Archive for the ‘ Detroit Pistons Blog ’ Category

Here’s the Detroit Free Press with an update on the Pistons, whose roster includes an intriguing rookie that has a shot at starting but for now appears likely to come off the bench as a reserve:

Stanley Johnson may come off bench for Pistons

The starting lineup you see tonight against the Charlotte Hornets — with Ersan Ilyasova and Marcus Morris at the forward spots — likely is the grouping that coach Stan Van Gundy will roll with when the Detroit Pistons open the regular season Tuesday at the Atlanta Hawks.

That means the people’s champion — rookie small forward Stanley Johnson — probably will start the season coming off the bench.

Van Gundy cited veteran presence and size as part of his reasoning for going with the 6-10 Ilyasova and 6-9 Morris.

Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting on a player who is trying to solidify himself in the league, and currently making the most of preseason:

Barring something unforeseen, Reggie Bullock will be on the Detroit Pistons’ opening-night roster.

Bullock has scored a knockout against the competition in the fight for a roster spot.

He has played so well that he could be part of the team’s plans past this season.

The Pistons face a Nov. 2 deadline to pick up Bullock’s $2.2-million option for the 2016-17 season, and a person with firsthand knowledge of the team’s thought process told the Free Press this past week the move is under serious consideration.

Rebounding is a concern for Pistons

Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting on the Pistons, who may need some help grabbing the basketball after it flies off the rim:

Rebounding is a major concern with the Detroit Pistons.

Namely, who is going to help Andre Drummond corral missed shots?

Ersan Ilyasova showed Thursday night he might answer the call.

He was one of the few Pistons to play well in a 93-83 exhibition loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

He scored 15 points and did his part on the glass with seven rebounds — four on offense.

Pistons waive Eric Griffin

Pistons waive Eric Griffin

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club has requested waivers on forward Eric Griffin.

He was signed to the training camp roster on September 28 and played for the Texas Legends of the NBA’s Developmental League last season. In 49 games, he averaged 19.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.4 blocks in 35.2 minutes. The Orlando native played collegiately at Campbell University and went undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Stanley Johnson scores 26 points in NBA preseason debut

Here’s Michigan Live reporting on Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson, who absolutely has our attention:

Stanley Johnson scores 26 points in NBA preseason debut

The Detroit Pistons withstood a first-quarter flurry from Paul George, got Andre Drummond some work in the post and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope returned to his shooting form.

And then there was the debut of Stanley Johnson.

The highly-touted first-round pick out of Arizona scored 26 points in his debut off the bench Tuesday in the Pistons’ 115-112 preseason loss to the Indiana Pacers at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Johnson played 34 minutes, finished 8 of 17 from the floor and made three of his six 3-point attempts.

Steve Blake suffers concussion

Detroit Pistons guard Steve Blake was diagnosed with a concussion, suffered in practice on Wednesday.

Blake will undergo the NBA’s mandatory Return-to-Participation Exertion Protocol until he is deemed symptom free. No timetable has been set for his return.

Anthony Tolliver will keep firing 3-pointers

Here’s Michigan Live with insight on Anthony Tolliver, a Piston who, when in doubt, is going to shoot a three-pointer:

Anthony Tolliver will keep firing 3-pointers

More than half of his career field-goal attempts have been 3-pointers, and the uptick over his last two seasons — with Charlotte two years ago, and Phoenix and Detroit last year — has been stark.

In those two analytics-friendly seasons, 89 percent of Tolliver’s attempts were either 3-pointers or within 3 feet of the rim.

A heavy majority of those, 537 of 700, or 76.7 percent of all his field-goal attempts, were 3-pointers. He made 38.7 percent.

He is a 35.6-percent shooter on 3-pointers in his seven NBA seasons, including 36.0 last year in 52 games with Detroit.

That is why, even when the Pistons are faced with some of the bigger power forwards in the league, Tolliver believes he can help to wear them down by forcing defenders to account for broad patches of floor, then sprinting to the other end to buzz around bigger players and combat size with activity and havoc.

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.

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