Internal Improvement: Jason Maxiell

Tom Gores said it better happen. Jonas Jerebko guaranteed it. Rodney Stuckey agreed.

The Detroit Pistons can certainly make the playoffs this season, but given how similar the team is to last year’s, it won’t be easy. It appears the Pistons are mostly relying on internal improvement in order to exceed expectations and reach the postseason.

For our 2012 preview series, Patrick and I will each examine one area where we see realistic room for improvement from each Piston. Today, we look at Jason Maxiell.

Nothing

Jason Maxiell has his ups and downs, but I’m fine with what he is: a space clogger who is usually well positioned on defense but not terribly great on that end, a good rebounder when he wants to be and a decent mid-range jump shooter. If he plays like he did last season, I’ll be fine with it.

What I absolutely don’t want is Maxiell to improve – not in a contract year year where a moderate boost in production due to getting in shape would mask the deficiencies he’s shown the previous few seasons. Because the Pistons would definitely re-sign him to a four-year, $16 million contract, and we definitely don’t want that. — D.F.

Another contract year won’t hurt anyone

As Dan said above, there’s little at this point that Maxiell can do better. He pretty much is what he is — a very serviceable rotation big man.

But I also don’t mind him earning one last good contract. I certainly hope the Pistons don’t overpay him, but since he takes mostly high percentage shots, I’d like to see him get his field goal percentage up over 50 percent. He’d been over 50 percent for four straight seasons before falling to 49 and 41 percent the last two. And, for that matter, get better at the free throw line. Maxiell has a reliable 12-15 foot jumper. There’s no reason he should only shoot 55 percent from the free throw line. — P.H.

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