So that whole NBA lockout thing was fun, huh? Truth be told, the lockout ended at just about the right time for D4L: with the way we usually get to things around here, the NBA season preview would have probably still been posted in late December anyway.
Anyway, I don’t want to get into the X’s and O’s of why the Pistons aren’t going to be very good this season. Instead, I’m going to sample some reader questions make up some stuff regarding the potential bright spots of what will probably be a painful season for Pistons fans to watch.
1. If I’m going to buy a Pistons jersey this season, which player should I get?
If “throwback Rodman #10” isn’t an option, it has to be Greg Monroe. (The) Moose is easily the best player on the team despite what Rodney Stuckey is getting paid. Monroe was highly underrated by national pundits during his rookie season and should continue to improve with more minutes this season.
2. Will Brandon Knight be as good as those dudes on ESPN said he was on draft night?
The jury is still out on whether Knight is a bona-fide top 5 pick or whether his hype was simply a product of the shallow draft class he was a part of. It’s not uncommon for the local media to portray nothing but rainbows and puppy dogs about the new draftees, but their praise of Knight’s work ethic takes it to another level. Judging by this and his performance in tonight’s preseason matchup against Cleveland, I’m buying into the hype.
3. Will Rodney Stuckey continue to drive into a crowded lane and throw up horrible shots while begging for foul calls to bail him out?
Yes. Moving on…
4. How will Jonas Jerebko fare after missing all of last season with an Achilles injury?
Jerebko still looked a bit out of sync in tonight’s game, but it’s hard to say whether this is due to the injury (and subsequent time missed) or because of the wacky schedule. By all accounts (which, as we’ve touched on, are sugarcoated as hell), Jonas looks to be regaining the quickness that made him effective in the post during his rookie season. He’s also bulked up a bit, which will hopefully translate to his defensive game.
5. Is Lawrence Frank the right coach to lead the Pistons back to the upper echelon of the Eastern conference?
6. Was Rip Hamilton the problem? Or will Tayshaun Prince & Co. continue to cause issues with the new coaching staff?
I sure as hell hope it was the former. Despite Tayshaun’s re-signing, this is a younger team that is getting away from the core that won the 2004 NBA championship but ultimately ran three coaches out of town in four years. The longer Lawrence Frank is allowed to operate without mutiny, the better off this team will be, even if Frank isn’t the long term answer behind the bench.
7. If you were GM, what roster moves would you make to help this team get better?
First, I’d use the amnesty clause to get rid of Charlie V’s contract. Next, I’d call David Stern (or whoever the fuck is running the Hornets now) and offer Ben Gordon for Emeka Okafor. To sweeten the pot, I’d throw in either the FSD girls or Shannon Hogan, depending on how low the guy’s standards are (or Ryan Field, if the situation calls for it). Finally, I’d do whatever I could to trade Tayshaun Prince for an expiring contract.
As talented as Prince, Villanueva, and Gordon are, this team isn’t going anywhere in the immediate future. Giving the younger guys as many minutes as possible and seeing whether they fit into the long term plans of this franchise (which I’m not sure Joe Dumars has at this point) should be the main goal of the 2011-12 season.