When you trade away both your starting and second-string small forwards, there's going to be a void in the lineup. Monday night was point guard Jose Calderon's Piston debut, and with Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye no longer on the roster, Lawrence Frank had some major adjustments to make at the small forward spot. Starting shooting guard Kyle Singler, who had originally been drafted as a three, was moved into the starting small forward spot. Brandon Knight filled the shooting guard role with Calderon taking control of the point. The starting lineup was different, but no one could say that it wasn't Frank's best option.
Likely the result of a far superior New York Knicks team, the Pistons were blown out 99-85 on Monday night in New York. Even worse, Singler and Knight had only five points each as they struggled to get used to playing alongside Calderon. Frank tried a few more options at small forward as the game continued, putting Rodney Stuckey
and little-used Jonas Jerebko
in at the three spot. The results weren't much better. Stuckey recorded 14 points, but most of his buckets didn't come while playing the three.
After the game Lawrence Frank talked about the lineup shuffle the Pistons experienced with Calderon now in the fold:
"Jose's going to be very good for us, and it's just going to be a process of getting all our guys on the same page," Frank said in the post game. "You're going to see some, as we move forward, some different lineups out there. Like I said, we're going to continue to evaluate…we have to continue to evaluate, see where we're at, and see how different pieces work together."
There's little doubt that Singler is the Pistons best option to start at the three, but Frank's options aren't clear after that. When the Pistons brought Austin Daye off the bench before the trade, the second unit was able to stretch the floor with Daye's outside shooting coming off of dribble penetration from Will Bynum. With Daye gone, the Pistons don't have a reserve three that can stretch the defense anymore. Charlie Villanueva
is deep threat, but he's not a three. Rodney Stuckey
is a bruising slasher against other guards, but when playing the three, he's likely to be on the wrong end of a size advantage every time he steps on the floor. Jerebko has the size, but he hasn't played well all season and his reinsertion into the rotation has more to do with the Pistons need to plug in a "body" than it has to do with his play.
The Pistons will figure it out, and the team will look better playing with Calderon. The question is, what shape will the lineup take when better basketball
begins to resurface?
, Charlie Villanueva
, Detroit Pistons
, Jonas Jerebko
, Jose Calderon
, Kyle Singler
, Rodney Stuckey
, Tayshaun Prince
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