Will Bynum … what you can really say? Actually, Sean Corp of Detroit Bad Boys probably said it best on Twitter. I was teasing him a bit because he — accurately, it needs to be said — pointed out the significant flaws in Bynum’s game and his overall lack of production as a member of the rotation earlier this season. Here’s how Sean responded to me bringing up Bynum’s recent success (25 points and 10 assists against Miami after his 31-point performance against Atlanta earlier this week):
@patrick_hayes I stand behind everything I wrote. He’s still making maddeningly stupid decisions with the ball. But, hey, they’re going in
— Sean Corp (@sean_corp) December 29, 2012
That’s honestly about all you can say about Bynum. When his shots are going in, he’s insanely fun to watch, but he’s still taking a lot of bad shots. When his shots are not falling, he goes from being a really fun, unorthodox player to watch to someone who absolutely kills the team when he’s on the court. But everyone knows what Bynum is by this point, so there’s no need to belabor what’s going on. Every season, Bynum is going to be wildly inconsistent, but he’s also a guy capable, on rare occasions, of winning or nearly winning a game for a team off the bench. We’ve seen that in the last two games, when he nearly got the Pistons a win over the Hawks and, tonight, when he led them to an exciting, improbable win over the defending champs.
To be clear, it wasn’t all Bynum. The entire bench has suddenly become fantastic. Andre Drummond has been very good off the bench all season and Bynum, along with Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye, have gone from being castoffs who, at times over the last couple seasons, didn’t even look like they belonged in the NBA, to looking over the course of two games like a really fun, havoc-wreaking, energy-filled unit over the last two games. I have no idea if they can sustain it, but I know that I have had more fun watching these games than I have at any point in recent Pistons history.
|Jason Maxiell, PF 19 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -7Maxiell shot OK, but one rebound in 19 minutes against a Miami frontline that, while obviously talented, sometimes plays Shane Battier at the four spot?|
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 36 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | -11Prince moved the ball and shot OK. He didn’t really slow LeBron James down much when he was guarding him, but who can?|
|Kyle Singler, SF 31 MIN | 5-11 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | +14Singler shot well, but was also really active moving without the basketball. He helped out on the glass and was his typical smart, opportunistic self.|
|Greg Monroe, C 28 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-1 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -6Monroe had a quiet game, but then again, so did just about every starter. He shot 50 percent and he rebounded well though, and that’s more than a couple of his fellow starters can say about their performances.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 20 MIN | 1-3 FG | 4-6 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS | -7Even with Will Bynum playing out of his mind, there is no chance Bynum plays his way into a starting job. And too often, Brandon Knight plays like a guy who feels absolutely no pressure from the players below him on the depth chart. He was passive and a bit sloppy, and he’ll be right out there starting the next game at point guard because the Pistons have no option who can push him.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 26 MIN | 7-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 18 PTS | +21Villanueva’s offense speaks for itself, but what has been truly impressive about him is the effort he’s put into other parts of his game. He’ll never be a great rebounder or a defensive stopper, but he can be better at those things than what we’ve seen from him in his career so far. Tonight, he grabbed six rebounds and really did a pretty nice job closing out on shooters, particularly Shane Battier, when Miami went small.|
|Austin Daye, PF 29 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +17The biggest thing for Daye is obviously just knocking down shots, and tonight he did that. But like Villanueva, the key for him sticking in the rotation is consistently doing other things at at least an average level. Tonight, he helped rebound and he contested shots. Like with Villanueva, he’s probably never going to be a great, instinctive defender, but his height is certainly a weapon for him defensively. He can get a hand in the face of shooters and bother shots when he wants to.|
|Andre Drummond, C 23 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +12It’s no coincidence that players with awful defensive reputations like Daye and Villanueva suddenly look formidable when they play their minutes with Drummond. Imagine the impact he might have playing next to … nevermind. Drummond’s production continues to stay consistent, he looks more confident nearly every game and, most importantly, he finely seems to be earning more trust from Lawrence Frank. Better late than never.|
|Will Bynum, PG 28 MIN | 10-16 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 10 AST | 25 PTS | +17I said most of it above when it comes to Bynum. He has an amazing ability to look like he’s got nothing left as a NBA player, then suddenly absolutely carry a team. The Pistons have fed off his energy and how hard he plays. The entire second unit was sprinting up and down the court with Bynum. When the game ended, Drummond ran up to Bynum to give him a bearhug. Obviously, Bynum probably can’t sustain this. But I can’t deny these momentary flashes when he unleashes a dynamic performance have been some of my favorite moments of the last four years.|
|Lawrence FrankFor as much flack Lawrence Frank has (deservedly) taken about his rotation, he seems to be coming around. Tonight, his starters clearly didn’t have it. His bench clearly did. And he trusted his bench to win this game for him. That is a great step in the right direction for Frank.|