ESPN’s David Thorpe has given the league’s best rookies players to watch and learn from. For Jonas Jerebko, Thorpe recommends Jerebko take a page out of Ron Artest’s book:
It might seem like an odd pairing, but it will make perfect sense. Jerebko has the stuff to be a real pain in the butt to go up against — all arms and elbows and a red-hot engine that never stops. Great teams always seem to have one guy who fires up his own team while punishing opponents with both mental and physical play.
Artest is not the player he once was (I’d want Jerebko to pull out some classic game film of Artest and maybe even get into some ’90s Dennis Rodman footage), but he’ll show Jerebko enough to help him reach another level on defense and the boards. No, I don’t want Jerebko to look at Artest’s shot selection — just his ability to get under the skin of his opponents using his length, physicality and bone-crushing attitude.
If you have Insider, I recommend you see what Thorpe wrote about other rookies. It’s a really fascinating piece.
But it made me wonder who the Pistons’ other rookies should emulate. I had no easy time thinking of answers (share your ideas in the comments), but this is what I came up with:
Austin Daye – Shane Battier
Like Daye, Battier isn’t that athletic. But unlike Daye, Battier is a premier defender. Battier is also tough, a trait I haven’t seen from Daye .
Being an elite athlete is usually a good first step to becoming a good defender. But as Battier has shown, there are other approaches. Battier is one of the league’s smartest players and relishes in learning opponents’ tendencies.
By all indications, Daye is very bright, too. I think he could handle the type of scouting Shane Battier does. That would mean less attention to his offense, but I’m OK with that.
If he wants to become more than a role player (and he’s not even there yet), Daye needs to learn how to defend and show some grit.
DaJuan Summers – LeBron James
Obviously, Summers will never approach James’ level. But there’s still a lot he could learn from the King.
The Pistons like Summers because of his combination of size, speed and agility. But he doesn’t always know how to control that and can look like a runaway train at times.
James is also big and fast, but he has great control of where he’s going. He knows how to shift his weight to keep balance at all times.
If Summers improves in that regard, it will help his offense defense.