Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe, mostly Monroe because of his shining season last year with the Detroit Pistons, were supposed to be a resurgence of both offense and defense for the franchise under Coach Lawrence Frank.
Detroit fans can draw the early conclusion that the Pistons will not make much noise as the sense of urgency for the better teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Pacers, has overpowered their will to offense.
Knight is being pushed aside for more proven and solid scorers like Ben Gordon, who most thought would not last the amnesty clause, and Rodney Stuckey, a holdout not too long before the regular season started. His showings in the Pistons’ exhibition games were impressive and his workouts still hold value. But, nothing beats out on-court production, and that is something that Knight struggled with thus far.
Monroe, on the other hand, needs to become much stronger on defense and pick up the energy level. No one minds the mistakes. As a young player, true NBA fans and actual executives could give a damn less if you make young errors.
After last season, Monroe is owed a few. However, when he seems lost on the court and is out-grinded by a player like Tyler Hansbrough that he may very well combat in the postseason, one day, there is problem. The hustle just was not there, which is usually the problem with why the Detroit Pistons are one of the most mediocre production teams in the Eastern Conference and even the league as a whole.
Players like Tayshaun Prince, Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey make for very solid fractions of the equation. But, nothing about this has been successful yet. It is just one game and to put all of your belief in the franchise on a couple of miscues in the first game of a rushed season is not fair to the players. Too bad for the Pistons, we have seen the story before.
There are always a few bright spots mangled in with the more experienced, once-championship caliber players. The shadows are lightened by a few good games and some decent points per, but it is never enough to actually make anything happen. The Pistons are sitting firm in the middle and the game plan does not appear to be propelling them any further than John Kuester’s reckless ways landed them in 2010-11.
Knight has a lot of potential. But, kick-starting his role with the Pistons is harder done than said. On paper he fits in perfectly, but rookie hardwood is always harder to ball on than when you have paid your dues.
The kid is a great talent. Good clutch shooter, nice range, the possibility of great ball-handling and professional guard skills. Just do not expect him to come out of the gate hitting the winning fourteen points like everyone saw Miami Heat’s rookie Norris Cole do against a seasoned Boston Celtics squad.
In a few seasons, the possibilities are monumental. But, right now just be comfortable that the process has begun.