Keith Langlois of Pistons.com sat down with Joe Dumars for a Q&A, and as you'd expect the entire interview is interesting and worth your time. I could have arbitrarily picked any number of questions to highlight, but I'm going with these two about Jarvis Hayes:
Langlois: Let’s talk about the Jarvis Hayes signing. The first Pistons team I covered – your era – had Vinnie Johnson. I’m not comparing him in playing style to Vinnie, but the way he comes off the bench with a fearless scorer’s mentality reminds me of that. How valuable of an asset is that to have on your bench?
Dumars: It’s extremely valuable, and as we went into the summer, I’ll just say that my thought process was that we have not had a guy similar to that since Jon Barry, who comes off and just lets it go. The guy can put the ball in the basket and we’ve really wanted that. Jarvis fills that role for us. He has been the right fit for us this off-season. He was the right guy for us to bring in. As a person and as a basketball player, he fits. He fits who we are and how we play and how we go about our business. He’s made a smooth transition as well with these guys. He just looks like he fits.
I'm willing to admit when I'm wrong, and I initially panned Hayes as a replacement for Carlos Delfino, which admittedly was never an accurate comparison since Delfino was gone by the time Hayes got here. But you know what Hayes brings that Delfino doesn't? Confidence. Whereas Delfino sometimes took a bit of time to get into the flow of the game, Hayes would probably shoot the ball from the bench if he were allowed to.
With the Wizards, he had to live with the expectations that come with being a former lottery pick, which was impossible to do given his unfortunate knee injuries. He was finally healthy for an entire season last year, but then he struggled to find shots in an up-tempo offense dominated by the likes of Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler. This year? The Pistons want him to shoot the ball ever chance he gets, and not only when he's playing with the second unit ...
Langlois: I thought it was pretty telling the other night when he had the mismatch at the end of the Atlanta game with Tyronn Lue guarding him. Here’s Jarvis on the floor with four guys whose identities here have been well-established, but without hesitation they went to him twice down the stretch to exploit a mismatch and he scored two critical baskets.
Dumars: I thought that was huge. I thought that was very important. The win was the most important thing, but the second-most important thing was the fact we went to him down the stretch. I rank that right behind the win. We know the other guys have made plays to help win games for us over the years. Here’s a new guy on the floor with four other guys who’ve won here and done big things here and they’re deferring and going to him. It builds tremendous confidence for a guy to look around and know those guys are thinking, "We can count on you." It gives a guy tremendous confidence.
How much confidence? He's been with the team for three regular season games and he's already doing things he's never done in his career. From the Freep's Krista Jahnke:
Pistons small forward Jarvis Hayes paused to think about the question: How many times in his Washington Wizards tenure did a coach or teammate call a play for him late in a close game?
"Uh ... " he said, looking up in thought. "Never? I can't remember."
Seriously, I recommend reading the whole interview. It's a bit long, but that's a good thing -- there's a lot of interesting stuff about Antonio McDyess moving into the starting lineup, expectations for Jason Maxiell and Amir Johnson, and the progress by the rookies.
State of the Pistons [Pistons.com]