Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Game Recap #32 - Pistons at Knicks

(17-15) PISTONS 96
(15-18) KNICKS 108

Box Score
Standings

TAKEAWAYS

- Not a good night for the defense.  Nobody played good defense, not even KCP.  You're going to win very few games when your opponent shoots over 54% from the field and 50% from three.  When you give up 45 points to Jose Calderon, Kyle O'Quinn and Derrick Williams, you're going to have a bad time.  This was the exception and not the rule, so I won't harp on it much.  Even with this clunker factored in, the Pistons still rank 10th in the league in Defensive Efficiency.

- Andre Drummond is important to this team.  When he doesn't play well, the Pistons have zero margin for error.  On a night where Robin Lopez was just tougher and smarter than he was, the Pistons just couldn't survive their overall defensive lapses and lack of offensive firepower.  Andre's improved his post game this season and maintained his rebounding prowess.  The next step (other than the free throw thing he'll never resolve) is improving his consistency.  Detroit can't make a run for the playoffs if their franchise centerpiece can't show up every night.

- Back on track, hopefully.  The holidays are just about done, so the game recaps should return to normal.  The NYE Wolves game recap probably won't come until Saturday.

Click "Read More" for tonight's Player Scores...

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Game Recap #29 - Pistons at Heat

(17-12) PISTONS 93
(16-11) HEAT 92

Box Score
Standings

TAKEAWAYS

- Kid Clutch Play. KCP had a measly 7 points on 3-10 shooting with three minutes left and the Pistons trailing 89-86.  Three minutes later, he doubled that output without missing another shot and the Pistons notched another big win against an Eastern Conference foe.  KCP is 10-19 (52.6%) from the field and 5-11 (45.5%) from three in "clutch" situations, as measured by NBA.com.  I reserve the right to still call him Kid Can't Play on his rough nights, but Kid Clutch Play is much more accurate lately.

- Big wins against the Eastern Conference pack. With their win over the Heat, the Pistons improved to 7-1 against the top six teams in the East.  That's incredibly crucial in a conference where nine teams are separated by a total of two games.  A win against the Hawks and some help from their competition, and the Pistons could find themselves in a tie for second place as they head home to celebrate Christmas.

- This is what good teams do. Good teams find a way to win when their best players don't have good/great nights.  The Pistons are a good team, as evidenced by winning on a night when Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson only combined for 29 points on 12-28 shooting. 

- Maybe this bench isn't trash after all. 36 points on 12-20 shooting, including 11-17 from beyond the arc.  Raise your hand if you thought you'd ever see Stanley Johnson, Steve Blake and Anthony Tolliver have a night like they did at any point this season?  Nobody?  Yeah, me either.

- Another back-to-back against a rested opponent.  According to Keith Langlois, Detroit's showdown with the Hawks tonight will be their 8th time playing the tail end of a back-to-back, and the 6th time they're playing a rested opponent when playing the tail of a back-to-back.  The Pistons are 1-4 in the first five.  So, in other words, the Pistons are 16-8 when not playing a fresh opponent after playing the night before.  Detroit's struggling bench earlier in the year is probably to blame for this.  However, other than KCP, who logged 40 minutes, nobody played heavy minutes in Miami.  We should be in for a good one against the Hawks.  Not sure why it's an 8:00 PM tip with no national TV coverage.

Click "Read More" for tonight's Player Scores...

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Game Recap #27 - Celtics at Pistons

(14-12) CELTICS 116
(15-12) PISTONS 119

Box Score
Standings

TAKEAWAYS

- Late.  This is the second late game recap in the last couple of weeks, and that could possibly keep up until the New Year. 

Click "Read More" for tonight's Player Scores...

Game Recap #28 - Pistons at Bulls

(16-12) PISTONS 147
(15-9) BULLS 144

Box Score
Standings

TAKEAWAYS

- WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! I'll spare you the hyperbole and refrain from telling you that this was the greatest regular season game in Pistons history.  What I will tell you is that this was the best regular season NBA game I've ever watched.  Both teams and their coaches spared no expense in going for a valuable win in the cramped Eastern Conference.  A combined six players each logged 50 minutes, and that doesn't count KCP and Pau Gasol, who played 49 and 48 respectively.  Every bit of energy on each side contributed to the outcome, as the smallest plays and whistles swung the balance one way or the other.  The 10 guys on the floor all wanted to win like it was Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.  Any game that goes into four overtimes is going to be entertaining.  Mix in some drama with arguably the most inept officiating crew in the league and you've got an instant classic.

- The last 20 seconds of a game is a breeding ground for horrible basketball.  When did I miss the ruling that you're not allowed to run a set play with motion and passing for the game-winning basket?  Why does every game-ending possession have to be Derrick Rose holding the ball for 15 seconds and then missing a pull-up 18 footer?  Or Reggie Jackson doing an impression of the Derick Rose thing?  I'd love to see that trend in the NBA start changing, because isolation basketball has gone the way of the dinosaur for a reason.  Why abandon the things that work just because the game is on the line?  Even if you are going to just isolate, why settle for a jumper?  Go to the basket and get a higher-percentage look or get to the free throw line.  Rant, ended.

- New rant, started.  My patience for Anthony Tolliver has run out after he went 1-4 from the field and was so generally ineffective that SVG couldn't really spell either of Ersan Ilyasova or Marcus Morris late. We're too far into the season to think that he's just magically going to start playing better.  A trade for another PF is now a more pressing need than acquiring another PG or wing.

- Brandon Jennings' return: imminent:  Jennings will make his return from an Achilles injury at the D-League level first, as he'll play for the Grand Rapids Drive tonight.  The Pistons also assigned Darrun Hilliard and Reggie Bullock for the contest, but Jennings is obviously going to be the main focus.  I'm sure he'll be on a minutes limit, but I'll be watching to see how much he trusts his athletic ability and also to see just how rusty he looks.  Steve Blake has stabilized his play recently, so Jennings can take his time, but it sounds like Jennings plans on playing on Dec. 29th when the Pistons play the Knicks.  In case you've never done it before, all D-League games can be streamed live on YouTube for free.

Click "Read More" for tonight's Player Scores...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Game Recap #26 - Clippers at Pistons

(15-10) CLIPPERS 105
(14-12) PISTONS 103

Box Score
Standings

TAKEAWAYS

- Another loss that's really going to hurt if the Pistons miss the playoffs by one game.  Detroit wasted a great game from Reggie Jackson and a quiet night from Chris Paul, where they could have moved to four games above .500 and into a tie for 4th in the Eastern Conference.  Insead, they sit in 9th place with Boston, Chicago and Miami awaiting them in the next three games, the last two of which are on the road.  Take away the Barnes heave and whatever you want to call what the Pistons did down the stretch in this one, and the Pistons are 16-10.  Give back inexcusable losses to the Nets, Lakers and Kings and...This team needs to learn the value of opportunities when they're in front of them.

- The chronicles of Andre Drummond.  Your best guess is as good as mine as to what exactly the hell that was that we saw from Andre Drummond last night.  It has to have been the worst 20 point, 15 rebound game in the history of the NBA; a true testament to his talent, his potential and how much better he can truly be.  Drummond came out of the gate looking like he would've been fine with The Palace of Auburn Hills having a restraining order on him and finished the game unable to put in a bunny to extend the contest to a second OT after being unfortunately crucial in the game outlasting regulation in the first place  In between all that, he outproduced last year's All-NBA Third team C.  Andre Drummond is the future of this franchise, no doubt, and he's on his way to the All-Star game this year, and that makes it all the more frustrating when he has energy and/or focus lapses.

- Reggie Jackson, though.  Reggie Jackson is fun when he's at his best.  Among his feats for the night (other than all the points and stuff), he put Chris Paul, a guy who has made seven All-Defensive teams, in a blender on several occasions, hit a three in Blake Griffin's face and attempted a dunk on DeAndre Jordan.  This is a guy the Pistons have locked up for the next five years on a great deal, who they only gave up a couple second round picks, a backup PG and the worst player in the NBA to acquire.  Good stuff.

- Trade season is now fully open.  With the restriction for trading players signed in free agency this offseason now lifted for the majority of this summer's free agents, trade activity should be picking up across the league.  The Pistons can probably wait until Brandon Jennings and Jodie Meeks get back to breathe life into the backcourt.  There is no such option coming to rescue the Pistons at the backup PF position.  We're now 26 games into the season and we've seen minimal signs of life from Anthony Tolliver. With Stanley Johnson's rookie struggles, the Pistons can't afford to keep running out a guy at PF who features a 45.6 TS%.  I'll cover the details in a post, hopefully in the next few days, but guys who could really improve the depth at PF include Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, Brandon Bass and Kyle O'Quinn.  Ryan Anderson and Markieff Morris could push Ersan Ilyasova to the bench, but may be too expensive for the Pistons' tastes.

Click "Read More" for tonight's Player Scores...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Game Recap #25 - Pacers at Pistons

(13-9) PACERS 96
(14-11) PISTONS 118

Box Score
Standings

TAKEAWAYS

- Best performance of the season?  Probably.  The Pistons have had more exciting wins, for sure, but they haven't had many games like this where they've been able to dominate a competent opponent.  The only other instance among their 14 wins was a 23-point W over Miami.  The Pistons put up 114.6 points per 100 on a defense that came into the night only allowing 101.0, good for a tie for 5th in the league with our very own Pistons.  Everything was clicking tonight, with the exception of a quiet night for Andre Drummond.  This one was a good demonstration of how successful this group can be when KCP and Ersan Ilyasova show up, and the bench just does an average job.

- When do we start talking about this defense as one of the league's elite?  The Pistons held the Pacers, who came into the night at 106.0 points per 100 possessions, to a meager 95.0 tonight, thanks to a really solid defensive performance from Marcus Morris on Paul George.  That'll put Detroit in 5th for Defensive Rating coming out of Saturday night's games.  The Pistons do a few things well that allow them to produce a sum greater than the individual parts: they don't foul much, they clean up the defensive glass, and they can turn you over.  It's fair to say that KCP and Marcus Morris are the only above average individual, man-to-man defenders the Pistons have.  To get results like Detroit has this year, without a handful of stoppers, is a testament to the coaching staff doing a good job focusing on the right areas to produce a strong defense.  Detroit has a top five defense despite boasting below average opponent 2P% and 3P%; let that soak in.

- The Eastern Conference playoff picture is a mess.  Detroit's win vaulted them to 14-11, good for...8th in the Eastern Conference.  A .560 win percentage would have been good for 5th in the Eastern Conference last year.  The Pistons are also a mere 1 GB of 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, and only 2.5 GB of having the best record in the conference.  This feels like the kind of year where a certain Matt Barnes heave is going to either hurt playoff seeding or hurt playoff existence in a very painful way.

- At least a split of the next two games is arguably a must.  For reasons mentioned directly above, the Pistons can't afford to go 0-2 to close out this three game homestand.  They'll get an underwhelming Clippers team on Monday night, in what will be LA's fifth straight road game.  It would be nice to see Detroit exact some revenge for the game they choked away in Los Angeles.  After that, the Pistons host a Boston team that has a scary amount of depth.  Winning at least one of those two is very important, because the Pistons play their next three on the road in Chicago, Miami and Atlanta.  I'll be understanding of a 2-3 stretch over the next five.  Find a way to go 4-1 in the next five and I'll proclaim this team to be the Warriors, but on bath salts.

Click "Read More" for tonight's Player Scores...

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Updated 2016 NBA Draft Big Board


PlayerClassPositionSchoolHeightWeight
1Ben SimmonsFr.PFLSU6'10240
2Skal LabissiereFr.F/CKentucky7'0225
3Dragan Bender1997PFBosnia7'1215
4Jamal MurrayFr.GKentucky6'5200
5Jaylen BrownFr.G/FCalifornia6'7220
6Malik NewmanFr.GMiss. St.6'4180
7Kris DunnJr.PGProvidence6'4205
8Brandon IngramFr.SFDuke6'9195
9Ivan RabbFr.PFCalifornia6'10220
10Furkan Korkmaz1997SGTurkey6'7195
11Henry EllensonFr.PFMarquette6'10230
12Jakob PoeltlSo.CUtah7'0235
13Domantas SabonisSo.PFGonzaga6'10240
14Isaiah BriscoeFr.GKentucky6'3220
15Cheick DialloFr.CKansas6'9225
16Dwayne BaconFr.G/FFlorida St.6'7220
17Caris LeVertSr.SGMichigan6'7205
18Diamond StoneFr.CMaryland6'10250
19Damian JonesJr.CVanderbilt6'10250
20Melo TrimbleSo.PGMaryland6'2190
21Stephen ZimmermanFr.CUNLV7'0235
22Demetrius JacksonJr.PGNotre Dame6'1195
23Taurean PrinceSr.SFBaylor6'8220
24Grayson AllenSo.SGDuke6'5205
25Ivica Zubac1997CBosnia7'0240
26Buddy HieldSr.SGOklahoma6'5215
27Troy WilliamsJr.G/FIndiana6'6195
28Denzel ValentineSr.G/FMichigan St.6'6220
29Timothe Luwawu1995SFFrance6'7205
30Vasilis Charalampopoulos1997SFGreece6'8205
31Sviatoslav MykhailiukSo.G/FKansas6'8195
32Marcus LeeJr.CKentucky6'9225
33Aleksandar Vezenkov1995FCyprus6'9225
34Jonathan Jeanne1997CFrance7'0240
35Thomas BryantFr.CIndiana6'10245
36Justin JacksonSo.SFNo. Carolina6'8205
37DeAndre BembryJr.SFSt. Joseph's6'6210
38Monte MorrisJr.PGIowa State6'3175
39Tyrone WallaceSr.SGCalifornia6'6200
40Brice JohnsonSr.PFNo. Carolina6'9225
41Alpha Kaba1996F/CFrance6'10225
42Petr Cornelie1995PFFrance6'10220
43Chinanu OnuakuSo.CLouisville6'10245
44George de Paula1996PGBrazil6'6195
45Nigel HayesJr.PFWisconsin6'8235
46Ron BakerSr.SGWichita St.6'4220
47Jake LaymanSr.SFMaryland6'9205
48Amida BrimahJr.CUConn7'0230
49Marcus PaigeSr.PGNo. Carolina6'3180
50Georges NiangSr.FIowa State6'9235
51Zach AugusteSr.F/CNotre Dame6'10245
52Shawn LongSr.F/CLa. Lafayette6'10255
53Zhou Qi1996CChina7'2210
54Dorian Finney-SmithSr.SFFlorida6'8215
55James WebbJr.PFBoise State6'9210
56Xavier Rathan-MayesSo.GFlorida St.6'3200
57Tim QuartermanJr.GLSU6'6190
58Devin RobinsonSo.FFlorida6'8195
59Danuel HouseSr.SFTexas A&M6'7215
60Kyle WiltjerSr.PFGonzaga6'10240
61Kennedy MeeksJr.F/CNo. Carolina6'10265
62Paul Zipser1994FGermany6'8195
63Guerschon Yabusele1995PFFrance6'8240
64AJ HammonsSr.CPurdue7'0270
65Tyler UlisSo.PGKentucky5'9160
66Fred Van VleetSr.PGWichita St.6'1195
67Axel Bouteille1995SFFrance6'6195
68Gary Payton IISr.PGOregon St.6'2190
69Perry EllisSr.PFKansas6'8225
70Theo PinsonSo.SGNo. Carolina6'6195
71Dillon BrooksSo.SFOregon6'6215
72Juan Hernangomez1995FSpain6'9220
73Andzejs Pasecniks1995CLatvia7'1220
74Michael GbinijeSr.SFSyracuse6'7200
75Daniel HamiltonSo.G/FUConn6'8200
76Malcolm HillJr.SGIllinois6'6230
77Nik Slavica1997G/FCroatia6'7190
78Wang Zhelin1994CChina7'0250
79Alex PoythressSr.PFKentucky6'9230
80Kaleb TarczewskiSr.CArizona7'0245
81Damion LeeSr.SGLouisville6'6200
82Sheldon McClellanSr.SGMiami (FL)6'5205
83Moussa Diagne1994CSenegal6'10225
84Rico GathersSr.PFBaylor6'9270
85Mamadou N'DiayeJr.CUC-Irvine7'6290
86Malcolm BrogdonSr.SGVirginia6'5210
87EC MatthewsJr.SGRhode Island6'4185
88Marko Arapovic1996PFCroatia6'9220
89Maodo LoSr.PGColumbia6'3190
90Rade Zagorac1995SFSerbia6'8205
91Ilimane Diop1995CSpain6'11225
92Marvelle HarrisSr.SGFresno State6'4210
93Wayne SeldenJr.G/FKansas6'7225
94Diego Flaccadori1996SGItaly6'5170
95Jarrod UthoffSr.FIowa6'9210
96Przemek KarnowskiSr.CGonzaga7'1295
97Joel BolomboySr.PFWeber State6'9230
98Kyle CollinsworthSr.G/FBYU6'6210
99Nedim Buza1995SFBosnia6'8200
100Daniel OchefuSr.CVillanova6'11245