The Pistons at the All-Star Break: A closer look

Roger Castillo (@rogmartin81)

This weekend was huge for the NBA. Michael Jordan turned 50 and the All-Star weekend kicked off in Houston. For the Pistons, Brandon Knight and Andre Drummond were part of the festivities. Knight placed third in the skills competition and was part of Team Chuck, the winning team in the Rising Stars game over Team Shaq. Drummond is out with a stress fracture in his back but answered questions with the media on Friday. A rather quiet weekend but much needed break for rest of the team.

The Pistons are just over the half way point of the season at 21-33 and sitting in 11th place in the Eastern Conference (7.5  games out of the 8th spot in the East). It’s almost safe to say the Pistons will not make the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.  They began 2-11 to start the season…a hard start to recover from.

Some Highlights:

– A win over the Miami Heat on Dec 28th where Will Byrum scored 25 points.

– A win over the San Antonio Spurs on February 8th. Greg Monroe had 26 points and 16 rebounds.

– Monroe has had eight straight double -doubles heading into the break.

The Low-lights:

– Seven straight losses to begin the season.

– A six-game losing streak from December 10th to December 17th.

– Too many blown leads in the second half.

– 0-8 record against teams in the West on road. ( 6-18 overall on the road)

By the Numbers:

– Greg Monroe leads the team in scoring with  16.1 points-per-game and just under ten boards a game at 9.7

– Brandon Knight averages 15 points-per-game in his first full season.

– $58 million; the Pistons team salary at the moment. The salary cap is $60 million.

– 19th; the ranking of the Pistons in home attendance AND  points-per-game (95.3)

The Second Half:

Will the Pistons make a trade and continue to relieve  some room for the cap? Rumors of Will Byrum being traded will most likely continue. Byrum is a good back up guard for any team making a run in the playoffs. With Andre Drummond out of the lineup for another month or so, can Greg Monroe continue to shoulder the load?  Monroe was snubbed for a All-Star appearance but with Kevin Garrett, Tyson Chandler, Brook Lopez and Chris Bosh all having solid seasons ( OK, Garrett aside) it was hard to make a case for him to make the squad.

Brandon Knight is the biggest piece to this puzzle. Can he continue growth at the two guard? He’s shown he can score but his off nights, well, they’re really off. Knight is only 21, so that could play a factor. The Pistons must decide as Jose Calderon, who is a free agent after the season, whether or not he fits into their semi-long term outlook.

The season starts back up again February 19th at home against Memphis.

CASTILLO: I Have Faith in Joe Dumars, and Here’s Why

Roger Castillo (Twitter: @RogMartin81)

Growing up a fan of the Detroit Pistons, I was big fan of Joe Dumars. I got flack from kids in school because Joe and former Orlando Magic guard great Nick Anderson were some of my favorite players. His quiet demeanor and 27.3 points per game average against the Lakers in the 1989 Finals made him easy to like on his way to a Finals MVP. Michael Jordan even said Dumars was one of the toughest players that defended him. He is in the Hall of Fame for a reason.

Sometimes I think people in this town forget that Dumars built a championship team in 2004 and almost again in 2005. Did everyone forget the six straight Eastern Conference Championship apperances? One bad Rasheed Wallace slip on defense in the 2005 Finals from back to back titles?

Joe Dumars has made some clever trades and recently, has drafted well ( Yes, I know he drafted Darko Milicic, but that happened a while ago, I get it). His most recent trade sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to the Memphis Grizzles in a three-team deal that involved Toronto, and the Pistons landed Jose Calderon, a point guard from Spain.

This move is great because it gives the Pistons a true point guard. Plus, $35 million off the books to chase Chris Paul or a small forward with shooting range as a kick out option for Monroe and Drummond.

The Pistons have been either a train wreck or really good on any given night this season.

If this team doesn’t make the playoffs, they will get the Bobcats first round pick (another smart trade) from the Ben Gordon deal.

Joe was forced to spend the money in the past, but now with ownership being stable and some solid cornerstones in Monroe, Knight and Drummond, there should be no reason to fail.

It’s called growing pains, and once Pistons fans accept that, Joe Dumars will continue his path back to the Hall of Fame, this time as an executive.

Pistons Blog Coming in 2013

A Pistons blog will be around for the 2013-2014 season. Check back soon!