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The Argentine Solution: Why Herrmann should replace Hayes

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Continuing in a series of cameos by DBB readers, here's Mike Payne. -- MW
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By Mike Payne

With the looming NBA trade deadline just a few days away, DetroitBadBoys.com has been abuzz with reader trade proposals. Some have been ambitious, others intriguing, while others yet have been strictly for entertainment. The common trait of many of these trades is the addition of a veteran small forward to Detroit's roster. Names like Mike Miller, Andrei Kirilenko, and even Ron Artest have been suggested as inbound players, with Detroit giving up little more than bench players who rarely, if ever, see a spot in Flip Saunders' rotation. Another common trait of these proposals? The departure of Pistons forward Walter Herrmann.

Perhaps these trade proposals are the result of interest in who is being shopped. This also suggests, however, that the Pistons have a hole to address at the small forward position behind Tayshaun Prince. This raises one very important question: is Jarvis Hayes the best option as Detroit's backup small forward? If not, who should the Pistons seek to replace or supplement him before the trade deadline closes? While a player like Mike Miller would be magic behind Prince, this guest blogger believes that there is an easier option. Enter our favorite departing player in DBB trade talk, Walter Herrmann.

As our favorite blogger did with Amir Johnson, I call for more playing time for Walter Herrmann and a spot in Detroit's rotation over Jarvis Hayes. Jarvis has a few obvious problems that must be addressed going into the playoffs. In making this case, I'll outline Jarvis's weaknesses and show how Walter Herrmann is an improvement across the board.

Consistency

This season, Jarvis Hayes has had a noted problem with consistency. He's had some hot streaks, he's had cold streaks, he's had on nights and off nights. In the six games spanning January 12th through the 21st, Hayes shot just 7 of 35 from the field. That stretch included Detroit's longest losing streak of the season, with losses to Sacramento, Chicago and Orlando. In a seven game series, Hayes's performance could be a flip of the coin. Will he help, or will he tank?

While his sample set is much smaller, Walter Herrmann has proven to be a consistent scoring option in his career. In the last 20 games of the 2006-07 season, Herrmann shot a remarkable 61% from the field-- 131 baskets on 214 field goals. During this stretch, Herrmann's worst night involved 40% shooting on 5 field goal attempts against the Boston Celtics. This speaks to the next issue that needs to be addressed with Jarvis Hayes, his shooting.

Shooting Performance

It appears that Flip Saunders' primary employment of Jarvis Hayes is as a perimeter shooter and occasional slasher. Flip runs plays for Hayes to be the converter, so when the ball is in Jarvis's hands, he's going to shoot it. Alongside Hayes' consistency issues, he's not the reliable shooter Detroit needs to hold this job in Flip's playbook. Over his career, Hayes is a 40.7% shooter with a 35% 3-point average. While he's improved to 38.6% from downtown this season, he's no Rip, Tay, or Chauncey. He's also no Walter Herrmann.

Over his career, Herrmann is a 49.5% shooter and 42.2% behind the 3-point line. Herrmann's 61% shooting to close out last season was unreal for any forward not named McDyess. What makes that all the more amazing is that 84 of those 214 field goal attempts were from behind the 3-point line. This included Herrmann's career best game to date on April 14th against the Milwaukee Bucks. Herrmann put up 30 points on 12 of 15 shooting including 6 three pointers and 9 rebounds. Looking at the other 19 games in that streak, its easy to see that this game was not a fluke.

Defense

Defense is a little harder to quantify by reviewing game logs, career stats, etc. Neither Hayes nor Herrmann have significant steal/block numbers that are characteristic of solid defense. For those watching the Detroit Pistons at the Dallas Mavericks on January 9th, you've seen the defensive pest Herrmann can be. In an otherwise hot night for Dirk Nowitzki, Herrmann shut him down on defense, forcing Dirk into poor shot after bad pass after offensive foul. Recalling DBB's LawyerBoy on January 9th, "Regarding our game, me likes what me sees from Hermann. He was playing Nowitzki tough and frustrating him. The foul on Hermann was a complete acting job by Dirk (a very good one, I credit him), and then Hermann baited him back into the offensive foul. Very much the Pistons mantra, I love it." So do I, LB. And while Hayes is not a real liability on defense, Herrmann could be argued to be an improvement here as well.

In closing, there are many of us here who have liked what we've seen out of Walter Herrmann. In a season that is seeing great developments in players like Rodney Stuckey, Aaron Afflalo, Jason Maxiell and Amir Johnson, the only remaining question mark remains in the shooting hands of Jarvis Hayes. Statistically, historically, Herrmann is an improvement over Jarvis Hayes. While this guest blogger was happy to see Jarvis fitting in so well in Detroit, our collective focus remains on an NBA championship. Solving this perceived weakness should not require a trade, only a renewed interest in the participation of Walter Herrmann in Flip Saunder's Pistons rotation.