With Lindsey Hunter's return just a week or two away, Flip Saunders is preparing to make changes in his rotation. From the Free Press:
"Over the haul, I think we're going to go with more of a timed rotation as far as getting guys out and trying to make sure we have certain combinations on the floor at the same time," Saunders said. "And hopefully what that'll do is keep those guys in a situation where they can keep their confidence up."
Saunders mentioned "confidence" several times when talking about the bench. Arroyo, Delfino and Evans have played a combined seven seasons in the league.
"They haven't been through this on a consistent basis," Saunders said. "They're going to have good days and they're going to have bad days."
The Detroit News indicates that Saunders will start employing the new substitution patterns tonight. It'll be interesting to see what groups of players he wants to get on the floor at the same time. In case you're interested, 82games lists the 20 most common 5-man combinations the Pistons have used this year, including how productive each unit has been.
There's a big drop-off after the starting five is out of the game, but there are still a handful of productive combinations that come out ahead in the +/- ratings. In fact, with a +23, the combination of Arroyo-Evans-Prince-McDyess-R.Wallace -- noticably missing the starting backcourt and Ben Wallace -- ranks as the team's second-most productive. Of course, that doesn't completely take into consideration the recent fine play of Carlos Delfino, who has been stealing time from Evans. Nevertheless, pay attention over the next few games to see if the new substitution patterns hold true.