Pistons need to define players’ roles

Posted in: Uncategorized by Chip Burch

After watching the Detroit Pistons play a couple of games recently, I have come to a conclusion that should shock no one at all.

They’re bad. Real bad.

And I don’t mean “bad” like the “Bad Boys” of the late 1980s and early 1990s. I’m talking horrible here.

After Monday night’s 92-90 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Pistons dropped to 0-8 on the season. Already the excuses are starting to pour in.

I might listen to a couple of them, but for the most part they are just that: excuses.

Of course, George Blaha and Greg Kelser on Fox Sports Detroit’s broadcast of the Pistons are supposed to be leaning toward the team they are calling. But come on, guys.

Yes, the schedule makers didn’t exactly help the Pistons with their start, putting them at home for the first game against a revitalized Houston Rockets team, then sending the Pistons out west for six straight games against the best of the Western Conference.

And the Pistons haven’t played an Eastern Conference team until Wednesday’s game against Orlando – the newly Dwight Howard-less Orlando.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if Detroit lost that game, too. Here’s why I think the Pistons will struggle again this season.

It looks like very few of the Pistons have a defined role on the floor. In fact, I thought I read one time that guard Rodney Stuckey would be floating between point and shooting guard.

I know that happened fairly regularly last season, but he needs to be stuck into the point guard role and left there. Right now Detroit doesn’t have a reliable point guard.

Sure, Stuckey wants to shoot. But there are enough shooting guards on the Pistons (Will Bynum, Brandon Knight, Kim English) to fill that spot and then some. He needs to go to the point.

The veteran of the group, Tayshaun Prince, is also seeming to go between power forward and shooting forward. The power forward positions belong to Jason Maxiell and Andre Drummond, so he needs to be the wing player that we all know about from eight years ago.

And whatever happened to Charlie Villenueva, who was one of the “big” free agent acquisitions the Pistons got when they couldn’t land any of the big prizes of the 2009 free agent class? He’s been relegated to the end of the bench, which is a painful admission that signing him was a mistake.

Now I realize that when Vyacheslav Kravtsov comes back from Russia it will create even more problems for coach Lawrence Frank to put people into defined roles.

But that was supposed to happen during the offseason. And the results are showing in the win-loss column and in the play of Detroit. (See the 11-point fourth-quarter lead blown to the Thunder at home Monday.)

I do agree with Kelser in his observation that the Pistons don’t have a go-to guy to come in and take over a game – not that one is on the horizon either.

But there needs to be defined roles for the players so that they can be put in positions to win. Otherwise, it’s a matter of who the Pistons will draft with their lottery pick in 2013.

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