Hmmm, Why Can't We Win More?
The Bad Boys of Detroit are long gone.
The current team consists of emerging draft picks, free agent pieces, and aging veterans who will soon move on.
Watching this team night after night this season you will notice that they are competitive now.
They have shifted out of first gear since Tracy McGrady started playing the point and Rip went to the bench, but now they are stuck in 2nd.
Here are the Five biggest reasons they could be stuck there for a while.
Stay Out of My Paint!
Nothing to intimidate around the basket.
During Joe D's playing days Bill Lambier would knock his mom down if she tried to drive to the basket and John Salley would block the shot if it did go up.
If he missed the block Dennis Rodman would come down with the rebound and high step it to the other end.
15 years later Ben Wallace refused to give up any easy baskets and opponents knew it. Rasheed Wallace's length was intimidating because he could block anything and didn't mind committing tough fouls.
Today..not so much.
Greg Monroe is developing into a terrific rebounder at both ends, and committed a nice foul on Stoudemire last night to keep him from throwing one down.
Unfortunately, it is a rare sight in 2011 Instead the Pistons are making bench players from every team in the league look like All-Star dunk champions without even contesting them.
On breakaways they just let the guy score for fear of committing a foul.
For True Blue Pistons fans, it's hard to watch.
Now, Who's Guarding that Howard Guy?
You can go to any High School game in America and find teams running the good ole' pick-and-roll.
You would think that by the time guys make it to the NBA they would understand what that looks like and how to defend it.
Every night you will see Greg Monroe above the three point line chasing someone on a pick-and-roll switch, and what do you think is going on behind him?
That's right fans, a gaping hole, with a red carpet to the basket, because as we know there's nothing intimidating in there, especially when your "center" is guarding a Point Guard above the arc.
They actually look surprised when that guy passes the ball to a wide-open guy standing under the basket.
It seems like they try to have Monroe trap that guy, and then steal a pass going into the paint, but instead it puts them in a situation of running, a step behind each pass.
Sure, they each pat themselves on the chest and say "my bad" to their teammates, but how about us fans. Maybe we deserve an apology too.
This one has to fall on the coach too though.
It's no surprise that teams like the Spurs, Lakers, and Celtics defend the pick-and-roll very well, forcing teams to take more jumpers. Those teams are well-coached and preach defense.
How Will This End?
The key to good defense starts with the feet. You have got to keep your knees bent and be willing to keep them bent as you move quickly to stay in front of your man.
This forces a pass or jump shot. If it's a jumper you can stay on your feet and contest the shot.
Don't foul, don't jump out of the building and give him an easy lay up, just contest the shot and percentages go down.
Charlie Villanueva seems content to go for reach-around steals instead, because it's so much less work than all that darned knee-bending.
He's not alone either. Austin Daye tries hard, but stands up too tall and when he figures that out... it's always too late.
The bright spot is Greg Monroe who is showing improvement in this area. Just last night against the Knicks he had Stoudemire driving to his left and would normally have fouled him.
This time he got his feet set as far left as he could and got tall to contest the shot without fouling him. The shot was missed and the Pistons grabbed the rebound.
The rest of the team, or their replacements, will need to work as hard as Monroe is to improve this part of their game if they are to get better.
Tick, Tock...Tick, Tock
At times the Pistons just get lazy on offense. They go long stretches where they come up the floor and try to post someone up but the other team defends it well.
Rather than set a pick, pass the ball, or run around to get open, they just stand there until the clock is almost up and take a terrible shot.
Usually, they have a hand in their face and heave up a shot that doesn't even get rim, leaving them walking back up the court.
This is a big reason their 8-point leads evaporate quicker than sweat on the floor.
The coach either needs to recognize that the guys are tired and get some energy off the bench, or guys just need to work harder to get a quality shot every time up the floor.
Did We Really Just Foul Eddie House On A Jumper?
Despite their flaws on defense, they are able to bear down enough, and produce enough offense to remain competitive in games.
They are able to remain competitive just long enough to convince us they have a chance to win the game.
Then, the inexplicable unguarded guy in the lane gets a dunk, or we commit a ridiculous foul after playing 20 seconds of good defense, giving the other team two shots.
Then, the other team steps up their defensive pressure and closes the door.
This one is actually the least worrisome because they are young and Kuester is letting them get the necessary playing time. Eventually they will learn how to finish a little stronger.
Unfortunately, if they don't commit to playing great defense they will be floating around the last playoff spot for years to come.