What the Pistons want for Christmas
Auburn Hills — Christmas cheer has been in short order for the Detroit Pistons this season.
Things haven’t gone as well as owner Tom Gores and, by extension, coach and president Stan Van Gundy, expected, and the franchise is a half-game behind the intentionally bad Philadelphia 76ers in last place of the Eastern Conference.
They paid Josh Smith to go away, and Smith found a new home in Houston, signaling a change in direction and on-floor hierarchy.
With that in mind, here are a few precious Christmas gifts for a few of the key components who reside at 6 Championship Drive.
Pistons fans: Sanity and direction. Too many times they’ve heard about a change in plans or player upheaval or player misbehavior or coaching changes or … you get the picture. The loyal fans who trek up I-75 night after night, would certainly like to see a return on their investment by way of smart decisions off the floor and genuine effort on the floor. I’m sure they’ll live with the results.
Tom Gores, Pistons owner: More butts in the seats for the franchise that’s last in the NBA in attendance.
Van Gundy, Pistons president: A shooter or dynamic swing man, preferably one who plays small forward to alleviate the dependency on Caron Butler and Kyle Singler. He’s combing the trade market for players who fit his profile, guys who’ll conform to his style of thinking and who can take the coach grating on him, night after night.
Andre Drummond, Pistons center: One thing: One reliable post move. All he needs is one thing he can rely on as a player on the block. OK, two things: to realize that he doesn’t need to be Hakeem Olajuwon to be effective. A defender, shot-blocker and finisher is plenty.
Greg Monroe, Pistons center-forward: More respect from the refs. He gets banged around driving to the basket and, in his mind, doesn’t get the calls of his peers, leading to inconsistent finishes at the rim. And more confidence in his jumper, one that will make him deadly as a scorer.
Oh yeah, sanity, too, with the endless questions about his impending free agency.
Brandon Jennings, Pistons point guard: Freedom (and playing time in the fourth quarter). Jennings naturally deferred to Smith on the floor during Smith’s time here, citing Smith’s standing and salary. Even though Van Gundy calls every play, Jennings would certainly like the freedom to drive this car and test its speed and limits, which has its positives and occasionally wild negatives.
D.J. Augustin, Pistons guard: A return to the valuable player he was in Chicago last season.
Spencer Dinwiddie, Pistons rookie guard: “Can someone get me out of these moth balls, please? I just want to play!”
Gigi Datome, Pistons forward: A chance to display his deadly shooting in front of several thousand people. He’s a marvel in practice, but it hasn’t translated to the pro game, and who knows if it actually will.
Jonas Jerebko, Pistons forward: With Smith gone, he’ll get more playing time, consistently. He got his Christmas wish, in some form.
Pistons coach Van Gundy: Just one thing: Just one brazen move by the president of basketball operations so the coach can no longer pull his remaining follicles out during games. And probably some defensive consistency by his team, too.
Pistons fans, part II: A safe and merry Christmas