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Archive → October, 2009

Richard Hamilton sticks ups for Allen Iverson, bashes Michael Curry

From The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal (Hat tip: Henry Abbott of TrueHoop):

“M.C. lied to us a million times,” Hamilton said of Curry. “He sat me and A.I. down one time and was like, ‘I’m going to lean on both of you the whole year, just don’t go to the media. Say you’ll do whatever for the team and blah blah blah.’ This was a week before he brought me off the bench. He lied. So I feel for what Allen said.”

He added: “I think the person that we had didn’t know how to take advantage of (our roster). Instead of taking advantage of it, he killed it.”

Hamilton also discredited the idea that the Pistons, although upset about losing Chauncey Billups in the trade with the Nuggets, were unwilling to accept Iverson as a teammate. Asked if he ever had any problems with Iverson, Hamilton said: “Oh, no, no, no. We loved him, he loved us. We were all friends, we were all brothers. Like I said, certain people make it complicated when it shouldn’t be complicated.”

I buy that Curry screwed this up. He clearly messed up things we could see (lineups, schemes, etc.). It’s hard to give him the benefit of the doubt on this.

I’m selling that everything was cool between Iverson and everyone else. It was too obvious that the Pistons played harder when Hamilton was on the court than when Iverson was.

Maybe the players’ wanted to embrace Iverson. But, from the outside looking in, it appeared they resented him deep down – maybe for taking Hamilton’s spot, maybe for hogging the ball, maybe for not playing team defense, maybe for garnering so much attention, maybe a combination of those things. I don’t pretend to know.

But Iverson hasn’t stuck in Philadelphia, Denver or Detroit – and I don’t think things will work out in Memphis. He reminds me of his old coach, friend and nemesis, Larry Brown. Curry didn’t help make the Iverson-as-a-Piston experiment work, but like Brown, maybe Iverson still can’t find what makes him happy.

Enough amateur psychology for now. Abbott linked this fantastic 2001 Sports Illustrated piece on Iverson. If Iverson intrigues you nearly as much as he does me, this is a must-read.

Did the Pistons make a mistake by cutting Deron Washington?

ShamSports thinks so (Hat tip: TrueHoop):

Washington’s large amount of guaranteed money (over 50% of his overall contract for this year) meant that the Pistons could have kept him on until the league-wide contract guarantee date of January 10th, without having to pay him a single extra penny outside of meal stipends. Waive him yesterday, and he’ll cost $250,000; waive him on January 6th, and he’ll still only cost $250,000.

I didn’t think the contract was guaranteed at all, but A. Sherrod Blakely of MLive reported in August that it was.

So does that mean a two-for-one (or three-for-two) trade is coming? ShamSports offers another explanation:

The only risk to keeping Washington would be if he were to get seriously injured, at which point Detroit is bound to keep paying him until he’s healthy again. This annoying if justified stipulation caught Miami and Orlando last year, who became stuck with paying fully guaranteed contracts to Jason Richards and Mike Wilks respectively after they both suffered bad knee injuries in training camp. But that risk is minimal, and it’s even smaller if you consider that Washington was only scheduled to be an inactive list talent.

In these economic times, that might be enough to persuade Joe Dumars to waive Washington. But you should still upgrade your trade threat levels to red for a couple days.

Tuesday Trivia: Mulitple MVPs

This week’s quiz is one of the easier ones I’ve posted. A tip: enter first and last names.

My score: 11/11 (2:06 left)

Detroit Pistons make permanent uniform change

In his Uni Watch NBA Preview, Paul Lukas says the “Mr. D” on the Pistons’ collars, in memory of owner Bill Davidson, will be a permanent addition. The Chuck Daly patch will appear just this season.

Detroit and four other teams will also wear special warmups in February to commemorate their championships.

My verdict: The Chuck Daly patch looks good and honors the Pistons’ greatest coach.

When I first saw “Mr. D” written on the collar, it looked a little off. It just seemed too colloquial. But the more I think about it, I like it.

Everyone knew him as Mr. D. And he never got the credit he deserved for getting the franchise where it is. He will always be woven into the fabric of the Pistons – it makes sense to ensure he is literally, too.

The warmups are tacky, and come across as just an attempt to sell more merchandise.

Team-by-team previews from the TrueHoop Network

Thanks to Henry Abbot of TrueHoop for compiling this list of everyone’s previews.

TEAM BLOGGERS SAY WINS*

Bret Lagree | Hoopinion

"The Hawks have not built, nor do they appear to be building, a championship contender. … Joe Johnson is poised to be a free agent in the summer of 2010. Johnson is not a franchise player, yet he’s the Hawks’ best player."

45

Zach Lowe | CelticsHub

"It seems reasonable to say anything short of an 18th championship would be a disappointment."

58

Brett Hainline | Queen City Hoops

"Great defense + equally bad offense = average. With an improving division around them, that equation does not get them their first playoff berth. But at least they won’t suck."

36

Matt McHale | By the Horns

"During the offseason, the Bulls lost free agent Ben Gordon, whom many people considered the team’s best or second-best player (after Derrick Rose). Memo to Chicago fans: Don’t sweat it. Seriously. Gordon will be replaced by John Salmons, who not only gave the Bulls almost as many points per game (18.3 versus 20.7) but was slightly more efficient in how he scored them."

43

John Krolik | Cavs the Blog

"After last season’s playoff heartbreak, Danny Ferry has changed up the equation … However, Shaq could disrupt the delicate offensive and defensive chemistry the Cavaliers rode to 66 wins and the conference finals, despite the fact he will be the best player LeBron has ever played with if he continues to play like he did last season. The big question for the Cavs this seasons whether they overreacted to two clutch 3s by Rashard Lewis, or made the risk they needed to take to finally get LeBron a ring."

61

Rob Mahoney | The Two Man Game

“’Rebuilding’ teams seek financial flexibility and the acquisition of young, productive assets. Quality squads amass veteran talent, no matter the cost, in pursuit of a title. Defying all logic, the Mavs have simultaneously moved in both directions."

50

Jeremy Wagner | Roundball Mining Company

"The only players still on the roster who exceeded expectations in 2008-09 were Nene and Birdman. It is reasonable to expect every member of the Nuggets, other than thirty-something Chauncey Billups, to improve."

53

Dan Feldman | PistonPowered

"However the minutes shake out between Chris Wilcox, Kwame Brown and Ben Wallace, they won’t be as good as Rasheed Wallace. But Sheed wasn’t that great last year. He looked old and disinterested, so the drop here won’t be too steep."

36

Rasheed Malek |Warriors World

"Under the ownership of Chris Cohan, the Warriors have made the playoffs exactly one time and have gone through numerous coaches, players and executives. Going into this season, Larry Riley is the man in charge taking over for Chris Mullin."

28

Anup Shah and Brody Rollins | Rockets Buzz

"The speed revolution has overtaken some of basketball’s peers, most notably football … Is basketball headed in the same direction? [Aaron] Brooks provides an excellent case study. Beginning the year as the Rockets number one threat on offense with Ron Artest’s departure and injuries to Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, Brooks will have every opportunity to prove that size really doesn’t matter."

39

Jared Wade | Eight Points, Nine Seconds

"It’s hard to believe that anything short of the postseason will remove the dark cloud over Conseco. … Ultimately, it will come down to one thing: [Mike Jr.] Dunleavy’s knee."

32

Kevin Arnovitz | ClipperBlog

"[Blake] Griffin and [Eric] Gordon may not be saviors, but they’re something. Griffin’s skills and his tenacious work ethic (the guy runs up sand dunes in his free time) will be a boon to a team desperate for cultural overhaul. Gordon offers an enticing combination of spot-up shooting and forays into the paint. He finished third in true shooting percentage among starting off guards in his rookie campaign, something that can only help a team that ranked dead last in offensive efficiency last season."

32

Kurt Helin | Forum Blue and Gold

"God, is it good to be hated again."

64

Chip Crain | 3 Shades of Blue

"The 2009-10 version of the Grizzlies have put together a starting five where every player scored 30 points or more in a game last year. The oldest starter is only 28 years old (Zach Randolph) and the youngest won’t turn 22 until after the start of the season (O.J. Mayo). They are young, talented and hungry for success. So why do most people focus on the two players not on a rookie contract this season?"

20

Matthew Bunch | Hot Hot Hoops

"38.6 minutes. 30.2 points. 49.1 percent shooting. Five rebounds. 7.5 assists. 2.2 steals. 1.3 blocks. That’s what [Dwyane] Wade averaged last season. You’re going to keep that guy out of the playoffs? Good luck."

44

Jeremy Schmidt | Bucksketball

"If the Bucks get anything out of their three small forwards, if they can keep [Andrew] Bogut and [Michael] Redd healthy and if they get a season worthy of the number ten selection out of Brandon Jennings at the point, the playoffs will be within reach. But that’s a lot of ifs."

29

Patrick Hodgdon | Howlin’ T-Wolf

""Ever since his arrival, David Kahn has had seemingly one mission, other than to look like the smartest guy in the room at every turn, and that is to get as much cap space for next summer as he possibly can. … The obvious question lies in whether or not the Wolves will actually be able to lure one of the better free agent players to come to Minnesota."

23

Mark Ginocchio and Sebastian Priuti | Nets are Scorching

"Lingering doubts about Brooklyn could spoil any change the Nets have of landing a top free agent next summer."

29

Niall Doherty and Ryan Schwan | Hornets247

"Enter Emeka Okafor. He’s a near match to a healthy Chandler, is more durable, and doesn’t look like he’s having muscle spasms when making a post move."

47

Mike Kurylo | Knickerblogger

"2010 could be New York’s return to winning."

31

Royce Young | Daily Thunder

"The Thunder may not win more than half their games, but with over half the roster unable to get an alcoholic beverage still, steady improvement and progression is the name of the game."

34

Zach McCann | Orlando Magic Daily

"Take away either Hedo Turkoglu or Courtney Lee and the Magic aren’t getting to face the Lakers in the Finals. No way. But does that mean the Magic were wrong to let them go? Were the Magic foolish to allow a borderline All-Star and a possible future All-Star leave the team when both clearly wanted to stay in Orlando? Absolutely not. I believe the Magic are an entirely better team than they were four months ago."

59

Carey R. Smith | Philadunkia

"The travesty of a deal that Billy King gave to Samuel Dalembert remains easily one of the worst contracts in NBA history. Hopefully this season Dalembert, his inflated self-worth and his contract will be dealt for a couple of expiring contracts and some much-needed cap space."

39

Michael Schwartz | Valley of the Suns

"Two years ago the Suns were chic championship picks. Last year, the Suns were (accurately) thought to be a fringe playoff team. This year there are almost no expectations outside of their locker room. … There will be no mistaking what the Suns are this season: a lightning-speed team that will score points in bunches and likely give them up almost as quickly while struggling badly on the boards. But they will once again be the most exciting team in basketball."

46

Max Handelman | Beyond Bowie

"The Blazers effectively bumbled their way to a 54-win season despite a mediocre performance from Greg Oden, the loss of Martell Webster for the season, and at times starting three rookies. This team is only getting better, kids."

53

Zach Harper | Cowbell Kingdom

"Enter Tyreke Evans — a bulldozer-sized menace who will test the strength of every team’s defense at its entry point. He immediately creates matchup problems against teams with traditional point guards and will look to have a similar impact as fellow Memphis alum, Derrick Rose."

22

Timothy Varner | 48 Minutes of Hell

During the Celtics heyday, Red Auerbach boasted a winning percentage of .719. In the modern era, Pat Riley’s Showtime Lakers played to the tune of .733. Phil Jackson’s Jordan Bulls dominated the 90s with an otherworldly percentage of .771. Jackson’s three-peat Lakers? .735. In his 12 seasons with San Antonio, Gregg Popovich, whose cynical disdain for the regular season runs more than skin deep, has, nevertheless, posted a winning percentage of .707. That’s the company the Spurs keep. What should we expect this season? 58 wins and a run at the title. Same as every other year."

55

RaptorsRepublic

"How is a rookie(ish) head coach going to integrate nine new players into a new system with two new assistant coaches?"

41

Spencer Ryan Hall | Salt City Hoops

"With young Wesley Matthews providing the good luck charm, Boozer in a contract year, Deron Williams with a chip on his shoulder, and a new longer-haired version of Andrei Kirilenko the Jazz have no reason to be anything other than beastly this season. And I mean that in a good way. Every prediction from the Jazz camp, however, comes with the ominous caveat ‘If we can stay healthy.’"

46

Kyle Weidie | Truth About It

"Flip Saunders has never gotten a team ‘there.’ That worn out cliché always runs rampant, plaguing almost every coach who hasn’t won … until they win. Red Auerbach (647), Larry Brown (1,900), and Dick Motta (738) all took their lumps before winning a championship (games coached before title season). Don’t be surprised when what you think is impossible becomes a reality. … 2010 is the Chinese Year of the Tiger. Factor in Gilbert Arenas’ stomach tattoo and the fact that the Wizards play their home games in D.C.’s Chinatown, and all the cards are in place."

42

* As predicted by a consensus of all TrueHoop Network bloggers.

Pistons waive Deron Washington

From a team release:

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that the club has requested waivers on guard/forward Deron Washington. He averaged 3.3 points, 0.6 rebounds and 6.4 minutes in seven preseason games.

Washington was drafted by Detroit with the 59th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He played on the Pistons’ summer league teams each of the last two years and averaged 14.8 points and 7.0 rebounds in 27 games for Hapoel Holon of the Greek League in 2008-09.

Bit of a shocker. I think it was assumed Washington would make the team.

I guess this means Chucky Atkins will make the roster – unless the Pistons are going the cheap route with just 13 players.

TrueHoop Network 2009-10 Season Preview: Detroit Pistons

The TrueHoop Network has been hard at work on a season preview (more details coming), and each of us are posting our team’s portion this morning. Be sure to check out everyone’s previews on the other TrueHoop Network blogs, which are linked in a dropdown menu at the top of this page.

Crystal ball

The consensus win total prediction of the TrueHoop Network bloggers … and the best hopes of PistonPowered.

Last year’s record: 39-43

Crowd says: 36-46

I say: 44-38

Yes we can!

The sun is out. The seas have parted. The basketball gods are shining upon us! 

The Pistons were a playoff team last year that got better in the offseason. How many teams can say that? Probably about half of them. Even if you’re the eighth seed and didn’t get a ton better, it’s still a good situation to be in.

And yes, the Pistons improved. Center is the only spot that’s down, and the upgrades elsewhere more than make up for it.

Point guard: Rodney Stuckey is a year older, and hopefully a year better. He improved last year from his rookie season. A Rajon Rondo-like jump in Year 3 would be ideal. But at worst, he’s the same.

Shooting guard: Richard Hamilton will regain his starting role, and there’s no doubt he’s better than Allen Iverson. Iverson no longer has the legs to finish around the basket. Hamilton is one of the best-conditioned players in the league.

Small forward: Tayshaun Prince is back, and there’s no reason to expect much difference in production. He has basically leveled off.

Power forward: Antonio McDyess played admirably last year. But Charlie Villanueva, who might not start but will likely see the most minutes at power forward, is also a quality player. Although he’s not as good defensively, his Player Efficiency Rating (18.6) was higher than McDyess’ (16.6). And McDyess benefited from a 20-game break when the Nuggets bought him out. Villanueva, 25, will produce all season.

Center: However the minutes shake out between Chris Wilcox, Kwame Brown and Ben Wallace, they won’t be as good as Rasheed Wallace. But Sheed wasn’t that great last year. He looked old and disinterested, so the drop here won’t be too steep.

Bench: Ben Gordon will be a strong contender for sixth man of the year. He easily makes the bench better – especially given that Richard Hamilton played better as a starter last year. (Gordon’s added bonus: taking the best player away from a division rival).

Coaching: Michael Curry was terrible. John Kuester will also be in his first year as a head coach. But he spent 13 years as an NBA assistant – 12 more than Curry.

The Pistons are rebuilding while remaining a playoff team. They probably won’t appear in the conference finals, which, until last year, seemed like an annual rite. But this plan by Joe Dumars sure beats a visit to the lottery.

No you won’t

A rousing dissent from a rival blogger.

They invested a combined 10 years and $85 million in Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva this summer. Seriously. Why not just set all that money on fire like the Joker did in The Dark Knight? – Matt McHale, By the Horns

All-a-Twitter

A 140-character insight into the soul of the team.

“Want to challenge, @chrisbosh, on who will get 50,000 followers first, a friendly bet, or you want to but wager on it, lol” – CV31 (Charlie Villanueva).

Are the Pistons fun and competitive again?

On the record

Single best quote concerning the team during the last 12 months.

“I think Joe was madder than anybody else about us losing all those Sunday games, and usually that has something to do with what you were doing Saturday night.” – Michael Curry (Detroit Free Press)

The play

Down a single point with 9.2 seconds to play in a must-win game. What’s the play?

Hamilton has proven to be a capable end-of-game player, but I think Gordon will get the first look most of the time. He’s a rhythm shooter, so the goal will be to get him a couple dribbles. Depending on the opponent, look for an isolation play or Gordon coming around a few screens. Either way, the goal will be to get him a jumper – maybe even a 3-pointer.

The people’s choice

The fan favorite the crowd will be chanting for to see some action.

Will Bynum.

It’s no secret Dumars wants Stuckey to be the team’s star. Kuester obviously respects Hamilton. And with his contract, Gordon is going to get playing time. That doesn’t leave much room for Bynum, who became an offensive force at the end of last season.

If you’re watching the bottom line, you’re watching this

The single biggest spreadsheet issue hanging over the team.

With Bill Davidson’s death, will the Pistons continue to be so well-run? Dumars and Tom Wilson still have key roles, but Davidson’s widow, Karen, is an unknown. Under Davidson, the Pistons never spent exorbitantly, but they took educated risks. Davidson became the first owner to give his team its own plane, and the Palace of Auburn Hills became the league’s model arena.

The economy is down everywhere, but Detroit has been hit hardest. Will the combination of a new owner and uncertain times derail what has been one of the NBA’s top organizations?

Memphis Grizzlies will ask Allen Iverson to come off the bench

Allen Iverson won’t be starting for the Memphis Grizzlies to open the season, according to The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal (Hat tip: Full-Court Press).

Veteran guard Allen Iverson will start the regular season as a reserve when the Grizzlies host the Detroit Pistons Oct. 28 in their home opener.

Iverson, 34, has missed the entire preseason schedule because of a partially torn left hamstring. He hasn’t participated in training camp practices since Oct. 4.

Griz coach Lionel Hollins said there is no choice but to gradually work in Iverson.

"He hasn’t had a chance to perform," Hollins said. "And when he does come back he’ll be way behind with how we’re doing things. So when he gets into a game, it’ll be limited. That’s probably where we’ll wind up at the start of the season."

I nearly headline this post, “Allen Iverson will come off the bench for the Memphis Grizzlies.” Then, I realized that might be inaccurate. I’ll believe he actually comes off the bench when I see it.

I’m sure this will end well.

Player Preview: DaJuan Summers

Role

Summers is buried on the bench right now. He’ll probably be inactive to start the season. I see a lot of D-League games for him this year.

Scouting report

Will: Score in many ways.

He can make jumpers, drive against bigger defenders and post up smaller threes. He will be a tough matchup (if he cracks the rotation).

Among the 13 small forwards drafted this year, Summers had the second-best true shooting percentage (via DraftExpress).

Won’t: Produce if Kuester decides to slow the tempo.

In a good interview with Dan Steinberg on the D.C. Sports Bog, Summers said his strong summer league play didn’t surprise him.

Did you come in with that kind of chip on your shoulder, to prove the kind of player you know you are?

Not so much. I mean, I always knew I was that player, so just because things were different in college–it’s not an open system and not a high-tempo team–it never discouraged me. I knew when I got here I would be able to play my game. Coach always said the same thing. It’s just not the run and shoot we play at Georgetown. So nah, I don’t feel like I’m proving anybody wrong. It’s just me. I’m just playing.

Must improve: His focus.

Summers has an NBA body. But he doesn’t lock in and get the little things done that he clearly could be capable of doing.

Among the 13 small forwards drafted this year, here’s how Summers’ ranked last season*:

Rebounds: 13th.

Assists: 11th.

Turnovers: 12th.

Summers has the tools to improve all those. He just needs to put his mind to it.

*The numbers are per 40 minutes and paste adjusted – basically a way to put everyone on equal footing – and also come from DraftExpress.

Stock

Falling

Summers was the star of the Pistons’ summer league team, if not the entire Las Vegas League.

But he has missed two of Detroit’s six preseason games. And only Chucky Atkins, Deron Washington and Maceo Baston are averaging fewer minutes.

With Tayshaun Prince’s injury, maybe Summers sees some minutes as the backup small forward. But even with Prince out, Jonas Jerebko and Richard Hamilton might see more time filling in at the three than Summers.

Three predictions

1. It will be at least a month before Summers dresses for a game.

From The Oakland Press:

Kuester downplayed Summers’ struggles and said Summers has shown flashes in practice.

“DaJuan is learning as he goes,” Kuester said. “I tell you this, he has a bright, bright future in this league because he’ll continue to work hard and he’s a great kid. Do not read into that at all.”

Sorry, John. I’m going to read into it. I think Kuester wants to keep Summers’ spirits up when the rookie is buried on the bench for the first time in his life.

Summers really hasn’t done much to that kind of deserve praise.

2. Summers will never post better numbers than he did in the summer league (18 points and 5.4 rebounds per game).

Not in the summer league next year, not in a preseason and certainly not in a regular season. Summers was clearly on a hot streak in Las Vegas.

His preseason struggles suggest the summer league was an aberration. And even if he develops into a pretty good player, those are some gaudy numbers.

3. Summers will be one of the 2009 draft’s better second-round picks.

I liked Summers a good deal coming into the draft. But he didn’t seem good enough for the Pistons to take him at 15. And he seemed too good to slip into the second round.

But to the shock of many, including Joe Dumars, he was available for Detroit’s second pick. There’s a reason many projected him to go higher, and the summer league reinforces the thinking.

That said, being a fairly good second-round pick in a specific draft doesn’t mean much. He could be out of the league in a few years, and I could be right.

But I like his chances better than most of the other late picks.

For each of the Pistons’ new players, I want  get another voice (or more) besides my own into the previews – someone who has seen these players up close more than I have. I call this feature “in other words.”

In other words: Jeremy Hofmann

Jeremy Hofmann, a 2008 Georgetown graduate, analyzes Summers.

DaJuan Summers will be a very good professional basketball player. Let’s start right there. 

Will his LeBron-esque body and ferocious athleticism tantalize Pistons fans into expecting more than he can deliver? Absolutely.

That was the problem Georgetown fans had with DaJuan in his three maddening years on the Hilltop. He looks like he should be a star.

He is 6’8” 240 lbs with 25 foot range and a 40+ inch vertical leap. Yet, there were countless games in his three years where he seemed disinterested and would finish with a stat line like 2-9, 7 points, 2 rebounds and 4 fouls. 

DaJuan is to Georgetown fans what Vince Carter is to Nets or Raptors fans. A guy that settles for too many jumpers, barely makes an effort on the glass or defensive end, has one or two “wow” plays a game and leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth more times than not.

Still, I was absolutely shocked that he slipped to #35 in the draft, especially in a draft like 2009. Even DeMarre Carroll went ahead of him. DeMarre Carroll?

DaJuan was projected as a near lottery pick after his freshman year. Even in January of this year, when Georgetown was in the top 10, DaJuan was expected to be a lottery pick. The only reason he slipped so far was because of the Hoyas’ pathetic end to its 2008-2009 campaign.

Being a second round pick will end up being the best thing that ever happened to DaJuan’s career and will greatly benefit the Pistons. NBA athletes with questionable motors need slights to prove their worth.

Just like previous second round picks of the same mold – Gilbert Arenas, Carlos Boozer and Rashard Lewis come to mind – DaJuan will use his draft position to prove himself for his entire NBA career. He will never forget the feeling of having his family and friends with him in the ESPN Zone in Baltimore waiting for 34 names to be called before his.

Both his performance in the summer league, when he was arguably Detroit’s best player, and his “I’m going to prove everyone wrong through cliché rap lyrics” on his Twitter page tell me that for the first time in his life, DaJuan’s work ethic will finally match his prodigious athleticism.

Pistons waive Maceo Baston

From a team release:

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that the club has requested waivers on forward Maceo Baston.  He averaged 0.5 points, 0.5 rebounds and 3.5 minutes in five preseason games.

Baston, 33, appeared in 27 games with the Indiana Pacers last season averaging 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds in 8.0 minutes per game.  He scored a season-high 12 points in a Pacers win over Miami (1/30) and had seven rebounds, an assist and two steals in a season-high 19 minutes.  At Minnesota, (2/20), Baston tallied eight points, a season-high eight rebounds and a career-best three assists in 16 minutes.

No surprise. Chucky, you’re next.