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Just for Mike Payne, I did another video talking about the Pistons for ESPN.com.
I discussed my belief that figuring out a sensible rotation at the shooting guard position, especially if Rodney Stuckey is really considered more of a two than a one at this point, is still the team’s biggest issue and my feelings that a Greg Monroe-Jonas Jerebko combo would give the Pistons one of the more active frontcourts in the league, particularly on the offensive glass. Video after the jump. Continue reading →
I did a short video report for ESPN on the Pistons’ decision to hire Lawrence Frank last night. Hopefully I’ve come a long way since the last time I was an on-camera personality. Also, yes, I am in a basement. But before you commence with the ‘LOLZ blogger in his mother’s basement’ jokes, know this: I own my own basement, thank you very much.
Fortunately, ‘Sheed will always, always choose to move out of the way rather than get dunked on. (Via The Basketball Jones)
No one wants to miss a season due to injury, but I don’t think anyone will argue that lone highlights don’t get much better than the one White left. Well, if his Twitter feed is any indication, he’s at it again. White posted the above video yesterday, and the springs are still there. White, as a second round pick who didn’t play a game, still faces a tough challenge to earn minutes next year unless a couple of backcourt players are exchanged for frontcourt players, but clearly, the athleticism that made him such an intriguing prospect last year is very much intact.
In honor of Dwyane Wade’s insane crossovers of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen last night, let’s look back at a pair of Bad Boy crossovers – on Air Jordan, no less. Michael Pina of Shaky Ankles found of both Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars crossing over Michael Jordan.
There’s nothing in this brief spot for ESPN that we haven’t covered on PistonPowered over the weekend, but I did a short video report for ESPN’s NBA 411 on Tom Gores agreeing to purchase the Pistons.
ESPN was kind enough to ask me to contribute a few seconds to their daily NBA 411 video, talking about John Kuester‘s tenure as Pistons coach. As you can see, I’m not the most camera-friendly dude in the world, but I’ve come a long way since my college days.
Jakob Eich of Bynumite Blog takes a closer look at Rodney Stuckey’s best passing night of his career.
Okay, I went a little proverbial on the headline, but I thought it fit Rodney Stuckey’s performance Wednesday. After weeks, months and even years of being told that he was too selfish to be the starting point guard on the team and that he is not a good enough passer to be an elite NBA point guard Stuckey went out and got 14 assists with only one field goal attempt, four free throws and only two turnovers.
Patrick had a post earlier where he mentioned his belief that Stuckey gave up some good shots that ultimately led to worse shots for his teammates. Stuckey was probably fed up with all the jibber-jabber and went Kobe Bryant on his coach. I decided to take a closer look at what he did in that game (stayed up watching the game live and then re-watching it, it ended at 3 a.m. for me). I don’t want to prove Patrick wrong and I only looked at the assists which led to baskets. But of the 14 he had, only one should have been an easy lay-up for himself. On another he could have gone both ways but decided to drop it off to CV and a third one on a Hamilton basket shouldn’t have been an assist in my opinion. Rip caught the ball standing still, pump-faked, took two dribbles and laid it up. But still, good for Rodney!
Of the 14 assists, he passed the ball to Monroe four times. Five times (or four-and-a-half) Hamilton was on the receiving end of the dishes. I realize that the Toronto Raptors are not exactly a good defensive team, yet I still liked the plays. In a lot of plays Stuckey played similar to Chauncey Billups’ style back when CB was still with the team. Hamilton curled around screens and used them.
Stuckey showed great understanding of how the Raptors wanted to contain him. They sagged off in order to force him to beat the Raps with his jumpshot. Stuckey’s jumper, as we all know, can be shaky. His unwillingness to pass the ball makes this a rather effective strategy for a defensively challenged guard like Jose Calderon to make Stuckey become ineffective. Last night Stuckey decided to pass up a couple of good looks to hit the cutter or in the next case, the roller (‘Monroll’) in the pick and roll.
Stuckey is calmly dribbling the ball on top of the key. He will get a screen from Monroe. I always like how far Stuckey stays back in order to get as much speed as possible. Going full speed at his defender creates a real advantage for him. Usually his defenders are neither strong nor fast enough to keep him from getting to the rim. Kuester is marked in red, because this is how he always stands there, I think it’s funny. Hands at his hips, jacket casually thrown back and he always looks as if he’s marveling at what his players are doing.
Stuckey this time opts to go for the pull-up jumper. The defenders sagged off him and gave him the free jumper. This is how most defenses guard Stuckey. They gamble on him not making as many mid-range jumpers. If he had a solid mid-range game he would be one of the best scoring point guards in the league. He is not the elite passer or defender Rajon Rondo is for instance, but he could affect the game in other ways. He realizes the players are giving him the jumper, none of the defenders bother to switch to Monroe and Stuckey passes him the ball. Monroe gets a bucket and a foul.
Hamilton is the person who has suffered most from Billups’ departure. He not only lost the player he was most in sync with, he also lost his brother. I don’t he’s been the same since. Against the Raptors he had a vintage performance and Stuckey’s selfless play had a lot to do with it. Stuckey had his fingerprints all over the game, he was calm and let the plays develop. This is usually typical of Tracy McGrady, if Rodney could learn how to do that it would add another dimension to his game.
This is just a short play I picked and I won’t go into much detail, we have all seen this plenty times when Billups was around. Stuckey holds onto the ball and waits until Rip curls around a screen and is ready to receive the pass. He can now either shoot it or drive it to the hole, he opts for the latter and finishes it strong at the rim. This is why I (and many others) expected Rip to be effective deep into his thirties. His game was never defined by his athleticism but by his deceptiveness. He has a lot more in the tank than what we have seen the past two years. He will be better again and might even gain some trade value. With a good point guard and a good coach he might have a couple of more productive seasons left.
Probably the Reason Joe D Fell In Love With Stuckey
This play perfectly illustrates why Dumars put so much trust in Stuckey. At his best, he is so fast, so explosive and basically unguardable. Unfortunately, he almost never is at his best. He shows flashes and gets oohs and aahs from the crowd and it is easy to imagine him as an elite point guard in this league. He often starts settling for jumpers, and as already mentioned his jumper is not very consistent.
I wanted to get Monroe into this so we’ll start out with the Raptors on offense. Bargnani is in an iso post-up against Monroe. Smartly the Pistons let Monroe handle this one-on-one as Bargnani only has one real go-to move in the low-post, the turnaround fadeaway. Not surprisingly Bargnani shoots a turnaround fade-away. Look at how well Monroe defends this play. He has his long arms straight up and he is so close to Bargnani that he can’t make the shot. This is great defense and incredibly smart and fundamental. I’d bet anything that Ben Wallace’s mentoring has a lot to do with this development in Monroe’s skill set. This is Tim Duncanesque defense. Not athletic, not spectacular, but effective.
Monroe gets the rebound and passes the outlet to Stuckey. Rodney takes the ball and goes full speed. His defenders can’t keep up with him and he passes the ball to Rip in the open court who knocks down the easy midrange jumper. I believe this is what Patrick talked about when he said Stuckey gave up good looks for worse looks for his teammates. In this case, Stuckey seems to have a rather clear path to the basket, still I like him giving up the ball since Rip is a very good midrange shooter and as a PG it is more important to keep your teammates happy than keeping yourself happy.
Summing this up, I would love for Stuckey to pass the ball more and score less. There’s nothing wrong with him averaging 10 PPG and 10 APG. I know it is highly unlikely to happen, but I think he could become this type of player. Jason Kidd never was a huge scorer, he was effective in other ways. Stuckey needs to find his niche within his skill set. He needs to realize when he can score and when he should pass, even if it means more games with just one field goal attempt, it worked. The Raptors gave him so much space, he could create for his teammates instead of taking many ill-advised jumpers. His primary skill might be scoring, but isn’t scoring T-Mac’s primary skill as well? Stuckey shows great potential in seeing passing angles, I think he would really profit from a mentor for his position. Since Billups left, he hasn’t had one. Heck, he hasn’t even had a good coach since then!
Here’s a compilation of all of Stuckey’s assists:
There are good days for writers, and there are great days. At times, you want to write something, and you don’t find a topic to write about, and then the next day the topic comes and finds you. The latter happened to me. Yesterday, I really wanted to write about Austin Daye. I had looked at the way he scored against the Bucks and I found myself thinking, “Man, this kid is a scorer, he is due for some great performances!” Unfortunately, he did not have a great performance against Milwaukee. He scored six points, two of them with the shot clock running out. I wrote Dan and Patrick in order to inform them that I would need one more game to find more evidence.
Well, last night Daye received nearly 40 minutes of playing time and gave the Pistons 22 points on 7-of-18 shooting, 6-of-7 free throws and four rebounds. He fouled out, yet he finally showed all of the potential which made him such an intriguing prospect in the first place. In my opinion, he has one of the sweetest jump shots in the game. He might not become Kevin Durant, but I still expect that maybe, and that’s a big MAYBE, he could score 20-plus points per game. Yes, I think he is this kind of offensive threat. I tried to find some samples of how John Kuester, or whoever happens to coach him next year, can maximize is abilities and potential.
Let Him Shoot
I have picked three plays that I think are typical of how Daye scores most efficiently. One is from the Milwaukee game and the other two are from last night. What I really love about the plays is that they are quick plays and not very complicated, yet he scores without putting that much effort into it simply relying on his jumper and a nice cut.
The Pistons were already down by seven and had not scored. They were pretty much desperate for a good play and they decided to run a rather easy play for Daye. It is simple so I will not talk about it in much detail. In this example Rodney Stuckey dribbles the ball at the top of the key. Daye and Stuckey have a good relationship since Daye gets a lot of assists from him. Going into the future I could see this working. Chris Wilcox sets a simple down-screen for and he uses it to get a little bit of separation from former Piston Carlos Delfino.
Daye does not need a lot of space, because he his 6-foot-11 and usually much taller than his opponent, I like to call this the Dirk-effect. Delfino gives him just a little bit of space and Daye calmly knocks down the jumper. Great execution.
The second play is a variation of the first play. Please excuse the bad quality of the first two pictures, my League Pass did not allow better quality for some reason. Stuckey, again, holds the ball and Wilcox sets another down-screen for Daye.
This time the defender wants to do the smart thing and cheat. It should be Michael Beasley, who for some reason seems to take a shortcut to get into better position to contest the shot. Daye is a smart offensive player and instead of going straight like against Milwaukee, he takes a step back thus creating a lot of space. He takes one dribble and calmly knocks down the jumper.
This is the last play. Jump-shooters get lazy occasionally and like to settle (e.g. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant). I would like Daye to have a healthy diet of lay-ups as well. His first step is not quick enough at this stage of his career, and I highly doubt it will ever be.
Stuckey has the ball on top again. Greg Monroe and Wilcox post-up in the high-post. Stuckey decides to give the ball to Wilcox. If he had given it to Monroe I believe Ben Gordon would have finished the play. I like the set-up of this play especially. Gordon and Daye stand in the corner. They are not an immediate threat out there, but just by being there, the help defender, in this case Wesley Johnson, cannot play as much help defense without leaving a deadly shooter wide open.
Stuckey runs down and sets a back-screen for Daye on Anthony Tolliver. Daye acts as if he was going straight to the middle, then goes baseline for the backdoor cut. Tolliver, caught off-guard, gets screened by the much smaller Stuckey and Daye has a lay-up.
Those were three ways Daye can be transformed into a prolific scorer. He is very good at reading screens and knocking down jumpers. He knows his game at this point in his career and Detroit can build on that. What I was particularly impressed about was Daye’s ability to pass the basketball. I made a compilation of all of his field goals and assisted field goals last night and you will see how smart his passes can be.
He passes up good looks in order to give his teammates great looks. Stuckey’s ability to set picks as a guard with his wide frame is really underestimated by fans. He can still help the Pistons going forward, he just needs to work on his decision making.
I think Daye’s progress makes life a bit more difficult for Joe Dumars. Dumars would like to keep Tayshaun Prince around, Daye cannot develop into a good Small Forward with Prince around. I don’t see Daye as a starter, but when Jerebko returns, playing time will be scarce. I don’t know if Prince intends to re-sign with the Pistons, but if he does, Daye is trouble. Going into the future, we cannot rely on Prince, so why not start with the future now?