Will Bynum filling proper role with Pistons, at last

There has been a very good reason why the Detroit Pistons have under-achieved for the last few seasons:

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Will Bynum currently out of Pistons’ rotation

Pistons coach Lawrence Frank has chose to go with a three-guard lineup of Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon and Brandon Knight as of late. That has left Will Bynum out of the rotation.

Other than the final three minutes in the loss at Boston on Dec. 30, Bynum has not played in the Pistons last three games.

“It’s hard,” Frank said. “Will’s a very, very good player. He’s obviously a guy we see as a game changer, especially on the offensive end. Someone who … is one of our better pick-and-roll players. But it’s hard to play three point guards, especially cause outside of Rodney our guards are small.

“Will’s definitely going to have his day in the sun. He’s going to help us win games, but right now this is where we’re at.

“Especially with a new coach and a new system the one thing I’ve said to the group and I also say to myself is, ‘Flexibility.’ We don’t have all the answers right now. Will we feel is part of the solution. We’ll just see how it all fits.”

Bynum played nearly 13 minutes in the season opener, finishing with six points on 1 for 5 shooting, three assists, three rebounds and two turnovers. Bynum did not play in the home opener against Cleveland, played the final 3:25 at Boston on Dec. 30 and did not play in the Pistons win over Indiana on New Year’s Eve.

Even though Bynum hasn’t been playing, Frank still feels he can be a part of the team’s success.

“Even when you’re not playing you can contribute and part of that is being a good teammate, being involved, especially as a point guard you should really be engaged in the game,” Frank said. “Everyone on this level can play. A lot of it is about opportunity and combinations on the floor. What may be your lineup today could be different a week from now, could be different a month from now. Really the guys play determines how much they do or do not play.

“(With) Will, it’s not a lack of confidence, a lack of faith, a lack of belief or lack of ability. It’s just we have small guards and we’re not a good rebounding team. Defensive rebounding takes precedent and we’ll go from there. But Will will have his day.”

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and, the fact is … despite what certain so-called “stats gurus” might like to perpetuate throughout the blogosphere:

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Detroit Pistons Are Who We Thought They Were

Why the Pistons are Misbehaving

John Kuester was not the problem: Part 1

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… it’s had absolutely nothing to do with the overall “poor quality” of the players on their roster.

PS. Team Cohesion is a much bigger part of success and failure in the NBA than most observers understand, and by keeping Will Bynum completely out of the Pistons’ rotation … something which yours truly first recommended to Pistons fans, back in the summer of 2009, in a now-defunct thread concerning the proper use of Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Will Bynum, at a fan-based site named “Detroit Bad Boys” … Lawrence Frank is demonstrating that he actually knows what he’s doing, as a competent NBA-level head coach, unlike John Kuester.

PPS. Btw … He who laughs last, laughs best. :-)

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14 Responses to “Will Bynum filling proper role with Pistons, at last”

  1. Birdman84 Says:

    I agree with you that Frank is a better coach than Kuester. However, we’re comparing apples to oranges regarding Will Bynum’s playing time. During Kuester’s tenure, Bynum was the second best point guard on the roster. Now, Bynum’s third on the depth chart because of Brandon Knight. Not playing Bynum makes a lot more sense now than it did back then. That was the primary disagreement in the DBB thread. Ben Gordon is a shooting guard, not a point guard.

  2. Birdman84 Says:

    Also from that DBB thread…

    “If Will Bynum ends up being a player on the Pistons’ roster for more total years than Deron Washington … when their respective careers are finished, in the NBA … I invite [Mike Payne] to visit my blog, at that time, drop me a simple “reminder” comment, and I will provide you with a public statement acknowledging that you were right about this and I was wrong, concerning that specific comparison.”

    Deron Washington is out of the NBA.

  3. khandor Says:

    Birdman84,

    1. Welcome aboard.

    2. Bynum may have been the 2nd best PG on the Pistons’ roster in your opinion, but … IMO … he was not.

    The Pistons best tandems at the PG and OG positions were as follows:

    A. PG #1. Stuckey + OG #1. Hamilton
    B. PG #1. Stuckey + OG #2. Gordon
    C. PG #2. Gordon + OG #1. Hamilton

    … given the physical attributes, skill sets, and character of Misters Stuckey [e.g. Good size Combo Guard], Hamilton [e.g. Good Size Off Guard], Gordon [e.g. Small Combo Guard] and Bynum [e.g. Even Smaller Combo Guard].

    3. At present, Bynum is still not in the Pistons top 3 tandems at the PG and OG positions:

    A. Stuckey + Gordon
    B. Knight + Stuckey
    C. Knight + Gordon.

    4. Others simply do not have the ability [acumen?] to see that Ben Gordon’s most effective position in the NBA is actually PG [in the mold of someone like Gus Williams, former Seattle Supersonic] … playing beside another good sized OG who can also handle the ball adequately and is a first-class defensive player, in the mold of someone like Dennis Johnson [former Seattle Supersonic] … and not OG, since he has consistently been mis-used by the different coaches he has had thus far in his pro career. There is nothing I can do to change this fact.

  4. khandor Says:

    LOL, LOL, LOL

    All “Mike Payne” has to do is send me this “reminder comment” … when the day arrives that Will Bynum’s and Deron Washington’s respective NBA careers are, in fact, finished. :-)

  5. Birdman84 Says:

    I will certainly admit that NBA coaches make mistakes, but doesn’t it say something if none of Gordon’s NBA coaches have played him at point guard with any consistency? I would argue that Skiles and Frank know what they’re doing. Kuester and Del Negro perhaps not so much. In fact, you’re the only person I know that believes Gordon is a better point guard than shooting guard. Of course, going against consensus doesn’t mean you’re wrong, but it does mean real, legitimate proof is required to demonstrate the truth. Until that happens, I expect most people will prefer Skiles’ and Frank’s opinions to yours.

    Also, is Washington’s career not finished?

  6. brgulker Says:

    khandor,

    Ben Gordon had 9 (!!!!!) turnovers in the last game played against the Knicks.

    He is absolutely atrocious at handling the basketball. He also doesn’t possess any point guard instincts as it relates to creating shots for teammates and/or running an offense.

    You keep insisting the Ben Gordon has the capacities to play PG as a backup in limited minutes in the NBA. Yet, none of his coaches (at least one whom has your stamp of approval) has ever played this way. And his play year after year after year indicates that his coaches are right to play him as a SG, not a PG.

    Those aren’t my opinions. They’re facts without any interpretation.

    Yet, you still insist otherwise, ignoring the facts, citing personal opinion.

    Everyone is entitled to opinion. That’s fine and dandy. But you present your opinion as fact over and against facts that completely contradict your opinion.

    Furthermore, the Pistons still suck, regardless of who gets the minutes in their backcourt rotation, because their players aren’t good enough to be otherwise.

  7. brgulker Says:

    Others simply do not have the ability [acumen?] to see that Ben Gordon’s most effective position in the NBA is actually PG [in the mold of someone like Gus Williams, former Seattle Supersonic] … playing beside another good sized OG who can also handle the ball adequately and is a first-class defensive player, in the mold of someone like Dennis Johnson [former Seattle Supersonic] … and not OG, since he has consistently been mis-used by the different coaches he has had thus far in his pro career. There is nothing I can do to change this fact.

    The Pistons don’t have these players or anyone like these players. So basically, you’re arguing that, “Ben Gordon’s ideal role would be at PG, paired with a player that the Pistons don’t have and are very unlikely to acquire.”

    That’s not much of an argument. You do see that, right?

    I think Greg Monroe would be an excellent PF pairing with Ben Wallace, circa 2004. It’s a fun thought experiment, but it’s hardly practical.

  8. khandor Says:

    Birdman84,

    The fact that Ben Gordon’s coaches to this point in his NBA career have not chosen to use him extensively at the PG position tells me very little other than these coaches do not think that Ben Gordon would be most effectively used for their team at the PG position. Period.

    Although Scott Skiles may be someone you have a great deal of respect for, as an experienced NBA head coach, he is not someone who I would consider to be an elite level basketball coach. The same holds true for Jim Boylan, Vinnie Del Negro, John Kuester and Lawrence Frank … even though I consider Skiles and Frank to be two coaches who actually do know what they are doing as legitimate coaches in the NBA.

    One of the reasons the same teams and coaches win the league championship on a consistent basis in a variety of sports is because there are so few coaches who fit properly into the elite level category.

    I don’t mind at all that I might be the only person who you know that thinks Ben Gordon is being mis-used when he’s played primarily at the OG position. I cannot control what other people think about someone else’s ability to play a specific position on a basketball team when this player is rarely afforded the opportunity to play that actual position.

    Most people are entitled to think whatever they wish to think about the basketball acumen of coaches like Scott Skiles and Lawrence Frank.

    A statistical player comparison for Ben Gordon and Gus Williams looks like this.

    If the Pistons would have used the following guard tandems 2 seasons ago for extensive minutes:

    Stuckey [PG] + Hamilton [OG] + Prince [SF]

    Gordon [PG] + Stuckey [OG] + Prince [SF]

    Gordon [PG] + Hamilton [OG] + Jerebko [SF]

    in all likelihood, they would have won enough games to qualify for the #8 playoff spot and John Kuester would still be their coach today.

    I’m not sure exactly where Deron Washington is today, or if his basketball career is still on the go. Until I know for sure that it’s actually finished, I would not assume as much; especially, since Washington’s actual skill set is similar to someone like Bruce Bowen and it took Mr. Bowen a lonnnnng time before he finally made it to the NBA for an extended stay.

  9. khandor Says:

    Ben,

    I really shouldn’t have to tell someone like you … who relies so heavily on stats when making judgments about the abilities of different basketball players … just how valid a sample size of 1 game is when it comes to evaluating a specific player’s ability to play successfully at a given position … especially, when the player in question was not even used primarily at the position in question during that particular game, at least, as far as I’m aware.

    Although Ben Gordon might be a farely high TO player when he plays the OG spot, it is a common mistake in basketball judgment to assume that he will still/also be a high TO player if/when he ever gets the opportunity to play primarily at the PG position, in harmony with 4 other players whose individual skill sets complement each other and a head coach who has developed the right system for them to play at a high level of competition.

    The fact is …

    I think Ben Gordon actually has the skill set to be either:

    i. A very solid back-up PG in the NBA; or, ii. A very good starting PG, if/when he’s paired with the right Off Guard and the right head coach.

    Here’s a simple question for you to consider.

    Do you happen to know what Ben Gordon’s assist:turnover ratio is [was] when he is [was] actually in the game as the Pistons [or the Bulls for that matter] PG?

    If not, then, I think that you might be the person confusing actual facts for opinions in this instance.

  10. khandor Says:

    Au contraire.

    The Pistons do actually have a player with a skill set that is somewhat similar [although not exactly the same] to that of Gus Williams, if he is used as a PG, and a player with a skill set that is somewhat similar [although not exactly the same] to that of Dennis Johnson, if he is used as an OG.

    Actually I don’t think you comprehend my position on this subject at all.

  11. Birdman84 Says:

    “The fact that Ben Gordon’s coaches to this point in his NBA career have not chosen to use him extensively at the PG position tells me very little other than these coaches do not think that Ben Gordon would be most effectively used for their team at the PG position. Period.”

    Well, of course that’s what it means. I guess we’ll have to disagree; I trust the opinions of good NBA coaches over yours. As you admit, they do know what they’re doing. I don’t know what an “elite level basketball coach” would do differently with Gordon, but I see no evidence that there would be any change in Gordon’s position.

  12. khandor Says:

    Birdman84,

    An example of what an elite level basketball coach would do with the guards and forwards on this year’s Pistons team is the following:

    - use Ben Gordon as the Starting PG [ala Gus Williams]
    - use Rodney Stuckey as the Starting OG [ala Dennis Johnson]
    - use Brandon Knight as the Back-up PG [ala Freddie "Downtown" Brown]
    - use Damien Wilkens as the Back-up OG [ala John Johnson]

    - use Tayshaun Prince as the Starting PF
    - use Austin Daye as the Back-up SF

    - use Jason Maxiell as the Starting PF [working from the low post]
    - use Jonas Jerebko as the Back-up PF [working from the high post]

    - use Greg Monroe as the Starting C [working from the high post]
    - use Ben Wallace as the Back-up C [working from the low post]

    Such a coach would also give Ben Gordon very specific instructions about the way he would be expected to perform within this role, if he is going to be able to keep his job going forward and have the team succeed as well. If/when that would ever happen for Ben Gordon, he would be able to adapt his game and play a very different way than he has been able to play thus far in his NBA career when his coaches have EXPECTED him to function almost exclusively as a high scoring Off Guard.

    You are free to trust the opines of NBA coaches like Scott Skiles, Jim Boylan, Vinnie Del Negro and Lawrence Frank over mine, if you wish. :-)

  13. Birdman84 Says:

    I would have no problems with that rotation, except I will likely never understand your insistence on putting Ben Gordon in charge of the offense. Rodney Stuckey is no floor general, but he commits far fewer turnovers. I’d reverse Stuckey and Gordon.

    Of course, we have only your opinion that an elite level basketball coach would follow your suggestions. It could be argued that coaches like Skiles and Frank have made it to the pinnacle of their profession by coaching multiple NBA teams and are therefore elite. :)

  14. khandor Says:

    Birdman84,

    Just because a player commits a fairly high number of TOs when playing at the OG position it does not mean that he will also commit a high number of TOs, if/when he is coached properly to play the PG position … especially, if he is someone who already has a positive [i.e. more assists than turnovers] assist:turnover ratio when working almost exclusively at the OG spot for coaches who do not see him as a viable option for their team as the primary ball-handling guard.

    It’s a simple mistake in basketball judgment to assume that the best basketball coaches in the world are, in fact, currently working in the NBA. In every sphere of life, those who are paid the most money to do a certain job should in no way be considered as THE VERY BEST in that field, especially, when it comes to a field like coaching … which is much more Art than Science. :-)

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