(8-7) PISTONS 104
- Happy Thanksgiving! For that reason, just player scores for this one. ALL HAIL ANDRE
Click "Read More" for tonight's Player Scores...
What is this? Similar to how the NHL hands out three stars after a game, I'll be handing out points to any Piston who saw at least 15 minutes of playing time. Just like in hockey, you want to be the 1st star, so getting 1 point is better than getting, say, 6. I do my best to watch all 82 games, but it's not always possible. I will make it known if I did not watch the game being graded. This takes as much into consideration as possible: stats, eye test, intangibles, etc. It's just how I saw things shake out. I'll keep a running set of standings updated at the bottom of every game recap; remember, the lower average the better.
1 - Andre Drummond: Drummond put his stamp on this game from the opening tip, impacting the action in every way a traditional big man can. He scored in the post, on the offensive glass, cleaned up possessions on the defensive end and blocked five shots, one shy of his career high. He wasn't perfect defensively, as his desire to block shot and over-help on penetration allowed a few easy buckets for Whiteside. Still, Drummond was easily the best player on the floor in a game that also featured Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. His PPP on post-up possessions has ticked up to 0.71, from 0.62 just a few weeks ago. Still not great, but improving, and only a tenth of a point shy of what Greg Monroe's doing this season.
2 - Reggie Jackson: Jackson did a great job playing within himself, making the correct decision more often than not out of the pick-and-roll. The Pistons got Jackson, who's four years younger than Goran Dragic, on a more affordable deal this summer. Jackson outplayed Dragic thoroughly in this one, and his season numbers reflect that too. When he's not forcing things (and the shooters are hitting), Jackson's the perfect match for Andre Drummond and this group of shooters.
3 - Anthony Tolliver: The bench looks a whole lot better when Tolliver is knocking down shots. In the last two games, with Tolliver going 7-12 from deep, he's raised his 3P% (33.3%) closer to his career levels. It happened just in the nick of time too, because we probably weren't too far from him losing his spot in the rotation. He doesn't need to be a great rebounder or defender, just knock down the open shots this offense creates. All things considered, he probably didn't add more to this game than Marcus Morris or Ersan Ilyasvoa, but I'm ranking guys partially considering their roles. If I don't do that, this turns into a ranking of starters 1-5 and the bench after. Tolliver hits the third spot for doing what's asked of him.
4 - Ersan Ilyasova: Ilyasova was another guy who filled his role adequately against the Heat. He knocked down 3-4 three pointers, finishing with 13 points on the night to go with 3 boards and 3 assists in 23 minutes. He'll never be an upper echelon defender, but Bosh had a very quiet night against Ilyasova.
5 - Marcus Morris: Morris had the kind of night you can be happy with, but doesn't blow you away. 14 points on 13 FGA, 6 rebounds and respectable defense. He still took too many mid-range jumpers, but he found success on the left baseline, going 3-4.
6 - Aron Baynes: Baynes looked rough in the first few games of the season, but in the last few weeks, you can see why SVG gave him a solid contract. After a 6 point, 5 rebound, 1 block, 1 assist performance, Baynes has very solid season numbers: 16.3 PER (16.2 USG%), 55.5 TS%, 17.0 TRB% and a +12 Net Rating. The Net Rating is especially impressive when you consider how bad the bench has played overall. He's not going to win you games or be your go-to guy off the bench, but he's nothing less than an adequate backup for one of the league's best big men.
7 - Stanley Johnson: Johnson was a little too trigger happy tonight, finishing 3-12 from the field. All three of his makes came at or around the rim, and 5 of his 7 misses came on jumpers. It has to be clear to him at this point that his jumper needs to "in case of emergency" only tool; apparently it's not. He did fill the stat sheet a bit, with 5 rebounds, 2 assists a steal and a block.
8 - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: KCP was atrocious from the field (2-15 FG, 1-6 3P), but that didn't stop him from getting up the second most FGs on the night. He played great defense on Dwyane Wade, but that only counts for so much when it takes you 15 shots to get to 6 points. He's a streaky shooter, and tonight just wasn't his night.
9 - Steve Blake: Blake got the backup PG nod with Spencer Dinwiddie nursing a sore knee. He had two really terrible turnovers and was 1-4 from three. He still isn't good at basketball.