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Archive → December, 2009

Richard Hamilton hopes to return by New Year’s Day

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press on Richard Hamilton:

And he had some more good news — he’s feeling a lot better, and he expects to be back in the lineup by Jan. 1.

I’m not sure that’s good news. New Year’s Day is 11 games away. I was under the impression he and Tayshaun Prince were closer to returning.

Will the Pistons make the playoffs? The odds are pretty good

I got a little chuckle from one of the last lines in a recent Chris Iott article on MLive summing up the Pistons’ first 20 games:

And they appear likely to make the playoffs.

Detroit (8-12) would be ninth in the Eastern Conference and out of the playoffs if the season ended today. No immediate plans have been announced for Richard Hamilton’s and Tayshaun Prince’s returns from injury. Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva aren’t completely healthy, either.

I basically agreed with Matt Waston of Detroit Bad Boys in his playoff-chance assessment: it was certainly feasible, but it would take some work. I thought it was quite a stretch for Iott to call it “likely.”

Apparently, I was wrong.

In John Hollinger’s inaugural playoff odds, Detroit is seventh-most likely to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference at 57.4 percent. No team below the Pistons in the odds is above 50 percent.

So, for now, I guess I can feel semi-comfortable about Detroit’s playoff streak reaching nine seasons.

Joe Dumars: I plan to re-sign Will Bynum

From the second part of Keith Langlois’ interview with Joe Dumars:

KL: Let’s talk about Will Bynum for a second. If you look back at last year, he was the one really bright spot, the unexpected positive. And he’s more than picked up – I know he’s struggling a little with his ankle right now, but talk about the progress you’ve seen from Will and the contributions he’s making and how even after the addition of Ben Gordon, there still appears to be a significant role for him.

JD: I think what Will has done is solidify himself here as a one of our core guys going forward. He has cemented himself as one of the core members here. That’s how we look at him. We look at him as a long-term guy who’s going to grow with this team. Will was given an opportunity last year, when we signed him and brought him aboard, and he’s one of those kids that got the opportunity and he just grabbed it and took it and never let it go. He’s the poster child of when you get that opportunity, don’t let it slip. And he hasn’t. He hasn’t let it slip.


KL: He’ll be a restricted free agent at the end of the year and the market for restricted free agents has been really tight for the last several years. Do you expect, with the economy the way it is and the prospects for the cap coming down, that Will will attract some offers or do you think the odds are pretty good he’ll be back?

JD: I think there will be people interested in Will. I think there will be people interested in Will despite what the economics may be. I look at him as a game-changer and whenever you have a player like that, people are going to be interested. But let me be clear, sitting here right now, we have no notion of letting Will walk out of the door. We’ll re-sign him and he’ll be one of the core members here for a long time.

I certainly didn’t expect to hear that from Dumars. In fact, I’ve leaned toward Dumars letting Bynum go in the offseason. I figured his price would be too high.

I saw the similarities to 2004, when Dumars let a younger Mehmet Okur leave in favor of signing the veteran Rasheed Wallace.

Here’s what Dumars told the Detroit News back then:

Dumars said a couple of teams have said they planned to overpay to get Okur .

"The fact that he played minimal minutes in the playoffs didn’t lessen the interest in him," Dumars said. "It’s hard to find 7-footers with that kind of skill. But I am limited in what I can do. We can match, but if teams overpay him, I would have to renounce Rasheed Wallace (in order to have cap space to match), and I won’t do that."

And from a separate interview by Terry Foster of the Detroit News:

Q. Okur is a fan favorite but seemed to lose confidence when Wallace signed. Does he remain a priority to sign, and can you re-sign both Okur and Wallace?

A. We have never wavered on Mehmet Okur and we want him back. Mehmet knows how much we want him. I’m sure Okur was frustrated at times, but that’s not unusual for young guys in their second season in the NBA.

That’s certainly a different tone than Dumars is using to talk about Bynum now. The Bynum talk seems like the type of things general managers just say, but there’s some evidence Dumars is actually pretty sure he’ll bring the guard back.

Of course, another team could offer more than Dumars can imagine now, and he’ll change his mind.

Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva take criticism well

Another gem from the Langlois interview:

KL: You mentioned both of your big free agents, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, and them producing. Talk about what you’ve learned about those guys now that you have them here.

JD: Their talent, their ability to score, are big-time scorers. I think that’s what jumps out at people. What people can’t see on a day-to-day basis is extremely professional. I mean, ultra professional guys. The way they handle their business, the way they go about dealing with things. I’ve seen Q get after both of them, big time, practices and different things like that, and those guys just nod their head, never utter a word, never an attitude. They just pick it up and they keep rolling. On the court, I think people realize these guys are two big-time scores. Off the court, what people may not realize is two of the most professional guys I’ve seen.

Emphasis mine. Maybe I should be discouraged Kuester had to tear into them.  Nah, I’ll stick with being happy two of the team’s top players appear to be coachable.

Game Preview: Detroit Pistons at Philadelphia 76ers

Essentials

Date: Dec. 8, 2009

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit Plus

Records

Detroit: 8-12

Philadelphia: 5-16

Probable starters

Detroit:

PG SG SF PF C

Chucky
Atkins
Rodney
Stuckey
Jonas
Jerebko
Jason
Maxiell
Ben
Wallace

Philadelphia:

PG SG SF PF C

Allen
Iverson
Andre
Igouodala
Thaddeus
Young
Elton
Brand
Samuel
Dalembert

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit +3.5

Over/under: 191

Score: Philadelphia wins, 97-94

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 105.5 (21st)

Detroit defensive rating: 107.5 (19th)

Detroit pace: 87.8 (29th)

Philadelphia offensive rating: 105.9 (20th)

Philadelphia defensive rating: 111.6 (28th)

Philadelphia pace: 91.1 (23rd)

Score: Detroit wins, 97-95

Outlook

Allen Iverson will be on the same court as the Pistons. Let’s hope his presence is as detrimental to his team as it was the last time that happened.

I kid. I really hope Iverson finds happiness in Philadelphia. I don’t think he will, but I hope. I’ve enjoyed following him from afar. When I got to see him up close, well, it didn’t go as well as I wished.

I think Iverson needs to play angry, and I don’t think he’ll allow himself to play any other way.

In his first game back against the Nuggets on Monday, Iverson had 11 points, six assists and five rebounds. That came in 38 minutes – even as Iverson admitted his body wasn’t ready to handle a heavy load after playing so little in the last several months.

So, I’m rooting for Iverson have a Ben Wallace-like resurgence in the city he made his home – just not today.

  • The 76ers have lost 10 in a row.
  • The Pistons haven’t won a road game in nearly a month.
  • I talked with the 76ers TrueHoop blog about the Pistons’ slow start, a Richard Hamilton-for-Samuel Dalembert trade, the Pistons’ pace and Ben Wallace’s passing. Check it out at Philadunkia.
  • Check out Daily Dime Live during the game. I won’t be chatting, but the talk might turn to the Pistons at some point. If not, you can at least keep up with other NBA action.

Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton out at least two more games, Ben Gordon might be out tomorrow

Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton with miss at least two more games due to injury, according to Chris Iott of MLive.

The coach said Prince and Hamilton did layups in practice. He also said Ben Gordon didn’t, which puts the guard’s status in doubt for tomorrow’s game against the 76ers.

Tim Donaghy’s truth problem, Pistons rolling in the fourth quarter and another nationally televised game is dropped

A few things I missed while on hiatus:

Tim Donaghy

Henry Abbott of TrueHoop takes a very intelligent look at Tim Donaghy’s allegations. You might be surprised what he finds.

Advanced statistics are kind to Pistons

Wayne Winston’s statistical analysis pegs “JERETKO” the eighth most valuable rookie in the league through Dec. 5. I’ve been impressed by Jonas Jerebko, too, but can we trust a guy who doesn’t how the Swede’s name?

Winston also ranks four Pistons among the NBA’s top fourth-quarter players: Ben Wallace (fourth), Charlie Villanueva (eighth), “JERETKO” (16th) and Rodney Stuckey (18th).

I hope Winston’s analysis is spot on because it’s very pro-Detroit, and that’s a good sign going forward.

Pistons have little national respect

Detroit lost another nationally televised game, according to Dave Pemberton of The Oakland Press. Rebuilding isn’t fun.

Tuesday Trivia: Starting 82 games

Today’s quiz is about players who’ve started 82 games in a season.

My score: 123/165

Ben Gordon primed for big game… I hope

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. Things might be slow the rest of the week, too.

I have a friend named Alex Prosperi, and he’s a Bulls fan. I know, know. Anyway, before the season he told me a little bit what to expect from Ben Gordon. He criticized Gordon for being too inconsistent and one-dimensional. But he said the guard will post plenty of huge games anyway — and that four would surely  come against the Bulls. Prosperi probably has more insight into Gordon’s personality than me at this point, and I’m hoping his gut is right.

And in case you were wondering, Gordon will probably play tonight, according to Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News.

Tuesday Trivia: All-Star appearances

Today’s quiz is about All-Star appearances this decade.

My score: 69/82