Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Above the Fold - Picking and rolling

It's high time I touched on the Detroit Pistons in "Above the Fold."

It's early in the season, and it's pretty obvious that the Pistons are a work in progress. With the changes to the starting lineup, the injection of youth to the Pistons' bench, and Flip Saunders still trying to develop a rotation, I have a feeling the team we see struggling somewhat in November won't be the team we see in May.

Injuries have also taken a toll, which is something that hasn't been an issue in the past, with Rodney Stuckey still recovering from his broken hand, Amir Johnson, Chauncy Billups, Antonio McDyess, and Rip Hamilton all missing games, and Rasheed Wallace currently fighting off a sore knee. The very slow start by Hamilton also bears close watching, though admittedly, it's much too early in the season to be worried.

Despite the adversity, the Pistons are tied for 1st place in the Central with the Bucks, while not coming close to playing their best basketball.

You have to wonder about the MSM decision making process as to what they deem is news. Do the beat writers all huddle together at the Pistons' Aubrun Hills practice facility, and decide what the theme of the day will be in their respective fishwraps? Because today, 2 of the 3 local beat writers write about the same thing, defending the pick and roll.

Mlive's A. Sherrod Blakely informs us that Chauncy Billups calls the NBA "A pick and roll league," and gives us a quick pick and roll history lesson...

The play has been around for years, but it was made popular by retired Utah greats John Stockton and Karl Malone, arguably the game's greatest tandem at running the pick-and-roll.

The play, which usually involves a big man setting a pick for a point guard and either rolling to the basket or rolling to an open spot to shoot a jumper, has become a must in every team's playbook.

It's in every team's playbook from middle school on up, actually. You can't stop it when the pick and roll is run correctly. Stockton and Malone would give a pick and roll clinic every night. They'd also give a clinic on dirty play, but that's another post...

The man who believe that bloggers are a societal scourge, the News' Chris McCosky, also decides the pick and roll is big news! He tells us the the Pistons, who were ate up by the pick and roll Sunday by Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, need to defend the play better.

But even if you throw Utah out of the discussion, Detroit knows it has to do a better job defending that play -- starting Wednesday night when LeBron James and Cleveland come to The Palace.

"What makes that play difficult against Cleveland is they run it with LeBron and a small forward usually covers LeBron," Billups said. "Small forwards are not used to guarding pick-and-rolls, and that's a play that's tough enough to cover for guys who are used to defending it."

The Pistons have had success defending the pick-and-roll in past seasons, and they've defended it well at times this season.

If they couldn't stop Carlos Boozer, good luck defending LeBron James. Whatever, McCosky is more worried about bloggers ruining journalism, anyway.

At the Freep, there's no mention of the pick and roll. Must not have gotten the memo... Jamie Samuelson, with no radio gig to give his views, has crossed over to the dark side, and is doing a weekly blog for the Free Press. McCosky can't be happy about this turn of events. Samuelson starts today's post with his thoughts regarding the Pistons, and he believes "things are looking pretty good" despite their fairly pedestrian 8-5 start.

The injuries have provided nice openings for Jarvis Hayes and Jason Maxiell. Hayes is a classic Dumars pick-up. Totally under the radar, but fits a role on this team. I'll admit I'm surprised by Maxiell. I know he had big games last season, but I thought those were the exception and not the norm. He really seems to be a good, valuable big man off the bench.

When it comes to the Pistons, the blogosphere has more interesting things to say than the pick and roll fixated MSM.

Detroit Bad Boys gives out grades! Hey, even though it's only 13 games into the season, why not? It's better than writing about the pick and roll... As for the grades themselves, who gets the highest grade so far?

Antonio McDyess – A

It might come as a surprise that McDyess has been the Pistons best rebounder since Big Ben’s departure, which is why he should continue to start even though his game lacks some of the flash of the Pistons younger bigs. What is interesting is that Dice has gotten off to extremely slow starts the last two seasons. He is presently shooting 58% from the field. If this is the cold start, Dice might be carrying the team come April. Either way, the Pistons might consider giving him the rock.

The Pistons may have lost their 6th man, but Dice has smoothly moved into the starting lineup.

Need4Sheed, home to everything that is Pistons multimedia, but no pick and roll, has their alway thorough game recap up. The latest being Sunday's loss to the Jazz, interspersed with game quotes, and Natalie's own Sheedtastic thoughts...

Sheed has been helping from the sidelines, he wasn't happy with all the jump shots his team was taking. "(Bleep) all those jumpshots," Wallace told them. "Go to the basket!" Thank you Sheed.

'Sheed needs to be a coach after he retires. He just has to be! There wouldn't be a more entertaining sideline in all of basketball.

Motoring also has their Jazz recap up, hypothesizing that the reason the Pistons have trouble beating Utah is that they are a mirror image of themselves. No pick and roll, by the way...

The Jazz are most like the Pistons in my opinion and perhaps that is what the Pistons have the most trouble with. They have solid starters and defined roles and Detroit can never seem to execute their game plan against them. It will not be long before the Jazz are mentioned in the same breath as the Spurs, Suns, and Mavericks, and yet, they play very different than those elite West teams.

That's my pick and roll "Above the Fold" for Tuesday, 11-27-07!

1 comment:

  1. I am reminded of what Chuck Daly said about the pick and roll and why the Pistons ran it so much in the 80's. He said, "We couldn't defend it in practice, so I decided to run it in games. Nobody could defend it in games so I kept running it." The Pistons' pick and roll turned out a lot better, championship wise, than the Jazz' did. Of course it helps to have a slow guy who can't jump shooting threes on the roll part of it.