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An inside look at the Detroit Pistons and the NBA.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hamilton's plus-minus alarming

Richard Hamilton has clearly struggled offensively since returning from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss five games after he returned from a severe ankle sprain. In the three games since returning, Hamilton is shooting 24.1 percent (13-for-54).

As bad as Hamilton has been offensively, it's not the most alarming stat. That would be his plus-minus. Hamilton is a minus-50 in the three games since returning. In fact, if you take away the time Hamilton was on the court, the Pistons actually would have won all three games.

Hamilton was a minus-22 against Chicago, which beat Detroit by 11. Hamilton was a minus-20 against New York, which beat the Pistons by 17 and Hamilton was a minus-8 against Toronto, which beat Detroit by seven.

The plus-minus in basketball can be misleading, but those numbers are alarming. Hamilton admitted he has to get his legs back, but right now his poor shooting and lackluster defense is really hurting the team.

Pistons coach John Kuester was asked about Hamilton’s struggles defensively and said his defense should not suffer as he gets his legs back, but also added he felt the team as a whole is struggling defensively.

“We weren’t good defensively overall,” Kuester said. “As much as I’d like to see us defend the way we’re capable of, sometimes your defense is fueled by your offense and unfortunately we haven’t had real good offense as of late, but we’ve had real good looks. That’s the one thing I’m conscious of. Are we getting decent looks? And most times we are.”

Putting in extra work
The Pistons took Friday off, but put in a long practice Saturday in preparation for their two-game road trip to Texas next week. Detroit’s practice was more than two and half hours long and is the first of three the Pistons will have before heading to Dallas.

“We got to take advantage of this practice time to get back into the basics of what we need to do offensively and defensively,” Pistons coach John Kuester said after practice Saturday. “We had a very spirited practice today. It was a little bit longer. We watched tape. We knew it was going to be a longer day.”

Kuester is hopeful the team can shore up a few areas the team has slacked on recently and also get more acclimated to playing with each other given all the injuries.

“I will not waver no matter how many losses we have on what we want to get accomplished because the bottom line is we got to get better,” Kuester said. “If we’re getting better than I will see light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve had moments where we make two steps forward and one step backwards. We got to keep getting those steps going forward.

“The guys are tyring and working hard, but we got to sustain things for 24 seconds, where all of a sudden we’re working, we’re working hard and one break down adds to a basket. That’s where it gets tough.”

Injury update
Rodney Stuckey did not participate in Saturday’s practice, but said he does not expect to miss any time. Will Bynum also missed practice and his status will be updated early next week.


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