Five simple steps to improve the Pistons

Brandon Marlow Roar Pro

By Brandon Marlow, Brandon Marlow is a Roar Pro

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    Being a Detroit Pistons fan is not an easy job at present. They are a team that is rebuilding through youth after enjoying great success through the early part of the new millennium.

    The franchise appeared in six straight Eastern Conference Finals from 2003-2008 and managed to go all the way to a championship in 2004.

    Despite this youth and inexperience, the Pistons have shown promise during this season and after combating a slow start have found themselves with a 15-25 record.

    They are only five games back from the Celtics who currently occupy eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

    I have five key things that coach Lawrence Frank could implement this season that would give the baby Pistons a chance to possibly even scrape into the playoffs.

    1. Start Andre Drummond

    Many so called NBA “experts” claimed that the 6’11 centre from Connecticut was the most likely high-end pick from the 2012 draft to end up as a failure but if this season’s form is anything to go off by, Drummond has a very bright future ahead.

    While his averages don’t look amazing with 7 points and 7 rebounds in 20 minutes of game time, when Drummond is given a chance to play 36 minutes or more he is averaging 13 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. That is a compelling case to start the young man.

    With six double doubles already and providing much needed energy on the defensive end, Lawrence Frank needs to consider starting Andre Drummond, pushing Jason Maxiell to the bench and playing Greg Monroe at the power forward position.

    Speaking of Greg Monroe….

    2. Move Greg Monroe to power forward

    Moving Greg Monroe to power forward not only allows Drummond to play more minutes at centre but it also gives Monroe a chance to go back to a position that he is more comfortable with.

    The Pistons have not had a monster centre during Monroe’s tenure, forcing him to play at the five rather than the four despite having the perfect mould for a power forward.

    Monroe has great touch with the ball, passes really well and has the ability to step out to 10-12 feet and hit jump shots, something that Drummond has yet to develop and something Maxiell doesn’t have.

    If the Pistons want to maximise their scoring ability during the final stretch of the season, they need to put Greg Monroe at the Power Forward and ride his jump shot.

    3. Put more energy into defence

    While this sounds simple to implement, energy on defence is the main reason Detroit have lost so many winnable games.

    The area most in need of energy is the Pistons defensive rebounding, which at times has been horrendous and has cost the team a wealth of points. While starting Drummond does help slightly, the other Piston tall’s need to lift their game with the team only averaging 31 defensive boards a game while coughing up 11 offensive rebounds to the opposition.

    Detroit have been improving in this area but if they want to start competing with the best the NBA has to offer they need an important player like Jason Maxiell to start giving more on the defensive side of the game.

    4. Play four quarters

    This is something that the Pistons have struggled to do all season long and probably cost the team five or six wins in the early stages of the season. While not being able to close out games is almost an expectation from young teams, many of these games that saw the Pistons get run over were to equally young teams and not to teams full of seasoned veterans.

    This season has seen Rodney Stuckey coming off the bench which means the Pistons have lost quite a bit of experience in their starting line-up, instead favouring the chance to give rookie Kyle Singler more experience.

    While this will be good in the long run, Stuckey needs to be in the middle of the action for the majority of the last two quarters to make sure that the Pistons come away with a win, instead of losing a game after leading by double digits at the half.

    5. Give Will Bynum more minutes

    Not many people take notice of Will Bynum due to a vast combination of things. He’s only six foot, he comes off the bench for a young team and he doesn’t exactly get a lot of minutes.

    Because Bynum flies so low under the radar he could become the Pistons secret weapon, propelling the team to wins instead of coming off the bench to play minutes in junk time.

    Bynum has played 30 games this year, averaging only 17 minutes with eight points per game, but when he has been given opportunities this year to play more minutes due to injury he has thrived.

    During January this year he has played 7 games for 34 assists, 7 steals and 76 points while averaging 20 minutes.

    It is clear to see that, in being given just three extra minutes, he is doing damage to other teams. If he permanently plays as the second point guard while Rodney Stuckey plays as the second shooting guard, the Pistons may just find a way to make the playoffs.

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • January 26th 2013 @ 7:55pm
      Mushi said | January 26th 2013 @ 7:55pm | ! Report

      Big question… Why push to be the 8th seed? Agree with most of the points from a win now perspective but I think they’re doing a good job of looking forward rather than selling out to buy a spot in nba purgatory

      • Roar Pro

        January 27th 2013 @ 1:42pm
        Brandon Marlow said | January 27th 2013 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

        Mushi, Pushing to be 8th seed would give them some real confidence moving into the future. Sure, getting a lottery pick would be nice but I think the Pistons have enough pieces to build around right now, with players like Singler and Drummond finding their way and Knight & Monroe continuing to improve I think they should be pushing to finish as high as they can. To be honest the only thing they would need out of the draft would be a Small Forward that could replace Prince once he is gone.

        • January 27th 2013 @ 3:30pm
          Mushi said | January 27th 2013 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

          But if you change the focus from development into win now then it is more than a draft pick that you sacrifice. Take your commitment to defence, typically this is the bastion of the experienced player at the NBA level. Drummond, for all his great qualities has made some hideous reads in the few games I’ve seen him play in. Commitment to d would see less leeway for Drummond, Monroe and knight.

          So essentially you betray your future to gain the confidence of a first round exit.

          Then there is the question of does a 8th seed imbue confidence? Cause let’s face it the 8th seed in either east isn’t exactly a quality team. If they get swept, or take one game from the heat the only lesson they’ve learnt is that they don’t belong. This isn’t going to be the a 50 win thunder team it will likely be A sub .500 team that realistically has no business being there.

          The worst place to be in the nba is at around .500 not getting lottery picks and making adjustments for short term wins

        • January 27th 2013 @ 3:43pm
          Mushi said | January 27th 2013 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

          They also need a lot more than a small forward? This is a 0.372 team. It would not be that if it was just a wing short of competing.

          This is a team with only 4 players posting above league average per that play any minutes, with one of those guys being a one dimensional shooter having an above average year (Charlie v) and the other an undersized 30 year old pg in Bynum who is seive (giving Bynum minutes at the expense of knight would add wins this year and cost them wins in the future).

          They need to improve at the point and on the wings to become a mid level nba team, to become a real contender they need knight to improve or grab a quality set up guard in the draft. Their current draft position would get them a shot at one of those prospects in what is a draft loaded with “starter” talent but not superstar tAlent, they lose this pick if the qualify for the playoffs to the bobcats

          • Roar Pro

            January 27th 2013 @ 10:30pm
            Brandon Marlow said | January 27th 2013 @ 10:30pm | ! Report

            I do believe that they only need a small forward. Drummond in all honestly would be close to rookie of the year, probably only behind Lillard and Singler can only get better. Couple that with Knight and Monroe improving and some consistency from Stuckey off the pine and this team could in a few years be a contender. Sure, another high end draft pick would be great, and the Pistons will probably get it (Let’s face it, they wont make 8th seed) but it’s not like there is a really amazing Small Forward that will go into the next draft that the Pistons would sorely miss if they did make a playoff appearance.

            In my opinion the team is sitting at 0.372 right now, not because of a lack of talent, but because it has struggled to hold onto games in the fourth, something that comes from youth. Multiple times the Pistons have thrown away double digit leads late in the game because of inexperience. Adding even more youth isn’t going to improve that.

    • Roar Pro

      January 28th 2013 @ 6:56pm
      Nick Jungfer said | January 28th 2013 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

      Love the young pieces in Drummond, Knight & Monroe. If you nail your high picks over the next draft or two you’ll have another couple of good pieces. Oh and good on you for not only supporting a non Heat/Lakers/Celtics/Bulls team, but for sticking with them through tough times. An extreme rarity among Aussie NBA fans

      • Roar Pro

        January 28th 2013 @ 10:06pm
        Brandon Marlow said | January 28th 2013 @ 10:06pm | ! Report

        Definitely a rarity for an Aussie NBA fan to stick with a struggling team, Nick. All of my NBA loving friends switch to teams well over .500 when the team they are following starts to struggle. Detroit have a great culture around them and great pieces to build a team out of and I couldn’t even think of defecting loyalties to someone else.

    • January 29th 2013 @ 1:43pm
      astro said | January 29th 2013 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

      Nice to see an article like this on Roar…congrats all.

      With regards to the Pistons, they are a long way away from being contenders or even a strong playoff team, and it will take a lot more than extended minutes for Drummond and Bynum, or more commitment to defense to help.

      Firstly, they aren’t a bad defensive team to start with (ranking 7th in points allowed), but its on the other end that they have issues. Simply put, the Pistons have no scorers. There is simply no elite scorer on this team, and without one, contending for a title or even a playoff series win, is a pipe dream.

      But they do have something going for them that a lot of struggling teams don’t. Monroe and Drummond could (potentially!!!) turn out to be a great frontcourt. The critical thing is how they develop. Big men uaually take a while to discover their full potential, so for the Pistons, how they develop and what players are built around them, will be critical, but patience will be essential!

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