Just a few months ago, it was like pulling teeth just to get some members of the media to admit Amir Johnson even belonged in the rotation. Now? There are calls to turn him into a starter. From Terry Foster at the Detroit News (update: now, with new and improved fixed links!):
I love the idea of Antonio McDyess coming off the bench for the Pistons. He plays better off the bench, is more comfortable coming off the bench and can be a major spark against opponents' second units. That is why the Pistons should entertain the idea of inserting Amir Johnson in the starting lineup.
He is ready. He has averaged 6.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, blocked 16 shots and shot 64 percent from the floor in his last nine games. He is a guy who makes things happen whenever he is on the floor.
Is he a top five player for the Pistons? Probably not. However, McDyess is a guy who can come off the bench and also finish games. To me it is more important for a guy like this to finish than start.
First and foremost, it's not going to happen. McDyess is comfortable in the starting lineup and the Pistons have posted the second-best record in the league with him there. Plus, the argument that he can't start and finish isn't valid -- he's been doing it all year and is already playing the fewest minutes per game (30.5) of any of the starters. And while his shot's been streaky, he's still shooting over 50% and leads the team in rebounding at 9.0 per.
But for the sake of argument, if McDyess did go back to the bench, I think Jason Maxiell would get the nod as a starter over Johnson. Max has "earned" it a bit more, and he's rugged enough that you wouldn't really have to worry about matchups very much. Plus, I like keeping Johnson paired with the rest of the youngsters -- he and Stuckey are building great chemistry together, and the Pistons can really fly up and down the court when they're in the game at the same time.