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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for November: 25. Detroit Pistons

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of November 30th):  5-11,  fourth place Central Division

This Month:
Team Statistics and League Rank (as of November 30th)

Points Scored: 92.7 (26th)
Points Allowed: 98.7 (17th)
Team FG%: .440 (19th)
Opponent’s FG%: .446 (21st)
Rebounds per game: 39.9 (24th)
Opponents rebounds per game: 42.9 (18th)
Turnovers per game: 15.6 (19th)
Opponents turnovers per game: 14.2 (22nd)
Individual Statistical Leaders

  • Scoring (ppg): Greg Monroe (16.8)
  • Rebounds per game:  Greg Monroe (9.8)
  • Minutes per game: Greg Monroe (33.8)
  • Assists per game: Brandon Knight (6.1)
  • Steals per game: Greg Monroe (1.7)
  • Blocked Shots per game: Andre Drummond (1.1)

Worst Player of the Month:  Rodney Stuckey

For years this guy was touted by Pistons GM Joe Dumars as the future of the franchise only to play rather mediocre to say the least.  Now it seems as the Pistons have lost their patience on their would-be hero finally benching him after starting the season shooting under .350 from the field.  Over his five year career in Detroit, his production has been rather spotty and inefficient to say the least as he never developed into the big scoring/facilitating point guard that Dumars had envisioned him to be.  Along with all the bad trades, poorly conceived coaching hirings/firings, and his poor luck in the free agent market, add Stuckey to the list of bumbling moves made by Dumars that resulted in the collapse of once a great dynasty.  

First Player of the Month: Kyle Singler

While Stuckey’s shelving has been long overdue, his replacement in the starting lineup has been a major upgrade.  Thus far, Kyle Singler has had a rather impressive season averaging close to ten points, and three rebounds per game in around 26 minutes of action.  He has also been shooting a rather impressive clip with a .526 field goal percentage while making .471 of his shot from beyond the arc.  Along with solid production, Singler provides something that the Pistons have lacked for a long time—a capable ballhandler who can facilitate an offense and get his teammates involved.  While at Duke, Singler’s primary role was that of point-forward in the Grant Hill/Loul Deng/Mike Dunleavy mold and as a pro he will be counted to perform the same task on a Pistons team that have a roster full of selfish players.

It is another season where hoops fans in the Motor City will have to endure watching their hapless Detroit Pistons fumble and trudge through until April; however, this season will be different.  Although the Pistons will continue to struggle, at least they will not be the only ones in their division as right now the Central division looks like anything but competitive.  The Indiana Pacers, who many anticipated to dominate not only the Central Division but also be a possible road block to the Miami Heat’s championship aspirations, have put up a rather disappointing performance thus far.  Despite having what many may consider one of the deepest, athletic and talented rosters in the league, the Pacers have struggled to score points and are barely hovering around the .500 mark.  And it is not just the Pacers either; in fact the whole division has performed rather weak to start the season giving the Pistons fans added reassurance that although their team will be awful during the season, at least they will not be alone.

Along with the Pacers’ disappointing play, the Chicago Bulls have a shorthanded and hollowed out version of them as they will be without their star point guard Derrick Rose for most of their season.  Add in the fact that Chicago was forced to hollow out it’s once deep roster due to financial reasons, the Bulls are no longer the same team that earned the best record in the Eastern Conference—in fact, they may not even make the playoff with the way that team has been currently playing.  The Milwaukee Bucks have been the only pleasant surprise thus far as they started the season at the top of the Central Division; however, right now they are currently are at .500 showing how poor the Central Division has been thus far.  Add the Cleveland Cavaliers to the mix who will mostly likely remain at the bottom of the division, the Detroit Pistons do not look nearly as bad despite still being a terrible team.

So far the Pistons have managed to fly under the radar as they are currently nestled in between some of the most under-performing teams in the league.  Although they started the season rather poorly by losing their first eight games, the Pistons still manages to salvage the month of November by winning five of their last nine games to finish November. Amongst those wins were an impressive 18 point pounding of the Philadelphia 76ers on the Sixers’ own home court (11/14/2012) and a home court crushing of the Boston Celtics (11/18/2012).  The most impressive of them all, however, had to be the dismantling of the Phoenix Suns (11/28/2012) where the Pistons held their opponent to scoring just 77 points and beating them by a forty point margin.  One of the wins that remains quite a head scratcher was where the Pistons, despite dominating the game out shooting and out rebounding the Toronto Raptors by significant margins, only manage to beat them by just one point (11/23/2012).

What is also important to note is that despite starting the season 5-11, the Pistons still managed to keep their opponents from scoring 100 points in eight of their games and kept the teams that they beat to scoring just 85.4 points per game.  That’s pretty impressive considering the Pistons have not been that great of a defensive team since Joe Dumars decided to sink a once strong playoff contender because of his shortsightedness and arrogance.  Even when the Pistons lost by rather convincing margins, they still managed to prevent teams from reaching the 100 part mark such as their 16 point loss against the Orlando Magic where Orlando just scored 90 points (11/21/2012) as well as the 12 point loss at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies (11/30/2012) who also just managed to score only 90 points.  This may have the makings of something special if the Pistons manage to continue holding their opponents to low point totals whether they win or lose.  It also shows signs that head coach Lawrence Frank has finally gotten through to his players in term of improving their effort and performance on the defensive end.

Despite the small signs of optimism, the Pistons still remain as one of the league’s whipping boy as they have neither the talent nor the firepower to compete for a playoff spot. Fortunately, even with their current struggles, Detroit still has a bright future ahead of it thanks to bad contracts expiring (bye bye Charlie Villanueva) along with a budding crop of talented young players.  Led by their star center Greg Monroe who happens to be just 22 year old, the Pistons have a group of solid building blocks around the same age to grow and develop with Monroe and return the city of Detroit back to basketball prominence.  The current performances of young talents such as second year point guard Brandon Knight, rookie swingman Kyle Singler, and the eighth overall pick of this year’s NBA Draft Andre Drummond among other gives much needed hope to a city that has spent close to five years searching for it.  It may not happen this year, but over time, this team of unknown players will return as a playoff contender and fans will forget about the bungling of Joe Dumars who started all the trouble in the first place.