March is quickly approaching Detroit basketball fans, a month I earlier warned about. The Pistons will begin the month in the middle of a Washington, New Orleans, and San Antonio road trip then come home to find the playoff bound New York Knicks waiting for them. All this may be more magnified since Detroit has lost 3 of 4 since the All Star break while finishing a home and home to the Indiana Pacers in which the Pistons lost both.
In March it will be one playoff team after another including a brutal west coast trip in the middle of the month with 9 of 14 games are on the road. For those of you wondering what the west coast trip looks like, it is as followed; March 10th at the Clippers, March 11th at Utah, March 13th at Golden State and March 16th at Portland… brutal. Oh yeah, the Pistons then follow that up with Brooklyn and Miami at the Palace.
Essentially though what March may do is move the Pistons back into a position to receive a top five pick.
At the 22-36 the Pistons sit 14 games under .500 and are 6 losses away from another sub .500 record. I’m willing to bet they don’t make it back from that West Coast trip without that happening.
I still maintain the Pistons are being irresponsible by not investigating a Greg Monroe trade, I was critical of Moose at the halfway mark and received much criticism from Pistons fans (and probably rightfully so). Monroe had a January where he posted over 17 points a game while early February netted more success with more double digit games including 3 of 4 games of 20 points or more.
Although the Pistons did only go 1-3 with Monroe’s 20 point outburst I was truly hoping to be wrong regarding my feelings on Monroe. Still though Pistons fans fail to realize Monroe isn’t anything to fear on the defensive side of the ball as teams continue to run right at the flat footed Moose. Furthermore when your big man’s best skill is passing out of the low block instead of scoring, it’s a problem.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Monroe is bad, I just see him as a number three option getting 18 and 10 while cleaning up instead of a franchise player.
Brandon Knight is another blue chip the Pistons were very happy slid to them in the draft but Knight has regressed greatly this year. Sometimes point guards need to grow slower as becoming a coach on the floor isn’t the easiest of assignments plus not every point is Chris Paul ready. But the hope is Knight can learn from newly acquired Jose Calderon and his great sight of the floor.
Currently though Knight moved to the 2 guard and has not looked good overall. He had 21 points recently in a win over the Bobcats on 7-11 shooting which shows the type of scoring impact Knight can have. When the Pistons win Knight shoots 46%, averaging 16+ points a game. In losses he shoots just 37% and averages 11 points a game. But with a knee injury continuing to develop and learn more about the young guard is unlikely the rest of this season. One of these lessons that needs to be learned from Knight is just how good he is with the ball and whether or not he can grow into more of a facilitator.
Highly touted Pistons rookie Andre Drummond is also another guy dealing with injury (fractured tailbone) which should be for the rest of the year. There’s absolutely no reason to rush him back and risk further injury since at this point Detroit is playing for very little.
As it stands head coach Lawrence Frank is catching heat for the Pistons lack of progress. In a recent article for the Free Press, Jamie Samuelsen mentioned Frank as being the most likely coach in the State of Michigan to be fired, even though he has worked harder than everyone else.
The Pistons still need an identity as they still sit in the lower third of the league in assist and points per game (21st in points, 24th in assist). This will also be the 5th straight year under .500 for Detroit (I’m making this promise before it even happens). To go a step further this will be 4 straight years of a winning percentage in the .300’s.
Something has to give…