Archive for the ‘ Detroit Pistons Blog ’ Category

Here’s the Washington Post with analysis of the Detroit Pistons decision to waive Josh Smith, which might help chemistry but hurts financially for a long time:

Josh Smith move a questionable decision for Pistons

With the considerable problems he inherited by taking over a franchise with years of disillusionment and a roster of mismatched talents, Stan Van Gundy is not responsible for most of the hot mess in Detroit. But Van Gundy cannot escape the blame for mishandling the situation with Josh Smith to the point that the versatile but frustrating forward was stunningly waived with more than $27 million remaining on his contract over the next seasons.

The move, which one rival executive described as “reckless,” rids the Pistons of Smith’s errant jumpers – he was on pace to finish last in true shooting percentage among qualified players for the second year in a row – but keeps him on franchise’s books for $5.4 million per season through 2020 under the league’s stretch provision. The Pistons have attempted to justify annually shelling out the equivalent of the full midlevel exception for nothing by championing the $8.1 million in salary cap room that Smith’s removal will provide and how a steadily increasing salary cap will minimize that salary slot when the league’s new television begins in 2016-17.

tony mitchell

The Phoenix Suns have traded forward Anthony Tolliver to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for forward Tony Mitchell.

Mitchell, who was drafted 37th overall by the Pistons in the 2013 NBA Draft out of the University of North Texas, has averaged 8.2 points and 7.2 rebounds in six games with the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA Development League this season. The 6-9, 235-pound forward appeared in 21 games with Detroit last season, averaging 1.0 points and 1.2 rebounds.

anthony tolliver

Tolliver, 29, has played in 24 games for the Suns this season averaging 3.3 points and 1.8 rebounds while shooting 38.7% from three-point range. The six-year NBA veteran owns career averages of 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 331 games (53 starts) with San Antonio (2008-09), Portland (2009), Golden State (2010), Minnesota (2010-12), Atlanta (2012-13), Charlotte (2013-14) and Phoenix (2014). The Springfield, MO product has scored in double-figures 79 times during his career, including 10 games with 20-plus points and two games with 30-plus points. He’s also recorded 20 career games with double-digit rebounds and tallied 16 career double-doubles. A former All-Missouri Valley Conference first team member from Creighton, where he played collegiately, Tolliver has accumulated 10 games of NBA playoff experience with Atlanta (six games in 2012-13) and Charlotte (four games in 2013-14) where he averaged 3.0 points and 1.3 rebounds per game. He’s recorded NBA career highs of 34 points (4/7/10 at Minnesota), 21 rebounds (3/27/10 vs. Dallas) and four blocks (3/27/11 vs. Boston).

The Suns’ roster now stands at 15 players

Pistons waive Josh Smith

In a shocker, Detroit Pistons waive Josh Smith

Pistons waive Josh Smith

The Detroit Pistons announced today the club has requested waivers on forward Josh Smith.

According to ESPN.com, Smith “still had two years and $26 million remaining on his contract after this season.” And according to Yahoo Sports, “the Pistons will use the stretch provision on the remaining $26 million, league sources told Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. The provision allows the Pistons to stretch the money owed to Smith over a longer period of time for salary cap relief.”

The 5-23 Pistons are having a miserable season, and while Smith is a flawed player, he is still considered to have value in the right situation. This was an unexpected move for Detroit to make, but it is understandable that they would want to part ways, especially taking Smith’s contract into account.

Smith this season is averaging 13.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 4.7 apg, 1.3 spg, 1.7 bpg, shooting 39% FG, 24% just threes, and a very bad 47% from the free throw line.

“Our team has not performed the way we had expected throughout the first third of the season and adjustments need to be made in terms of our focus and direction,” said Stan Van Gundy, Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations for the Detroit Pistons. “We are shifting priorities to aggressively develop our younger players while also expanding the roles of other players in the current rotation to improve performance and build for our future. As we expand certain roles, others will be reduced. In fairness to Josh, being a highly versatile 10-year veteran in this league, we feel it’s best to give him his freedom to move forward. We have full respect for Josh as a player and a person.”

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward has averaged 13.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists while shooting 39.1% from the field, 24.3% from three point range and 46.8% from the free throw line. In 105 games with the Pistons, the Georgia native averaged 15.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

Smith was acquired by the Pistons as a free agent on July 10, 2013. Drafted with the 17th overall selection in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, the former Oak Hill Academy product has averaged 15.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 blocks and 34.2 minutes in 781 career games (758 starts).

Pistons on 11-game losing streak

Here’s Michigan Live reporting on the Detroit Pistons, who lately have mastered the art of losing basketball games and at 3-17 through Saturday have the second worst winning percentage in the league:

The Detroit Pistons have run plumb out of explanations.

They will win again eventually. The nature of the NBA dictates as much.

But they have to get out of their own way first, and after 11 consecutive losses — the most recent a stunning late collapse in a 108-101 overtime loss Saturday to the Philadelphia 76ers — that could prove their biggest challenge.

The Pistons scored seven points on their last 23 possessions. They scored one overtime point, when they had 10 possessions and shot 0 of 11 from the field with a turnover.

They are within three losses of the franchise-record losing streak, 14, and they stand alone with the worst 20-game record in Pistons history, 3-17.

Pistons plan to run fewer plays

The Detroit Pistons plan to get more creative in their offense. Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

Spoiler alert: The Detroit Pistons will free-wheel it a little bit more offensively the next few games, with fewer play calls from the sidelines, to see if that gets them into sets more briskly.

How it works remains to be seen because Stan Van Gundy already allows his team to run off set principles, not a set play call, after defensive stops, but Pistons forward Kyle Singler hinted Friday that the coach plans to cede some play-calling in favor of increased tempo.

“So the next few games, you’ll see us hopefully not call as many plays, and just coming down the court, unpredictable sets, kind of movement and screens, which I think will help us out,” Singler said. “Just us coming down with us having the idea of just playing the game, just coming down, setting pin-downs, or setting early drags for our point guards, and then just playing out from there, instead of just coming over, looking at the bench, looking for a play call.

“I think it will help our tempo and hopefully free our minds a little bit and just open up our offense.”

The Detroit Pistons are a miserable 3-16 this season. There’s much work to be done, and while roster changes are needed, there are some talented pieces on this squad. Flawed pieces, that don’t fit too well together. Still, the Pistons as they stand now should be better than this. Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

“It starts with our energy,” Jennings said. “We’ve got to start running up and down the court. If we don’t have no energy, we’re not going to be able to get in our sets and run our sets hard.”

Jennings cited three major problems with the Pistons’ offense: Slow tempo, late screeners, and lack of movement away from pick-and-roll action.

“There’s a lot of times when I’m coming off (a screen) and I just have to throw the pass back to Josh and then we’ll just play like a two-man game or something,” Jennings said. “Nobody’s really cutting. I think we need to be a better cutting team.”

The Pistons (3-16) average 91.9 possessions per 48 minutes, sixth-fewest in the league. They have played six of the seven fastest-paced teams in the league, lost all of those games, and will play the other such team Saturday when they host the Philadelphia 76ers (1-17), who play the league’s second-fastest pace, 97.7 possessions per 48 minutes.

Pistons on 6-game losing streak

The Detroit Pistons are off to a very disappointing 3-12 start this season, and have lost six games in a row. Their leading scorer is their point guard, Brandon Jennings, at 16.0 ppg. He’s followed by Greg Monroe at 14.5 ppg, Josh Smith at 12.9 ppg (on 38% shooting), and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at 11.3 ppg (on 36% shooting). Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

The positives were everywhere for the Detroit Pistons to see, except where it counts on the scoreboard, and that’s where Stan Van Gundy’s frustration was piqued.

The last several days have been a visible downward skid for the Pistons coach’s outward demeanor.

Brief answers, eyes cast downward, struggling to resolve his teachings with the lack of on-court production, have become Van Gundy’s personal public default mode.

The Pistons lost 104-98 Wednesday to the Los Angeles Clippers and Van Gundy, who was accustomed to high-level success in his previous coaching stops, was at a loss in trying to come to grips with a sixth consecutive loss and ninth in 10 games.

“I’ve not been at this point before,” Van Gundy said. “So yeah, it’s hard.”

Andre Drummond dealing with foul issues

Pistons center Andre Drummond dealing with foul issues

The Detroit Pistons are off to a 3-7 start this season, including a 1-5 road record. Their scoring mostly comes from forward Greg Monroe (16.8 ppg on 51.4% shooting) and guard Brandon Jennings (16.2 ppg on 45.1% shooting). Center Andre Drummond gets rebounds (11.2 rpg) and blocks (1.6 bpg), but offensively needs improvement, and he also has to work on fouls. Specifically, not committing them. Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

Andre Drummond dealing with foul issues

Josh Smith was the one primarily stuck with the futile task of containing Zach Randolph’s rebounding, but that wasn’t really the problem in the Detroit Pistons’ 95-88 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Andre Drummond’s continuing foul issues rose up again, and what seemed like an early-season nuisance has turned into a more significant concern as the Pistons’ center was limited to 20 minutes by five fouls.

Drummond had two first-quarter fouls for the ninth time in 10 games, and against the powerhouse Grizzlies front line, his absence threw the rotations askew. Greg Monroe had to shift to center, primarily against Marc Gasol, and Smith was charged with containing Randolph.

Gasol and Randolph combined for 40 points and 30 rebounds — Randolph alone had 13 offensive rebounds — and the Pistons were hard-pressed to stop them with one of the NBA’s premier rebounders foul-addled again.

Pistons waive Aaron Gray

DETROIT PISTONS WAIVE AARON GRAY

Pistons waive Aaron Gray

The Detroit Pistons have waived Aaron Gray.  The 7-foot, 270-pound center missed all of 2014 training camp in order to rehab from a cardiac episode that he suffered after a voluntary offseason team workout in late August.

Gray signed with Detroit as a free agent on July 10, 2014. Considered backup material who provided bench depth, he holds career NBA averages of 3.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 12.1 minutes in 318 games with Chicago, New Orleans, Toronto and Sacramento.

andre drummond

The Detroit Pistons have exercised team options on the contracts of center Andre Drummond and guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the team announced today.

Both players’ contracts are now extended through the 2015-16 NBA season.

Drummond is clearly a building block for the Pistons; a rebounding machine with a lot of potential. Caldwell-Pope is still proving his value in the league.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope injury

The Detroit Pistons announced today that MRI results on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s left knee showed no structural damage. The injury has been re-classified as a left knee strain. Caldwell-Pope will miss this week’s preseason games at Charlotte, Orlando and Atlanta and will be re-evaluated upon the club’s return to Detroit next week.

Caldwell-Pope suffered the injury during the third quarter of yesterday’s 91-89 preseason loss at Washington.

Should Pistons move to downtown Detroit?

Construction of a new arena and entertainment complex for the Detroit Red Wings hockey team has ramped up that criticism but the Pistons own The Palace of Auburn Hills and have invested heavily in upgrades.

Van Gundy said “we want these people and need these people,” even though many surely were among the vocal group hoping the Pistons return to Detroit someday.

“I understand,” Van Gundy said, “but again, we’re playing in a state-of-the-art facility up there that Tom (Gores, Pistons owner) has put a lot of money into, as you guys know, and a lot of effort to make sure it stays one of the absolute elite facilities in the league. Fans coming up there have a great, great experience, so that arena has served us well and will serve us well.”

– Michigan Live

Here’s Michigan Live reporting on the Detroit Pistons:

Jonas Jerebko hoping to rise for Pistons

Jonas Jerebko has been hoping for a fresh start with the Detroit Pistons for three years now.

This season, he might finally get it.

Jerebko is optimistic things will be different for him under new head coach Stan Van Gundy, who so far has liked what he’s seen from the 6-foot-10 forward and employs the type of system that seems well-suited to the Pistons’ second-round pick (39th overall) in the 2009 draft.

“It’s been a rollercoaster,” Jerebko said of his first four seasons in Detroit. “Every year has been a new situation for me. I just feel very comfortable with (Van Gundy’s) way of playing basketball and his way of wanting to play basketball.

aaron gray

The Detroit Pistons announced today that Aaron Gray will miss training camp while rehabbing from a cardiac episode suffered following a voluntary workout in late August.

The 7-0, 270-pound center has undergone a full evaluation and is currently seeking additional medical assessments from cardiac specialists to determine a timetable for a return to action.

Gray is a backup, and not likely to play a big role on the Pistons this season. As for his health, hopefully doctors figure out the problem — if there is one — and Aaron turns out to be fine and can play soon.

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has signed Hasheem Thabeet, Brian Cook, Lorenzo Brown and Josh Bostic to their training camp roster.

Thabeet, 7-3, 263, was drafted second overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies. In 224 games with Memphis, Oklahoma City, Portland and Houston, he’s averaged 2.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 10.5 minutes per game. The University of Connecticut product was named National Defensive Player of the Year following his junior season.

Cook, a nine-year NBA veteran, has averaged 5.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 421 games (74 starts) with the Lakers, Magic, Clippers, Rockets and Wizards. He was drafted 24th overall by the Lakers in the 2003 NBA Draft after starring at the University of Illinois.

Brown, 6-5, 189, was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round (52nd overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft out of North Carolina State University. He played in 26 games with the Philadelphia 76ers last season and averaged 2.5 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists.

Bostic, 6-5, 230, played last season for the Elan Chalon of the French League and averaged 7.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 10 games. He was named the 2008-09 NCAA Division II Player of the Year after leading Findlay University to a 36-0 record and a national championship.

Brandon Jennings bulked up this summer

Here’s the Detroit News reporting on Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings:

Brandon Jennings aims to raise his game

Brandon Jennings emerged from the informal workouts at The Palace practice facility, looking somewhat similar to the figure who departed to California after last season’s disappointing, playoff-less finish.

Playful swagger? Check.

Rare introspection? Check

Twenty-five extra pounds? Check…wait, that wasn’t here last season

“I’m about 185, 190 on my good days,” said Jennings, noticeably thicker but still wiry.

Training camp doesn’t begin until the first day of October but Jennings and his other 14 teammates have all been at The Palace for a few weeks, per new coach/president Stan Van Gundy’s request.

“Usually guys come in and you don’t see them until media day,” Jennings said. “It’s good, we’ve been together for three weeks strong, preparing for the season.”

Greg Monroe signs Pistons qualifying offer

The Detroit Pistons announced today that forward Greg Monroe has signed the team’s one-year qualifying offer for the 2014-15 season.

“I have said from day one that we have great respect for Greg as a person and like what he brings to this team as a player,” said Stan Van Gundy, Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations for the Detroit Pistons. “We have had good dialogue with Greg throughout the offseason with the understanding that there were multiple options for both parties involved, and we respect his decision. We look forward to a great year from Greg as we continue to build our team moving forward.”

“I look forward to playing for Coach Van Gundy and his staff,” said Monroe. He has a proven track record and I’m excited about working with my teammates to get better and prepare for the season.”

Monroe, the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, averaged 15.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 32.8 minutes in a career-high 82 games (all starts) last season. In 309 career games (277 starts), Monroe has averaged 14.0 points (.508 FG, .678 FT), 9.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals in 31.3 minutes per game.

The 6-foot-11, Gretna, LA native has averaged 15.0-plus points, 9.0-plus rebounds, 2.0-plus assists and 1.0-plus steals in each of his last three seasons. He has recorded 101 double-doubles since 2011-12 – second most in the Eastern Conference (Joakim Noah – 102) and recorded his third consecutive season with 1,000-plus points and 600-plus rebounds, joining Grant Hill as the only Pistons to do so since 1994-95.

Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting a Pistons arena development:

Detroit Pistons getting massive new arena scoreboard

There’s no telling yet if the Detroit Pistons will be any better in Tom Gores’ fourth season as team owner, but they’ll definitely be bigger on a massive new high-definition scoreboard.

The 56,000-pound scoreboard with six video screens, triple the size of the 15-year-old system it replaces at the Palace of Auburn Hills, is the capstone of a three-year, $40-million renovation by Gores and Platinum Equity, which acquired Palace Sports & Entertainment (PS&E) about three years ago.

In an interview with the Free Press last week, PS&E president Dennis Mannion and other officials shared renderings of the scoreboard and details of the renovations that they aim to complete by the Pistons’ Nov. 1 home opener.

Then it’s up to the Pistons basketball team, under new head coach and team president Stan Van Gundy, to play better — and thus juice up attendance and enthusiasm to a level worthy of the spiffed-up surroundings.

Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting on the Pistons, who have Greg Monroe back next season — though his future in Detroit beyond that is in doubt:

Andre Drummond glad that Greg Monroe is back with Pistons

Reacting to the Pistons’ reported signing of teammate Greg Monroe for the 2014-15 season, Drummond said he felt relieved to hear the news on Saturday.

“I was very excited knowing we got Greg back for another season,” he said. “The tandem we have is something we’ve been working on for the past two years. Going at it again, it’s going to be fun.”

Though he denied any involvement in Monroe’s decision-making process, Drummond suggested he had inside information on his counterpart’s final decision.

“I knew he was coming back,” Drummond said. “It was just a matter of time.”

Here’s the Detroit News with an update on a key Piston that will be around for another season but is likely to hit the road after that:

Pistons, Greg Monroe together for another season

Greg Monroe has officially agreed to a one-year qualifying offer with the Pistons, according to a source.

Monroe, a restricted free agent, will be paid $5.5 million this season after not being able to agree to terms with the Pistons on a long-term contract. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent next July, free to sign with any team.

Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy has said Monroe was his first priority since taking over basketball operations this spring, and all indications were the Pistons were prepared to match any prospective offer sheet a suitor would’ve signed Monroe to, even a max contract.

Basketball blog