The Detroit Pistons just kept rolling last night against the Knicks, dropping their 16th straight and making more negative history in the process.
The Pistons failed to win a single game in November, completing the first winless month the NBA has seen in eight years.
They've already smashed the team's single-season losing streak and are now zeroing in on the All-Time NBA record for consecutive losses.
It's hard to get excited about the fact that they managed to fight their way back into the game after getting down big early, as the Pistons sandwiched two of the best quarters of the season in between a 1st and 4th they lost by a combined 22 points.
Monty Williams switched up his starting five, which went down 31-17 in the first quarter while Jaden Ivey sat on the bench.
What is Monty Williams doing to Jaden Ivey?
Jaden Ivey and Ausar Thompson, two of the Pistons' most exciting and talented young players, were removed from the starting lineup in place of Killian Hayes and Isaiah Livers, two players on expiring contracts who are long shots to even be on the team next season.
Ivey and Thompson played 13 minutes each, once again entering Monty Williams' doghouse for some reason. Here was his explanation after the game:
I'll fully admit that there are things an NBA coach sees that I don't. I don't pretend to be an expert, but some of what Monty Williams said is quantifiably false. Cade Cunningham has been much better with Jaden Ivey in the starting five. He leads the league in turnovers playing with Killian Hayes and/or Marcus Sasser and averages nearly two fewer turnovers per game playing with Ivey.
Cade's shooting percentages across the board have been better with Ivey and the only thing that dips is his assists, though not by much. Cunningham and Ivey have complemented each other well, at least offensively. The numbers agree and so does the eye test. Last night the Pistons scored 17 points in the first quarter without Ivey, then went on an 11-0 run when he entered the game.
Ivey was starting to roll a bit before having his minutes cut over the last two games. You can point to mistakes he's made on defense or him not sprinting back once or twice, but you can say the same thing about every player on the Pistons. So why is Ivey the only one who ever gets singled out for Monty's "tough love?"
If the reason was to add more scoring to a bench that has been awful of late (what happened to Alec Burks?) then why not say that? Instead, Monty once again disses one of his best young players without ever mentioning his name.
Williams is putting the Detroit Pistons in a very bad position, as Ivey is not only one of the team's best players but also their best trade asset. Fans may like to dream about trading for a guy like Lauri Markkanen, but that's not going to happen when Ivey is playing 13 minutes a night and routinely getting thrown under the bus by his coach.
I am all for making players earn minutes, but what are we doing here? Every single one of these young players has made huge mistakes and played very poorly at times during this wretched losing streak, yet Ivey is the only one who gets singled out by the coach.
I usually don't buy into the speculation that a coach likes one player or another, but I am starting to wonder here. By all accounts, Ivey is a smart, hardworking young man who is very coachable. So coach him. Enough of all of these passive-aggressive mind games and cryptic comments. Coach him.