The Pistons’ problem-if I had to choose one-is that the Pistons had a lot of talent that was distributed unevenly throughout the depth chart and then toyed with by head coach John Kuester.
We all remember Rip Hamilton getting benched for weeks, only to be abruptly asked to suit up and check into a game and then play well. Tracy McGrady was asked to play a different position, point guard, yet he’d be rewarded with a solid performance with a few DNP-CDs. Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva were our big free agent signings in the summer of 2009, yet they both received minutes far lower than their career averages. Only Stuckey and Prince were treated with any consistency, and even then Kuester was shown to waver in his commitment to Rodney at the PG position by the end of the season.
If you were to look at the Pistons *real* depth chart-where guys would line up for the majority of other teams-the problem is apparent:
SG Stuckey and Gordon and Hamilton/(McGrady)/White
PF Jerebko and Villanueva/Wallace and Maxiell and (Wilcox)
Assuming there won’t be any trades and Tayshaun and McGrady won’t be brought back from unrestricted free agency, the roster can be saved-thank God-with a little creativity and exploitation of our teams’ versatility. Here is a breakdown in terms of minutes played at each position.
24 Stuckey/24 Bynum
30 Gordon/10 Hamilton/8 Stuckey
20 Hamilton/20 Daye/8 Jerebko
24 Jerebko/24 Villanueva
32 Monroe/16 ROOKIE and-or Wallace
That’s a 9-10 man rotation, depending on the night, and everybody is given minutes in accordance with what is necessary to get them going.
Hamilton at SF, where he will be overmatched by most starting SFs, can be offset offensively by a) going uptempo, b) using Gordon and Hamilton the way they are accustomed to playing, by having them run off screens, and c) going to Monroe in the post once the offense slows and manipulate the SF into biting on double -teams.
This means we MUST take a rookie that is capable of playing C. If we don’t there won’t be anybody legitimate or reliable behind Greg Monroe, and many argue that HE is a PF (they’re wrong, btw). Charlie Villanueva is too poor a rebounder and too bad defensively to warrant any minutes at the five; Jason Maxiell is 6’5″ without shoes and his wingspan and strong base, which allows him to be a decent man defender against much bigger opponents, doesn’t make up for his poor defensive rebounding and lack of any certifiable skill on offense; Ben Wallace missed 28 games last season and only played 23 minutes a game. Even if he’s healthy and playing, he’s 36 years old and is likely retiring after the season.
The only acceptable draft would be selecting Bismack Biyombo, Enes Kanter, or Jonas Valanciunus. I will have write-ups about these players soon.