By Andrew Bolton | GLH
A tough start to the season…and it’s gonna get worse
First, the obvious: I may have been overly optimistic when I predicted the Pistons would nab the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference with 38 wins. I misinterpreted the close losses as signs of a competent team that just had to figure out how to hold a lead. Four wins in five games after the 0-5 start seemed to reaffirm my theory that the Pistons were going to put it together. I hadn’t counted on the schism in the locker room, Tayshaun Prince turning into a prima donna, and Jon Kuester not being able to stick to any semblance of a rotation.
The Story So Far
The Pistons beat the Clippers and Kings on their recent western road trip, and looked pretty good doing it. Bookending these two wins was a blowout loss to Portland and a close loss to the Warriors. Let’s take a look at the dominant storylines from these games:
Portland: Close first half, terrible second half. Portland’s size in the paint was way, way too much for the Pistons. Some hot shooting and inspired play from Tracy McGrady kept the score respectable, but the Pistons had no answer for LaMarcus Aldridge. I really think that this was the game that sealed the Pistons’ fate: everyone realized that Austin Daye at power forward wouldn’t work anymore. Aldridge got whatever he wanted in the paint, and the Pistons had no answer.
Clippers: Kuester started Daye at power forward again this game, and while Austin had a few points, he couldn’t slow down Blake Griffin (though, to be fair, not many people can). Jason Maxiell came in and did a respectable job down the stretch, coming up with a few key plays at the end of the game to help the Pistons preserve the win.
Of course, Kuester overreacted to this by giving the start to Maxiell the next game and giving Daye a DNP-CD. Let me get this straight: a guy who was out of the rotation gets to start because of one good quarter, and the starter, who won the job in preseason, now doesn’t play at all. How does that make any sense?