Last night, Marreese Speights started the second quarter at center, next to Elton Brand. 12 seconds into the quarter he fouled James Posey. Three minutes later, he fouled Julian Wright. He was immediately pulled from the game for Reggie Evans, he would not return. The team, as a whole, was not playing poorly over that stretch. In fact, they extended their lead from 3 to 6 points.
The message from Coach DiLeo was clear. If you don't defend, or you're lazy on the defensive end, you're going to ride the pine. This is the second time he's sent the message to Speights, and honestly, I think this is exactly how he should be handling the rookie.
There is a trend in Speights' minutes. On the last road trip, Speights played 43 total minutes in 3 games against Denver, Utah and the Clippers. In those 43 minutes he grabbed a total of 3 rebounds. In the fourth game, against the Mavericks, he never took his sweats off. He was a DNPCD.
After the benching in Dallas, Speights was a new man. In the next 8 games he averaged 9.8 rebounds/36 minutes. As his production increased, so did his minutes. He averaged 20 minutes/game over that stretch. Then, something happened. In the past three games, Speights has averaged 1.1 rebounds/36 minutes. His minutes fell from 17 against Dallas, to 12 against the Knicks to only 3 last night in New Orleans.
The message is simple, and at this point, it's up to Marreese to take it to heart. This isn't unfair treatment, in fact, they do the same thing with Dalembert. If you produce, you play.
Here's the question I have for you guys. Is it worth losing games in the short term to teach these guys a lesson? The team sure could've used Marreese on the floor last night in the second half. The Hornets didn't have anyone who could stop him from scoring. Then again, the rebounding was bad enough as it was, so having a shot-happy Speights who's unwilling to crash the boards may have compounded the problem. Thoughts in the comments.
Here's a bit of good news to get you through the day. DeShawn Stevenson (the worst SG in the league) may be back for the Sixers/Wizards game tomorrow night.