Pistons – shocker – lose again

Detroit Pistons97Final
Recap | Box Score
105Golden State Warriors
Jason Maxiell, PF 32 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 14 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -15

Maxiell went after rebounds like he wants to earn more than a minimum contract next season. He even made both his jumpers outside the paint.

Greg Monroe

39 MIN | 4-16 FG | 5-6 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -12

Monroe’s defensive has never been stellar, but it has really fallen off lately. In the last six games, the Pistons have allowed 120.5 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor (107.7 off). The Warriors’ parade of dunks wasn’t completely Monroe’s fault and probably not even mostly Monroe’s fault, but he didn’t do much to stop it.

Monroe usually makes up for his positional-defense struggles on the other end, but he didn’t do so tonight. Not overly athletic, Monroe especially lacked elevation. He had four layups blocked. Andrew Bogut is an excellent defender, and that partially explains Monroe’s struggles, but Monroe can play well enough offensively to supersede good defense. He mostly got good shots tonight. He just missed most of them.

Monroe also must master arguing calls while running back on defense. Standing beneath the opponent’s rim and yelling at the ref is part of the reason his defensive rating is so poor.

Jose Calderon

30 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -8

Calderon wasn’t really involved much tonight. He hasn’t had so few shots and assists this calendar year, and he’s fallen below six shots and seven assists in this many minutes only twice prior in his career. Calderon’s defense on Stephen Curry was lacking, but that wasn’t the primary problem.

Rodney Stuckey

38 MIN | 8-18 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | -14

Stuckey guarded Curry more closely than Calderon did, but it didn’t matter much. Curry (31 points on 17 shots and eight assists) is an offensive wonder.

More importantly, Stuckey played with life for the first time in… [checks calendar] … [flips back another month] … [and another] … [hopes nobody notices I didn’t complete this sentence]. You could easily argue the cause and effect are revered, but I believed Stuckey had energy because he knew he’d have an opportunity. With Brandon Knight (fourth on the team in shots per minutes) out injured and and Charlie Villanueva (second on the team in shots per minutes) benched, Stuckey knew, not only would he spend nearly all his minutes at the preferred position of shooing guard, he’d have opportunities to handle the ball. Before we get too carried away, Stuckey barely exceeded the minimum of “played energetically,” but for him, that’s huge progress.

Kyle Singler

29 MIN | 8-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -19

While you were reading this, Harrison Barnes just beat Singler for another dunk.

Jonas Jerebko

24 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +11

Jerebko took several shots that looked awful leaving his hands, but to his credit, a few went in. His performance wasn’t encouraging, but it got the job done tonight, at least.

Khris Middleton

21 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +11

Detroit cut its rotation to eight players, and Middleton still played. The Pistons are clearly giving Middleton a chance to prove himself down the stretch. This is exactly what they should have done with Vernon Macklin last season – except that was even more pressing, because Macklin had an expiring contract, and Middleton’s is guaranteed for next year. Middleton didn’t stand out much tonight one way or the other, but he added data to his sample of his plays.

Will Bynum

28 MIN | 8-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +6

Bynum scored efficiently, but he appeared at first glance to score more efficiently than he actually did. He neither made a 3-pointer nor attempted a free throw. Still, Bynum’s job is create an offensive spark off the bench, and he did that.

Brian Hill

In Hill’s five games as head coach, the Pistons’ offensive rating (93.8) and defensive rating (114.2) would rank last in the NBA over the full season. For reference, Detroit’s offensive rating ranks ranks 23rd overall, and its defensive rating ranks 24th. Perhaps, this is a simple as bad team like the Pistons going through a rough spot while playing a tough stretch of the schedule. But I think the Pistons missing a coach – let alone the head coach – plays a big factor. Lawrence Frank  delegated responsibility based on having a full staff, so every coach working now is spread thinner than usual.

All that said, I was mostly pleased tonight given the circumstances. Unlike against the Jazz on Monday, the Pistons appeared to actually run offensive sets. Plus, by benching Villanueva, Hill showed Detroit’s coaching is not completely on autopilot with Frank out.