Jose Calderon was finally cleared to play for his new team – the Detroit Pistons – tonight, and for a guy that was expected to come in and be the point guard the team was sorely lacking, he sure found himself scoring rather than assisting a lot more than he thought.
As a matter of fact, the entire Pistons team struggled to score. Don't let their 85 points fool you, even with Calderon's presence their ability to finish at the rim was almost non-existent. Calderon's debut with his new team was delayed because of unresolved visa issues but he immediately was placed in the starting lineup for Detroit. As high as the franchise may be on Brandon Knight's youthfulness, he is not the veteran floor leader the team is seeking, but Calderon – who hasn't had any practice time with his new teammates – found it hard to adjust to his new running mates – and vice-versa.
Calderon finished with a team leading 15-points (7/12 shooting), and strangely, just 3 assists. After the game he said it was not the ideal beginning, but that an adjustment period was needed.
"I tried to do the best I could," said Calderon. "I [was] thinking too much, trying to figure out all my teammates. We have to do a better job for sure to get everybody involved, but it's one game and we try to go to the next step – next page. Hopefully tomorrow I can work a little more and be ready."
Calderon comes to Detroit after seven-plus seasons in Canada, where he had developed a familiarity, and was able to orchestrate the offense. That's a role the Spaniard is comfortable in, something the Pistons will also require of him once he's settled in accordingly. Early on tonight he looked willing to set his teammates up, but the lack of familiarity on offense was evident when those teammates failed to realise that Calderon was looking to hit them with a pass.
It takes finishers to make a point guard's job easier.
Moving forward Calderon says it will be a combination of him getting used to his new teammates, and them with him also.
"For sure they gotta get used to me, and I gotta get used to them," maintains Calderon. "It's just going to [take] time. Working in practice, games, whatever it takes. Everybody was trying to help out, I was a little bit slow in some decisions in the offense as well because I was trying to look for the right plays. But, we'll be okay. I like what I saw. I just got to be able to deliver the ball to them, and do a better job at that. It's just got to be about time. They got to know about what I do."
Time is a luxury the Pistons may not be able to afford. The team currently has a record of 18-31 and will miss the playoffs once again. Calderon will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and is set-to-be courted by a number of teams. As apathetic as the Pistons were tonight, they would have been much worse if Calderon was not on the team.
"Let's be positive," said Calderon. "We'll be much better from here on because we'll have some time to work with the guys and talk to them. I'm here to try and make this team better and we're gonna be better for sure."
Detroit can only hope.
Image courtesy of: USA TODAY Sports