Macklin makes most of opportunity
In a career-high 23 minutes, Macklin had eight points, nine rebounds, two assists and a block.
Macklin did it in a 32-point loss to the Hawks, but Pistons coach Lawrence Frank felt Macklin was a bright spot in a terrible performance by the Pistons.
“I thought he played hard,” Frank said. “He was very excited to play. He was prepared. He made sure he did his film study. I thought he came in there, I thought he gave his best effort. That’s what you’re looking for. I thought Vernon in a very, very disappointing game at least you knew he impacted the game, so that’s a positive.”
Macklin didn’t play just because it was a blowout. Frank said Tuesday he was going to give Macklin a shot in Wednesday’s game.
Frank gave veterans Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince the night off because it was the middle game of a back-to-back-to-back.
Frank has praised Macklin’s work ethic since returning from a stint in the NBA’s D-League where he averaged 14.5 points, 14.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 10 games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Macklin made the most of his opportunity to make an impression in the D-League and followed that with a nice effort in his first extended minutes in the NBA.
Prior to Wednesday’s game Mackiln’s career-high in minutes was nine.
Frank has preached all season he wants every player to be ready when they are called upon and Macklin was up to the task Wednesday.
“You just focus on what you can control,” Frank said. “I thought his preparation, his effort, his energy level was all good. It’s his first real crack at it and it’s a shame that it was in such a non-competitive type game because it’s hard to evaluate in those one way or the other. But he took care of what he needed to take care of.”
When a team is eliminated from the playoffs, tanking in hopes of a better draft pick always becomes a hot topic with fans and the media.
Frank made it clear Wednesday that his tweaks in the lineup as of late is in no way tanking, but just a form of evaluating.
“If you’re going to say by playing a different player on the bench is tanking, well that’s a heck of an indictment on that player,” Frank said. “You’re saying that guy’s not worthy of being in the NBA because that’s what you’re saying.”
“I don’t care who you are, when you step on the hardwood, when they’re keeping score you want to win,” Frank added. “That’s why you’re at this level. This is not a recreational sport, this is a serious competition.”
Entering Wednesday night, the Pistons had the ninth worst record in the NBA. Golden State was just a half game back, while New Jersey and Toronto were both 1.5 games back.