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Archive → May, 2013

Joe Dumars wrong to declare 2013 NBA Draft has ‘no franchise changers’

Me at the Detroit Free Press:

Joe Dumars said he told team owner Tom Gores there are “no franchise changers in this draft.”

I strongly believe Dumars will be wrong.

The first step is defining the threshold for being a “franchise changer.” Initially, I planned to use the player who posted the fewest win shares while leading a championship-winning team in win shares, but there were too many outliers, and that would have set the bar too low.

So I settled with Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994-95, when he led the Houston Rockets to the NBA title and posted 10.7 win shares. Though he was 32 and on the downturn of his career at that point, he still made the All-NBA second team the next year and the All-NBA third team the following year. He still had plenty of juice left.

We can all agree Olajuwon played like a “franchise changer” in 1994-95, right?

Since the NBA-ABA merger, 32 of 35 drafts have produced at least one player who produced a season as good as Olajuwon’s in 1994-95.

The only three drafts that haven’t are 2010, 2011 and 2012, and that’s only because those players haven’t yet had a chance to blossom and make their mark. It’s crazy to believe 2010 picks (such as Paul George, John Wall, Greg Monroe and DeMarcus Cousins), 2011 picks (such as Kyrie Irving, Kenneth Faried, Kawhi Leonard and Chandler Parsons) and 2012 (such as Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal) won’t elevate their draft classes into the same stature as every other class.

In other words, every single NBA draft in the modern era had produced a "franchise-changer" or will. Every. Single. One.

Some have panned the 2013 draft class as historically bad, and for Dumars to be right, the critics would have to be correct. I just don’t see this group as such an extreme exception, even if we can’t identify the “franchise changers” at this very moment. As always, someone will emerge.

Pistons climb to No. 20 in ESPN’s future power rankings

ESPN released its updated future power rankings – rating how each team will rate in the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons – and the Pistons rose from No. 22 to No. 20. Chad Ford:

20. Detroit Pistons | Future Power Rating: 558

PLAYERS 283 (17th)

MANAGEMENT 69 (22nd)

MONEY 131 (5th)

MARKET 20 (28th)

DRAFT 56 (13th)

The Pistons continue to be mired in the 20s despite a string of great draft choices the past few years.

Their Players score rose dramatically this time, from 26 to 17, thanks in large part to the impressive rookie season of Andre Drummond, who at 19 years old looks like a potential star. With Drummond, Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight, they have mined three straight gems outside of the top five of the draft. If they can land another at No. 8 overall this year, they’ll have a terrific young core.

The team also has, for the first time in a while, money to spend. After suffering some serious buyer’s remorse the last time they had tons of cap space (remember Ben Gordonand Charlie Villanueva?), expect the Pistons to be much more cautious this time around.

Overall, our ranking might be a bit pessimistic. Despite some lean years, Detroit is now one, maybe two young pieces away from competing for the playoffs. If they can continue finding young talent, this is probably the last time the Pistons are in the 20s for a while.

Or maybe the Pistons will miss in this draft, send a low lottery pick to the Bobcats next year and fail to add young talent this year or next. Really, it could go either way.

Greg Monroe gets taste of NBA playoffs

Roy Hibbert:

I appreciate my fellow Hoyas flying 2 Miami 2support me. @unclejeffgreen @o_porter22 n @M10OSE #GoHoyas pic.twitter.com/J2M6foKQy2

Embedded image permalink

Lawrence Frank probably won’t coach next season

David Mayo of MLive:

A source familiar with Lawrence Frank’s thinking told MLive Media Group that the former Detroit Pistons coach wants to coach in the NBA again but is leaning toward taking next season off and focusing on media opportunities which allow him more time at home.

Frank lives in New Jersey and family considerations are at center of his likely plans for next season, the source said.

The source said Frank might be willing to return to the NBA as an assistant coach but almost certainly not next year.

Lawrence Frank, with the Celtics and Nets, has proven himself a quality NBA assistant coach. He can certainly get an assistant job whenever he wants one.

Will be a head coach again? Not anytime soon, it seems.

Ten coaches who were in place at the beginning of the season have been fired. Half – Mike Brown (Lakers to Cavaliers), Byron Scott (Cavaliers to maybe Clippers), Larry Drew (Hawks to maybe Bucks), Alvin Gentry (Suns to maybe Clippers) and Scott Skiles (Bucks to maybe Nets) – have either been hired as a head coach by a new team or received published interest in another head-coaching vacancy.

But Frank has not received similar consideration, though that could be because he hasn’t aggressively pursued openings.

Pistons, Larry Drew have mutual interest

Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News reported Larry Drew couldn’t contact the Pistons and the Pistons were done bringing in new coaching candidates, but has a door opened now that the Hawks hired Mike Budenholzer? Goodwill:

Former Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew wouldn’t mind an interview with the Pistons, and there had been mutual interest, sources familiar with the situation told The Detroit News.

Drew did a very nice job in Atlanta, finishing 44-38, 40-26 and 44-38 in his three seasons. In fact, presumed-favorite Nate McMillan could go 82-0 next season and start the following year 7-0, and his career winning percentage would still fall short of Drew’s current mark.

After Mike Woodson coached the Hawks to no better than middling defenses, Atlanta’s defense under Drew ranked 13th, 6th and 10th. Drew took a team in transition and kept it in the playoffs. He’s even a former Pistons player.

I like Drew a great deal. I’m not sure he’s the best available candidate, but he might be, and I hope the Pistons interview him to assess whether he is.

Adrian Griffin reportedly not a serious candidate for Pistons’ next coach

Chris Broussard of ESPN reported a week ago that Joe Dumars wanted to hire a new coach before the NBA Combine. The Pistons still haven’t made that hire, so in the meantime, they’re messing around by interviewing “candidates” like Adrian Griffin.

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

At this point, it appears the interview Griffin was more of a courtesy to help a young assistant coach increase his profile.

Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

a source confirmed the meeting, although it would seem to be more a way to get Griffin’s name in the league pipeline, similar to the Rooney Rule of the NFL.

I don’t know what the holdup is – though, it’s nice Dumars could help Griffin – but what are the Pistons waiting for? I’d be fine with waiting to interview coaches still in the playoffs, but apparently that’s not the reason. So what is?

Pistons interview Chicago Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin

Chris Haynes of of CSN Northwest:

Chicago Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin has precipitously garnered interest from the Detroit Pistons and now he’s the latest prospect to have interviewed for their vacant head coaching position, a league source conveyed to CSNNW.com.

According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the coaching search, Griffin partook in an extensive phone interview with Pistons’ President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars over the weekend.

Griffin is not one of the most high-profile candidates on the market, but he interviewed with the Trail Blazers last summer, and the Magic wanted to make him their lead assistant. He fits the profile – overachieved as a player, worked as an assistant under good coaches like Tom Thibodeau – of many excellent head coaches.

Two years ago, Griffin quit coaching to spend more time with his family only to return a few months later. He’s reportedly very religious, using his time off to consider becoming a minister.

Haynes said Griffin had already garnered interest from the Pistons, so this doesn’t mean they’re bringing in new candidates. But I at least wonder whether the Pistons continuing to be in the information-gathering stage at least opens the door for Brian Shaw and/or David Fizdale.

One Pistons interviewee is off the market

When Mike Budenholzer interviewed with the Pistons, it seemed prying him from the San Antonio, where many considered him Gregg Popovich’s future successor, would be the biggest challenge. Apparently, Budenholzer was ready to leave the Spurs – just not for Detroit.

Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution:

The Hawks have hired Mike Budenholzer as head coach.

It seems like Nate McMillan and Maurice Cheeks are the Pistons’ top two choices, anyway. How much is that because the Pistons knew they couldn’t get Budenholzer, and how much is that because they just prefer McMillan Cheeks? We might never know. But now we know Budenholzer won’t be the Pistons’ next coach.

Shabazz Muhammad to Pistons in Sports Illustrated mock draft

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated published a new mock draft, and he has the Pistons taking Shabazz Muhammad at No. 8:

With Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, the Pistons frontcourt is set. Detroit needs help scoring, though, (94.9 points per game last season, 22nd in the NBA) and Muhammad is a scorer. He prefers to play the 2-guard spot, but Muhammad has the size and strength to play small forward, too. Questions about Muhammad’s attitude and one-dimensional play linger, but his talent is undeniable.

Right now, I think Muhammad is the Pistons’ most likely pick. I think they’ll view him as a player who earned a great reputation coming out high school and and failed to meet expectations at UCLA only because expectations were too high. I think they’ll see how hard he plays and disregard any controversy. I think they’ll see his fit and deem it better than anyone else in the tier. I think they’ll see a player available at No. 8 who not long ago seemed like a top-three lock.

A lot can change between now and the draft, but at the moment, I consider Muhammad the Pistons’ most likely pick.

C.J. McCollum to Pistons in DraftExpress/Yahoo mock draft

DraftExpress.com’s Jonathan Givony wrote his first mock draft for Yahoo! Sports, and he has the Pistons drafting C.J. McCollum:

8. Detroit Pistons C.J. McCollum (PG/SG, 21, 6-3, 197, Lehigh, senior): The Pistons’ rebuilding continues. They missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year and won just 37 percent of their games in that span. The Pistons have some nice young pieces to build around, especially in the frontcourt with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, but the backcourt situation is not as promising. Brandon Knight still hasn’t proven himself as a point guard capable of leading a winning team on a nightly basis and Rodney Stuckey has seemingly regressed. The situation at small forward is similarly in doubt. The Pistons will likely look hard at each of those three positions, but are missing quality depth throughout the roster, so nothing can really be ruled out. A highly efficient combo guard like C.J. McCollum could slide in nicely between Knight and Stuckey, giving them some much-needed scoring. The fact that he comes ready to play right away has to be attractive for a team (and ownership group) that is desperate to win at this point.

McCollum has definitely grown on me. He scored well at Lehigh, but he didn’t show much passing skill. I think there’s a good chance that was because Lehigh needed him to shoot so much. McCollum hasn’t proven himself a bad passer. He just hasn’t proven himself a good one.

That’s a difficult skill to test in pre-draft workouts, but it would be essential for the Pistons to make a determination on him. McCollum seems so smart about the approach he takes to scoring that I’m hopeful he has the court sense to become a plus passer – if he isn’t one already, hidden underneath all those points.