| Detroit Free Press
Pistons’ Wayne Ellington claps back at Draymond Green: ‘Very unprofessional, not classy’
Pistons’ Wayne Ellington claps back at Warriors’ Draymond Green on Jan. 31, 2021 after the forward’s postgame comments skewering Rodney McGruder.
After 20 games, the Detroit Pistons are 5-15 and tied for the NBA’s worst winning percentage. There’s evidence they may be a little better than their record, but the facts are that they had the most offseason turnover of any team, are very young and are playing against one of the NBA’s toughest schedules.
They’ve looked the part of a team in the beginning stages of a rebuild, and with that has come with the usual positives and negatives expected of a youth-oriented roster. The Pistons’ wins have been notable — they defeated the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers last week, and their other three victories were all against teams likely to make the playoffs. But that game-to-game consistency has been lacking.
As we approach the one-third milestone of this abbreviated season, here’s whose stock is trending up, and whose stock is trending down.
Jerami Grant: General manager Troy Weaver’s big free agency splash has undoubtedly been the Pistons’ best player, as well as one of the best two-way forwards in the league. He’s 18th in scoring (23.6 points per game) and one of two players in the league, including Kevin Durant, scoring at least 20 points, shooting at least 40% from 3, taking more than six 3s per game and averaging at least a block. He’s a candidate for the All-Star Game.
Isaiah Stewart: The big man has arguably been the most impressive of the Pistons’ five rookies this season. He’s already one of the NBA’s best offensive rebounders, grabbing 7.4 per 100 possessions (sixth in the league among players who have played at least 10 games), and has put together some great defensive possessions. It seems he has a firm hold on the No. 2 center spot.
Wayne Ellington: An off-night against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday shouldn’t undo how good the 11-year veteran sharpshooter has been this season. He’s shooting 50.5% from 3, the best mark of his career and the third-highest percentage in the league. His 0-for-5 performance Saturday ended a seven-game streak in which he made at least four 3s in each game. During the 11-day stretch, he made 37 of his 62 3-point attempts (59.7%).
Blake Griffin: He has shown flashes of being the player he was during the 2018-19 season. In the win against the Lakers last week, he scored 23 points, dished six assists and shot 50% with five 3s. It hasn’t been the norm for him this season, though, and he is shooting 34.5% in his past six games. A reason for hope: In that same stretch, he’s shooting 38.7% from 3.
Svi Mykhailiuk: After shooting 40.4% from 3 and making the Rising Stars Challenge last season, this year hasn’t been a leap forward for the third-year sharpshooter. He’s making 31.4% of his 3s and shooting 36.7% overall. In his past four games, he is 2-for-12 in 46 minutes.
Mason Plumlee: The veteran big man has provided a steadying presence in the starting lineup, and head coach Dwane Casey has leaned on his ability to move the ball and set good screens. But staying on the floor has become an issue for him. He has fouled out of six games this season, including four straight from Jan. 18-23, and is third in the NBA in total fouls committed this season with 73. He has picked up at least four fouls in 12 of his 20 games.