Archive for the ‘ Detroit Pistons Blog ’ Category

Stanley Johnson does not look like a rookie, says coach

There’s been a lot of buzz on Detroit Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson. He’s got our attention. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is singing early praises about him as well. Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting:

Stanley Johnson does not look like a rookie, says coach

“He looks like he’s been out here before,” coach Stan Van Gundy said Wednesday after the first practice of Day 2. “He doesn’t look like a lost rookie at all. He looks like he knows what he’s doing, and he’s ready to play.”

Van Gundy was asked to expound on his comments after Tuesday’s first practice, when he called Johnson “one of the better players” during light scrimmaging.

“He’s physically strong enough obviously to play, which helps him be able to play right away,” Van Gundy said. “He is a smart guy, and he’s also got a great mental toughness. Not a lot of stuff fazes him.”

Van Gundy also elaborated on areas where Johnson has excelled.

“He did a real good job, as he did today, taking the ball to the basket,” Van Gundy said. “I thought he did a real good job of that, getting up and down the floor. Competes hard physically. Still got to do a better job on the defensive end.”

Pistons hosting free open practice October 3

The Detroit Pistons will host an open practice at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Saturday, October 3 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., giving fans their first look at the 2015-16 Detroit Pistons team. Admission is free and guests can enter the arena through the Dodge Atrium located at the west entrance beginning at 10:00 a.m.

The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a free fountain Sprite and first 1,000 fans will take home a Detroit Basketball t-shirt, courtesy of Sprite.

The annual open practice will be the first opportunity for Detroit fans to watch newcomers Ersan Ilyasova, Marcus Morris, first-round selection Stanley Johnson, Aron Baynes and Steve Blake in action on the court while welcoming back Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Jackson and the rest of the Pistons team. Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy will lead the practice and scrimmage beginning at 11:00 a.m.

“We are excited to host the annual open practice and give our fans the opportunity to see the new faces on this year’s roster,” said Stan Van Gundy, Pistons President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach. “Our players and coaching staff look forward to interacting with our fans, giving some insight into how we’ll play this season and providing a fun event.

In the 2014-15 NBA season, guard Reggie Jackson played 50 games for the OKC Thunder and did pretty well, but in the 27 games he played after becoming a Detroit Piston he averaged 17.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game. Big numbers. And now with a big contract, expectations are very high. Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

In Detroit, big expectations for Reggie Jackson

Expectations, as you might imagine, are high right now for Reggie Jackson.

The point guard landed in Detroit midway through last season, excelled in a starting role and was rewarded soon after with a guaranteed five-year, $80 million contract.

That means all eyes will be on Jackson as training camp kicks off today for the Pistons, a franchise that has missed the postseason the last six seasons.


“Always,” the 25-year-old said Monday during Pistons media day at The Palace. “I’ve got to live up to trying to win a championship. Money is money. I worked just as hard when people said I didn’t have as much, and I’m going to work just as hard after.”

Jackson said he approaches the start of every NBA this season the same way, with one goal in mind: winning a championship. At one point during his time with reporters, he made reference to a photo of Isiah Thomas hanging on the wall in the media room and cited the former Pistons point guard’s two NBA titles.

Pistons, Andre Drummond must work out an extension

Here’s Michigan Live reporting on Pistons center Andre Drummond, whose big potential is a key part of the team’s future, assuming the two sides don’t get a massive amount of money get in the way of that:

Pistons, Andre Drummond must work out an extension

It’s the lingering business element and will be resolved, one way or another, by an Oct. 31 deadline. Andre Drummond is entering the final year of his rookie contract and the Pistons have just more than a month to sign him to an extension in the five-year, $120 million range. If they don’t, he can become a restricted free agent next summer. The Pistons plan to pay Drummond the same amount in the same time frame either way, but would like their cornerstone center to delay signing until next year. The reason is because until Drummond actually signs his contract, only his cap-hold figure of about $8.2 million would be factored into the Pistons’ 2016-17 payroll for salary-cap purposes, not the $21 million-plus he actually figures to make that season. If Drummond is willing to wait, the Pistons could take care of all other business before him in summer 2016, then blow through the salary cap to re-sign their own free agent. The two key questions are whether Drummond trusts that to happen and is willing to risk a major injury ruining his windfall. He probably can trust it, probably won’t endure any catastrophe this year, and waiting would help put a better team around him. But it’s his future and his decision.

The Detroit Pistons announced today that guard Darrun Hilliard underwent surgery to repair a broken nose suffered while playing pick-up basketball last week. The surgery was performed by Dr. Mike Rontal of Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI Campus. Hilliard will be fitted with a mask for the next three weeks and will continue all basketball-related activities.

Hilliard, 6-6, 205, was drafted 38th overall by the Pistons in the 2015 NBA Draft from Villanova University.

Pistons conclude week of MMA training

Some Detroit Pistons players recently learned MMA techniques that they probably won’t be applying in actual basketball games. But some extra toughness and additional training information can’t hurt. Here’s Detroit Live reporting:

Pistons conclude week of MMA training

The Pistons just wrapped a week of team bonding that saw most of Van Gundy’s youthful roster travel to the UFC training compound in Las Vegas, where they learned MMA techniques from Griffin, heavyweight Stefan Struve and strawweight women’s champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

“I love to do it, I’m excited to do it. I do get a little nervous,” Griffin told “That’s a very expensive knee going on there. The No. 1 job - my job - is to make sure these guys don’t get hurt.

“Do not get people hurt. Do not get million-dollar athletes hurt.”

From all accounts, the Pistons, who kick off training camp later this month, came away unscathed.

Tom Gores buys rest of Pistons

The Detroit Pistons are built around guards Reggie Jackson and Brandon Jennings, and center Andre Drummond. And maybe rookie Stanley Johnson, if he’s as good as he thinks he is. Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting on Pistons ownership:

Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores had a 51% stake in the team. Now he has a 100% stake.

Gores has bought the remaining 49% from his firm, Platinum Equity, according to firm partner Mark Barnhill.

Though this won’t change anything from a control standpoint – Gores, the founder, chairman and CEO of Platinum Equity, has had full control of the Pistons’ operation since becoming majority owner in 2011, Barnhill said in an email to the Free Press – this transaction gives Gores 100% of the equity, which is important for his long-term commitment to the franchise.

Gores also owns Palace Sports & Entertainment.

Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting on the Pistons, who welcome a talented, confident rookie into their mix this upcoming season:

Rookie Stanley Johnson wants big things for Pistons

The Pistons know Stan Van Gundy’s track record.

Second-year point guard Spencer Dinwiddie knew that his head coach hadn’t missed the playoffs until last year when the team finished out of the hunt.

They are young, confident and expect to not only just make the playoffs, but contend for NBA titles in the near future.

“We just don’t want to get in as the eighth-seed,’’ said rookie forward Stanley Johnson. “We’re trying to put our efforts forth to win a championship every year that we’re here. I think any guy that’s interested in winning would want to be here. I think we’re a team of substance instead of flash. As long as we’re doing our job every day I think our fans will come and we have to focus on basketball instead of selling tickets.’’

Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting on the Pistons, who will soon reportedly get tougher and meaner:

A contingent of Detroit Pistons will travel to Las Vegas on Aug. 31, but it won’t be fun and games.

Members of the team are going to train with some UFC trainers. It’s a team bonding event put together by the players with Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond being the leaders.

Two weeks ago, some UFC fighters came to the team’s practice facility to cross train with the Pistons. Now the players are returning the favor, but will be working with the UFC trainers and coaches.

The players will be in Vegas for about a week.

Spencer Dinwiddie didn’t know who all would be attending, but he’ll be one of them.

Pistons arena being renovated

It’s always fun to see the new version of an NBA arena after it’s been renovated. Even slight changes, if done well, can make a place seem new. Looking forward to the final result. Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting:

For those fans hoping that the Pistons eventually would move back to downtown Detroit: Forget about it.

Owner Tom Gores has put $40 million into renovations in the Palace over the past four years.

The current project is replacing all the seats in the Palace and refurbishing the floors, a project that will take three years to complete, according to Kevin A. Grigg, vice president of public relations for Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Pistons.

“This is the first phase of what’s going to be a three-year seating renovation inside the Palace,” Grigg said Wednesday. “The first stage that you see now will be completed per the start of the preseason. That involves from the lower-level suites all the way down to the floor. We’ll have new courtside seats and new seats going into the stands up to the first-level suites.”

Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting on one of the keys to the Pistons’ future:

Andre Drummond free throw shooting still an issue

Andre Drummond turns 22 next Monday.

The other important number for coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy is 50.

He’d like his big center to shoot 50% from the free throw line this upcoming season.

That might be a tall order for the 6-foot-11 man mountain, who has career averages of 12.1 points per game and 11.8 rebounds.

His rookie season Drummond shot 37.1% from the free throw line. In his second year he improved to 41.8%, however last year he took a step back at 38.9%. For his career he’s shooting just 39.7%.

Mother of Stanley Johnson passes away

Here’s Michigan Live reporting some very sad news about a Pistons rookie:

Mother of Stanley Johnson passes away

Stanley Johnson’s No. 1 fan won’t be around to watch him make his NBA debut for the Detroit Pistons this fall.

Johnson’s mother, Karen Taylor, was a professional basketball player herself who played a major role in her son becoming the Pistons first-round pick (eighth overall) in this year’s NBA draft.

But Johnson will make his NBA debut with a heavy heart after confirming in a tweet that his mother has died.

Pistons sign Adonis Thomas

Pistons sign Adonis Thomas

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has signed guard/forward Adonis Thomas.

According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, “Thomas, a D-League All-Star for the Detroit Pistons-affiliated Grand Rapids Drive last season, will sign a two-year partially guaranteed deal with the Pistons today, his agent, Travis King, told the Commercial Appeal. Thomas, who averaged 8.6 points and 4 rebounds for the Pistons’ summer league team this month in Orlando, is one of five players who will be vying for two spots on the Pistons’ opening-day roster.”

Thomas, 6-7, 240, spent last season with the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons’ NBA Development League affiliate, where he averaged a team-high 18.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.6 assist and 36.0 minutes in 51 games. In two seasons in the D-League, Thomas averaged 18.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 85 games with Grand Rapids and the Springfield Armor. He’s seen action in six career NBA games with Orlando and Philadelphia during the 2013-14 season and averaged 2.3 points, 0.5 rebounds and 0.5 assists.

A native of Memphis, TN., Thomas played collegiately at the University of Memphis and averaged 10.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in two seasons with the Tigers. As a sophomore, he averaged 11.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 36 games and was named to the 2013 All-Conference USA third team. Thomas was a member of the 2010 USA Basketball U17 gold medal World Championship Team and the 2009 USA U16 National Team that captured gold at the FIBA Americas championship.

Stanley Johnson signs rookie contract

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The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has signed first-round draft pick Stanley Johnson to a contract.

All players selected in the first round of the draft are guaranteed to receive a contract, assuming they wish to enter the league right away. Therefore, this is a standard signing and was expected.

Johnson, the eighth overall pick by the Pistons in the 2015 NBA Draft, averaged a team-high 16.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks while shooting 57.7% from the field at the recently concluded NBA Orlando Summer League.

A native of Los Angeles, Calif., the 6-foot-7 forward from the University of Arizona, averaged a team-high 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 28.4 minutes in 38 games. The 2015 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year was the lone freshman named to the All-Pac-12 or NABC All-District 20 First team. He was also named to the Pac-12 Tournament All-Tournament Team and was one of five finalists for the inaugural Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award. Johnson led all freshmen in the Pac-12 in scoring (13.8 ppg), steals (1.5 spg), free throws made and free throw attempts and was one of just two freshmen in major college basketball conferences to average at least 13.5 points and 6.0 rebounds (Jahlil Okafor). He scored in double-figures in 30 of 38 games and ranked second on the team in rebounds and steals.

Johnson has won three gold medals with Team USA, (2011 U-16, 2012 U-17, 2014 U-18 FIBA Americas Championships) earning MVP honors in the 2014 U-18 FIBA Americas Championships after averaging team-highs of 14.0 points and 2.2 steals. At Mater Dei High School, Johnson became the first player in California to win four-straight upper-division state titles. He participated in the 2014 Jordan Classic, the 2013 Under Armour Elite 24 Games and the 2013 Nike Global Games. Johnson was named a McDonalds All-American, MaxPreps National Player of the Year, a Parade All-American, was named to the USA Today All-USA first team and was one of three national finalists for the Naismith Trophy High Schools Player of the Year.

It`s Reggie Jackson time in Detroit

Here’s the Detroit News reporting on Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson, who has been handed a very large sum of money to life the squad to a brighter future:

Reggie Jackson might not be another Mr. Big Shot.

But he is now, officially, the best shot for the Pistons to end this era of irrelevance, one that was at least symbolically ushered in by an ill-advised trade — Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson — in November 2008.

This franchise has been searching in vain for a leader — on the floor and in his prime — ever since, spiraling from mutiny to malaise. And the underlying message Monday, as president/coach Stan Van Gundy announced Jackson’s five-year, $80 million extension during a news conference at The Palace, was as much about that as anything else.

Jackson didn’t bother holding up a No. 1 jersey — the same one Billups wore in the championship heyday of a decade ago — because “he’s already worn it,” Van Gundy noted.

Pistons re-sign Joel Anthony

Pistons re-sign Joel Anthony

The Detroit Pistons have re-signed center Joel Anthony to a multi-year contract.

Anthony is considered strictly backup material and will likely play very limited minutes.

Anthony, 32, appeared in 49 games (no starts) and averaged 1.8 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.1 assists, 0.2 steals and 1.0 blocks in 8.3 minutes per game. He scored a season-high 10 points at Utah (3/14), grabbed season-high seven rebounds at Charlotte (4/1) and scored the 1,000th point of his career at Orlando (3/27). The 6-foot-9, 245-pound center recorded a season-high two steals twice [at Milwaukee (1/24) and at Charlotte (4/1)] and blocked a season-high four shots six times [at Orlando (12/30), at Philadelphia (3/18), vs. Chicago (3/21), at Orlando (3/27), vs. Atlanta (3/31) and at Charlotte (4/1)]. Anthony was acquired from Boston in an offseason trade that sent Will Bynum to the Celtics.

Anthony has averaged 2.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 15.1 minutes in 452 career games (110 starts) with Miami, Boston and Detroit. Undrafted out of the University of Las Vegas Nevada, Anthony has averaged a career-high of 3.9 rebounds per game twice (2007-08 and 2011-12). He averaged a career-high 3.5 points per game during his rookie season with Miami. Anthony is a career 50% shooter from the field and played a career-high 80 games during the 2009-10 season. He was a member of the HEAT’s 2012 and 2013 NBA Championship teams.

Pistons sign second round pick Darrun Hilliard

The Detroit Pistons have signed rookie guard Darrun Hilliard to a contract.

Hilliard, a 6-6 guard from Villanova University, was selected 38th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 9.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 1.2 steals in the recently concluded NBA Orlando Summer League.

A native of Bethlehem, Pa., Hilliard averaged 11.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 26.8 minutes in 132 career games at Villanova. Last season, he averaged 14.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.8 steals and 28.8 minutes in 35 games. As a senior, the 6-foot-6 guard, led Villanova in scoring and earned First Team All-Big East honors. He scored a season-high 31 points against Butler and posted 27 points, including six 3-pointers made, against North Carolina State in the NCAA Tournament. As a junior, Hilliard shared the Big East Most Improved Player award and was Honorable Mention All-Big East. He improved his scoring from 4.8 points per game as a freshman to 11.4 points per game as a sophomore.

Nets trade Steve Blake to Pistons

In return, Pistons send Quincy Miller to Nets

Nets trade Steve Blake to Pistons

The Detroit Pistons have acquired guard Steve Blake from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for forward Quincy Miller.

Blake, 35, has appeared in 812 career games (345 starts) in 12 seasons with Washington, Portland, Milwaukee, Denver, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State and holds career averages of 6.7 points and 4.0 assists in 24.4 minutes per game. He was originally selected with the 38th pick of the 2003 NBA Draft by Washington Wizards and was acquired by Brooklyn from the Portland Trail Blazers on June 25.

Miller, 22, appeared in 10 games with Sacramento and Detroit last season and averaged 2.9 points, 2.0 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 12.0 minutes per game. The 6-foot-9, 210-pound forward signed the first of two 10-day contracts on February 21 and was signed for the remainder of the season on March 13. Miller recorded season highs in points (13), rebounds (6), blocks (2) and minutes (34) at Golden State (1/23) and tied a career-high three assists vs. Charlotte (4/12). In three games with the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons’ NBA D-League affiliate, he averaged 16.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists.

Pistons sign Aron Baynes

Pistons sign Aron Baynes

The Detroit Pistons have signed center Aron Baynes to a multi-year contract.

Baynes will likely be used as a backup, playing limited minutes behind young talented starting center Andre Drummond.

Baynes, appeared in 70 games (17 starts) with San Antonio last season averaging career highs in points (6.6 ppg), rebounds (4.5 rpg) and minutes (16.0 mpg). He recorded more points, rebounds, assists and blocks last season than in his previous two NBA seasons combined. Baynes recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 12 rebounds at Houston (11/6). He also recorded back-to-back double-figure scoring games for the first time in his career with 12 points in 21 minutes vs. Minnesota (11/21) and 10 points in 21 minutes vs. Brooklyn (11/22). Baynes appeared in 22 career playoff games with the Spurs, averaging 2.2 points and 2.1 rebounds in 7.5 minutes per game.

The 6-10, 255-pound center has tallied career NBA averages of 4.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 12.6 minutes in 139 games – all with San Antonio. Baynes began his professional career in 2009-10 playing for Lietuvos Rytas of the Lithuanian Basketball League, a squad that went on to win the Lithuanian National Championship. He went on to play in Germany for EWE Baskets Oldenburg in 2010-11 before joining Ikaros Kallitheas in Greece the following season. Baynes has been a member of the Australian National Team, most recently competing at the 2014 FIBA World Championship in Turkey where he averaged 16.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 27.0 minutes in five games. Representing Australia in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, he averaged 7.5 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 66% (21-32 FG) from the field.

The 28-year old New Zealand native was undrafted out of Washington State. He appeared in 122 games (86 starts), averaging 8.7 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 54.6% from the field and led WSU to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2008. Baynes ranks eighth on Cougars’ all-time field goal percentage list and became the first player in school history to shoot 100% from the field in a game with at least 10 field goal attempts (10-10 FG and a career-high 25 points vs. USC).

Suns trade Marcus Morris, Danny Granger and Reggie Bullock to Pistons

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has acquired forward Marcus Morris, guard Reggie Bullock and forward-guard Danny Granger from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for a 2020 second round draft selection.

Morris, 25, appeared in 81 games (35 starts) with Phoenix last season averaging career highs in points (10.4 ppg), rebounds (4.8 rpg), assists (1.6 apg) and minutes (25.2 mpg). He scored in double-figures 39 times, including five games with 20-plus points and one 30-plus point game. Morris recorded a career-high 34 points (11-17 FG, 5-7 3FG, 7-8 FT) and 12 rebounds vs. Utah (2/6), his first career 30-point game and his first career double-double. He became the first Suns player to record at least 30 points and 10 rebounds off the bench since Danny Manning during the 1997-98 season. Morris finished the season with five double-doubles and led the Suns in scoring six times, rebounds nine times, assists twice, steals 12 times and blocks seven times. He also tied a career-long streak with seven straight games scoring in double-figures from March 21-April 2. Morris grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds (12 defensive) vs. New Orleans (3/19). He also set a career-high and tied a Suns season-high with six made three-pointers at Sacramento (12/26). The four-year NBA pro was selected 14th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. He owns career averages of 8.9 points and 3.9 rebounds in 257 games (59 starts), including 9.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 186 games (45 starts) with Phoenix.

Bullock, 24, completed his second NBA season with averages of 1.9 points, 1.4 rebounds and 9.4 minutes in 36 games (two starts) with Phoenix and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Suns acquired Bullock on January 15 in a midseason three-team trade. Bullock recorded two double-figure scoring games last season, both while with the Clippers, including a season-high 12 points vs. Utah (11/3). Drafted by the Clippers with the 25th overall selection in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft, Bullock owns career averages of 2.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 9.3 minutes in 79 games.

Granger, 32, appeared in 30 games (six starts) with the Miami HEAT last season before being acquired by the Suns, averaging 6.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 20.4 minutes per game. He did not see playing time with the Suns as he was working with the training staff to improve his health. The 10-year NBA veteran who has appeared in 586 regular season games (431 starts) with the Indiana Pacers (2005-14), Los Angeles Clippers (2013-14) and Miami HEAT (2014-15), owns averages of 16.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals and 31.5 minutes per game.

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