By: Bogart Lipe
There’s a thrill associated with the unknown. The anxiety that comes with not knowing whether something will be brilliant or dismal. Whether your expectations will be shattered through, or whether you’ll be disappointed you ever let yourself get so emotionally involved. The kind of thrill when you step inside a Little Caesars, and valiantly propose that the worker hand you a Hot-N-Ready pizza. The still-ridiculous price of $5 (and still standing as the best value in America, no matter how hard Wendy’s tries) does give you a rush as you feel like you’re committing robbery, sure. However, there’s a factor of unknown. You don’t always realize it, but there’s always the sense of adventure when your soon-to-be pizza gets chosen. You hope it’s truly hot as well as ready, instead of lukewarm and ready-four-hours-ago. This excites you. But troubles you. Especially, because at the end of the day, you realize you care too much about something that is terrible for your well-being.
I’ll admit it. I have no idea how good or bad the Pistons are. I don’t know if this team is going to win 35 games this year or 50 anymore. I don’t know if this is the end of the Pistons roster as we know it, or if the team is going to push through injuries and excel if or when the injury plagued contributors on the team return.
This was a weird week. The Pistons lost to the Heat by 7, the Sixers by (gulp) 28, beat the shorthanded Rockets by 7, then lost to the Pelicans by 3. It simply doesn’t make much sense. Of course, being a team now forced to thrust many former role players into larger shares of responsibility and time could help explain it. Bench players are habitually streaky, as is the nature of the position and rank. But the variability with which the Pistons are playing as of late is downright confusing. The team went into the fourth tied with the Heat and lost. The game against Philadelphia was over the second the Pistons got off the team plane at the airport. They showed heart and grit in the Rockets game to pull out the victory. And finally they fought back from 14 down against the Pelicans just to have another late game abomination as the buzzer sounded.
By virtue of having only 623 words, let us get to the point. Stan Van Gundy is not doing his best coaching job in key moments. Once again, the Pistons failed to execute when down 3 in the waning seconds against the Pelicans. Instead of the usual Pass To Tobias Harris And Let Him Airball A Contested Three At The Buzzer play call that SVG has proven to love, he pulled another, different rabbit out of his hat. Andre Drummond and Ish Smith were both on the court. Ish, who is simply atrocious from three, inbounded the ball to Avery Bradley. As previously mentioned, Ish is dreadfully benign from beyond 20 feet. So, the Pelicans didn’t even bother guarding him. Avery Bradley caught the inbounds pass, struggled to create any space, and threw up a shot that never had a chance. All while Ish hovered around the wing, unguarded, and Dre was in the paint. While down three. With seconds left. I don’t know.
The Pistons need to start playing decent basketball like they’ve shown they can, but at a much more consistent level. With games against the Nets, Bulls, and Hornets this week, the Pistons once again have an opportunity to string together any amount of wins together in order to play with some momentum, as that is when the team seems to be at their best. Will they though?
I have no idea.