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Game 76: Pistons @ Knicks, 5:00pm 03/31/2018


Casimir
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The Biggest Surprises and Disappointments of the NBA Season

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Gonzalez: Detroit. Imagine building a brand-new downtown arena and then, immediately after opening it, wondering why no one showed up. Imagine that narrative continuing deep into the season, even after you traded for one of the biggest names in the NBA. Then imagine, after landing that super-expensive superstar, your team got worse, not better, and fell out of the playoff race entirely. And now imagine that you’re stuck with the superstar and his bloated contract and also, for the time being, the coach/executive who got you into that mess in the first place, a man who was “told not to tank” and ended up doing it by accident anyway.

Otherwise, the Pistons are doing great.

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Tjarks: Detroit. There weren’t a lot of expectations surrounding the Pistons coming into the season, but given that they went all in on this season twice (by trading for Avery Bradley before the season and then Blake Griffin during it) it wasn’t unreasonable to expect them to snatch one of the playoff spots at the bottom of the Eastern Conference—or at least make the race competitive into the final week of the season. Instead, it looks like the Stan Van Gundy era in Detroit is going to end without a single playoff victory and one of the gloomiest financial outlooks in the league. They are locked into paying a lot of money for Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, and Reggie Jackson, and it’s hard to be too optimistic about their ceiling while their floor could be really ugly.

 

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Just now, 313DetroitCity said:
 
The Pistons are good when Reggie Jackson plays. They are 25-15 this season with him on the court. 

That shouldn’t be ignored.  But with the current salary and talent structure of the team and the lack of enough regular season success over the years to earn more than one #8 seed during his tenure, does this late season surge do enough for Van Gundy to Ben retained for his final contract year?

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40 minutes ago, Casimir said:

That shouldn’t be ignored.  But with the current salary and talent structure of the team and the lack of enough regular season success over the years to earn more than one #8 seed during his tenure, does this late season surge do enough for Van Gundy to Ben retained for his final contract year?

This is a weird and tough season to evaluate for a lot of reasons. SVG should have done better. No question about it. But it is important to consider the context of how this year unfolded.
 
Reggie has missed 37 games, guys like Stanley & Bullock were in and out of the lineup at various points due to injuries, the entire roster underwent an overhaul after trading 2 of our starters, and even after being acquired Blake has missed some games. 
 
If you give me a healthy lineup of Reggie/Bullock/Stanley/Blake/Drummond and a bench of Ish/Kennard/Ennis/Tolliver/Moreland, I think the conversation about this team is a whole lot different. But the problem is, we can't count on the health of these guys. 
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10 minutes ago, 313DetroitCity said:
This is a weird and tough season to evaluate for a lot of reasons. SVG should have done better. No question about it. But it is important to consider the context of how this year unfolded.
 
Reggie has missed 37 games, guys like Stanley & Bullock were in and out of the lineup at various points due to injuries, the entire roster underwent an overhaul after trading 2 of our starters, and even after being acquired Blake has missed some games. 
 
If you give me a healthy lineup of Reggie/Bullock/Stanley/Blake/Drummond and a bench of Ish/Kennard/Ennis/Tolliver/Moreland, I think the conversation about this team is a whole lot different. But the problem is, we can't count on the health of these guys. 

I suppose you can excuse Jackson’s injury.  But he’s not one to count on for heavy minutes on a normal basis anyway (and I get that asthma isn’t his fault; not blaming him, but still an observation that needs to be considered).

Griffin, ok, in order to get his talent, you may need to excuse his typical injuries from time to time.

And there will be attrition in other spots as well.

But has the bench been built adequately to handle these issues?  And at what cost has the roster been built?  What flexibility is there to adjust going into next season?  Capped out and no draft picks.

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12 minutes ago, Deleterious said:

Oooh. it's that time again?

Where people talk about how good Detroit could be. Only to have their hopes crushed next November.

All we need now is someone to mention Ellenson looks like a rotation player next year.

I clearly said " But the problem is, we can't count on the health of these guys." 

Obviously things would be different with a healthy Reggie. You can't deny the reality that this team has been good with him on the court. The Wins & Losses reflect that. But we can't count on him to be healthy anymore. It is just a matter of time before he goes down again. And that sucks. 

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36 minutes ago, Casimir said:

I suppose you can excuse Jackson’s injury.  But he’s not one to count on for heavy minutes on a normal basis anyway (and I get that asthma isn’t his fault; not blaming him, but still an observation that needs to be considered).

Griffin, ok, in order to get his talent, you may need to excuse his typical injuries from time to time.

And there will be attrition in other spots as well.

But has the bench been built adequately to handle these issues?  And at what cost has the roster been built?  What flexibility is there to adjust going into next season?  Capped out and no draft picks.

The Jackson injury destroyed our bench in a lot of ways. Forcing Ish into the starting lineup left us with G-League talent at the backup PG spot. Sure, we should have more depth. But let's not underestimate how different the bench unit can look with Ish. Throw in the Leuer injury and you were left with holes at 2 spots in the lineup. 
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1 hour ago, 313DetroitCity said:
The Jackson injury destroyed our bench in a lot of ways. Forcing Ish into the starting lineup left us with G-League talent at the backup PG spot. Sure, we should have more depth. But let's not underestimate how different the bench unit can look with Ish. Throw in the Leuer injury and you were left with holes at 2 spots in the lineup. 

Galloway waa supposed to be a guy who could play point in a pinch and act as shooting off the bench.  instead he's been an $8 million 12th man.

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I'm sure these meaningless wins saved SVG because it would have been "different with Reggie" and while Reggie is an important part of the team, they can't depend on him to stay healthy or Griffin for that matter and it just shows how shallow the depth is when there's THAT much of a drop off when one player goes down.

Zero playoff wins in 4 seasons, no cap space, no draft picks, limited roster upside.  I hope Gores sees through this mirage of a finish to the season and sees what a failure the SVG regime has been and can him but Gores is probably too intoxicated to see straight most days so I expect more of the same going into next season.

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33 minutes ago, NYLion said:

I'm sure these meaningless wins saved SVG because it would have been "different with Reggie" and while Reggie is an important part of the team, they can't depend on him to stay healthy or Griffin for that matter and it just shows how shallow the depth is when there's THAT much of a drop off when one player goes down.

Zero playoff wins in 4 seasons, no cap space, no draft picks, limited roster upside.  I hope Gores sees through this mirage of a finish to the season and sees what a failure the SVG regime has been and can him but Gores is probably too intoxicated to see straight most days so I expect more of the same going into next season.

All we have at this point is  2 All-Star caliber players, one of whom just had a career year at age 24.

Kennard, Bullock, Ish are all solid players on good contracts. 

And while we don't have a draft pick this season, we do have all of our future picks beyond that.
 
There is some opportunity for things to improve. But it will take a lot of internal improvement from the younger guys (Stanley's last chance here and Kennard) & health from Jackson & Griffin. It also means that the front office has to hit on smaller moves that provide depth. The misses on guys like Galloway & Leuer are going to hurt this team. Need more Ish and Bullock moves. 
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As an aside, I think SVG's entire front office plan hinged on Reggie Jackson being an all-star level PG and for Andre to be a dominant big man.


Andre took a big step to being that dominant player this year. 
 
But Reggie's health problems completely threw this franchise off course. SVG owns some responsibility for that, and they should have taken it into consideration when signing him. It is really disappointing to know that things would look VERY different if he was at 100% as a 27 year old PG in his prime. 
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