The Detroit Pistons managed to pull out their first win of the 2011-12 season against the Indiana Pacers and no one should say that they were shocked. Normally teams, no matter how mediocre they have been in the past, will allow a team to pummel them two times in a row. The Pistons’ meeting against Indiana was not back-to-back, but it was the second in a regular season series that started with a 79-91 Detroit loss.
The Detroit Pistons have too much pride for that. Or at least that is what we are seeing exhibited more and more with the presence of rookie Brandon Knight and the emergence of Greg Monroe as an aggressive playmaker.
Monroe is stepping forward as his ambition and potential showed he may last season and the only critique of him has steadily been that he needs to grow more intense for his squad. The Detroit Pistons, more times than not, lack the passion it needs to survive for an entire season.
There were a few things to be learned from the Detroit Pistons first win, however. Some things that could be telltale throughout the rest of the season, if the franchise allows it, were spotlighted.
- Greg Monroe is capable of aggressiveness. In the preseason and the first couple of regular season games, Monroe was timid to say the least. Man up a little bit and function at the highest level for your squad! At least that’s what I wanted to scream through the television set watching him back off of screens to allow the easy pass and alley-oop against the very same Collison and Pacers the Detroit Pistons beat most recently. It was arguably his best game so far of the season, scoring 19 points and racking up 11 rebounds, the second-best game of any player on the Detroit Pistons, Jonas Jerebko leading with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
- Despite Brandon Knight’s spotty shooting, it’s worth throwing him in the fire to judge if he comes out alive. Knight is the future of the Pistons’ franchise. Regardless of whether or not Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey are standing in the starting lineup for the present, Knight should be granted the opportunity to hop into the starting rotation to prove that he belongs.The Stuckey-Gordon combo did not work before so what truly makes Coach Lawrence Frank think it will work right now? The risk is worth it, judging by how lackadaisical the Pistons’ season will end up when playoff times comes around. The general consensus has come to be that they will not make it to the postseason, so what is the problem with using this shortened season as a trial period?
- Jonas Jerebko can jump. When the Detroit Pistons brought the kid into the starting lineup, there was a bit of a stir up in Motown. Not because he sucked as a human being, but simply because the Detroit fans were looking for some big names to make their mark all over the roster. Names like Glen Davis, Tyson Chandler and others were swirling around the franchise, making it hard for any rookie or functional role player to have a place in the fans’ hearts. Jerebko showed up and out against the Indiana Pacers and has shown Detroit fans that he has the ability to be a long, mid, and short-range shooter. Warm up to him and watch what he has. Throughout his maturation, he can bring the city great things, or at least be a great scoring and rebounding option.
- The Pistons need a leader. From game to game the only thing for certain when it comes to the Detroit Pistons is that the points totaled will be scattered among the starting five. Usually that would come as no problem, however, in the Pistons’ case this means that the franchise does not have a leader on the team that is a surefire bet to put out a star effort.When you look at the roster, even disregarding the statistics, there is not a single name that sticks out to you as the representing member of the team. It would normally be the veteran, but neither Tayshaun Prince nor Ben Wallace is in the position to claim leadership. Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon are too questionable as far as potential and their future with the team goes. Greg Monroe still has more proving to do, as does Jonas Jerebko, and Brandon Knight is in his first season. The team is full of role players, without a single standout star. That will prove to be lethal in an Eastern Conference stacked with star-power.
- The Detroit Pistons still do not have an identity. If you look at the Miami Heat’s Big 3, you see a team with cohesiveness and body-to-body driving capabilities around the rim. They are not a highlighted three-point shooting team, although players like Mario Chalmers, James Jones and newcomer Norris Cole can drain the occasional three (James Jones more than the rest, of course). The New York Knicks are scorers. They almost collapse defensively, but with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, they have the potential to score at every spot on the floor. I have mentioned the more elite teams in the East, because for the Pistons to mean anything in the league, they must be able to defeat the better that the NBA has to offer. Right now, they struggle in all aspects and are consistent in none.
The Detroit Pistons have a lot to build on, but in near future, with a new coach and a new vision for the beleaguered franchise, Motown will have more to praise than the Detroit Lions Wild Card berth into the NFL playoffs.
The Pistons will strike again and only the most loyal fans will be able to say that they were patient and proud to bear witness.