Detroit Pistons: Grading Each Players’ Performance in 2012-13


The Detroit Pistons are suffering through another tough season.  It was not that long ago that they were regularly in the Eastern Conference Finals and battling for championships.  Their current play makes that a far too distant memory though.

Poor personnel decisions and bad play have them near the bottom of the league.  As their season is mercifully coming to an end, it is time to take a look at the grades for the team.

Coach: Lawrence Frank:  D+

Frank has been put into a no-win situation and is now facing questions about his future.  He was given a bad roster and is forced to have players logging heavy minutes that are barely worthy of a bench spot.  Many players know they will not be around next season so it is hard to get them to buy into the system.

As far as issues that he can control, Corey Maggette and Jonas Jerebko have spent far too much time living on the bench and not getting into games.  The plan to bring along rookie Andre Drummond slowly was admirable, but once he showed that he was ready to play, Frank resisted giving him minutes especially next to Greg Monroe.

Due to the roster, he should get another season.

Greg Monroe has been the Pistons’ best player this season. (Photo Credit: mariselise,

Greg Monroe: B

Greg Monroe has been the team’s best player this year.  He is averaging 16 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.  His rebounds are on pace with last year (9.7), but his points and assists have both increased.  He has had a double-double 35 times this season.

Despite the improved scoring, his shooting percentage has dropped to 48.2 percent, which is a part of a three-year decline.  Often the offense relies too much on him which allows defenses to focus on him.

He will be one of the cornerstones of the rebuilding project for the team.

Jose Calderon: B

Jose Calderon was traded to the team on Jan. 30 and has played well since his arrival.  He is a pass-first point guard who will be a free agent after the season.  While he has provided the leadership and on-court direction that the team needs, it is unlikely that he stays.

There are not enough shooters on the team for fully take advantage of his abilities.  While it would be nice to see him setting up Monroe and Drummond over the next couple of years, unless the team greatly overpays for him then it is difficult to see he re-signing with them.

Brandon Knight has had an up-and-down year with the Pistons. (Photo Credit: Keith Allison,

Brandon Knight:  C

Brandon Knight is an interesting player.  He is has a shooting guard’s mentality, but is stuck in a point guard’s body.   When Jose Calderon arrived via trade, Knight was given the chance to play shooting guard.

He has proven that he can score but his lack of size hurts him while playing defense against taller players.    It is unclear what role, if any, Knight will play in the Piston’s future.  Will he go back to point guard, will he stay at shooting guard or will he be moved?

The second-year player has seen a slight increase in points, rebounds, assists and steals this season.  He does struggle with inconsistency though.  He has just as likely to have a good game as he is to disappear.  He has scored 20 or more points 20 times this season but, he has also had 22 games where he has scored less than 10 points.

Rodney Stuckey:  D+

Rodney Stuckey has had a frustrating career.  He has spent his six-year career either playing out of position or in a system that doesn’t fit his talent.  He has tried to adjust, but it has yet to truly work.  Ideally he is a player that comes off the bench with the green light to keep shooting.

His scoring and assists are the lowest since his rookie year.

Will Bynum: B-

For old-school Piston fans, Will Bynum could be this team’s version of Vinnie Johnson.  Johnson was known as “the Microwave” and would come off the bench providing instant offense.  Bynum is capable of big scoring nights, but is just as likely to spend his minutes setting up teammates.

In only 18 minutes a game, he averages 9.3 points and 3.4 assists while shooting 45.4 percent from the field.

Kyle Singler: D+

Kyle Singler has been asked to be the starter at shooting guard and small forward this season.  The reality is that he is not a starter at either position in this league.  Ideally he is a player that comes off the bench, hits a couple of threes and sits back down.

Now despite being asked to play over his head, Singler has given maximum effort and deserves credit for his hustle.

Andre Drummond: C

Drummond will be a defensive force in this league; in less than 20 minutes per game he grabs 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.  His offense needs some work, which is why he did not receive a higher grade, as most of his points come off of dunks.  There are times when it appears that he only has about a two foot range on his shot.  He will need to work to improve that.

At this point he is not someone who the team would run set plays for however he can finish once in motion.  A back injury kept him out of 21 games and slowed his development.  He may never be an offensive force in the league but he will be a rebounding and shot blocking beast.  With him and Monroe, the Pistons should have a formidable front court.

Jason Maxiell: C-

Maxiell is another player being asked to do more than he is capable of.  He has started 71 games for the team.  Sadly he is not a starter.  Ideally he is an energy player that comes off of the bench to provide hustle plays for 10-12 minutes a game.

Despite shooting the second worst field goal percentage of his career, he is averaging his second most points of his career at 6.9. He also has had his best rebounding season with 5.7 and blocks with 1.3 per game.  He plays hard every night in a role that his over his head.

Jonas Jerebko: C-

Jonas Jerebko ended up in Frank’s doghouse this season.  He spent most of the early part of the season not playing.  Once he was given playing time he responded well.  He can still be erratic but is capable of good scoring nights.

Starting Jan. 30 he has been back in the rotation for most games.  When he is given good playing time he responds.  In games where he gets at least 20 minutes of playing time, he averages 14.4 points.

Charlie Villanueva: An under-achiever. Photo Credit: Keith Allison,

Charlie Villanueva: D+

Charlie Villanueva will never live up to the big contract he signed before the 2009-10 season.   He only scores seven points and grabs 3.7 rebounds per game.  There is a noticeable improvement in effort and defense this season.  It still does not mean that he is any good, but the extra effort at least is worth a slight bump in his grade.

Kris Middleton: C-

While only getting into 22 games this season, he has shown the ability to be a solid bench player.  He only averages 5.5 points per game, but he never knows when he will get into a game and how much time he will get.  It is very difficult to get into a rhythm with no set schedule.

He has hit double figures for points in six of the games he has played in. Since March 8, he has started to be part of the rotation.  While still not consistent, he has a low of six minutes and a high of 26, at least he is playing.  In that span he has raised his scoring average by 2.1 points per game.

Kim English: D

Kim English has played in 36 games this year.  He does not seem to do much once in a game though.  He has per game totals of 3.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and .9 assists show that he really does not provide much once in the game.

Viacheslav Kravtsov:   INC

Viacheslav Kravtsov has only played in 22 games this season.  When he does get into a game it is generally when the outcome is already decided.  He has only played in three games when the final score was less than 10 points.

With his playing time coming in garbage time, it makes it difficult to truly gauge his game.  At best, he appears to be a big body who can provide physical minutes off the bench.

Corey Maggette- INC

Corey Maggette was brought in to provide a veteran presence but was banished to the bench early in the season.  He has not played since Dec 15 and only played in 18 games.  It is not like anyone else at the small forward position has shined so it is unclear as to why he has not been used.

He will move on in the off-season with the hopes of getting one last contract with a team.

There is much work to be done this offseason.  With a high draft pick and money to spend in free agency hopefully they will be able to take a big step forward.