Archive for the ‘ Detroit Pistons Blog ’ Category

Here’s Michigan Live on what the Pistons frontcourt brings to the table:

andre drummond

With Andre Drummond at center, Greg Monroe shifting from center to power forward, and [Josh] Smith at small forward, the Pistons have a powerhouse front line.

Their hope is that gains in rebounding and defensive rim protection counteract any issues in offensive spacing caused by playing Smith at small forward.

To the Pistons’ benefit, Smith and Monroe are willing passers who can operate as post hubs, while Drummond is content to rebound and run pick-and-rolls. They all seem capable of playing with any group of teammates.

That was proven to some extent in preseason, when Will Bynum was the only veteran playmaking guard who regularly participated in games. Billups took most of preseason off to preserve his 37-year-old body, Jennings missed most of it after surgery for an impacted wisdom tooth and hairline jaw fracture, and Rodney Stuckey missed most of it after surgery for a broken thumb.

The Detroit Pistons built up their roster this summer, after already having several pieces in place that have a bright future. How good will they be this season? Here’s a Michigan Live prediction:

Josh Smith

The Pistons have done as well as can be expected in revamping their roster (again) in search of that elusive playoff berth. They’re not a championship contender by any stretch but they’re finally on the right track with the additions of Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings and Chauncey Billups, the continued maturation of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond and some promising rookies. Their November schedule is going to be difficult but I don’t see them getting off to a third straight disastrous start even though they will struggle in November. Look for the Pistons to flirt with a .500 record, fall a game or two short and finally get back into the playoffs.

Tayshaun Prince has always been about as skinny as the free throw line, but now he’s reportedly so thin, it’ll be hard to even see him on the court. Here’s the Detroit Free Press:

tayshaun prince

Former Detroit Pistons star Tayshaun Prince, who doesn’t have much extra weight to shed, as we all know, told the Memphis Commercial Appeal this week that he has lost 12 to 15 pounds because of a debilitating stomach ailment.

Prince has missed the entire preseason with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The 6-foot-9 sharpshooter, whose listed weight on the Grizzlies’ official roster is 215 pounds, told the Commercial Appeal he’s feeling stale and weak and that he experienced abdominal pains that kept him from eating most of the past week.

richard hamilton

Billups is surprised that no one signed Hamilton, who was waived by the Bulls in the off-season.

“I’m not sure what he’s going to do yet, but I am surprised,” Billups said this week. “I’m hoping that sometime soon somebody will pick him up. I worked out with him a lot this summer. He’s in great shape and looking like the Rip of old. He’s got his self healthy again, so I’m hoping. I know that he can really, really help somebody.”

Hamilton, 35, once was one of the top shooting guards in the NBA with the Pistons, but after declining as a player and becoming a disruptive presence, the Pistons bought him out at the conclusion of the 2011 NBA lockout.

Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Brandon Jennings out 3 weeks with tooth issue

The Detroit Pistons announced today that guard Brandon Jennings will not play at Chicago on Wednesday, October 16 or at Cleveland on Thursday, October 17, or anytime for the next three weeks after missing the last two preseason games with wisdom tooth discomfort.

An examination by Dr. Robert Weaver on Monday revealed an impacted wisdom tooth and a hairline fracture of the mandible at the base of the tooth. Treatment will include immobilization for a three-week period and he will be re-evaluated at that time.

Rodney Stuckey out after thumb surgery

Rodney Stuckey out after thumb surgery

The Detroit Pistons announced today that guard Rodney Stuckey underwent successful surgery to repair a fracture of the distal phalanx on his right thumb. The procedure was performed by Dr. Brian Najerian at DMC Surgical Hospital in Detroit, MI.

Stuckey will wear a splint on the thumb for two weeks and will be re-evaluated at that time.

Rodney Stuckey

The Detroit Pistons announced Thursday that guard Rodney Stuckey has suffered a fracture of the distal phalanx on his right thumb. The injury occurred on Wednesday afternoon as a result of the thumb becoming caught inside the door jamb of Stuckey’s vehicle while the door was closing.

Pistons medical staff confirmed the injury this morning following an x-ray. He is scheduled to have surgery on Friday, October 11 and a timeline for his return will be determined following that procedure.

Will Bynum likely out of playing rotation for Pistons

As the Oct. 30 opener against the Washington Wizards inches closer, Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks is revealing more of his thoughts about the playing rotation.

After Wednesday’s practice, he was asked if he could play five guards as part of the rotation, and he was pretty definitive.

“You can’t,” Cheeks said. “How can you do it? I don’t think you can do it. It wouldn’t be fair to the guys that are playing.

“You’ve got to say somebody’s going to play and somebody’s not going to play.”

So that means someone among the group of Brandon Jennings, Chauncey Billups, Rodney Stuckey, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Will Bynum will be on the outside looking in when it comes to playing time.

Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Josh Smith isn’t the first player you think of when the phrase “veteran leader” comes to mind. But, well, he is a veteran. And he is versatile. And when being smart with his shot selection, he’s very good.

Josh Smith

Smith has seen it all, and the Pistons hope his experience can help provide leadership to a young team.

Some might be surprised to hear that considering Smith’s reputation as being difficult to coach, Smith can put himself in the shoes of others.

“It’s just showing them things that I’ve went through,” Smith said. “This is my 10th year. I’ve seen and done a lot of things, and all I can do is help and mentor the young guys and get them through situations that, you know, it was rough patches for me at their ages.”

Smith added that the scene after practice wasn’t unusual. He said coach Maurice Cheeks has made a habit of asking players to speak at the conclusion of practices — if they have something to get off their chests.

Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

The Pistons spent big money on some talented yet flawed players this summer, but should still make a nice leap up the East standings.

Detroit Pistons may speed up. Or not.

maurice cheeks

The Palace crowd at the open practice saw Cheeks unleash a quiet wrath early on Saturday, when the players didn’t seem to take a drill too seriously and he made them run wind sprints to get them refocused.

But running as a whole is something Pistons players have privately bemoaned and sometimes publicly hinted at in recent seasons — which Cheeks agrees with in theory, not necessarily in application when having a bigger frontline.

“All players say they want to play fast and want to run, but it’s not that easy to do,” Cheeks said. “Particularly when you have a couple big guys. If you play fast, you have to wait for them.”

Andre Drummond and Josh Smith can fly up and down a floor on a quick turnaround or turnover, and while Greg Monroe isn’t the fastest big man, he’s still mobile enough to beat opposing bigs down the floor for positioning.

Reported by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News

New-look Detroit Pistons already having fun

The scene, featuring a boisterous, wise-cracking bunch of players, was a glimpse into how things are going under Cheeks, who completed his first training camp as Pistons coach Saturday with an open scrimmage at the Palace.

The work is getting done, but it’s being done with an energy and sense of fun that has been lacking in Pistons territory for quite some time. And the players who have been around for a while say it’s attributable to the presence of Cheeks, the fourth coach in six seasons.

Cheeks scoffed at his impact and said all 30 teams are probably having fun this time of year.

“It’s zero-zero so it’s a lot of fun for everybody right now,” Cheeks said. “I don’t know if it’s something I’ve done or not.

Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Kyle Singler looking to prove himself on Pistons

Enter a new coach — the Pistons’ fourth in six seasons. It means proving time again for Singler — especially when considering the addition of Smith, Caldwell-Pope and even Chauncey Billups.

“Every year you kind of have to prove yourself again,” Singler said. “Last year was last year for a lot of players and, for me personally, I thought I had a decent year. But this year I have to prove that I belong out on the floor.”

Singler, 25, doesn’t mind the competition.

“It just makes us more dangerous as a team,” Singler said. “I still view myself as a very good player and an asset to the team.”

Singler spent most of the off-season relaxing in the outdoors before beginning preparations for the season. He struggled against the elite small forwards last season, but maybe he can match up better against second-teamers. He can finish in traffic better, and he can probably improve his deep stroke as well.

“I just want to be a guy that can move, create havoc on both sides,” Singler said. “That’s basically the vision that I have for myself and that they have for me.”

Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons conduct an open-to-public workout annually, but this year decided to bring it back into their own home arena because getting people back to The Palace of Auburn Hills is one of their chief priorities.

“I think that the number-one priority objective is to get them back in that seating bowl and see the product,” said Dennis Mannion, president of Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Pistons.

The 11 a.m. Saturday practice is free.

Doors open 10 a.m.

Reported by David Mayo of Michigan Live

“Kentavious as a rookie doesn’t get wide-eyed,” said [Pistons coach Maurice] Cheeks, trying to resist a smile. “He has a poise about him when he plays. He doesn’t get stressed out, doesn’t get nervous. Today he had an excellent day. (Rodney) Stuckey had an excellent day.”

Caldwell-Pope and Stuckey went head-to-head in the team scrimmages Thursday, in the part the media was allowed to watch. While Stuckey beat him on a cut to the rim, he lost the rookie in the set offense, where Caldwell-Pope was able to probe the perimeter and make himself available for open threes, which he made with ease.

On a three that came up short, he timed the rebound and beat everyone to it for a layup, impressing his coach with the simplicity of the play.

“The thing about him — he plays defense and plays hard,” Cheeks said. “He runs the floor and does a lot of things well.”

Reported by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News

Larry Sanders

Milwaukee center Larry Sanders raised eyebrows during Bucks media day when asked about former teammate Brandon Jennings, who is now with the Detroit Pistons.

He was asked by Fox Sports Wisconsin’s Andrew Gruman to comment on Jennings saying he was going to play with better bigs in Detroit.

Sanders said: “He has to pass it to them first.”


Jennings, acquired in a trade that sent Brandon Knight and Khris Middletonto the Bucks, has a shoot-first reputation.

Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

It is the Detroit Pistons’ only apparent open position in the starting lineup, largely because many of the potential shooting guards don’t fit the spot.

Chauncey Billups really doesn’t want the job.

Rodney Stuckey professed indifference, which he proved last year.

Kyle Singler started most of last season at the position. But he’s probably in a competition for backup small forward moreso than starting shooting guard.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope wants the job. But the rookie first-round draft pick has some proving to do first.

Of the several points of intrigue as the Pistons open training camp this morning, only one involves a starting role, with as many varied styles as candidates.

Reported by David Mayo of Michigan Live

Some thoughts on new Pistons Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith

Jennings sat on the outside looking in during this summer’s free-agency frenzy, arriving in Detroit in a three-year deal via sign-and-trade. The Pistons believe he’ll return to his prep school mode of being a distributor first, rather than primarily looking for his own offense, as he’s done during his first four years in the NBA.

Jennings represents an upgrade over Brandon Knight in terms of point guard aptitude, but he must be willing to buy into the system and set up his teammates.

Rumors of the Pistons pursuing Boston point guard Rajon Rondo won’t amount to anything anytime soon. Jennings can quiet them with steady play.

Josh Smith: The shiny new, $54 million signee gets a fresh start away from the sometimes-unfair scrutiny he faced in his hometown Atlanta. There’s no denying his talent, and he and Drummond can raise terror defensively and in the open floor with their length and athleticism. He’ll be the starting small forward, but is expected to see time at power forward as well, so his role in the offense remains to be seen.

Smith will face a bit of a culture adjustment this season, moving from the pressure of playing for his hometown team to the pressure of playing for a franchise with more of a winning tradition and the resulting higher expectations.

Reported by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News

Greg Monroe deflecting questions about future with Pistons

Greg Monroe’s restricted free agency figures to dominate Detroit Pistons news in summer of 2014, which is precisely where the forward-center plans to keep it.

Monroe made it clear today that he has no intention of fielding questions about his contractual future.

When it was suggested that such questions are precisely what he figures to face throughout this season, Monroe declared, “No, I’m not.”

He answered the question preemptively, with the caveat that he has no intention of addressing it again.

Reported by David Mayo of Michigan Live

Detroit Pistons have some trade pieces

Detroit Pistons have some trade pieces

If the Pistons plan on being dealers before the February 2014 trade deadline, they have a glut of small forwards and guards to possibly offer, if that’s team president Joe Dumars’ plan.

“We have a lot of flexibility,” newly acquired Josh Smith said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if guys played different positions in the backcourt or along the front line, depending on matchups.”

Smith is expected to start at small forward and also see time at power forward. Also on the roster are Kyle Singler, Jonas Jerebko and rookie Luigi Datome, who made a splash overseas with his shot-making ability and athleticism.

That’s four small forwards, and there aren’t enough minutes to play them all.

Reported by Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press

It sounds like his failure to land a top job in the NBA has more to do with his personality – and perhaps his past – than his coaching abilities.

Kate Fagan of wrote a lengthy feature story about Laimbeer that offers some insights as to why NBA general managers are turning their backs on the man who was perhaps the baddest of the Pistons legendary Bad Boys.

Under the headline “The Feminization of Bill Laimbeer,” Fagan discusses Laimbeer’s success in the WNBA – he won three titles with the now-defunct Detroit Shock – his brief tenure as an NBA assistant and some of the reasons he has failed to land a job as a head coach in the NBA.

Basically, it sounds like nobody wants to give Laimbeer a shot as a head coach because he’s the same guy who was despised as a player while helping the Pistons win back-to-back NBA titles in 1989-90.

Reported by Brendan Savage of Michigan Live

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