David Mayo of MLive wrote an article headlined, “Detroit Pistons’ Corey Maggette understandably bewildered by three-month benching with no end.” In it, Corey Maggette doesn’t really say anything too controversial. Here’s a fair representation of what Maggette said:
"You see me every day," Maggette said. "I’m working — working with the young guys, out on the court, in the weight room, doing everything I can do to be able to play on this team. But situations happen the way they’re going to happen. Do I know why? No. Is there a reason why I shouldn’t be playing? No. It’s tough, because I am a competitor. But there’s nothing I can do about it.
"I’m not going to talk bad about my situation because it’s not professional. It’s not what you’re supposed to do. To me, the thing is just to keep working. A professional, to me, is helping the young guys, who are able to make me better. And working with Arnie (Kander, strength and conditioning coach) has been great. It’s really helped my body out."
NBA players are human beings with real emotions, drives and ambitions. It would be unreasonable to expect Maggette to happily accept his demotion. But to his credit, Maggette appears to be making the best of the situation. That’s really all we can ask.
Mayo seems to be pushing a juicier story, though:
Why it happened — why it really happened — is anyone’s guess.
Lawrence Frank said the team just decided to go another direction so he opted against using a player making just less than $11 million this year, in favor of those who might be part of the team’s future.
Except Maggette hasn’t seen the court in more than three months and the mixed message from his head coach has muddled his situation for anyone watching it.
Maggette’s last game was Dec. 15, at a time when Frank already was getting hammered with questions about playing for the future, and regularly offered the rote response that the Pistons would use their best available players in a quest to win games, and if the focus shifted to the future at some point, then it is a coach’s responsibility to say as much and be honest with his team.
That’s the confusing dichotomy.
There is no mystery here.
Maggette is done as an NBA player with any value. That’s no knock on Maggette, who’s been an all-time great foul-drawer. It’s just what happens to players his age who rely so much on their athleticism.
Khris Middleton and Kim English, as shaky as both rookies can be, are already better than Maggette. It’s reasonable to expect Middleton and English will improve throughout the season, but the same can’t be said for Maggette.
The Pistons might be sitting Maggette as part of a youth movement. But if they were committed to using their best players, they’d be sitting Maggette, anyway.