Tag:Pistons
Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:54 pm
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2011-2012 NBA Awards Predictions

With only a few days until the NBA season starts, I felt like getting my predictions out now. So instead of wasting time trying to talk them up, here they are: 

- MVP -


Kevin Durant

Durant is primed to have his best season yet and I think everyone seen it coming as early as watching him light up the summer leagues. No, I'm not naive enough to say that is the reason why he's going to win the MVP, but if you can't tell his best overall scorer in the game, you just haven't been paying attention. KD can score from anywhere on the court and just continues to improve on defense each year. This should be the year he explodes for well over 30+ ppg 8+ rpg 1.5+ spg 1.5+ bpg and finally over 3 apg this year (improving his passing, which has really been the weakest part of his game). He's going to put up the stats and he's likely going to lead his Thunder to a top seed in the West and contend for a title. 

Runner Up - LeBron James

I hate him, you hate him, everyone hates him. Doesn't change the fact that he's got more talent than anyone in the game. If you put a brain of a smarter player in his body (yes, we can play ChiTownCliff's game for a minute here) he would have won a couple titles on top of his two MVPs already. What makes him even more likely to be an MVP is that he's got the talent to dominant on the defensive end as well, and juding by last season, he's starting to focus on that end quite a bit more. If he does that as well as continuing to be a threat on offense, he's going to make another MVP run without question. Only thing holding him back is his other superstar teammate in Dwyane Wade and star big man in Chris Bosh. But even those guys can only slow him to 27 ppg 6 apg and 8.4 rpg, which is still MVP stuff. Heat will obviously be one of the top teams again and contending for the title, so there is no reason to think LBJ can't win another title unless he defers to Wade and Bosh more than he did last year. 

Dark Horse - Dwight Howard

I don't care what team this guy plays for, he's still the best big man in the game, the best defender in the game, and the most dominant presence the paint on both ends of the floor. His offensive game continues to improve (although a little slower than you'd hope for) and he's always going to own the boards and swat shots. He has the ability to impact a team even more than perimeter players like LBJ and Durant because he can control the paint, and it's been proven on many occasions if you can control the paint, you have an inside track to winning lots of games. If he developed any time of a passing game, he would take his game to the next level and be a real threat to win the MVP. 


- Defense Player of the Year -


Dwight Howard

See above. No one can impact a defense like Howard can. Sure, there hasn't been any other real great defenders in awhile to challenge Howard, but that doesn't change the fact that he is still a 3 time DPOY and could tie Big Ben Wallaceand Dikembe Mutombo for the most all time this season.

Runner Up - Andrew Bogut

He's a great rebounder, strong post defender, and a top notch shot blocker. He's got the skills, but his health has kept him from being looked at very highly, and rightfully so. I think he will be able to stay healthy in this shortened season and put up the strong play on defense all year long and get the Bucks into the playoffs. Maybe I'm being too optimistic for an injury prone guy like Bogut, but he's got be healthy at least one full season, especially when it's only 66 games instead of 82 right?

Dark Horse - Gerald Wallace

When he was with the Bobcats he was a DPOY contender a couple years as he's a strong rebounder and excellent help defender. He didn't get as much time and action with the Trail Blazers last year as LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicholas Batum didn't leave tons of minutes for him. However, this year without Roy, I expect Wallace to take an increased role with the team. Aldridge can lead this team on offense, but not on defense and that's where Wallace will have to step up. If he gets back to 8-10 rpg and 2+ spg and bpg like he was with the Bobcats and the Blazers have a good season behind Aldridge and Wallace, he could be a DPOY candidate.


- Rookie of the Year -


Kemba Walker

He didn't win a national title by accident; he's the real deal. Kemba has alot of thigs going in his favor this year that easily point to him as the ROY. First of all, who the hell else do the Bobcats have? D.J. AugustinBoris Diaw? Yeah, not like Kemba is going to have a tough time taking over this team. He's going to be thrown into the fire as the leader right out of the gate and after watching him play at UConn, I think he's up for the task. This guy just seems like a natural born leader and winner. Excellent scorer and a pretty good passer as well. He may not put up Blake Griffin rookie numbers, but they will still be impressive nonetheless and earn him the DPOY.

Runner Up - Brandon Knight

Biased Pistons pick? Maybe, but let me at least make a case before you call me a homer right off the bat. I know the easy way to discount him right off the bat: "The Pistons have too many other guards. He has to fight Rodney StuckeyBen Gordon, and Will Bynum for minutes." Ah, but it's not that simple. Gordon is a 6th man and no matter how much money is thrown at him by the stupidity of Joe D, it doesn't change that. He is able to put up some points off the bench and light up the scoreboard at times, but you can't trust him on defense or to be consistent and fit well with his teammates on offense. Stuckey is no longer a PG, he's an SG and that's how new coach Frank will use him. He doesn't have a shot, but has a great slashing ability to get to the rim and has the size to play the spot and not be a weak spot on defense. 

Bynum and Knight will be the PGs this season and while I love Bynum and he has spurts of great play, both I and coach Frank know he's not the future. Knight may start on the bench, but it won't be long before he gets the starting job and takes over as the PG of this team. He's already shown to be a willing passer and does well at getting his team involved and finding open shooters (which the Pistons have plenty in Gordon, Daye, and Charlie V). He's also shown the willingness to give effort on defense and pick off passes and turn them into transistion offense. Then there is the obvious that everyone knows: he's a strong shooter and can beat his man to the paint. Knight and Monroe will provide a great inside-outside core to this young team for many years to come and show glimses this season of a team on the rise and on it's way to getting back to the playoffs.

Dark Horse - Bismack Biyombo

This was the guy I was begging for the Pistons to get. However, that was before I knew Knight would drop all the way to the Pistons. Still, I would love to have this guy next to Monroe. He's the best defensive prospect since Howard and has rare explosiveness, wingspan, and leaping ability. He's going to get time with the thin front court of the Bobcats and as long as he's not completely incompetent on offense, he'll get enough time to put up some impressive numbers on defense. I wouldn't be surprised to see 8-10 rpg and 2-3 bpg. Future DPOY is in Biyombo's future.


- 6th Man of the Year -


Lamar Odom

From what I've heard and understand, despite him being traded from the Lakers to the Mavericks, he's still going to be used in the 6th man role off the bench (with Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki starting at the two forward spots). With his role not changing much and going to a team that needs rebounding and bench scoring (after losing Tyson Chandler on the boards and Juan Jose Barea for the bench scoring), I don't see any reason for him to not win the 6th man award again this season.

Runner Up - Jason Terry

Yes, the 6th man will come from the Mavericks. Terry is still going to put up points and with Kidd gettin ga year older and no more Barea, he'll have to run the point at times for the Mavs and play an important role in the Mavs having another shot at the Finals.

Dark Horse - Austin Daye

Another Pistons player? Yes, I can't help myself. Daye wasn't very good last year; he looked very uncoordinated and horrible on defense. If he couldn't shoot the ball so well, he wouldn't have gotten any time at all. However, this year under a smarter coach and one that is actually teaching the young players and giving them direction, Daye looks to be responding well to coach Frank. What's most impressive is he looks focused especially on the defensive end. He got 5 blocks in the first preseason game and 2 more in the second game. He's got lots of length at 6'11" and can shoot the ball very well. He looks to take a big step this year and the only thing that might keep him out of contention for this is that he gets moved to the starting lineup. 


Most Improved Player of the Year


Andre Iguodala

I don't believe Iggy was as bad as he played last season. I know he's never been a great #1 option for a team and I would expect his numbers to drop off some when he got other good players around him in Philly, but I never thought he'd be that bad. It wasn't just on offense either. He use to be a strong defender, but last year lost alot of that strong play as well. He was banged up quite a bit last season as well, and is reportedly in much better shape this season dropping 10 pounds and not having any lingering injuries. I expect him to bounce back closer to his old self; maybe not as many assists this time around as he's Jrue Holiday looks ready to take over as PG, but I expect to be scoring well and back to his strong defensive play.

Runner Up - Andrew Bogut

All he has to do is stay healthy, that's it and he will be a contender to win this award. 

Dark Horse - Richard Hamilton

Giving the best attacking PG in the game a shooter like Billups is dangerous for the Bulls and makes it so much more diffcult to defend them. After the big MVP season Rose had last season, I can't see teams just inviting him to score and dominant. Thus, Rip will get plenty of open looks and chances to knock down shots like he was with the Pistons. I don't expect him to score anywhere near 20 ppg, but scoring about 15-16 ppg on a lot higher FG% than he did last year is a big improvement from what he was doing last season for the Pistons.

- Coach of the Year -


Lionel Hollins

The Grizzlies seem to come out of nowhere at the end of last season and making a strong playoff performance. This year there will be no "surprise factor" for the Grizz and there are big expectations out of them from alot of people. In order for them to deliver, it will be coach Hollins job to make sure they can duplicate that late season success and even improve on it. The tricky part will be doing it this time with Rudy Gay in the lineup as he was hurt when the Grizz made the late season run. Chemistry is a huge part of teams and he's got to make Gay and Randolph able to work well with each other as well as the rest of their teammates. If he can do that, this team will be in the playoffs again and maybe even make a run at a Top 4 seed.

Runner Up - Tom Thibodeau

The Bulls had a great season under coach TT last season, so it's kind of hard for them to get any better right? Wrong, they were without Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah for big chunks of the season last year, and also had no respectable shooter to take pressure off Rose. They have the shooter in Rip now and Noah and Boozer (at least for now) are healthy. If they stay together all season long, the Bulls will not only be one of the best regular season teams, they could get to the Finals this time around.

Dark Horse - Nate McMillan

He no longer has Roy as his franchise player and now has Aldridge as his go-to player. However, that doesn't seem to be a huge deal for the Blazers and Coach McMillan as they still made the playoffs. Aldridge will big improved with another season under his wing, Wallace should be even better in a full season with the Blazers, Batum should improve in a bigger role, and they have couple new guards in Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton to make the loss of Roy not sting as much. Blazers should again be the playoffs and maybe have a shot at being a dark-horse team in the West.


- All NBA Teams - 


All NBA First Team:

G - Chris Paul
G - Dwyane Wade
F - Kevin Durant
F - Blake Griffin
C  - Dwight Howard

All NBA Second Team:

G - Derrick Rose
G - Kobe Bryant
F - LeBron James
F - Dirk Nowitzki 
C  - Al Horford 

All NBA Third Team:

G - Rajon Rondo
G - Eric Gordon
F - Paul Millsap
F - Kevin Love
C  - Andrew Bogut 


All NBA Defensive First Team: 

G - Rajon Rondo
G - Dwyane Wade
F - LeBron James
F - Gerald Wallace
C - Dwight Howard 

All NBa Defensive Second Team:

G - Chris Paul
G - Russell Westbrook
F - Josh Smith
F - Bismack Biyombo
C - Andrew Bogut 


All NBA Rookie First Team:

G - Kemba Walker
G - Brandon Knight
F - Derrick Williams
F - Marcus Morris
C - Bismack Biyombo 

All NBA Rookie Second Team:

G - Kyrie Irving
G - Darius Morris
F - Jan Vesley
F - Tristan Thompson
C -  Enes Kanter


That's all folks! Discuss, make your own predictions, or just rip mine if you can't think of anything better to do.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 8:45 pm
 

Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall,......

..........Brandon Knight? Am I getting ahead of myself? Probably, but with how bad the Pistons have been the last couple years, I haven't had much to be happy about lately so I'm going to live in the moment with this one. Calipari has been a point guard guru and has produced some of the best young point guards in the NBA right now (looks even better with Derrick Rose winning the MVP this past season and leading his Bulls to a #1 seed). They all left their freshman year after just one year under Coach Calipari and Knight has done the same after just one season with the Wildcats. Everyone expected Knight to go in the Top 5 picks but somehow by sheer luck he dropped all the way to the Pistons at the 8th.

While Knight did struggle in the beginning of the NCAA season, Calipari's coaching of him started to pay off as the season went on as he got better and better. He started making better decisions with the ball, was able to run the pick n roll well, was hitting shots off the dribble or off the ball, and got Kentucky into the tourney after leading them to an SEC title. No one was expecting them to do a whole lot, but Knight ended up leading them all the way to the Final Four. They went on to lose BY ONE POINT to the eventual NCAA national champs in UConn. Even as just a freshman Knight was already progressing fast and showing his potential to be another star PG from the Calipari tree.

So will Knight follow in the footsteps of Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, and John Wall? Will he prove why so many teams passed up on him? Or will he just be a solid player but nothing to the levels of Rose, Evans, or Wall? For the Pistons sake, I hope he's the next Calipari star PG as we could use it right now. I can't wait to see him running pick n rolls with Greg Monroe as that should cause nightmares for opposing teams (might be the only thing that they can do against opponents but at least it's something!). I did like what I heard from him in interview after he was picked; he said he modeled his game after Chauncey Billups and they things he wants to bring to the Pistons is shooting, defense, and wins.

The Pistons might finally be headed back to the playoffs soon as it's been a hard past couple years. They've finally got their ownership issues solved, and will soon be getting a new head coach (hopefully one that stays more than a year or two this time). Things are looking up in Motown with the Blue Knight (yes, a cheesy Dark Knight reference)!

Posted on: May 22, 2011 1:46 am
 

Detroit Pistons Draft Outlook

Well I was hoping to see the Pistons get lucky and move up in the draft from their originally slotted 7th spot, but instead it was the Cavaliers that got the lucky draw and the Pistons went the opposite direction and moved down one spot. With this draft lacking alot of potential huge stars, it's likely the Pistons won't be getting any player that is going to be able to be a future leading star for them. So the most important thing will be to draft a guy that not only has talent, but also can impact their team and be a great role player right off the bat. There are a few options, but I think it clearly comes down to two guys: Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo.

When Chauncey Billups was at the PG helm for the Pistons leading their offense, they were contending for the East title each year and always at least in the ECFs. The won a title and went to back to back Finals appearances in the Billups era, but since trading him to the Nuggets they have dropped off significantly and that's really an understatement. Allen Iverson was one of my favorite players of all time, but that experiment failed miserably. They had picked Rodney Stuckey in the 2007 draft and had hoped he was going to be able to step up and be Billups understudy and eventually take the starting job once Billups got too old and had to step down. He showed flashes of amazing talent and ability to get to the lane and create offense; even in the 2008 NBA playoffs where he was penetrating the Celtics defense very well at time (and I remind you this was the #1 defense at the time that went on to win the title).

This is what gave Dumars the thought that he could trade Billups now, get Iverson and use his expiring contract to free up cap space in the 2010 super FA market to get players to go along with Stuckey and the other younger Pistons players to start the transition from the older 2004 championship players to a new Pistons team. Well as we have seen since, Stuckey hasn't stepped up and Joe D decided to use his extra money on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, which has also proven to be disappointing. Stuckey has still shown those flashes, but has to be consistent enough to be that PG they need to lead the offense. Now he has shown horrible attitude problems and refuses to play for the team at the end of the year because of arguments with the coach. Well I say good riddance to him as he has obviously failed to live up to expectations and is now being a whiney baby that has no business being our point guard.

So now the question will be who will fill that spot? I love Will Bynum as he is a tenacious defender with quickness and lots of athletic ability (dude can throw down for a little guy), and I like how unselfish he is on offense always looking to pass first and creating open players by being able to penetrate the lane well. But I know he is never a guy that is going to be able to lead their team, so they will need to get someone he can. A guy that could do that is Kemba Walker. He has proven to be a strong leader and able to take a team on his shoulders and win them games. He has amazing scoring ability as well as some good passing skills (didn't use it a whole lot in college but he does have it when I watched him play games at UConn). He has the ability to get into the lane, stop-n-pop for jumpers, and get them big shots. Sound familiar? The next Mr. Big Shot maybe? Of course if they do this they need to try and trade Stuckey, and he still has talent and with some teams needing PGs I'm sure someone would bite. They would have a good two-man, inside-outside tandem with Kemba and Greg Monroe that could be the future of the new Pistons squad and possible start turning things around back to at least making the playoffs.


The other option is to look down low, which is most likely the bigger concern at the time. They got Greg Monroe last year and I really liked what I seen from him. He should be the main big for the Pistons for years to come. He's got size, good rebounding, good passing, and a developing offensive game that will get better each year. He can anchor them in the post on offense for sure, but while he's a solid post defender he's not the best help defender and is not great and helping on driving players. Ben Wallace was the doing this for the Pistons in his prime years (being the best defensive player in the league) and is doing it now at the twilight stage of his career. But he's not the young athlete he once was and is close to hanging it up and focusing on becoming a defense attorney upon his retirement (fitting isn't it?), and the question is now who is going to do that? The Pistons have turn things around on defense because that had been their identity for years and always what was the backbone of their success. A guy that could fill that role is Bismack Biyombo.

The young (or old depending whether you think he's 18 or 30) kid from Congo is not someone that was a big time draft prospect all year. He hasn't been playing in any big time college basketball, and has only recently been playing big time professional Euro basketball for Spain. However, what he lacks in experience at high levels, he makes up for freakish talent and athleticism. He can jump out of the jump, has energy galore, and a monstrous 7 foot 7 inch wing span. When I looked at his size, 6'9" 240 lbs, I thought to myself: "That looks familiar; I think that was Big Ben's size." Then I watched tape on him and I got a chill up my spine as Big Ben flashbacks went through my mind.

He is a very strong defender, with strong rebounding, great leaping ability, a long wing span, and lots of energy and hustle that just makes him a carbon copy of a young Ben Wallace in terms of physical attributes and abilities. I even watched a few highlights where he was playing up and pressing the ball handler after the ball was in-bounded, and the only other big man I ever seen do that was Big Ben. I'd love to put Bismack alongside Monroe and give them an excellent post duo for their future. Monroe can lead them on offense while focusing on man defense and Biyombo can do the dirty work, clean up the boards, swat shots left and right, and just straight out hustle. While I'm tired of watching the Pistons drafting European players and them failing to pan out (Darko ruined Euro players for me to be honest), the potential ability Bismack has to be the next "Big B" just has me hoping they get him at the 8th spot.

Either way it's time to end the transition phase and move onto to the new generation of players. Tayshaun Prince's contract is up and while I wish they would have been smart enough to get something out of him (someone would have wanted an expiring contract), it's time to cut ties with him and move on. Richard Hamilton will always be remembered and loved for what he did with the Pistons and is probably their best pure shooter in history and I think one of the best shooters running off screens of all time, his time has passed as well and they need to trade him along with Stuckey. Guys like Monroe, Bynum, Jonas Jerebko, Gordon, and Austin Daye are their future now and they can add another young gun to that group in a couple months with their 8th overall pick. Whether they choose to get a guy that can lead their offense in Kemba or a guy that can impact and improve immensely their post defense in Bismack, it's time to get the new era of Pistons basketball started. We finally have a new owner, Flint's own Tom Gores, and we can finally move past this phase of unbearable to watch basketball.

I want to be proud again to say............

DEEEEEEETROIT BAAAAAAAAAAAAASKETBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!
Posted on: February 24, 2011 7:50 pm
 

Joe Dumars, What is Wrong With You?!?!?!?!?

After watching all these go on over the last couple days before the deadline today, I can't believe not one deal was done by the Pistons. What was Joe Dumars doing, just sitting back and twiddling his thumbs? Was he expecting someone to come drop some great deal in his lap? It's very frustrating as a fan to watch all this activity go on and the Pistons just to sit back and do nothing when it's obvious they need to do some work to this team if they expect it to start improving and getting back to contending in the playoffs again. Why is Richard Hamilton just going to sit there and rot on the bench? Why is Tayshaun Prince's expiring contract to being used to entice some team into a deal? Why are they just going to sit back and hope it all magically works out and the team just transforms back to the 2000s Pistons?

I can't say I'm completely shocked to see they didn't do any deals as Joe D has really be slacking the last couple years. It's so obvious this team is just sitting in limbo and has no organization, no identity, no leadership, and no idea what the hell they are doing right now. They couldn't honestly think Ben Gordon and Charlie Villaneuva were the answer. Those guys are excellent role players but come on, neither one is a guy I'm counting on to lead this team. They can't keep waiting around expecting Rodney Stuckey to suddenly transform into Chauncey Billups; sorry that's not happening any time soon and likely never. Rip and Prince are both guys that have been lost without Billups, as has the whole team, and neither can step up and lead this team. They've tried and failed miserably (making themselves worse in the process; Rip can't be a Kobe/Wade type of SG and Prince is no LeBron James but guys try to put themselves in those roles and can't get it done).

This team has very good young role players in Gordon, Charlie V, Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko, Austin Daye, Will Bynum, Chris Wilcox, and Jason Maxiell that can all contribute to a good team but none are guys you can count on to lead your team and/or run/be the center of your offense. Tracy McGrady has been doing his best to try and be some sort of a leader for this team, and he's actually help keep them at least competitive in some games, but he's not that kind of guy anymore. He's still a very good player, but he's not the answer. He could have been used as well as trade value.

They can't expect a rookie in Greg Monroe and an gray haired Ben Wallace to do it all in the post. Jason Maxiell and Chris Wilcox have shown some solid play in bursts but have overall not been doing much for the Pistons in the paint. Big Ben can't play much more than 20-25 minutes in a game anymore. He gives everything he has for those 20-25 min. and has still been able to rack up 8-10 boards in those short amount of times (as well as playing smart defense drawing lots of offensive fouls) but what happens for the other 23-28 minutes of the game? Greg Monroe has steadily been improving and been strong on the boards, solid on defense, very good at handling the rock and playing transition, but his scoring is not enough yet to anchor them in the post. He's showing flashes of what he could do (with a 27 point game the other night) but he is not a guy that can give them a respectable option to go to in the post. And when Big Ben, Wilcox, and Maxiell are nothing more than garbage guys on offense, that makes it even worse.

Rodney Stuckey can't lead a team, and it's frustrating and hard to say that after all the high hopes we've had for him. He's shown flashes of being amazing but he has yet to show consistently he's willing to play the role of facilitator as well scorer. He's also yet to show he can knock down jumpers on consistent basis. He can drive to the rim like a Derrick Rose when he wants, but he because he has no jumper to respect and because he isn't willing to feed his teammates enough, that diminishes his scoring and his overall value at times. He was unfairly expected to be the next Chauncey Billups for the Pistons right away as a rookie, but he could at least try to be a PG at times. Will Bynum has actually shown he's willing to be a facilitator and find his teammates, and also has a strong ability to get the rim. He also knows that his ability to get to the rim can be used to find his teammates (by drawing the defense to himself). He's also shown he's an intense, fiesty defender that really likes to put pressure on the ball handler for the opponent. He plays Lindsey Hunter like defense and uses his speed and quick hands to disrupt the opposing PG. But like Stuckey, he lacks a consistent jumper and he does at times fall in love with jumpers, even when he's not knocking them down and has gone cold.

I just can't believe Dumars did NOTHING before the trade deadline and Rip will continue to just sit on the bench pouting and not being used at all, and the Pistons will continue to be stuck between old and new in this transition phase that is just utterly disgusting to watch after we Pistons fans had watched them be contenders in the East for so long. I can understand all good things have to come to an end sometimes, but when your GM isn't in any hurry to try and fix and improve the team it's just frustrating as a fan especially when you watch all these teams be so active during these last couple of days. It's even worse when you've got a guy like Rip, who know is still a good player but just doesn't fit in with the team anymore, just sit there and waste away on the bench; and when you watch a guy like Rodney Stuckey, who you've been waiting to just turn into your team's star for awhile now, continue to lack the ability to step up and not improve on his game like you've been expecting.

I've been very patient with Joe D as he was one of the best players we've ever seen for this franchise and won us two titles and Finals MVP as a player, and then went on to orchestrate and manage a team that won another title in 2004 and contended in the East for most of the last decade. However, after breaking my heart and not resigning Big Ben, trading Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson, using cap space to sign Ben Gordon and Charlie Villaneuva, and now standing pat during a very active trading deadline and letting Rip rot on the bench, I'm starting to lose my patience with him. I'm tired of watching the Pistons lose games when I can see if this team had any direction whatsoever they could be at respectable and in the playoffs. If Joe D doesn't make any moves this off season that can give this team more structure, an identity, and organization for their future then I'm sorry to say it but I think it's time for Joe D to go.
Posted on: November 10, 2010 8:37 pm
 

Big B's Early 2010 Defensive Highlights

I figured with everyone raving over the amazing offensive skills being displayed early on in the season with guys like Kevin Durant, Monta Ellis, Dwyane Wade, Rudy Gay, and Derrick Rose lighting up scoreboards; or Celtics fans going insane about Rajon Rondo dropping almost 15 assists a game so far; or guys like LeBron James and Pau Gasol putting up triple doubles; I thought how about we talk about the other side of the ball and give some love to defense being displayed so far this year. Now I know it's early so this is not a "top defensive player of the year candidates" list. This is just a place to shine the light on some great defense being played so far this season. I'm going to touch a few players a teams, but feel free to give a shout out to a guy on your favorite team for his defense.


Dwight Howard

He is the two time reigning Defensive Player of the Year and he's definitely proving why he's just a huge impact on defense this year with Magic. Now Howard isn't putting up huge statistical numbers this year like he has in the past; he's ONLY putting up 11.3 rebounds per game, 2.7 blocks per game, and 1.2 steals per game (I say only just because he's put better statistical numbers than that before, but these numbers are still impressive nonetheless). However, it's how much of an impact on his team that truly makes his defensive worth so valuable. The Magic so far this year are allowing only 88.7 points per game (1st in the NBA), 41.4% FG (1st in the league), have an 11.2 ppg differential, have 46.5 rebounds per game (2nd in the league), allowing only 38.8 rebounds in the league (2nd in the league), and have a +7.7 rpg differential (1st in the NBA). The Magic are no lower than 2nd in all the major defensive categories and that speaks volumes of Howard's defensive impact. It's not like he's getting lots of help from Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, or anyone else on the team. Without Howard, this team is bad defensive team, but with him, they become one of the best defenses in the NBA.

Dwyane Wade

While I think Heat fans have been playing better defense for their team than post defense of the actual Heat players, the team has been solid overall on defense. The Heat allow only 90.1 points per game (2nd in the NBA) and allow only 41.6% FG (3rd in the NBA). Since we know it's not their post defense that is making this team respectable, we have to look to their perimeter players. LeBron James has been good, but their truly most valuable defender has been Wade. He's been all over the court for the Heat and ever single game I've watched for the Heat I've seen this guy hustle his butt off to not only stay in front of his man, but go play help defense (especially in the paint where they struggle). He's averaging 6.6 rpg  1.6 spg and 1.0 bpg and has had two games where he's got double-digit rebounds. Wade has definitely been working hard to just keep the Heat defense from being absolutely abyssmal and has actually made it at the very least respectable.

Josh Smith

Boy this guy has come a long way since a few years ago. Remember when he use to be in love with his deep jumper (which he couldn't hit consistently) and didn't know how to use his athleticism to actual impact his defense instead of just getting block and steal numbers? He has become a much smarter player and it shows not only on offense but on defense. He realizes that while he has the athleticism and ability to play on the perimter, he's far more dangerous in the post. He's such an excellent leaper and uses that do very well on the glass above much bigger players. So far this season he's averaging 9.6 rpg 3.4 bpg and 1.4 spg and has been all over paint on defense as well out of it as well. It's tough to find easy passing lanes and cutting lanes to the basket when J-Smoove is roaming the court. He's been swatting the ball left and right this season and proving to be a dangerous threat on defense in the paint for the Hawks.


Joakim Noah

He has become a very good defensive presence for the Bulls in the paint. He's leading the league averaging 15.0 rpg and also chipping in 2.2 bpg and 1.0 spg so far this season. While Rose has gotten the highlights with his flashing offense and big time dunks, it's been Noah who has been leading their defense and has put the Bulls 6th in the league in rebounds with 45.0 rpg, allowing only 39.3 rpg (5th in the league) and has them 2nd in the league in rpg differential with +5.7 rpg. He look freakish and has a gap tooth grin that would make Michael Strahan proud, but he's a very tough defender in the paint and he's establishing that early on this year.


The New Orleans Hornets

I can't choose just one player from this team because it's been such a great team effort on defense that has allowed the Hornets be very impressive so far on defense and has been a big reason why they are undefeated so far through the early goings this season. They are 3rd in the NBA in ppg allowed with 90.1 ppg and 4th in the NBA in FG% allowed with 42.3% FG allowed. Chris Paul has been impressive not only with his thievery of 2.4 steals per game but also being impressive on the boards with 5.4 rpg on the season. Trevor Ariza has looked good defending defending the perimeter while adding 5.0 rpg and 1.9 spg. Emeka Okafor has proved he is still a very good defensive presence in the paint averaging 2.3 bpg and 8.1 rpg on this season. But while no single player has stood out and looked like a top defensive player, they have been a very good defensive unit together and the whole team is looking sharp on both ends of the court this year which has led to their great start.


Andrew Bogut

The Aussie big man has picked up where he left off last season and has been getting it done on defense for the Bucks. So far he's averaging 10.3 rpg and 1.9 bpg on the season while making the Bucks a good defensive team. The Bucks are allowing 91.4 ppg (good for 4th in the NBA) and 42.3% FG (5th in the NBA). He missed one game so far with an injury and I'm sure got some Buck fans and others (including myself) worried his injury problems would return again and keep him from being a top big man in the NBA. If he can stay healthy like he did last year and consistantly prove to be a defensive presence and overall good post presence for the Bucks, he will finally be living up to that #1 status.


Ben Wallace

You know I had to give my Pistons boy some love when I'm talking about defense. Now this isn't the Ben Wallace of old for the Pistons, he isn't getting 13-15 rpg and 3-4 bpg and making people "Fear the Fro" anymore, but he's shown when he's motivated now again back with the Pistons, he can still get it done for the Bad Boys on defense, even if you can see the gray in his hair now (which is the reason why he's not growing that fro out anymore). He's an old man now so he's only playing 24.3 minutes a game so far this season, but he's been impressive on the defensive end during the time he's in. He's averaging 8.3 rpg 1.3 spg and 1.0 bpg in the limited time and giving the Pistons their only post defensive presence (which is sad, I know).



Well that's all the guys I'm showing loving right now, but I'm sure there are plenty more guys that could use some spotlight for the defense so far this season. Feel free to throw out some guys you've been impressed with on defense so far this season.


Posted on: August 24, 2010 12:02 pm
 

Pistons Ownership: Past, Present, and Future

In 1974, William Davidson bought the Detroit Pistons from his neighbor Fred Zollner, the founder of the team. In 1978, Bill Davidson moved the Pistons to the newly built Palace of Auburn Hills, which became the NBA's first arena that was entirely financed by private funds. Davidson was able to keep the blue-collar feel to the team, but improved their facilities and gave a breath of fresh air into the franchise.

In 1989, The Detroit Pistons won their first NBA championship in their NBA franchise history. They would go on to win in 1990 as well giving them back to back titles under Bill Davidson's ownership. The Pistons would go on with many other successful season, but never achieved another title again in the 90s decade due to the dominance of Michael Jordan.

In 1998, Bill Davidson started a WNBA expansion franchise known as the Detroit Shock. The Shock would go on to win 3 WNBA titles themselves, all under Davidson, in 2003, 2006, and 2008. After Davidson passed, they were sold and left Detroit for Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In 2004, The Pistons won their third NBA championship and brought back the Bad Boy style that had got them previous success. Also in 04, The Tampa Bay Lightning won their first and only NHL Stanley Cup in franchise history, and became the southern-most NHL team to ever win the Stanley Cup.

On March 13th, 2009 William "Bill" Davidson died at the age of 86. He was honored by the Pistons and entire Detroit as bringing so much success to the basketball franchises. He built the Palace of Auburn Hills, and to let everyone know who was responsible for building it and building their teams' success, the basketball floor was given its new name: William Davidson's Court." The Pistons will have "Mr. D" stitched into the collar of their jerseys.

Before Mr. D had died, he also stated that he'd never sell the Pistons and even after his death, the team would remain in his family. His wife, Karen Davidson, had taken control of the team after his death. But now it seems as if she doesn't seem to uphold Bill's request and belief that the team should stay in the Davidson family. Instead, she is planning on selling the team, and says she is confident the team will be under new ownership before the start of the next NBA season starting in October. I can't believe this woman has no respect for the legacy her husband built for this team and can't respect his wishes. But it is inevitable now that she will sell the team and it will be under new ownership very soon.

There are a few people interested in buying it, but of course with our lovely Michigan economy, no one wants to pay top dollar for a franchise that has been heading the wrong direction and is suffering under a horrible economy. Naturally, the majority of people interested would be Michigan/Detroit natives or people who have a stake already in part of Michigan's economy or own other businesses in Michigan/Detroit. So let's look at likely candidates that could become the new owners of the Detroit Pistons, and while none will ever be able to fill the shoes the great Bill Davidson did, hopefully whoever it is capable of at least bringing them back to relevance. This team seemed to die with Davidson, and it needs some new life brought into it like Davidson did back in the 70s.

The first possible buyer is the only major candidate who is not a Michigan native and/or has investments in Michigan businesses. George Postolos is the former president of the Houston Rockets and former special assistant to David Stern (uh oh!). Postolos tried buying the Charlotte Bobcats , but of course lost out to Jordan. Georgie is a guy that seems to be very fickle with how he spends his money and doesn't want to shell out too much money if he doesn't feel what he's buying is something he's getting at a good value. As I stated before, the Pistons are located in Michigan, and as everyone knows, Michigan's economy is lower than Ben Wallace 's free throw percentages. The Detroit Pistons net worth is estimated by Forbes at $479 million, and including The Palace of Auburn Hills and all its entertainment projects are estimated to be worth over $500 million. Now who is going to pay full price for a business in a failing economy? Well definitely not a guy who is very picky about how he spends his mo

Another candidate (feel like Jacob on Lost writing names on a wall, and crossing them out one by one) is Tom Gores. Gores is a Flint, MI native like myself, and a Michigan State Spartan alumni. This guy basically seems like a Michael Douglas's character, Gordon Gekko, from Wall Street. He founded Platinum Equity in 1995, a company based in California that has become one of the fastest growing private owned companies in America. Another interesting fact about him is that while he grew up in Flint, MI, he was born in Nazareth, Israel and moved to Flint when he was 4 years old with his family. Gore is a very wealthy man, having an estimated fortune of $2.2 billion. He apparently is the front runner right now as he will most likely give Karen Davidson the most money for the Pistons. He doesn't sound like a bad guy, but he also doesn't seem like he'd put his heart into the team like Davidson did.

The last major candidateis Mike Ilitch, the current owner of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings. Ilitch is a Detroit native and has been a guy that is very involved in Michigan's economy. He also is the founder and owner of Little Caesars Pizza. Before becoming a wealthy business man though, Ilitch had served in the United States Marine Corps. For 4 years, right after completing high school, and played a little minor league baseball for the Tigers farm system after returning home. Ilitch, like Davidson, is a very family oriented man has his entire business ventures privately held by his family and their company, Ilitch Holdings, Inc.

Ilitch bough the Red Wings in 1982 and has since won four Stanley Cups as well having a 19 year playoff streak, which is the 3rd longest in NHL history. Ilitch bough the Tigers in 1992 and while they were very poor at the beginning, they have finally turned things around starting in 2006 by making it to the World Series.

Another factor that has been thrown in is Magic Johnson looking to get in the Pistons ownership. He currently holds a small ownership with the Lakers , but has been looking to get a bigger stake in a team. He was part of a group that was trying to buy the Warriors , but ultimately lost out there. While he has said he definitely be the major owner of the team, he'd be interested in being part of the group that does own the team. Magic seemed to be interesting in joining the Ilitch led group or even being involved in the front office with this quote from Magic:

"Somebody back there has to be the majority owner, be the owner," Johnson said. "That wouldn't be me. But if Ilitch or somebody -- you've got a good guy back there already in Joe Dumars. If somebody said, 'Hey, can you come and think about helping Joe Dumars?' then I would think about it."

When it comes down to it, I would ultimately wish Karen Davidson had a change of heart and decided to keep in the Davidson family and respect and honor her late husband, Bill Davidson. But if the Pistons are going to be sold, then I want to see the right personnel take hold of them. Out of the possible candidates, I think Mike Ilitch would be the best fit as the new owner of the Pistons. He already owns two other Detroit franchises in the Tigers and Red Wings, and has done well with both. He is a Michigan native and has been very involved with trying to improve the downtown economy of Detroit (which may be an impossible task, but at least he's willing to try). He is also a family oriented guy that likes to keep his businesses privately held by his family and the people he trusts.

I could see Ilitch doing the best for this team, and at least it is a guarantee that the Pistons never lever Michigan. With the other possible owners, who knows if they will move the Pistons do a different state and part of the country. I mean, with the failing economy of Michigan, it would make a lot of sense from a business standpoint to move the team where they can move more money. But despite my state's financial failures, I don't want to see my favorite NBA team leave. The team I've grown up watching and loving for so long, and the team I've seen win an NBA title and have a lot of success. To see them leave and leave us fans with no NBA team to root for would leave me in a deep state of depression and sadness. I'd most likely lose my mind in a nervous breakdown and becoming a mindless LeBron James drone and Miami Heat fan.

In the end, I just want to see the Detroit Pistons becoming successful again. I respect what the great Bill Davidson did for this team and I hate that his witch (with a "b") of a wife can't honor and respect him enough to uphold his legacy with the Pistons and keep it in the family. I want to see the new owner come in and do what Davidson did, take a franchise that was headed in the wrong direction and bring them back to prominence again. Give them new life and motivation to becoming a great NBA franchise again, and get them back to contending and winning NBA championships.

R.I.P William "Bill" Davidson

DEEEEEEEEEEETROIT BAAASKETBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AAAAALLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!


Posted on: May 19, 2010 11:19 am
Edited on: May 19, 2010 11:25 am
 

Detroit Pistons Draft/Off-Season Outlook

The Pistons didn't get any luck like the 76ers and Wizards to move up in the draft and are stuck at their 7th overall spot for the 2010 NBA Draft. Things would have been much easier if they could have moved into the Top 5 and had a chance at DeMarcus Cousins or Derrick Favors, but considering how the Pistons season went this year, I guess it was foolish to expect any kind of luck for the MoTown boys this year. If only they could have actually lost more games instead of deciding to win 4 of their last 6 games to move them out of the bottom five and get stuck with this damn 7th overall pick!

So the consensus is to grab a big man, and even though they won't likely have a shot at Cousins or Favors, they are predicted by most analysts to go after Cole Aldrich or maybe Greg Monroe (if Aldrich is gone). This seems all fine and dandy on paper and makes perfect sense considering the biggest weakness of the Pistons is their lack of post scoring or overall post depth. However, when you look at their draft history with big men, it makes me a little afraid to take a big man with this pick. Here is the Pistons 1st round draft picks for the last decade:

2009 - Austin Daye (15th)
2008 - D.J. White (29th)
2007 - Rodney Stuckey (15th) Arron Afflalo (27th)
2006 - None
2005 - Jason Maxiell (26th overall)
2004 - None
2003 - Darko Milicic (2nd overall)
2002 - Tayshaun Prince (23th overall)
2001 - Rodney White (9th overall)
2000 - Mateen Cleaves (14th overall)

Now lets look over the big men the Pistons have taken with 1st round picks. Back in 01 they took Rodney White with the 9th overall pick. I don't think that worked out to well considering he was traded very soon to the Nuggets, who then shipped him to the Warriors, and now he's playing overseas. I will not go into detail of the Darko pick without having a mental breakdown and turning into a serial killer. Maxiell looked very good early on his career, and maybe the Pistons bad luck with big men was about to be broken. He played with a lot of energy and heart and was seen as maybe the next Ben Wallace for the Pistons. However, when they tried using him in big minute situations (instead of the bench/energy role he had been filling) he completely regressed and was not the savior. For some odd reason, they now have tried to make him a jump shooter and that is only making him worse. Another one bites the dust I guess. Then in 08, they took D.J. White, but we really can't count that since they didn't hold onto him long and traded him before the draft was even over. He hasn't panned out very well so far for the Thunder either I'm guessing though.

Now look at the perimeter players they've taken in their history. It's not a lot better, but there have been some gems in there. Tayshaun Prince in 02 proved to be a great selection as he helped them get a championship in 04 and helped take them to 7 straight ECFs. Rodney Stuckey, while not turning into Chauncey Billups as soon as everyone expected (due to the Allen Iverson trade bringing overwhelming and unrealistic expectations to Stuckey) has been showing great strides improvements and could be a very good starting PG for them going forward into the future.

Let's even look back deeper into the Pistons draft history. The best big man they ever drafted was Theo Ratliff in 1995 18th overall. While he didn't stay with them long, he turned into a very good defensive center; no superstar but still very good nonetheless. But their draft history with perimeter players is not even comparable. In 1994 they took Grant Hill with the 3rd overall pick. For the first 7 years of his career with the Pistons he accumulated more total points, rebounds, and assists than any other player in history besides Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson; good company huh? Then the year before that (1993) they took Allan Houston with the 11th overall pick. Houston, while only staying with the Pistons for a few seasons, went on to be a great shooter for the Knicks. Then, if we kick it old school, the Pistons took Joe Dumars in the 1985 draft at 18th overall. I think we all know how he went on to become one of the best Pistons ever.

Now the point I'm trying to make (if you haven't figured it out already) is that the Pistons don't have the best luck when drafting big men in the first round. While Aldrich and Monroe look good on paper, make sense for the Pistons to target, and if everything turned out perfectly, would be great picks for them. However, excuse me if I'm a little nervous about any big man the Pistons take; especially tall, slow, white guys like Aldrich (DARKO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yell ). Now if they took a perimeter player, it wouldn't make much sense (especially considering they took Austin Daye, Durrell Summers, and Jonas Jerebko last year, signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva last year, and have enough perimeter players) but I'd be a lot less worried we'd turn out with a bust in this year's draft.

Now if the Pistons are unable to ship out Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton (to create some cap room), then I wouldn't suggest drafting a perimeter player because we'd have an overload. However, maybe they could try trading down in the draft to take a lower projected big man like Patrick Patterson or Daniel Orton (or maybe still get lucky and have Greg Monroe still there). I know Joe D has been having trouble dumping off Prince and Rip's contracts, but maybe adding in their 7th overall pick to move down in the draft would help provide incentive for a team to take on the contracts of Prince and Rip. This would then provide a much bigger advantage for the Pistons than anything in the draft could as they would have room to sign a big name player in this star studded off-season.

All I know as this draft and off-season is huge for Joe D and the Pistons. If they are unable to make the right moves, we could be in trouble for a few more seasons (and after watching the Pistons be so successful for most of the last decade, it's going to hard to swallow more seasons like the last two). However, if they are able to dump off Prince and Rip's contracts, they will create room for a big name to join the Pistons for the 2010-2011 season and bring them back into contender mode.

As long as the Pistons don't draft another slow, foreign, big man (DARKO!!!!!!! Yell ) I guess I can't complain.


Posted on: November 25, 2009 11:33 pm
 

Allen Iverson: The Answer is Retirement

Sad to see The Answer hang up his sneakers. I don't want to insult anyone's intelligence or call anyone an stupid, but if you don't think Allen Iverson deserves to be in the HoF you need a serious mental evaluation and should consider checking yourself into a psychiatric hospital.

The guy gave us the greatest crossover of all time and broke countless ankles. He is one of the greatest scorers in NBA history: he is tied for 4th all time in points per game with 27.0 ppg (tied for 5th if you count LeBron James, but I don't) and 17th all time in total points. He's ahead of guys in scoring like Charles Barkley, Elgin Baylor, Adrian Dantley, Clyde Drexler, and even Larry Bird. Explain to me how those guys deserve to be in over him (except for Bird, Baylor, and Drexler; but how does Barkley and Dantley deserve to be in?). And I don't see how you can say he's only a scorer? The guy has a career average of 6.2 assists per game and has proven to be a very good passer. Yes, he takes a lot of shots but when you're one of the greatest scorers of all time then I think you should take a lot of shots. And if you know you're history well, I'd like to see you show me someone on those 76ers teams in AI's prime that should have got more shots because they could score good and be worth taking points from AI. He can penetrate the lane just as well as LeBron can now and he's about 8-9 in. shorter and almost 100 pounds lighter. He was able to draw a lot of contact and get a lot of FT opportunities which he knocked down at a good percentage.

And what about his ability on defense? Yes, I just said defense. No, a 6 foot guard is not going to be able to defend 6'6" and 6'8" guards but he could defend other PGs his size very well. And he was an excellenct ball hawk which got his teams a lot of easy points in transition. He is 7th all time steals per game average with 2.2 spg and 12th all time in total steals. He has a better steals per game average than John Stockton and Maurice Cheeks, both whom are seen as two all time great defensive PGs. Then you throw in the fact that he was a warrior and could play just about the entire game every game all year long. He has a career average of 41.4 minutes per game (4th all time), and has played through countless different injuries and has been banged up on many occasions while still playing big minutes in games.

Plain and simple facts are AI is one of the greatest scorers the NBA has ever seen in it's entire history. Pound for pound, he is the most athletic player of all time. Pound for pound, he is one of the greatest players we've ever seen play the game. He could play 5 on 1 and still win and make it all the the NBA Finals in 2001. You can't blame him for being a ball hog when he became one out of necessity when playing for those horrible 76ers teams. And then later in his career with the Nuggets and Pistons, it's hard to ask him to change at 30+ years of age; I'm sure the old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" really applies here. Regardless of whether he needed the ball in his hands alot or not, so did all the great scorers. Did MJ, Wilt, Kareem, West, etc. not have the ball in their hands for most of the game when they were in their prime and scoring a ton? It's just an excuse to hate on AI because you don't like him because he could beat your team all by himself.

Allen Iverson is my 2nd favorite player of all time behind Ben Wallace, and unless the HoF voters are a bunch of haters then there should be no question this guy gets into the HoF and is a Top 50 NBA player of all time.
 
 
 
 
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