The move happened, didn't we see it coming? No Rip, seven-game win streak. With Rip, five-game losing streak. Against the Grizzles, AI scored 12 points in the first with the starters, while Rip went for 12 with the bench in the second quarter. AI then went for 10 pints in the fourth quarter to finish the game.
Were these the signs? I am not sure. But did it work? Yes. AI was able to be AI. He was able to be the person he has been know for his career. He was able to be what makes him one of the top 10 or top 5 players in basketball. He shot, he scored, he ran the team up and down.
Rip came in, played with the bench, and didn't miss a shot in the second quarter! He was able to do what we know him of doing, catch the ball off a screen, shoot, money! In the last quarter it was close, but Rip was not the one taking over, it was AI. He took the game over. Result= Pistons win.
Okay, okay, it was against the Grizz, not taking anything from them, they have been playing pretty decent. But in the game, it was a whole new Pistons team. Whenever there was a Grizz miss, and the Pistons got a fast-break, the ball was always, always in AI's hands. This was good, no one could catch AI, and he was able to keep the Grizz running and tire them out, while he hadn't even broken a sweat. It seemed AI was much more aggressive.
Sheed and Tay seemed to be doing their own role, Stuckey got his shots, picked his moments to score. His consistent shooting was part of AI and Rips performance, the Grizz were so focused on those two, that it opened up spots for everyone else. Although Tay and Sheed struggled, they got good looks, and are going to make those shots.
Is this a new style of play? It may be. The Pistons were on a whole new plan, they played much more consistent. I must say this move of Rip to the bench was good.
It let AI be AI, maybe the best scorer in basketball, and takes over the close games in the end. While Rip comes off the bench and plays very consistent, he is there in the fourth quarter to help.
This is going to draw much focus on AI, that it will open so many shots for everyone else. Plus AI has come up big on defense, he is playing much more consistent on D. Not just steals, but actually man to man, and help D. Lately he has not been stealing the ball just in the passing lanes, but taking it out of people's hands.
This is what the Pistons want. While Rip is going to get his shots, his minutes, and his turns to be the man. He is going to be happy with being the go to guy with the bench. This also gets the bench players happier, because of more minutes.
It seems like a good move for everyone. Plus the right move from Coach Curry. If AI is with the bench, the defense will gang up on him, and the bench will not get those open shots AI can make for them because of double- and triple-teams he draws. This also makes the Pistons small, because AI and Will Bynum, each are undersized, each six feet, maybe less. While with Rip off the bench, Rip will be playing his own game, coming off screens. The Pistons will no longer be small.
Now we just have to wait and see if it really works. We can start tonight, as the Pistons will host the Raptors, who have been losing, but in close games, to good teams. So look for them to come into to the Palace strong.