As you can imagine, it was hard to focus on tonight’s Pistons game with the fairly significant news from earlier today that Joe Dumars made his first unquestionably good trade since … oh … about 2004 or so. Pistons fans have coped with these last five years of bad basketball, bad coaching and bad management in a variety of ways. I’ve personally never tried to take too hard-line a stance on wanting certain players gone. Instead, I just root for things that I hate watching to go away. If that means players have to go, then so be it, but I try not to openly root for guys’ lives getting uprooted and shipped off just because I’m a pissed off fan tired of watching awful ball.
So, with today’s trade, I’m excited that I will no longer have to watch/hear about the following things:
* Austin Daye clapping his hands, putting his head down and slumping his shoulders after every missed shot, blown defensive assignment, dropped pass or general miscue. Seriously, it was depressing.
* Isolayshaun offense. Self-explanatory.
* Fans perpetuating the myth that Tayshaun Prince’s presence was blocking certain young players from reaching their potential.
Example 1: “Daye’s confidence was sunk last year when the Pistons re-signed Prince because Daye thought he was going to be the Pistons starting small forward.”
Seriously, I hated that one so much. I don’t know if Daye really thought that or was affected by it, but if he was — and I was shocked at the number of people who perpetuated that theory — then he’s insane. He’d done nothing to remotely show he was capable of being a starting SF in the NBA, even on a bad team to that point. So good riddance to that myth.
Example 2: Prince dominating the ball is preventing Brandon Knight from becoming a capable point guard.
That’s the awful and frequently repeated one from this season. And seriously, no. You know what prevents Knight from being a capable point guard? Knight not being a capable point guard. That’s it. And thankfully, now Jose Calderon’s presence will prevent Knight from being a point guard, capable or otherwise, for the rest of the season.
So anyway, this was a great trade, obviously, but I have no idea how it will work out long-term. The elephant in the room is still that all too unforgettable summer of 2009, the last time Dumars had cap space, that is surely terrifying every fan who has bravely followed the team these last few years. But in the short-term, I’m thoroughly ecstatic that a few things that drive me nuts will no longer drive me nuts. Next on my list of things I want to never watch or write about again? Shot charts like this one from Rodney Stuckey tonight:
Woof. Six 3-point attempts from a guy hitting 30 percent on the season and 28 percent for his career? Again, woof. Just stop shooting. I don’t care if you’re open. Drive into four defenders if you have to. Anything is better than a Stuckey 3-point attempt.
|Jason Maxiell, PF 17 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -7He blocked two shots, but didn’t do much of anything else. On the plus side, 17 minutes is just about right for him. That’s a trend I hope continues.|
|Greg Monroe, C 33 MIN | 8-17 FG | 2-6 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | -15Indiana played very physical against Monroe, and for the most part, he was up for it. He drew contact inside (though he didn’t get rewarded for it much by the refs), he blocked shots and he had his moments defensively against Roy Hibbert. If it weren’t for his four turnovers and poor free throw shooting, he’d have easily been in B/B+ range. Also, lost in all of the hoopla of today’s trade was a great post comparing Monroe and Hibbert by J.M. today. Go check that out.|
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 34 MIN | 6-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -17As mentioned above, my issue with Stuckey was solely shot selection. He just cannot take 3-pointers. He was wide open on several of his six attempts tonight and they were still way off. He’s not a good shooter, there is plenty of evidence supporting that, so for him to attempt as many threes as he does is simply ridiculous.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 28 MIN | 3-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -9Knight only had one turnover, but that’s about all that can be said for his performance. The best part of this trade is that, for the first time, the Pistons have a superior player capable of legitimately pushing Knight at the point guard spot.|
|Kyle Singler, SG 30 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -21Singler played solid defense helping limit Paul George to a bad shooting night and his reaction to Tyler Hansbrough being the annoying bro that Tyler Hansbrough is known for being was fantastic.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 19 MIN | 0-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +1Jerebko was active, but that activity didn’t lead to much production. On the plus side, he played more at small forward, something many fans have wanted to see for a long time. Hopefully that continues.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 15 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -16Villanueva missed open shots and didn’t do anything helpful while he was on the court.|
|Andre Drummond, C 24 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-10 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -3Drummond was a monster, once again. On top of his rebounding and blocked shots — which we’ve come to expect — Drummond exhibited quick hands, coming up with two steals and getting knockaways on two other plays that were called fouls but looked pretty questionable.|
|Viacheslav Kravtsov, C 3 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -1Hey, Kravtsov played! He got a couple of dunks, but also made contact with Pacers guard Orlando Johnson on a layup attempt by Johnson then promptly crumpled to the floor and died. Kravtsov is athletic, but still obviously has no idea what to do with that athleticism.|
|Will Bynum, PG 23 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 13 PTS | -13Bynum shot well, which is more than many of his teammates can say, but his shot selection wasn’t always great and he turned it over four times.|
|Kim English, SG 14 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -4English played solid minutes. I wish he would’ve got one of his 3-point attempts down, but he did enough to justify a continued crack at regular minutes. He also gets major points from me for flagrantly fouling Hansbrough, my least favorite player in the history of basketball.|
|Lawrence FrankDrummond played 24 minutes after playing 28 last night, and he would’ve played more if he didn’t pick up three first half fouls. That alone gets Frank a decent grade. As far as the blowout loss? Much like last night’s game, there’s not much blame you can put on a coach when guys just flat out miss good looks as the Pistons did a lot tonight.|
Yes, I am alive and well
A few of you have noticed that I’ve been scarce around these parts lately (seriously … thanks for noticing, makes me feel really appreciated). I just wanted to take a second and give an explanation, something I probably should’ve done in the first place.
First of all, I’m not going anywhere. As long as Dan is running this site, I’ll be here contributing in some capacity. I’ve always prided myself on being honest and unfiltered, whether my opinions are right or wrong, with readers, and I’ll try and do the same here. I was getting burnt out. This team, at times, is hard to watch, as you all know. As you can imagine, that also makes the team pretty hard to write about. There were several times over the first half of this season where I felt like I was being repetitive, where I felt like I wasn’t bringing anything new or relevant to the table and, to be completely blunt about it, I was just bitching about the countless things that this organization does wrong. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a place for bitching. Just ask Detroit Bad Boys (I kid, I kid … I love those guys and they’ve been even more fantastic since Matt Watson has come back full force over the last month or so*).
* Seriously, I scale back my writing slightly over the last month or so and I’m getting harassed about being dead, but Watson, who has been cryogenically frozen since like the ’07 season is all of a sudden back and in a matter of days the king of Pistons blogging again and no one bats an eye? The Free Press needs to be writing about this. It’s Matt effing Watson! One of the best NBA bloggers of all time!
As I said, a good rant is fine. It has just never worked for me or felt right for me as a writer. I tend to be too cynical, so when I allow myself to get into a negative mode writing, it snowballs and I soon start to feel incapable of writing without any of that negative bias seeping in. The fact is, I want to watch this team objectively. I want to see the young players on this team succeed. I want the real Joe Dumars to return and overthrow his evil twin who has been running the show since roughly the Nazr Mohammed signing (and maybe the Calderon trade is a sign that that coup has been staged). I want to believe that evidence exists suggesting Knight can be the point guard this organization desperately wants fans to believe he is. I want the real Lawrence Frank, the guy who is well-spoken, who worked his ass off through the ranks to get an opportunity as a NBA coach, who is respected by Hall of Fame players like Jason Kidd and Kevin Garnett, to show up here and figure out that the best way to win games is playing your best players the most minutes. I want those things and I don’t want to write with a cynical lens that makes it seem like I don’t want the team to succeed when the reality is I want nothing more as a sports fan. With that in mind, I think a step back to recharge is in order. I want to watch the team more without the pressure of trying to say something new in a recap. More importantly, I want to spend more time reading the work of others, NBA and otherwise, and work on some creative inspiration to provide content here that is at the level that PistonPowered readers have grown to expect. You guys deserve better than someone who is conflicted or not fully invested at all times, so in order for me to get back to that point, I need to spend some time doing less.
The second factor is a little less boring but more important to me personally. PistonPowered is a hobby for me that, because I tend to be on the obsessive compulsive side, often became like a second full-time job that I do on top of my day job that actually does things like ‘allow me to wear clothes’ and ‘allow me to eat food.’ When I stepped back and actually evaluated how much this site, its growth and its success consume me, I had to re-evaluate. Between writing posts and the hundreds of retorts I was writing in the comments on a monthly basis, I needed to get my home priorities straight. I don’t want watching basketball with my son to entail me also being in front of a computer at all times too. I don’t want my wife to have to plan stuff around whether or not I have to write about a game three or four nights a week. I want to be able to go watch my brother play basketball at Lawrence Tech. Those were things that I was letting fall through the cracks so that I could waste time spending 1,000 words pointing out in the comments why bugsygod is an idiot. And let’s be honest … there are so many smart commenters on PistonPowered these days, that I don’t need to do that sort of thing. You guys are fully capable of sorting out who is informed and who isn’t on your own. In the early days of this site, I thought it was important to help set a tone, and part of that meant responding with snark and sarcasm to comments I felt were below a standard of intelligent discourse that we wanted here. Basically, my fear with comments was that this place would turn into YouTube or Yahoo! or MLive comments sections where anything goes if we weren’t aggressive when it came to pointing out (and laughing at) comments that were dumb or lacked substance or were unwelcome. But now? We have a really vibrant community down there with people who are articulate, funny and bring a wide variety of well-argued opinions to the table. As much as I enjoy interacting with people (even those people who I’ve fought with), I’m not needed anymore. I still read them, I still laugh at the ones that are funny (either intentionally or unintentionally) and I’m still thankful that so many people take the time to read, let alone comment.
So, to wrap up what I originally intended to be a quick note, yes, it’s true — I’ll probably be a bit more scarce, but I’m also not going anywhere. And honestly, the content here, whether it’s written by me or not, is in good hands. I honestly can’t wait to read Feldman’s long-form post kicking Prince on his way out of town the way he kicked Rip Hamilton (kidding again!). And if you haven’t followed much of J.M., Brady or Jameson’s posts yet since they’ve come on board, check them out. They all bring different, interesting voices to the table. PistonPowered is in great hands and I’ll continue to be a part of it for the long haul, helping in any way I can.