Perhaps the highlight of many positives in the Detroit Pistons’ season-opening win was the play of starting guards Will Bynum and Chauncey Billups. But as we know, with injured guards Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey returning to the lineup at some point, could soon be broken up in favor of some as-yet undetermined combination. So how can Jennings and Stuckey not mess up what Bynum and Billups started? I discussed copying their blueprint in today’s column for the Detroit Free Press:
Bynum has never been viewed as starting point guard material by the Pistons. He’s inconsistent, occasionally plays a little too fast and he doesn’t excel as a traditional halfcourt, pass-first point guard. But there are two point guard-like things that he does exceedingly well — he’s a good drive-and-kick player and he’s a good pick-and-roll player. Those two things happen to fit perfectly with the Pistons’ bigs.
We’ve seen how good he is in the pick and roll with Drummond since last season. And on drives, Drummond, Monroe and Smith are all great at slipping to the basket if their man cheats off of them to attempt to stop Bynum’s penetration. Bynum is a good passer when he’s on the move, so he usually finds them. The team’s backup forwards, Jonas Jerebko and Kyle Singler, are also good at making cuts to the basket, so Bynum’s ability to find players will come in handy whether he starts or comes off the bench.
Bynum will be a decent contributor with some ups and downs, no matter his role. The important thing for the Pistons is whether Jennings can replicate the masterful way Bynum both used his bigs to create shots for himself and set up good opportunities for them in the first game. Like Bynum, Jennings is a good ball-handler with a quick first step, so if he’s as committed as proving himself as a good distributing point guard as he’s said he is, he can easily replicate the success Bynum had in the opening game by simply attacking his man off the dribble, using screens well and always looking for cutting big men.
Or, a more succinct version of that column: USE YOUR BIGS, JENNINGS AND STUCKEY!