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Van Gundy: Dinwiddie shows poise but needs to score

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — Amid the disappointment, one of the bright spots for the Pistons could be the development of some young players.

That includes point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who is riding a roller-coaster his rookie season.

Dinwiddie, a second-round pick from Colorado, is averaging 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds and had an encouraging stretch, including a career-high 20 points in a victory at Washington. But that balanced with a 2-for-11 night Wednesday in a loss to Philadelphia.

"He's actually making good decisions — his problem, like a lot of our guys' problem, is not getting the ball in the basket," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He's shooting 29 percent and under 20 percent from 3. That's certainly not good enough to win games."

In a backup role, Dinwiddie is having to come off the bench and play with the reserves and maybe a starter or two, who are often warmed up and ready to contribute by the time he breaks a sweat.

"The biggest thing for me is I've never been a high-energy, sparkplug type of guy," Dinwiddie said. "Sometimes, trying to be that is not what I'm used to but something I have to do for the team. That's a different role. I'm used to starting in college and feeling the game."

Getting the shooting stroke down, though, is usually one of the last skills to catch on for a rookie. And Dinwiddie is having to ride the wave of learning the balance of whether to shoot, set up teammates or try to contribute in another way.

Van Gundy is seeing flashes of how Dinwiddie is handling that, and is impressed with the progress.

"How he's playing — his composure, his poise on the floor, his ability to handle pressure — that's all been good," Van Gundy said. "He's got to get the ball in the basket. You can do a lot of things well but when you're shooting 29 percent and 18 percent from 3, it's almost impossible to say you're playing well."

Given the shot clock and all the things going on during a particular play, Dinwiddie pointed to necessity as a reason for some of his misses.

Playing without Greg Monroe hasn't helped, either.

"Ninety percent of my shots are good shots; it's never something you worry about and you just try to make the next shot," he said. "You can't get tentative; if you have a good open shot, you have to take it, just for flow of the game. If you pass it up, you force another teammate into a tougher position."

Monroe still missing

Monroe (knee) has missed the last two games, and isn't likely to play in either game this weekend — Saturday against the Bulls or Sunday on the road against the Celtics — after missing practice Friday.

"He didn't do anything (today); I don't think he'll play this weekend," Van Gundy said.

The Pistons are trying to work around Monroe's absence in the middle, which has put more focus on Andre Drummond.

Without Monroe, Anthony Tolliver has started the last two games, averaging 12 points and six rebounds.



Bulls at Pistons

Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, The Palace, Auburn Hills

TV/radio: FSD/WMGC

Outlook: The Pistons have lost 10 of 11. ... C Greg Monroe (right knee strain) likely will miss both games this weekend. ... The teams have split two games.