Most Valuable Player
Deron Williams. Williams entered the game 11-0 against the Pistons, and his first loss to Detroit was no fault of his own. He had 34 points, including a four-point play, and seven assists.
Least Valuable Player
Shawne Williams. Despite a decent number of open looks, the Nets forward shots just 2-of-12 and missed all six of his 3-pointers. No New Jersey small forward helped tonight, but Williams played worst.
The Pistons got the ball to Greg Monroe frequently, which they’ve too often failed to do. When the ball is in his hands, good things happen.
Monroe finished 15 plays tonight and scored 20 points on them. He missed just 6-of-16 shots, but tipped in two of those misses. He also turned the ball over only once in 35 minutes and assisted four baskets.
He was an eager defender, collecting nine defensive rebounds, two steals and a block.
Deron Williams, one of the NBA’s true stars, was the only player better on the court tonight.
Brandon Knight scatters good and bad plays
Brandon Knight, who wore a mask to cover his face, is playing over his head. He certainly had flashes of brilliance – and encouragingly, he’s looking more athletic than he has all season – but the game is still coming too fast at him.
He had 13 points and four assists in 37 minutes, but he often rushed shots (4-of-10 shooting, including 1-of-4 on 3-pointers) and passes (four turnovers). I’ll take the flashes for now, but eventually, he’ll have to settle down.
Walker Russell outplays Brandon Knight
Walker Russell not only played more under control than Brandon Knight, Russell played better. He made both his shots and dished three assists.
But Russell played just 10 minutes to Knight’s 37 minutes. Chalk it up as evidence that the Pistons have shifted gears toward developing their young players rather than playing their best players at all costs.
Jonas Jerebko makes mark
Jonas Jerebko (16 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks) displayed great energy. He was active offensively and defensively, and on a positive note, he didn’t really stand out for doing that, because his teammates came closer than usual to matching his intensity.
Jerebko got a little shot happy at times (5-of-12 in 35 minutes), but I can live with that as long as that’s secondary to his hustle plays.
Ben Gordon returns
But his dribbling was train wreck. He turned the ball over four times in 21 minutes.
And despite two steals, his defense was pretty loose, too.
For Gordon to really help the Pistons going forward, he’ll have to play better than he did tonight – despite his solid scoring line.