Monday, April 20, 2015

2014-15 Season Review: Small Forwards

The Pistons gave minutes to a variety of different players at the SF position throughout the 2014-15 season, with Caron Butler as the only player who saw the season through in the rotation.  Kyle Singler, the starter at the beginning of the season, was shipped to OKC at the trade deadline.  Tayshaun Prince begrudgingly made a return to The Palace, but couldn't hold the starting job down through the end of the year.  Caron Butler gave a consistent effort, but simply doesn't have much left in the tank at 34 years old.  Gigi Datome and Cartier Martin also saw minutes at the position, with limited productivity.  Even 6'10 Quincy Miller was given a chance to show what he can do at the position. The lack of a well-rounded, dependable option suggests that the SF position is in for a major overhaul this offseason.




Caron Butler
GP
PER
PPG
TS%
FG%
3P%
3PAr
FT%
FTr
APG
AST%
TRB%
SPG
78
9.3
5.9
54.4%
40.7%
37.9%
.553
90.2%
.154
1.0
7.3%
6.6%
0.6

Butler was signed to fill a role this season, but ended up being leaned on much more heavily than planned.  Despite being past his prime at both ends of the floor, Butler was often asked to defend elite perimeter players the Pistons had no answer for.  That usually went how you would expect it to go.  Offensively, Butler provided steady, reliable shooting and little else.  His .553 Three Point Attempt Rate ranked 17th among all NBA players with 1,200 or more minutes, showing how predictable his role was.  However, he was fairly efficient in that role, shooting a serviceable 38% from distance.  The problem is, Butler only shot 44% on two point attempts and offers little in terms of passing or rebounding.   

Butler's best game in a Pistons uniform came in his second appearance with the team, all the way back in October.  Butler notched 24 points on 10-14 shooting in a loss to the Wolves.  There retroactively are no highlights for this game, because enough people have decided that it actually never happened.

The Pistons have a $4.5M team option on Butler for next season.  At this point, its about 50-50 whether or not he'll be back in a Pistons uniform next season.  If it were up to me, they would sincerely thank Butler for his leadership and professionalism but acknowledge that they would like to go in a different direction.

Kyle Singler
GP
PER
PPG
TS%
FG%
3P%
3PAr
FT%
FTr
APG
AST%
TRB%
SPG
54
9.4
7.1
52.6%
40.0%
40.6%
.534
80.6%
.103
1.2
7.9%
5.9%
0.6

Singler was dealt to Oklahoma City on Deadline Day in the trade that brought Reggie Jackson to the Pistons.  Along with his reliable outside shooting, that was Singler's greatest contribution to the organization in his time here.  Singler's tale is very similar to Butler's, in that he provided great outside shooting and little else.  A year after posting a sparkling 57.4 TS% thanks to an uptick in trips to the free throw line, Singler regressed back to rookie levels in his third season.  Singler struggled after being dealt to OKC, even in steady minutes, as he shot a horrendous 28.6% on two point attempts with the Thunder.

Singler is a restricted free agent this summer.  Oklahoma City will likely extend him a relatively small  qualifying offer of $1.3M, giving them the right to match any offers to Singler.  Don't expect the Pistons to seek out Singler's services again this summer.

Tayshaun Prince
GP
PER
PPG
TS%
FG%
3P%
3PAr
FT%
FTr
APG
AST%
TRB%
SPG
23
11.8
7.3
48.6%
43.1%
42.3%
.163
65.5%
.181
1.7
10.3%
9.2%
0.7

Prince returned to Detroit against his will, playing for his third team of the 2014-15 season.  Although he expected to be bought out after the trade, Stan Van Gundy had different ideas.  SVG immediately slotted him into the starting SF spot for a playoff push, with mixed results.  Prince brought some much needed playmaking and length to the position, something that Butler and Singler hadn't previously offered.  While his outside shooting was strong, Prince struggled inside the arc and often settled for poor mid-range jumpers.  Overall, the acquisition of Prince turned out to be a pretty meaningless move.  

Prince is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and will be attempting to find a championship contender willing to give him minutes.  Prince has been heavily linked to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Luigi Datome
GP
PER
PPG
TS%
FG%
3P%
3PAr
FT%
FTr
APG
AST%
TRB%
SPG
3
16.7
3.7
45.8%
41.7%
25.0%
.333
N/A
.000
0.7
24.9%
12.8%
0.3

Datome was traded to Boston along with Jonas Jerebko to obtain Tayshaun Prince.  Datome only played 17 minutes for the Pistons before being dealt.  He has found a spot on the fringe of the Celtics' rotation, where he has also found his outside shot.  In perhaps the greatest piece of irony known to mankind, Datome has now played more playoff minutes than Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond combined.

Datome is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and will likely return to playing professionally in Europe if he can't secure a new NBA contract.

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