Archive for the ‘ Detroit Pistons Blog ’ Category

Jonas Jerebko

With every new coach comes change and it’s likely none of the Detroit Pistons welcomes that more than Jonas Jerebko.

The veteran forward spent much of last season in former coach Lawrence Frank’s doghouse, getting buried on the bench for long stretches as the Pistons missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

Now, with Maurice Cheeks in place as the 33rd coach in Pistons’ history, Jerebko feels like he’s got a new lease on his professional life.

Like everybody else, he’s starting fresh with Cheeks.

“It feels good,” Jerebko said Thursday after Cheeks was introduced during a press conference at The Palace. “I want to start playing right now and it’s June. I’m just excited for a fresh start.”

No wonder.

After missing just four of 148 games during his first two NBA seasons, Jerebko saw action in 49 of 82 last season.

Reported by Brendan Savage of Michigan Live

maurice cheeks

Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that the club has named Maurice Cheeks as head coach, signing him to a multi-year contract.

Cheeks brings more than 30-plus years of NBA experience to the job and becomes the 29th head coach in Detroit franchise history.  He will be formally introduced to the Detroit media later this week.

“We’re pleased to welcome Maurice Cheeks to the Pistons organization,” Dumars said.  “The leadership and player development qualities he brings as a former player and coach blends nicely with the roster we are building for the future.  He’s won an NBA championship, coached in two NBA Finals as an assistant coach and mentored some of the top young players in the NBA.”

“After spending some time with Maurice, I was very impressed not only with his basketball knowledge but his communication and leadership skills,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores. “We are very excited to have someone of his experience and talent help take this franchise into the future.”

Cheeks joins the Pistons after serving  four years as an assistant coach with Oklahoma City, where he helped guide the Thunder to a 212-100 (.707) record, four playoff appearances and an NBA Finals appearance in 2012.

The 56-year-old Chicago native served as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers from 2001-05 recording a 162-139 (.538) regular-season record, the fourth-highest win total in Blazers coaching history.  His Portland teams made consecutive playoff appearances in 2001 and 2002 and posted records of .500 or better three times, including a 50-32 mark in 2002-03 which tied for second in the Pacific Division.  Portland’s defense ranked in the top-10 in points allowed and steals in both 2001-02 and 2002-03.

Cheeks was named head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers in 2005 and led the Sixers to a 122-147 (.454) record in three-plus seasons.  He led the team to the playoffs in 2008, marking the club’s first postseason appearance in three years.  The 76ers were 12 games under .500 in early February that season and improved to 21-7 the remainder of the year to clinch a playoff berth.  Cheeks owns a career record of 284-286 (.498) in 570 games as an NBA head coach.

Prior to his head coaching stints, Cheeks spent seven seasons as an assistant coach with the 76ers serving under John Lucas (1994-96), Johnny Davis (1996-97) and former Pistons’ head coach Larry Brown (1997-2001).  As a member of Philadelphia’s 2000-01 staff under Brown, he helped guide the club to a 56-26 (.683) record and a spot in the NBA Finals.  Cheeks began his coaching career with the Quad City Thunder of the Continental Basketball Association.  During his only season with Quad City (1993-94), he helped guide the club to the CBA Championship.

A 15-year NBA veteran (11 with Philadelphia), Cheeks was a key member of the 76ers’ 1983 NBA Championship team.  He was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team five times, which included four first-team honors and one second-team honor.  A four-time NBA All-Star, Cheeks averaged 11.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 2.1 steals while shooting 52% from the field in 1,101 career games.  He enjoyed his best year during the 1985-86 season when he averaged 15.4 points and a career-high 9.2 assists.  Drafted 36th overall in the 1978 NBA Draft, Cheeks currently ranks 11th all-time in NBA history in assists (7,392) and fifth all-time in steals (2,310).   His #10 jersey was retired by the 76ers in 1995.

maurice cheeks

The Detroit Pistons appear poised to make Maurice Cheeks their next head coach, in the effort to end the revolving door at that spot.

Cheeks and the Pistons have been engaged in negotiations in recent days, as multiple sources expressed optimism this saga, that began with the team firing Lawrence Frank at season’s end and wound up with the Pistons going through the complicated process of interviewing multiple candidates, has reached its end.

The Pistons hope to get a deal done before the end of weekend. Frank being due to receive nearly $4 million next season — the last guaranteed year of his contract — along with a portion of his fourth year could complicate matters as far as Cheeks’ contract length and amount.

Currently an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Cheeks has helped with the development of guards Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson and former Thunder guard Eric Maynor, who was traded to Portland this season. It’s a background the Pistons liked, especially since they’re still figuring out what they have in 2011 first-round pick Brandon Knight and they hope Cheeks could be a good mentor for him…

Cheeks’ consistency probably outweighed his tangible resume, as his career record doesn’t jump out at anyone (284-286 in nine seasons in Portland and Philadelphia), but he’s highly regarded around the league, especially in Oklahoma City.

Reported by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News

The Pistons are content with their young big men — third-year power forward Greg Monroe and rookie center Andre Drummond, who will represent the Pistons on stage tonight when the TV lights pop on at Times Square Studios.

So whom would the Pistons select if Drummond provides the luck needed to parlay a 3.6% chance into the No. 1 pick when the draft is held June 27?

Teams looking for perimeter help — like the Pistons — might turn to Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore.

McLemore, 20, who spoke to reporters at the NBA predraft combine last week, knows he is close to realizing a lifelong dream.

– Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Isiah Thomas earns master`s degree

Isiah Thomas

Former Detroit Pistons ‘Bad Boy’ Isiah Thomas continued to keep busy in school after a Hall of Fame playing career and multiple years as a basketball coach. Today, it paid off for him.

Thomas graduated with a masters of education from the University of California at Berkeley, tweeting his cap and gown and retweeting congratulations to other UC Berkeley graduates.

He said in a recent Huffington Post story that he has “studied the connections between education and sports. In pursuing this degree, I have had the time to reflect on how we, as a society, make available access to education for athletes, especially black male athletes.”

– Reported by Brian Manzullo of the Detroit Free Press

pistons coaching interviews

Lindsey Hunter and Nate McMillan have different coaching resumes.

Hunter, 42, is a relative coaching neophyte, with only 41 games under his belt.

McMillan, 48, has 101/2 seasons and five playoff appearances to his credit.

But there is one similarity — they are former players known for toughness they displayed during their playing careers.

And there is a thought that playing experience is helpful in navigating the pitfalls coaches face.

Both candidates have interviewed for the Pistons’ vacant head-coaching position — Hunter on Monday and McMillan on Tuesday.

– Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Detroit Pistons fire coach Lawrence Frank

Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that Lawrence Frank will not return as the team’s head coach.

“We thank Lawrence for his hard work and dedication, but we feel it is in the best interest of the franchise to make a change at this time,” said Dumars.  “Decisions like this are never easy and we wish Lawrence well in the future.”

Frank, who was named head coach on August 3, 2011, tallied a regular-season record of 54-94 (.365) in two seasons with the Pistons.

This past regular season, which ended yesterday, the Pistons compiled a 29-53 record, tied for 23rd best in the league out of 30 teams.

Fate of Pistons coach to be decided soon

lawrence frank

Although his team isn’t headed to the postseason, Wednesday’s finale against the Nets offered at least a small bit of good news for Pistons coach Lawrence Frank.

He won’t have to take any more questions from the media about his job status.

He knows it’s out of his hands, and he can only hope that team owner Tom Gores shows patience and gives him a third season on the Pistons’ bench.

“Unfortunately, it’s been too long a talk for too long,” Frank said when asked if it crossed his mind that Wednesday might have marked his final moments as Pistons coach. “It’s been going on for awhile, so it’s not like this just jumped up and it’s news flash.

“Because you have to answer the question every day, it’s something you do give some thought to.”

The answer will come quickly — today, very likely — and indications are strong the odds aren’t with Frank, especially when you consider a strange twist Wednesday night. Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Wednesday that Frank is demanding the Pistons pick up his fourth-year option for $4 million as a condition for his returning for his third season.

– Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Greg Monroe

With the media speculating on Pistons coach Lawrence Frank’s future with the organization, one player offered some support this morning.

Greg Monroe, nearing the end of his third season, said after this morning’s shoot-around that Frank has “done a good job” and deserves to return.

“Yeah, I think he’s done a good job here,” Monroe said before tonight’s game against the Cavs. “There are a lot guys that have been in and out and new players here. I think once he gets a group of guys, a core that you know will be here, I think it’ll be easier for him.”

Monroe has spent the past two seasons with Frank. Monroe’s rookie year was a tumultuous one for former Pistons coach John Kuester.

– Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

No hill too high. No gap too wide. No deficit too daunting. No waiting any more for these Louisville Cardinals.

The Floyd Street escape artists climbed back from 12 points behind for the second time in the space of one Final Four on Monday night, then mounted a temporary stage to celebrate their school’s first NCAA Championship since the adoption of the three-point shot.

They beat Michigan, 82-76, and they did it while treading a tightrope of foul trouble. They did it behind backup forward Luke Hancock, who twice came off the bench in Atlanta to deliver epic performances. They did it behind prodigal forward Chane Behanan, who started the season under a gag order and ended it by making himself heard in deafening decibels beneath the basket.

They did it for the first time since 1986, and capped a bountiful day for their coach, Rick Pitino. Formally announced among the new class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday morning, Pitino padded his resume late Monday night by becoming the first college coach to win an NCAA Championship at two different schools.

“We beat a great basketball team,” Pitino said amid the confetti of the post-game trophy presentation. “Probably because I have the 13 toughest guys I ever coached.”

– Reported by Tim Sullivan of the Louisville Courier-Journal

Luke Hancock led the Cards with a career-high-tying 22 points and was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. Peyton Siva, who had 18 points, and Chane Behanan, who had 15 points and 12 rebounds, joined Hancock on the All-Tournament team. Michigan’s Trey Burke and Mitch McGary were also selected to the team.

The Cards seemingly rotated carrying the team for different stretches in the game. Wayne Blackshear got them started, scoring the first five points of the game en route to eight points.

After struggling for most of the tournament, Behanan gave them a lift in the second half. He grabbed seven offensive rebounds — only the second time all season he had that many — and scored 11 points with 11 rebounds in the second half.

– Reported by C. L. Brown of the Louisville Courier-Journal

Spike Albrecht: It was the start of perhaps the most remarkable bench performance in modern NCAA memory. On the biggest stage, in front of nearly 75,000 screaming fans, a kid who averaged less than two points a game became a scoring machine. When a terrible foul call put Burke on the bench again, Albrecht simply took over. He drove the lane and tossed one in. He drove again and got fouled. He scored 17 points in less than 17 minutes, had his career highs in points and minutes — all before halftime — and, most incredibly, made everyone temporarily forget that the national player of the year was stuck on the bench.

In fact, for a while, it looked as if Michigan might put away Louisville without Burke breaking another sweat.

– Reported by Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press

When Albrecht scored on a drive with 3:51 left in the half, Michigan’s lead was 33-21, and Albrecht led everyone with 17 points. This is the same Spike who was offered a scholarship to Michigan almost as an afterthought. His other major suitor: Appalachian State.

And now, with Burke in foul trouble, the ball was Spike’s. With his first-half flurry, he was 9-for-9 on 3-pointers in the Tournament, after averaging 1.6 points PER GAME. The 5-foot-11 freshman was becoming the type of discovery that sends people scurrying for comparisons.

All of a sudden, everyone wanted to be like Spike. His name is Michael Albrecht but he earned the nickname when he was 5, clomping around in his new baseball spikes. The Cardinals surely wanted to put a spike in Spike before he destroyed them. Burke was on the bench most of the half and wasn’t happy about it, but Albrecht helped the Wolverines avert disaster.

– Reported by Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News

Luke Hancock produced another huge game off the bench, scoring 22 points, and Pitino became the first coach to win national titles at two schools when Louisville rallied from another 12-point deficit to beat Michigan 82-76 in the NCAA championship game Monday night.

”This team is one of the most together, toughest and hard-nosed teams,” the coach said. ”Being down never bothers us. They just come back.”

More like relentless to the very end.

They’re not stopping now, either. The players intend to hold Pitino to a promise he made: If they won a national title, he’d get a tattoo.

Better leave a lot of space, coach, if you want to make this a tribute to the team.

– Reported by Paul Newberry of the Associated Press

No one was tougher than Hancock, who matched his season high after a 20-point effort in the semifinal victory over Wichita State. This time, he came off the bench to hit four straight 3-pointers in the first half after Michigan got a boost from an even more unlikely player.

Freshman Spike Albrecht made four straight from beyond the arc, too, blowing by his career high before the break with 17 points. Coming in, Albrecht was averaging 1.8 points a game and had not scored more than seven all season.

Albrecht didn’t do much in the second half, but Hancock finished what he started for Louisville. He made it 5-for-5 when he hit his final 3 from the corner with 3:20 remaining to give the Cardinals their biggest lead, 76-66. Michigan wouldn’t go away, but Hancock wrapped it up by making two free throws with 29 seconds left.

– Reported by Paul Newberry of the Associated Press

There are many reasons the Pistons are headed to their fourth consecutive season watching the playoffs from home.

But a main one is their putrid performances against Western Conference opponents this season.

In their final such game of the season, the Pistons fell to 4-26 on the season when they dropped a 107-101 decision to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.

“Thank God we’re not in the Western Conference,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said.

Several key plays went the Timberwolves way down the stretch with the main one coming when Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic tapped an offensive rebound off a missed free throw to Luke Ridnour with 18 seconds left with the Pistons (25-52) trailing, 103-101.

– Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

jeff green

Ray Allen left as a free agent. Rajon Rondo is out for the season. Kevin Garnett is recuperating from an ankle injury.

With the core of the Celtics team that won the franchise’s 17th NBA title in 2008 otherwise occupied, Jeff Green led Boston back into the playoffs.

The Celtics swingman scored 34 points [on 13-of-19 shooting], including a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left to snap a two-minute scoring drought, to help Boston beat the Detroit Pistons 98-93 on Wednesday night and clinch the team’s sixth consecutive playoff berth.

”We knew we were a playoff team before the season started, despite the injuries and everything,” said Paul Pierce, the only holdover from the team that won it all in 2008 and returned to the NBA finals two years later.” …

Pierce and Brandon Bass scored 17 apiece, and Bass added seven rebounds for the Celtics, who had lost two in a row and seven of their previous nine.

The victory, coupled with Philadelphia’s 88-83 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, left Boston 8 1/2 games ahead of the 76ers with eight games to play. It’s the sixth consecutive season Boston has reached the playoffs since the New Big Three was assembled in the summer of 2007…

Green scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and added six rebounds and four blocked shots in the game. He has become one of the players the Celtics look to for big plays as the clock runs down, sharing the role that Pierce had occupied for more than a decade…

Greg Monroe had 24 points and 17 rebounds and Rodney Stuckey scored 22 for the Pistons.

– Reported by Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press

Greg Monroe

Greg Monroe scored 24 points, Jose Calderon had 19 points and nine assists against his former team, and the Detroit Pistons snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Toronto Raptors 108-98 on Monday night.

Rodney Stuckey scored 18 points, Jonas Jerebko had 10 of his 15 in the fourth quarter and rookie Khris Middleton added 11 as the Pistons won for just the third time in 19 games.

Rudy Gay scored 34 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 17 and DeMar DeRozan 15 as the Raptors lost for the seventh time in eight games. Toronto was outscored 33-19 in the final quarter…

Before the game, the Pistons announced that forward Jason Maxiell will miss the remainder of the season after surgery to repair a detached retina. Maxiell began complaining of blurry vision last week and didn’t travel with the team for Sunday’s loss at Chicago. He stayed in Detroit to visit a specialist, who diagnosed the injury.

Detroit was also without guard Will Bynum, who sat out with a strained right hand.

Raptors swingman Landry Fields was unavailable because of pain in his right elbow. Fields had surgery on the elbow last November, forcing him to miss 22 games. He skipped Monday’s game to travel to Los Angeles for follow-up testing.

– Reported by Ian Harrison of the Associated Press

Even short-handed, the Chicago Bulls’ dominance of the Detroit Pistons continues.

The Bulls continued a five-year winning streak over the Pistons with a 95-94 victory Sunday at United Center, despite playing without three key contributors, including notorious Piston-killer Joakim Noah.

The Pistons (24-50) led most of the game and dominated many of the key statistical categories but untimely turnovers and the Bulls’ big advantage on free throws doomed them.

Charlie Villanueva had a shot in the final seconds to tie, with the score 94-91, but it sailed off line.  A Daequan Cook free throw was followed by Rodney Stuckey’s meaningless 3-pointer before the buzzer.

The Bulls have won 18 consecutive games against the Pistons, with their last loss coming on Dec. 23, 2008.  They also have won the last 14 meetings at United Center since Feb. 24, 2006.

– Reported by David Mayo of Michigan Live

Rudy Gay and the Toronto Raptors are out of the playoff picture and have just 10 games left before their season ends. That doesn’t mean they’re going to go quietly.

Gay scored 19 of his 21 points during a dominant third quarter and the Raptors ended a five-game skid with a 99-82 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Toronto led 46-45 at the break and took control by outscoring the Pistons 23-5 in the first eight minutes of the third period.

DeMar DeRozan also had 21 to help Toronto win a second straight meeting with the Pistons.

”Whatever he drank at halftime, he needs to keep drinking it,” coach Dwane Casey said of Gay, who was 7 for 11 from the floor in the third.

”Something clicked at halftime to get him going.” …

Amir Johnson added 20 points, including 10 during the second period that helped the Raptors take the lead for good.

Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Kyle Lowry added 11 assists…

Jonas Jerebko scored 20 points to lead the Pistons, who also got 17 from rookie Andre Drummond in their eighth straight home loss. Detroit made just six field goals in the third and often couldn’t seem to stop Gay once he got hot.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Auburn Hills City Manager Pete Auger balked at the idea that the Palace of Auburn Hills or the Detroit Pistons’ home floor should be in downtown Detroit — an idea that has been repeated by one major downtown Detroit investor.

“It doesn’t make any business sense to do that,” Auger said. “We have a private business entity that’s paying taxes up here.”

The Palace and the Detroit Pistons are majority owned by Tom Gores, the billionaire founder of Platinum Equity.

Gores appears to have no intentions of relocating the Pistons’ arena, but one of his NBA team owner peers has mentioned the idea on at least two different occasions.

– Reported by David Muller of Michigan Live

Brandon Knight

If given the benefit of hindsight and knowing the reaction that would come from the outside world, most would take a step back as DeAndre Jordan launched his 7-foot frame near the rim for a thunderous dunk, especially if you’re eight inches shorter.

But Brandon Knight? Nah. He’d go after Jordan again because in his mind and heart it was the right play.

He took things personally. Not the reaction from the public, which used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to make fun of Knight becoming a poster, but of the Los Angeles Clippers clowning the Pistons on Sunday night without much resistance.

“When I step on the court, I don’t take people dunking six, seven or eight times and not attempting to stop it. It’s personal to me,” said Knight with crutches under his arms after sustaining a “severe” ankle injury in the first quarter of Monday’s 103-90 loss to the Utah Jazz.

– Reported by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News

greg monroe

How’s this for a defensive effort? The Pistons allowed 14 triples and 14 dunks as the Clippers shot 62.5% from the field.

The “effort” angered Pistons center Greg Monroe as he blasted the team.

“Maybe guys don’t care,” Monroe said. “Something has to change, though. This can’t continue. If you don’t want to play, just say it. This has got to stop. It’s unacceptable.

“If you don’t want to play, you should say it. This is unacceptable. It’s gone on too long. If you don’t want to be on the court, if you aren’t going to give 100% on the court, then just don’t play.”

– Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

DeAndre Jordan

The Clippers had been talking in practice the last couple days about turning up their intensity.

DeAndre Jordan clearly got the message, slamming home a monster dunk in the second quarter of a 129-97 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night that had jaws dropping.

”That was the best dunk of the year and the best I’ve seen in person,” said no less an expert than Blake Griffin, who led seven players in double figures with 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting in 21 minutes after early foul trouble.

The Clippers led by 26 points in the first half, building it with a 28-12 run that included two noteworthy dunks from the 6-foot-11 Jordan. The first one off Chris Paul’s alley-oop left Brandon Knight - who is 8 inches shorter - flat on his back with a foul…

Butler added 15 points before leaving in the third quarter with a left elbow contusion. Coach Vinny Del Negro said an X-ray was negative, and Butler will have a MRI on Monday. Matt Barnes added 16 points, Jordan finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, Willie Green had 11 points and Chauncey Billups 10 points.

The Clippers set season highs for points scored and shooting percentage (62) while leading the entire game. Their old high of 125 points came in a win over the Lakers last month…

Jose Calderon was one of five Pistons in double figures with 18 points as they lost their fifth in a row overall, fourth straight to the Clippers, and fell to 0-11 on the road against Western Conference opponents…

Clippers G Jamal Crawford missed his second straight game with a sore left ankle. He was shooting 60 percent and averaging 23.0 points in a four-game stretch before getting hurt. … The Clippers were without G Eric Bledsoe (sore left calf).

– Reported by Beth Harris of the Associated Press

greg monroe

How the Pistons act this summer, with more than $20 million in cap space, will be a great factor in whether their curve for contending speeds up or regresses. Falk, having represented a who’s who of the biggest names (Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning), isn’t sure about the perception about Detroit not being an attractive destination for free agents.

“In my career, when Juwan Howard was a free agent (in 1996), we had serious talks with Detroit. Same with (Dikembe) Mutombo (in 1996),” Falk said. “You go to play, it’s your job. You have a finite amount of time to win. When Detroit was good, it was a very attractive place to play, guys wanted to go there.

“I can’t speak for every player, if they want to be actors and have commercials. Don’t you want to win? Who cares about that other stuff?”

As for Monroe’s future, contract talks with the Pistons could begin after his third year, which would be this summer, but Falk said the sides will put things off until July 2014, when Monroe will become a restricted free agent.

– Reported by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News

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