Lineup changes finally upon us?


After an embarrassing performance against the Miami Heat, Pistons coach John Kuester said he might finally be willing to pull the trigger on adjusting the rotation, and it could include the starting lineup.

As Keith Langlois wrote yesterday:

"John Kuester is about as tight-lipped as it comes with regard to anything he’s thinking, discussing with assistant coaches or telling his team. So when Kuester said after Wednesday’s loss at Miami that “there are going to be adjustments going into the next game,” the expectation, at least, is that some significant alterations could be afoot."

No one knows how significant the changes will be, but speculation has focused on two spots — starting power forward and starting shooting guard. The power forward spot has been a revolving door this season. First it was given to the woefully undersized Austin Daye as a way to reward him for his solid preseason. After it was obvious the lanky sharp-shooter couldn’t hack it, Jason Maxiell was slid into the spot. He’s provided an offensive punch in the paint on some nights, but he still doesn’t rebound enough and he’s not big enough to slow down opposing big men.

If the Pistons are ready to give the job to a new member, it would be either Charlie Villanueva, the team’s most consistent player this season, or Greg Monroe, who has been a bright spot during the team’s most recent struggles. Either decision would be an upgrade, but I’m hoping the nod goes to Charlie V. He is playing his butt off and would help provide an offensive punch to help solve the team’s horrid third-quarter struggles.

If a change happens at shooting guard, Ben Gordon might finally get the spot he so clearly deserves. Despite a few off games, Gordon has far outplayed starting shooting guard Richard Hamilton. And deference to veterans has to end when your team is struggling and on-court chemistry appears to be zero. Gordon needs more minutes, more shots. And it wouldn’t hurt to take Hamilton’s volume shooting to the bench where he can be the focal point of the bench unit.

Another change I would mind seeing is putting Will Bynum off the ball and allowing reserve Tracy McGrady to initiate the offense off the bench. McGrady has said he is most effective when he has the ball in his hands, and his point-guard instincts far surpass those of Bynum, who is more concerned with slashing to the basket than passing to open teammates.

A starting lineup of Ben Wallace, Charlie Villanueva, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey would spread the floor, cover for Wallace’s lack of offense and allow for Rodney Stuckey to drive into the lane when the defense is napping.

Likewise, a reserve group consisting of Bynum, Hamilton, McGrady, Daye/Maxiell and Monroe would give Hamilton plenty of offensive touches, put less pressure on Bynum, allow McGrady to control the offense and take advantage of his offensive skills when available and let Monroe soak up the rebounds and score on putbacks, tip-ins and when the defense over rotates when Bynum or McGrady drive the line or when recovering from screens set to open up Hamilton.

Oh yeah, and no matter what, never play Chris Wilcox.