It was kind of interesting to read in the Detroit Free Press about a recent interview LaBron James had at the Olympics. When pressed about the Piston's Jonas Jarebko, or JJ as Piston fans know him by, Sweden's only NBA player, James gushed about how good Jarebko is, and how important of a contributor he is to his team. Was James entirely truthful, or simply being a good-will ambassador abroad?
Like so many things in life, it seemed reading about James comments about JJ was an instance of synchronicity with my own thoughts about how Jarebko might blend into Detroit's plans this coming season. I've written a few articles for the group here to digest about how I see different tandems or groups of players being used. Many responses seemed to indicate that I had overlooked what role JJ would play. Although the exact make-up of the roles and groupings is always subject to change, as wrinkles of reciprocal benefits of combinations are discovered, I find it really interesting to try to consider how Lawrence Franks might try to create a better dynamic moving forward, and how perhaps I had underestimated JJ's role or possible importance.
Do I over-think what I read from Joe Dumars as well as the other posters? Maybe. However, I try to let it all sink in and give it fair consideration. I really am trying to figure out the role each player has and how it fits on this team. So, here are some new thoughts on JJ as well as on how the team might be trying to piece things together.
I would like to start by comparing JJ to other Piston forwards, including the centers (the front court players) - Kyle Singler, Tayshaun Prince, Corey Maggette, Jason Maxiell, Charlie Villanueva, Austin Daye, Khris Middleton, Greg Monroe, Ben Wallace, Vyacheslav Kravtsov, and Andre Drummond.
Let's review how each may be considered a slasher, crasher, or perhaps be termed a point, or one more new category of player, a pull-a-way. The "point" term is intended to be a reference to a player's ability to distribute the ball, not on an exclusive basis, but in a significant way that creates or improves the dynamics of the overall play. The pull-a-way term is a descriptive term I'm using to indicate how good a player is at out-side shooting and pulling defenders away from the basket to open the floor more. Just to clarify, slashers is the term I have applied to players that can handle the ball well and that are able to penetrate defenses to get closer to the basket. Lastly, crashers is the term I've applied to interior players that specialize in shot blocking, rebounding, and putting back offensive rebounds for a second scoring chance.
Obviously players have multiple abilities and therefore different styles of play they can offer, or ways they can contribute. The best players can do it all.You'll notice that after the quick review of these skills, roles, or styles of play I summarize their strengths with either capital or lower case initials.
Without further adieu, let's start defining each of the Pistons:
Austin Daye - probably best deployed as a Pull-A-Way, with limited slasher and crasher abilities. (P,s,c)
Andre Drummond - hopefully a great Crasher, with abilities to be a slasher. (C,S)
Jonas Jarebko - has been primarily a Crasher, but also a Slasher, with Pull-a-way abilities. (C,S,P)
Vyacheslav Kravtsov - likely to be counted on as a solid Crasher, with abilities to also be a slasher. (C,s)
Corey Maggette - a Slasher with pull-a-way shooting skills. (S,p)
Jason Maxiell - a Crasher thru and thru. (C)
Khris Middleton - likely a Slasher, perhaps with some pull-a-way ability. (S,p)
Greg Monroe - a Crasher, Slasher, and his passing ability provides some point skills, and since he can shot from mid-range he also can be a limited pull-a-way player too.(C,S,pt,p)
Tayshaun Prince - perhaps primarily a Point, but he can also be a slasher, pull-a-way, and even a crasher. (Pt,s,p,c)
Kyle Singler - also appears to be a potential Point, with strong Slasher, Pull-A-Way, and some crasher abilities. (Pt,S,P,c)
Charlie Villanueva - a unique pull-a-way player, a bigger, stronger, and quicker player that should create unique match ups to become a slasher, has to also be considered based on size alone a bit of a crasher. (P,s,c)
Ben Wallace - a great Crasher! (C)
Perhaps I'm simply renaming skills like rebounding, passing, dribbling, and shooting, but I think the descriptions I'm using are better in determining how players should be used. What do you think?
Using capital versus lower case letters I was trying to capture the strength of the player's skill. Does that make sense?
Let's try a few combinations to see if they make sense:
(Pt,S,P,c) (C,S,pt,p) (C,S) - Singler, Monroe, Drummond
(Pt,s,p,c) (C,S,P) (C,s) - Prince, Jarebko, Kravtsov
(S,p) (P,s,c) (C) - Maggette, Villanueva, Maxiell
(P,s,c) (S,p) (C) - Daye, Middleton, Wallace
Whether trios of front court players are considered or perhaps trios of back court players are formed this analysis of style should be useful in mixing and matching players, as well as identifying the strongest players. Do you agree?