Detroit Pistons Stock Watch: Rising and Falling Players After First Month

Jay WierengaCorrespondent IDecember 3, 2012

Detroit Pistons Stock Watch: Rising and Falling Players After First Month

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    In a lot of ways, NBA players can be viewed the same way one looks at the stock market. There are rising stocks, falling stocks and stocks that you wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole.

    And while in a lot of ways it is too early to judge someone after just a month, you can certainly notice trends that are forming early on in this year's season.

    Some players have been pleasant surprises, making the most of their opportunities and contributing to the team. Other players have floundered and are certainly making a case to be replaced.

    The Detroit Pistons are still quite a ways from winning a championship, let alone making the playoffs. But things are not all bad in Detroit.

    Here is the early season edition of Pistons stock watch.

Greg Monroe, C: Stock Rising

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    Greg Monroe without question is the lone un-tradeable player on this roster. He is big, strong and offensively gifted.

    Monroe struggled initially, but now he has picked up where he left off last year when he was on the verge of an All-Star berth.

    Monroe mixes finesse with improving rebounding instincts to put together one of the better double-double threats in the league.

    He still needs to work on his interior defense as some nights he can be rather soft down low. But offensively he is starting to find his niche as a high-post passer and offensive facilitator.

Brandon Knight, PG: Stock Rising

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    Early in the season, Brandon Knight seemed somewhat out of sorts. His scoring had regressed and while his assist numbers were up, so too were his turnovers.

    Knight is trying to figure out when to pass and when to shoot, a tough proposition for anyone let alone a young combo guard.

    But over the last five games, he has decided to put the passing on the back burner and call his own number.

    During that span, he is averaging 19 points per game and shooting 48 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range.

    That being said, he is averaging more turnovers than assists during that stretch as well.

    Knight needs to realize that he can get his own shot whenever he wants it, but the most important thing is to learn what his teammates can do and start to utilize them.

Rodney Stuckey, SG: Stock Falling

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    Rodney Stuckey is a physically gifted scorer that can seemingly get to the hoop at will.

    And after a nice season last year, he was primed to break out this year.

    But something strange happened on the way to the All-Star game: Stuckey forgot how to play.

    Stuckey has struggled in every aspect of the game. He jacks up inconsistent shots, his defense has taken a step back and he no longer seems confident in what was a developing three-point shot.

    The Pistons have taken Stuckey out of the starting lineup indefinitely, hoping that he can provide a spark off the bench.

    In a recent game against Phoenix it appeared that Stuckey might be coming out of his funk with an 18-point performance.

    But in his last two games he is shooting 7-of-22 and looks as lost as ever.

Jason Maxiell, PF: Stock Rising

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    Jason Maxiell was one of coach Lawrence Frank's success stories last year.

    He inserted Maxiell into the starting lineup and the team took off.

    This year, Maxiell has remained one of Frank's most trusted assets, and he has rewarded his coach with a nice run.

    Over the last 10 games, Maxiell is averaging eight points, seven boards and a-block-and-a-half per game.

    Obviously we all want to see Andre Drummond in the starting role, but so far Maxiell has done his best to keep the talented rookie on the bench.

Tayshaun Prince, SF: Stock Falling

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    Tayshaun Prince has basically been the model of consistent inconsistency. The one thing that Pistons fans can count on from Prince is an underwhelming performance.

    Overall, Prince still does some things well. He is an adequate defender (though his reputation is greater than his actual play), he has a solid low-post scoring game and his range is still pretty good on his jumper.

    But Prince refuses to take on a leadership role with this team. He is not vocal, except when blasting his coach, and his offensive game still is maddeningly inconsistent.

    In my opinion, this team needs to just settle on a trading partner for Prince and move the guy already. He isn't happy here and he still has some value.

Kyle Singler, G/F: Stock Rising

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    One of this season's few bright spots has been the development of Kyle Singler.

    Singler plays hard on every possession, has improved his shot drastically since college and is a willing defender.

    He even rode his great play to a spot in the starting lineup.

    Now, nobody believes that Singler's long-term success in the league will be at the shooting guard spot. But until the Pistons get someone that can consistently knock down shots at that spot, the job is Singler's.

    You have got to love the way Singler plays as he finally is showing that this team has a pulse.

Andre Drummond, C: Stock Rising

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    When Andre Drummond was first drafted, everyone said that he was a project that would take years to develop.

    Not even the biggest optimists could have seen this coming.

    Through the first month of the season, Drummond is playing like he belongs in the league as well as the starting lineup.

    He is averaging just under six points and six rebounds per game while blocking a little over a shot a night. He also is doing this in limited minutes.

    Drummond certainly is the future for Detroit, but he is chipping in right now in the present.

Jonas Jerebko, F: Stock Falling

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    Jonas Jerebko, once viewed as one of the up-and-coming players on Detroit's roster suddenly is on the outside looking in.

    In the Pistons last five games, Jerebko has not even gotten off of the bench.

    Sure, his play was inconsistent this year and the Pistons needed a spark.

    But surely there is something that Jerebko can do to contribute to this team.

    As of now, Jerebko looks like he is in for a long season.

Charlie Villanueva, PF: Stock Rising

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    On the flip side of Jerebko's troubles comes the re-emergence of Charlie Villanueva.

    Villanueva seemed to be firmly entrenched on Frank's bench when the season began, but now he is the primary power forward backup.

    Villanueva still is a vastly overpaid commodity on this team, but in his last five games he has averaged 11 points per game.

    Either Villanueva is being played to give this team a jolt of offense or to showcase his abilities for a new team. Either way, it means his stock is rising.

Will Bynum, PG: Stock Falling

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    Will Bynum is the type of player that fans love. He is a scrappy, small guard that plays with a lot of heart and can throw down some sick dunks.

    But with Singler's emergence as the starting shooting guard and Stuckey's demotion to backup point guard, that leaves very few minutes for Bynum.

    He can still be a spark plug when called upon, but in the Pistons last five games, Bynum has only played in three of them.

Kim English, SG: Stock Steady

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    It's hard to see why Kim English isn't getting any playing time.

    This team is sorely lacking true shooting guards, yet that is exactly what English is.

    This team needs perimeter shooters, and low and behold that is what English supplies.

    So far this year, English is averaging only three points per game yet knocking down 50 percent of his three-pointers.

    The Pistons need to find minutes for English, plain and simple.

Corey Maggette, F: Stock Falling

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    It's hard to figure where exactly Maggette fits on this team.

    He can't shoot the ball, his defense has lost a step and he no longer really adds much to the up-tempo game.

    He has been a steadying voice for the youngsters, and for that he deserves high marks.

    But with an expiring contract and diminished play, a long-term place with this team seems remote at best.

Austin Daye, F: Stock Falling

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    With the exception of free-agent busts Ben Gordon and Villanueva, has there been a more disappointing Pistons player since Darko Milicic than Austin Daye?

    Drafted as a stretch 4 or perhaps the long-term replacement for Prince at the small forward spot, Daye was thought of as an excellent shooter that just needed to fill out his frame with muscle.

    But three years later, the only thing he has accomplished is to regress in every facet of the game.

    He can't even shoot anymore, which should be a huge red flag for all teams in the league.

    Daye probably won't play much this season unless he is dealt.

Khris Middleton, SF/Slava Kravtsov, C: Incomplete

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    Between the two of these guys, they have appeared in three games and recorded four points. And those all came from Khris Middleton.

    Slava Kravtsov came to Detroit to provide athleticism and size off the bench. He was billed as a good rebounder and shot-blocker that played with an edge.

    So far, however, he has yet to see the court.

    Middleton had a solid career in college and was thought of as a potential first-rounder after his sophomore year. But his last year in college was unimpressive and he slipped.

    Now he finds himself behind Prince and a whole host of others in the mix at small forward.

    Seems unlikely that Middleton will get much time this year.