Jonas Jerebko’s summer focus – ball-handling and shooting – don’t thrill me

Keith Langlois of

Those are the two points of emphasis for Jerebko this summer in skills work – ballhandling and shooting, ballhandling to get him to favorable spots and shooting from all angles and ranges, expanding on a versatility that could be his ticket to a greater role as he develops among a young Pistons core.

Jerebko started training camp at a robust 235 pounds but couldn’t maintain that level once the season started, playing in the 220s. A similar thing happened to him during his NBA rookie season, but this season his inability to maintain weight was even more pronounced because the lockout schedule left very little time for weight training.

He’s preparing to be ready to play both spots next season, he said, not worrying about adding bulk to be better equipped to defend power forwards or to focus on the perimeter skills more common to small forwards.

“I’ve got to be ready for both, so I’ve got to get my body ready for both,” he said. “My game has never been about bulk and be 250 and bang. That’s not my game, so I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and work on my game, all aspects, and be ready for the three and the four. I’ve got to know all the plays, even at the two and the five, so I’m not going to bulk up to 250 and play inside.”

He would like to get to 235 or 240, though, he said. In Italy, where he played small forward, the one-game-per-week schedule allowed him to maintain his weight at 235, Jerebko said.

I’ve advocated for Jonas Jerebko not to worry as much about mid-range shooting and ball-handling, at least as long as he’s on this roster. The Pistons already have enough players who do those things and need the ball in their hands. Detroit needs more players like Jerebko, who can contribute without the ball, not for him to turn into one.

Obviously, Jerebko working on those two skills is fine, and anything he does to improve is good. I know I’m nitpicking, but I just wish shooting and dribbling weren’t his priorities.

Instead, I’d love to see his main focus be lateral quickness. Jerebko has All-Defense potential as a small forward, but after a year playing power forward, he could improve his foot speed on the perimeter.

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