(14-12) PISTONS 103
- 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...
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 - Reggie Jackson: Was easily the best and the most electric player in a game that also featured Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Andre Drummond. He carries the Pistons heroicly to victory if he gets any amount of help from his supporting cast. An A++ performance from the Pistons' franchise PG. My favorite moment of the night was when he tried to dunk on DeAndre Jordan. It didn't work, but he drew a (probably incorrect) foul call and it looked cool. Second on the list, a pull-up three right in Blake Griffin's face. If you go by Basketball Reference's Game Score metric, this was the 3rd-best game Jackson's played as a Piston. The other two came this year @Portland and home against Phoenix.
2 - Aron Baynes: I'm doing this for three reasons: 1) Baynes really outplayed his role/expectations, with 10 points (5-6 fg), 6 rebounds and 2 assists in just 13 minutes. 2) Despite his stats, it didn't feel right putting Andre Drummond 2nd. 3):
3 - Andre Drummond: Yes, he posted 20 points, 15 rebounds, 3 steals and an assist. He also accumulated 5 turnovers, was only 8-17 from the field and had several costly mistakes down the stretch. The defensive error that led to the Crawford three and the missed tip-ins at the end, combined with a poor effort out of the gate, really frustrated me in this one.
4 - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Debated putting him below Blake because he really struggled chasing J.J. Redick around on the defensive end all night. KCP notched 19 points of his own, but it took him 17 FGA to get there and he was an ugly 2-8 from three. Now shooting an ugly 28.7% from deep. One thing I think he doesn't get enough credit for though: a respectable .235 Free Throw Rate, up from just .163 last year.
5 - Steve Blake: Morris, Ilyasova, Tolliver and Johnson didn't leave me much choice.
6 - Marcus Morris: Marcus Morris is probably my second-favorite player on this team, but he just can't play 42 minutes and only score 6 points. The Pistons need more offensive consistency from their starting SF.
7 - Ersan Ilyasova: Not sure why he lost so many minutes to Anthony Tolliver tonight. Neither was particularly effective, but Ilyasova was better in his minutes.
8 - Anthony Tolliver: The Pistons really need to explore trades to address this part of the rotation.
9 - Stanley Johnson: It's been a couple weeks since Johnson played a good game offensively. He was 0-5 from the field in this one and only one shot was a true jumper. He's only 19 years old, so the only place to go is up, but there's just no consistency here.