The season is winding down and soon enough the best 16 teams will duke it out, with most essentially wasting their collective energy because we all know only the Warriors or Spurs have the goods to win it all.
Don't get salty now -- several teams have goals of winning a playoff series, progressing to that next step, keeping their season alive for as long as possible yada yada -- there's no harm in that. It sure makes for suspense, drama and other fun feelings we get from watching grown men organize strategies to shoot a ball into a hoop. This game keeps some of us from jumping off really tall places, you know.
At any rate, NBA playoff time is drawn out a little bit, but it's mad fun and will be increasingly so if our Bad Boys (boy were they bad on Friday) make it into the field for the first time in a long time.
For fun's sake, and for the sake of the potentially forgotten, let's take a look at how former Pistons are contributing to their squads' playoff hopes.
Jonas Jerebko (Celtics)
The stats don't jump out at you -- and why would they, as Jonas is playing just 14 minutes per game. He's a staple in coach Brad Stevens' rotation though, appearing in every game this season but one. He's shot a worthy 34 for 83 from deep, good for 41%.
As we are all familiar, Jonas does a lot of nice basketball things like space the floor, play versatile defense, get the ball to where it needs to be, and he's pretty handsome to boot. However, he just isn't especially strong at anything. It's all good though -- Jonas will surely make some impact plays in the playoffs and I wouldn't be surprised if it helps the Celtics win a series against the Hornets or Hawks, for example.
Video via NESN
Amir Johnson (Celtics)
Amir's role is shrinking and shrinking lately with the Celtics deciding to go small. But make no mistake, he's still a valuable part of the Celtics' big man rotation as he brings a variety of skills to both ends of the floor. Yet shooting-wise this season, he's had struggles, posting a career worst 53% from the charity stripe and just 23% from downtown after hitting 40% (19 makes) last season with Toronto.
With Amir's hefty $12 million contract from his Raptor days, changes are a coming in the off-season, as Hardwood Houdini wrote a few weeks ago. Things right now are going to be alright, as surely we will hear lot of good about Amir's play during these playoffs in what could be his only showing with Boston, unless he's back next season on a much more reasonable deal.
Kyle Singler (Thunder)
Kyle had such a brutal start to the 2015 season. Some called him the worst player in the NBA, and the numbers totally backed it up.
The rebirth of Kyle began in January when he improved his shooting numbers and his defensive techniques for what the Thunder needed. He's been a concrete member of the Thunder rotation ever since. Much more recently, as of the last seven games in fact, Kyle has played at least 20 minutes in six of them. Kyle is now slowly turning into the wing the Thunder had hoped for. Come playoff time the Thunder may cut their current rotation of 10 down to nine, leaving Kyle or Anthony Morrow as the unlucky deletion.
Rodney Stuckey (Pacers)
Stuckey was playing relatively well (except his poorer than usual three point shooting) before an ankle injury that kept him out 18 games in January and February. In seven games since Stuckey has been back, he's playing consistent minutes off the bench and has put up a few nice efforts.
The Pacers sit in the seventh seed currently, 3.5 games back of Miami for the fourth seed and 1.5 games up on the eighth seed Detroit. The Pacers are in no way a shoo-in for the postseason, but with the way the Bulls and Wizards are going the Pacers should feel good about themselves. Plus the good news that the bench seems to be turning into a strength now that it is healthier:
A bench with a contributing Lawson and healthy combination of Stuckey/Miles could make a huge difference during the final part of the regular season for a team dying to win games and stay healthy before the playoffs.
Josh Smith (Rockets)
With three DNP-COACH'S DECISIONs over the last three games, I've included Josh here because by sitting on the bench he is helping his squad grab a playoff spot. So I assume J.B. Bickerstaff knows what's up.
Charlie Villanueva (Mavericks)
So far this month Charlie has played 12 minutes and hasn't scored a point, but did block a shot. Anyway, in summation, see just above.
For your own sake, have a merry weekend!