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Maurice Cheeks says Josh Smith will remain Detroit Pistons starting small forward

Nov 23, 2013, 4:30 PM EST

Josh Smith AP

When the Detroit Pistons tipped off against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Josh Smith was on the bench. This, naturally, raised all kinds of questions.

Why wasn’t Smith starting against his former team? Had Maurice Cheeks given up on the Pistons’ big frontcourt of Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond after just 11 games? Was this a reaction to the team’s poor start?

The questions didn’t exactly stop once the game got going, as Kyle Singler, Smith’s replacement in the starting unit, dropped 22 points and seemed to mesh much better with the starters.

Meanwhile, Smith continued his struggles this year with an 0-for-7 scoreless night in just 20 minutes.

Was this enough to start a small forward controversy? It doesn’t appear so.

As it turns out, Smith came off the bench for disciplinary reasons, not “basketball reasons”, as David Stern would say.

While this may calm some nerves in Detroit, the Pistons are still 4-8. The defense is a disaster, and the offense remains starved for space. There are major issues here, and lineup changes of some sort will likely need to happen at some point if things don’t turn up soon.

That change probably won’t be moving Smith, who signed a 4-year, $54 million dollar deal this offseason, to the bench in favor of Singler. But moving him back to power forward? That might not be a bad idea. Smith is attempting 5.2 three-pointers a game, and he’s posting the lowest true shooting percentage and PER of his entire career. He’s just not a perimeter threat.

We’ll see what Cheeks does to try and turn this thing around, or we’ll see if Joe Dumars gets active on the trade market. But for right now, at least, it appears Smith will remain the starting small forward.

  1. stephenolszewski - Nov 23, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Can’t imagine a scenario where the Pistons don’t trade Smith

    • legend30 - Nov 23, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      That also works, they need to trade at least one of their big mans.

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 24, 2013 at 5:03 AM

      They honestly should. But I know deep down they won’t. It’ll be Monroe. Which will be a HUGE mistake. If they can package Smith and Jennings for Rondo and contract filler that would be awesome. Just a thought though.

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 24, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      That would require someone willing to take back Smith and his contract.

  2. legend30 - Nov 23, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    How about trading Monroe or Drummond for a wing player? And putting Smith at the 4… some of these GMs, simply don’t have basketball knowledge.

    • DonKellyBaby - Nov 23, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      1. Drummond is untouchable

      2. Name a wing that is on the trading block & Monroe’s value could get you. Remember, you don’t have a 2014 draft pick as well.

      • biasedhomer - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:51 PM

        I’ve been saying a Monroe for Turner trade seems ideal.

        Both RFAs, both seem like they are going to go somewhere else.
        Turner can play PG, and move Jennings to SG.

  3. metrocritical - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    No doubt, the Pistons have roster issues and chemistry issues, which is fixable over time. They also have an uninspiring retread head coach with an underwhelming history of doing nothing in particular impressively, a GM whose Midas touch wore off nearly a decade ago and an owner who doesn’t seem to understand what NBA ownership is actually about. Add it up and it equals more pro basketball misery for us here in Detroit.

  4. weaselpuppy - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    They also have played a really tough schedule with a west coast road trip…

    vs WAS (W)
    @Memphis
    vs Boston (W)
    vs IND
    vs OKC
    @POR
    @GSW
    @SAC *(W)
    @LAL
    vs NYK(W)
    @ATL
    vs ATL

    Not much slack there so far. Smith was playing well the first few games but has slipped back into jacking up a lot of bad shots. If he responds they will be a .500 team and get bounced first round, which is what was really expected. Monroe looks great on O, not so much on D. KCP isn’t settled in yet and Jennings is great when he goes pass first…but he slips into chucker mode early in the clock and it kills the team.

    Nothing a little coaching, and some more games against MIL, ORL, CLE and Philly can’t solve…really they blew the Laker game and should be 5-7 against a tough opening schedule.

    No panic, but time to tweak…

  5. eugenesaxe1 - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    While early in the season, the numbers show the Pistons are at their worst with all 3 bigs on the floor. Literally any combination of two of them is much better. I would think the team has this info if I could find it.

  6. realfootballfan - Nov 23, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Who actually thought adding Josh Smith as your big ticket free agent was a good idea?

  7. louhudson23 - Nov 24, 2013 at 5:47 AM

    Josh Smith is playing like Josh Smith. Which is not very well,not very smart…..

  8. hightopandrocket - Nov 24, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    What was Dumars thinking picking up Josh Smith, desperate move to show the owner he can build a winning team. Watched enough games this year to tell you Smith doesn’t have Piston DNA, throwing up 3’s and making 27%. Tell the no brain to take it to the hole!

  9. Abel Ramírez - Nov 24, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    This was obvious from the start. You can’t score without spacing in today’s NBA.

    You’d think the man who got Rasheed Wallace would know the importance of 3pt shooting for an NBA offense.

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