Things are not good in Detroit.
No, we’re not talking about the economy (but no, that is not good). We’re talking about the Pistons… and no, not jut that they are now 0-5 on the season after a loss to Atlanta Wednesday. Although that’s not good either.
We’re talking about players and the coach feuding. Just five games into the season. The latest incident was with point guard Rodney Stuckey last night, as explained in the Detroit Free Press.
Early in the third quarter, (Pistons coach John) Kuester called for Stuckey twice during a stoppage in play and Stuckey didn’t acknowledge him.
Kuester immediately summoned DaJuan Summers from the bench and replaced Stuckey at the 9:04 mark of the quarter. Stuckey was done for the night after playing only 13 minutes. He finished with five points and three assists on 2-for-6 shooting…
All Stuckey would say in the Philips Arena locker room afterward is: “It is what it is.”
This came the day after Tayshaun Prince fired back at the coach after Kuester questioned the leadership on the team.
There appear to be some real issues here, the kind GM Joe Dumars may need to deal with one way or another. But with ownership in flux — Karen Davidson is reportedly selling the team to Mike Ilitch — there may be a lack of strong leadership coming down from the top. Basically, nobody who can threaten jobs is calling down and asking what the heck is going on.
Because something certainly is going on. And it’s not good.
Dwane Casey reportedly holds a grudge toward Raptors president Masai Ujiri for firing him.
Casey got revenge last night, coaching the Pistons to a win at Toronto. Casey called two quality plays in the final seconds, the latter producing Reggie Bullock‘s game-winner.
Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:
A Toronto reporter asked Blake Griffin if it gives Pistons players a degree of confidence in their coach when he gives them those tools to win games.
“We know that. This isn’t like we just discovered this for the first time today,” he said. “We’ve put in plays like that all the time in practice. He demands execution and we executed. Maybe to Toronto fans – or certainly their GM, maybe – it was a surprise. But not to us.”
The win had to be gratifying for Casey. Having his star player take up his greater cause must even more satisfying.
NBA scoring is exploding. Defenses are getting less leeway for physicality. Offenses are more efficient than ever. Pace is at its highest mark in decades.
Except for the Jazz last night.
Utah scored just 68 points in a 50-point loss to the Mavericks. And even that undersells the Jazz’s offensive woes. They played reasonably fast, getting 101 possessions. Their offensive rating – 67.3 – shows just how inept they truly were.
In all, Utah shot 42% on 2-pointers, 17% on 3-pointers and 63% on free throws and committed 22 turnovers.
The Jazz set several milestones for offensive futility:
- Fewest points in a game (68) in nearly two years (68 by Hawks vs. Jazz on Nov. 25, 2016)
- Lowest Basketball-Reference estimated offensive rating in a game (68.8) in more than three years (68.2 by Grizzlies vs. Warriors on Nov. 2, 2015)
- Fewest points in a second half (22) in nearly five years (19 by Rockets vs. Thunder on Jan. 16, 2014)
Comparing across eras can be difficult, but here’s one measure: The Jazz scored 68 points in a season teams are averaging 110.4 points per game.
That output relative to average – -42.4 – is one of the lowest of all-time:
Kevin Durant and Draymond Green are feuding, the possibility of Durant leaving the Warriors in free agency next summer hanging over everything.
Now comes Durant’s brother, Tony – intentionally or not – throwing gasoline on the fire. Again.
Tony posted and deleted these comments on Instagram, via Bleacher Report:
Read too much into vague social-media content at your own peril.
But, man, that sure looks like Tony advising Green just to enjoy Durant masking Green’s problems until Durant leaves the Warriors and leaves Green exposed.
Andrew Wiggins keeps besting Nikola Mirotic.
Wiggins won Rookie of the Year over Mirotic in 2015.
In the Timberwolves’ win over the Pelicans last night, Wiggins had the dagger dunk on Mirotic – and made sure Mirotic felt it. Ouch.