When Pistons fans thought it couldn't get any worse for the season having Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince out with injuries, Ben Gordon has also been out with an ankle sprain for the past two games.
That has led the Pistons to a 7 game skid and trying to find ways to put up big points without two of their biggest scoring threats. Kuester has tried a few different starting rolls involving Austin Daye, Jason Maxiell, Jonas Jerebko, and Chucky Atkins.
The Pistons finally ended their 7 game skid beating the young and talented Atlanta Hawks Sunday 94-88. Kuester threw a complete random starting lineup involving Chucky Atkins, Rodney Stuckey, Jason Maxiell, Jonas Jerebko, and Ben Wallace. Bringing Will Bynum, Charlie Villanueva, and Austin Daye off the bench to provide some scoring threats.
The Pistons dominated the boards grabbing 53 to the Hawks 27, and dominating the Hawks on the offensive boards grabbing 24 to their 6.
Ben Wallace was the main factor of the game grabbing 18 Rebounds and scoring 10 points. Jonas Jerebko continued to show improvement scoring 10 points and 11 rebounds to have a double-double in the night. Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum combined for 42 points and 12 assists which played big factors in the Pistons big win against Atlanta.
So how does losing three starters and having a 7 game losing streak show improvement for the Pistons?
A big thing is giving the bench players big minutes and making them into more legit players coming off the bench when Rip, Tay, and Ben Gordon come back. Austin Daye is getting a better feel of the game on both the offensive and defensive end.
Jason Maxiell has been stepping up both on offense and especially defense showing how effective he is starting to become off the bench.
Kwame Brown has also been putting up descent numbers and playing good defense down in the post showing he can continue the good defense that Ben Wallace provides while he's on the court.
The biggest surprise for the Pistons is rookie sensation Jonas Jerebko. Filling in for Tayshaun Prince he has taken on some of the most difficult rolls you can think of. His biggest rolls were to take on Kobe Bryant of the Lakers, and Vince Carter on the Orlando Magic.
Jerebko had started off slow but has been showing improvement in each and every game. Sure he is only averaging 6.5 points per game. But he shows great hustle and defense on the court while he's in.
Jerebko has been becoming a bigger scoring threat as the games go on, putting up 10 last night against the Hawks, and a career high 22 against the Clippers. With Jerebko continuing to show improvement in his game, it is a great sign seeing him come off the bench as an elite player when Prince comes back.
So despite sitting on a 6-11 record thus far, the season is still young. Pistons are down 3 starters, and Charlie Villanueva may be questionable due to his injury against the Hawks in the 4th quarter.
But once Rip, Tay, and Gordon come back and with how affective the bench players have filled in for starting rolls, it shows a bright future in the season for the Pistons.