Detroit Sports

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Pistons Mid-Season Report

The mid-season is here, and the Detroit Pistons are the center of criticism from their coaches and the media. They’ve been accused of not playing hard, but have shown at times that they can rattle off lengthy win streaks.

So let’s take a look at how they are doing individually with a mid-season report. Also, instead of a letter grading system, let me introduce a rating system.

1 - Excelling
2 - Above Average
3 - Average
4 - Below Average
5 - Disappointing

Guards

Richard Hamilton is the leading scorer of the Pistons with 20.5 points per game with 4.2 assists per game and a .440 shooting percentage. He’s been logging nearly 40 minutes per game all season and handling the task well. His shot from the sides is as good as it’s ever been. One area of concern is his streaky shooting consistency. Although I wouldn’t expect him to shoot .500 each night, there have been nights where he’s shot in the .350-.400 range. Hamilton needs look for better shots and overcome mid-game slumps. Mark: Average.

Chauncey Billups is certainly playing well in the clutch situation again this season. His assists are up and he seems to be moving the ball a little more. Unfortunately, he’s moving the ball too much. I’ve seen Chauncey with open lanes to the basket. He starts to take the steps towards it, and then he feeds the ball to someone else that isn’t expecting it. I know he’s just trying to be a good point guard and create situations, but he needs to watch the film and learn when and when not to pass the basketball. Mark: Average

Lindsey Hunter is the long time veteran of the bench. His job has been to backup Chauncey Billups. With the loss of Mike James, Hunter has been taxed with long minutes that seem to be taking a toll on him. His shots are off and he seems warm out by the middle of the game. His 4.9 points per game are a career low. Hunter must work on taking better shots. He’s shooting .355 percent this season. He’s lost focus of what a point guard is supposed to do. When he’s in coverage, he’s no longer passing, he’s battling. Better ball movement, and the help of their new point guard, will be key for Hunter in the second half of the season. Mark: Disappointing

Carlos Delfino is the newest member of the Pistons. He’s a shooting guard that stayed an extra year overseas to get his game ready for the NBA level. Expectations were high, but so was his energy when the season started. Delfino needs work on his free throws. He’s shooting .667, and bumping that up into the .750 range would add some fuel to the lax scoring of the bench. He also needs to add some assists and move the ball a little better. Carlos has been hurt all but 13 games this season. He’s off to a good start otherwise. Mark: Below Average

Horace Jenkins is a guy that is doing well in the role he’s been given. He’s appeared in six games and scored 3.7 points per game in the 7.8 minutes he was given. His shooting percentage is low at .350. Better shooting would be the ideal way for Jenkins to get noticed. He won the spot on the roster over Smush with his salary being lower. That won’t keep him here longer than this season. Mark: Below Average

Ronald Dupree has done a good job getting noticed with the time he’s been given. In 21 games he’s played 10 minutes per game with 2.6 points per game. His role has been limited, but he’s been improving each time he steps onto the court. He plays hard, moves the ball well, and has been able to make shots when needed. Although a lot of people expected more from Dupree, he’s young and his role is limited with this team. Considering all the factors, I’d say he’s been a great situational player for the Pistons. Mark: Above Average

Carlos Arroyo is hard to figure out. He’s only been a Piston for three games, and in Utah he was pushed to the end of the bench because he and Jerry Sloan didn’t get along. I will say that he’s adding a lot of energy to the Pistons bench. He’s also creating plays and scoring some points. Considering there is not enough data to give him a mark, I’ll just leave it with this: Carlos will make a difference for the Pistons in the second half.

Forwards

Tayshuan Prince has been quietly shooting .471 percent from the field. He’s also been taking care of business on the defense end with his long reach and 3.9 rebounds per game. Prince has been criticized for his 12.3 points per game. Some feel he should be at 15 or better. With a starting lineup that includes two well shooting guards, that just isn’t going to happen. His points per game average is up from last season and his shooting is better than ever. The only thing Tayshaun needs to work on is keeping that ankle in shape. Mark: Excelling

Rasheed Wallace has some of the same problems that Chauncey has. He’s so unselfish that he misses opportunities at the basket in favor of passing the ball. When he doesn’t take pass the ball, he often finds himself in bad situations and has been struggling with battles under the boards. His defense has been pretty good with 7.7 rebounds per game and a couple blocks. Sheed needs to look for better shots and regain some toughness on the offensive boards. Mark: Below Average

Antonio McDyess was one of the heavily anticipated additions to the bench. With health concerns out of the way, Dice had the hype to come in here and score 50 points per game. Although that didn’t happen, and a bad leg kept him out of a couple games, he’s been a great backup for the Wallace brothers. He’s tough under the boards, shoots a high .535 shooting percentage, but is weak with his free throws. He can make a difference in a game when called on. He’s athletic and has a good vision of where the ball is going. Mark: Above Average

Darvin Ham has been one of the most disappointing guys on this team this season. He showed so much promise last year with his athleticism and ability to score. Ham has been in 30 games for seven minutes with less than a point per game. He can hit three pointers and make free throws, but has made no impact on the game, even in situational roles. Mark: Disappointing

Centers

Ben Wallace is still the lifeline of this team. Putting aside the fact that he’s the strongest defensive player in the league, Big Ben’s free throw percentage his dipped a little bit. His blocks are down, but his field goal percentage is rising. Overall Ben is continuing to make a difference on this team. Without him, they give up 100 points per game. With him, they gave up less than 90. Ben continues to work hard each game and press teams under the basketball. Mark: Above Average

Elden Campbell is in Utah now, but he was a part of this team in situations. He was the force against Shaq that helped slow him down. Campbell has seen better days, and only appeared in 21 games this season. He logged 10.8 minutes per game and shot poorly. He didn’t rebound well, didn’t block shots, and wasn’t one you could count on. Mark: Disappointing

Darko Milicic got in the game a few times this season. With suspensions and injuries, Darko has managed to get into 17 games and play 6.6 minutes per game. It is hard to get a handle on this guy. At times he looks to be making progress. Other times, he’s the same old Darko. He comes into games and fouls out in five minutes. Darko needs to continue to develop himself into an NBA player. He must work hard in practice and value each minute he gets during games. Mark: Average

The team is coming together just fine. They have been mostly average, but that isn’t going to win another Championship. They need to play more like a team, work on their ball movement, and get that hunger for winning back in them.

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