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Archive → August, 2011

As if Basketball Reference didn’t already give you enough tools to waste your day with

The folks at Basketball Reference have added another tool to their impressive collection of interactive basketball stats, trivia and information: a ‘Trade Partners‘ feature. Justin Kubatko explains how it works:

Simply select two franchises from the search form and you can see:

  • all of the trades between the two franchises;
  • the statistics for each player on their “old” and “new” teams; and
  • a summary of the number of Win Shares coming and going in the deal.

I’ve already played with it for about 10 minutes, it’s great.

Isiah Thomas one of several NBA stars from Chicago trying to help prevent youth violence

The Associated Press has a great read about some of the many NBA players with Chicago ties who are trying to help combat violence in the city. Among the players who routinely return to the city to talk with kids is Pistons Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas:

But for all the esteemed preps history Chicago has to offer – think names like Dwyane Wade, Tim Hardaway, Mark Aguirre and Candace Parker – perhaps no one ranks higher than Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, a product of the city’s North Lawndale neighborhood. Despite his professional rivalry with the Bulls honed by years of playoff battles as a member of the Detroit Pistons, Thomas makes regular trips back home to work with city officials on improving the area for children.

“I give them real information,” said Thomas, now the head coach at Florida International. “I let them know there are some unsafe places in your environment, but your environment isn’t a dangerous place all the time. If you seek the light, and stay away from the dark, you’re more apt to have a chance to make your mark on society.”

Thomas, the youngest of nine children, said his meals were “few and far between at times” due to the prevalence of drug abuse, alcohol and violence in his family, but he – like Anderson – used the court as a means to keep himself separated from negative influences.

“I think it’s safe to say that all of us who have grown in poverty and have come from poverty-stricken environments – especially urban poverty – sometimes you’re more lucky than good,” Thomas said. “You can very easily be an innocent victim.”

Among all of Thomas’ spectacular accomplishments as a player, his biggest one remains simply escaping the unbelievably impoverished and violent area he grew up in. Few people are in a better position than Thomas to speak to kids about what it takes to succeed and escape that type of environment.

Check out Austin Daye on Rome is Burning this afternoon

Via Austin Daye‘s Twitter:

Everyone make sure to check out “Rome is burning” tomorrow ima be on there 1:30 p.m. west coast time!!

That ‘tomorrow’ is actually today (he tweeted that last night) and it airs at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN for us Eastern Time Zoners.

Tayshaun Prince is among the best left-handed players in the league

Another day, another Piston snubbed from a list. This NBA offseason is turning into an offseason of lists, but Kevin Burke of the Hoop Doctors has an interesting one: who are the best left-handed players in the league?

Although Burke lists Tayshaun Prince as an honorable mention, he deserved better than that. There aren’t too many guys in the top 10 I can argue Prince is better than, but there’s one who clearly shouldn’t be ranked ahead of Prince: Micheal Redd. Redd was a really good player at one time, but he’s only played in 61 games over the last three years. There’s no way he’s better than Prince.

And oh yeah, the Pistons have another lefty who merited at the very least honorable mention consideration in Greg Monroe.

Going 5-on-5 with Detroit Pistons questions

Dan and I participated in today’s ESPN 5-on-5, which discusses some key issues around the Pistons when/if next season starts. LZ Granderson from ESPN (and a native Detroiter), Kyle Weidie from Truth About It and Brett LaGree from Hoopinion also participated. Here were a few of my favorite responses:

LaGree on the SF and PF spots:

Bret LaGree, Hoopinion: If Jerebko fully recovers from his Achilles injury he could develop into a fine complementary starter for a good team. Less optimistically, unless Joe Dumars does something impressive, the Pistons’ power forward of the future is on the roster and his name is Charlie Villanueva.

Granderson on Greg Monroe‘s ceiling:

LZ Granderson, ESPN.com: I’d be very happy with David West. Like him, Monroe lacks the size and explosiveness to be dominant in the paint but he’s a hard worker. A solid double-double and good interior D is not bad at all. And he’s a pretty good passer. If Max had his size or if Monroe had Max’s explosiveness, Detroit would have a hell of a player. Oh well.

Feldman on when the Pistons will make the playoffs again:

Dan Feldman, Piston Powered: Typing those previous answers was tough. The Pistons require a lot of work before they can even see the light at the end of the tunnel. Still, making the playoffs isn’t that hard (most teams do it), and the Pistons have a solid amount of talent and a few improving youngsters. 2013.

Here were the five questions if anyone would like to participate in the comments:

  1. Who should start at PG and SG for Detroit?
  2. Are the Pistons’ future SF and PF on the roster?
  3. What is the ceiling for Greg Monroe?
  4. Should Detroit try to keep Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton?
  5. When will the Pistons make the playoffs again?

ESPN’s #NBARank has Chris Wilcox at number 330

As many of you who are on Twitter have no doubt seen, the NBA is in the midst of ranking the top 500 players in the league.

Chris Wilcox was just unveiled at No. 330. For a refresher on how the rankings were devised, a bunch of ESPN personalities and writers and TrueHoop Network writers voted on every player in the league, rating them on a 1-10 scale. The average score of each player was then taken to determine the order.

So far, the only Pistons to rank lower than Wilcox are Kyle Singler at No. 446 and Vernon Macklin at No. 498. Obviously, Wilcox should be higher on the list when compared to some teammates he was clearly better than last season (looking at you, Jason Maxiell). But Wilcox’s ranking is probably to a large degree a result of his overall body of work in a career where he’s underachieved significantly.

To participate as the rankings are unveiled, follow the #NBARank hashtag on Twitter. And if you come up with good one-liners about each player, ESPN has been retweeting and posting the best tweets on ESPN.com.

Video: Previewing the Pistons for ESPN

Just for Mike Payne, I did another video talking about the Pistons for ESPN.com.

I discussed my belief that figuring out a sensible rotation at the shooting guard position, especially if Rodney Stuckey is really considered more of a two than a one at this point, is still the team’s biggest issue and my feelings that a Greg Monroe-Jonas Jerebko combo would give the Pistons one of the more active frontcourts in the league, particularly on the offensive glass. Video after the jump. Continue reading →

Looking back at Isiah Thomas and the 1988 NBA Finals

Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie has a look back at the 1988 NBA Finals, particularly at Isiah Thomas. Dwyer mentions Thomas’ appearance talking about that series years later with Dan Patrick on ESPN:

The Pistons’ captain attempted to explain, decked out in a ridiculous burgundy’ish blazer, why he could not attempt to articulate just how much that 1988 run to runner-up status meant to him. Thomas had, maybe, two minutes to explain to Patrick why he was so emotional over a Finals loss that happened just a half-decade before (as if, in 1994, 1988 was ancient history), and he just could not.

“You wouldn’t understand,” he kept telling Patrick. Not in a dismissive way. Not in some jock-ish way that precludes anyone from dropping 40 in an NBA game from ever “getting it.”

Perhaps there was some of that. But less in Isiah at that point than I’ve seen in just about any other athletes who want to tell me what’s what.

No, it was in the same way that none of us will ever understand another person’s greatest regret in life. Their longest fall. Their toughest defeat.

I’ve watched the show that Isiah said that on several times over the years when ESPN would replay it. The way Isiah said, ‘You wouldn’t understand …,’ sounding as if he was seconds away from bursting into tears, always gets me.

Lockout-adjusted NBA rookie rankings, including Brandon Knight

Chris Grace of McSweeney’s projected the top-10 NBA draft picks – even accounting for the all-too-relevant lockout. Grace on Brandon Knight

Great first step, gets into the lane at will. Streaky shooter, will probably not make an outside shot until 2012 at the earliest. Above-average rebounding and retweeting for a guard.

Check out the rest. They’re pretty funny.

Assist Charts 2010-11: Austin Daye

This is the latest installment of a series called “Assist Charts.” For each of the 13 Pistons who played this year, I’m going to show whom they assisted and who assisted them.

Each post will be divided into two sections: Player assists to and Assists from player. Player assists to shows who the featured player assisted. Assists from player shows who assisted the featured player.

Each section will display two pie graphs and corresponding tables. One graph and table will show totals, and the other set will show per 36 minutes.

All the graphs and tables are color-coded with a specific color assigned to each player throughout the series. Point guards are blue. Shooting guards are orange. Small forwards are green. Power forwards are red. Centers are yellow.

Player assists to



Field goal Amount
McGrady 5
Stuckey 10
Bynum 5
Gordon 14
Hamilton 13
Prince 5
Summers 2
Wilcox 4
Villanueva 10
Maxiell 3
Monroe 6
Wallace 1

Per 36 minutes with each player


Field goal Minutes together Amount per 36 minutes together
McGrady 356 0.51
Stuckey 767 0.47
Bynum 532 0.34
Gordon 852 0.59
Hamilton 424 1.10
Prince 570 0.32
Summers 86 0.84
Wilcox 365 0.39
Villanueva 546 0.66
Maxiell 309 0.35
Monroe 673 0.32
Wallace 297 0.12

What we learned

I think Austin Daye’s best position right now is shooting guard. Until he gets stronger, small forward can be tough for him – and power forwarded, where he started early last season, is nearly impossible for him. His length allows him to guard most twos, and he has a huge matchup advantage over most shooting guards. He can shoot, with a clear sightline to the basket, over nearly all of them.

But am I crazy for believing he could play some point guard? Daye didn’t have a ton of assists, but he assisted Richard Hamilton, a player at his best when coming off screens and being assisted, most often per 36 minutes on the court with each teammate. Plus, the rest of his assists were pretty evenly distributed – which I consider a good sign for a point guard.

Assists to Player



Assist Amount
McGrady 17
Stuckey 28
Bynum 19
Gordon 21
Hamilton 16
Prince 15
Summers 0
Wilcox 3
Villanueva 4
Maxiell 2
Monroe 5
Wallace 7
None 56

Per 36 minutes with each player


Assist Minutes together Amount per 36 minutes together
McGrady 356 1.72
Stuckey 767 1.31
Bynum 532 1.29
Gordon 852 0.89
Hamilton 424 1.36
Prince 570 0.95
Summers 86 0.00
Wilcox 365 0.30
Villanueva 546 0.26
Maxiell 309 0.23
Monroe 673 0.27
Wallace 297 0.85
None 1446 1.39

What we learned

I’d really like to see that number from Greg Monroe go up next year. That would be a great sign that the Pistons’ two best young offensive players are in sync.

Otherwise, nothing really jumps out about who assisted Daye.