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Archive → May, 2012

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Thomas Robinson


  • Measurables: 6-foot-9, 237 pounds, junior F from Kansas
  • Key Stats: 17.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, .9 blocks per game while shooting 51 percent from the field
  • Projected: Top 5
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

If the Pistons miraculously land the No. 2 pick in the draft during tomorrow night’s draft lottery, I have a hunch the choice for them will essentially boil down to Robinson or UConn’s Andre Drummond. While Drummond is the higher risk/higher reward prospect of the two, Robinson is a little bit older and a little less physically imposing than Drummond. Still though, if the Pistons lean towards Robinson, they’ll be getting a tough, smart and hard-working player who might eventually rival Ben Wallace in the weight room with his physique.

Pros for the Pistons

Robinson would be a great compliment to Greg Monroe up front simply because he’s almost a polar opposite. While Monroe is a highly skilled largely finesse player at this point in his career, Robinson is the blue-collar brute the Pistons currently lack and sorely need if they’re going to ever get back to the tough, physical type of defensive basketball Lawrence Frank would like them to play.

Robinson was one of the best rebounders in the country, he’s a fantastic finisher in traffic and his offensive repertoire has quickly evolved from his sophomore season (when he was a role player) to his junior season (when he became a focal point of the Kansas offense). Robinson has skills that would help the Pistons immediately, but he also has enough upside to suggest that he could add even more to his game over the next few seasons.

Cons for the Pistons

The one skill Pistons fans are hoping for from any big man the Pistons land in the draft is shot blocking. Unfortunately, Robinson isn’t a big-time shot blocker. That doesn’t mean he’s bad defensively — he’s a solid individual defender and, like Monroe, has quick hands that allow him to come up with strips and steals.

He’s also a tad undersized — generously listed at 6-foot-9 — for his position. His athleticism and wingspan make up for that, and Wallace is certainly enough evidence that a strong, hard-working, athletic player can overcome a lack of height in the NBA post, but Robinson on the Pistons would probably fit best as a power forward, meaning fans hoping to see Monroe become more of a power forward than a center probably wouldn’t get their wish.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Many scouts believe Robinson is one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft. What Robinson should provide right away are athleticism, toughness, an NBA-ready body and a motor that won’t quit on both ends of the floor. He’s been a monster rebounder for KU and is aggressive looking for his shot around the rim.

Robinson surprised scouts this year with his ball handling ability and a solid midrange jump shot. He’s not afraid to get the ball at the top of the key and create his shot there. His quickness for a player his size and his explosive leaping ability make him a formidable threat offensively down the road.


Robinson has also shown flashes of being able to catch the ball facing up and isolate his man at the elbow or in the mid-range area. He’s a very good ball-handler for a player his size and he’s able to utilize his quickness advantage on most opposing big man and get to the basket on straight line drives. He also does an excellent job using spin moves to change directions and get to the rim.


Robinson is one of the safer picks around the top of the draft … He has the tools and the work ethic to become an ideal pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop kind of power forward … Once Robinson polishes his post moves and jump shot, he should be a fixture in a team’s starting lineup for a long time.

Dana O’Neil, ESPN:

By now, almost everyone in college basketball knows Robinson’s heart-wrenching story. He lost his beloved grandmother and grandfather in the span of three weeks.

Then, five days after his grandfather’s passing — on Jan. 21, 2011 — his mother, Lisa, died unexpectedly, leaving Robinson, in the midst of his sophomore season at Kansas, in charge of his 9-year-old sister, Jayla, who lived half a country away.

Were that the end of the story, had Robinson’s tale stopped at Lisa’s gravesite, with the heartbreaking picture of Jayla wrapped around her brother’s waist, this would be a tragedy.

Instead, the final chapters are a long way from being written, and Robinson, once the brave figure who played in a game the day after Lisa died, is a hero.

What is the best thing Thomas Robinson does for his team?

Kevin Hetrick of Cavs: The Blog:

Robinson’s size, strength & skills, combined with athleticism and intensity make him a can’t miss.  He’ll play hard, rebound, and provide some offense immediately, while ideally continuing to expand his post game and add range to his jumper.


Pistons’ lottery odds

The Pistons’ biggest day of the season is tomorrow, and accordingly, we’re going to give the lottery the wall-to-wall coverage it deserves. To start, here are Detroit’s lottery odds:

The Pistons have a 0.00235 percent of landing the No. 12 pick, which rounds to 0.0 percent.

Did you ever notice La Sera’s ‘Break My Heart’ sounds like Rick Mahorn?

Joe Mande did (hat tip: Trey Kerby of The Basketball Jones):

LeBron James was buddy-buddy with Rasheed Wallace after Sheed bloodied Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ head

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Stephenson offended James, but it’s doubtful James pushed for this kind of retaliation. In fact, here’s a story on how James sees retaliation: In February 2006, Rasheed Wallace clobbered Zydrunas Ilgauskas in a Detroit-Cleveland rivalry game. Gash. Blood everywhere. Big Z had to leave the floor and go to the locker room to get bandaged before returning to finish the game. When it was over, Wallace made clear the shot was intentional.

Here’s what bothered Ilguaskas, a source in the Cavaliers’ locker room remembered: “He looks out on the court in the second half, and there’s LeBron talking with ‘Sheed like nothing happened,” the source said. “They were hanging out on the court, joking, and it really bothered Z. But that’s LeBron – or, at least, that was him.”

Ilgauskas couldn’t have been too upset with LeBron. After all, Ilgauskas followed LeBron to Miami.

Also, maybe this incident speaks more to Wallace than LeBron. Wallace – at least relative to his public reputation – was one of the NBA’s most-liked players by NBA players. Wallace appeared to give little weight to the public’s opinion of him, but by all accounts, fellow players, especially his teammates, adored him.

Rodney Stuckey spending summer in Detroit, in part, because of son

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

Stuckey has spent his summers primarily in Seattle in the past, where he also has a network in place to monitor his workouts. But the total package, which now includes son Trey, 7 months, is available to him here.

Arnie Kander and assistant coach Steve Hetzel have been running his workouts and assistant Dee Brown, he said, is expected to join them soon.

“I have everything here as far as guys to work me out. Arnie is here, Steve, Dee will be here, the court’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I just feel better being here. Plus my son is here and I want to make sure I’m around to hang out with him.”

Rodney Stuckey’s use of therapy, roughly, coincided with the birth of his son. I don’t know whether that’s coincidence, but I find it interesting. Since the end of the 2010-11 season, so much has change for Stuckey.

As far as Stuckey’s game:

“I just want to get my body right – at least 5 pounds and 1 percent body fat,” he said. “I want to be ready to come in next year and have a great season.” He wants to be lighter and more explosive to be able to better finish at the rim. He’s working on his mid-post game this summer, he said, shooting over both shoulders, and using both hands around the basket.

Finishing at the rim has often been a problem for Stuckey, in part because he rarely dunks. Stuckey dropped 10 pounds before the 2010-11 season and shot a career-high 56.1 percent at the rim. Coincidence? Maybe. But I can’t imagine dropping a little weight would hurt Stuckey’s finishing at the rim.

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist


  • Measurables: 6-foot-7, 232 pounds, freshman F from Kentucky
  • Key Stats: 11.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals per game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 26 percent from three
  • Projected: Top 5
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

The easy answer is that if the Pistons are in a position to draft Kidd-Gilchrist, it means they’ve moved into the top three of the draft lottery, certainly reason for any fan of the team to be excited.

But Kidd-Gilchrist is also a throwback Piston who would quickly become a fan-favorite, not only because he’s a fantastic athlete, but because he’s a lockdown, physical defensive player. As we all know, the Pistons have an abundance of finesse players right now. Getting a young player with MKG’s toughness would be a huge, huge win.

Pros for the Pistons

As I mentioned above, defense is the immediate selling point. Kidd-Gilchrist is a big, strong perimeter player who can guard three positions. The Pistons currently only have two players (if Ben Wallace retires) — Rodney Stuckey and Tayshaun Prince — who can even be called average defensively.

And speaking of Prince, Kidd-Gilchrist would immediately give the Pistons more flexibility when it comes to what to do with Prince. Unlike some wing prospects in the draft, Kidd-Gilchrist is ready for a starting or at least primary role immediately. This would make it easier to reduce Prince’s minutes (which, in my opinion, would make him more effective) or trade him if there are teams out there looking for veteran help at small forward and who are unafraid to take on three pricey years on his contract even though he’s on the wrong side of 30.

Kidd-Gilchrist is an exceptional athlete, a good finisher and he’d be a great fit finishing off breaks led by either Stuckey or Brandon Knight. He’s also a great rebounder for his position and, despite poor perimeter shooting, still shot nearly 50 percent as a perimeter player. He’d be a huge, immediate upgrade for the Pistons at the small forward spot.

Cons for the Pistons

The main knock on MKG to this point is shooting. He’s not a major threat from long range. In a lineup with Stuckey who, although improved, is also not what anyone would mistake for a 3-point threat and Knight, who shot better than expected from three as a rookie but also may not necessarily be anyone’s idea of a 3-point specialist, the Pistons could potentially put a pretty poor shooting perimeter on the court for big minutes, which would take driving lanes away from all three.

That’s really the only negative anyone has to say about MKG, and it’s certainly not anything that would scare the Pistons or any team off from likely drafting him in the first four picks.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t have Davis’ size or athletic ability (though he’s a great athlete in his own right), but he brings all the intangibles of a winner. He has the highest motor of any player in the draft, can lock down players at three different positions, is one of the most efficient finishers in college basketball and is a leader on and off the court.

Kidd-Gilchrist isn’t quite the sure thing that Davis is, however. He’s a little undersized for his position and needs to get a more consistent jump shot. Some teams wonder if he’ll be an aggressive enough scorer at the next level. But for the most part, the NBA talent evaluators are sold. We have Kidd-Gilchrist ranked No. 2 on our Big Board and have him going No. 2 overall to the Washington Wizards in our Lottery Mock Draft. If Washington decides to take Bradley Beal instead of Kidd-Gilchrist, we doubt MKG slides out of the top five.


He really understands the nuances of making others better with his ability to set screens, pass, and make hustle plays, which is likely a big reason why he’s always been considered such a winner from very early on in his career.

The (Ohio) Morning Journal:

Kidd-Gilchrist changed his name on July 7, 2011. His uncle, Darrin Kidd, died on the day Kidd-Gilchrist was scheduled to sign his letter of intent to play at Kentucky.


Gilchrist has talked with a stutter for most of his life. He isn’t comfortable in the large group settings that are the norm in his sport, where strangers leaning close and interrupt each other with questions.

Kanaley taught him for four years at St. Patrick, working with him one-on-one in the resource room at the school. She remembers him as “a very, very sensitive young man” who didn’t like reading assignments that dealt with death; he calls her “one of my favorite teachers.”

So Kanaley understands the strain that his stuttering has put on Kidd-Gilchrist better than most. Put him in a social situation with his friends or teammates, and Gilchrist is at ease and speaks freely.

But when you’re a star for the No. 1 team in the country who’s about to be a lottery pick in the NBA Draft, everyone knows you. There are obligations beyond the court and the classroom.

“He doesn’t like all the hoopla around him,” Kanaley said. “I know the stuttering was very difficult for him – very difficult.”

What is the best thing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist does for his team?

Rob Dauster (follow him on Twitter) writes for NBC’s College Basketball Talk and BallinIsAHabit.net:

There is plenty to love about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as a prospect, but his best attributes as a player are the things that you can’t teach. He’s naturally strong. He’s more physical that his frame would indicate. He’s a terrific defender, often times getting switched onto an opponent’s point guard in his one season in Lexington. He’s a terror on the glass. Kidd-Gilchrist has a way to go in terms of developing his ball skills — he needs to be a better ball-handler and he has to improve his ability to shoot — but that will come with time. It’s just my opinion, however, but I’d rather have a player the inherent tenacity and toughness that needs to be taught a 15 foot pull-up than vice versa.


Jonas Jerebko’s summer focus – ball-handling and shooting – don’t thrill me

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

Those are the two points of emphasis for Jerebko this summer in skills work – ballhandling and shooting, ballhandling to get him to favorable spots and shooting from all angles and ranges, expanding on a versatility that could be his ticket to a greater role as he develops among a young Pistons core.

Jerebko started training camp at a robust 235 pounds but couldn’t maintain that level once the season started, playing in the 220s. A similar thing happened to him during his NBA rookie season, but this season his inability to maintain weight was even more pronounced because the lockout schedule left very little time for weight training.

He’s preparing to be ready to play both spots next season, he said, not worrying about adding bulk to be better equipped to defend power forwards or to focus on the perimeter skills more common to small forwards.

“I’ve got to be ready for both, so I’ve got to get my body ready for both,” he said. “My game has never been about bulk and be 250 and bang. That’s not my game, so I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and work on my game, all aspects, and be ready for the three and the four. I’ve got to know all the plays, even at the two and the five, so I’m not going to bulk up to 250 and play inside.”

He would like to get to 235 or 240, though, he said. In Italy, where he played small forward, the one-game-per-week schedule allowed him to maintain his weight at 235, Jerebko said.

I’ve advocated for Jonas Jerebko not to worry as much about mid-range shooting and ball-handling, at least as long as he’s on this roster. The Pistons already have enough players who do those things and need the ball in their hands. Detroit needs more players like Jerebko, who can contribute without the ball, not for him to turn into one.

Obviously, Jerebko working on those two skills is fine, and anything he does to improve is good. I know I’m nitpicking, but I just wish shooting and dribbling weren’t his priorities.

Instead, I’d love to see his main focus be lateral quickness. Jerebko has All-Defense potential as a small forward, but after a year playing power forward, he could improve his foot speed on the perimeter.

Vyacheslav Kravtsov reportedly on Pistons’ radar

Jonathan Givony? of DraftExpress:

Yes. Heard they might sign Slava Kravtov too. RT @Hermaphro: Is Henson enough of a shot blocker to pair with monroe in Detroit? ?#dxchat?

Kravtsov, a 7-foot Ukrainian center, went undrafted in 2009 and played for the 2010 Celtics summer league team. I figure the Pistons are also looking at him for the summer league. Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com analyzed Kravtsov in 2010:

Last year in the Ukranian Superleague, Kravstof averaged 14.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and a league leading 2.7 blocks in 29 minutes per game; to put that into some context, the league’s second best shotblocker was former NBA draft pick and serial Ethiopian adopter, Dan McClintock, at 1.9bpg.

Unfortunately, Kravtsov’s offensive game is not as nice. He scores highly in the Ukraine, but it’s born through size advantage alone. Kravs cannot post, shoot or hit foul shots, and while he can pass the ball and make shots around the basket, someone else has to get him the look. (And even then, he might drop the pass.) He shot 70% from the field, but he also turned it over 2.6 times a game, and it wasn’t as an offensive creator. Kravtsov is intriguing because of his size, defensive presence and decent athleticism

Lawrence Frank: Ben Wallace and Brandon Knight were Pistons’ hardest workers

Lawrence Frank in an interview with Jim Rome, via the Detroit Free Press:

"Brandon came in, his work ethic — I would say both he and Ben Wallace are consistently our two hardest workers.


Isiah Thomas would like to work in basketball again

ESPN Chicago’s Scott Powers recently caught up with Zeke:

“I definitely want to be in basketball again whether it be coaching or as a general manager,” Thomas said by phone. “My gift is basketball. I would love working with the kids. If it’s the right college program, I would consider it. If it’s the right GM job or coaching job in the NBA, I would consider it. I love the game. I just want to be in the game.”

This sentiment probably isn’t common outside of Detroit, where Isiah is still pretty universally loved, but I hope he gets another opportunity. A general manager job is probably out of the question — there’s not much defense I can muster for his tenure with the Knicks. But coaching or scouting would be up his alley and, although his record wasn’t good at Florida International, he was highly successful at motivating his players in the classroom. Perhaps he could get a shot at another small college. He’s truly one of the game’s legends and it would be a shame not to have him involved in basketball in some capacity.