Here are some news and notes from the Detroit game and a few bits from the locker room as well.
Michael Cunningham in his pregame Pistons post talks about the long term plan for Jeff Teague with coach Drew:
L.D. said leaving Teague out there is part of a long-term plan: "A big part of Jeff’s growth process is his ability how to play through those situations. In the past he probably was yanked out of the game when those situations come up. I told him and all our bench guys I expect them to play through those situations."
That is a completely different scenario from last year.
"There are no guarantees as far as what can happen, injuries can settle in [rotation] guys can get sick. He has to stay ready at all times. He is not going through anything that any other rookie has not gone through. It’s just a matter of being prepared, accepting his role and staying ready."
More after the jump:
"I don't care (about the trade rumors)," Smith explained to HOOPSWORLD. "I just go out there and play the game. I really don't look at what people are saying in the media. People tend to create their own stories up. Then everybody else who reads it takes it from there. They can copy and print it, then make it their own story too. So I just play and not worry about anything. If they (Hawks management) want to do it, they'll do it."
J.J. missed a lot of wide open spot-ups. He’s 11 for 36 in his last two games. "It’s been a little tough the last two games," he said. "I just haven’t really been able to get in a rhythm. I know it will come. I’m not really worried about that."
Though they got killed on the defensive glass overall, the Hawks were devastating on the relatively rare occasions they grabbed a defensive board. Atlanta scored 28 fast break points despite Detroit committing just 8 turnovers. This was both the downside of Kuester's big, crash-the-glass lineups for the Pistons and an object lesson in how important defensive rebounding is to the success of the Atlanta Hawks. Even a well-designed and sharply executed half-court offense can't compete with the quality of shot created when Josh Smith, Al Horford, and Marvin Williams get out in transition.
Apparently Rodney Stuckey only played a little over 13 minutes because he decided to tune out his coach during a free throw attempt resulting in John Kuester yanking him from the game for the final 21 minutes. Matt Watson of Detroit Bad Boys breaks down the situation:
For the vast majority of his career, Stuckey has avoided attaching himself to any type of controversy -- I can't recall anything remotely similar -- so it's easy to write this off as temporary frustration. But at the same time, should we be surprised?
If the early reports are true, this is a team whose morale has hit bottom and has lost faith in its head coach. If there is any kind of positive takeaway from this, it's that it appears the players are unified against Kuester. For a team that never connected last season, it is ironic that the makings of their chemistry is based on a collective issue with the coaching staff.