Check out Dave del Grande's short article on Mickael Pietrus. We all agree that Pietrus did not improve at all this season, in fact he may have regressed. He compares Boris Diaw to Pietrus and that coming into the draft Pietrus was the superior player. What happened?
In fact, he did. A lot better.
Pietrus was considered the superior shooter, scorer, defender and all-around athlete when he was selected 10 spots ahead of his former Euroleague teammate in 2003. And for two years, their NBA numbers reflected that assessment.
But Diaw got a break this season. He got dealt to a team tailor-made for his style of play -- the Suns.
All of a sudden, a point guard in a small forward's body got a chance to play to his strength, demonstrating a versatility somewhat similar to another player his size -- LeBron James.
He and coach Mike D'Antoni are perfect for one another.
The same certainly cannot be said of Pietrus and Mike Montgomery. Two years after the promising marriage of a back-to-the-basics type of coach and fundamentally unsound potential star, Pietrus is in a state of confusion -- having gotten away from his strengths (defense and athleticism) and transformed into a long-range shooter, like many of his teammates.
So, not surprisingly, while Diaw was a runaway winner of the NBA's Most Improved Player this season, Pietrus would have been a candidate for Least Improved Player if the league offered hardware for that distinction.
The 24-year-old desperately needs a change of scenery, which no doubt would come back to haunt the Warriors some day.
Better yet, there's a way to prevent that: Don't change the scenery, change the coach.
After all, Pietrus wasn't the only Warrior left off the Most Improved Player list this week. They all were.