleton, SF 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1Middleton played a few forgettable minutes and is still struggling to find the confidence and aggressiveness he had for a handful of games a few weeks ago.|
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 29 MIN | 10-19 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 25 PTS | -8And the Stuckey madness continues. Before the comments start harping on this — yes, Stuckey had the ball in his hands more tonight. But no, he was not exclusively used in a scoring point guard type role. He actually was finding success as an off-the-ball wing playing with Calderon, something his defenders firmly say is all Lawrence Franks’ fault for asking him to do in the first place. Stuckey can be successful working off of screens, not dribbling the air out of the ball and working at times as a catch and shoot player in the mid-range. He just doesn’t do it all the time, which makes the times that he plays has well and as tough (he took a shot to the head that had him blinking an eye most of the game) as he did tonight all the more frustrating.|
|Kim English, SG 12 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | 0Twelve minutes is decent burn for English, but he looked a little tentative. He did manage to help out on the glass, but didn’t attempt a three. I’d still love to see him flash a little acumen for that corner three by the end of the season.|
|Lawrence FrankI’m not sure how much Frank planned to play Drummond, but the fact that he couldn’t use him more in the first half was Drummond’s fault for getting into foul trouble, not Frank’s, so I’m willing to give a pass for that. I think the Pistons could’ve used Jerebko more and I thought 37 minutes were way too many for Knight considering both his health and the fact that he wasn’t playing well.|
It’s now been close to a decade since an under-appreciated and underdog Detroit Pistons team went into the 2004 NBA Finals and took out the heavily-favored Los Angeles Lakers, claiming the franchise’s third NBA title.
Time have changed, and so has the Pistons’ roster. Gone are Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Rip Hamilton and now Tayshaun Prince. The core five from the teams that captured a championship, lost in seven games the next year and reached six-consecutive Eastern Conference Finals is finally caput.
But what about when those franchise greats returned to the Palace of Auburn Hills for the first time with their new teams? Was the fan reaction full of joy and admiration or frustration and genuine disdain? We’ve seen four cases so far, and the final chapter comes tonight.
Tayshaun Prince — February 19, 2013
That brings us to tonight’s game. Not only is it the team’s first game back from the All Star break, but it’s also the return of a Pistons’ greats in Austin Daye.
Just kidding, Tayshaun Prince makes his triumphant return to the Palace tonight with his new team, the Memphis Grizzlies. Prince was the final piece of that 2004 title team to depart from the Motor City, and while he’s only been in Memphis for six games, you’d have to expect a pretty warm welcome for the man they call the Palace Prince.
Really, outside his taking shots at some of the franchise’s recent coaches, Prince has been the only stable aspect of this organization over the past five years. Not only has he been relatively consistent on the court, but his demeanor and attitude has never really changed. For as important as the other four starters on that title team were, Prince was always a constant. You could always rely on him to do what he needed to do — defend, make good decisions and make some timely shots — and that’s admirable.
Ben Wallace — February 25, 2007
The first of the five championship starters to leave, the post-Pistons tour for Ben Wallace wasn’t quite as great as he probably would have hoped. After leaving in the summer of 2006 to sign a 4-year, $52 million contract with the Chicago Bulls, Ben returned to the Palace early the next season to a, well, mixed bag of cheers, jeers and boos from the crowd.
He did leave the Pistons for more money and a division rival, but part of that was the fact that Joe Dumars didn’t want to pay Wallace $10-plus million a season — a decision that worked out well for the Pistons as Ben’s regression really kicked in during those Chicago years. Of course, he also has a unique situation because he returned to the team in 2009.
When Ben and the Bulls did come to Detroit that following year, it wasn’t just Ben’s welcome that didn’t go quite as planned. The Pistons defeated the Bulls, 95-93 in a midseason matchup. Ben did have a solid game, scoring six points to go with eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks, but late in the game, it was his replacement, Chris Webber, who tipped in a missed shot with 2.2 seconds left to give the Pistons the win.
Chauncey Billups — March 3, 2009
Maybe the most beloved Piston of the group, Chauncey Billups was in the center of the much-maligned trade that brought Allen Iverson to Detroit in 2009. His return came just months after being traded and the Palace welcome was arguably one of the warmest any visiting player has ever received. I bet that video gives you the chills, too. However, despite Billups eventual success with the Nuggets, for one night, his former team got the best of him.
Despite scoring a game-high 34 points, Billups and the Carmelo-less Nuggets were actually out-dueled by the very average Pistons, in particular the remaining starters. Billups was fantastic in his return, but all five Pistons’ starters — the remaining core of Prince, Hamilton, Rasheed, McDyess and Rodney Stuckey — scored at least 15 points en-route to the victory.
There are still fans in Detroit who cringe when the words “Chauncey and Iverson” are brought up. Part of the warm welcome he received was basically the fact that Billups didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t leave for more money or because things weren’t working for him in Detroit — he was moved as a part of a rebuilding-on-the-fly plan that didn’t quite work out.
Hell, Chauncey Billups is the kind of guy that, if somehow the Basketball Gods played some sick joke on the NBA and created a Pistons-Clippers NBA Finals this year, fans here would still cheer for him no matter what.
Rasheed Wallace — January 20, 2010
The most intriguing player, and person, of the core group, Rasheed has an interesting return scenario. He was the final piece to that championship puzzle, and he was still played solid when things began to go downhill in 2009. Then, the following season, he left to sign with the defending champion Boston Celtics and, though it was another key cog from those beloved teams, it felt sort of right for both sides.
Rasheed had a unique personality and in many ways, that was something that the Pistons were going to have to part from whenever they fully began the rebuild/failed reload. That happened in 2009, and with Rasheed’s departure came the return of Ben Wallace and the introduction of Greg Monroe — the face of the franchise today.
His return, like those before him, didn’t go quite as well. The raucous crowd of 6,000 or so fans did provide a good share of cheers, “SHEEEED” bellowed through the air and Rasheed didn’t disappoint on the court. He finished with 16 points and seven rebounds, but that wasn’t enough as a strange being posing as a dynamic NBA player named Rodney Stuckey, put togehter a 27 point, 11 rebound and six assist effort in the Pistons’ 92-86 victory.
Rip Hamilton — January 4, 2012
There’s actually no quality video of Hamilton’s return to the Palace, but there was also no real quality anything with the way he and the Pistons broke up. While Ben Wallace was booed by fans based on how he departed, Hamilton’s situation may be the worst. He was one of the great constants during that stretch of success, but as times got rough, he wasn’t quite the best solider and teammate.
Oh, and there was the whole Berating John Kuester In Front Of The Whole Team rumor along with the practice boycott in Philly and the problems he had with coming off the bench and co-existing with Iverson.
That’s just kind of the way things went down during a time when absolutely nothing could go right for the franchise. Hamilton ended up being waived by Detroit and signed by the Bulls. Like Ben Wallace, Hamilton returned to the Place to a mixed bag of cheers and boos. Unlike his former teammates in their returns, Hamilton and the Bulls got the best of a bad Pistons’ team. Hamilton tallied 14 points and five assists and along with Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer, drilled the Pistons, 99-83.
As you saw in some of those previous video clips, only Billups really got a truly warm welcome back, but Tayshaun should be welcomed back in a comparably warm way to Billups tonight.
Interesting enough, the Pistons are actually 3-1 in these homecoming games, with their only loss coming last season when Hamilton made his return. Obviously, that doesn’t mean much tonight, but outside the Pistons’ team that beat Ben Wallace in 2009, these games have actually been something of upsets.
I’m sure the Pistons would love to see Tayshaun receive a warm welcome tonight, but once the introductions end, I’m sure they’d love to get another win, too.
- Teams: Detroit Pistons (18-30) at New York Knicks (30-15)
- Date: February 4, 2013
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
In the opening month of the season, Carmelo Anthony put his name alongside Kevin Durant and LeBron James in the race for league MVP on the strength of his terrific play at power forward as well as his team’s success.
He wasn’t just scoring the ball, he was doing it at a rate more efficient than what we had become accustomed to from him.
Melo spent part of last season monopolizing possessions to set up his defender with a series of jab fakes and then fired away a multitude of low percentage shots all the while completely halting the Knicks’ ball movement on offense.
But early in the 2012-13 season, Anthony was different.
He was on the block attacking bigger and smaller players by virtue of his foot speed and strength in the low post that just very few can match.
The Eastern Conference Finals seemed like a foregone conclusion with many assuming that dispatching the Miami Heat would be a mere formality based on the victories against them so far in the regular season.
But things have been a little different since the calendar flipped to 2013.
The Knicks are still winning ball games and challenging the defending champions for the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings, but Melo’s MVP bandwagon has come to an abrupt end, at least at present time.
Anthony has drifted a bit more to the perimeter as the season’s progressed and is consequently spending a little less time in the post, and more time away from the basket, firing long 2-point shots as well as 3-pointers.
Even when he does post up, he is getting pushed out from the box and when he catches the ball, he sees extra attention or perhaps a soft double-team, which prompts him to pass the ball to an open teammate, but he has trouble reposting again given that he was already pushed away from the block.
And keep mind, he’s also had to share the court in 2013 not only with Amar’e Stoudemire, but with Tyson Chandler flanking both of them as well, thus relegating Melo to the 3-point line. Per NBA.com’s advanced stats tool, the trio has played 129 minutes together since the January 1st and has in fact been quite productive.
Melo on the other hand has seen his shooting figures plummet as a result of an overreliance on long-range shots.
NBA.com’s advanced stats tool tells us that from opening night to December 31st, the Knicks’ superstar was averaging 28.5 points per game on 47.3 percent field goal shooting and 43.4 percent 3-point shooting. Mind you, from January 1st to today, Melo is scoring 28.4 points per game on 41 percent field goal shooting and 37.6 percent shooting from downtown.
His 3-point attempts have increased in the New Year while his free throw trips have diminished, which has had an impact on New York’s offense as a whole. Indeed, the Knickerbockers’ were scoring 112.2 points per 100 possessions prior to January 1st with the former Olympian on the court but have since regressed to 109.5 points per 100 possessions with Melo on the floor in the New Year.
Part of the offensive struggles might be a direct correlation of the absence of Ray Felton that provided NY with some good dribble penetration to attack the paint and kick out for open shots, but Melo has to do a better job of creating better shots if the Knicks are truly going to contend this season.
Tonight’s contest is a good place to get some insights on the Syracuse product’s mindset given that the Detroit Pistons don’t have anyone truly capable of defending him one-on-one.
Read about the Knicks
Statistical support provided by NBA.com.
The NBA suspended Kings rookie Thomas Robinson two games for his flagrant foul elbow to the neck of Jonas Jerebko in Wednesday’s game. Robinson already apologized via his Twitter account, but he also talked to Jonathan Santiago of Cowbell Kingdom and was very apologetic:
I feel pretty bad today. I feel worst today after the aftermath. You know I knew I was wrong. So as a man, I have to take responsibility with that and I’ll take my consequences and move on. And hopefully this doesn’t stick with me because I’m not that type of person. I’m not a bad kid, you know I just made a mistake and it won’t happen again.
It’s important to note that everything we know about Robinson should back that up — he has an incredibly tragic back story and is one of the easier guys to root for in the league.