I don't want to write this article again.
For those of us that watched the Pacers game on Tuesday, a cold reality was splashed in our warm 3-0 faces. The bench needs help. Like badly. Like as soon as possible.
The first quarter had Pistons fans feeling good. We had the lead and Drummond nearly had a double-double. Things we're looking good. And then that 22-0 run happened, and it changed the Pistons play for the rest of the game.
We had two (TWO) bench points in the entire game. Those two (REPEAT TWO) didn't even come until the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach. Our bench was outscored 43-2. The bench performance was so rough it brought back terrors of another second unit that has brought me pain and anguish for years: the Tigers bullpen.
You see, when I'm not watching Pistons Summer League highlights or enjoying the purest Michigan summer, I am a suffering Detroit Tigers fan. Some of you may read that last sentence and think, "wait a second Jamie, the Tigers won the division four times straight? Went to the World Series? Miguel Cabrera? Justin Verlander? How is that suffering?"
And I will answer "bullpen bullpen bullpen bullpen."
*Cue Bless You Boys nodding.*
For Tigers fans, the warning signs we saw in 2012 only worsened in 2013, exploded in our face in 2014, and 2015 made me feel like a crazy person for having to watch the exact same bullpen as 2014. Every year, Tiger fans would enter the offseason saying, "hey maybe we should do something about the bullpen," to which the Tigers would say "nah, lets just focus on other stuff."
The Pistons bench reminds me of those bullpens because of the significant warning signs. The second unit is expected to at the very minimum, maintain the lead or progress of what your starting unit accomplishes. Similar to how a bullpen is supposed to hold a lead for their starting pitcher. That is the bare minimum. If you have a 12-0 run in you, even better.
Tuesday night's game was not the bare minimum. It wasn't even close to competent. Special K was speechless on the broadcast as the Pistons entered the 4th with 0 bench points in comparison to Indiana's 34. Only being able to muster out, "I've never seen a stat like that."
You're not alone in that.
I could spend the next few paragraphs berating our bench for looking like a beatable YMCA pick-up squad. I could do that. But instead I will focus on the big picture. And even then, I get nervous.
The Pistons as they stand today are really betting on two major things: Brandon Jennings coming back and looking like the same guy from last January, and Stanley Johnson becoming the ROY candidate we know he can possibly be. Outside of those two things happening, the Pistons options are slim. Especially if Jennings comes back and doesn't look like the same player he was, because let's be honest - Jennings is our best trade chip. He's an expiring contract that could be valuable in getting a true sixth man for this squad which as we can see, it badly needs.
Big Stan has his first real obstacle in this young season. He acknowledged it head on after the game last night saying he was going to rethink the bench and that changes were coming. This is where I usually would say "In Stan We Trust," but right now I'm scratching my head. Hopefully Big Stan has some anwsers.