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Archive → April, 2010

Detroit Pistons Roundtable: Rodney Stuckey’s future

Time for the third question of this year’s Detroit Pistons Roundtable. Again, here’s the panel:

I  want to thank everyone listed above for participating. But I don’t want to hear just from them. Please post your answers to the question in the comments.  We can make this an even larger collection of thoughts about the Pistons.

Here’s today’s question:

Rodney Stuckey has been a key part of the Pistons’ long-term plans. Should that status change?

Dave Pemberton, The Oakland Press

Stuckey should be part of the Pistons long-term plans, but the question is in what role? Is it as a point guard, shooting guard or both? People in the Pistons organization like to say he is a throwback guard that can play either position, but I don’t think that works unless you have two guards that can play both positions. Having a shooting guard like Richard Hamilton that needs a facilitator doesn’t work with a combo-point guard. The Pistons need to figure out Stuckey’s role and work on having him fill that role.

Now although I say Stuckey should be in the Pistons long-term plans, in no way do I think he is an untouchable franchise player. He’s a solid young player that still hasn’t reached his full potential.

Chris Iott, MLive.com/ Booth Newspapers

If the Pistons somehow get lucky and get the top pick in the draft, that status should change. The Pistons, if they choose, could take John Wall and move Stuckey in a trade. (There would be plenty of takers.) If they do not pick first – and they won’t – that status should not change. Stuckey’s a quality young point guard who has played three seasons under three different coaches. Optimists think he can still be a star. Pessimists don’t agree, but if they’re realistic, they understand that point guards don’t grow on trees. The Pistons most likely need to move forward as if Stuckey will be in Detroit for the long haul.

Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press

Stuckey has quietly had a solid season and has proven that he would be a nice piece to a winning team. But although the Pistons brass might not agree with me, I would not let keeping Stuckey hinder any possible deals. In other words, I would not overvalue the third-year combo guard.

Jamie Samuelsen, Detroit Free Press

The whole “sacred cow” thing is done. In no way is this guy untouchable. If there’s a team out there that knocks Joe D’s socks off, then he has to listen. But I doubt such an offer will come. Stuckey is a good young player with a penchant for a big game here and there. And I’d love to see him play a full season without any of the drama or any of the soap operas that he’s been through in his first three seasons. He’s played for three coaches. He’s played under or alongside divas like Allen Iverson, Richard Hamilton and Ben Gordon. And maybe he’s become a bit of a diva himself. I’m not done with Stuckey. But I don’t see him as a franchise player either.

Keith Langlois, Detroit Pistons

Not unless Joe Dumars finds an avenue that converts Stuckey into a piece or pieces that better enhance their future. If the Pistons won the lottery and thus John Wall, then Stuckey could be used as bait to address their frontcourt deficit – although my hunch is his first choice would be to keep Stuckey and consider the possibilities a Wall-Stuckey backcourt would create. At 23, with proven scoring ability and the potential to develop into a premier two-way player, Stuckey has to be considered their most valuable asset, which means he has the most potential to help him both here or in trade.

Eli Zaret, Detroit Pistons

He’s still young and really hasn’t much of a chance. The first season he played behind Billups; in ’09 there was the Iverson mess, and this year has been horrific in many ways. What has to play out is if Rodney can develop into a good enough ball distributor to remain a point guard or move over to the #2 spot.

Patrick Hayes, Full-Court Press

At the end of year three, Stuckey basically is what he is. A decent combo guard, not a franchise player. My personal belief is that he’d be a great sixth man, backing up both guard spots on a really good team. I like having him in Detroit and loved the toughness he played with this year (something that he wasn’t given nearly enough credit for, in my opinion), but a team playing Stuckey 35 minutes a game at PG isn’t going to win much unless a playmaking superstar at one of the other perimeter positions is acquired. We’ve been waiting three years for Stuckey to get a jumpshot, and he hasn’t. I’m not saying it won’t come, but relying on quickness only works for so long. Plus, for as strong as he is, he doesn’t finish particularly well around the basket, which is why he has a bad field goal percentage for a guy who primarily shoots from 15 and in.

I would hate to see Stuckey go, but I’d like to see the organization start viewing him more realistically – a complimentary piece rather than the future of the franchise. That’s put undue pressure on him. And in the unlikely event a team swoops in and offers a good young and affordable big man for Stuckey, then it’s time to trade him.

Justin Rogers, Full-Court Press

Most of us feel Stuckey is a two guard being forced into the role of a point guard, but the Pistons committed themselves to this long-term transformation when they brought Ben Gordon on board for five seasons. Will Bynum might be the better option to run the point between the two (although Stuckey is the better all-around player), but if you start Bynum what does that do to your rotation? Does Ben Gordon now become the fourth guard I just don’t see it happening unless the Pistons can unload Hamilton (or Gordon) in the offseason.

Of course if the Pistons land John Wall in the draft lottery Stuckey will be moved over in about two seconds.

Natalie Sitto, Need4Sheed

Absolutely … by making him a shooting guard. I have said it before and I will say it again, he’s better at the two. Yes he’s a combo-guard, but why wouldn’t you want him to play the position he plays best? Get a serviceable point guard, (I’m all for resigning Bynum if one doesn’t pan out in the draft) and Rodney will flourish.

He’s taken some criticism for not really breaking out yet, but my guess is if he didn’t have to fill Chauncey’s shoes, he would be one of the top ten SGs in the league.

Brian Packey, Detroit Bad Boys

One of the few bright spots this season, to me, was Rodney Stuckey.  He has a ways to go still, but he did take his game to another level and more impressively, he really showed how tough he is (coming back from multiple ankle-rolls and his collapse when he could have shut it down for the season).

Obviously, if the right deal to improve the Pistons ever came along, they’d have to seriously consider it, but Stuckey is someone I’d like to see a part of the Pistons long-term plans – especially since they traded Billups to supposedly help pave that road.

Kevin Sawyer, Detroit Bad Boys

No. He has improved every year. In particular, he has greatly expanded his usage rate (third among point guards) while decreasing his turnover rate (ninth). His long-range game is an obvious concern, but the fundamentals are there for him to turn into Chauncey Billups two years down the road. He should also be relative inexpensive to re-sign. Stuckey may not become an all-star, but it isn’t out of the question, and he will be an above average starter for the next decade.  

Mike Payne, Detroit Bad Boys

Absolutely. Stuckey is a solid player, but he’s been over-valued, over-estimated and over-used in Detroit. His offense is largely one-dimensional, and he lacks the court vision and passing ability to properly manage an offense.

In the right conditions, Stuckey could be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate.  However, the conditions here – and Rodney’s struggles within them – are no fault of his own. Stuckey’s over-estimation and over-valuing by Joe Dumars has effectively kicked him upstairs, forcing him into a role that his skill set doesn’t match.

I believe we all knew this about Stuckey, but hoped he’d mature into the "point guard of the future" that Dumars pegged him as. Thus far, it hasn’t worked out. Although Rodney still has time to mature into a better player, the Pistons are not in a position to carry the risk if he does not. In short, Joe should begin to entertain offers for Rodney – if he hasn’t already done so.

Jesse Murphy, Pistons Nation

There’s nothing wrong with having Rodney Stuckey as a part of the team’s future … as long as it isn’t as the point guard. It just seems that Rodney’s game is best suited for the off-guard position. The experience he’s gained from being a the team’s point guard will definitely help his overall game, but I feel the Pistons would be more successful with a more natural distributor.

I also feel Rodney will need to develop a more consistent jump shot as well as working on finishing at the rim.

Jon Young, Flagrant2

No, I don’t think that plan should change. Stuckey was thrown into a tough spot. He missed a good part of his rookie year and then came in for Chauncey when he went down against Orlando. He played good as a backup but probably wasn’t ready to run the team. Last year he had to deal with the Iverson drama, and this year he had to look to score first because of the injuries. I think Stuckey played good this year with everything considered. His jump shot has shown signs of life, and once he can hit it consistently he will be really hard to guard. The midrange jumper is always open for him because of his ability to drive the lane.

I think a lot of people expect Stuckey to be just like Billups, but they forget how long Chauncey bounced around before he came to Detroit. Stuckey scores in spurts, sometimes he scores 15 in the first half and then doesn’t shoot for minutes into the 2nd. It’s just a matter of experience until he figures out how to start taking over games. Whether he runs the point guard or plays shooting guard Stuckey should be a part of the long term plans.

Dan Feldman, PistonPowered

Stuckey is under 24, fast, strong and has improved every year. How many NBA players fit that bill? You just don’t give up on a guy like that.

I wouldn’t be opposed to trading him, but I don’t think that will happen – not because Joe Dumars still would refuse any deal involving Stuckey, but because Dumars obviously likes Stuckey. He drafted him and has groomed him. Stuckey might not be untouchable, but what are the odds another general manager rates Stuckey as highly as Dumars does?

The fact that Stuckey has improved each year shows he has a strong work ethic, which I worried might be a problem, given how he was just handed a starting spot.

His shooting percentage is way down, but I think that’s mostly due to shouldering the offensive load when almost every single one of his teammates was out with injury. He’s a better defender, rebounder and distributor than he was last season.

The real question is how to make it work (which is a little weird to say, considering I’m critiquing a question I wrote).

As a slasher, Stuckey would be best paired with a guard who’s a good outside shooter and passer and can post up smaller guards. Know anyone who fits that description?

I don’t rag on Joe Dumars as much as most for trading Chauncey Billups, but a Stuckey and Billups backcourt would be spectacular.

Offensively, one of them would almost always have a mismatch. How many teams don’t start at least one guard who doesn’t have the strength to match up with those two?

And defensively, they have the size and speed to bother a lot of people. Plus, they’re interchangeable enough to give opponents multiple looks.

Before I digress further into that fantasy, I’ll end on this: Stuckey is better at shooting guard right now. He still has the potential to be an excellent point guard, and he would be more valuable at that key position.

But, either way, he should be a good NBA player, the type you want on your team.

Previous

Like with the other questions, please post your answer in the comments. I’d like this roundtable to involve everyone reading, too.

Detroit Pistons lottery rundown: April 8, 2010

What a win, even with the season in the trash bin. The Pistons played with heart all night, a welcome sight. But that means their lottery odds took a hit, just a bit.

Because the Pacers beat the Knicks, Detroit will be guaranteed the ninth seed or better. That also means the Pacers won’t be mentioned here anymore.

As always, if anyone has any questions, post them in the comments, and I’ll answer. If you’re unsure about something, I’m sure someone else is, too.

Yesterday’s key games

  • Detroit Pistons 90, Atlanta Hawks 88
  • Indiana Pacers 113, New York Knicks 105
  • Orlando Magic 121, Washington Wizards 94
  • Miami Heat 99, Philadelphia 76ers 95
  • Golden State Warriors 116, Minnesota Timberwolves 107
  • Portland Trail Blazers 93, Los Angeles Clippers 85

(teams in lottery race with Pistons are bolded)

Scenarios

  • Best case: No. 3 seed
  • Worst case: No. 9 seed

Current standings

  • No. 3 seed: Golden State Warriors (24-54)
  • No. 3 seed: Sacramento Kings (24-54)
  • No. 3 seed: Washington Wizards (24-54)
  • No. 6 seed: Detroit Pistons (25-53)
  • No. 7 seed: Philadelphia 76ers (26-52)
  • No. 8 seed: Los Angeles Clippers (27-51)
  • No. 9 seed: New York Knicks (28-50)

Odds if the season ended today

image

  • No. 1 pick: 6.3 percent
  • No. 2 pick: 7.1 percent
  • No. 3 pick: 8.1 percent
  • No. 4 pick: 0.0 percent
  • No. 5 pick: 0.0 percent
  • No. 6 pick: 43.9 percent
  • No. 7 pick: 30.5 percent
  • No. 8: pick: 4.0 percent
  • No. 9 pick: 0.1 percent

Today’s key games

  • Los Angeles Clippers at Sacramento Kings, 10 p.m.

(teams in lottery race with Pistons are bolded)

Detroit Pistons Roundtable: Building blocks besides Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko

We’re back for the second question of this year’s Detroit Pistons Roundtable. Again, here’s the panel:

I  want to thank everyone listed above for participating. But I don’t want to hear just from them. Please post your answers to the question in the comments.  We can make this an even larger collection of thoughts about the Pistons.

Here’s today’s question:

If you had to build a team around a current Piston besides Rodney Stuckey or Jonas Jerebko, whom would it be and why? (Please note if you’d rather build around this player than Stuckey or Jerebko.)

Dave Pemberton, The Oakland Press

That’s a tough question. The Pistons in my opinion don’t have a franchise player, and that includes Stuckey and Jerebko. There is not one guy you can point to and say he’s the guy. With that being said, I think Ben Gordon is a player that should be in the Pistons’ future plans.

Despite his struggles this season, Gordon has a proven track record. I don’t believe the Gordon we have seen in 2010 is the real Gordon because I don’t think he is at full strength. He is playing through a groin injury and not getting the minutes he is accustomed so his numbers are down.

He can provide instant offense whether it be off the bench or as a starter. He also showed last season that he can produce in the playoffs. Let Gordon get healthy and I think you’ll see the player the Pistons thought they were getting when they signed him.

Chris Iott, MLive

If you are going to build a team for the long haul and build it around a player currently on the roster, Rodney Stuckey would be the logical choice. The Pistons think he’s the real deal, a special young player with a ton of upside. Whether he is worthy of that praise, well, time will tell. If it’s not Stuckey or Jerebko – and as much as I like Jerebko, I don’t think you build a team around him – your only option would have to be Ben Gordon. It has been a strange season for Gordon, but if the Pistons deal Richard Hamilton in the offseason, it would clear up a logjam at the position and make Gordon’s role more important. The Pistons are not writing off Gordon. Fans shouldn’t either.

Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press

I’m not saying I would try to start over from scratch, but I think of LeBron, Wade and Kobe as guys to build a team around. There are several solid pieces on the Pistons (Stuckey and Jerebko included). But they are just pieces, not cornerstones.

Jamie Samuelsen, Detroit Free Press

Slim pickings there. I suppose by process of elimination I’ll go with Ben Gordon, although he’s been a big disappointment in his first year here. But with so much money and so many years tied into him, there isn’t much choice. Gordon’s track record in the league shows he can score, and that can’t be dismissed after only one season. I’ll be very curious to see what he does next year assuming that A) he’s healthy and B) he’s the starter or is getting starter’s minutes.

Keith Langlois, Detroit Pistons

You have to at least be intrigued by Austin Daye’s potential. He’s never going to look significantly different that he did coming into the league – but if he gains functional strength, there’s every chance he’ll become a unique player capable of scoring in the high teens and up and holding his own defensively thanks to his freakish length. Will Bynum’s also a guy I’d like to have on my side.

Eli Zaret, Detroit Pistons

There really is no one to specifically build around. Even in the title season of 2004, they were considered a team without a star. The hope is they’ll get a top-5 pick this year who can be that guy.

Patrick Hayes, Full-Court Press

It’s probably a stretch, but I’d say Will Bynum. Bynum, more than anyone else on the roster, embodies the philosophy Joe Dumars built the championship with – a hidden gem with something to prove, fueled certainly by talent, but also carrying a significant chip on his shoulder. Bynum’s a guard version of Ben Wallace when it comes to energy, and he was the Pistons best player for a solid stretch early in the season. Now, that doesn’t mean I’d go out and lock Bynum up for $7 million a year, as Joe Dumars seems to want to do for everyone now, but if the Pistons re-sign him to a cheap deal (which is how they got Wallace), they could be getting a tough, energetic, lead-by-example guy who pushes people with higher pedigrees and bigger contracts for playing time, making the entire backcourt more competitive with each other and better in the games.

Justin Rogers, Full-Court Press

There isn’t a player on this roster that I would consider building a team around. The Pistons are a team full of complimentary players. I wouldn’t even build around a player like Stuckey or Jerebko. Stuckey is a second or third option at best. I just don’t see him developing to an on-the-court leader night in and night out. Jerebko is the type of player you want on any team, but you don’t build around hustle players. If pressed to answer, I’d go with Daye. He has plenty of potential, and he’s young. Of course that answer is equivalent to answering “C” straight down on a 100-question true/false test.

Natalie Sitto, Need4Sheed

That’s a difficult question. I can’t think of a player besides the two that can foot the bill right now. Rip and Tayshaun, are great players, but I think they’re both past the point where you would want to build around. The rest of this current configuration are more role players than anything.

If you put a gun to my head and I had to pick someone besides Stuckey or the Swede, it would  have to be Ben Gordon. His miserable season aside, I know what kind of player he is, and to be quite honest, I think he may be more suited to be a starter. We saw what he could do when he had the chance early in the season when Rip Hamilton was out. His defense is almost non-existent, and he tends to turn the ball over, but he can put up 30 if you need him to and hit the big money shot all in the same game.

Brian Packey, Detroit Bad Boys

I really don’t think the Pistons have anyone, besides maybe those two, that are worthy of being built around. They have a lot of pieces that could be key to a contender, complementing pieces, but not center-pieces. Depending on how he develops, though, Austin Daye could potentially become one of those types of players.

Kevin Sawyer, Detroit Bad Boys

Ben Gordon is the guy you have to think about building around. His contract is untradeable, and he has a lot more talent than he displayed this year. Keep in mind that Stuckey and Jerebko are only a couple years younger. I think Stuckey will be a late bloomer, and will eventually gel with Gordon, but Jerebko’s ceiling seems to be Anderson Varejao. You don’t build around Anderson Varejao.

Mike Payne, Detroit Bad Boys

Right now, we’re a building without a foundation. Detroit doesn’t have that one player on this team that can score efficiently and prolifically, draw double teams and defend the other end of the court. If Detroit gets lucky and can snag DeMarcus Cousins or Evan Turner in the draft, ask me again in June?

Jesse Murphy, Pistons Nation

I don’t see any of these guys as players a GM could center a team around. Guys like Stuckey and Jonas can be very important pieces to the puzzle, but I just don’t see them as "the guy". Unless Joe can pull off a miracle trade the Pistons will need to be lucky and acquire a franchise-type guy in the draft. Because I don’t believe we have the team and we sure don’t have the money to lure someone in free agency that will right the ship.

Jon Young, Flagrant2

I would go with Austin Daye. He is only going to get stronger and come into his body more. Once he figures out how to use his height he will be a threat. He can post up on most 3 guards at 6’11 and if a big man is guarding him they have to account for his three-point shooting. He has natural jump shot. He could really benefit from playing behind Tayshaun for another year or two. I don’t think he will ever be as good at driving as Prince but if he could learn his baby hook he would become a mismatch nightmare. Daye still has a big upside and lots of potential. With that being said I would much rather build a team around Stuckey or Jerebko.

Dan Feldman, PistonPowered

I nearly said Ben Wallace, which should say something about the sad state of this team. He’s 35 and only a year removed from serious injury. But he’s still productive and would instill an attitude I’d want my team to have.

But my answer is Will Bynum. He’s so productive, and I love how he improved from last year. Before his ankle injuries, Bynum had become a much better all-around player – not just a scorer. He’s still regaining his form, but it doesn’t look like his early-season play was an aberration.

He has a lot to prove, and he plays like it. There are varying opinions about whether clutch stats are relevant, and honestly, I have mixed feelings. But I can see Bynum plays without fear when the game is on the line, and I know I like that.

He also plays point guard, which might be the most important position in the NBA right now. (I’d still say center, but you can make the case).

A hidden Bynum bonus: because he hasn’t played much in the NBA, he’s a young 27.

Previous

Like with the first question, please post your answer in the comments. I’d like this roundtable to involve everyone reading, too.

John Hollinger gives Ben Wallace his defensive due

ESPN’s John Hollinger ranks Ben Wallace as the NBA’s second-best defensive center this season:

Detroit was only 27th in defensive efficiency, but don’t blame Big Ben. He was positively awesome in the first half of the season, bringing back memories of his dominating days of yore with the Pistons, and the team’s defense immediately went in the tank once he was hurt. Wallace’s ridiculous on-court versus off-court numbers are helped by his weak counterparts in the Pistons’ frontcourt, but observation backs up the numbers in this case: Big Ben was freakishly good.

Agreed. I’m glad to see Big Ben getting the recognition he deserves.

Detroit Pistons lottery rundown: April 7, 2010

With last night’s win over the 76ers, the Pistons’ lottery chances took a hit. I’m good with that.

(I’ve fixed a mistake when I said yesterday the Pistons’ worst seed could be No. 9. It’s actually the 10th seed.)

If the Pacers win or the Pistons lose tonight, Detroit will be guaranteed the ninth seed or better.

If the Pistons lose and the Knicks win tonight, Detroit will be guaranteed the eight seed or better.

As always, if anyone has any questions, post them in the comments, and I’ll answer. If you’re unsure about something, I’m sure someone else is, too.

Yesterday’s key games

  • Detroit Pistons 124, Philadelphia 76ers 103
  • Washington Wizards 112, Golden State Warriors 94
  • New York Knicks 104, Boston Celtics 101
  • San Antonio Spurs 95, Sacramento Kings 86

(teams in lottery race with Pistons are bolded)

Scenarios

  • Best case: No. 3 seed
  • Worst case: No. 10 seed

Current standings

  • No. 3 seed: Golden State Warriors (23-54)
  • No. 4 seed: Sacramento Kings (24-54)
  • No. 5 seed: Washington Wizards (24-53)
  • No. 5 seed: Detroit Pistons (24-53)
  • No. 7 seed: Philadelphia 76ers (26-51)
  • No. 8 seed: Los Angeles Clippers (27-50)
  • No. 9 seed: New York Knicks (28-49)
  • No. 10 seed: Indiana Pacers (29-48)

Odds if the season ended today

image

  • No. 1 pick: 7.55 percent
  • No. 2 pick: 8.40 percent
  • No. 3 pick: 9.40 percent
  • No. 4 pick: 0.00 percent
  • No. 5 pick: 13.05 percent
  • No. 6 pick: 38.95 percent
  • No. 7 pick: 19.45 percent
  • No. 8: pick: 2.20 percent
  • No. 9 pick: 0.05 percent

Today’s key games

  • New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers, 7 p.m.
  • Washington Wizards at Orlando Magic, 7 p.m.
  • Atlanta Hawks at Detroit Pistons, 7:30 p.m.
  • Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat, 7:30 p.m.
  • Golden State Warriors at Minnesota Timberwolves, 8 p.m.
  • Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers, 10:30 p.m.

(teams in lottery race with Pistons are bolded)

Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye miss team flight

From Matt Dery of 97.1 The Ticket (hat tip: Natalie Sitto of Need4Sheed):

A source at the airport has confirmed to 97.1 The Ticket’s Matt Dery that Charlie Villenueva also missed the team plane yesterday to Philadelphia and had to fly commercial. Villenueva would not elaborate on his tweets from yesterday at today’s shootaround before the Pistons game with the 76ers.

Yikes.

Update

Austin Daye missed the flight, too, according to Chris Iott of MLive. Daye had also been fined for being late to team event earlier in the season.

Detroit Pistons Roundtable: If Detroit avoided the injury bug

After last year’s edition was a success, the Detroit Pistons roundtable is back.

Because there are so many participants, I’ve decided to split each question into a separate post. So, check back for four more installments later this week.

Here’s this year’s panel (subject to change):

I  want to thank everyone listed above for participating. But I don’t want to hear just from them. Please post your answers to the question in the comments.  We can make this an even larger collection of thoughts about the Pistons.

So, without further ado, here’s the first question of the 2010 Detroit Pistons roundtable:

How good would the Pistons have been this season if they weren’t hit with so many injuries?

Dave Pemberton, The Oakland Press

Before the season I thought the Pistons would be a playoff team or the last team out in the East. After watching them all season I’m not sure that is the case, even without all the injuries. Let’s say with everyone healthy (which never happens) the Pistons would have won 10-15 more games this season. Even with those wins Detroit is the No. 8 seed at best and likely still out of the playoffs.

The fact is the Pistons are a flawed team with no identity. If you don’t believe me just ask yourself two questions. First, what are the Pistons real strengths? Takes a minute to think of something, at least it did for me. Second, what are the Pistons flaws? The answers are endless. Where do you start, the poor frontline play, terrible defense, no outside shooting, lack of leadership, the list goes on.

To answer the question, I think even without all the injuries the Pistons would be right where they are now: out of the playoffs, just with a better record.

Chris Iott, MLive

Heading into the season, the Pistons appeared to be a borderline playoff team that wouldn’t be able to make much noise in the postseason. With all the injuries the Pistons had early and the twists and turns the season took after that, that original assessment appears to be right on. There is no guarantee the Pistons would have finished above .500 or made the playoffs, but they very likely would have been in the playoff hunt until the end had they not had to deal with so many injuries.

Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press

Up until the latest losing streak I would have said it’s a no-brainer that the Pistons would have made the playoffs if not for the injuries.

Now, I’m not so sure. The problems are well-documented. But to answer your question, I will stay yes. I will buy the theory that the injuries robbed them of their mojo.

Jamie Samuelsen, Detroit Free Press

There is a good chance they would have had a better record for the simple reason that they would have gotten off to a better start. When you get off to a good start, it’s easier for players to stay interested and motivated. But when you are up against it early on, some players tend to check out and this team checked out big time. But even if they had been healthy, the best case scenario would have been sneaking into the playoffs and losing in the first round. There is no interior scoring. I thought Ben Wallace was a publicity stunt when he signed, and he ended up being the team’s most valuable big man. That is alarming!

Keith Langlois, Detroit Pistons

Coming into the season, I had the Pistons solidly in the middle of the East’s "middle class" – a group I thought would consist of Washington (ouch!), Miami, Toronto, Chicago and Philadelphia (oops!) in addition to Detroit – behind the big four of Cleveland, Orlando, Boston and Atlanta. (Charlotte’s success surprised me a little, Milwaukee’s a lot.) I felt after the preseason and the season opener the Pistons would be somewhere in the upper end of that group, a team that would win at least in the upper 30s and possibly into the mid 40s. I would have given them about a 65-75 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Eli Zaret, Detroit Pistons

Obviously, much better. They still would have lacked the low post presence they need so badly, but even as a guard-laden team they could have been a lower rung playoff team.

Patrick Hayes, Full-Court Press

I had them down for low 40s win total, somewhere between a 5 and 8 seed in the East. It’s not that I necessarily thought they were that good, it’s just that I thought the East was even worse than it’s been lately. In reality, I probably underrated the East a bit (particularly Milwaukee, Atlanta and Miami). But I still think the Pistons would’ve been a contender for a low playoff seed had everyone been healthy. Injuries were simply devastating for this team. When everyone finally came back healthy, there was no cohesion and no time left to develop it on the fly.

Justin Rogers, Full-Court Press

At the start of the season I would have said 45 wins, but I’m not so sure now.  I’m guessing Detroit would be around .500 right now and competing with Chicago and Toronto for the final playoff spot.  On the bright side, the injuries opened the door for the emergence of Jonas Jerebko.

Natalie Sitto, Need4Sheed

They would have made the playoffs for one. They would be jockeying for playoff position rather than lottery position. They most likely wouldn’t have gone on a double-digit losing streak. Ben Gordon would have probably been the player we know he can be.

I don’t think they would be in the running for the championship, but they could at least get past the first round of post-season play. It would have been very different.

Brian Packey, Detroit Bad Boys

I was in the overly optimistic minority before the season started – I felt the Pistons were going to be a lot better than a lot of critics were predicting. There’s really no telling how good they would have been this season without the injuries, though. They weren’t good when finally healthy, but I kind of think that by the time they were completely healthy, the feeling in the air was that this season was already a major disappointment because of those injuries. By that time, the Pistons were probably not even close to where they were mentally on opening night (when they destroyed Memphis on the road) and that might have played a bigger role in their futility than some people might think.

Kevin Sawyer, Detroit Bad Boys

Prior to the season starting, I put the Pistons down for 43-47 wins. What’s strange is that I thought that rebounding and defense would be the biggest problems, while I expected a strong perimeter game. As it happened, rebounding was an area of relative strength, the Pistons were stronger up front than anyone could have expected, but the Pistons were the worst three-point shooting team in the league. As such, I think 43 wins would be the high end, were I to recalibrate.

Mike Payne, Detroit Bad Boys

To borrow the phrase from Nicholson, "What if this is as good as it gets?"  Before this season began, I suggested that the Pistons would not eclipse the 39 win record of the 2008-09 season. This roster, as currently constructed, does not have the scoring balance or defensive identity necessary to reach the playoffs, let alone contend. These injuries may serve only to mask how truly bad this Pistons team is, an unfortunate excuse for players, coaches and management to explain this season’s woes.

Jesse Murphy, Pistons Nation

Really I can’t see the Pistons being more than 10-15 wins better if not hampered by all the injuries. We’ve conceded that we’re not going to be that team that "goes to work" on defense, but the problem with that is that we’re not a team that wears out a scoreboard either. This team has no identity and the long season has revealed some gaping needs to have to be addressed.

Jon Young, Flagrant2

I think a healthy Pistons squad would have been in the playoff race somewhere around the Bulls or Raptors fighting for a spot. With Tayshaun and Rip being out at the beginning of the year it messed up the entire season. Stuckey had to shoulder the scoring load instead of focusing on running the point. Will Bynum started out this season strong, scoring fast and getting into the lane, but with all the injuries he was forced to play on bad ankles before missing 19 games. Since his return he has not had nearly the same impact and you can tell the injuries are still there. The preseason lineup looked like it had all the chances to be great offensively but injuries and a lack of rhythm have the team at the bottom of the league offensively. Ben Gordon and Charlie V are both playing below their career averages and Rip is shooting the worst field goal percentage of his career.

Even if healthy the Pistons would still be bad defensively, but would have looked a lot better on the offensive end. They have shown some signs of what they could have done. They beat the Magic, Celtics, and Spurs once and gave the Cavs a run. If Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva played up to their career numbers and stayed healthy you have to believe the Pistons would be at least competing. It’s easy to blame a bad season on injuries but if anyone had that excuse this year it would be the Pistons.

Dan Feldman, PistonPowered

Before the season, I thought the Pistons would win 44 games. I had them getting a bottom-half seed in the playoffs, probably closer to the No. 5 seed.

But even if they were healthy, I now think that’s too high.

Being healthy would’ve fixed a lot of flaws. Ben Gordon would be a good shooter. Charlie Villanueva would be a good rebounder. Tayshaun Prince would’ve played with more enthusiasm. And most importantly, the team’s defense would’ve been more cohesive.

And that all outweighs the one benefit of the injuries – getting Jonas Jerebko in the lineup.

But this team is just too flawed, too backcourt dependent. Besides Ben Wallace, they don’t have much inside. And he’s only valuable inside on defense.

I think the Pistons would have won 40 games, which puts them right on the edge of the eighth seed.

Did John Kuester punt a basketball to start Twitter rants?

From 97.1 The Ticket (hat tip: Need4Seed):

I spoke to one Pistons source who tells me that practice yesterday turned in to a bit of a bickering-fest, with players and coaches involved (not unusual) and John Kuester even got so frustrated that he allegedly punted a basketball.

That would explain Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye being a little miffed yesterday.

I’m not sure what exactly to make of this report. It’s certainly plausible, but I’d find it a lot more credible if there was an author listed.

Update

Natalie from Need4Sheed talked to Matt Dery and said the post is from him. That adds a lot of credibility.

97.1 – put bylines on your web site.

Detroit Pistons lottery rundown: April 6, 2010

Besides the occasional Twitter mystery, this Pistons season has become mostly devoid of suspense. One of the few intriguing story lines remaining is the Pistons’ quest to improve their lottery seed.

This is the start of what I hope will be a daily feature for the rest of the season. It’s a look at Detroit’s lottery situation. For reference, I will only include positioning of teams the Pistons could catch in either direction.

Another note: I’m aware there has been some confusion about the lottery and its procedures. If anyone has any questions, post them in the comments, and I’ll answer. If you’re unsure about something, I’m sure someone else is, too.

Scenarios

  • Best case: No. 3 seed
  • Worst case: No. 9 seed

Current standings

  • No. 3 seed: Washington Wizards (23-53)
  • No. 3 seed: Golden State Warriors (23-53)
  • No. 3 seed: Detroit Pistons (23-53)
  • No. 6 seed: Sacramento Kings (24-53)
  • No. 7 seed: Philadelphia 76ers (26-50)
  • No. 8 seed: Los Angeles Clippers (27-50)
  • No. 9 seed: New York Knicks (27-49)

Odds if the season ended today

image

  • No. 1 pick: 12.1 percent
  • No. 2 pick: 12.7 percent
  • No. 3 pick: 13.2 percent
  • No. 4 pick: 10.8 percent
  • No. 5 pick: 29.2 percent
  • No. 6 pick: 18.7 percent
  • No. 7 pick: 3.2 percent
  • No. 8: pick 0.1 percent

Today’s key games

  • Detroit Pistons at Philadelphia 76ers, 7 p.m.
  • Golden State Warriors at Washington Wizards, 7 p.m.
  • Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m.
  • San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings, 10 p.m.

(teams in lottery race are bolded)

Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye vent via Twitter

Charlie Villanueva (@CV31) isn’t happy. Anyone who’s watched him play or talk to the media this year could tell that. Apparently, things have gotten worse today. At 4:38 today, he Tweeted:

This has been a very fustrating year, it just only got worse 2day, I have never experienced, in my 5 years, what I have experience this year

After receiving several @ replies asking what’s up, Villanueva sent out another Tweet:

Let’s put it like this, I rather not say anything cause I don’t want to get fined

Reading the tea leaves

I have no idea what Villanueva is specifically talking about. But I think it’s personal.

He’s never played for a winning team. In his first four seasons, playing with the Raptors and Bucks, his team had 27, 28, 26 and 38 wins.

The Pistons (23-53) are slightly worse than that. But when he says he’s never experienced something like he’s experienced this year, I don’t think he means the Pistons’ miserable season. I think he’s referring to something that affects only him.

He’s been benched and brushed aside by John Kuester. His lack of defense can frustrating, so can his rebounding issues (although I think those more plantar fasciitis-related). He’s in a new city, and despite an early buzz about getting the halftime Tweeter, he hasn’t exactly endeared himself to Detroit fans.

We should get a better idea of what’s happening by tomorrow’s game against the 76ers – if not sooner.

Update

Another Tweet:

I respect Joe D so much, that I will keep my mouth shut, just needed to vent a little

No mention of Kuester.

Update No. 2 : Austin Daye gets in on the Tweeting

First:

Yo I’m sooo swisted right now hahaha I’m about to take off on this plain but I can’t wait till u come to LA imma show u a good time promise

Then:

@Adaye5 every1 I’m twisted (mad) right now but when I’m in LA imma work myself to death to try and get myself right for next year

Finally, Daye echoes Villanueva’s thoughts pretty closely:

Sonthin happened to me today that won’t every happen again and I’m just venting right now but I’m twisted mad and and gunna b ready 4 r game

OK, what the heck happened today?

Update No. 3

More from Daye:

Twitter sorry bout my episode earlier but I think the only thing that could make me feel better is get up sone shots I’ll holla @ yall later

Seriously, what the heck happened?

Final update?

Villanueva:

I’m over it

Another

Villanueva:

Found the only thing the media likes more than free food and early tip-offs. Blue II, the Butler bulldog. Reporters fawning over him again.