NBA Roundtable

2012 Team Previews: Detroit Pistons

In Season Previews on October 20, 2012 at 8:10 am

Detroit Pistons

Starting Lineup

  • PG – Brandon Knight
  • OG – Rodney Stuckey
  • SF – Tayshaun Prince
  • PF – Jason Maxiell
  • C  – Greg Monroe

A weak starting lineup. Not sure who’ll get the nod at PF yet but I’ll go with Maxiell for now. A good starting center and small forward. A serviceable starting two guard and two liabilities at PG and PF.

Greg Monroe is the most prized asset on the Pistons roster. A very talented offensively orientated center. A good rebounder. A weak defender but possesses the quickness, agility and length to become a good team defender in the future. More of a finesse post scorer than a power player who relies on his quickness and agility to create separation from his defender rather than strength/power. A very good post scorer and shot-creator. A developing but still weak jump-shot. A very good passer and decision maker.

It is unclear how well Monroe’s finesse post game would translate to the PF position where he would be playing against quicker big men who are more adept at denying his post moves. He’d need to adapt his post game and use his size/length in more of a power game to maintain his effectiveness as a shot-creator at the center position. So I’ll be looking forward to seeing how Monroe handles that when he and Drummond are on the court together this year. Neither Drummond or Monroe can shoot adequately so expect to see major spacing concerns when on the floor together.

Brandon Knight is the second big name here. He had a dreadful season last year. He was an atrociously inefficient scorer. A weak playmaker who struggled to run the offense. A dodgy defender/rebounder. A huge net negative for the Pistons. His rookie season was as bad as Jonny Flynn’s a couple of years ago and now Flynn is on the brink of being out of the NBA (Flynn actually trying out for this Piston’s team). There were genuine flashes of real NBA ability/potential there but Knight has a huge amount of work to do before he is a quality contributor for the Pistons.

Tayshaun Prince is the second best player on the Pistons behind Monroe. One of the most well-rounded players in the league. A very good ball-handler, passer and decision maker. Can make plays out of the post, elbows, off the dribble and Prince can initiate the offense. Likewise, as a scorer, very well-rounded. Can score in the post, elbows, slasher, good cutter off the ball, uses screens well, can shoot from midrange and long two point range, has three point range. On the defensive end, Prince is still a very good defensive wing. A position based defender who uses his length very effectively. A weak rebounder.

Rodney Stuckey will be the Pistons starting two guard. A solid scorer and serviceable defender/rebounder. An excellent combo guard off the bench and solid starting PG also.

Jason Maxiell is my current choice for the starting PF. I like his size (bulk, strength) and defensive chops relative to the other choices. Has a midrange shot offensively. Will probably only see limited minutes as a starter (15-20mpg). A very weak starter. More of a backup PF but Detroit only has poor options in deciding which big should start alongside Monroe.


  • PG – Will Bynum, Terrence Williams or Jonny Flynn
  • SG – Kim English
  • SF – Corey Maggette, Austin Daye
  • PF – Jonas Jerebko, Charlie Villanueva, Kyle Singler
  • C  – Andre Drummond, Vlacheslav Kravtsov, Ben Wallace

A dodgy bench.

Andre Drummond was the team’s lottery pick this summer. The consensus entering the league was that Drummond has exceptional physical attributes and very good potential because of that. However, Drummond was also considered incredibly raw in terms of his skill-level and understanding of the game and is considered a long term project. My expectations for him this season are low. I expect him to struggle defensively, be an adequate rebounder and very limited offensively.

Corey Maggette has struggled for the past two seasons. Prior to that, Maggette was a very good bench scorer. A one-on-one player who did a terrific job of slashing and getting to the FT line. A very efficient scorer. A solid rebounder too. A liability defensively and a black-hole offensively (non-passer).

Will Bynum is a ball-dominant PG who is capable of creating both for himself and for others. A little difficult to play with but a good teammate when allowed to dominate the ball which he should be able to do here for Detroit.

Charlie Villanueva is a defensive liability and an incredibly inconsistent rebounder. More often a poor rebounder than a capable one. A very skilled scorer offensively who can score inside and out. His negatives as a defender/rebounder often limit his playing time though.

Jonas Jerebko is a nice 8th/9th man type. A utility player. A SF/PF who could even play some SG or C if required. A good defender/rebounder but a very limited offensive player. Not strong enough defensively at PF to be a starter and not skilled enough offensively to start at SF. A long term bench player.

Austin Daye struggles defensively. Is a good rebounder. Good shooting ability offensively but has struggled to capitalize on his size/length (6-11 and long) as a SF. A lightweight physically. Big year for Daye. Needs to show Detroit something more this season.

Kravtsov is a big lug of a center. Lots of size. Lots of muscle. Aside from that, I know nothing. Ben Wallace is an old timer who can give some useful third string minutes and provide guidance to Detroit’s younger bigs/players. A locker room presence. I know nothing of Kim English.

I don’t see any value in Jonny Flynn on this roster with Brandon Knight and Will Bynum ahead of them. Too similar (and nowhere near as talented) as Will Bynum. Better to go in a different direction.

I expect them to keep Terrence Williams instead. Williams is a combo guard. He can play both PG and SG. A defensive and rebounding monster at PG. A good playmaker but still learning how to run an offense. As a scorer, a shot-happy self-involved player at times which is the only thing holding him back from a very successful player in the NBA. Williams has the potential to be a well above average starter at either PG or SG in the NBA. I’ve long wanted to see Williams get a shot at PG and Lawrence Frank seems to agree that that is his best position so there is some hope here. Crossing fingers.

Ah, forgot about Kyle Singler, high hopes for Singler. He should be a good rotation player as a PF/SF given his high skill level and intelligence. The Pistons power forward slot is a bit crowded so I am not sure how that will play out. Singler could give Austin Daye a run for his money at SF.


Clearly a non-playoff team.

There was some optimism in Detroit at the end of last season. They played very poorly to start the season (abysmal) but actually played quite well and played at .500 for the majority of the campaign. I can’t see that holding up though. False gold/hope. I think the Pistons will come back down to Earth this season and realize there is a lot more work there that needs to be done.

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