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Archive → November, 2011

Tom Gores declared a lockout winner

Both Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press and Henry Abbott of TrueHoop said Pistons owner Tom Gores was one of the NBA’s lockout winners. Abbott:

WINNERS: Incoming owners
In Detroit and Philadelphia, they set the purchase price in an environment of league-wide losses and labor uncertainty. Now they emerge with owner-friendly rules, high TV ratings, media-friendly young stars to drive future league-wide ratings, a better national TV deal on the horizon, promising overseas markets and the knowledge that it’ll be harder in the future for opponents to outspend them.

I definitely agree. If the NBA weren’t such a public business, I wonder whether Gores would be trying to flip the Pistons already.

Vernon Macklin ‘looks in shape’

A key, yet rarely discussed,* issue of the lockout is players staying in shape. Without a set start date, it’s easy for players to postpone their pre-training camp health push. For some, this short notice might not leave enough time to recover.

By one account, that doesn’t apply to Pistons rookie Vernon Macklin. Ben Gordon, via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, on Macklin:

"He’s a big body," Gordon said. "He looks strong, he looks athletic and he looks in shape.

Macklin worked out with Andre Iguodala and Matt Barnes in Los Angeles earlier in the month, according to Fenech.

*Unless you’re talking to Patrick, who loves predicting who will be the Shawn Kemp of this lockout.

Chevette to Corvette No. 20: The 1955-56 Fort Wayne Pistons

Facts

  • Actual record: 37-35
  • Pythagorean record: 38-34
  • Points scored per game: 94.4 (8th of 8)
  • Points allowed per game: 93.7 (1st of 8)
  • Arena: War Memorial Coliseum
  • Head coach: Charles Eckman

Playoffs

  • Beat the St. Louis Hawks in Western Division Finals, 3-2
  • Lost in NBA Finals to the Philadelphia Warriors, 4-1

Leaders

  • Points per game: George Yardley (17.4)
  • Rebounds per game: Larry Foust (9.7)
  • Assists per game: Andy Phillip (5.9)

Top player

George Yardley

Larry Foust (16.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game) was slightly better than Yardley (17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game) in the regular season, but Yardley outperformed Foust in the playoffs. Yardley averaged 23.0 points, 13.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists in the playoffs and bested his regular-season field-goal and free-throw percentages.

Key transaction

Drafted Jesse Arnelle with No. 7 pick in second round

Rodger Nelson’s “The Zollner Piston Story”:

Almost unnoticed, a milestone was passed when the Zollners signed Jesse Arnelle, the first black ever to ink a Fort Wayne contract. Although he had not signed after being their number two draft choice, the European tour of the Globetrotters was over and the Penn State six-foot-five star wanted to take a crack at the NBA.

Arnelle broke his nose and barely played the rest of the season, the first and last of his NBA career. But he had a distinguished law career and now serves on the Penn State Board of Trustees.

Trend watch

Back-to-back Finals

The Pistons made the National Basketball League finals every year between 1942 and 1945, winning the league title in 1944 and 1945. NBA success hadn’t come quite as easily, but with their second straight Finals appearance, the Pistons were in reach of matching their NBL level of play.

Why this season ranks No. 20

Before the season, a big storyline began to form. Rodger Nelson’s “The Zollner Piston Story”:

The Piston Civil Action Committee would up its season ticket sales campaign and fell slightly short of the 2,500 goal; public figures were never disclosed. But selling more than 2,000 season tickets was still a hallmark figure in the NBA. Rumors persisted about moving the Fort Wayne franchise to a larger city but Zollner’s pat answer remained, "If the fans prove they want us we have no plans to move."

The Pistons started the season 1-6 before winning a Thanksgiving Day game over the Rochester Royals. Even with their poor record, that game pushed the Pistons’ attendance pace 35 percent ahead of the previous year, according to Nelson.

Fort Wayne recovered from its poor start to win the Western Division at 37-35, the division’s only winning record. That earned a first-round bye in the six-team playoffs and a Western Division Finals matchup with the St. Louis Hawks, who had beaten the Minneapolis Lakers.

St. Louis won the series’ first two games, but Fort Wayne became the first NBA team to overcome that deficit.

The Pistons weren’t so fortunate in the NBA Finals, where the Paul Arizin-led Philadelphia Warriors earned a 4-1 victory and their second championship.

Rodger Nelson’s “The Zollner Piston Story”:

The Zollner monthly employee magazine, The Rocket, wrapped up the season with an eight paragraph story headlined "The Big One Got Away Again." "The big one got away again, but the Pistons already are formulating plans to see that it doesn’t happen a third time… A summing up for the 1955-56 season can only be a pleasant one. The Z’s attendance increased sharply and tremendous interest in the playoff games (more than 24,000 saw the last three games at home) pointed toward another increase next season."

Previously

Adrian Wojnarowski on Kyle Singler: ‘There isn’t a young player who used lockout better to his advantage’

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

There isn’t a young player who used lockout better to his advantage than Detroit rookie Kyle Singler, who has been fantastic in Spain.

I love to read that about Kyle Singler, especially given my skepticism when the Pistons drafted him.

Pistons’ post-lockout questions

Zach Lowe of The Point Forward identified the key questions for each team following the lockout. On the Pistons:

Is Rodney Stuckey, a restricted free agent, worth big money? And will Detroit’s new ownership, led by private-equity giant Tom Gores, be willing to eat salary tied to either Richard Hamilton or Charlie Villanueva via amnesty? If the answer to that second question is “yes,” they can re-sign Stuckey to a fair-value deal and still be players in free agency in each of the next two summers.

I also think Ben Gordon and Jason Maxiell will play in the Pistons’ amnesty discussion, which as Lowe says, will go a long way in determining how much Detroit offers Stuckey.

NBA lockout set to end

The NBA owners and players have agreed to end the lockout, and that means PistonPowered’s focus will turn to the upcoming season. We’re still going to finish “Chevette to Corvette,” but that will only supplement our posts on the 2011-12 Pistons.

Most of our coverage of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will focus on what it means to the Pistons, but if you want to understand more about what’s happening league-wide right now, Royce Young of Eye on Basketball and Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press each wrote very informative Q and As about the lockout ending.

I’m sure I speak for many of you when I say it’s great to get this ship sailing again.

Austin Daye’s contract not renewed by Russian team

Sports.ru:

Viktor Bychkov, general director of BC Khimki, said the club will not renew the agreement with their American small forward Austin Daye. The 23-year-old player of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons had signed a two-month contract, which now expired.

«The club will not renew the agreement with Austin Daye. The position of our club is to consider seriously players from the NBA, if we are sure the player can sign a contract until the end of the season, not until the end of the lockout,» Bychkov said as quoted by RIA Novosti.

Eurobasket:

He tallied 4.0 points and 2.5 boards per game in Euroleague Qualifying Round. In VTB League Austin Daye posted 5.5 points and 2.0 rebounds per appearance

It’s tough to determine how much Khimki was dissatisfied with Austin Daye’s play and how much the team wanted a player it knows will be available the entire season, but those numbers don’t jump off the board. An optimistic reminder: Daye’s production in two months in Russia probably doesn’t correlate with his chance of playing well in the NBA next season.

Some A&F loving broski tried to steal from Will Bynum

Via the Oakland Township Patch:

Detroit Pistons point guard Will Bynum filed a report at the Oakland Township substation Nov. 11 when he discovered that two of his credit cards had been fraudulently used to purchase thousands of dollars worth of merchandise in his hometown of Chicago, including $488 spent at Abercrombie & Fitch, according to a Sheriff’s Office report.

Bynum recognized one of the individuals who was listed as a purchaser on one of the fraudulent transactions as an employee at an athletic club in Chicago where Bynum trains in the off season, according to the report. Further contact with Chicago police may be required; the case is closed pending further local leads.

Abercrombie & Fitch? Was someone in the market for a fur hooded coat? It goes great with nothing underneath, apparently. But seriously, that’s low, stealing from NBA players during a lockout.

Hat tip Life on Dumars

Greg Monroe tabbed as “rising” center

Michael Pina of Shaky Ankles:

In college, he was the unselfish friendly big man, always hanging out at the high post making sure everyone’s comfortable, like a big brother who protects his little siblings by standing taller than everyone else in the neighborhood. His technical skills were vast, and the way he made the Princeton offense sing made every first time viewer aware of the team’s best player before a basket was even scored.

Either due to the depressing team he played for or the slow-but-steady-wins-the-race style he exudes, last year Greg Monroe went through one of the most delightful rookie seasons a center has had in years, and very few noticed.

Between this and Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game projecting him as the second-best sophomore next year, Greg Monroe might finally be rated fairly based on his ability.

Pistons assistant coaches’ roles defined

We already knew the Pistons’ coaching staff would include Brian Hill and John Loyer, Dee Brown and Roy Rogers, Charles Klask and Steve Hetzel. The Pistons have also retained advance scout Bill Pope and video coordinator Ryan Winters, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

In more revealing news, we now know each assistant’s role under Lawrence Frank. Langlois:

Frank said he wants Hill and Loyer “thinking like a head coach,” with Hill assigned to be Frank’s sounding board on the defensive side and Loyer filling that role offensively. Rogers will be in charge of what Frank refers to as “special teams” – things like the first and last plays of each quarter, plays coming out of timeouts, free throws and two-for-one opportunities to end quarters.

Brown’s biggest areas of responsibility will be working with the team’s point guards and overall player development. Toward that end, he will work closely with Hetzel, who came to the Pistons from Cleveland two years ago with John Kuester and developed a strong rapport with Pistons young players. Hetzel will also help coach guards, while Hill and Klask will work with Rogers, who will be the primary assistant to deal with Pistons big men. Loyer will work with the team’s wing players, including those who fall under the “stretch four” category – power forwards with 3-point shooting range.

This information will be extremely helpful in determining how positive each assistant’s contributions are next season.