Detroit Pistons: Jonas Jerebko Is Taking Advantage of His Playing Time

Brett KaplanCorrespondent IIIMarch 17, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 13:  Jonas Jerebko #33 of the Detroit Pistons reacts to a basket against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 13, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Detroit Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko has had a difficult season. The fan favorite has only played in 35 out of 68 games this season, and when he does play, it's only for limited minutes.

Jerebko is only averaging 16.2 minutes a game this season along with a career-low 6.5 points per game (PPG) and 3.5 rebounds (RPG). Yet, Jerebko is averaging a career high in points per 36 minutes at 14.5 and is at his career average of 7.7 RPG.

With the increased productivity per 36 minutes, why isn't Jerebko playing more minutes?

While Pistons coach Lawrence Frank has been away from the team due to personal matters for the last six games, assistant coach Brian Hill has drastically increased Jerebko's minutes to 23 per game. Sure enough, Jerebko hasn't disappointed and has taken advantage of the additional minutes—and in the process, proven that he can help the Pistons.

With this season looking like the Pistons have no energy or fight, Jerebko is showing what a tough player he is and how he always gives 100 percent effort.

Once Frank returns, there is no question Jerebko's minutes deserve to increase. However, will it actually happen? The rest of the year needs to be about finding players that can help the Pistons next year, and Jerebko is still under contract.

In March, Jerebko is averaging 9.4 PPG and 5.1 RPG, proving to Frank that he deserves the playing time.

Back on Nov. 28, 2012, when Jerebko first had his minutes cut by Frank, Jerebko showed what a class act he is. Even though he was unhappy with the decision, he gave a positive response when asked by reporters how he felt. As's David Mayo wrote:

Jonas Jerebko tried his best not to say much, and verbally, he succeeded.

The Detroit Pistons power forward's fiery eyes showed how he really felt about discussing his demotion this week.

'You never want to sit on the bench,' Jerebko said before tonight's game against the Phoenix Suns.  'So I'm just going to keep working on my game and keep doing what I do.  Just be ready when my number's called.'

That summarizes Jerebko best. He is constantly looking to improve, whatever the situation is. He is a player that can't be solely judged by stats, as he does the little things to help the team win that never show up in the box score. His best trait is the hustle he plays with every minute he's on the floor, regardless of the game's score.

If Jerebko's work ethic could be bottled up and shared with the rest of the team, then the Pistons would be a lot closer to making the playoffs.

When Frank returns to the team, he needs to play Jerebko over Jason Maxiell, since Maxiell is a free agent and unlikely to return to the Pistons. 

In a disappointing season for the Pistons, Jerebko can end his season on a positive note. That is, if Frank will give him a chance.

*All statistics are as of March 16

**All statistics are from and