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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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