Andre Gomes NBA Detroit Pistons 2010-2011 Season Preview

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Andre Gomes NBA Detroit Pistons 2010-2011 Season Preview

NOTICE: The NBA 2010/11 season is just around the corner and as always, I will present a complete preview for every team in the league. Note that any other relevant information like my Money Management or the release dates will be discussed later, thanks.

 

2009/10 Season Review:

We all knew that the Detroit Pistons are in the middle of a rebuilding process since the departure of Chauncey Billups but how bad was last season? The Pistons ended the season with the third worst mark in the Eastern Conference (27-55) behind only the awful Nets and the Wizards. Also no other team in the league had such dismal divisional record than the Pistons: 2-14! I remember that the oddmakers had the Pistons to win 40/41 games and they fell short by 13/14 games!

There are several reasons for such terrible season and the media hyped the injuries as being in the top of that as Stuckey, Bynum, Hamilton, Prince, Gordon, Wallace and Villanueva missed a combined of 134 games. However in my opinion the Pistons’ problems were way bigger than a mere unlucky (injury) season otherwise they would have shown some improvement when they were healthy in some point of the season. Here is their monthly record:

October/November                6-11
December                               5-10
January                                   4-10
February                                 6-7
March                                     2-13
April                                       4-4

As you can see, the best month for them was April with a residual 4-4 record so it’s hard to believe that a complete healthy season from their best players would have been enough for them to have a positive record!

In my opinion the Detroit organization (or the GM Joe Dumars) simply doesn’t know what they are doing or what they want for the future: they don’t have an identity! In the offseason they signed free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva – both players are well known for their offensive abilities and questionable defense, but they are good players. The problem was that they (Head Coach John Kuester) tried to win by playing in the same old Pistons trademark system: slow paced game with good defense, the result was catastrophic!

2009/10 Advanced Stats:

Pace                29th 91.6
Offense eff.    21st 102.5
Defense eff.    26th 108.2
Rebounds       12th +0.74

2010/11 Outlook:

Projected Depth Chart:

PG: Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum, Terrico White
SG: Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Tracy McGrady
SF: Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers
PF: Jonas Jerebko, Charlie Villanueva, Greg Monroe, Chris Wilcox
C: Ben Wallace, Jason Maxiell

John Kuester is (still) the Pistons Head Coach for this season, so unlike a huge turnaround we can expect them to be a slow paced team trying to operate in the half court.

In this system the Point Guard is the key player and that’s why Billups was so valuable in Detroit. Like last season, the Pistons have Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum at the PG position and this isn’t exactly good news for them.

Stuckey was envisioned a couple of years ago as being the natural successor of Billups but until now he is far from being productive. After shooting 43.9% from the field in 08-09, Stuckey regressed to only 40.5% FG last season. Yes, he improved his scoring numbers from 13.4ppg to 16.6, but that was because he attempted more FG’s as well: 11.6 to 15.2 FG’s attempted. In fact, among the Point Guards only Arenas, Rose, Brooks and Evans attempted more Field Goals than Stuckey! Probably he is due for a better season this year however it is his playmaking abilities (or lack of) that ultimately hurts the Pistons.

Stuckey was the team leader in assists per game but with just 4.8 dishes per game – good for the 22nd best mark among Point Guards in the league. However if we take in account that he logged 34.2 minutes per game, his 6.7 Apg per 48minutes (34th best mark between the PG’s) weren’t pretty to watch and his pedestrian 2.13 A/TO ratio is just another indicator of Stuckey inability to be “the” playmaker in this team.

To put it simple, Bynum had better numbers in A/TO and AP48M than Stuckey so the Pistons have a dilemma between choosing a first shooter Point Guard or a more conventional playmaker Point Guard. Bynum averaged career highs of 10ppg, 4.5apg, and 2.3rpg last season and when he had the opportunity to start (20 games) his numbers were solid: 46% FG, 10.4ppg, 5.4apg and 1.25 steals per game.

To complete the backcourt, the Pistons have the strongest (and weirdest) Shooting Guard rotation in the league: Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Tracy McGrady! One day (maybe it won’t be too long) in the future both Hamilton and Prince will be involved in some trade rumors because it is a waste of time and money to have such depth in this position.

Richard Hamilton had arguably his worst season of his career by playing just 46 games, but even when healthy his numbers were way down for his standards. He shot a career low 40.9% from the field and for the first time in 6 years his 3pts% was below the 30% mark. Naturally that we can expect him to have a better season this year, but bear in mind that he’s 32 years old and by next February he’ll have 33. We are talking about a player that needs to be quick in order to get separation from his opponent and how long he’ll have such physical ability?! To make things even worst, Hamilton has three more years in his contract and $37.5 million remaining to be paid. The Pistons need Hamilton to play well otherwise will there be any team interested on him?

Like Hamilton, Ben Gordon had a season to forget! He missed 20 games and averaged a career-low 13.8ppg while shooting 41.6% from the field. Also for the first time in his career he failed to reach the 40% mark behind the arc by shooting only 32.1% 3pts. We can count him to rebound this season but it looks like that the actual system directed by John Kuester doesn’t fit him.

And now we have Tracy McGrady… does he have anything left in the tank? His stint in the Knicks last season wasn’t pretty to watch, as he averaged 9.4ppg on 39% shooting in 24 games but for the first time I’d say in years he is healthy entering the preseason so it will be interesting to see what he is capable to do at this point of his career (remember that he’s younger than Kobe Bryant for example).

Following the same pattern of his teammates Tayshaun Prince had a tough season plenty of injuries (playing just 49 games), but unlike Rip or Gordon, Prince had solid numbers across the board as he shot 48.6% from the field, scored 13.5ppg and dished a career high 3.3apg! He is entering the final year of his contract and won’t be surprised if he plays for other team this season as he’s still a valuable defender and a hard worker on the court.

In a potential scenario of replacing Prince, the Pistons have a pretty solid core of young players starting in Jonas Jerebko.

Jerebko had a terrific solid rookie season in which he missed only 2 games. He shot 48.1% from the field, while scoring 9.3ppg and grabbed 5.9 rebounds per game – only Ben Wallace had better numbers than him in this area! He has a whole career in front of him and he is one of the faces of the future for this team. The problem is that he is due to be the starting Power Forward of the team and despite his hard work can you imagine a potential matchup between him (6-10, 232 lbs) against Pau Gasol, Chris Bosh or Carlos Boozer?

Austin Daye and DaJuan Summers are other projects to be the next “Prince” and both have the potential to be solid players. For now they will play behind Prince and they can develop without having the pressure to play major minutes in the rotation.

Until now you have to agree with me that the Pistons have a terrific roster plenty of quality and depth right? Well, the problems start when we are talking about their frontcourt.

I’ve already talked about how Jerebko is undersized to play at Power Forward and the Pistons have Charlie Villanueva to be his backup… this is not good! Villanueva has some nice shooting range, but he isn’t a good defender nor does he have the physical presence down low to battle against the “bigs” in the NBA. Naturally that the inside play is going to be an issue once again this season and that’s why the Pistons need badly rookie big man Greg Monroe to show up and be an instant factor this season.

At the Center position no team in the league should depend on a 36-years old player, but that’s the case of the Pistons with Ben Wallace. Big Ben is coming from a huge season in my opinion by averaging 8.7rpg, 1.20bpg and even shooting 54.1% from the field! Besides Wallace, the Pistons have Jason Maxiell and Chris Wilcox to compete for the position and probably this is the worst rotation in the league at this position.

The Pistons have the weapons to compete for a playoff spot, but they need badly everyone to be healthy especially Ben Wallace. With such a long season on the horizon, I don’t think that their frontcourt will be able to hang around against other Eastern Conference teams to earn that spot.

 

  • Bad news for the Pistons:

    Jonas Jerebko underwent a successful procedure to repair a partially ruptured Achilles tendon on his right leg. He is expected to miss the next five-to-six months.