Pistons defense, rebounding falls apart in loss to Orlando

Orlando Magic 110 FinalRecap | Box Score 106 Detroit Pistons
Jason Maxiell, PF 32 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | +3Maxiell had another solid night, and had one of the best dunks of the season so far over Glen Davis, but he and Monroe were both bad defensively and got bullied by Orlando’s frontline on the boards.
Tayshaun Prince, SF 34 MIN | 7-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | 0Prince had one of this better games of the season and continues to impress with his quicker decision-making. But he was part of a perimeter defense that gave up way too many open looks, in the fourth quarter especially.
Kyle Singler, SF 29 MIN | 5-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +17Singler wasn’t great defensively, but he was efficient, spaced the floor and had his second straight nice game as a starter.
Greg Monroe, C 36 MIN | 9-12 FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 23 PTS | 0Monroe was great overall offensively, poor overall defensively. He wasn’t his active self on the glass, but he was unguardable on offense.
Brandon Knight, PG 35 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 12 AST | 10 PTS | -2Knight was very solid distributing the ball. He’s still rough around the edges as a point guard (more on that in a minute), but he had 12 assists and just three turnovers. Two of those turnovers were early in the game, so he played most of the game turnover-free. He did struggle shooting the ball though.
Jonas Jerebko, PF 13 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -2Jerebko didn’t play worse defensively than the starting frontcourt, but he also wasn’t particularly active during his 13 minutes.
Corey Maggette, SF 14 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -4Maggette showed a couple flashes of rounding into playing shape, but he’s still a little sloppy.
Andre Drummond, C 15 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -9Drummond was highly effective, the starting front line was bad defensively and somehow, Drummond only managed 15 minutes. Makes no sense.
Will Bynum, PG 11 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 2 PTS | -4Bynum didn’t shoot well. He did pick up three assists, but he forced his own offense a bit and wasn’t effective when he was on the court.
Rodney Stuckey, PG 21 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -19Stuckey shot better in the second half, but wasn’t good defensively and was a -19 in the game for the Pistons. +/- doesn’t tell the whole story as it largely depends on who a player is on the court with, but he was the only Piston with close to that bad of a +/-.
Lawrence Frank, HEAD COACHThe usual suspect with Frank — his frontcourt defense struggled, Drummond played really well in limited minutes and he didn’t change up his rotation at all to account for those things. The Pistons lost this game because of the players. They didn’t rebound well and they made awful decisions defensively that left shooters open. But Frank’s lack of creativity using Drummond more effectively continues to be baffling.

Monroe played great except …

I touched on Monroe’s poor defense above, but as a below average defender to this point in his career, that’s just something the Pistons have to account for right now. But he also had one bad offensive possession late in the game. With about 30 seconds left on an in-bounds play, the Pistons got a favorable matchup — Monroe with the ball and Arron Afflalo guarding him in the post on a switch. Monroe looked off balance and awkwardly plowed to the basket before gathering himself. He tried to draw contact, faded on his shot and missed badly, looking for a bailout whistle which was never going to come on that play. As the Pistons and Monroe get better, he’s likely going to see the ball more in situations like that and needs to get better at taking his time. If he would’ve realized that he didn’t need to go that quickly, he likely would’ve found a much better shot.

Knight played great except …

No real complaints about Knight trying to set up others tonight — 12 assists with just three turnovers is very good production, even if he shot poorly. He also did a nice job defensively against Jameer Nelson. But little plays here and there are signs that Knight is very much a work in progress as a PG. On a 2-on-1 break with Singler late in the game, Knight first tried to attack the defender, realized late that he should pass and put Singler in an awkward position to try and get a shot off. Singler was fouled and hit both free throws, so it worked out, but it was a reminder that a pass-first mentality does not come naturally to Knight.

The shooting guard situation

Singler has been really solid through two games in the starting lineup. His floor-spacing has made the offense run more smoothly, he’s an intelligent player who knows his limitations and stays within them and, although he’s not exceptional in any one key area, he’s pretty solid across the board. Plus, despite being a power forward in college, he’s held his own against two guards. I don’t expect that to continue against the best ones in the league, but he’s more athletic than he’s given credit for and his long arms help make up for his lack of quickness against perimeter players. But he’s also not a long-term solution at that spot. Based on his play this season, though, neither is Stuckey. He’s just far too inconsistent.

The situation is OK for now — Singler is playing well, the starting unit as a whole looks more fluid offensively and Stuckey has accepted — or hell, downright begged for — the bench assignment. But shooting guard remains the postion the Pistons most need to address.

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