Archive for the ‘Detroit Pistons’ Category

THE Answer for the Pistons

December 8, 2008

Whether Michael Curry, Joe Dumars or Allen Iverson like it or not … the Detroit Pistons will only become the 2nd best team in the Eastern Conference, again this season, if they eventually come to the following realization about their team’s mix of players:

#1. PG – Stuckey [should be playing 30+ MPG]
#2. OG – Rip [should be playing 30+ MPG]
#3. SF – Prince [back-up back-up PG, should be playing 30+ MPG]
#4. PF – Maxiell/Johnson/McDyess
#5. C – Sheed
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#6. OG/PG – Iverson [ala The Micro-wave]
#7. SF – Afflalo
#8. PF – McDyess/Maxiell/Johnson
#9. C – Brown
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#10. SF – Herrmann
#11. PF/C – Johnson/Maxiel/Brown
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#12. PG – Bynum [4th string]

Although their best Group-Of-5 does not include Mr. Iverson, if he’s used corrrectly, off the bench …

for high intensity spot duty, in relief of Stuckey or Rip, ala Vinnie Johnson [from yesteryear], as the 3rd Guard in the rotation, behind Zeke & Little Jo, who could really fill it up whenever he’s in the game; but, is nowhere nearly good enough defensively or in terms of rebounding, at this stage of his career, to justify [i] receiving major minutes on this team, or [ii] the holding back of Stuckey, in general, at the PG spot … 

then, the Pistons still have what it takes to regain their perch beside the Celtics.

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How he handles this situation, from here on in, is the first significant test of Michael Curry’s leadership with the Pistons.

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Worthwhile analysis of two NBA games

November 21, 2008

When Kelly Dwyer [BDL] gets the fat part of the bat on the ball … which is generally acknowledged to be the single most difficult action to do proficiently in all of team sports … there’s a good chance that said sphere is going yard.

Without an excessive reliance on hard & fast empirical statistics, i.e. either ‘new-age’ or ‘old school’, when he simply conveys what he sees happening on the floor, in a general sense, from each of the participants, and his arrows’ strikes are true … as they are in these two specific instances, concerning last night’s Celtics/Pistons & Suns/Lakers match-ups, respectively:

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Behind the box score, where the C’s don’t let up and Detroit does
Exhibit A
Coaching matters. Stern decisions have to be made, and a lot of that “buck stops here” nonsense actually helps. It helps drive away excuses, and it helps to make you cringe should you have to spit out “we’ll get ‘em next time” after the game. If it hurts to say that, you’re on the right track. If you’re shrugging your shoulders, then something is missing. And I don’t care that the season is 82 games.

So when you see the Piston reserves acting like pampered former All-Stars, or Detroit failing to close out on shooters, or stepping into open lanes in order to make sure that the open lanes cease to be open lanes, you have to wonder when the buck is ever going to be able to stop.

This isn’t to say that Detroit played the same poor way the entire night, far from it. They just did it long enough to lose handily again. That’s the difference between a pretty good team that occasionally plays great and … the Celtics. The Celtics are just about always there.

Exhibit B
Winter is the architect of the Lakers’ offense, and likely the strongest principle of his famed Triangle offense is the way players are supposed to penetrate the defense. With a pass (preferably, because that means there is an open player somewhere in the teeth of that defense), a drive, a shot, or a rebound.

The last two may not seem like the best moves overall, because shots over the top of the D and ugly offensive rebounds don’t seem to go hand-in-hand with the spacious and aesthetically-pleasing Triangle offense.

But these things are important, especially when the player creating the penetration is among those (like, say, the Laker youngsters that come off the bench) who might not be the most structurally-sound Triangle denizens. There’s a reason Derek Fisher starts, you know.

So there LO is, shooting the ball, or getting into the lane for a lefty runner or hook that might not fall. Not only is his per-game numbers way down from last year, but his per-minute numbers have taken a dive as well. Even with all those chances to pad his stats among the bench corps. And yet, he’s helping. So, so much. Don’t let them convince you that he isn’t.

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it’s a pleasure and a treat to read the man’s prose about the game, and how it works at this level of competition.

First-rate stuff, right there, by the one, the only KD.

GAME REVIEW: Raptors vs Pistons [Nov 5]

November 6, 2008

In general, there are three strata of teams in the NBA each year:

High End – with a plus .549 [+] Win %
Middle – with a .450-.550 [0] Win %
Low End – with a minus .450 [-] Win %

When your team plays a game against a High End team, if all other numbers are relatively equal, your squad is going to come up short on the scoreboard, more often than not, if you lose the Battle of the Boards [i.e. the Rebounding Differential].

Asserting the Collective Will of your team over an opponent, in a specific game, is done most effectively by physically dominating them on the boards, i.e. when possession of the ball is actually up for grabs … as it is on ALL missed shot attempts … saying, in effect, to your individual & collective check,

“Uhn, ahh … that Rebound, right there, is mine, NOT yours; regardless what you might ‘think’; because I am stronger, better, tougher, smarter, etc., than you are … and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

At some point in the development of your team, if you are ever going to become a Legitimate Contender [i.e. a special sub-group within the High End category] for the NBA championship, you will NEED to consistently outperform THE OTHER HIGH END TEAMS IN THE NBA … not just the Middle-of-the-Pack and/or the Low End ones … in this decisive area of the game.

If not, your team is simply a Pretender, with no authentic chance of ever capturing the Larry O’Brien Trophy, regardless of what your GM, head coach, players, certain other NBA observers, and fans might think or say.

It’s a cold, harsh world, in the NBA.

“No Rebounds; No Rings.”Pat Riley

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FINAL SCORE: TORONTO 93, Detroit 100
Game Info

POSITIVES

 

Pos

mp

fgm-a

3fgm-a

ftm-a

+/-

OR

dr

tot

ast

pf

st

to

bs

ba

pts

ker

C.Bosh

F

44:34

11-24

0-2

4-5

-6

4

9

13

1

2

1

2

0

1

26

+23

J.Calderon

G

35:40

7-12

1-3

9-9

-3

0

4

4

8

1

0

1

0

1

24

+29

* 3FGM-A [%] vs Opp: TOR 6-15 [40.0], Det 3-12 [25.0]; TOR +9 Pts 

NEEDED AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT

 

Pos

mp

fgm-a

3fgm-a

ftm-a

+/-

OR

dr

tot

ast

pf

st

to

bs

ba

pts

ker

J.O’Neal

C

28:59

3-10

0-0

2-3

+3

0

3

3

0

3

0

3

1

0

8

-2

* Rebounding Differential: TOR 38, Det 43; TOR -5
* Assist:Turnover Differential vs Opponent: TOR +4 [15:11], Det +16 [21:5]; TOR -12  

KEY POSSESSION OUTCOME[S]

* Throughout the 2nd Q … when the Pistons turned a 3 point deficit [TOR 23, Det] into an 8 point lead, largely by abusing Andrea Bargnani [15 pts relinquished, in total, 9 of which were to Tayshaun Prince] and Jason Kapono [5 pts relinquished] defensively, both, in the half-court and in transition situations. 

* Throughout the 4th Q … when the Raptors gave up 3 crucial Offensive Rebounds which the Pistons cashed in for 7 points.

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Sam Mitchell Post-game Interview

[Hint – When you look at the videotape, Sam, you should be able to see for yourself that: I. Removing Joey Graham from the rotation last night, early in the 2nd quarter, and matching-up exclusively with Anthony Parker, Jason Kapono and Jamario Moon against the Pistons superior Wings [i.e. Prince, Rip, Afflalo & Herrmann] cost your team dearly (i) on the boards, (ii) in defensive transition, and (iii) in 1-on-1 defensive assignments, including isolations; and, that II. The major Defensive & Rebounding liabilities last night were (a) Il Mago, (b) J-Killa and, then, (c) Jamario Moon, at the #3-spot.]

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As has been suggested in this space before …

1. Acquiring Jermaine O’Neal at the expense of losing Rasho Nesterovic [their 2nd best rebounder last year] … plus, the No. 17 [overall] Draft Pick [2008], plus Carlos Delfino, plus Jorge Garbajosa … is NOT going to effectively address the Raptors’ on-going deficiency in Rebounding Differential; and,

2. Unless this organization takes the steps of (i) using Kris Humphries for more minutes per game, and (ii) re-configuring the primary roles of Jamario Moon [to the #2-spot, from #3 or #4] & Joey Graham [who should be getting more burn at the #3-spot … because a player like Tayshaun Prince is NOT physically capable of isolating against him by using multiple dribbles],

the Raptors are going to struggle mightily in their games this year against the High End teams in the NBA.

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As currently constituted, the Detroit Pistons are a Legitimate Contender to win the NBA title this season; the Toronto Raptors are not.

What a measuring stick measures

November 5, 2008

This corner of the blogosphere simply cannot say frequently enough just how much Sam Mitchell is liked and appreciated by yours truly.

Despite what he articulates in his public interviews … there should be no doubt whatsoever that HE knows full well the extent to which each and every game or practice for an NBA team is, in fact, a measuring stick of one sort or another … with the only distinction being what is being ‘measured’ that day, specifically, and by whom.

It is going to be most intriguing tonight to see exactly where the Raptors [3-0] stand, playing their 4th game of the regular season versus a Pistons team [3-0], now, permanently without Chauncey Billups [starting PG for the last 6 years] in their line-up and, either, with or without ‘The Answer’, in the mix for Detroit, a squad that has advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for 6 consecutive years.

It should be another barn-burner at the ACC this evening!

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FREE ADVICE: 
In-game, keep your eyes firmly fixed on (i) the ‘Rebounding Differential’, (ii) the Assist:Turnover Differentials, (iii) the FGM-A’s and %, (iv) the 3FGM-A’s and %, plus the FTM-A and %, as important measurements of team performance vs a Quality Opponent, in the NBA. 😉

Growth & development in a fine young man

November 5, 2008

The player who the Detroit Pistons have acquired from the Denver Nuggets is a far different person today than the subject of this infamous clip …

Practice?

older, wiser … and, more mature in his thinking; about life, in general, and particularly his specific approach to the game he loves.

Iverson’s Pistons Press Conference

Allen Iverson Press Conference Transcript 

When your pro sports franchise is run by men with the ‘cred’ of Bill Davidson, Joe D. and MC [Hammer] you are going to be able to ‘integrate’ a great talent like A.I. seamlessly.

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Q1. Are the Pistons a better team on the court today than they were two days ago?
A1. Maybe; maybe not. Only time will tell.

Q2. With this acquisition, are the Pistons now going to win the NBA title this season?
A2. Probably not; not with the LA Lakers being as strong as they are this year.

Q3. Are the Pistons worse off today than they were two days ago?
A3. Not a chance. They have added a terrificly talented player to their team; created roster space for their burgeoning younger players to grow into; and, freed up ‘Cap Space’ after this current season, depending on what specific direction their GM [Joe D.] wants to go with this team. Which makes this a Win-Win-Win situation for the Pistons, now and going forward.

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By far, the best observation/quote these eyes have read, to this point, about the tenure of Joe D. with the Pistons is this:

“The Pistons, under Dumars, never stop, they just idle with the engine running. It’s what makes them interesting.”
Mitch Albom/Detroit Free Press

[read more here … on the fine work of Joe D.]

Character and Commitment in Motown

November 4, 2008

What does this trade mean/do for the Detroit Pistons? … now and down-the-road?

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Pistons retain focus in victory
I. The remaining members of the Pistons’ core — now a band of three — might have taken the floor with a heavy heart Monday after losing two of their brothers, Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess, in a trade with Denver for Allen Iverson.

But that didn’t stop them from handling the young Charlotte Bobcats with relative ease, 101-83, for their third straight victory to start the season.

“We still have to go out and do what we do,” said Rasheed Wallace, who posted 15 points. “We know (trades are) part of the business. Do we like it, maybe not. There’s no telling at this point. But we still have to go out and play.”

II. “It was a tough day,” coach Michael Curry said. “To lose your captain and one of your emotional leaders and for the guys to gather themselves and play the way they did — we’re proud of them. That’s what we expect. When you put that uniform on, regardless of what else is going on, we’ve got to play.”

III. Clearly, the Pistons veterans were shocked by the trade. Richard Hamilton, Billups’ All-Star backcourt mate who led the Pistons with 19 points, wouldn’t talk to the media.

IV. When asked if he was sad, shocked or hurt by the trade, Tayshaun Prince said, “Everything all into one. I can’t even explain it. I won’t even try to explain it.”

Prince spent much of the day talking to Billups and said he was hurt a bit but doing well.

“When you had six straight years with somebody, you got that bond and that connection and then all of a sudden it’s gone,” Prince said. “That’s tough.”

V. “That’s the most important thing about us,” Prince said. “We are still going to play.”

Prince did try to put a positive spin on the trade.

“We’re getting something special (Allen Iverson) in return, I know that,” he said. “I hope the trade inspires him, which I know it will. When he gets here we are going to welcome him with open arms.”

——————————————-

It shows the character they have and their level of commitment to winning.

In the NBA, today, Joe Dumars … is the new Jerry West.

Say what?

November 3, 2008

A possible NBA trade, reportedly being discussed right now, which would fundamentally change the look of both the Eastern & Western Conferences … this season, and for the foreseeable future.

—————————

Sources: Nuggets, Pistons working to finalize Iverson trade
The Denver Nuggets are expected to trade Allen Iverson to the Detroit Pistons for Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess, Pistons team sources told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

The deal has not been finalized.

—————————

Whoa, nellie! … that would be a doozy!

—————————

UPDATE[S}:
* Source: Iverson traded to Detroit

Sweet music to these ears

October 6, 2008

There are many participants in the hoops blogosphere who could not fathom a comparison between the talents & abilities of two seemingly dis-similar NBA players like Ben Wallace [power & no finesse] and Amir Johnson [finesse & no power].

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Curry: Johnson is Pistons’ starting forward
[Michael] Curry was careful not to make any direct comparisons to former Piston Ben Wallace but he believes Johnson can bring some of the same intangibles to the starting unit Wallace did.

“Ben could make a tremendous impact on a game without having any plays run for him. Amir is like Ben in that sense,” Curry said. “Amir can impact a game by how he rebounds, he can impact on the speed in which we play, offensively and defensively. His presence will be a welcome addition to that group.”

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Unlike the resident of this place, they do not see what’s really there … hidden in plain sight.

Thus far, MC [Hammer] just keeps churning out the hits, as the Pistons’ new/old maestro, in Motown.

—————————-

There’s a[n old] soul in the city, watching over us tonight …

UPDATE: Pre-quel … MC [Hammer] is a ‘Boy Scout’ at heart. 🙂

Sheed … unplugged

September 30, 2008

Did you know there’s juice served on the mountaintop?

Or, that it’s important to ride with the ship, no matter what?

If not … then listen up.

Courtesy of mlive.com

As this corner has pointed out several times before … things are going to be different for the Detroit Pistons this year.

“I mean, Guys respected him; guys looked up to him. Mike knows the game … you know, if you know the game of basketball then I think coaching can come easy to you … but everyone that’s a coach don’t know the game of basketball.”Rasheed Wallace

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So, so true.

Bad Boyz II … featuring U Can’t Touch This

September 19, 2008

This terrific stream of Detroit Pistons’ material just keeps rolling off the presses …

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Awkward Interviews: Rodney Stuckey [It’s Just Sports, via TrueHoop]
” … when I’m in the game with Chauncey, coach wants to have the ball in Chauncey’s hands more. When I’m in with Rip, he wants the ball in my hands more so Rip can come off screens and what not. Things are gonna be the same offensively with stuff like that, but I’ll tell you one thing, our defense and defensive standpoint, things are going to be a lot different. We’re gonna be picking up full court, trying to get back to our old ways of playing Bad Boys defense. That’s something to look forward to this coming year.”

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seemingly, coming from every corner of the net.

Bad Boyz II … featuring M[ichael]C[urry] Hammer-ball makes it’s debut, for real, in Motown … Wed Oct 29 2008, at the Palace vs the Pacers.

Now you know exactly what the intro music SHOULD be.

PS. If the Lakers hadn’t already been annointed in this space as eventual 2008-2009 NBA Titleists, with a Legendary 70+ regular season W’s to their credit, IF ALL HANDS ON DECK CAN STAY HEALTHY! … even yours truly MIGHT be swayed into thinking that this year’s Pistons Crew has a legit [underdog’s] shot at knocking down the reigning CHAMPS … and, THEN, taking out, again, Showtime.v2, in Lalaland. Might being the operative word, of course. Still, something to keep in mind, as the season ahead develops.

PPS. I Love THIS Game, I & II.