The Detroit Pistons managed to win only 29 games after acquiring Josh Smith, the franchise's highest-paid player ever (per annum), via free agency, Brandon Jennings via trade, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope via the lottery. Combined with a full season of good health for Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, that is a remarkable achievement for all the wrong reasons.
Over the next several days, Detroit Bad Boys will assign the credit and blame where it thinks it's due in its postseason grades. Grades are on a four-point scale, and you are seeing the average of the DBB hive-mind with comments, surly and otherwise.
Today, part one -- the young (and youngish) guys who never really got off the bench. Next to each player is a link to Detroit Bad Boy's pre-season prognostications. You can read 'em for a good laugh.
Tony Mitchell: 2.20
Mike Payne: I saw firsthand just how raw Mitchell was at Summer League last July, so I wasn't surprised to see him chained to the bench. When his number was called, however, he executed well enough to warrant a continued investment from the team.
revken: Mitchell got almost no opportunity to play, but showed flashes of his athletic ability and promise.
brgulker: The grade is close to meaningless here. Mitchell didn't get enough minutes to tell us anything meaningful. His athleticism alone should keep him on the roster, and his work ethic will determine how long he stays there.
Sean_Corp: Mitchell never got much play, but he would do occasionally awesome things on the floor. More troubling is that he didn't seem to make the type of progress his second-round counterpart Peyton Siva did. The talent is there but I''m a little concerned that he might not have the drive to maximize all those natural gifts. Still, way too early to write him off.
Packey: I was excited to see Mitchell get more playing time this season and it just never happened. How much is that on the Pistons and how much of that is on Mitchell (being young and not polished enough)? I think he deserves a much longer look.
Peyton Siva: 1.45
revken: Siva was forced into action early when he was not really ready, but his play at the season's end showed that he had worked hard to develop his skills. He showed maturity and ability as a floor general and defender.
Mike Payne: I want Siva to succeed as much as the next guy, but the lack of a defined role made that an uphill battle. From a numbers standpoint, it was simply an ugly year for Peyton.
brgulker: As a Michigan fan, I'm not sure I'll ever quite get over the troll job Dumars pulled (of course, not on purpose) by passing on Trey Burke in the lottery and picking Peyton Siva in the second round. That said, once you don the red, white, and Piston blue, you're my boy...blue? Like Mike, I'm pulling for Peyton to find his niche. On the upside, he played very hard on both ends, which is more than can be said about some of his teammates. On the downside, his assist and turnover rates won't cut it in the NBA without significant improvement, and his net rating (ORTG - DRTG) is -24. Only Chauncey Billups' ghost performed worse.
Sean_Corp: Siva had to be viewed as on the roster bubble looking ahead to next year. He didn't play well in spot minutes early in the season and with Jennings, Will Bynum, and an option on Chauncey Billups there was a chance they'd let this point guard go for a chance at a veteran or maybe a lottery pick. But a surge at the end of the season did a lot to secure a position on the team for next year. He will figure out the defense with more experience but most encouraging was an increased ability to shoot from range. Excited for what next year holds.
Packey: I work with a die-hard Louisville fan, so Siva has been the topic of many water cooler conversations, especially as a Michigan college basketball supporter myself. He's high character, a hustler and you know he'll put in the effort to improve his game. He might have too much to improve to be a long-time fixture in the NBA, though.
Luigi Datome: 0.33
Mike Payne: When you're brought in to shoot 3's and you put up the worst 3-point percentage on the team, the nice back-story (and hair!) doesn't earn you any sympathy.
brgulker: Lauded as one of the purest shooters in Europe, my hopes were high for GiGi. Those hopes didn't materialize, but two hundred minutes and change isn't enough to know for sure. I vote to keep him around and hope that his shooting stroke just took an extra year to cross the Atlantic.
revken: Datome never did showcase the shooting ability that earned him his contract, though injuries and circumstance played a role in limiting his opportunities.
Sean_Corp: This shooter never shot and it was crushingly disappointing. He either doesn't have the talent to make it in the NBA or needs to spend the summer shooting 100,000 3s from NBA range to get more comfortable. While he showed more than expected on defense, as a ballhandler and a passer, when you're paid to shoot 3s and you convert 17.9 percent, you have failed.
Packey: Perhaps the biggest disappointing player for me because the expectations were high for him to come in and shoot (and make) threes, stretch the floor and really rock that flow. Unfortunately, his playing time and his three-point shooting percentage never reached a respectable level, and the highlight of his season was Andre Drummond comparing him to Jesus.
Josh Harrellson: 3.75
brgulker: on paper, Jorts' skillset is exactly what the Pistons' offense needed: efficient scoring and floor spacing. Whenever his number was called, he produced. His net impact on the season wasn't big, but only because he didn't get enough minutes for his production to matter. The Pistons' new GM should make retaining Harrellson as a key cog of the pistons bench a priority.
Mike Payne: Harrellson was the signing of the summer, a revelation on both ends of the court. He'd have had more playing time if it wasn't for injuries and the guy Greg Monroe was forced to split time with at power forward.
revken: Harrellson was a surprise before he got hurt, and gave the Pistons a toughness and ability to stretch the floor that reminded oldtimers of Bill Laimbeer.
Sean_Corp: Harrellson was a pleasant surprise who should have definitely gotten more chance as the first big off the bench. He showed shooting ability and also a decent penchant for protecting the paint. Lack of support from coaches and an injury derailed his chances, but I hope he gets a good look next season.
Packey: He was starting to earn his due until a knee injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. I look forward to seeing him playing twice as many minutes per game next year.
Part two will include Chauncey Billups, Will Bynum, Rodney Stuckey, Charlie Villanueva, and Jonas Jerebko.