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Archive → February, 2010

Bill Simmons’ trade-value column shows the Pistons’ decline

Lost in the shuffle of the trade deadline was Bill Simmons’ annual trade-value column. I look forward to this column every year. It’s one of my favorite reads and really interesting to think about.

But this year’s edition didn’t do much more than make me feel bad about the Pistons. It marked two firsts for Detroit since Simmons began writing the column for ESPN in 2002.

They didn’t have any players who were at least honorable mention for the list of 40 players with the most trade value. And not only did they have a player on Simmons’ list of 25 worst contracts for the first time, they had four:

  • 6. Ben Gordon
  • 9. Richard Hamilton
  • 15. Jason Maxiell
  • 16. Charlie Villanueva

The Pistons barely avoided having Nazr Mohammed’s 10th worst contract in 2007. He was traded to Charlotte nine days before the column was published.

Here’s a look back the Pistons’ previous positing in Simmons’ rankings:

2009

Column

Honorable mention: Rodney Stuckey (explanation combined with Rudy Gay):

Either 1-2 or 2-1 for this year’s "Most Overrated Young Player" Award. Although Trent from Royal Oak, Mich., makes a good point: "Stuckey was drafted with the pick acquired from Orlando (aka the Darko pick) and was the sole reason for the Chauncey trade. He’s potential redemption for two horrific moves directly tied to Dumars. He ain’t going nowhere." Good point. I’d put him higher if he played defense.

Dec. 2007

Column

Honorable mention": Richard Hamilton (explanation combined with Richard Jefferson, list went to 50 this year):

Rip was intriguing because of his reasonable contract (three years, $32.6 million remaining); Jefferson would have been intriguing except for his contract (four years, $54.6 million remaining). By the way, I nominate "Rip" to replace "Rich," "Richie," "Dick" and "Dicky" as the new cool nickname for "Richard." If we called him "Rip Jefferson," wouldn’t Jefferson seem more imposing? Same for Rip Seymour, Rip Gere, Rip Hidalgo … really, everyone except exercise guru Rip Simmons.

44. Tayshaun Prince

It’s weird when anyone earning $39 million through 2011 can be deemed "cost effective," but when you’re paying that sum to an unselfish, playoff-proven, A-plus defender and all-around good guy who shoots 40-plus percent from long range, that’s good business. Especially when he’s only 27.

37. Rasheed Wallace (explanation combined with Marcus Camby)

Approaching their mid-30s, both possess higher than usual value because of their big-game experience, defensive prowess, basketball IQ, testicular fortitude and surprisingly appealing contracts. You can win with these guys and continue to win for the next three or four years; that’s more appealing than Gasol, who has never won anything. Anyway, Sheed gets the paper-thin edge only because of the inspiring way he reinvented "Jingle Bells", joining the Christmas Song Pantheon along with Band Aid’s "Do They Know It’s Christmas," Elvis’ "Blue Christmas" and the David Bowie/Bing Crosby duet of "Little Drummer Boy."

26. Chauncey Billups (explanation combined with Gilbert Arenas):

Here’s where you have to love the "Trade Value" game: Who turns down a Billups-Arenas swap, Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld or Pistons GM Joe Dumars?

The answer? Both would turn it down even though it’s a fairly logical trade for both teams. Detroit increases its ceiling as a team (right now, it’s second round and out) and gets a blue-chip scorer and gate attraction to keep up with LeBron in the Central; Washington gets an unselfish winner who makes everyone else better and gives it stability for once. That’s a nice trade. In the end, Joe Dumars would flinch well before Ernie Grunfeld did — he’d worry about Gilbert’s impending free agency, he’d worry about going over the luxury tax and wrecking his salary structure this summer, and he’d definitely worry about Gilbert’s knee problems and the curious way the Wizards came together as a team as soon as Gilbert went away. Ernie would flinch only because of the age difference (four years) and the local ramifications of dealing the most popular Wizard/Bullet in 30 years. Either way, a fun argument.

July 2006

Column

40. Tayshaun Prince (explanation with Caron Butler):

Two playoff-proven guys with reasonable six-year extensions kicking in next season ($49.5 million for Prince, $48 million for Butler). That’s right, these guys will make 20 percent less than Nene through 2012. You figure it out.

33. Richard Hamilton

Now here’s a good contract for an All-Star: $40.6 million and an unlimited supply of schnozzaroo masks over the next four years.

25. Chauncey Billups

Can we still call him Mr. Big Shot when he’s playing for a 40-42 team next season? But you’re looking at the best dollar-for-dollar value for any veteran in the league — two years remaining at $13.1 million. Did I mention this is the same league that guaranteed Nene $60 million last week? I mentioned that, right?

(By the way, congrats to Joe Dumars for parlaying Ben Wallace, Carlos Arroyo and the No. 2 pick from a draft that featured LeBron, Wade, Bosh and ‘Melo into Nazr Mohammed and Orlando’s 2007 No. 1 pick. Well done.)

2005

Column

Honorable mention: Rasheed Wallace

The toughest omission on this year’s list. And yes, I still feel cheated that we never saw ‘Sheed hand his championship belt to Duncan last week and pull the "you’re all right, LaRusso, you’re all right" routine.

28. Richard Hamilton

I’m down with the Reggie Miller analogy here, right down to the goofy looks. Although Reggie was a little more valuable because he could shoot 3s. Then again, Reggie never won a ring.

26. Ben Wallace

This seems about right, although hearing announcers and writers constantly pimping him has become tiresome – he went from being wildly underrated to slightly overrated in the span of two seasons. If he’s so invaluable, then why did Detroit seem more effective in the Finals with McDyess and ‘Sheed playing together? More important, does anyone else keep waiting for Wallace to look into the camera, tilt his head, unleash one of those Eddie Murphy smiles and sing, "Unce … tice … fee times … a mady … "

18. Chauncey Billups

Before Game 7 of the Finals, everyone kept saying how Duncan had the most at stake … in retrospect, wasn’t it Billups? If he made a few big shots and the Pistons prevailed, he would have been included in every future discussion about clutch guards who elevated their play when it mattered, along with guys like Dennis Johnson, Clyde Frazier, Isiah Thomas and Sam Jones. And maybe there’s still time for that. But Chauncey has gotten it done enough times that another heroic Game 7 would have altered his place in history. Too bad.

2004

Column

Honorable mention: Rasheed Wallace

He gets a championship ring and a multi-year contract … so now what happens? Does anyone else keep hearing the chorus to Prince’s "Let’s Go Crazy"? Remember, we’re still only eight months away from the infamous "CTC" speech. I don’t trust him at all.

Honorable mention: Chauncey Billups

The latest beneficiary of L.A.’s spring-time policy of turning opposing point guards into Hall of Famers. Bottom line: He’s a 40-percent shooter playing for the perfect team. Good defender, decent ballhander, clutch shooter if he’s open. But if you think they wouldn’t have won the same title with Mike Bibby in Billups’s place, you’re crazy.

40. Darko Milicic

By trading him now, Joe Dumars would basically be admitting, "Yeah, we won the title, but I screwed up with that pick." And that’s not happening.

Then again, out of the next 39 guys on this list, none of them would ever, ever, EVER be offered straight-up for Darko, who capped off a memorable playoff run by getting infected earlobes from a bizarre piercing accident, then breaking his hand in garbage time of the clinching game. In the Pantheon of Unfortunate Playoff Performances, this was right up there with Curtis Jackson getting shot in the liquor store before Carver High won the city title. So I don’t know. Let’s stick him here to be safe.

(And yes, that’s two "White Shadow" references in one column! Memo to ESPN Classic: Start running the old episodes again. I’m getting the shakes.)

24. Richard Hamilton

Three months ago, he wouldn’t have made the list. Now he’s the next Reggie Miller — not someone who can carry an offense by himself, but someone who makes big shots and wears out opponents. He lost the name "Richard" for the much-tougher sounding "Rip." He’s even strange-looking like Reggie, one of the few guys who’s actually better off with the Broken Nose Mask. It’s been a breakout season all around.

(By the way, don’t we need to come up with a nickname for the Broken Nose Mask? What about the Septumator? Or the Schnozzaroo? More importantly, why are they such an afterthought? NBA players care so much about hair, tattoos, shoes … yet they happily slide on these ugly plastic masks for two straight months, no questions asked. Wouldn’t you think they would paint them like hockey goalie masks, or even go with the intimidating Hannibal Lecter-style mask for a big playoff game? We need to spruce up the Schnozzaroos.)

17. Ben Wallace

This seems about right.

(By the way, has Big Ben let go of the championship trophy yet? He’s like a dog with a new bone — during the post-Game 5 ceremonies, I kept waiting for him to start growling at teammates that came up to him. Can’t you picture him standing in a nightclub with Rip and Tayshaun, clinging to the trophy with one hand as the guys keep asking him, "Come on, let us hold it for a little while." And Wallace gruffly responds, "No." We should have a webcam on him at all times.)

2003

Column

30. Chauncey Billups

You can’t penalize him for the Nets series, playing on a bum ankle against the best point guard in 15 years. Judge him by all the clutch shots he drained from November to May, including those backbreakers in Game 6 of the Philly series. Only a handful of guys made as many big shots this season. Have I mentioned that Rick Pitino and Chris Wallace gave up on him after 50 games?

17. Ben Wallace

Can you win a title when someone who can’t score is one of your two best guys? Of course not. But if you already have a 50-win team, then you stumble into the No. 2 pick and have eight figures in cap space to play with … well, suddenly the Ben Wallace Era is looking better and better. Perfect situation for him right now. Especially if Darko is for real. Would you bet against a white guy named Darko? Me neither.

(Just out of curiosity, who blinks first if there was a "Wallace, Darko and Tayshaun for Shaq" trade on the table, Detroit or LA? Hmmmmm.)

2002

Column

16. Ben Wallace

That’s right, Ben Wallace … and no, I’m not kidding … he’s like a 21st century version of Dennis Rodman, only without the baggage … you think the Pistons are 44-29 right now simply because of Jerry Stackhouse? … I didn’t have the gonads to place Wallace higher than Chris Webber on this list, but believe me, I thought about it … and we haven’t even mentioned his hair yet … "Nobody is more underrated than Ben Wallace!" will be a running theme of the first few weeks of the NBA playoffs … just wait.

12. Jerry Stackhouse

Maybe the most surprising development of the season: Jerry Stackhouse becoming a cerebral player who makes his teammates better … frankly, I’m still stunned … even Hillary Swank making the leap from "90210" to "Academy Awards, Best Actress" wasn’t this shocking … there’s hope for Stephon Marbury yet.

Game Review: Richard Hamilton regaining form, Ben Wallace’s mental block and John Kuester makes big omission

Traditional box scoreGameFlow

Yes, Richard Hamilton almost cost the Pistons last night’s game. He had an offensive foul then fouled Manu Ginobili for an and-1 to let the Spurs reach overtime – before they lost, 101-99, to the Pistons.

But Hamilton deserves a break. He’s begun to play like the scorer the Pistons have relied on the past seven seasons. Just look at his lines for the last three games:

  • Points: 36, 29 and 27.
  • Free throws: 9-of-9, 10-of-10 and 9-of-9.
  • Two pointers: 9-of-12, 8-of-19 and 9-of-14.

As I’ve said, I think the Pistons signed Ben Gordon because they believed he’s the type of player you don’t pass up under any circumstances. I imagine Joe Dumars envisioned a scenario where Hamilton and Gordon were both playing extremely well and one had to be moved – as opposed to the opposite problem that has plagued them this season of neither playing well.

Right now, it’s halfway fixed.

Ben Wallace’s mind games

Trailing by nine with 3:35 left in the fourth quarter, the Spurs began intentionally fouling Ben Wallace. They sent him to the line five straight possessions, and he made 4-of-10 free throws. San Antonio cut the deficit to four. Finally, Hamilton replaced Wallace.

To me, it’s a completely fair strategy. How is it different than trying to isolate an opponent’s weakest defensive player? Players don’t get a free pass at masking their deficiencies. It’s risky, but the Spurs had their backs against the wall and needed to take a chance.

But Wallace didn’t approve. From Chris Iott of MLive:

Wallace threw his headband to the floor as he made his way to the bench.
"It’s garbage," Wallace said when asked about the strategy.

Wallace was asked how he felt about Kuester showing confidence by leaving him in so long while the Spurs employed the strategy.

"That’s garbage, too," Wallace said, then quickly ended the interview.

Wallace’s free-throw percentage (.441) is the highest its been since the Pistons’ championship season. But he could shoot between 50 and 60 percent fairly easily.

It’s definitely a mental block, and his little pouting session shows that. It’s just strange to see from such an otherwise mentally strong player.

If the Pistons lost this game because of Wallace’s free-throw shooting, it wouldn’t have been a huge deal. They’re not going anywhere, anyway.

But if Wallace returns next season, and Detroit is in the playoff race, this problem could be more serious. At this point, though, I doubt an old dog will pickup a new trick.

Most-talented lineup

In last night’s Daily Dime Live, Kevin Arnovitz said:

As bad as Pistons are, you have to wonder…what’s the worst that would happen if they fielded a lineup of Stuckey-Gordon-Hamilton-Prince-Charlie V?
Throw Wallace or Maxiell in there against bigger teams, maybe.
Would they be *worse* than 19-35?

There are two big reasons the Pistons haven’t used this lineup:

  1. Injuries.
  2. Ben Wallace and Jonas Jerebko, Detroit’s best players, aren’t included.

But John Kuester has played 322 different lineups entering last night’s game, according to BasketballValue.com. The five players Arnovitz mentioned haven’t played a single minute together.

How many other teams haven’t put their five-most talented players on the floor together at all? If you count the Clippers, whose Blake Griffin has missed the entire season, my guess would be two.

If the Pistons really want to see what they have, that number needs to shrink to one.

Game Preview: Detroit Pistons vs. San Antonio Spurs

Essentials

Date: Feb. 19, 2010

Time: 6 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Detroit: 19-33

San Antonio: 31-22

Probable starters

San Antonio:

PG SG SF PF C
Rodney
Stuckey
Richard
Hamilton
Tayshaun
Prince
Jonas
Jerebko
Ben
Wallace

San Antonio:

PG SG SF PF C
George
Hill
Roger
Mason
Keith
Bogans
Richard
Jefferson
Tim
Duncan

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit +5

Over/under: 187

Score: San Antonio wins, 96-91

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 103.4 (25th)

Detroit defensive rating: 108.9 (21st)

Detroit pace: 88.5 (29th)

San Antonio offensive rating: 109.4 (7th)

San Antonio defensive rating: 104.6 (10th)

San Antonio pace: 91.6 (22nd)

Score: San Antonio wins, 99-94

Outlook

  • Tony Parker is out, according to Timothy Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell.
  • Of course, Antonio McDyess is returning to The Palace. I hope he gets a nice ovation when he checks in.
  • I’m looking forward to the Jonas Jerebko-Richard Jefferson matchup.
  • If Tim Duncan doesn’t destroy the Pistons inside, they’ll have a chance, but probably lose. If he’s a beast inside, they have no chance.
  • Varner is at The Palace and participating in Daily Dime Live, so check it out.

Game Preview: Detroit Pistons vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Essentials

Date: Feb. 19, 2010

Time: 8:00 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Detroit: 19-34

Milwaukee: 24-28

Probable starters

Detroit:

PG SG SF PF C
Rodney
Stuckey
Richard
Hamilton
Tayshaun
Prince
Jonas
Jerebko
Ben
Wallace

Milwaukee:

PG SG SF PF C
Brandon
Jennings
Charlie
Bell
Carlos
Delfino
Luc Richard
Mbah a Moute
Andrew
Bogut

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit +1

Over/under: 189

Score: Milwaukee wins, 95-94

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 103.6 (25th)

Detroit defensive rating: 109.0 (21st)

Detroit pace: 88.5 (29th)

Milwaukee offensive rating: 104.0 (23rd)

Milwaukee defensive rating: 104.3 (9th)

Milwaukee pace: 93.0 (14th)

Score: Milwaukee wins, 97-94

Outlook

  • The trade deadline has come and gone without Detroit making any moves to shake this team up. While this may help everyone in the clubhouse to breathe a little easier, it also means that any potential trade auditions are over (see: Tayshaun Prince). Hopefully those players most considered tradable assets will keep up their improved level of play tonight, not to mention down the stretch. We need guys who want to be Pistons.
  • Yesterday, the Bucks acquired SG John Salmons from the Chicago Bulls. Bucksketball’s Jeremy Schmidt has some longer-term analysis of the trade (SPOILER: he likes it), but I’m not so sure very much of that is relevant tonight. Charlie Bell will still more than likely make the start, and Salmons’ playing time will probably be limited while he adjusts to his new team.
  • Even though Dan is on vacation, I’ll be doing my best to cover for him over at Daily Dime Live to chat about the game.

Detroit Pistons don’t make trade, what it means for key pieces

Well, the trade deadline passed and the Pistons didn’t make a move. As I wrote before, that makes sense given their assets.

Joe Dumars probably wasn’t too interested in trading his new players, including Ben Wallace, who’s an old new player.

That leaves four veterans Dumars probably shopped to some degree. Below are my thoughts on each of them returning for at least another 29 games.

Richard Hamilton

I’m really glad Hamilton is still a Piston – really glad.

In a time when many are ditching their support – see Tom Wilson – Hamilton wants to be a Piston. That should be celebrated.

Dumars obviously signed Ben Gordon because he believes Gordon can be the type of player you don’t pass up, regardless of whom you already have. That still may be the case, but Gordon certainly hasn’t shown it yet.

The Pistons should wait to trade Hamilton until Hamilton’s value increases or Gordon becomes good enough to handle nearly all the minutes at shooting guard.

And for all the loyalty Hamilton has shown this year, I hope – probably naively – that Hamilton retires a Piston.

Tayshaun Prince

Admittedly, I’m getting a little sick of Prince. But it’s probably a good thing he’s back, too.

He’s just starting to regain his form, and nobody was going to have a strong interest in such of an expensive player who’s had only about eight strong games this season.

After this season, Prince, with his expiring contract, should be one of the Pistons’ most attractive assets. He’ll probably be playing for a different team before the next trade deadline.

And that’s sad. I’m rooting for Prince. He meant so much to this team during its six-year run as a title contender. I hope his attitude and play improve.

I just don’t see it happening.

Jason Maxiell

I really like what Maxiell has been doing as of late. He’s overpaid, but his his salary isn’t so high that can’t change.

He’s been playing very well at backup center for a team in dire need of one. Not only is he productive, he’s playing with purpose. I like this Maxiell.

I’m not sure of his ideal position going forward, but he keeps doing enough that I’m not ready to give up on him.

I think a very good case scenario would be him playing up to his contract. I’m at least enticed enough by what he’s shown lately to be happy he’s still around.

Kwame Brown

I said before, the Pistons should trade Brown. I even offered a few suggestions. But the Pistons wasted his expiring contract – at least until it provides more flexibility in the offseason.

Brown and John Kuester clearly aren’t one the same page, and I doubt there’s enough time left in the season to fix that.

I just hope there’s not a substantial feud that distracts the Pistons from progress the rest of this season and Brown sails off quietly into free agency.

Nine potential Kwame Brown trades

Happy Trade Deadline Day!

I’ll be traveling until about 1 p.m. today, but I will try to check in when I can. Graham will likely handle some updates, too. So, don’t worry. We’ll provide full coverage of today’s happenings.

Maybe I can even get lucky and get a head start. As I said before, I think trading Kwame Brown makes the most sense for the Pistons. With that in mind, here are nine potential deals with Brown as the centerpiece.

When I have them, my fellow TrueHoop Network blogger’s thoughts are included.

A couple ideas were ruined as I was preparing this post. (Wouldn’t Brown for Al Thornton and Sebastian Telfair have made sense?)

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Brown and DaJuan Summers for Nenad Krstic

I’d be a huge fan of this deal. Krstic is a solid defender and a capable inside scorer. He’s under contract next season, which is why Detroit seems to have a chance of prying him from the cap-conscience Thunder.

Royce Young of Daily Thunder:

I think it makes sense. Krstic is OKC’s most expendable rotation player. However, I could see Presti sitting pat because I think he might be a little worried about screwing with chemistry and I don’t know how Kwame Brown would fit in. But overall, I think it works. Summers would be a nick pickup because currently, OKC doesn’t have anyone behind KD on the depth chart. Thabo and Jeff Green can both slide to that spot, but no one officially plays small forward behind Durant.

Orlando Magic

  • Brown for Brandon Bass

The Pistons pursued Bass in the summer, but he signed a four-year, $18 million deal with Orlando instead. He hasn’t played as well as the Magic had hoped, but do they have enough buyer’s remorse to deal him for an expiring contract already?

Zach McCann of Orlando Magic Daily:

To gain an expiring contract and save a few bucks down the line, it makes sense. But the Magic would never, ever do it.
1. They feel Bass for 4 years, $18 million is a solid deal (even if they aren’t using him).
and
2. Making that trade would be Otis Smith admitting he made a mistake with the Bass signing. And I don’t see him throwing himself under the bus that way.
That’s my opinion, anyway.

Atlanta Hawks

  • Brown for Mo Evans, Jason Collins and a pick

Atlanta would be offering a sweetener in the form of a draft pick for Detroit taking Evans, who is under contract next season. Collins’ contract expires after this season.

Bret Lagree of Hoopinion:

It makes sense for next year (Evans is, I believe, a sure bet to exercise his player option) but I’m struggling to think of who the Hawks would get to replace Evans in the rotation. The organization is really wary of change and, despite the Mario West fixation, I don’t think they want to give him a bigger role, thank goodness.

Toronto Raptors

  • Brown for Marcus Banks and a pick.

Like the previous trade, the Pistons would get a sweetener for taking an unfavorable contract that ends after next season.

Sam Holako of Raptors Republic:

I don’t mind that trade so much since Belinelli could defend the PG and Turkoglu could become the playmaker in the even of a Calderon injury.

San Antonio Spurs

  • Brown and a pick for Roger Mason

I’m not sure if this makes any sense for the Pistons. Maybe if Richard Hamilton is traded for a non-shooting guard and Detroit becomes in the market for a backup shooting guard. Mason’s contract is also expiring.

Graydon Gordian of 48 Minutes of Hell:

I’m not sure it makes sense for the Spurs. With Duncan, Blair, McDyess, Bonner and Ratliff, the Spurs aren’t in dire need of frontcourt depth, although it is an interest of ours. In my opinion, we’d be trading a guy we could use situationally in the playoffs for a guy who would never see the court come the postseason. Although the pick sweetens the deal, I’m not sure it’s enough.

Dallas Mavericks

  • Brown for Matt Carroll and a pick

Carroll’s contract has three years left, so this would likely be a first-round pick. I covered this deal – with Richard Hamilton and Josh Howard included – in a Trade Idea post.

Denver Nuggets

  • Brown for Malik Allen, Anthony Carter, Johan Petro and Joey Graham

The Nuggets would like to add another defensive-minded big man, but I think Brown probably makes too much to fit. The small plus for Detroit would be saving a couple hundred thousand dollars. The Pistons would have to cut at least two of the players they’d receive in this trade.

Jeremy Wagner of Roundball Mining Company:

I do not think the Nuggets would even consider that.  It would add too much payroll and they are not going to add payroll unless it makes them considerably better.

Miami Heat

  • Brown for James Jones and a pick

Similar to previous suggestions, the Heat would offer a draft pick to clear cap room. Jones is under contract for the next three seasons, but his deal is only partially guaranteed. So, this wouldn’t be as bad a hit to Detroit’s cap as it looks.

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Brown and a protected first-round pick for Mike Conley

Like the trade with the Spurs, I’m not sure what this accomplishes for Detroit. After Pistons drafted Rodney Stuckey 15th in the same draft Conley went second, they bragged about how Stuckey was nearly as fast as Conley but a lot bigger.

But Chad Ford reported Conley is available for an expiring contract a first-round pick. Conley is talented, and the Pistons seem interested in loading up on talent regardless of position. At some point that plan will change. I’m not sure if it has yet.

Game Preview: Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic

Essentials

Date: Feb. 17, 2010

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Detroit: 19-33

Orlando: 36-18

Probable starters

Detroit:

PG SG SF PF C
Rodney
Stuckey
Richard
Hamilton
Tayshaun
Prince
Jonas
Jerebko
Ben
Wallace

Orlando:

PG SG SF PF C
Jameer
Nelson
Vince
Carter
Matt
Barnes
Rashard
Lewis
Dwight
Howard

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit +11

Over/under: 191

Score: Orlando wins, 101-90

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 103.7 (25th)

Detroit defensive rating: 108.7 (21st)

Detroit pace: 88.4 (29th)

Orlando offensive rating: 108.6 (11th)

Orlando defensive rating: 103.0 (4th)

Orlando pace: 93.0 (14th)

Score: Orlando wins, 99-94

Outlook

  • The Magic ended the first half of their season winning an impressive 10-of-13. Let’s hope the All-Star Break cooled them off a bit.
  • As reluctant as I am to call winning 4-of-6 a hot streak, that’s exactly the kind of season Detroit’s having this year. The Pistons won their first game back from the break yesterday, and hopefully they can keep it going tonight.
  • If it seems like Detroit always does well when facing the Magic, there’s a good reason. Amazingly, since the Pistons won the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2004 they are 22-7 against Orlando, including an 8-1 playoff record. Unfortunately though, these Pistons aren’t quite the same as those that came before them.
  • Orlando Magic Daily has a Magic-centric preview of tonight’s game. Philip doesn’t overlook Jonas Jerebko, but Rashard Lewis gets the edge in his head-to-head matchup. Mistake?
  • Make sure to visit Daily Dime Live to chat during tonight’s game.

Two columnists, two different tones about Tom Wilson

Bob Wojnowoski of The Detroit News:

Wilson’s emotions bubbled ever so slightly as he talked. Bright and optimistic, one of the franchise’s most-visible presences for more than three decades, this wasn’t easy for Wilson. But in his tone and his words, he made it clear this was the right time to go.

Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press:

Wilson departed on his own accord, a consequence of the tumult swirling within an organization on the selling block.

It’s not a healthy climate right now within the empire the late Bill Davidson built and left to his wife, Karen, upon his passing in March. Long-range indecision can turn poisonous, leaving some to bail on their own before potentially getting pushed out the door by a new ownership group.

I’m not sure whether Wojo’s or Sharp’s take is more accurate. But I know I’m nervous about this new uncertainty.

David Stern chimes in on Tom Wilson

David Stern on Tom Wilson (via a Pistons release):

“Tom is one of the most innovative and respected leaders in the NBA. He revolutionized the sports and entertainment business and his vision propelled The Palace and the Pistons to the forefront of the industry. I have great admiration for Tom’s accomplishments and wish him all the very best in the future.”

Could the Pistons trade with Golden State?

The Pistons have a lot of pieces on the block, and so do the Warriors. So, I thought a trade between those two teams could make sense. But with so many possibilities, I had no idea where to begin. Reader Ryan Strauss sent this idea to get the ball rolling:

Detroit gets: Anthony Randloph, Vladimir Radmanovic, CJ Watson

Golden State gets: Rip -OR- Tay

This would give us some size and some youth.  Watson is obviously another guard and could well walk, but certainly talented enough to try to work in.  Golden State could take back Rip for a locker room guy though I think Tay’s contract would be more appealing – if need be, I would be willing to throw in Daye or Summers to get the deal done.

I forwarded that idea to Rasheed Malek of WarriorsWorld.net and asked about Tayshaun Prince for Andris Biedrins. Here’s Rasheed’s response:

1.  Prince for Biedrins- is a deal that would be pretty good for both sides.  The Warriors need an athletic 3 who can run the floor, defend and do a little bit of everything- which is exactly what Prince can bring them.  Biedrins gives the Pistons a legitimate Center who will rebound, block shots and finish inside and do the dirty work needed to win games.  The Warriors in particular Don Nelson has kinda soured on Biedrins which is not all Biedrins fault as injuries and a severe workload has been the root for his ill.  Biedrins needs to dedicate this summer to improving his offensive game as from the time he entered the league to now, there’s been minimal improvement on that end.  With no National team responsibilities this off-season, it should allow him to rest up and come back at full strength next season.

2.  From everything GM Larry Riley has said, Monta and Steph Curry are the only "Untouchables" on this roster.  Which means the Warriors would be willing to move Anthony Randolph in that right deal which really means you take Corey Maggette off our hands and we’ll toss in Anthony Randolph.  The Warriors will not move Anthony Randolph by himself or for the sake of trading him, unless a team is willing to absorb a big money contract from the Warriors, Randolph isn’t going anywhere.  Richard Hamilton would not be someone the Warriors would bring in simply because they’re quite happy with their starting backcourt and doesn’t make sense to bring in another Guard who makes big money when the pressing need for this team is a legitimate big man who can score but more importantly rebound.