Okay, so most of you are wondering if I am on any medication after reading the title of this piece. Well I am here to tell you I am completely sober writing this and I am also here to tell you it would be in the organization’s best interest to hold onto the two big men.
There’s one thing we know for sure about the Pistons last season and that is coach Frank’s mistake to not play Andre Drummond more minutes. Personally, I loved how Frank used him in the beginning of the year, he slowly increased his minutes to about 20 a night. Problem was, he kept him at that average throughout the whole season. Andre Drummond played 26 of his first 50 games above 20 minutes a night, which doesn’t seem that bad but 11 of those 50 games, Drummond played under 15 minutes a night. Either coach Frank did a very good job monitoring his minutes, depending on his match-up and his fatigue or he just handled the situation very poorly.
After the draft, I, like many others thought, Drummond would have a hard time getting into the rotation. After watching the summer league games where he displayed flashes of being a dominant rim protector in the near future, I figured it would be easy for him to contend for a starting role. I mean Jason Maxiell is starting in front of him, we all know Maxiell is a liability offensively and though he can block some shots, hes a very undersized one on one post defender. My hope was that Drummond would eventually see more minutes leading up to the all-star break then possibly start after the break. Maybe coach Frank had the same vision, but an injury early in February changed all of that for the big man. Unfortunately, we were stuck with Maxiell until further notice.
In support of Maxiell:
If I was Jason Maxiel, the only thing I’d be worried about is; his next contract. Lets be honest, Maxiell is a great energy guy and hes gotten the fans on their feet on numerous occasions in the Palace since he was a rookie. From big time blocks to monstrous put backs, and to alley oop jams, Maxiell knows how to soar the energy in the building. This was all done on short spurts, put Maxiell in for a few minutes to rest the starters and take him out when his liabilities become prominent. This was a luxury the Pistons had during their golden age when we had Rasheed and Ben Wallace. This is a luxury we can have now with up and coming all star’s Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Maxiell has been on the team since 2005, through good and bad, Maxiel has seen it all. He’s played for many coaches and was never considered to be one of the players laughing on the bench during a tough loss when Kuester was the head coach. He’s always been a quiet player and maintained a blue collar attitude in the locker room. In order for the Pistons to go back to where they were, they need a coach willing to bring back that persona in the locker room and they need players with that tough gritty mentality. Maxiell is nasty, he’s a bad boy type player and with Drummond appearing to be the clear-cut starter heading into next season, Maxiell will see his minutes decrease substantially but his efficiency should increase. As mentioned from before, Maxiell is beneficial for short stretches and after all, the Pistons are lacking big man depth, so why not keep him? Sure he’s going to test the free agency market but teams know he’s not worth his old contract, and he’s best suited for a limited role off the bench, so he’ll be paid like one. The Pistons would be very fortunate to offer him a small contract worth between 1-2 million a year. Will he accept? I don’t know, maybe not, but it’s worth a try.
In Support of Charlie Villanueva
Joe Dumars made a terrible mistake signing Charlie Villanueva to a large contract. He should have known Charlie Villanueva’s weak rebounding and defensive skills belong no where on our starting rotation. A big man that can’t defend and rebound? Does that sound like the ideal big man you’d want protecting the rim for your ball club? NO. I wasn’t against signing Villanueva, I was against giving him that much money and that much responsibility, simply because he’s not capable of it. Most Pistons fans are suggesting that Joe Dumars should his amnesty clause on his 8.5 million dollar salary. I want to remind fans that Villanueva has only one more year left on his contract. I also want to remind fans that this year’s free agency group is not the most talented. The cap we clear won’t come to use, players would be reluctant to come to a team with question marks this year. It would make more sense to expire his contract and hopefully by next season the team’s identity would be more established, which in result entices future free agents to join our ball club. We also clearly lack big man depth and with two young big men in the lineup, Drummond and Monroe are bound to see heavy minutes. The need for a stretch four in today’s NBA is very important. Don’t believe me? Ask Toronto, Brian Colangelo’s phone would not stop ringing when word came out that he’d be fielding offers for Andrea Bargnani.
A stretch four obviously stretches the court, by rolling out to the three point line, a defender would leave the paint and contest the shot. In case of the Pistons, having Villanueva on the court with Drummond was very wise, it was evident in last year’s 10 game span from the end of December to the beginning of January (7-3). During this winning streak, coach Frank gave the bench heavy minutes, the lineup featured Bynum, Stuckey,Singler, Villanueva, and Drummond. Villanueva on the court allowed the big man, Drummond to go one on one down low, whether its for put backs, offensive boards or oop jams, the Pistons were very successful. Similar to Maxiell, Villanueva is a liability on the defensive end, he’s weak and is a bad defender, this becomes evident when he’s in the game for long periods of time. Villanueva is someone who should come off the bench and provide a scoring run by knocking down a few three pointers. The guy is 6’10, he can shoot the 3 and has a set of post moves, I’m sure the new head coach could find use for him. The Pistons clearly have a problem putting some points on the board, so why let go one of our only shooters on the team?