Not Enough Fire Power

Really missed Brandon or Isaiah down the stretch tonight. Pistons playing for their playoff lives. Not a good night for the veterans to revert to early season form but there it is. Luke and SVG are both throwback coaches who embrace the modern NBA whole-heartedly. Stan used 4 wide with prime Dwight Howard in Orlando and ran into the basketball chainsaw that was Kobe Bryan that year. He played SF’s as 4’s before it was en vogue to do so. He was the smarter version of what D’Antoni has always wanted to do: open up the game without sacrificing defense.

Brook dished 9 dimes with z-e-r-o turnovers but the bigger headline will certainly be either his 5 blocks or his donut from three in four attempts. KCP was, somehow, worse, by casting a woeful 3-10 from beyond the stripe in what I’m sure he hoped to be a ‘see what you missed out on?’ game.

Julius, Kyle and Lonzo all turned in stellar efforts, just wasn’t enough to overcome the Detroit starters and bench (our bench gave us 21 points to Detroit’s 42). But with no Thomas Jr. to mitigate that it was left to Luke’s choice du jour of Zubac, Wear and Ennis, although it should be noted Channing Frye was 2-2 from the field in his 7 minutes. Lakers let too many role players shake loose for big games and Detroit’s stars were good enough down the stretch to pull it out.

While players like Zubac, Wear, Bryant and Payton III may never contribute in a major way to an NBA team, they do have roles and, when given the opportunity, perform those roles to the best of their ability. The bench really floundered without a stabilizing force like Thomas Jr or Clarkson before him. Injuries have forced our best bench players into starting roles and the G-Leaguers aren’t making all too much of an impact. Or at least the ones who have gotten roles on the floor. We’ll see if the rotation adjusts slightly to include Thomas Bryant or GPIII. I hope to see all of those guys in summer league, lot’s to work on.

Highlight of the night, for me, was the first vision of the Lonzo Ball mid-range game. Looked great, like almost every young player he could stand to learn how to use the back board on a jump shot but his step-back form was better than his 3 pointer form. His version of a floater was working, all nice to see. I’d like to see him learn how to post up and work better from the elbows down this summer. That and free throws. Don’t ignore your shooting drills, keep working that 3 ball, but his size and skill could be a real issue for the defense if he could work the baseline fall away into his game and maybe a decent bank shot. But the rest of his game will only get better. Great stuff ahead for this squad, just have to stay healthier.