NBA Roundtable

Detroit’s Pre-Season Starting Lineup

In General NBA on October 13, 2009 at 7:17 am

The Detroit Free Press reports

Don’t be surprised if center Kwame Brown and forward Ben Wallace begin the year as starters for Pistons coach John Kuester.

“We still have a lot more preseason to go — we’ve got two weeks,” Kuester said Sunday. “There are a number of challenges ahead of us to see how this all plays out. There are so many guys deserving of time, so it’s been challenging that way.”

Kuester acknowledged that Brown and Wallace “set a tone defensively for you.”

The coach wants people who understand “what it’s going to take for us to be successful defensively.”

The Pistons probably won’t get much offensively from those two spots, though, when Brown and Wallace are in the game together.

“Then you say you got a lot of defense,” Kuester said. “I think you’ve got to have a mind-set going into the season that we’ve got to defend to be successful. Ben has had some outstanding practices where he’s really felt very comfortable on the offense. He already knew it ahead of time, and Kwame has really stepped up and played extremely well.”

Pre-season Starting Lineup

I absolutely love John Kuester’s pre-season starting lineup …

  • Center – Kwame Brown
  • Power Forward – Ben Wallace
  • Small Forward – Tayshaun Prince
  • Shooting Guard – Rip Hamilton
  • Point Guard – Rodney Stuckey

I was seriously concerned about how the Pistons would fare defensively this season but this starting lineup sweeps by fears away.

Reasons for concern:

  • Bringing in (1) Villanueva who is one of the worst defenders in the league at his position (2) Chris Wilcox, another poor big man defender, and, (3) Ben Gordon who is a below average defender at the two.
  • This is after the Pistons finished 16th in defensive efficiency last season (underperformed) and after they’d lost Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess and Amir Johnson.

To put it mildly, the Pistons interior looked weak. I didn’t think they could compete defensively. Not with Villanueva getting 30-35 minutes a night, and Wilcox likely getting 15-20 more, while Kwame + Maxiell battled to keep their defensive issues under wraps (a losing battle if ever I saw one). While Ben Wallace sat and watched.

So what does John Kuester do?

  • He starts Ben Wallace alongside Kwame Brown. Beautiful!
  • Kwame Brown is their best post defender and a good one-on-one defender who at 7-0 feet 270lbs can take the tougher matchups easily … freeing up Big Ben to do what he does best, and that’s roam around the paint looking to create some havoc and seal leaking holes.
  • These two are going to play very nicely off one another on the defensive end.

This Pistons lineup features five above average defensive players. If Ben Wallace can repeat his performances from last season – the first half of last season before he broke his leg (leg?) – then the Pistons can finish 8-12th in defensive efficiency. And if Rodney Stuckey can step up his defensive consistency (flashes of brilliance) then the Pistons could be grow even more defensively.

Please, please, I’m begging, please keep this starting lineup.

If Detroit keeps this starting lineup I’m calling them a lock for the playoffs … and I haven’t been overly optimistic about their playoff chances prior to this. That’s how much this lineup has changed my belief in the team.

Charlie Villanueva

The Pistons are going to have to be careful about Villanueva’s minutes.

Less is more … Detroit’s chances of having a successful season decrease the more Villanueva plays.

Villanueva has been injured so far so it’s hard to tell what role he’ll end up receiving. I thought he was a lock for a starting spot and 30-35 minutes heading into training camp, but the success of Kwame + Big Ben may force Villanueva into a seventh man role. He’ll still get good minutes (24-28 minutes) in this role since both starters figure to be play only 20-25 minutes.

John Kuester

It’s rare that I get excited about rookie head coaches because you never truly know what they’re going to bring to the table. But every so often you feel very good about someone (Avery Johnson, Rick Carlisle) … and Kuester, for me, is definitely one of those guys.

I think he’s going to be very successful in Detroit.

Backup Backcourt

Ben Gordon and Will Bynum = Explosive

Overall Rotation

Ben Gordon + Charlie Villanueva + Will Bynum off the bench … whew, wow!

That trio on top of that starting lineup? That’ll be an impressive team.


If Detroit keeps this starting lineup I’m calling them a lock for the playoffs.

This starting lineup gives the Pistons the steel that they desperately need. That force in the paint that can provide a backbone to the team. The defensive anchors, the rebounding, the toughness. They’re going to seta tone for the rest of team.

  1. Dave,

    1. re: Bynum + Gordon = explosive

    This is not a good combination for the Pistons.

    2. re: Stuckey + Hamilton + Prince + Wallace + Brown

    Agreed. This will be a solid 5-man unit for Detroit this season.

    3. re: Villanueva, less is more

    Agreed, 100%.

    4. re: best rotation for the Pistons

    In my book, if John Kuester decides to go with something that looks like this:

    PG – Stuckey, Gordon | Bynum
    OG – Hamilton, Gordon
    SF – Prince, Daye or Washington or Jerebko or Summers
    PF – Wallace or Maxiell, Villanueva
    C – Brown, Wilcox or Wallace

    the Pistons should be able to re-establish themselves as one of the better teams in the EC this season and will be a lock for a playoff spot.

  2. Khandor,

    Will Bynum and Ben Gordon

    Yep, I don’t think Bynum + Gordon would be a good combination alongside one another either. They should try and couple either one of them with one of the Pistons backcourt starters for them to be at their most effective.

    Although, they would be an interesting pairing when desperate times call for desperate measures. A Hail Mary type of comeback.

    Eastern Playoff Picture

    If the Pistons stick with this lineup I’ll be at 7 locks for the playoffs in the East. Chicago and Detroit plus the usual five suspects.

    That would leave Toronto fighting it out with Charlotte, Miami, Philadelphia, Milwaukee … and possibly New York and Indiana … for the final playoff spot.

    The Raptors chances of making the postseason are looking tougher the closer we get to the regular season.

  3. Some Pistons links:

    * Ben Wallace feels like Pistons leader – link
    * Charlie V is fine with bench role – link
    * Kwame Brown has been impressing – link
    * Coach Kuester is making a positive impact – link
    * Pistons rookies aren’t backing down – link
    * Pistons small ball is good – link

    Here are the highlights:

    Ben Wallace

    Pistons coach John Kuester said Wallace wasn’t a silent lamb in Cleveland and welcomes his input with the Pistons. Kuester has placed the burden of leadership on Hamilton, Prince and Wallace because they have rings and are part of the Pistons’ championship legacy.

    “I will tell you this, Ben has been phenomenal,” Kuester said. “He’s very important to us for what we want to do. He knows he’s very important and that’s why I listen to what he has to say. You can’t always do it all the time, but he knows we have a tremendous amount of faith in what he does and says.”

    Ben Wallace adding

    The one thing about Wallace is he rarely holds back punches. He’s direct in what he says and if you are offended, so be it. Now that he’s healthy Wallace plans on being the same guy that left the Pistons nearly four years ago.

    If the team is slacking off, he will tell them.

    “There’s no replacement for going out and playing hard,” Wallace said. “No matter what anybody else says, we can win. If you ask every team in this league, do you have an opportunity to win a championship, they will say yes. In order to do that you are going to have to come out and play hard every day. That’s all you can ask. Win, lose or draw, come give it your all.

    “If I don’t think we are playing up to our standards, yeah, I am going to speak out, no matter what anybody else thinks. We are professionals. Go out and play.”

    Kwame Brown

    Brown’s offense has been particularly eye-catching in limited time in the exhibition season, with decisive moves around the basket.

    Kuester predicted early this week Brown will have an “outstanding” season.

    “He wants to get better,” said Kuester, who was pleased to see Brown work hard over the summer on his game and conditioning. “He’s been doing some outstanding things on the basketball court. During the summer I got a sense of what he was as a person and a player.

    “You wonder whether all that is going to carry over into practice (during the exhibition season) and it hasn’t changed. He’s been outstanding.

    “He’s going to be a major force.”

    Brown on Kuester

    Brown credits Kuester as a key factor behind his fine start. Kuester’s low-key teaching personality has clicked.

    “He’s no nonsense and very positive,” Brown said. “He lets you play.”


    Brown likes Kuester’s upbeat nature.

    “For a first-year coach, he’s not as tight as a lot of coaches,” Brown said. “He lets players play basketball. You’re going to make mistakes, but he talks to you and tries to correct you, rather than bash you.”

    John Kuester

    Kuester’s calm demeanor and know-how have imprinted a noticeable impact on a predominately young roster eager to soak up NBA knowledge.

    “He’s made a great impact,” Richard Hamilton said. “Especially for young guys. All the stuff we had to go through last season, and actually doing it the right way, teaching the game the right way, knowing where guys need to be and coaching us what the NBA is supposed to be. He’s not just allowing us to do what we want, but he’s coaching us.”

    Kwame Brown, Will Bynum and Tayshaun Prince, just to name three players, all praised Kuester for his teaching ability and the fact he will pull aside a player and instruct.

    Players are forging a trust with Kuester, too.

    “You trust he’s going to put you in a situation where the game is easy,” Hamilton said.

    Update — good article on Ben Wallace from NBA FanHouse

    “Ben’s been outstanding all [training camp],” Kuester said last week. “I’m telling you right now, the guy’s still got juice. I keep telling people … he’s a leader, he’s somebody that I trust, that I know is going to be able to tell me when I’m right and when I’m wrong, and his energy is contagious for our team.”

    Rip Hamilton on Kwame and Ben

    Wallace, meanwhile, looks like one of the most fit players on the roster, and both he and Kwame Brown have earned the praise of John Kuester for helping set the tone defensively at the start of games. All preseason stats must be taken with a mountain of salt, but through three games, the Pistons have held the opposition to just 39.9% shooting from the field, winning each game.

    “It’s really going to be tough for [opposing] big guys to score now,” Rip Hamilton said Sunday. “I think they’re both probably in the top five defenders in the post in the league, and they [are] really playing well off each other in such a short time.”

    Also, Kuester on Jerebko

    Kuester on Jerebko’s play against the Hawks: “Statistically, you can’t look at what he did in regards to six points, six rebounds and 17 minutes and understand the impact that he had on the little things that we want to get accomplished, whether it be shows on the pick-and-rolls, his second and third energy effort going after the boards, whether he got it or didn’t get it for other people. I was very proud of him, and I’ve seen that in him in practice.”

  4. That’s an interesting concept for a starting line-up.
    Almost says lets win 75 – 73 most nights – that’s something very hard to achieve. (We don’t need no stinking points from our bigs to win! You sure?)

    At 36, Wallace has been in a 5 year scoring slide – there isn’t much reason to believe that will stop except he can’t go below zero! And coming off a major injury, its hard to see how his 6 year board decline will reverse itself either.

    I thought Wallace was a veteran pickup to add toughness to a “soft” scoring starting PF slot – not to be a starter and add zero points from the starting PF spot.

    It’ll be interesting to see if this is just a teaching tool/threat or for real.

  5. These are terrific quotes from the Pistons! … especially the insightful words of Rip Hamilton, re: Top Notch coaching in the NBA. Hopefully it doesn’t take John Kuester the entire season to realize that:

    1. The more he plays Will Bynum, the worse Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon will play.

    2. The Pistons are better off, in terms of their long range development, when they go with a three-guard rotation at the PG position, almost exclusively, and relegate Mr. Bynum to the bench, as their 3rd-string PG, behind both Stuckey & Gordon … while giving increased minutes, instead, to their other young wing players, i.e. Daye, Washington, Summers and Jerebko.

    Joe D.’s player acquisitions of the last two summers have put a new face on the Pistons franchise while maintaining their position towards the top half of the EC. If Kuester does his job properly … unlike Michael Curry last year … this could [should?] be a very solid re-building season in Detroit.

    * Adding

  6. Brothersteve,

    The Pistons badly need to add a quality big man who can score the ball in order to move forward. Unfortunately, that player isn’t on their roster.

    I think they’re better off solidifying their defense — a defense which becomes suspect very quickly if Charlie V steps into that starting lineup — and relying on their perimeter players for their scoring punch. They’ll also have a lot of firepower off the bench with Ben Gordon and to a lesser extent Villanueva … enough scoring to have one of the most prolific scoring benches in the NBA, which will help even out the starting unit’s offensive limitations.

    If the Pistons try to add more scoring with their bigs through starting Charlie Villanueva … I think they lose more than they receive … I think the cost defensively is a lot higher than the gains offensively.

    Ben Wallace

    I’m not as down on Big Ben as some others are. I thought he was a valuable role player for the Cavs last season prior to breaking his leg. Then he rushed back and wasn’t much use in the playoffs. I think a lot of people, especially in the media, are only focusing on his play after he came back from injury and consequently are undervaluing Wallace as a player.

    Wallace was doing a very good job defensively for the Cavs and a good job on the boards in 20 minutes or so a night as a starter. I think he can have a similar role with the Pistons this season.

    I like that Coach John Kuester recognizes that positive effect that Big Ben had on the Cavs last year, and the potential effect he can have in a comparable role with the Pistons this season.


    My first preference would be for Will Bynum to be the third string point guard too.

    I don’t like Rip Hamilton logging long minutes at the small forward position, especially not alongside a small backcourt. His lack of rebounding becomes a troubling dynamic, increasingly so if he doesn’t have serious rebounding help from the backcourt. The combination of Stuckey + Bynum and their lack of jump-shooting ability bothers me too.

    I’m not sure who I’d like to replace him in the rotation though. That job is still out there to be won. None of the wings have claimed it yet … although I hear Austin Daye is playing really well.

    Hopefully I’ll get a chance to catch a Pistons game sometime in the next week and get a chance to see some of those young wings. Get a better feel for what they have to offer.

  7. Dave,

    If the Pistons work a primary rotation that looks like this:

    START: Stuckey + Hamilton + Prince + Wallace + Brown
    1st Subs: Stuckey + Gordon + Prince + Maxiell + Brown
    2nd Subs: Gordon + Hamilton + Daye/Washington/Summers/Jerebko + Villanueva + Wallace
    3rd Subs: Stuckey + Hamilton + Prince + Maxiell + Brown
    4th Subs: Gordon + Hamilton + Daye/Washington/Summers/Jerebko + Villanueva + Wallace

    they’re a very solid team in the East this season.

    Then, if they can get an upgraded Big Man, for example, next summer, they will be back in business, as one of the best teams in the EC for the next 10 years.

  8. Dave,

    re: the Pistons’ possible rotation this season

    If you want to give yourself a good LOL … FYI.

  9. khandor’s still down on Bynum!! Surprise, surprise.

    All I can say about how good Bynum is is this: compare his pre-season stats with Stuckey’s. Whose are better?

    And then look at the +/- numbers to see who Bynum has played most of his minutes with. Who has played with the better teammates? IMO, that explains the +/- stats quite well.

    I also agree that the less CV plays the better.

    If we’re blindly committed to giving CV minutes simply because we paid him, we will be worse off.

    However, if we opt for the frontcourt by committee approach that we’ve adopted thus far, I think our interior defense will be better than expected. And our frontcourt has enough scoring punch to get us by most nights.

    We’re still one elite big man away from being an EC contender, but we should find a way into the playoff mix.

    One last thing: Kwame Brown. I think his reputation is affecting the way he’s been evaluated as a Piston. If he can perform as he has thus far, don’t be surprised to see him average 8-10 points and 8-10 boards and shoot over 50%. At his price point, that’s an incredible bargain.

    Also, Wilcox is better defensively than I expected him to be, which is another big plus.

  10. Hey brgulker, always good to hear from you

    I think Kwame is underrated too … but it’s hard to depend on him for his best performances because his form jumps up and down like a yo-yo. When he’s healthy + happy + comfortable (which he appears to be in Detroit) then he’s a very good role player.

    Hopefully the Pistons will get Kwame’s best game because when he’s on, he’s a lot of fun to watch.

    Kwame Brown

    Kwame Brown is capable of being a very good defensive player. An excellent post defender, good man-to-man defender who can guard a variety of opposing big men, and a good team defender. His rebounding numbers in Detroit last year where very impressive. In the past his rebounding was solid, but it was very good last season (and in preseason) so hopefully that’s a sign of things to come. And offensively, outside of having stone hands, he has the odd one-on-one move and is a good finisher in the paint so he can be good there too.

    You add up all those contributions and you have yourself a good player.

    However, that’s Kwame Brown at his best … and things can come to a crashing halt quickly with Kwame, and when they do he becomes a slightly above average defender, a solid rebounder and an outright liability offensively who can’t seem to get anything right … the difference in the overall contribution is massive. One is a good 30 minute a night player, while the other is a poor 20 minute a night misfit.

    Kwame can make a large difference to Detroit if he’s in form, but if he’s not, things get murky for the Pistons in a hurry.

    Will Bynum

    I was reading down the comments (650 of them, tired after that!) on Detroit Bad Boys … on one point in particular …

    I’d agree with Khandor that dropping Will Bynum from the rotation will give the rest of the backcourt their best chance to succeed.

    I think forcing Rip Hamilton to play small forward decreases his effectiveness, and forcing Ben Gordon to play shooting guard the entire time decreases his effectiveness, and that Rodney Stuckey is less effective when playing alongside Will Bynum (Stuckey is better alongside shooters). In order to get their best performances these three players the Pistons are best off leaving Bynum on the bench.

    Will Bynum is a good backup guard who can have a positive effect out there, he’s just hurt by the numbers game right now — Detroit having three good players who can play 30+ minutes a night and who complement one another well and their (Rip, Ben, Stuckey) inability to play the small forward position at a high level.

    Detroit’s Young Forwards

    Deron Washington + Jonas Jerebko + DaJuan Summers + Austin Daye

    I haven’t gotten a chance to watch the Pistons play a pre-season game yet so I’m not sure what to expect from any of these guys this season.

    It looks unlikely that any one of these players will make a larger contribution individually than Bynum could … but I’ll have to wait to see if the increased play from the backcourt in combination with the contribution from the young wings is superior to Bynum being given a rotation role (should he contribute more than the wing individually) while the three other backcourt members contribute less.

    If the Pistons had a more proven contributor on the wing I’d feel a lot more certain about Bynum sitting out … but until I see how much those guys can contribute it’s still up in the air for me, despite my expectation that the backcourt would be more effective without Bynum (since Bynum individually, likely, will be able to out-play the rookie wings).

    Stuckey vs Bynum

    Stuckey is getting the go-ahead largely because of his potential.

    I think Stuckey is the better defender (not a huge difference here due to Stuckey’s inconsistent defensive effort + focus, but it’s a large difference when that effort and focus is there) and the better floor general + decision maker. But Bynum is, for the time being at least, the better scorer and playmaker.

    Bynum is better is solo-areas (playmaker = teammates are finishers) while Stuckey is better at putting his teammates in position to make plays.

    I think Stuckey is the better point guard in terms of current ability anyway … but his inconsistency and disappointing scoring efforts have made it a debate.

  11. Hey Dave, thanks for the follow-up.

    I think Stuckey has potential, but I also think that potential is often simply a synonym for underachiever. It’s far too soon to know if Stuckey will become a good player, or if he will sipmly remain as he is (which is average to below average).

    I’d agree with Khandor that dropping Will Bynum from the rotation will give the rest of the backcourt their best chance to succeed.

    Here’s the thing, I don’t dispute that point at all; I dispute the assumption on which the point is made, namely, that Rodney Stuckey somehow deserves minutes (without respect to his performance). There’s no question in my mind that we have to find a way to get Rip and Ben Gordon minutes, and that’s a problem. Like you, I don’t like Rip at SF — I don’t mind it in short spurts, so long as Tay isn’t playing the 4. What I fail to understand, however, is what actually demonstrates that Rodney Stuckey is better (or even could be better) than Will Bynum is right now.

    Take the last 30 games of last season as a sample size (after AI went down, Bynum received more regular minutes), or take this year’s pre-season — Will has outperformed Stuckey. I’ve watched almost 100% of those games, and I’ve done my best to do educated research into the statistics (because I think our eyes can mislead us). I can’t come to any other conclusion than the one I make above, namely, that Will has outperformed Rodney.

    You make some accurate and astute observations, as you always do: Will is a one-on-one guy (I mentioned he does tend to stop the ball at times), and Stuckey is a more natural distributor. I agree, at least to a large extent, with all that.

    At the end of the day, you and khandor are both correct — benching Will will maximize what you get out of the other three guards. I’m questioning the assumption that those are our best three guards (as individuals or in a rotation).

    Which raises the following counter-objection to the both of you: If playing Stuckey takes minutes away from Bynum+Gordon+Rip, then why play him at all?

    And as I see it anyway, potential (even though I hope you’re right as a Pistons fan) is purely hypothetical and speculative … isn’t it?

    Thanks for the great conversation, Dave!

  12. And thank you, too, kahndor! Left you out of hte last one …

  13. brgulker,

    Always good to have intelligent conversation about the game and those who play/coach/GM it. 🙂

    Q1. What makes Rodney Stuckey a better PG than Will Bynum even though the “raw numbers” may seem to indicate otherwise to many Pistons fans?

    A1. Several different things, including [but not limited to]:

    – if the Pistons decide to cut Stuckey [6-5] to the block and post him up, ala Jason Kidd, this creates an immediate mismatch scenario against the majority of opponent PG’s in the NBA … which, in turn, leads to a plethora of positive situations for the other Pistons on the floor at the time [no such advantage exists with Bynum, i.e. where the mismatch that Will creates leads to more “open shots” for his teammates to convert]

    – Stuckey [6-5/196] has the size required to check opponents’ PG’s, OG’s and SF’s in all different types of defensive “Switch” situations which is important on D and in terms of Rebounding [no such luck with Will Bynum]

    – Stuckey [6-5/196] has an easier time making an entry pass into the post position and can effectively play an inside/out two-man game from the wing than Will Bynum

    – Stuckey … although not yet a solid perimeter shooter … is a much better perimeter shooter than Will Bynum, which in turn, creates a host of “open shot” opportunities for his teammates

    None of those four aspects of the game is based on Rodney Stuckey’s “potential” as an elite level PG in the NBA. They are very simple facts based on the skill sets and physical attributes when comparing him with Will Bynum … especially, when considering them as options beside a “smallish” player like Ben Gordon [OG-PG] and a “taller thinner” players like Rip Hamilton [OG] and Tayshaun Prince [SF].

  14. I watched the second half of the Mavs-Pistons game last night … well at least until midway through the fourth when the shot clock malfunctions drove me past boiling point!

    The Wings

    * Austin Daye — I though Daye looked good. Some serious questions need to be answered about how good his defense is, and how effective he’ll be offensively … but there’s a good chance that he can help the Pistons right away (very likely to be respectable enough in both areas).
    * Jonas Jerebko — The Pistons are trying hard to turn him into a mobile big man, rather than a wing, and he had all of his minutes there … similar to summer league … so it’s hard to tell what he has to offer as a backup SF. He likely won’t get the chance at the SF spot anyway, so we’ll move on.
    * DaJuan Summers — I’m the least impressed with him. I think he’s the Pistons worst player. I’d go with the other three before rolling with him … which is very bad because he’s likely the closest one to his ceiling as a player.
    * Deron Washington — He was playing good defense but it’s hard to quantify it because he was matched up with Quinton Ross most of the time. Not exactly an offensive threat. I’ll have to wait to see him against more talented offensive opposition … but at the very least Washington looks like an above average defender. The question is how far above average (could he be the Pistons best perimeter defender? I’m not ready to rule it out).

    Conclusion — Deron Washington looks the readiest to provide immediate help for the Pistons on the wing. Daye is in second place but is less certain than Washington.

    Big Men

    I’m a big fan of Jerebko. He’s my favourite player out of the four. Could he crack the Pistons big man rotation this season? Kwame, Big Ben, Charlie V and Jerebko?

    Ehh, it’ll be tough to get ahead of Wilcox and Maxiell … he’s been very impressive though. Great understanding of his own skills, doesn’t play outside of himself, so pretty much everything he does is added value for his team.

  15. Very simply the Pistons will live and die by the jumper all season long. Playoff team? Heck yes. First round exit, mark it down.

    Ben Wallace may have some juice left, but it’s not going to work starting each game playing pretty much 3 on 5.

    Really would like to see a trade that brings Biedrins to Detroit (not that I think he’s any good, he’s probably worse than Kwame on offense)in exchange for Rip (it’s been rumored) because Andris is still young and can run up and down all day.

  16. Dave,

    When I wrote that Washington and Daye should be getting minutes for the Pistons this season on the wing, while using Stuckey and Gordon at the PG spot and anchoring Hamilton to the #2/OG spot vs using Will Bynum for more minutes at the PG position, anchoring Gordon to the #2/OG position, shuttling Hamilton back-and-forth between the #2/OG and #3/Sf positions, while not giving needed minutes to the likes of Washington and Daye [as well as Jerebko and Summers] … certain Pistons fans took offense.

    After watching the Pistons play live this pre-season, it’s gratifying to read your take on their personnel. 🙂

  17. Jonas Jerebko

    Some interesting news

    Kuester started rookie Jonas Jerebko in Prince’s spot and Jerebko responded with 12 points. He appears to have moved ahead of Chris Wilcox and Jason Maxiell in the rotation.

    I’m looking forward to seeing more of Jerebko. I really love the way he plays basketball.

    And a good article on Deron Washington

    “Deron is just tipping his talent in regards to how good he can become,” coach John Kuester said.

    Washington, 6-foot-7 and 202 pounds, is adjusting to being a perimeter player after being more of a frontcourt player at Virginia Tech.

    The transformation continues to be worked on every day.

    “He has a ways to go, but it’s been neat to watch how he’s progressed,” Kuester said. “That first week of practice, he was lost. Now, all of a sudden, he’s starting to understand and figure out some things.”

    “He has a ways to go, but it’s been neat to watch how he’s progressed,” Kuester said. “That first week of practice, he was lost. Now, all of a sudden, he’s starting to understand and figure out some things.”

    Washington feels that his time in Europe has helped develop his game

    Washington gives credit for his pro development to spending last season playing in Israel for Hapoel Holon.

    While averaging 14 points and seven rebounds in Israel, Washington started believing he could be an effective player at the pro level.

    “It was good for me to go there because I was able to play on the perimeter,” said Washington, 23. “In college I was playing the four (spot), playing around the basket, and this gave me a chance to adjust.

    “My confidence has grown after playing overseas, and being able to stand and shoot more. I didn’t shoot that much in college.”

    Washington totaled more than 1,400 points, 600 rebounds, and 100 steals and blocks at Virginia Tech.

    “He’s so gifted athletically, we’ve got to get him to change his mindset and understand he can use athleticism to pressure people (and) become a defensive stopper,” Kuester said.

    The Minutes For The GuardsLink

    The question is a fair one. Can Kuester really play Ben Gordon , Rip Hamilton , Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum enough minutes to really maximize each one’s talents?

    Kuester believes it’s possible.

    “I hope we can play our guards night in and night out, they deserve it,” Kuester said. “I’m real pleased with the way they’re competing in practice and making each other better.

    “There will be nights when all of a sudden one player has it going and you have to recognize it. We have a team that trusts each other.”

    If Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey play 32 minutes a night each … that would leave 16 minutes a night for another perimeter player.

    If Will Bynum is getting another 10-15 minutes a night that will make it very difficult for the Pistons to play one of their young wings on the perimeter.

  18. Dave,

    If John Kuester is really going to develop into a top notch NBA coach he will be able to figure out correctly the value of including a solid but-not-great PG like Will Bynum in a future deal for the type of Center who the Pistons will need if they’re going to become a very good team during his tenure at the helm, while giving extended minutes to younger wing players like Washington and Daye [and Jerebko], with big upside, behind Hamilton [OG], Gordon [PG-OG] and Prince [SF].

    Pistons fans who think that playing Will Bynum, at the Point, ahead of either Rodney Stuckey or Ben Gordon, will somehow be better for the team’s long term development do not have a solid handle on how to construct an elite level team in the NBA.

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