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Archive → June, 2012

Danny Manning reflects on basketball career, including his final season as a pro in Detroit

With the excellent college and pro basketball career Danny Manning had, his one nondescript season in Detroit is pretty insignificant in comparison to his career elsewhere, other than the fact that that was his final season.

As part of a regular series by Rob Trucks at Deadspin where various athletes discuss the ends to their careers, Manning talks about knowing his career was over after that season with the Pistons in 2003:

I knew it was time for me to retire after that [2002-03] season in Detroit. I came home that summer, and the desire to do what I needed to do to prepare myself for the upcoming season didn’t kick in. I didn’t want to go do any extra running. I didn’t want to do any extra lifting. I didn’t want to go do any extra shooting. I didn’t want to go into the gym as much as I wanted to or I needed to or should have been doing in all those summers before. And it’s not that I didn’t love the game of basketball any less. I just didn’t have the desire to prepare myself. And I knew that, once that desire to prepare myself for the upcoming season left, there’s no reason to play.

The last four years I was at a different place, but I was still ready. I was still prepared to go in to every game thinking, “Hey, my number could get called upon.” And most of the time it didn’t. I knew that, but that was my role. I was OK with that. I signed up for that. But after that Detroit year, it was … I just didn’t want to do what I needed to do to be ready.

The game that sticks out to me was the last regular-season game. We played Boston. And I was not in the rotation. End of the year we’ve already solidified our playoff spot, and so you rest some guys, you give some guys some more minutes who haven’t played before, and I got that opportunity to play. And that was probably some of the most fun I’ve had playing. We didn’t win the game, but just being out on the court and enjoying the moment.

It’s an excellent read if you want a break from the onslaught of draft coverage today, and actually, the whole series, which features athletes in various sports, is pretty fascinating.


Most likely transfer of Pistons’ draft pick to Bobcats: 2014

Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus:

I find it more likely than not that Charlotte will end up with a 2014 pick in the second half of the lottery. The Pistons finished with the league’s ninth-worst record this season, have a handful of rising talents (most notably Greg Monroe) and will have incentive to win games down the stretch in 2013-14 rather than coasting into the lottery.

A 2014 pick would still be valuable to the Bobcats, certainly. I’d estimate the value of the 10th pick somewhere around $6 million. But Charlotte is taking on more than twice that much salary, so for this deal to truly work they will almost certainly have to delay the pick until 2015 or 2016–and hope Detroit is still struggling then.

I agree with Pelton’s prediction that Detroit will send the pick to Charlotte in 2014, but I disagree that Charlotte erred by taking on twice as much salary as the 10th pick is worse. The Bobcats needed to up their payroll to meet the salary floor, anyway. So, that gives them more reason to take Ben Gordon and the attached draft pick.

Poll: Which player belongs No. 14 on the Pistons’ draft board?

Read this before voting

1. Anthony Davis

2. Thomas Robinson

3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

4. Andre Drummond

5. Harrison Barnes

6. Bradley Beal

7. Meyers Leonard

8. John Henson

9. Perry Jones

10. Tyler Zeller

11. Arnett Moultrie

12. Terrence Jones

13. Jared Sullinger

2012 PistonPowered Mock Draft

Patrick Hayes is not an accredited NBA Draft expert, nor does he have an advanced degree in scouting. He’s simply an enthusiastic young man with a sixth grade education and an abiding love for all NBA Draft prospects … join him for his second annual mock draft.

As always, I’m making draft predictions without the benefit of seeing any workouts, interviewing a single prospect (technically, I interviewed Draymond Green once when he was in high school though, does that count?) or having access to the wealth of scouting information that teams use to make selections. These are just my best attempts to match up team needs with players I think fit based on watching way too much college basketball last season. Second round picks are after the page break.

Here are the latest mock drafts by Chad Ford, DraftExpress, NBADraft.netVincent Goodwill of The Detroit News, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press and Tom Ziller of SB Nation. Coverage of the draft starts at 7 p.m. tonight on ESPN. So, no more setup needed. Let’s dig in.

1. New Orleans Hornets – Anthony Davis

As funny as it would be to see the Hornets take someone else considering all the hype Davis has had — and boy, if that happened wouldn’t SLAM Magazine’s cheeks be red? — there will be no surprises here. Davis is going to New Orleans to be the franchise’s and city’s latest sports savior.

2. Charlotte Bobcats – Thomas Robinson

I’m sure Michael Jordan will be intrigued by wings here. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is arguably the most competitive guy in this draft and Harrison Barnes is the forever-hyped star from Jordan’s college. But, if Rich Cho holds onto this pick, pairing the tough, solid Robinson up front with Bismack Biyombo is too good to pass up.

3. Washington Wizards - Bradley Beal

Personally, I like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist better. He’s tough, will be a phenomenal defensive player and he’d be a good fit at either the shooting guard or small forward spot in Washington. But the Wizards, like many teams, don’t have many elite perimeter shooters and that’s where Beal fits. He’ll clear driving lanes for John Wall, and that’s really important.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

The Cavs will settle for Kidd-Gilchrist, and that’s a fine consolation prize. They supposedly like Beal if he lasts this long and would also consider Harrison Barnes. With Kyrie Irving and his near 40 percent 3-point shooting, adding a shooter is less a necessity for them than it is for Washington and MKG will infuse toughness and defense on their perimeter. Cleveland has been really weak on the wings since LeBron James left and MKG is another nice addition to a roster that is slowly looking pretty solid again.

5. Sacramento Kings – John Henson

OK, hear me out on this one. Ford says the Kings have been high on Henson all year. Jason Thompson is hitting restricted free agency. The best perimeter player on the board, Harrison Barnes, would be another volume scorer on a team full of volume scorers. As last year’s Jimmer Fredette in the lottery pick showed, the Kings aren’t afraid to reach for a player they like, so if they don’t trade this pick (which seems like a possibility), it wouldn’t be a total shock if they reached to take Henson here.

6. Portland Trail Blazers – Damian Lillard

I’m a little scared of so-called consensus after last year. Brandon Knight was a ‘consensus’ pick to go to Utah at No. 3 for weeks and, even though I thought that seemed a tad high for Knight, I bought in because every respected draft outlet had him as a virtual lock there. The same thing is happening for Lillard. Like Knight, Lillard has moved up draft boards because of an overall weak crop of point guards, and reports indicate Portland wants Lillard and worry he might not be there when they pick 11th. I will reluctantly go with the experts and say Lillard comes off the board here.

7. Golden State Warriors – Dion Waiters

From Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News:

Jerry West, Warriors board member and consultant, has been drilling this word into the psyche of his front-office cohorts: Assets. Assets. Assets.

“We can’t afford to let assets pass us by and address need,” said Warriors general manager Bob Myers, explaining West’s philosophy.

According to Ford, West really likes Waiters. Golden State better listen to Jerry West.

8. Toronto Raptors - Andre Drummond

So close. For weeks, the almighty consensus has had the Raptors looking solely at players like Lillard, Barnes, Waiters and other wings. I don’t buy it. Sure, they are bringing last year’s lottery pick, Jonas Valanciunas, over this season. But does that mean their frontcourt is suddenly elite? Why not take Drummond and have your young twin towers combo? I hope it doesn’t happen for Detroit’s sake, but I really don’t understand why the assumption is Toronto is not interested in a big.

9. Detroit Pistons – Harrison Barnes

He doesn’t fill their most pressing need (especially now that Corey Maggette is on the roster) and he, like Knight, would cause another round of ‘RABBLE RABBLE RABBLEs’ from the advanced stats crowd, who are far from sold on him. But I think Barnes is the big name most likely to fall in this draft and I feel pretty comfortable saying that if Barnes falls and Drummond is off the board as well, Dumars would take Barnes in a heartbeat. It wouldn’t be the most popular pick, but one good thing would likely come out of it — a reduced role for Tayshaun Prince.

10. New Orleans Hornets - Kendall Marshall

This might be a slight reach for Marshall, but I think he’s underrated, he’s a pure pass-first point guard and his skillset would look awfully nice in a young lineup that will boast Davis and Eric Gordon next season.


11. Portland Trail Blazers - Meyers Leonard

I debated between Leonard and Tyler Zeller here. Leonard has more upside, Zeller would probably help Portland more right now. But with LaMarcus Aldridge already established as an All-Star up front, they can afford to gamble on a more high risk/high reward player like Leonard and hope he develops into the bruising rebounder he’s capable of being. They had similar luck with a raw former Big Ten center in Joel Przybilla, whose career didn’t really get on track until he got to Portland in his fourth year. Maybe they can have similar success with Leonard.

12. Houston Rockets - Jared Sullinger

You think Daryl Morey is scared of a cryptic medical report when a player who was once considered a possible No. 1 pick if he came out last year is available at the back of the lottery? I don’t buy the Sullinger free fall storyline. He’s a good risk at this point in the draft and Morey is the type of GM who will understand that. If Houston is picking here, I’d bet on Sullinger if he lasts this long.

13. Phoenix Suns - Austin Rivers

The Suns could possibly lose Steve Nash in free agency, and with him, any interest that people outside of Phoenix have in the team. Rivers, at the very least, is a big name that will attract attention all season as people watch to see if the hyped prep star who underperformed at Duke can turn into the NBA star many projected he would be when he was a junior in high school.

14. Milwaukee Bucks - Jeremy Lamb

I had the Bucks pegged for taking a big man until they acquired Samuel Dalembert in a trade with Houston yesterday. They could still use some depth up front, but with Dalembert, Ekpe Udoh and Larry Sanders, they’re OK there. Lamb, on the other hand, adds some size and defensive potential to their diminutive backcourt. Plus, versatile wing Carlos Delfino is a free agent, so Lamb offers some insurance if he leaves.

15. Philadelphia 76ers - Tyler Zeller

Philly will be ecstatic to get a late lottery-level big man here. Spencer Hawes is a free agent, Elton Brand is old and Zeller will be an immediate contributor either as a starter or reserve. He runs the floor well, finishes well and has good hands, so he’ll be a nice target for solid passers Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner.

16. Houston Rockets - Royce White

Between his John Lennon beard and calling me out on Twitter for getting his weight wrong, I might consider taking him in the top five if I had my way. But, as I said above with Sullinger, White’s upside is so great that he’d immediately become a nice young asset for Daryl Morey, who wouldn’t be scared off by White’s scary alleged red flags.

17. Dallas Mavericks – Arnett Moultrie

Moultrie was an underachiever in college who has impressed teams in workouts and has even been discussed as a longshot to sneak into the lottery after being projected in the 20s in most early mock drafts. He’s athletic, runs well, finishes well and could perhaps be a find for a Mavs team still figuring out how to adequately replace Tyson Chandler.

18. Houston Rockets - Perry Jones III

Well, let’s just give Houston the ultimate boom/bust draft. With three picks in the teens, they’d come out of this with three players who are incredibly intriguing. No one would be entirely shocked if Sullinger, Jones or White ends up being considered among the best picks in this draft someday. Also, no one would be entirely shocked if any of those guys were considered among the worst picks.

19. Orlando Magic – Moe Harkless

With a new GM taking over in Orlando, it’s hard to tell what direction the Magic will go in. Under Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy, a tall shooter like Andrew Nicholson would be a possible fit here, but if the Magic decide to trade Dwight Howard, their collection of guys who can stand on the perimeter and knock down shots out of double-teams will not be so necessary. Harkless would help them get much more athletic at a wing position, plus he should be a very solid defensive player even if his offense takes some time to develop.

20. Denver Nuggets – Terrence Ross

The Nuggets add another big perimeter player to throw at the many dynamic wing players in the West, plus get a player in Ross who can knock down the three, a big part of Denver’s offense. Many predict Ross as one of the draft’s sleepers. Chad Ford even had him sneaking into the lottery at one point.

21. Boston Celtics – Terrence Jones

What Boston does with these picks depends a lot on what they decide to do with their roster. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are both free agents. If both of those guys go elsewhere, it’s likely to hasten a rebuilding project. But if one or both, particularly Garnett, returns, Boston will be loading up for one more run and probably looking for college players who can step in and fill a role immediately. Jones is a versatile combo forward who would do a bit of everything for Boston.

22. Boston Celtics – Draymond Green

Building on that point above, Green would be able to give minutes at two positions, hit perimeter shots and rebound. Plus, adding him as a high post passer would take some pressure off of Rajon Rondo to be the team’s only player who consistently looks to create shots for others. Also, I might cry tonight when Green gets drafted. #PerfectSpartan

23. Atlanta Hawks – Andrew Nicholson

The Hawks rely so heavily on Al Horford and Josh Smith up front, Nicholson would give them not only a young big man who could give competent minutes at either PF or C, he’d also add a dimension to their offense as a stretch four. He’s a solid outside shooter who could create more space for Jeff Teague and Joe Johnson when they feel like driving inside.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jeff Taylor

Green is destined to go here if he’s still on the board, but assuming he’s gone, Cleveland will continue to improve the talent on its wing. Like their earlier pick, Kidd-Gilchrist, Taylor projects as a reliable defensive player. Taylor also had a fantastic season shooting the ball last season. Oh, and for the record, I really don’t want Dan Gilbert to get Draymond Green. Gilbert is #NotAPerfectSpartan.

25. Memphis Grizzlies – Will Barton

O.J. Mayo is a free agent and the Grizzlies are perennially flirting with maybe possibly trading Rudy Gay. If both guys are back, Barton, a local college star at Memphis, gets to back them up and develop. If one or the other isn’t back, he can step in and play a little bigger role immediately.

26. Indiana Pacers – Fab Melo

With Roy Hibbert, the Pacers don’t necessarily need more size, but Melo is a shot-blocker, he’s big and he’d give the Pacers another potential rim protector to put in the game when Hibbert is on the bench. With David West and Tyler Hansbrough, Indiana actually has a pretty undersized frontcourt outside of Hibbert and Melo would help beef that up.

27. Miami Heat – Tony Wroten Jr.

Mike Miller and James Jones are reportedly considering retirement and Shane Battier is old. The Heat could use some young legs in a reserve role on the perimeter and Wroten is versatile enough to play either guard spot and give minutes at any perimeter position. He won’t replace any of those players as a perimeter shooter, but he has a long wingspan and could help defensively.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder – Evan Fournier

Fournier is an intriguing prospect because of his size and athleticism. He might be a reach if he were taken in the teens where he was originally projected, but he’d be good value here for a team like Oklahoma City that can give him time to develop.

29. Chicago Bulls – Marquis Teague

I fully expect Derrick Rose to come back healthy next season, but the Bulls could benefit from attempting to lighten his workload some. Teague could actually go higher than this as teams always reach for point guards, but if he’s on the board when the Bulls pick, they’d have another athletic PG to eventually give quality minutes and allow Rose to rest more during the regular season.

30. Golden State Warriors – Festus Ezeli

I had them taking Waiters earlier despite the fact that the team owner loves size, so they’ll compromise and take a big man prospect here. Ezeli is raw and will probably need some time before he develops into a meaningful contributor, but by all accounts he’s a hard worker who has already improved a lot during his college career.

(Second round after the jump)

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3-on-3: With the ninth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select …

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, Patrick and I will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. In the days leading up to the draft, we’re going to discuss what the Pistons could/should/might/should not do with each of their three picks.

For each 3-on-3, we’ll be joined by a guest contributor. Today as we discuss the 9th pick, that’s Sean Corp from Detroit Bad Boys. Follow him on Twitter.

Please add your responses in the comments.

1. Which player do you think the Pistons are most likely to select at pick nine?

Dan Feldman: John Henson. Henson will likely be on the board, he had a good workout in Detroit, and he immediately upgrades the Pistons’ defense. Even if he’s limited until he adds weight, Henson is too athletic, too hard working and too savvy to ride the bench next season.

Patrick Hayes: I’ve become more amenable to Meyers Leonard with the multiple reports about his strong workouts, size, athleticism and good attitude, but I still think the logical pick is John Henson. Henson has been on the radar too long, and his best skills — shot blocking and defense — are exactly what the Pistons need the most. Henson is far from a fix-all player, but I’m convinced he’d be a solid contributor.

Sean Corp: John Henson. He fits the profile of what the Pistons are looking for — shot blocker, plus defender, can handle the pick and roll. But I’m extremely concerned that Henson is only nine pounds heavier than Tayshaun Prince. I used to be an avid Henson backer but I’m on the fence more and more. Slight frame. Already 21. Shot 51 percent on free throws and only 35 percent on jumpers. His D will really need to shine to make up for those offensive shortcomings

2. Which realistic target at pick nine would make the best pick?

Dan Feldman: Andre Drummond. Drummond is a clear tier above the John Henson/Meyers Leonard/Terrence Jones/Tyler Zeller/Arnett Moultrie group, and Drummond could fill the Pistons’ biggest need. I don’t think he’ll fall to No. 9, but it’s possible – and tantalizing.

Patrick Hayes: Perry Jones III. Exactly one player likely to available at nine has superstar upside — Jones. He’s 6-foot-11, runs the floor like a guard, is one of the best finishers in the draft and he’s young enough to develop an offensive game that consists of more than just jumping really high and dunking on people when he feels like it.

Sean Corp: I’ve started to come around on Meyers Leonard. I am inherently skeptical of any player that rockets up draft boards based on either 1. the NCAA tourney or 2. the combine. With that said, Leonard seems like the real deal to me. He isn’t an awkward, bumbling 7-footer, he has athletic ability to go with his heft (250 pounds). Just looking at his age, his production last year and his measurables and you have to be intrigued. The question becomes which is more likely — Henson adds muscle or Leonard polishes his game. My money is on Leonard.

3. Which realistic target at pick nine would make the worst pick?

Dan Feldman: Austin Rivers. Before the Pitons traded Ben Gordon, I wouldn’t have bothered including a guard among the realistic targets, but I guess it’s possible they take one now. I think that would be a mistake – because I think the best player available at No. 9 will be a big – especially if that guard is Rivers. He doesn’t do anything besides score, and I’m not sure he can score efficiently enough.

Patrick Hayes: Perry Jones III. He does all of the athletic things and has all of the measurables that tantalize scouts and he has all of the so-so stats, questions about his desire to get better and how hard he plays that is a trait of almost every elite athlete who underperforms. Whether or not the Pistons take Jones depends largely on where they think they are as a franchise right now. If they think they are at a point where missing badly on the No. 9 pick wouldn’t be ruinous enough to pass on a player with Jones’ potential, I think it’s likely they’d give him more serious consideration.

Sean Corp: There are A LOT of names to choose from here. It seems like outside the top four there are question marks everywhere. I’m not as skeptical about Andre Drummond as some but I sure am wary of Perry Jones III, Harrison Barnes and Austin Rivers. Particularly Jones. He is like the college football team that starts the season ranked way too high but stays in the top 25 based on reputation and because voters don’t like to admit they are wrong. I’m not sure if PJ3 ends up being an under-performing SF or an under-performing PF but I’m pretty sure he’ll under perform.

Chad Ford: ‘Pistons are screwed’

Chad Ford of ESPN:

Yeah, the Pistons are screwed. They need a big, athletic center to pair with Greg Monroe, and those guys are so rare, they’re never going to get them where they’re drafting and don’t have the goods to find one in free agency. So they can either (a) take the elite shot blocker who is too skinny to play in the paint, or (b) the big, physical guy with maturity issues who doesn’t scream "NBA starter." I’d take Henson, too. But it’s by default right now. All the teams trying to trade up don’t have athletic bigs to offer, either.

I think Ford’s rhetoric might be a little extreme – and that could have something to do with upstaging Bill Simmons in what I found to be ridiculously fun draft conversation – but there’s certainly a lot of truth in what Ford says.

Pistons flew to New York to watch Andre Drummond work out Tuesday

Chad Ford of ESPN:

Sources say that the Pistons flew to NY to see Andre Drummond workout on Tuesday evening just in case he slides to 9.

I think the Pistons would likely take Drummond at 9 if he slides to them tonight.

Pistons ‘flirted’ with moving up to draft Andre Drummond

Chad Ford of ESPN, in his latest mock draft, has the Pistons draft John Henson:

Analysis: The Pistons, who desperately need size in the middle, are holding their breath that Drummond slides this far. If the Kings don’t take him at No. 5, he just might. They like John Henson, too. They need length, athleticism and shot-blocking — Henson provides all three.

Trade Scenarios: The Pistons have flirted with the idea of moving up to secure Drummond, but it’s more likely they stay at No. 9.

Pistons’ Big Board:
1. Thomas Robinson
2. Andre Drummond
3. John Henson
4. Tyler Zeller
5. Perry Jones

Mike Scott and Miles Plumlee to Pistons in second round of latest ESPN mock draft

Chad Ford of ESPN:

39. Detroit Pistons

Mike Scott | PF | Virginia

Scott is another player who has been moving up draft boards with excellent workouts. Several teams said he has outplayed several higher-ranked prospects in their workouts, and it’s clear Scott is getting some looks late in the first round.

44. Detroit Pistons (via Houston)

Miles Plumlee | PF | Duke Plumlee’s stock also has risen dramatically over the past month. Despite his pedestrian numbers at Duke, teams are intrigued with his elite athletic abilities and rebounding. Could be the next Jeff Foster.

Simply, I’d be thrilled with this outcome.

I really like Mike Scott. He might not possess ideal size and athleticism, but he plays hard, smart, and most importantly, well.

I don’t expect Plumlee, who has great athleticism and size but lacks skills, to be around for the 39th pick, but I’d like him even there. If he accepts a dirty-work role, he could be very valuable.

Poll: Which player belongs No. 13 on the Pistons’ draft board?

Read this before voting

1. Anthony Davis

2. Thomas Robinson

3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

4. Andre Drummond

5. Harrison Barnes

6. Bradley Beal

7. Meyers Leonard

8. John Henson

9. Perry Jones

10. Tyler Zeller

11. Arnett Moultrie

12. Terrence Jones