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Archive → August, 2012

Corey Maggette-Ben Gordon trade came together quickly

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

Often, those conversations lay the groundwork for deals that can be agreed to overnight. The June trade with Charlotte that brought Maggette for Ben Gordon came together remarkably fast.

These details about how trades come together always intrigue me. The most likely impetus here: The Bobcats hired Rich Cho as their general manager shortly a year before the trade. I wonder what spurred this deal so suddenly.

Pistons bemoan lack of guards while sticking one at power forward

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

There’s a huge board with the depth charts for all 30 NBA teams on the north wall of Dumars’ office on the second floor of the team’s Auburn Hills practice facility. The Pistons’ depth chart shows plenty of options at power forward (Jerebko, Jason Maxiell, Charlie Villanueva, Austin Daye, plus Greg Monroe in the event both Andre Drummond and Kravtsov are good enough to chew up most of the 48 minutes at center) and small forward (Tayshaun Prince, Corey Maggette, Kyle Singler, Khris Middleton).

Depth in the backcourt, on the other hand, is comparatively thin: Brandon Knight and Will Bynum at point guard, Rodney Stuckey and rookie Kim English at shooting guard. As it stands now, it would be English of all Pistons rookies – Drummond, Kravtsov, Middleton and Singler, in addition – who might be most needed to fill a rotation spot even though he was drafted 44th, the lowest of the four Americans. (Kravtsov was not drafted in 2009 when he was automatically eligible.)

The Pistons, in fact, have more flexibility at guard than the depth chart might reveal. Stuckey spent most of his first four years playing point guard, so he could back up Knight capably, while Maggette has frequently swung to shooting guard over the course of his career. It’s not inconceivable, then, that the Pistons would go to camp without having bolstered their backcourt. It’s just not Dumars’ intention or preference.

“I would feel comfortable (with the status quo), but it’s something we’re trying to address, as well,” Dumars said. “We continue to look to shuffle one or two spots on our roster to give it more balance.”

I’ve maintained that, with any reasonable roster surrounding him, Austin Daye’s best position is shooting guard. He can shoot over smaller defenders, pass and dribble reasonably well for an off-guard and even post up smaller defenders.

Obviously, the biggest problems come defensively with his lack of quickness, but they can’t be worse than pounding Daye takes inside at power forward, and Daye’s long arms should provide at least some relief. Plus, if Daye gets beat on the perimeter, there will be a better defender than Daye coming to help from the power forward spot – erasing a problem for the Pistons’ guards that will exist as long as Daye stays at power forward.

Andre Drummond tooned

Natalie Sitto’s legendary toons at Need4Sheed now include another face: Andre Drummond. Click through to see the image, which qualifies as major breaking news for the Pistons this time of year. Natalie:

Excited by the Pistons youth movement, Andre was the first Rookie (and rightfully so) I tooned.

I eagerly await toons of Vyacheslav Kravtsov, Khris Middleton and especially Kim English. I’m not worried about Kyle Singler, though. He’s already been done.

Vincent Goodwill believes Ben Wallace wants to return

Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News on Ben Wallace:

I do believe he wants to be back for one more year.

Goodwill previously reported there was a ‘pretty good chance’ Wallace returns next season, and it sounds like the Pistons signing Khris Middleton hasn’t changed that.

With 15 players already under contract, something will have to give. I have no idea what.

Vernon Macklin the next Jeremy Lin?

Tom Haberstroh of ESPN identified five candidates to become this season’s Jeremy Lin, including Vernon Macklin:

Plain and simple: Florida Gators big men are sneaky good. Macklin could become the next player in a long line of forwards from the University of Florida who flew under the NBA radar coming out of college. Chandler Parsons, Udonis Haslem, David Lee and Matt Bonner were all drafted late in the first round, picked in the second round or not selected at all, but had no trouble making an impact in the league.

Macklin could be next. After being drafted 52nd by the Pistons in 2011, the 6-foot-10 Macklin has dominated the D-League in his short time there, averaging 14.5 points and 14.3 rebounds in his 10 games while shooting 52.7 percent from the field.

There’s some evidence that his D-League numbers are not entirely a fluke. Macklin posted an 18.2 PER in 135 (garbage) minutes last season. His per-36 minute averages: 12.3 points and 9.1 rebounds. Like Lin, Macklin excelled in the D-League and played efficiently in his cup of coffee in the NBA last season. Question is: Will someone give Macklin a shot like the Knicks did for Lin?

By signing with a Turkish team, Macklin probably won’t become this season’s Jeremy Lin. But if Macklin ever makes a sizable impact for an NBA team other than the Pistons, I’d think we can all agree that would be a pretty big punch in the gut.

The All-Also Rans: Gerald Glass and Isiah Thomas will always have one iconic connection

In case you haven’t noticed, although I’m sure you have, this has been a pretty quiet off-season for the Pistons since the draft. So, in the spirit of having something (anything) to write about, I’m going to spend the next two weeks profiling some of my favorite Pistons who never made much impact on the team despite the fact that I irrationally expected great things from them.

Gerald Glass joined the Pistons when the Bad Boys were at the end of their run, the roster was quickly aging and the team was trying to retool its supporting cast around the few mainstays — Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman and Bill Laimbeer — who remained. In November 1992, fresh off a first round playoff loss to the New York Knicks that featured a few new ill-fitting veterans — Brad Sellers, Orlando Woolridge and Darrell Walker — surrounding  the core guys, the team seemed to realize it needed to infuse some young, rotation-caliber talent. Acquiring Gerald Glass from the Minnesota Timberwolves was part of that strategy.

The Pistons sent Sellers, who was a disappointment in his lone season as a Piston, and point guard Lance Blanks, a former late first round pick of the team who fell just a bit short of being the heir apparent to Thomas as the PG of the future, to the Timberwolves for Glass and Mark Randall, both former first round picks.

Randall’s stats didn’t quite measure up to his phenomenal mullet, so I didn’t exactly get excited that he would be a Piston. But Glass, on the other hand, was an occasionally dynamic wing. A young, athletic, 6-foot-5 slasher, he was a different type of guard than anyone the Pistons had on the roster at the time, and it seemed like he’d definitely find a role.

In just two seasons at Ole Miss, he established himself as one of the top scorers in that school’s history and was eventually named to the school’s All-Century Team. When the Pistons traded for him, Glass was coming off a second season in the NBA where he averaged 11.5 points per game on 44 percent shooting in just 24 minutes per game for the T-Wolves. In a three-game stretch in December of his rookie season, Glass scored 27, 24 and 32 points off the bench in consecutive games for Minnesota. He wasn’t much of a shooter (24 percent from three for his career) or a free throw shooter (64 percent for his career), but he’d certainly shown enough promise when the Pistons acquired him to get excited. Plus, Gerald Glass has to be one of the all-time great NBA names.

Glass’s Pistons tenure had its moments, too. He had 16 points and 6 rebounds off the bench in his second game as a Piston. He scored 20 in a start in place of Joe Dumars in his fifth game. He averaged 16.3 points per game on 61 percent shooting in a three-game stretch in January. Overall, he averaged 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in just 13.9 minutes per game as a Piston and probably had more sustained stretches of minimal contributions as the norm moreso than the bright spots I pointed out above. The Pistons didn’t re-sign Glass after the season. He went on to play overseas for a couple of seasons, had another brief NBA audition with New Jersey and Charlotte during the 1995-96 season and then finished his career overseas.

But, as that video clip above attests, he was part of an iconic Isiah Thomas play, one of the last Isiah made in his final injury-plagued seasons as a Piston. Truth be told, Glass didn’t do much of the work on that play. Isiah got the bounce through traffic (after getting a fantastic outlet pass from Bill Laimbeer), got it high enough so that it could be finished with a dunk and actually, it looked like the ball would’ve came damn close to going through the basket or at least hitting rim by itself if no one touched it. But credit where it’s due: someone had to put the finishing touches on that play. It wasn’t Glass’s best dunk, but it was a fantastic play and the fact that Thomas was the one orchestrating it makes it an enduring one in Pistons history, one that Glass will always be attached to.

Former Piston Vernon Macklin signs with Turkish team

From Hoopshype:

Free agent center Vernon Macklin is signing with Gaziantep of Turkey, agent Greg Nunn told HoopsHype. Macklin, a Florida product, averaged 2.0 ppg and 1.5 rpg in his rookie year with the Pistons.

“Vernon decided to turn down three NBA camp invites,” Nunn said. “He feels he needs to play to showcase his talents and return to the NBA next year.”

I certainly wish the Pistons got more of a look at Macklin last season, but the best option for him pay-wise was certainly going to be overseas this season. If he took a training camp invite hoping to make a team and didn’t ultimately end up making that roster, his overseas options may have been more limited by that point. Hope it works out well for him.

Khris Middleton lowest-rated Piston on ESPN’s #NBArank

ESPN’s #NBArank – which ranks every NBA player based on "the current quality of each player" – has returned for another year, and three Pistons made the first installment of the countdown (401-500):

Middleton’s near-last ranking isn’t surprising, and even if it doesn’t actually mean anything, it is a little chuckle-worthy to see two players just ahead of him – Walker Russell (475) and Vernon Macklin (477).

A reminder: This project drastically underrated rookies last year. That’s probably perennially unavoidable, given we haven’t seen any rookie play an NBA minute yet. So, don’t fret where Detroit’s first-year players wind up. I’m much more interested to see where the team’s other 10 players rank.

Because Vyacheslav Kravtsov still isn’t listed on the Pistons’ official rosterthough he signed – he’s not included in the rankings. No need to expect him in the top 400.

Pistons assistant coach Roy Rogers turns down offer to join Portland Trail Blazers

Chris Haynes of Comcast SportsNet Northwest:

Big man specialist & Detroit Pistons assistant coach Roy Rogers was offered same position by #Blazers & he turned it down CSNNW has learned.

It’s always nice when your team’s assistant coaches are in demand. It’s even nicer when they stay.

Greek team reportedly wants Ben Wallace

Gazzetta.gr via Google translation (hat tip: SB Nation):

The transcription of the summer chasing Panathinaikos who, according to exclusive information gazzetta.gr, consider the case of Ben Wallace.

The "green" they want to change the balance not only in Greece but also in Europe with a resonant transfer and therefore consider the case of Ben Wallace. The 38 year old center-to 16-year career in the NBA is free and is pretty high on the list Pedoulaki Argyris. The Greek coach of the "cloverleaf" lookingboulder-player on defense … will download all the rebounds and will cover the basket of ‘green’, so it considers the case of the American Center, which seems to be the ideal as it covers everything you ask the coach of Panathinaikos.

Three thoughts that aren’t necessarily consistent with each other:

1. I’d be surprised if Ben Wallace plays for a team other than the Pistons next season.

2. Joe Dumars and Wallace talk every other day. Though the Pistons didn’t have to give Khris Middleton a contract tender until September, they signed him this week. Days later, a report emerges a Greek team is interest in Wallace. Maybe Dumars and Wallace are on the same page that Wallace won’t be a Pistons next season.

3. Perhaps, Panathinaikos realized the Pistons’ roster is now full, therefore assumed Wallace was available and hasn’t even spoken to him yet.

Also, this is far less relevant, but I really enjoyed this translated line about Wallace:

The wool reminds Josh Childress. Ben Wallace most of his career appeared to kotsidakia to … picking the hair broom available.