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Archive → January, 2010

More ESPN experts think the Pistons are looking for trade

A day after ESPN’s Marc Stein said Tayshaun Prince is being mentioned in a lot trade discussion, more ESPN experts are stirring up the rumor mill.

From Chris Broussard:

Having lost 13 straight games, the perimeter-heavy Detroit Pistons would like to get their hands on Carlos Boozer. A Boozer-for-Rip Hamilton trade works, but Utah doesn’t want to take back the three years, $38 million remaining on Hamilton’s contract, even though he’d made a sweet backcourt mate for Deron Williams.

Boozer for Tayshaun Prince also works financially, but Prince has one more season after this one at $11 million, and the Jazz aren’t looking to add salary for next season.

Utah coach Jerry Sloan wants to keep Boozer, who will be a free agent next summer, for the rest of the season, and perhaps beyond. To that end, the Jazz are shopping Andrei Kirilenko with all their might. But good luck with that one. Kirilenko won’t have any takers until next season when he’s in the last year of his deal.

From Chris Sheridan’s mailbag:

Greg (Detroit): Chris I need your help! Please talk me and the rest of the Detroit fan base off the ledge. Is there any help in sight? Or are we doomed for another season of Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton and Ben Gordon fighting for shots?

Chris Sheridan: The only words I can offer to pull you away from that ledge are these: The Chauncey Billups trade was the first part of a process that is only halfway complete. The Gordon/Villanueva signings were step 2, and the Tayshaun Prince trade is next, IMO, and Rip Hamilton’s value could peak at the trade deadline, when he’ll be an enticing name on the market that could really help a playoff-bound team.

So let the process reach steps 3 and 4 before deciding whether to move back onto the ledge. This is turning out to be a throwaway season. And yes, I know 2 of those in a row is difficult to take after 6 straight ECF appearances, but think of the folks in New York who have suffered a whole heck of a lot more, and for a lot longer, than Pistons’ fans.

Although the trade talk is heating up, the Al Jefferson talk will probably die down, according to Stein.

Game Preview: Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls

Essentials

Date: Jan. 11, 2010

Time: 8 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Detroit: 11-24

Chicago: 15-20

Probable starters

Detroit:

PG SG SF PF C

Rodney
Stuckey
Richard
Hamilton
Tayshaun
Prince
Chris
Wilcox
Ben
Wallace

Chicago:

PG SG SF PF C

Derrick
Rose
Kirk
Hinrich
Luol
Deng
Taj
Gibson
Joakim
Noah

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit +6

Over/under: 193.5

Score: Chicago wins, 100-94

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 103.5 (24th)

Detroit defensive rating: 109.2 (22nd)

Detroit pace: 88.2 (29th)

Chicago offensive rating: 99.6 (29th)

Chicago defensive rating: 104.7 (11th)

Chicago pace: 92.6 (15th)

Score: Tie, 94-94

Outlook

Rodney Stuckey says the Pistons will run tonight, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

The most possessions the Pistons have had in a 48-minute game this season is 98. For perspective, five teams average more possessions per 48 minutes than that.

So, not only do the Pistons not run like the Warriors, Pacers, Timberwolves, Nuggets or Suns, Detroit hasn’t played that fast once this season.

But Las Vegas seems to believe it will happen tonight. The game’s over/under is much higher than the team’s previous stats would seem to indicate. And Pistons coach John Kuester is starting Chris Wilcox, Detroit’s power forward most suited to run.

I know many were hoping Charlie Villanueva would start, but I like this move. Wilcox is the best option to score after being set up by Richard Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey or Tayshaun Prince. That will also open the offense for those three.

Villanueva can create his own offense, and that will be more valuable with bench players.

UPDATE: Jonas Jerebko will replace Tayshaun Prince (inactive, knee) in the starting lineup, according to Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News.

  • I’ll to try to stop by Daily Dime Live tonight, but I’m not sure if I can.

Would the Pistons sign a player to a 10-day contract?

Patrick Hayes of Full-Court Press (loving the new hyphen) questions whether the Pistons should sign a player to a 10-day contract. Check out his post for an intriguing list of possibilities.

Joe Dumars has signed only one player to a 10-day contract in his 10 years as general manager. After the Pistons cut Smush Parker in 2005, they signed Anthony Goldwire the next day.

This is relatively new territory, but at least the Pistons are looking into a way to improve. From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

This is kind of off the beaten path, but the Pistons were out doing a little scouting Wednesday night.

They were in Ft. Wayne, Ind., to get a look at NBDL small forward Amara Sy, 28, who plays for the Bakersfield Jam.

He stands 6-foot-8 and is considered more an energy guy than a polished scorer.

That post is from Dec. 31, so the needs are little different. I think it’s most likely, as Hayes says, the Pistons will target a center if they go this route.

If I had to guess, they won’t spend the money for an extra player. But, apparently, they’re considering it.

Tayshaun Prince mentioned in “a lot” of trade discussion

From ESPN’s Marc Stein:

The reality is that Tayshaun Prince would appear to be the most likely of Detroit’s championship holdovers to be dealt first, since Prince possesses the more cap-friendly contract.

Only one season remains on Prince’s deal after this season at $11.1 million. The Pistons, furthermore, also have a few young guys they like (Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko and DaJuan Summers) who can play some 3.

Matters are complicated by the fact that injuries have limited both Piston mainstays to nine games each this season. But it’s clear that the Pistons have to make a move for a true point guard or a dependable big man … not necessarily to bust out of this 12-game losing streak but for their long-term future.

"I know there are a lot of conversations going on," one source said. "I’m sure Tay’s in play."

Game Preview: Detroit Pistons vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Essentials

Date: Jan. 9, 2010

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Detroit: 11-23

Philadelphia: 10-25

Probable starters

Detroit:

PG

SG

SF

PF

C

Rodney
Stuckey

Richard
Hamilton

Tayshaun
Prince

Jason
Maxiell

Ben
Wallace

Philadelphia:

PG

SG

SF

PF

C

Lou
Williams

Willie
Green

Andre
Iguodala

Thaddius
Young

Samuel
Dalembert

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit –4.5

Over/under: 191.5

Score: Detroit wins, 98-94

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 103.5 (24th)

Detroit defensive rating: 109 (22nd)

Detroit pace: 88.2 (29th)

Philadelphia offensive rating: 106.5 (17th)

Philadelphia defensive rating: 110.9 (28th)

Philadelphia pace: 91.4 (24th)

Score: Philadelphia wins, 97-96

Outlook

This game was supposed to mark Allen Iverson’s return to The Palace, but he’s expected to miss tonight’s matchup after re-injuring his knee last night in Toronto. Looks like even playing for another team won’t stop him from sitting out yet another Pistons game.

Hopefully Detroit can use this opportunity to end its eleven-game losing streak. Though Iverson is averaging a full twelve points fewer per game in scoring than his career average, he’s still Philadelphia’s third-leading scorer. His absence may be just the boost the Pistons need to snap out of this funk.

Friday Trade Idea: Bring David West to the Detroit Pistons

This is the first post in a new weekly series. Every Friday, I’ll analyze a potential Pistons trade. It might be a rumor, a deal I completely made up blindly (like this one) or one you suggest (e-mail me at danfeld11@gmail.com or leave a proposal in the comments).

Trade

Pistons receive:

  • David West (17.3 points, 7.4 rebounds , 2.4 assists, 0.7 blocks, 0.8 steals)
  • Ike Diogu (0.0 points, 0.0 rebounds , 0.0 assists, 0.0 blocks, 0.0 steals)
  • Sean Marks (1.0 points, 4.0 rebounds , 0.4 assists, 0.4 blocks, 0.0 steals)

Hornets receive:

  • Kwame Brown (3.8 points, 3.8 rebounds , 0.6 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.3 steals)
  • Chris Wilcox (4.2 points, 3.5 rebounds , 0.3 assists, 0.5 blocks, 0.3 steals)
  • DaJuan Summers (2.7 points, 1.0 rebounds , 0.3 assists, 0.8 blocks, 1.0 steals)
  • Detroit’s first-round pick (top-20 protected this season, lottery-protected afterward)

Salaries

Pistons receive:

Player 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12
David West $9,075,000 $8,287,500 $7,525,000
Sean Marks $1,187,686 $0 $0
Ike Diogu $884,881 $0 $0
TOTALS: $11,147,567 $8,287,500 $7,525,000

Hornets receive:

Player 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12
Kwame Brown $4,100,000 $0 $0
Chris Wilcox $3,000,000 $3,000,000 $0
DaJuan Summers $457,588 $457,588 $0
TOTALS: $7,557,588 $3,457,588 $0

Player option

Team option

Pistons’ perspective

I realize this trade doesn’t look great for the Hornets. But it’s based on a few assumptions.

1. The Hornets can’t find takers for Peja Stojakovic, Morris Peterson or James Posey.

2. New Orleans becomes desperate to shed salary this year. That means West has to go.

3. Although the demand would increase greatly for him next year, West doesn’t draw a lot of interest because teams want to save their cap space for this summer.

The deal would save the Hornets $3,268,406 this season in salary (prorated to the end of the year). And they’d save that total amount in luxury tax payments.

They’d also save $8,287,500 next year if Wilcox declines his option and the Hornets don’t pick up Summers’ option. Wilcox could make $3 million next season.

I also think Wilcox would be a good fit with the Hornets, especially because of his ability to receive Chris Paul’s alley-oops. It’s not likely, but it’s reasonable Wilcox could have value at $3 million next year.

For the Pistons, I think this trade is a pretty clear win.

West could help the Pistons get into the playoffs this year, providing the inside scoring they sorely lack. And at 29, he’s young enough to rebuild with.

With or without this trade – barring another deal – the Pistons won’t have cap room this summer. But this deal would set the Pistons up nicely for the next summer.

They’d have only about $37 million committed to salary (assuming David West opts out). Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey and West would all be free agents. In all likelihood, Detroit would try to re-sign all three. But if something went awry in the plan, the Pistons could let them walk and have the flexibility to go a different direction.

The Pistons are in a position to take on salary right now. They’re one of the few teams in the league not saving cap room for the summer that has a relatively low payroll. The questions are whether they take advantage of their position and how desperate other teams really are.

Hornets’ perspective

For each trade, I will seek the analysis of the other team’s TrueHoop Network blogger.

Ryan Schwan of Hornets247:

“Nothing is outside the realm of possibility, but there are two things that would have to occur for the Hornets to even consider trading David West.

1. They’d have to be unable to bribe a team like the Nets, OKC, or Memphis to take on Hilton Armstrong and his expiring 2.8 Mil contract + a cash/pick sweetener. This would seem to be their preferred method of cutting salary.

2. They’d have to really fall apart from here to the All-star break. The Hornets are absolutely serious about keeping together the team as long as it can realistically reach the playoffs. The team has also been clicking of late as the they have finally adjusted to having five new rotation players. (And compensating for having Paul miss nine games)

Despite the over-reporting of the Hornets financial woes, that isn’t actually the case. Yes, the Hornets have the lowest ticket price in the league and are also in a small market, but their per game revenue is in the middle ten of the league, and their corporate endorsements haven’t really been impacted by the bad economy. Sure, they are willing to sacrifice players like Rasual Butler – and Devin Brown – for Tax relief, but those players are marginal rotation players at best.

Now – if the team collapses between here and February, then I’d expect to see every player not named Chris Paul put on the trading block. That said, I’m not sure the package you list, which gives the Hornets nothing at all useful except for space under the Luxury Tax line (not even cap space) would entice the Hornets to give up a two-time all-star who is essentially an 8 million dollar expiring contract next year. (He’s bound to opt out of his third year.)”

My response

Only one team, the Grizzlies, could absorb Armstrong’s contract without sending a player back. And even if Memphis made that deal, New Orleans wouldn’t save as much this year and wouldn’t save any money next year.

Verdict

The Pistons would do it. But the Hornets probably pass today – any maybe forever.

Detroit Pistons desperately need to find a backup center

How do the Pistons compete when Ben Wallace is on the bench?

That’s the question they’ll have to answer if they want to snap their 11-game losing steak.

Detroit’s 112-92 loss to the Spurs last night wasn’t nearly as ugly as it seemed. San Antonio ended the game on a 35-15 run, which began with a 16-4 spurt before Ben Wallace entered the game in the fourth quarter.

Wallace played 26:21, and the Pistons outscored th

e Spurs by five in that span. In the other 21:39 of the game, the Spurs outscored the Pistons by 25.

After the game, I looked at the box score expecting to see an impressive line from Wallace. I wasn’t quite expecting the seven points, five rebounds, two assists, a block, a steal, two turnovers and four fouls he actually had.

But traditional stats don’t really show why Wallace has been Detroit’s best player this year. His plus-minus per 48 minutes (-1.3) is best on the team, and he does a lot to deserve that recognition.

  • He makes blocks and steals. But the strength of his defense is his ability to disrupt the opponent’s offense by altering shots, pushing players out of the post and deflecting passes.
  • His gets a lot of assists total for his size. But he also facilitates the offense by setting excellent screens.
  • And he also tips a lot of rebounds to teammates, making his work on the glass more valuable than the numbers show.

Not only has he been the Pistons’ best player, he’s been their most valuable player. By far, center is their weakest position on the bench – especially with Kwame Brown out of the rotation.

The backup big men

That has left the Pistons using a pair of power forwards when Wallace is on the bench. And that just hasn’t worked.

Beside two minutes when the game was already decided, Detroit used two power forward/center combinations with Wallace out last night.

  • Chris Wilcox and Charlie Villanueva were -14 in 15:04.
  • Wilcox and Jason Maxiell were -7 in 4:27.

None of those three can provide much interior defense. They don’t do the little things on offense, either.

Jonas Jerebko has played power forward with Wallace out, too. But Jerebko seems to be a better fit at small forward. His transition defense, once of his biggest strengths, can’t be taken advantage as often when he’s crashing the offensive glass as a power forward.

The Pistons need a different solution to this problem.

Kwame Brown

I’m not really why Brown has fallen so far out of favor.

Remove a Dec. 20 loss to the Lakers when Brown played 21 minutes, and he’s played just 19 minutes in Detroit’s last nine games. He didn’t play at all in five of them.

In limited minutes last year, he defended and rebounded well. He certainly seemed equipped to be a backup center. Before the season, Pistons coach John Kuester even considered starting Brown.

That was probably a little much. But I think it’s time to put him back in the rotation.

Brown is a true center, and Villanueva, Maxiell and Wilcox would all seem to play well with him. With some experimenting, I’m nearly certain Detroit would find at least one of those three would form an excellent combo. Brown would provide the defense, and the other would contribute more on offense.

Using Brown as a backup center would also allow the Pistons to use more creative options at power forward – Tayshaun Prince or Austin Daye. As weak inside defensively as Wilcox, Villanueva and Maxiell are, Prince or Daye combined with one of the three would be insane.

Prince’s and Daye’s shooting ability would make Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon a lot more effective on the pick-and-roll. And if Jonas Jerebko was playing small forward at the same time, he could help when Prince or Daye are matched up with a stronger player.

But it all starts with Brown.

The Pistons have exhausted their other backup center options. It’s time for Kuester to take a long, hard look at why Brown is still glued to the bench.

Maybe there’s a good reason. I sure hope so.

Game Preview: Detroit Pistons at San Antonio Spurs

Essentials

Date: Jan. 6, 2010

Time: 8:30 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Detroit: 11-22

San Antonio: 20-12

Probable starters

Detroit:

PG

SG

SF

PF

C

Rodney
Stuckey

Richard
Hamilton

Tayshaun
Prince

Jason
Maxiell

Ben
Wallace

San Antonio:

PG

SG

SF

PF

C

Tony
Parker

Keith
Bogans

Richard
Jefferson

DeJuan
Blair

Tim
Duncan

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit +10

Over/under: 187.5

Score: San Antonio wins, 99-89

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 103.5 (24th)

Detroit defensive rating: 108.4 (22nd)

Detroit pace: 88.2 (29th)

San Antonio offensive rating: 110.8 (5th)

San Antonio defensive rating: 104.1 (9th)

San Antonio pace: 91.5 (24th)

Score: San Antonio wins, 98-93

Outlook

Well, after last night’s close loss, there’s hope – not much, but some.

Like the Mavericks last night, the Spurs are trying to avenge a demoralizing loss (91-86 to the Raptors on Sunday). Odds are they do.

UPDATE: Jason Maxiell will start over Jonas Jerebko tonight, according to Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News. I wonder if John Kuester thinks Maxiell can fill the role Chris Wilcox did last night better than Jerebko. Wilcox really opened up the offense.

Breaking down the Pistons’ final play against the Mavericks

NBAPlaybook.com, a new blog started by Sebastian Pruiti of Nets Are Scorching, breaks down the Pistons’ final play against the Mavericks last night: a 3-point attempt by Rodney Stuckey.

Check it out for some great analysis, including why Detroit’s biggest mistake came before the play began.

What the heck are the Pistons doing during halftime? And Chris Wilcox might be the answer to Detroit’s offensive woes

I didn’t want to rain on the Pistons’ parade.

But then I realized a close road loss to a quality team doesn’t change the fact they haven’t won in 10 games (their worst losing streak since 1994). So here comes the precipitation.

In some ways, it’s an accomplishment I’m bringing this up. It hasn’t been relevant in nearly three weeks.

But the Pistons make poor halftime adjustments when they have a decent lead.

The Pistons are 6-7 when they have at least a four-point halftime lead, including last night’s 98-93 loss at Dallas.

It’s tough to put my finger on exactly what goes wrong. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the locker room. But my guess: Pistons coach John Kuester is too shy about making changes when his team has a lead.

It’s common for the team trailing at halftime to come back. In fact, a study of college basketball games showed a team trailing by one at halftime is more likely to win than the team leading by one.

But this seems extreme. The Pistons are really bad right after the intermission. In nine of those 13 games, the third quarter was their worst period of the game.

And here’s why I’m guessing the blame should go to Kuester: Detroit’s third quarter play is pretty poor when trailing at halftime, too.

A third-quarter comeback seems to indicate a halftime coaching adjustment. A fourth-quarter comeback seems to indicate increased effort by the players.

In the 17 games the Pistons trailed at halftime, they outscored their opponent in the third quarter in just seven games. They won the fourth quarter in 11 of those games.

Kuester needs to reassess his halftime agenda, especially when the Pistons are winning. It may have cost them a victory last night.

Chris Wilcox soars, dunks

Although Kuester might not shine at halftime, he made good use of Detroit’s four days off.

The Pistons haven’t shown much inside offense this year. So, opponents have sold out on the Pistons’ perimeter scorers, especially now that Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince have returned.

Enter Chris Wilcox.

Providing a lob option when the Mavericks doubled a perimeter player, Wilcox scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 20 minutes last night. All five of Wilcox’s baskets were assisted, and two were dunks.

His inside offense netted the Pistons a few easy buckets. More importantly, it opened up the perimeter once Dallas adjusted.

The Pistons had their best shooting percentage since they won a game – so you know it’s been a long time.

I think Wilcox will have a shot to fill this role for a while. He has a better skill-set than anyone else on the team to do it:

  • He has the height to be a target for lobs (sorry, Jason Maxiell).
  • He has the hands to bring in the ball (sorry, Kwame Brown).
  • He has the strength to absorb contact in the air (sorry, Charlie Villanueva).
  • And he has the touch to put it in the hoop (sorry, Ben Wallace).

In Wilcox’s player preview, Royce Young of Daily Thunder warned about getting too excited about a big game from Wilcox. But I think I’m doing it anyway. He can be a short-term fix to the Pistons’ offensive problems.

Their long-term problems probably need to be addressed in the offseason. But I’ll happily take a band-aid for now.