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Slava Kravstov is ready to play right away, and other observations, sights and video from Detroit Pistons open practice

I made the trek out to Oakland University to watch the Detroit Pistons open practice on Saturday. It’s the third time I’ve gone to the open practice (you can see my irrational excitemetn from the other two times here and here), and I have to say, this was by far the most entertaining. Lawrence Frank barely talked, other than thanking the fans, then he just got out of the way and rolled the balls out to let the team get as much scrimmage time in in front of fans as possible. The previous ones I watched featured the team running through drills (sometimes with long explanations by the previous coaches) for a significant portion of the practice which, even to the biggest basketball junkies, is a little on the boring side.

The players also made it entertaining. As you’ll read below, it was physical. They went at each other, and if that’s the intensity level they play with in a public practice, I can only imagine what is going on behind the scenes. Below are some observations I jotted down, some photos and some video clips I was able to snap in between trying to keep my 2-year-old son from stealing Skittles from the family sitting next to us. If anyone else was there, feel free to leave your own observations in the comments. Keep in mind, I tend to get way to excited about this kind of thing (I once thought Walter Herrmann would win Sixth Man of the Year based on an open practice), so I reserve the right to backtrack from these to more measured opinions in the future).

Assistant coach Brian Hill talks with some of the players between quarters. The Pistons rotated players and combinations throughout the scrimmage and the assistant coaches took turns running huddles on the sidelines.

Slava Kravstov is for real

Virtually every team is on the lookout for young, tough, athletic, defensive-minded big men, so it’s hard to believe Joe Dumars simply plucked one out of essentially nowhere when most teams have similar abilities to scout international players these days. That appears to be exactly what has happened though. When I wrote my preliminary projections for how the Pistons rotation will shake out on Friday, I expressed a hope that one of the young bigs, Slava Kravstov or Andre Drummond, would get the starting center spot, even if it only meant that player would play minimally at the start of each half. After watching Kravstov today, I’m convinced he will be Detroit’s starting center for one reason — defense.

When he guarded Greg Monroe, he successfully pushed Monroe way out of the paint. He moved his feet quickly and stayed in front of Monroe on drives. He was physical, and that will likely result in him picking up a lot of fouls as a rookie, but that’s OK — it’s doubtful the Pistons will be counting on him to play big minutes.

His shot-blocking looked as good as advertised. He didn’t bite on pump fakes, kept his feet and blocked shots facing up. He also came from the weak side and caught shots by penetrating guards.

This is probably more a statement on the overall lack of defense the Pistons frontcourt played last season, but Kravstov in the limited time I watched him today already looked like the most natural defensive player on the Pistons roster. His skillset is so rare on this team, that it’s going to get him on the court.

Offensively, as you’ll see in the highlights along with a couple of his blocks, he finishes well around the basket. The reports of him having no offensive game outside of the immediate area around the basket seem accurate (although he looked like he sets good, physical screens), but any baskets he gives the Pistons are a bonus. If he can defend, he’s going to play right away and add a dimension to the Pistons they sorely need.

Andre Drummond needs work

We all knew that already, of course, but Drummond’s rawness was on full display. He’s incredibly gifted athletically, moves up and down the court well and, when he’s in traffic, has the ability to go up and dunk over anyone at any time. He had a great one-handed dunk over about three players after grabbing a pass in traffic.

But the scouting reports on him coming out of college — that he lacks any real schooling in fundamentals and mainly relies on his immense physical gifts — seemed about right. He rushed offensively a few times when he got touches in the post and took low percentage shots. He looks to dunk all the time, which is exciting for fans, but not always the most prudent decision and could lead to drawing some offensive foul calls. Love the aggression though.

He was really uncomfortable looking at the free throw line. On one of his stranger attempts, he started his shot, caught himself and made a motion like he was going to wipe his forehead, then continued with his motion. I can’t really describe accurately how it looked, other than just reiterating that he didn’t seem super comfortable when he wasn’t right under the basket. That’s not a huge issue for the Pistons, considering they don’t need much offense out of him.

Defensively, the difference between him and Kravstov is discipline and footwork. While Kravstov didn’t leave his feet much on fakes, Drummond bit on a couple. Kravstov also seemed to be a bit better at anticipating where offensive players were trying to get with the ball and beating them there.

Overall, he’s a freakish athlete, ran the floor well, he’s an elite finisher and there was absolutely nothing about his performance that was disappointing. He’s a project, though, so the Pistons are probably right to bring him along slowly, and if Kravstov is as legit as he looks, they’ll have that luxury.

Jonas Jerebko looked a step quicker than just about everyone on the court Saturday.

Jonas Jerebko’s jumper looks better

On Friday, Dan Feldman wrote this about Jonas Jerebko:

Jonas Jerebko is not a bad perimeter shooter, but he’s not a good one, and it’s frustrating how close he is to being good.

Now, Oakland’s three-point line is the college line, not the NBA one, so it was hard to tell if Jerebko was shooting actual threes or the long twos Dan complained about in his post. I also didn’t see him attempt a corner three, a place Feldman noted Jerebko shoots 38 percent from. But what I did see, and a couple of the highlights in the video should show, is that Jerebko’s release is quicker and there was no hesitation when the ball was swung to him. Those have been problems in the past — he’s passed those shots up or he didn’t get them off quick enough before the opportunity closed.

Beyond that, Jerebko also looked much more comfortable in the open court and handling the ball. He looked — dare I say it — like a small forward. He initiated the fast break, he found teammates with great passes, he moved without the ball and he hit perimeter jumpers.

Is Brandon Knight figuring out the point guard thing?

Brandon Knight may never be a traditional pass-first point guard, but Saturday, he looked like a more efficient guard. His passing was crisp, his decision-making as to when to look for his offense and when to simply run the offense was better and there wasn’t the occasional sloppiness with the ball that plagued him last season. He particularly looked more comfortable running pick and roll, which is a great sign for the Pistons.

Is Tayshaun Prince back to the old Tayshaun Prince?

The Pistons’ young players need Tayshaun Prince to be not quite so ball-dominant in the offense to see if they can develop into the centerpiece type of players the front office hopes they can become. On Saturday, Prince rarely touched the ball when initiating the offense. He made quick decisions when he caught in on the wings rather than holding the ball. He made good, quick entry passes into the post and he moved without the ball.

If the team develops to the point that the Isolayshaun offense becomes a thing of the past this season, that will be a huge win for the Pistons, the fans who watch and for Prince himself, who is much better as a third or fourth option than when he’s forced into being a primary option.

Greg Monroe’s evolution

The biggest question with Greg Monroe is simply whether or not it was even possible for him to make as big a leap forward this offseason as he did between his rookie and sophomore seasons. There were good signs on Saturday that he can.

He might never be a great defender. He can be an improved one by making use of his quick hands to get more steals. On Saturday, he had at least four steals and deflections in the lane, either getting a hand in passing lanes or stripping the ball from the big men he was guarding. He made a better effort to hold his position in the post. If Kravstov or Drummond (or, hopefully, both) emerges this season as a viable defensive stopper up front, allowing Monroe to always guard the worst of the opposing team’s two frontcourt positions, he could once again make a huge leap.

He has more room to grow on defense than he does on offense at this point, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see new things. Several times, Monroe took steals or rebounds and immediately looked to start the break himself. He’s a solid ball-handler and great passer for a big man. If this allows the Pistons to get into their offense quicker, I’m all for him doing this more often.

He also showed a bit more range on his jumper and more comfort taking it. Any time he was given a crack of space in the 15ish feet range, he shot with no hesitation, and I didn’t see him miss from that spot. He struggled a bit around the basket against Kravstov and Drummond, but off the dribble or shooting jumpers, they really couldn’t guard him.

His biggest improvement on offense will simply be him being more assertive. He’s clearly the Pistons best player, and if he’s not getting enough touches, he needs to demand them.

Don’t close the book on Charlie Villanueva yet

Not only did the reports that Charlie Villanueva is in great shape look to be true, he was more active than I’ve ever seen him as a Piston. He made a passable effort on defense — coming up with at least two steals — and he stayed around the basket on offense. In the video, you’ll see an incredible move he made on Jason Maxiell. He looked like a different player. Of course, he’s tantalized with flashes like that before, so until he does it for a season, there’s no point in getting hopes up, but he definitely looks like he’s in line for a rotation spot if he’s been playing that well in practice.

Singler struggled

A couple of things stood out to me about Kyle Singler. First and foremost, he’s much slimmer than he was at Duke. He legitimately looks more like a small forward than a power forward based on his build now.

Secondly, he struggled with his shot — a couple were way off. He’s the type of player whose contributions will probably not show up statistically, but if he’s going to earn minutes as a rookie, he’ll have to hit his jumper more consistently. With Jerebko, Maggette and Austin Daye all competing for minutes at Singler’s position, there’s little margin for error in camp.

Other notes

  • Joe Dumars was there, sitting courtside. As I wrote above, I’ve been to two of these, and don’t remember seeing Dumars, let alone courtside. I know he prefers to be behind the scenes, but it is nice to see him out observing things like this up close every once in a while, even if for sybolic reasons.
  • Corey Maggette and Rodney Stuckey are going to cause a lot of bruised sternums this season and probably already have in practice. It’s amazing how much contact they take, even in a scrimmage.
  • Kim English looked much more comfortable as a slasher and open court player. It’s not that his shot looked bad, it’s just that he was maybe the most aggressive player on the floor (other than Kravstov) and he excelled in open court situations where he could fill lanes or attack the basket.
  • Jason Maxiell appears to be in even better shape than last season, which makes sense since he’s entering another contract year. He told the crowd during an interview that he did a lot of work on the track this season.
  • Khris Middleton didn’t stand out either way. He hit one shot that I remember — a corner three — but it didn’t count because he stepped out of bounds.
  • Will Bynum looked healthy. I don’t know how much Bynum will play, but if he’s healthy, he’s always an instant offense and change of pace threat off the bench. There was nothing that suggested he isn’t the best bet to open the season as the backup point guard despite two high profile camp invites who play that position. Speaking of …
  • Pistons P.A. announcer Mason would love for Jonny Flynn to make the team — he said ‘FLYNN AGIN’ several times despite Flynn not really doing much when he was on the court. Flynn didn’t look bad, but he didn’t stand out as doing anything remarkable either.
  • Terrence Williams, on the other hand, is intriguing. He looked comfortable as a point guard and his height allows him to make passes others can’t. He’d give the Pistons a dimension they don’t really have off the bench in their backcourt with his size. Backup guards Bynum and English are on the smallish side. Still don’t think he makes the team, but I can see why Frank likes his skillset.
  • Here is some coverage of the open practice from others: Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News; Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press; David Mayo of MLive; Ryan Hegedus of Life on Dumars.
  • Enjoy the highlights:


  • Oct 7, 20122:29 pm
    by Accelerator


    I sat right behind where the press bench was sitting for most of the practice.  There was a great moment shortly after tip-off, when Charlie V went to attack the basket, but instead made a horrendous turnover.  Vince Ellis nearly facepalmed with disgust, and Keith Langois (Mr. Positivity) patted him on back laughing.

    Not sure if kickboxer Jean Claude CV or Austin Daye will crack the 11th or 12th spot in the rotatation, but its looking like one of them will end up being moved during the Feb trade deadline.

    • Oct 7, 20126:00 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Haha, he still is who we thought he was. But in all fairness, he did play pretty well. He wasn’t glued to the perimeter, he made a couple of nice post moves and he tried on D.

      I agree with you on the rotation — I think only one of those guys cracks the initial rotation, and even then, probably only plays situationally when the team needs some quick scoring. 

  • Oct 7, 20123:28 pm
    by Lake Side Live


    Nice rundown on everybody.  Just noticed one absentee Austin Daye, was he ridiculously underwhelming to the point there was no mention or did he not play?

    • Oct 7, 20126:01 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Nothing particularly outstanding, good or bad, about him. He made a couple of jumpers, but I didn’t notice him doing much else.

  • Oct 7, 20125:26 pm
    by labatts


    “I once thought Walter Herrmann would win Sixth Man of the Year based on an open practice.”  

    To be fair, I did see him make some amazing plays. 

    • Oct 7, 20126:03 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      He may have been the best player on the team for that one day.

      • Oct 7, 20128:00 pm
        by Lake Side Live


        The first time me and my college freinds saw his execution of a windmil finger roll we called him poetry in motion.

  • Oct 7, 20128:27 pm
    by David


    I felt like charlie v is trying to hard to impress the crowd that hes not playing for himself anymore and I feel like he is over thinking everything.  After his first action when he went to the bench I was being to emotional about missing a shot and just had his head down for the most part.  Before the scrimmage started when the doors first opened the doors they were still just doing normal practice plays in which daye was guarding jerebko and kind of wraped him up and frank blew the whistle and daye just started complaining about jerebko but raising his voice to him.  I think that might be a reason why he didn’t have much action. 

  • Oct 7, 201211:27 pm
    by tarsier


    I am really hoping to be forced to concede that I was wrong about Slava’s upside. It’s hard to imagine a guy who came out of nowhere being better than a Nazr Mohammed type. But who knows. Bullying Monroe isn’t usually too easy to do. At least not until late in games when he tends to wear out.

    • Oct 7, 201211:48 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Yeah, it’s crazy to think in this day and age that a quality big man anywhere on the planet could slip off of virtually everyone’s radar to the point that he was never even drafted, but based on the little I’ve seen and what has been written so far, that appears to be exactly what has happened.

      • Oct 8, 20122:24 pm
        by apa8ren9


        I agree, I saw Zeller in Summer league in Vegas and as far as prospects go I expect Slava to be better than him.  Slava definitely should have been given an opportunity prior to this with the likes of Johan Petro and Mikke Moore in the league.

      • Oct 8, 20122:44 pm
        by Tom Y.


        Right after his deal was announced I think Langlois wrote that a few teams did have him on their radar, and were kinda following him, but the Pistons were first to hear that he had made a breakthrough and flew someone over right away to see him play, then made the quick decision to sign him.

  • Oct 8, 20129:49 am
    by bugsygod


    Great about knight, all we want is effiecient QB of the team.  Great he has improved in this area.  Patrick any issue with Drummond hustle/working hard?  This was big concern before draft. 

    • Oct 8, 20129:55 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      He seemed to be playing/trying hard. He was just late on defensive rotations some and he’s not very strong yet. Maxiell and Monroe were both able to move him out from under the basket and knock him off balance quite a bit.

      There wasn’t anything to be alarmed about with him, but I’d also be surprised if he’s in the rotation to start the season.  

      • Oct 8, 201210:24 am
        by bugsygod


        Ok great, just want to make sure no effort issues.  The strength and rotation issues are just youth and experience.  From all the coach and player comments, he seems to be really engaged and trying to get better, just has steep learning curve.  Great to hear you saw some of the same basic things as an outside observer.  I think this team can be a top 10 defense.  With the strong def. schemes Frank has been putting, the defense improvement the 2nd half of last year and additons of shot blockers.  From your game observations, do you think top 10 is possible? 

  • Oct 8, 201210:18 am
    by bvpiston


    Did anyone get to see anything that resembles that secret post move Drummond has been working on during the summer? I’m curious to know what it is.
    Patrick, too bad you don’t have any video on his botched free throw attempt, because it sounds hilarious. It’s not really a big deal, but I just don’t understand professional basketball players who can’t shoot at least 50-60% from the line. I mean, come on, you get paid millions of dollars to play, this is your job. They’re freebies. Make’em!

  • Oct 8, 201211:30 am
    by apa8ren9


    I saw something different Patrick probably because I was focusing on Austin Daye.  He really pisses me off now.  Lots of negative body language at the beginning of the practice and he was involved with just about every negative play.  Lots of people were making mistakes but it just bothers me all of the extra gesticulation he shows. 
    They were very physical with their defense.  I agree Drummond is not ready.  He needs a redshirt year so to speak.  He has the tools but he doesnt quite know how to play yet.  Any more than 5 minutes of real playing time in a game and he will get exposed worse than Daye.  He definitely needs time to develop.  Conversely Slava was a bit more polished and looks like he could be serviceble for 15 or so minutes defensively.  Also as you saw he can finish, so he can get a few garbage buckets. 
    Well, my rose colored glasses were knocked off a bit.  I think they will be A LOT more competitive this year as a whole.  I wont be a negative Nancy, but if they make the playoffs with this roster it will be a great accomplishment and something that will benefit them greatly even if they get swept.
    As far as CV goes, I liked his engagement and his effort was there.  If he continues with the effort it will help the team.  I dont know how much time he will get but he will contribute and not get DNP’s.  At this point I can see Daye being the odd man out.

  • Oct 8, 201212:56 pm
    by pistolino


    Did Daye really look like he put on 20 lbs or is he delusional again?  Seems like every year we hear how he’s packed it on and he always looks the same.

  • Oct 8, 20122:20 pm
    by TR


    Brandon Knight Alleyhoops to Terrico White do sound nice right about now and we don’t have nobody at that position that’s athletic as he was. DANG YOU DUMARS!

  • Oct 8, 20122:26 pm
    by apa8ren9


    @Patrick are you “big time” enough to see any of the practice prior to the public entering?
    Did you say “Do you know who I am?, I write for Piston Powered” and they let you in?

    • Oct 8, 20122:30 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Haha. Unfortunately no. Some NBA teams credential TrueHoop Network writers to cover the team. The Pistons aren’t one of those teams though. Maybe someday. 

      • Oct 8, 20127:07 pm
        by Holy Crow


        Considering that you ran with the headline “Piston’s organization is dysfunctional” you’re lucky they even let you in the building.

        • Oct 8, 20129:00 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          Couple of points:

          - I didn’t write that headline, Dan did. And he wasn’t wrong. Things are heading in a better direction now, but ‘dysfunctional’ is a pretty accurate description of the last three years or so.

          - I’m not looking to be credentialed. My days of dreaming of being a beat writer are over. I’m content doing what I’m doing and maintaining the independence to write what I want to write here. I think the Pistons are absolutely behind the times by not credentialing bloggers. I’d be perfectly content seeing some of the guys at Detroit Bad Boys or Natalie at Need4Sheed get more access than they’ve been given. If they gave them credentials and shut me out because they didn’t like something I wrote, I’d be OK with that. It’s the principal of it. Their most loyal, engaged, informed fans are readers of PistonPowered, DBB, N4S, etc., not just the newspapers. Those sites all have significant audiences, and it’s a missed opportunity. I’m not upset about it. In fact, my day job/family life would make it pretty impossible for me to cover games in person anyway. I’ve been a newspaper sports writer. I’ve been in locker rooms and had access. It’s not something I’m eager to go back to doing, for a variety of reasons. I would just like to see others who do good work at non-traditional outlets get the opportunity. I have no doubts people like Feldman, Mike Payne, Natalie Sitto, Ben Gulker, Sean Corp, etc. would come up with some really creative stuff if they had the opportunity.

          - By your logic — and I use the term ‘logic’ loosely because you are very obviously a mental lightweight — you seem to be suggesting that because this site has been critical of the organization at times in the past, that they should not give access. So, since you’ve been routinely critical in the comments, should you not be allowed to comment? Is that how you expect the state’s beat writers to operate too? Should the Freep or News shy away from criticism out of fear that access will be pulled?

          Honestly, I do just fine without access. I didn’t have access for the very post you are commenting on and still managed to write about 2,300 words and get video highlights (granted, not the greatest quality, but still better than nothing), which none of the sites with access have available online.

          Please enlighten me about what your gripes with this site are about? You take these little passive aggressive shots all the time just to troll or do whatever it is that you’re doing. You could very easily just specifically say what your issue is. Did I write something in this post that was wrong? Unfair? Do I routinely do that? If it’s just a matter of you not liking my writing or Dan’s writing, why bother reading? Like I said, there are a lot of writers out there with interesting Pistons content. You don’t have to settle for us if you don’t like the offerings.

    • Oct 8, 20126:05 pm
      by tarsier


      Throw that journalistic weight around.

  • Oct 8, 201210:53 pm
    by Gary


    The only thing I worry about Drummond is him letting this season define him as a player. If for some reason he doesn’t crack the rotation despite working hard, or not getting enough playing time for his liking. Kids at that age tend to think about themselves despite what they may say. It’s not a knock against him, but at 18 years old he’s going to have to be far more mature then he most likely is at this moment in his life. Really hope I’m wrong, and that he can listen to what Joe D and Coach Frank tell him because if this Slava guy can get his offensive game going Drummond might be no more then trade bait or at least a good rotation guy. This might be a season or two down the road, but still with Slava and Drummond being the same kind of player for the most part it might just mess with Drummond’s confidence if he can’t surpass him at some point in the near future.

  • Oct 8, 201211:09 pm
    by Holy Crow


    It is ignorant to describing an organization that is going through a rebuilding process and an ownership change as dysfunctional. The beat writers who enjoy criticizing Joe Dumars and the Pistons coaches, players and executives have a surprising intolerance to being criticized themselves. You have threatened to kick me off your smelly blog for being critical, and yet you think that Tom Gores should open his organization up to foolish self-serving amateurs like Dan Feldman. (smh)

    • Oct 8, 201211:40 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      “It is ignorant to describing an organization that is going through a rebuilding process and an ownership change as dysfunctional.”

      That is a very generous definition of the last three years. Rebuilding teams generally don’t give away young, cheap assets for nothing or over-spend on one-dimensional free agents or spend like $25 million a year on the SG position and not even get solid starter, let alone all-star, production out of that position. Some things that went on over the last three years were out of the front office’s control. Other things, like poor signings, poor trades and a couple of poor draft picks, were perfectly within the control of the front office, as was the dysfunctional locker room that existed. They had an extremely unhappy player who they essentially let undermine a coach (granted the coach was incompetent, but who hired that coach again?) and ruin the chemistry of the team for two years with his unhappiness. That is also a reasonable sign of a dysfunctional environment. They also gave away a first round pick, something that a ‘rebuilding team’ would likely need to hold onto, just to get out of a bad contract. That might be fine if everyone on the roster develops as hoped and the money they save is spent wisely in free agency or on the trade market, but there’s certainly potential for that to be a poor move too.

      Also, the word ‘dysfunctional’ itself doesn’t necessarily point the finger at any one party or cause. The Pistons were dysfunctional in several ways. Unstable ownership caused a lot of it. Poor personnel moves caused a lot of it. Underperforming, highly paid players caused a lot of it. How does any of that not fit into a definition of ‘dysfunctional?’

      “The beat writers who enjoy criticizing Joe Dumars and the Pistons coaches, players and executives have a surprising intolerance to being criticized themselves.”

      Not sure who you are referencing here? There honestly isn’t much criticism of the Pistons in local media. The opinion columnists hardly cover them, and it isn’t the job of beat writers to go heavy into their opinion. They report news, cover games and write features. That’s basically it. I could respond to that if you offered something specific. Hard to argue with a person who just tosses out vague generalities with no real basis in reality as facts.

      “You have threatened to kick me off your smelly blog for being critical”

      I emailed you once after your first initial trolly comments that were clearly off-topic. If people continually post off-topic rants or do things just to troll, like you did, then yeah, that type of behavior over an extended period of time could lead to a ban. But we’ve never banned anyone and never will for criticism, however uninformed or stupid that criticism (hint hint … i’m talking about your’s!) is. Feel free to disagree with points raised in posts or comments. But if the extent of your commenting is to vaguely say something sucks with no substance to what it is that sucks, then yeah, you’ll be outta here eventually. I e-mailed you once and you stopped the behavior I told you to stop. You didn’t stop being insufferable, because I gather that’s just the kind of human you are, but being insufferable won’t get you banned as long as it is related to the topic at hand or if it is a response to something specific.

      “and yet you think that Tom Gores should open his organization up to foolish self-serving amateurs like Dan Feldman.”

      Yeah, why not? Dan Feldman has built a ‘smelly’ little site here whose traffic rivals, if not bests, the traffic that some mainstream outlets get on their Pistons coverage. And, I would wager, that most of those readers don’t hate the content here, or they wouldn’t come back. He has built an audience that is passionate about the team, that is engaged and can’t get enough news about the team Gores happens to own. Why wouldn’t you want to reach that audience? Same with DBB. I think all SB Nation sites publicly post their traffic numbers. You can see how many people read their site. Why wouldn’t a team want to connect with that audience? Who cares if they think a writer is a ‘self-serving amateur?’ (And for the record, Dan isn’t). It’s not about the writer. It’s about the audience.

      This thread really went off the rails, but I’m not even being super critical of the organization here. A lot of NBA teams don’t credential blogs. A handful do, and it has been beneficial in organizations where the team is bad. For example, Washington and Sacramento do it, and those blogs routinely get great, niche stuff that newspapers aren’t particularly interested in, but the more hardcore blog audiences are. The Pistons could benefit from that. They are a team that has suffered from poor attendance and fan apathy as they’ve rebuilt. They could use more coverage, they have young players unfamiliar to many general fans and giving access to more writers in different mediums would help better introduce those players. Again, it’s not about me thinking I or anyone else is entitled to anything. I’ve worked in media and there are plenty of reasons teams limit credentials, space in the media area being a primary one. But other sites are also proving there’s value in finding the space to accomodate more specialized or topic-focused writers who are catering to your hardcore, base audience and not just a general newspaper readership.

      I don’t care if you hate PistonPowered. But my guess is you come here because we are able to aggregate just about every bit of Pistons news from around the web in one place, we recap every game in a thorough and timely fashion and we also do the analysis and longer form writing that you are so fond of. You don’t have to say it. I know why you’re here. You’re here because we genuinely provide some value, even to people who disagree with us at times, about a team we all have a vested rooting interest in. If you get past your petty bullshit trying to be the thought police around here, telling everyone who is qualified to write what, and actually provide your own valuable insight (if any) about the team in the comments, you’d probably find things a lot more pleasant. There are more contributors on the site besides Dan and myself who will pop up throughout the season. There are plenty of interesting commenters who give their thoughts regularly. There are very few rules for engaging here and virtually everyone can handle hanging out here without those reminders. I could and probably should just ignore your petty little jabs down here, but I figure if you’re going to keep showing up, if we’re going to be stuck with you here, I might as well try to convince you to try to bring something of value, rather than whatever it is you think you’re bringing by essentially showing up every other day to say this blog sucks.

      • Oct 9, 201210:57 am
        by bugsygod


        Sorry Patrick i gotta jump in here on the dysfunctional point.  I agree there was some dysfunction going on, but this was from the ownership change only.  Rip was a cancer on the team the last 2yrs before paying him to go away, in the ownership transfer this could not be done as we all know joe’s hands were tied.  Now there were BAD decisions made, but EVERY organization makes bad decisions, from drafting to trades to FA’s.  No org has a perfect record in these aspects.  I thinks Joe made some very poor decisions CV & BG the most glaring.  I do not throw him under the bus for the iverson trade, but the inexperinced coaching to handle the situation that Joe hired, not good.  A BAD decision, not dysfunction. Also at the time of these trades/FA signings we were not in rebuilding mode, but trying to reload and stay in the playoffs.  Now as we can see with the full backing of ownership, the pistons are back to making solid decisions and moves.  Monroe, knight, singler, english, look to be good draft picks with long nba careers.  The Slava signing may turn into a steal.  The trade of Ben Gordon, brings great Cap flexibilty going forward.  I know we traded a player we signed to a dumb contract, WITH a 1st rd pick to get out of that contract.  I still like the trade, because if we win, its a non lottery pick in a poor draft and those non lotto picks can be bought during the draft, if we lose the pick stays with us.  So to me the dysfunction was from ownership not managmenet.  Bad decisions were made management but also some good decisions as well.  We have a young talented roster that everyone seems to be excited to start this season(including yourself).  
        I respect your Blog a great deal and you guys provide ALOT of pistons content.  I do believe because of the consistent succes of the pistons over the last 20yrs, any down period is spent trying to determine who’s fault it is.  There are ebbs and flows to EVERY organization.  THe spurs had David robinson who got hurt, they were terrible and won the lottery with an even BETTER player in duncan.  Lets see the Spurs when Duncan retires.  Kobe bryant was begging for a trade from the lakers before the gasol trade as they were barely making the playoffs and were becoming irrelevant.  Were the lakers dyscuntional or making poor decisions? Before the Big three signing in Miami, they were a lottery team and drafted Michael (smokes too much pot) Beasley!  Yup the great Pat Riley drafted Michael Beasley at no. 2 overall!!  Were the heat dysfunctional or making bad decisions?  The Celtics were in the lottery for YEARS! (they drafted billups, mercer, pierce, A walker,rondo, all in the lottery, some misses some hits) They make the trade for KG & ray they then become championship contenders. 
        So i again i think there was ownership dysfunction as far as what moves managment could make(none), but I dont think bad decisions are signs of dysfunction. 

        • Oct 9, 201212:56 pm
          by Matt


          Agreed. All organizations make poor decisions and pretty much every organization goes through down times, but those aren’t necessarily examples of dysfunction. But there are some examples of dysfunction in the Pistons organization that don’t happen at other, well-run organizations. The carousel at the head coaching job and the well-publicized practice boycott are great examples of dysfunction. The Pistons’ seeming inability to develop a quality young player only to see them blossom once they’ve been shipped somewhere else is another.

          In some ways, though, dysfunction is kind of like the Supreme Court and pornography. I may not be able to define it, but I know what it is when I see it. However, you can willfully choose not to see it, if you’re walking around with Pistons-colored glasses on. I think most outsiders would say that the Pistons have been a dysfunctional organization in the recent past. That seems like it may be changing (Frank will probably last at least three seasons and seems to have the respect of most of the players, the young players seem to be improving), but it’s not unfair to say that they’ve been that way recently.

          Then you have organizations like Sacramento, which seem like they’ve been dysfunctional for the last six or seven years, from the ownership down.

      • Oct 9, 20127:07 pm
        by Holy Crow


        Picking fights with media idiots is just what I do, and why should I toil in obscurity?
        This has almost nothing to do with you or Dan personally, but I will happily go there…
        Because this is the Big Stage baby (ESPN), and if you run a stupid headline, well, I guess you should do a hunnert push-ups and wind sprints (or a 500 word rebuttal) to prove that you still deserve minutes.
        By the way I totally dig your report on the open practice GREAT work Patrick.

        • Oct 9, 201211:14 pm
          by tarsier


          It’s a stupid headline to refer to an organization as dysfunctional when it is running through one coach after another, has its hands tied with regard to personnel after making some really awful moves on that count, and has the only boycotted practice I’ve ever heard of by any team at this level?

          The Pistons of a couple years ago were most definitely dysfunctional. And it’s not because they were rebuilding or because they lost a lot of games (I doubt anyone will refer to these rebuilding Rockets as dysfunctional). It was partly because Dumars was too arrogant and near-sighted to jump into a rebuild with both feet and instead half-assed it as a “retool” initially. But it was mostly just the fact that the Pistons looked like the furthest thing from a model franchise on or off the court.

  • Oct 9, 201212:52 am
    by Alex


    If something is dysfunctional it should be made aware of. Of course they would never say that on the pistons official website; thats just bad marketing. But if you want to go to the pistons website instead of this one, be my guest, for it will leave you optimistic with all its homeristic bullshit. With that said, when I want valuable information I never go to the pistons official website, I go here, for here I am much more likely to hear the truth whether it be good or bad. 

    • Oct 9, 201212:54 am
      by Alex


      In just this one article you have given me more valuable information than the official Piston website has given me during the entire offseason. 

  • Oct 9, 20127:51 am
    by Ray


    I hate the low expectation that being put on Drummond, a short year ago this guy was considered to be going top 3 in this past draft….now all of a sudden he is Micheal Olowokandi type as thought he just pick up a basketball 2 years ago…. tell him we need 10/10 from you everynight, instead of saying your presence is enough….now i hear him saying the same thing…low expectation = low results …. we are talking him out of being a dominate player

    • Oct 9, 20129:00 am
      by Rodman4Life


      You got a point, Ray.  Let’s not marginalize him just because he’s young.  Give him task-specific goals within the game, for 5-8 minutes.  Give him purpose and don’t try so hard to protect him before he even steps foot on the court.

      • Oct 9, 20129:55 am
        by sebastian


        Ditto, Ray and Rodman4Life are right, if expectations are set low and there are no specific tasks and goals set for young, Dre Drummond, then his growth as a professional basketball player will be severely stunted.

        • Oct 9, 20129:22 pm
          by tarsier


          you must really have a low opinion of drummond’s self-motivation

    • Oct 9, 20124:23 pm
      by apa8ren9


      I agree with you to a certain point, but when you see this guy (Drummond) play and you see the flashes of athleticism but wonder why he cant do more you will need to understand why.  Only the die hards even understand why you temper it in the first place.   He’s playing against grown men.
      Now dont get me wrong Im not saying dont push him to be good, but when he isnt giving you close to a double double and is the ninth pick… Lets just say the Dumars haters are going to be screaming from the rafters he is a bust before the first month of the season is over.

    • Oct 9, 20124:43 pm
      by tarsier


      A person with an opinion can’t win. “Don’t saddle young guys with overly high expectations.” “Don’t demotivate young guys with overly low expectations.” That is total BS. Expect whatever you want. If the expectations being off in one direction or the other cause s a player to perform sub-optimally, that is a far too emotionally fragile player. Expectations and performance are not like the anecdotal chicken and egg. We know which order they go in. Past performance defines expectations. The reason we have to play the games is because expectations do not define future performance.

  • Oct 9, 201210:21 am
    by Al


    Knight, Stuckey, Prince, Monroe, Slava seems realistic now. Young and athletic, runs the floor and buying in to playing defense.

  • Oct 9, 201212:42 pm
    by Ryan


    First off, thanks for the shoutout, Pat. Appreciate it.

    Loved Slava’s efforts on both the offensive and defensive ends. His dunk over, I think, Tayshaun was pretty solid. He definitely seems more than capable to be a major contributor for us. Echoing most peoples thoughts on here – crazy to think he got passed up by so many other teams, just for him to land in Joe D’s lap.

    I know T-Will isn’t likely to make the roster, but after this practice, I think the Pistons need to take a serious look at whether or not Austin Daye deserves a roster spot over him. Daye doesn’t do anything particularly well and has yet to really make an impression on most Pistons fans. Here’s hoping they make a good decision.

    Good highlights video, although you missed one of the funnier moments of the practice. Drummond slipped on the way upcourt, gets up laughing, then gets a dunk over Stuckey and Middleton after cherry-picking down the court. Pretty nasty finish, too.

    I even got a picture with Greg Kelser at the practice! He was sitting next to Mark Champion, who didn’t seem too happy that I only asked Special K for a picture haha

  • [...] hold open practices for fans, it’s always a fun opportunity to see guys put on a show (see: my coverage of the Detroit Pistons open practice for PistonPowered). Saginaw Arthur Hill‘s Jason Richardson did just that for the Phildelphia 76ers last week. [...]

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