Rodney Stuckey: B-
Stuckey has raised his numbers across the board from last year, but his recent drop off is troublesome. He has definitely hit the wall, and it’s not clear if he will rebound.
Stuckey has the tools to be a top defender, but too often his effort on that side of the ball is dependent on whether his shot is falling.
Allen Iverson: C+
The Pistons still see glimpses of an MVP-caliber Allen Iverson. But for the most part, he’s just a shell of his former self. He was never an efficient scorer, but his scoring average with the Pistons is the lowest of his career.
Always excellent at reading passing lanes, his team defense has improved greatly.
Tayshaun Prince: B
Prince has stepped up to help a small team by averaging a career-best 6.5 rebounds per game. And with the departure of Chauncey Billups, he has helped the Pistons move the ball with 3.3 assists per game.
But where has his on-the-ball defense gone? Once a strange sight, it’s commonplace to see wings blow right by him to the hoop.
Amir Johnson: C
As much as Johnson was hyped, he hasn’t exactly shined in a starters’ role. He still has the athleticism to morph into a top player, but more and more, he just shows how average he is. Some nights, he’s a great spark. Others, he’s non-existent.
The first step in his improvement is lowering his 9.5 fouls per 48 minutes, most among the league’s starters.
Rasheed Wallace: C+
Just when it appears Wallace has nothing left in the tank, he goes on a four-game stretch averaging 20.3 points 8.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks.
Then he elects to sit out the fourth quarter of the game against the Hawks, fueling rumors of discontent.
As always, Sheed’s motivation remains a mystery.
Richard Hamilton: B
Although he didn’t handle going to the bench with complete humility, it’s hard to imagine many players of his stature handling the change better.
It’s clear he had some trouble getting used to playing without Billups, but he appears to be finding his groove sharing the backcourt with Iverson.
Antonio McDyess: B
McDyess is a steadying force in a locker room that has dealt with a lot of adversity. And his team-best 8.6 rebounds per game has been instrumental for the Pistons, who have quietly outrebounded four of their last five opponents.
McDyess isn’t flashy, but he quietly and consistently gives Detroit the production it needs.
Jason Maxiell: C+
Maxiell plays with reckless abandon whenever he enters the game, but he has played fewer minutes than Afflalo. I don’t buy that Michael Curry has some secret agenda against Maxiell. There’s likely something behind the scenes he can do better.
Arron Afflalo: C
Afflalo is a good defender, but there are few signs he has the offensive skills to be effective in the NBA.
Will Bynum: C
Bynum probably doesn’t have the talent to stick in the Association. He saw minutes as the backup point guard out of default.
Kwame Brown: D+
He provides the size the Pistons need against certain opponents, but little else. How was he ever the No. 1 pick?
Walter Herrmann: D
Herrmann hasn’t given any of the sparks the Pistons saw from him last year. He will likely continue to sit on the end of the bench until he walks in the off-season.
Alex Acker: F
Maybe Acker can up his value by teaching Johnson how to avoid fouls. He hasn’t committed any in 20 minutes. Only Atlanta’s Thomas Gardner (none in 22 minutes) has a lower rate.
Walter Sharpe: F
I hate how often players like Sharpe get “incompletes” on grades like these. If you don’t turn in the assignment, you fail.
Michael Curry: C-
Curry has not done a good job this year.
But coaching this year’s Pistons is one of the toughest assignments in the NBA. He’s young and could improve. Still, it’d be more encouraging if he showed more signs of being a quality head coach.
The Pistons have obviously fallen off from recent seasons, but it’s impossible to win 50 games ever year. The transition had to come at some point.
Out of curiosity, I calculated the team’s grade another way by averaging each player’s individual grade, weighted by minutes. Using this scale, the Pistons’ team GPA is a 2.5. That’s between a C+ and a B-.