Surprisingly, I made it to the Open Practice on Saturday and took notes while I was there so that I could offer as much insight as possible to those fans who couldn't make it. The theme this year's pistons seems to be "lineup chaos", but watching this practice made me think some things are certain.
- This will be a year where the whole NBA gets to know Austin Daye's name, and begins forcing it into horrible puns
- Outside shooting should be one of our strong points
- Greg Monroe is more raw than I thought, made more mistakes than I expected, and yet I was even more positive about him than before.
Starting Line - Ups
White Rodney / Rip / Tayshaun / JJ / Wilcox
Blue Bynum / Bengo / T-Mac / CV / Moose
The game starts as cheers of 'SHEEEEEEED' are slowly wane. He exits (perhaps to talk with Joe about a contract?)
First thing I noticed was that Ben Go guarded Stuckey the entire time he was on the floor, leaving Bynum to be guarded by Rip. This matchup was so comically mismatched that Rip was clearly smiling and laughing the whole time they were on the floor this game. Summers came in for rip and alleviated this somewhat, but no one tried to take Bynum in the post. I guess this is why it is the preseason, and not really serious.
One of the first plays of the game sees Ben Gordon lead the break only to throw an Alley-Oop to Monroe who finishes with the sickest two handed layup ever. Monroe had flurries of activity and mistakes this game. One time he leads a 3-1 fast break only to end it when he makes the wrong pass. But he keeps hustling. Another time he gets his hands on what looked like a Jerebko rebound only to miss the layup. And miss the putback. And rebounds his miss and passes it out to bynum for a new possession.
T Mac dribbled around a lot, missed some jumpers, made some passes. Then he came out after 3 minutes and didn't play again. He was replaced by Daye (foreshadowing?) who hits a corner three and runners in the lane like he's playing summer league.
Turnovers were happening all over. Monroe and Stuckey had notable ones. Blue team was much better at turning them into points.
The Award for Best Turnover goes to Charlie Villanueva, who thought Jason Maxiell would let him finish with a nice little finger roll in traffic. Maxiell swatted the ball against the backboard and immediately devoured an infant, while Charlie V put his head down and internally grumbled.
Big Ben started this game and Rip sat out entirely, but the teams stayed the same.
This game was the game that Chris Wilcox forced every one to say "Ike who"? Agile around the basket, got a solid post up on Charlie (probably the best one by anybody all game), and hit open Jumpers.
Bynum is still in, and Bynum is still intense. He runs the second unit the whole game, telling everyone what they need to do. They take Stuckey out and put V. Hamilton on Bynum for most of this game. The guy harasses Willy B., but Bynum stays unfazed, and actually leaves the Hamilton on the floor before dishing to a perfectly positioned Monroe.
Despite early mistakes I like Monroe more and more. He stays around the basket, receiving dishes and quickly gets them off the glass into the basket. He is definitely good, maybe not superstar-good, but definitely piston-good. He works hard for the ball when he is near it, he stays in motion when he isn't near the ball, and he has enough skill to do what needs to be done when he gets it.
Daye owned this game. On the wing he mixed Tayshaun with a crossover before taking the ball in the lane and finishing across the rim with a lefty finger roll. A couple plays later he takes a bad pass out of the air, leads the break, and threads a sick pass across the lane to find Big Ben (who was finishing everything out there). Corner 3...All Daye. Makes me think McGrady might as well get cut if Daye is doing the same stuff.
Charlie V almost made a sick alley-oop, and was hitting jumpers all over the floor. He also looked like his jersey wasn't hiding a beer gut, and like he was ready to get up and down the court on each play, I'll say it was a summer well spent.
Terrico White played here two, he hit a three and got eye level with the net for an Alley-oop, but otherwise blended in.
And then finally I saw Ike Diogu on the floor...wait for it....when the team came in for the huddle!!! otherwise he kept the towels folded. After the game Rip took the house microphone and thanked everyone for coming (not Kuester, not Stuckey).
That is what I noticed, what stood out to anyone else?