5 Biggest Mistakes the Detroit Pistons Have Made This Season
For the Detroit Pistons" target="_blank">Detroit Pistons, hindsight is 20/20, or so the saying goes.
Nowhere is this more apt than in the NBA. Moves that are made in the heat of the moment can effect the outcome of games and have repercussions over the course of a season.
Basketball, because you only have five guys on the court at any particular time, turns into a game of matchups. You need your coach to see which matchups are working, and when they aren't, he has to have the guts to make difficult decisions.
Overall, the Pistons have had a solid season. They started out poorly but have rallied of late to finally look like a competitive ballclub.
That being said, the team has made mistakes.
Here are the five biggest mistakes that coach Lawrence Frank and the Pistons have committed thus far.
5.Keeping Kyle Singler as the Starting Shooting Guard
Let's get this out of the way first. I really like Kyle Singler's game.
He makes smart decisions more often than not and is one of the few players on the team that is constantly in motion. He makes excellent cuts to the ball and the hoop and moves better without the ball than anyone on the team.
That being said, he is not a shooting guard.
Singler lacks the quickness or athleticism to stay in front of NBA shooting guards, which is typically the second-most athletic position on the court at any time.
He has solid defensive instincts, but he is, after all, a rookie. He has good size and length, but he doesn't have the jumping ability to really challenge shots.
When the Pistons originally began starting Singler, it was a novel idea. He was the most consistent shooter at the time and helped the Pistons overcome the maddeningly inconsistent play of Rodney Stuckey.
But since then, his production has fallen off a cliff. He is averaging less than eight points per game over his last 10 contests and his PER for the season is just over 10.
His shooting percentage is a pedestrian 44 percent from the field, and his three-point percentage has fallen to about 36 percent.
Now these aren't terrible numbers, but they aren't the type of production you should be getting from your starting shooting guard, especially if he isn't providing anything on the defensive end.
At this point, just about anyone else would be a better shooting guard.
The Pistons could bring Stuckey back into the fold, as he has definitely improved since his terrible start to the season and at least plays solid defense.
Another option could be rookie Kim English. English is an excellent spot-up shooter and showed a willingness to play defense during the Summer League in Orlando.
It is time the Pistons cut their losses on this failed experiment and return Singler to the bench.
4. Not Developing Khris Middleton, Kim English or Slava Kravtsov
Where have the Pistons lacked consistent play throughout the season?
Well, in all honesty, they have lacked consistency in a number of spots, but namely, they are getting poor production out of their wing players.
Singler and Tayshaun Prince have had their good moments, but often their mediocre play calls into question the amount of minutes they receive.
What makes their up-and-down play so tough to watch is the knowledge that there are a couple of rookies sitting on the bench who could perhaps be the answer.
Granted, Khris Middleton and Kim English are second round picks, and players selected in that round are usually less diamond and more coal.
But how will the Pistons know if they are good or not if they are relegated to the bench?
Middleton possesses something Detroit lacks with his athleticism. He has long arms and can get to the hoop. His perimeter game isn't great, but he showed a solid mid-range game in college.
English is your prototypical spot-up shooter. At Missouri he was a wizard at catching the ball and making defenses pay.
For this Pistons team, that counts on low-post scoring for a lot of what they do, a court-spreading wing player could be crucial.
Additionally, what is more valuable in the NBA than an athletic big man who plays defense?
True, Slava Kravtsov has never played in the NBA so it is safe to say that he is going to be raw. But why can't the guy even get off the bench?
It is time that Frank unchained his young rookies and started developing them.
3. Giving Up on Jonas Jerebko
When the Pistons started playing Jonas Jerebko a few years ago, it was easy to see why the fans instantly fell in love with the guy.
He is an athletic big man that likes to mix it up defensively and has a very unique offensive game.
It also was fun how the Pistons would set off a viking horn whenever the young Scandinavian would make a big play. In a lot of ways, he appeared to be the next Ben Wallace from a fan-favorite standpoint.
But something strange has happened with the development of Jerebko.
In a word, his development has stopped.
Coach Lawrence Frank benched Jerebko about 25 games ago and has not looked back. At the time, the Pistons were in a free-fall so any moves were bound to be the right ones. But the extended benching of Jerebko has been maddening to watch.
Sure, he has struggled early to find his way offensively and was picking up bad fouls. But his hustle was fantastic, and he represented a matchup problem for the defense.
Now I'm not saying that Jerebko is a future All-Star or even a starter for that matter. But a player like him should at least figure into the rotation.
Hopefully, the Pistons are just showcasing Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye for trade purposes, and Jerebko will return to the lineup after the trade deadline.
But it makes you wonder why this team signed him to a multi-year extension in the offseason if he didn't figure into the team's future plans.
2. Waiting so Long to Play Will Bynum
The Pistons have had a tough time getting consistent play out of Brandon Knight. He will have a few excellent games in a row, and then he becomes invisible. His showing in the London game against the New York Knicks was pathetic.
That being said, the Pistons are not going to give up on a high lottery pick this early in his career so he must continue to feature in the lineup.
However, that doesn't mean the Pistons should give up on their backup point guard spot.
Early in the year, once Detroit decided that he couldn't start anymore, Stuckey became the backup point guard. But as has been the case his entire career, he just isn't meant to be a point guard.
Therefore, Frank turned to the only other point guard on the roster, Will Bynum.
And just like he has done his entire career, Bynum stepped up and delivered.
In the month of January, Byum is averaging over 11 points and four assists per game off the bench. More than that, he has developed an excellent rapport with rookie Andre Drummond, leading to some highlight-reel alley-oops.
Bynum is an excellent change-of-pace point guard who can get to the hoop whenever he wants and shows fantastic court vision. Last month, he dropped 25 points and 10 assists on the defending champion Miami Heat, and earlier this month, he scored 22 for the Pistons in London against the Knicks.
So why was he out of the rotation in the first place?
The team's rotation continues to be a throw-something-against-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks strategy for coach Frank and the Pistons.
1. Keeping Andre Drummond Chained Up
Quick, who among the Pistons would be in the top five in the league in rebounding, blocked shots and field goal percentage if he played 36 minutes per game?
Obviously you don't have to guess. Andre Drummond has been a revelation so far for the Pistons.
Once thought of as a potential bust, Drummond is now being viewed as a potential All-Star and is drawing comparisons to everyone from Dwight Howard to a young Shawn Kemp.
Drummond has the unique ability to not only run the court like a gazelle but also hammer home a dunk like Shaquille O'Neal in his prime.
He is already the team's best shot-blocker and finisher near the hoop, and his offensive footwork is improving on a game-to-game basis.
Drummond truly is the most exciting player on this Pistons squad.
So why is he only playing roughly 19 minutes per game?
Coach Frank has maintained that rotation spots will be earned through hard work and production. Things are done based on merit, not potential.
That being said, Drummond is outperforming Jason Maxiell on every level.
If you give both guys 36 minutes, Drummond's numbers blow Maxiell's away. In 36 minutes, Drummond is averaging over 13 points and 13 rebounds and is just short of three blocks per game.
Maxiell, on the other hand, is sitting at just over 10 points, eight boards and two blocks a night.
Defensively, Maxiell has value, but he doesn't dominate the post like Drummond.
Offensively, both are limited, but Drummond is a much better finisher. Sure Maxiell has a nice 15-18 foot jumper, but so does Greg Monroe.
If Drummond starts, Monroe can slide over to the four and knock down those same shots, while providing much better passing.
I appreciate what Frank is doing with Drummond. He is easing him into the rotation so he won't be overwhelmed as a rookie.
But that should have ended in late November when Drummond proved that he was the future of this team. Now every game when Drummond plays less than 20 minutes not only frustrates the fans but is also counter-productive to Detroit's future prospects.