Tony Delk has never met a shot he didn't like...or take, for that matter. Those were my sentiments to Matt after watching Delk fire at will from the perimeter during Saturday's embarrassing loss to the 'Zards. My first inclination walking away from that game was to complain about Delk's chucker mentality. My thoughts were that Delk--who had plenty of floor time with Sheed and Rip--was elevating himself to a first option on O when, given the hierarchy of offensive options on this team, he should never be more than a third option at any given time.
But then I looked at the numbers from his past two games.
Delk, he of the funky-looking jumper and double-zero jersey, has shot a more-than-respectable 10-21 over the last two, including 5-6 from three. In just over 18 minutes per, he averaged 13.5 points, 3 boards, and 2 assists and did not turned the ball over. In other words, he's the anti-Lindsey Hunter. And it now looks as if he's going to start taking Lindsey's minutes. Flip had this to say about Delk's emergence at backup point, as well as about the ongoing Miami Vice v. Maurice Evans battle at the backup 2/3 (from MLive):
"That'll all play out in the next 5 1/2, six weeks," Saunders said. "Some guys are going to get some opportunities, and we'll have to wait and see who steps up."
I've bemoaned Flip's rotation tinkering as of late, but this adjustment could not have come at a better time for the recently-beatable Pistons. In ten games since the All-Star break as the Pistons' primary backup point (before Sunday's DNP), Lindsey Hunter had contributed about 2 points and 1 assist in close to 10 minutes per night. During that period, he shot 8-26 from the field. Whether or not you were a fan of Carlos Arroyo, the dropoff in production from the position since his departure to the Magic is undeniable.
But here comes Delk doing his best Vinnie Johnson impression, providing instant offense as soon as he hits the floor. Delk won't always be the answer to the team's offensive woes--his career numbers show that he's a streak-shooter at best. Like Vinnie, I'm sure there will be times when Delk's shot is off or he's slow to initiate the offense. But after just recently joining the team off waivers from Atlanta, Delk has managed to work his way towards the top of the bench rotation by providing a sorely needed scoring punch. If he stays within himself and continues to make teams pay for giving him open looks, the Pistons bench might finally provide something more tangible than "energy on D."
And perhaps now we won't have to hold our collective breaths while #1 takes a breather.