Internal Improvement: Corey Maggette


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 Corey Maggette.

Defense

I’ve already expressed my concern about Maggette’s offensive game, given his age and need to get to the free-throw line to be effective. But Maggette has never been the most interested defender, and, on this team, that might be the difference between playing and not. Or given Lawrence Frank’s tendency to rely on known quantities, maybe the experienced Maggette has a safe rotation spot, regardless.

Either way, the Pistons don’t necessary need Maggette to be a lockdown defender – which is good, because he probably can’t be one – but it would at least set a good example for the younger players if the veteran worked harder on defense. If Jonas Jerebko and Kyle Singler (and Kim English) are working their butts off on defense – which is far from a guarantee for either – and they still are stuck behind Maggette at small forward (shooting guard), that would be pretty disappointing. — D.F.

Health

Since Maggette is already injured, it might to too late to wish for a healthy season from him. But as I noted with Rodney Stuckey, nagging injuries significantly change the type of players guys like Maggette and Stuckey are. When those guys are healthy, they attack the basket relentlessly and use their strength to absorb contact. When they are dealing with injuries, they are less aggressive, they settle for jumpers more and they look for contact less. Stuckey is younger and thus better able to play through those injuries. Maggette not only has a history of injuries because of his physical style, he’s old too. Having a reasonably healthy season is the only way Maggette will contribute anything other than his expiring contract to the Pistons this season. — P.H.

Previously

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