When it boils right down to it, nobody knows what to expect from this Kuester guy. Sure, every head coach has their own secrets and quirks, offensive gameplans, defensive gameplans, schemes—it can go on and on. What I’m looking for from the first time NBA head coach is instincts.
Can he recognize even the slightest subtleties during the game some coaches mismanage or even just plain ignore? Can Kuester make adjustments within the flow of the game instead of idling around until halftime arrives? Fans would like to know that the guy in charge is actually ‘in charge’, and just not figure, or a prop. Fans can tell and oh do they ever appreciate a coach that can stray from their plans because they understand the environment and pace of a game can change multiple times with the span of 48 minutes, and it serves no purpose to believe a failing gameplan will just suddenly pan out. From a fans perspective, in game adjustments is increasingly vital in how we judge the performance of a head coach. After all, we don’t get access to practice, meetings, video sessions, or much other coach to player interaction. All we care about is the result when the clock strikes 0.00.
Rotation patterns, matchups, and timeout distributions aside, we want to know that the head coach is engaged, and proactive if need be. We’d much rather see the coach make a misguided adjustment than no adjustment at all. And may it finally be put to rest that former NBA players are more attune with the NBA game than those who never played in the league. Come on, Dick Bavetta’s hair made more in game adjustments in one quarter than Michael Curry did the entire 08-09 season.
In my mind Rip is one bad (be it personal or team) beginning to the season away from losing his cool. Even with the new administration massaging Rip’s ego, Rip is not quite the same player as he was with Billups by his side. I strongly believe if it was not for the furtive desire of Joe D to stay competitive and win games this season (I don’t blame him), Rip would have been dealt away already. Obviously Detroit is better with Rip on the floor, but in short time it could all blow up and Rip just might succumb to the fact Detroit is no longer the ideal spot for him. Rip is still an All-Star caliber player and I’d bet money that he certainly believes that, so if he senses there’s no future for him here, he might demand Joe puts him in a situation where there is one (demand a trade). As the season unfolds maybe Rip will be content. This would tell me, precisely, that Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey are doing their jobs, and in doing so are not encroaching on Rip’s game, but rather, feeding off his talents, and meshing together to form one of the most dangerous, if not the most dangerous guard trios league wide. Just as a sex education teacher of mine once told my class about, well, sex: “it all fits like a puzzle piece”. Maybe Rip, Gordon, and Stuckey fit? Or maybe it’s not meant to happen?
The prized free agent will be earning an awful lot of dough to come off the bench, but remember it’s not important who starts the game, it’s who finishes it. Gordon is the finisher Detroit sorely lacked last season, and he will certainly be counted on to do more for Detroit than just fill it up in the fourth quarter. Will he defend? Will he be able to play point guard other than just in a pinch? There are going to be tons of games where Gordon will look like a perennial All-Star and will win this team games, but consistency is a concern for Ben. He’s what you would call a volume shooter—some nights it’s going to be annoying watching Ben fire up ill-advised shot after shot while bringing very little else to the table. But that’s comes with the territory.
Though at the ripe age of 26 Ben does still have room to grow into more of a complete player, if not, at least one more efficient in his strengths. If you watched any of last season’s Celtics v. Bulls playoff series, you know Ben Gordon is no slouch when the going gets tough. So I have little doubt Ben Gordon will leave Piston’s fans mesmerized by the fluidity of his J, though, will his game mesh with his compatriots and translate into an intimidating balance opponents fear?
There were moments last season when I thought that Rodney Stuckey was headed for stardom. Other times it seemed as if he was going through the motions. Maybe that stemmed from the complacency that had flooded the whole team- just an educated guess anyways. I’m still not sold on him playing the point guard position, but unless he develops a dependable perimeter game, the point position will have to be his for the time being. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because with Gordon and Rip as more perimeter oriented players a drive first point guard should be beneficial.
I hope he plays at least as many minutes a game as he did last year (14.1). It will depend on how the ‘Gordon at point’ experiment shakes out. At any rate, a more balanced floor game from Bynum would be a big lift, and I think he’s capable of it. Limiting turnovers is key for him.
Not sure how the rotation will pan out, but I figure Bynum will play along side Gordon more than he does with Rip, even though the perimeter defense will suffer some against taller, quicker guards. Though not too worried about Will and Ben playing together since a nice chunk of their minutes will likely be against the opponent’s backup guards. That means Will will give certain teams fits just like he did last year. One dfference will be that teams now know about Will and what’s he’s so good at. I think Will being the person and player he is will rise to the occasion and continue to be an X factor type bench player who can win a game for you.