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Archive → March, 2010

Tuesday Trivia: NBA’s 50 Greatest players

This week’s quiz is about the list of the 50 greatest players the NBA released in 1996.

My Score: 42/50

Warning: spoilers in the comments.

Game Preview: Detroit Pistons at Boston Celtics

Essentials

Date: March 15, 2010

Time: 8 p.m.

Television: ESPN

Records

Detroit: 23-43

Boston: 41-24

Probable starters

Detroit:

PG SG SF PF C
 
Will
Bynum
Richard
Hamilton
Tayshaun
Prince
Jonas
Jerebko
Jason
Maxiell

Boston:

PG SG SF PF C
Rajon
Rondo
Ray
Allen
Paul
Pierce
Kevin
Garnett
Kendrick
Perkins

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit +9

Over/under: 195

Score: Boston wins, 102-93

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 104.5 (23rd)

Detroit defensive rating: 109.6 (21st)

Detroit pace: 88.8 (29th)

Boston offensive rating: 106.8 (17th)

Boston defensive rating: 102.3 (1st)

Boston pace: 91.7 (22nd)

Score: Boston wins, 98-93

Outlook

  • Ben Wallace is questionable. I’d love to see him back tonight.
  • Check out my thoughts on Jason Maxiell in today’s Daily Dime ( No. 8 ).
  • Celtics Hub has a nice preview on the game. Brian Robb, like many Boston and Detroit fans, is down on his team. The Celtics are 41-24. The Pistons are 23-43. I say this in the nicest way possible, but shut up Boston fans.
  • Join me in Daily Dime Live during the game. It will be a blast.

Big Ten Tournament scouting reports

I’m back from the Big Ten Tournament, and ready to get back in the swing of the blog. It was a good trip – and meeting some overly served Minnesota fans was definitely a highlight. (Do most Minnesota fans call the team the Goofers with their accents? Or was it just these guys clowning on them?)

Anyway, here are the scouting reports I promised:

Evan Turner, Ohio State

Chad Ford’s projection: Top 5

I think Turner could make a case for being the No. 1 pick, and not just because he made me do this:

Evan Turner makes me sad

He’s too good for college. He can impose his will on the game offensively and defensively. There’s nothing he can’t do. I don’t want to talk about him anymore until he’s a Piston. But he’s an amazing player.

JaJuan Johnson, Purdue

  • Chad Ford’s projection: Late first to early second
  • He really impressed me. I’d love to get him late in the first round.
  • Prototypical NBA power forward
  • Phenomenal athleticism
  • Doesn’t have elite strength, but strong enough to get the job done
  • Scored inside with a variety of moves
  • Above average, but not great, footwork
  • Good shooting range
  • He shot a technical free throw, so I guess he’s good from the stripe.
  • Doesn’t protect the rim as well as he should with his height and hops, but he’s not a defensive liability

William Buford, Ohio State

  • Chad Ford’s projection: Late first to early second
  • Another player I’d be really happy to draft late in the first round
  • Gets a lot of credit for his jump shooting, but his interior offense really impressed
  • Can post up and finds ways to slip into paint
  • Good, big, strong defender who would bother increasingly speed-focused NBA guards
  • Fast enough to play guard in NBA
  • Questionable ball handling and dribbling
  • If he wasn’t shooting, usually passed ball immediately after receiving it

Kalin Lucas, Michigan State

  • Chad Ford’s projection: Late first to early second
  • Excels playing fast, but sometimes tries to push the tempo too often
  • Tremendous speed
  • Improved perimeter shooter
  • Can make shots off the dribble, coming around screens
  • Questionable playmaking instincts/ willingness to pass
  • Takes a lot of chances making steals from ball-handlers, but they usually paid off
  • Too small to be a stopper

Manny Harris, Michigan

  • Chad Ford’s projection: Second round to undrafted
  • The way he played against Ohio State, he’d be a first-round pick.
  • Some might see slight frame as an issue, but I think it helps him slim between defenders on dribble drives
  • Quick first step
  • Good body control
  • Absorbs contact well
  • Gets to the free-throw line, where he’s an excellent shooter
  • Streaky jumper, but has NBA 3-point range
  • Above average passer for a shooting guard
  • Defense comes and goes as his shots fall
  • Understands positioning and timing his jump to corral missed shots, so his excellent rebounding should extend to next level
  • Has clashed with his coach
  • Turnover prone
  • Can disappear when defenses focus on him

DeShawn Sims, Michigan

  • Chad Ford’s projection: Second round to undrafted
  • Can shoot to college 3-point arc, but not sure about beyond
  • Improved footwork in the low post
  • Doesn’t use it enough, but great first step when facing basket from the perimeter
  • When aggressive, can carry a team
  • Solid, but not special rebounder
  • Defense isn’t as good as his size and athleticism would suggest
  • Will have to bulk up or increase speed to make up for being undersized power forward in NBA (My bet is on bulking up.)

Raymar Morgan, Michigan State

  • Chad Ford’s projection: Second round to undrafted
  • Exceptional athlete
  • How many small forwards who can’t shoot from outside, don’t have a refined low-post game and don’t handle the ball or pass well make it?
  • Active defensively and on the glass
  • An up-tempo team looking for a defender and open-court finisher could take a flyer on him.

Durrell Summers, Michigan State

  • Chad Ford’s projection: Second round to undrafted
  • Has NBA talent and body, but still a long way from being ready for the league
  • Benched down the stretch against Minnesota
  • Numbers are down, but stroke on jumpers looks good
  • Plays on good defense, but I couldn’t tell how much he had to do with that
  • Didn’t get to the paint much

Rodney Williams, Minnesota

Chad Ford’s projection: Second round to undrafted

I watched him this weekend, and I literally have nothing to say. Thankfully, in yesterday’s Daily Dime Live, T Wolf Grant mentioned Minnesota. I’ll let him take it from here on Williams:

Its hard to say because he really hasn’t gotten enough minutes to make a big impact on the team, because the gophers play so deep. He’s a great dunker with good athleticism but besides that im not sure about his offensive game.

He’s one of those players that shows alot of potential but i mean he was a true freshman this year so i’d like to see him get the chance to add a little muscle and straighten out his jump shot. But all that being said i think he has a good future with a decent amount of upside

Mike Davis, Illinois

  • Chad Ford’s projection: Second round to undrafted
  • Some say he could be a center at the next level, but I don’t see that happening.
  • Not a banger
  • Probably has the physical game of a small forward, but his speed makes him a power forward
  • Decent jumper for his size
  • Pretty good in the open court
  • Does enough defensively to get by, but doesn’t intimidate anyone
  • Uses his length well to defend taller than he is

Brandon Paul, Illinois

  • Chad Ford’s projection: Second round to undrafted
  • Didn’t play much, and didn’t do much in his limited time
  • Should focus on point-guard skills
  • Average as a shooting guard, but his size, length and athletic ability could make him a special point guard
  • Great ball-handler for a shooting guard, good for a point guard
  • Not a good enough defender to do much without risking going for steals

Trevon Hughes, Wisconsin

  • Chad Ford’s projection: Second round to undrafted
  • Too small to be a shooting guard in NBA
  • Not a good enough passer to be a point guard
  • Strong outside shooter
  • Can shoot of the dribble
  • Doesn’t score inside efficiently
  • Quick hands on defense

E’Twaun Moore, Purdue

  • Chad Ford’s projection: Not rated
  • He wasn’t on the original and for good reason. He’s definitely a better player than some of the above players, but I just don’t see NBA talent.
  • Can drive to the basket
  • Scores pretty well
  • Not overly athletic
  • Undersized
  • Plays good defense – but that seems to more with focus and team concepts than athleticism, so I’m not sure if it would translate to NBA

Big Ten Tournament scouting

A friend and I are on are way to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Tournament, and I want to make use of all that time watching basketball for the blog. So, we’re going to post scouting reports of 15 players.

The tentative plan is post a report about each player when his team is eliminated. Here’s who we’ll be watching (If you didn’t pay attention, like me, or see in the comments a couple players won’t be playing this weekend):

Michigan

Manny Harris

DeShawn Sims

Michigan State

Kalin Lucas

Raymar Morgan

Durrell Summers

Indiana

Maurice Creek

Minnesota

Royce White

Rodney Williams

Illinois

Mike Davis

Brandon Paul

Wisconsin

Trevon Hughes

Purdue

Robbie Hummell

JaJuan Johnson

E’Twaun Moore

Ohio State

Evan Turner

William Buford

These are the Big Ten players on Chard Ford’s Top 100 (Insider). Is there anyone else you think we should check out?

Game Preview: Detroit Pistons vs. Utah Jazz

Essentials

Date: March 10, 2010

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Detroit: 22-41

Utah: 41-22

Probable starters

Detroit:

PG SG SF PF C
   
Will
Bynum
Richard
Hamilton
Tayshaun
Prince
Jonas
Jerebko
Jason
Maxiell

Utah:

PG SG SF PF C
Deron
Williams
Wesley
Matthews
Andrei
Kirilenko
Carlos
Boozer
Mehmet
Okur

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit +6

Over/under: 202

Score: Utah wins, 104-98

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 104.0 (24th)

Detroit defensive rating: 109.1 (20th)

Detroit pace: 88.9 (29th)

Utah offensive rating: 110.4 (6th)

Utah defensive rating: 104.6 (8th)

Utah pace: 93.1 (12th)

Score: Utah wins, 100-95

Outlook

  • Rodney Stuckey will not play tonight, according to the AP. No surprise there.
  • Will Bynum and Jason Maxiell are both coming off great games against Houston. If the Pistons can get something close to repeat performances out of them, the team may have be able to keep it close against this very good Utah squad.
  • Check out another preview of tonight’s game at Salt City Hoops.

Rodney Stuckey is on his way back

From a team release:

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Rodney Stuckey underwent a completely negative cardiac evaluation under the direction of University of Michigan’s (Fred Morady, M.D.), Cleveland Clinic’s (Thomas Dresing, M.D.) and the Detroit Medical Center’s (Luis Alfonso, M.D.).

The combined opinion is that Rodney may return to a progressive exercise program.

Wednesday Trivia: All-time top-10 lists

Sorry it’s a little late, but this week’s quiz is about players who are in the top 10 of various statistical categories.

My Score: 160/200

Warning: spoilers in the comments.

APB for Pistons Snuggie fan

As I’m sure you heard, Cavaliers fans set a world record before Cleveland’s game against the Pistons on Friday for most people wearing a Snuggie in one location. But the Associated Press article on the feat included this gem:

Most everyone complied — except for one fan wearing a Celtics jersey and another who thought ahead and brought a Pistons Snuggie.

Anyone have any leads on this mystery fan? Kudos to him or her.

Was Rodney Stuckey just dehydrated?

From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

There is speculation among Pistons officials that Stuckey might have been dehydrated because he had been affected by a dehydration episode earlier this season. But the tests today are basically a repeat of the process in Cleveland to make sure something wasn’t missed.

In the meantime, those who have spoken with Stuckey say he sounds great, but the Pistons are definitely going to practice caution.

I hope that’s all it was. There’s a simple solution for dehydration – drink water. Stuckey would then be back soon.

Game Review: Tayshaun Prince filling larger offensive role

Traditional box scoreAdvance box scoredGameFlow

As Tayshaun Prince has gotten healthy, he’s become a lot more aggressive. He’s seemed to realize with Chauncey Billups, Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace not here anymore, he doesn’t have to settle for being just a fourth option. The Pistons need him score more.

Well, he did in last night’s 110-107 win over the Rockets, pouring in a game-high 29 points.

This wasn’t like the Cleveland game Friday, when Prince scored 23 points because his jumper was falling. He made 7-of-7 shots at the rim last night. Those are season highs for makes and attempts from that location and way up from his season average (2-for-3).

That aggressiveness extended to the glass, where Prince grabbed 10 boards. But, and this might be nitpicking after such an awesome game, it didn’t extend to his defense.

Kevin Martin flew past him. Luis Scola posted him up. Those aren’t easy matchups, but Prince didn’t impress in either. He’s not the defender he used to be, and that’s probably just something we’ll just have to accept. But I’d like to see him slow one type of player.

Bulk up and stop the bigs or speed up and stop the wings. Doing neither isn’t enough.

Will Bynum

Will Bynum looked as comfortable as I’ve seen him since before his ankle injuries. He ran the offense with authority and was really the catalyst for Detroit posting a 110 offensive rating.

He knew when to pull up for jumpers, drive to the basket and distribute. He looked like a natural point, which hasn’t always been his forte.

And like before his injuries, his all-around game is really taking off. He finished with 12 points, 11 assists, four rebounds, two steals and just one turnover. And he played 42 minutes, proving he’s healthy again.

Jonas Jerebko is good – and improving

A few times this year, I’ve thought Jonas Jerebko has limited upside. He hustles and makes play because of that, but how effective will he be next year when opponents scout him? I wasn’t sure he had the skills to beat a defense geared to keep him off the glass and limit his scoring.

But his offensive repertoire is really expanding. He made 2-of-4 3-pointers last night, and he’s shown a propensity for quick drives to the basket before defenses set. He finished with 16 points.

He even took a couple hook shots last night. Both missed pretty badly. But I figure he’s made them in practice if he actually took them in a game.

I’m still not completely convinced Jerebko has as much upside as the typical rookie averaging nine points and six rebounds per game. But he’s removing my doubt.

Oh, yeah. He’s still making the hustle plays, too (eight rebounds, three blocks, one steal and a plus-8 last night).

Jason Maxiell becoming a force again

Last season and early this season, Jason Maxiell looked lethargic most of the time. But now that he’s become Detroit’s backup center, he really coming into his own.

I think part of the problem before was that he never had a set role. He’d play most games, but not all. Sometimes, Detroit would want his low post scoring. Other times, defense would be the emphasis.

Now, he’s playing hard all the time. For most of the season, I’d only describe Jonas Jerebko this way, but Maxiell just makes plays. He had 16 rebounds, a steal (probably should’ve gotten credit for a another) and was a team-best plus-11 last night.

I still think he settled for a mid-range jumper too often, though. He shot 2-of-7 from the field. That shot can be a nice weapon for him at times. But it should be secondary to his back-to-the-basket game in the low post.

Austin Daye stuck in foul trouble

Austin Daye had three fouls in eight minutes. It’s not that big of a deal now – when we’re just looking for anything positive from him. (And he provided that, making both his shots, including a nifty drive and pull-up floater).

But if he’s going to become a rotation player some day, how will he defend – without getting in foul trouble – with such a slight frame?

Ben Gordon’s slump that won’t end

Ben Gordon shot just 1-of-7, and it looked like he was slow on a couple defensive rotations.

I think we can just chalk this up as a lost season for him. Gordon has never had injury problems like this before, and his confidence looks shot. His numbers are so far below his previous career lows, which makes me believe something fluky is happening.

I’m concerned. But if he plays like this next season, I’ll really be worried.

Kwame Brown playing

With Ben Wallace out, Kwame Brown has played the last couple games. So, I guess whatever he was doing – or not doing – that him stuck at the end of the bench wasn’t serious enough to preclude him from playing under all circumstance.

Taunting refs is sport for this Wallace, too

An injured Ben Wallace in street clothes picked up a technical foul in the second quarter. When it was announced, it almost look like he was trying to hold in a laugh.

No tanking

I haven’t always been pleased with the Pistons’ effort this season, but they played hard in this game. A win over a quality Rockets team says this team still has some pride and isn’t just playing for a draft pick.

The Pistons ended regulation on 10-2 run and overcame missing three straight free throws in the final 11 seconds of overtime. They gritted out a win, and John Kuester described it as “healthy.”

That’s a word that hasn’t been used about the Pistons much this year, but I completely agree. I want Detroit to build a winning culture, no matter what it means for June 24.