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Andre Drummond gets lone Most Improved Player vote from George Blaha

Andre Drummond received a second-place vote for Most Improved Player, officially tying him for 20th in voting. He’s likely to be the only Piston to receive a vote for the NBA’s major awards this season.

Does it taint anything that it came from Pistons play-by-play man George Blaha?

Blaha voted Drummond No. 2, behind Goran Dragic and ahead of Gerald Green. Dragic won the award, and Green finished fourth in overall voting. Twelve players received a single vote, so Blaha’s ballot wasn’t out of line on those grounds, either.

Still, though.

Blaha isn’t technically a Pistons employee (I don’t think), but his job is obviously tied to the team. He’s continued to cover the Pistons as they’ve changed networks, and broadcasters – whose companies, unlike those of beat writers, have contracts with the team – typically share cordial relationships with their teams.

Drummond definitely improved this season. Even if his per-minute numbers remained remarkably similar to his rookie year, sustaining them in a larger sample and against a wider variety of opponents shows growth. But I didn’t have him in my top three, and he wasn’t among my toughest cuts or even my moderately tough cuts from the pool of reasonable candidates.

A key question: If Blaha didn’t have such a close relationship with the Pistons, would he have voted for Drummond? Nobody, not even Blaha, knows the answer with total certainty.

But even if Blaha would have voted differently without his Pistons ties, that doesn’t make Blaha’s vote “wrong.” Maybe Blaha’s unique perspective makes his vote better than everyone else’s.

If someone else had voted for Drummond I wouldn’t be raising these points. I’d be appreciating that someone in another market noticed Drummond’s improvement.

And there’s the rub. Blaha, like everyone, has biases. It’s reasonable to view his place in life and assume he has pro-Pistons biases and that caused him to vote for Drummond. Blaha could vote with his heart or his head, but both reside in Michigan.

I just wish Drummond’s vote had come from elsewhere else.

Is this better than Drummond getting no votes? Not really – so much as we care about these things, which I do to irrational levels. I already knew how fond Blaha is fond of Drummond. Putting it on a ballot changes nothing but the official record and that in nearly the smallest way.

The fact is none of the other 124 voters shared Blaha’s view of Drummond, and I find their selections collectively more accurate. In the end, that’s all that really matters.

These awards are determined by a collection of votes, but regardless of the final tally, I have my preferences and you have yours. And Blaha has his.

Noah Vonleh to Pistons in latest ESPN mock draft

Chad Ford of ESPN published a new mock draft, and he has the Pistons selecting Noah Vonleh with the No. 8 pick:

This Pistons are another team up in the air as far as management goes. It’s unclear exactly what they are going to do now that Joe Dumars has left. Yes, the Pistons are strong up front, but I think Vonleh makes sense for three reasons. One,Greg Monroe is a restricted free agent, and given the Pistons’ salary structure going forward, they might not want to pay him. Two, the Pistons really need a big man who can stretch the floor. Josh Smith thinks he’s that guy, but his 26 percent shooting from 3-point range this season tells a different story. Lastly, Vonleh is, in my opinion, clearly the best player left on the board. You take him and figure things out later.

With Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Dante Exum, Joe Embiid, Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle and Marcus Smart off the board in this scenario, Vonleh would be my choice, too. And for the exact reason gives last: He’s the best prospect available.

Here are my very early tiers:

Tier 1

  • Andrew Wiggins
  • Jabari Parker
  • Joel Embiid

Tier 2

  • Dante Exum
  • Marcus Smart
  • Noah Vonleh
  • Aaron Gordon
  • Julius Randle

Tier 3

  • Gary Harris
  • Tyler Ennis

Tier 4

  • Nik Stauskas
  • James Young
  • Dario Saric

As the draft nears and we gain information, players will certainly move tiers. This is my early board, though.

So, I’d be thrilled if the Pistons draft Vonleh – mostly because that means they kept their pick.

Grant Hill won’t consider becoming Pistons’ general manager

Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

Hill, though, has told people close to him he won’t consider a front-office position this close to retirement, but down the line when his children get older, he would consider it.

You can read my thoughts at ProBasketballTalk.

Greg Monroe believes Pistons lacked locker-room chemistry

David Mayo of MLive:

Monroe was asked if the Pistons had good locker-room chemistry this season, which ended Wednesday with a 112-111 loss at Oklahoma City.

"Honestly, I would say no," he answered.

Pressed for what the problem was, Monroe retreated.

"I will answer the question," he said, "but I wouldn’t go further than that."

"I don’t really like to say things that are controversial, even though sometimes it may be needed," he said.  "But I don’t think it’s beneficial.  I believe, as a team, we should be able to talk.  But in this platform, I don’t think some stuff should be said, even though some people always choose to do it."

Greg Monroe, via Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

“I’ve censored myself, just because of the whole, so much speculation and so much stuff going on,” Monroe said. “I just tried to make sure I was as productive as possible. That I kept a straight head and kept it as positive as possible.”

You can read my thoughts at ProBasketballTalk.

Pistons will enter draft lottery with 82.4 percent chance of keeping first-round pick

With the Kings’ loss to the Suns last night, the Pistons’ lottery odds are now set. They’ll have have the No. 8 seed in the lottery – and because their first-round pick goes to Charlotte unless it falls in the top eight – there are only four possible picks they can land: 1, 2, 3 and 8.

  • No. 1: 2.8%
  • No. 2: 3.3%
  • No. 3: 3.9%
  • No. 8: 72.4%
  • Lose pick: 17.6%

Grant Hill, Scott Perry emerge as candidates to replace Joe Dumars

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Pistons vowing broad search for Joe Dumars’ successor, but two names already in circulation to be on their list: Scott Perry and Grant Hill

You can read my thoughts at ProBasketballTalk.

Joe Dumars officially out as general manager

Pistons team release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that Joe Dumars will step aside as President of Basketball Operations, effective immediately. The team has launched a search for a new head of basketball operations.

“Joe Dumars is a great champion who has meant so much to this franchise and this community,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores. “We are turning the page with great respect for what he has accomplished not only as a player and a front office executive, but as a person who has represented this team and the NBA with extraordinary dignity.”

During the transition, Director of Basketball Operations Ken Catanella and Assistant General Manager George David will continue preparing for the upcoming NBA Draft and free agency signing period, reporting to ownership executives Phil Norment and Bob Wentworth. Mr. Norment said the organization has developed a preliminary list of candidates that includes “the best executives in the business,” but he declined to place a specific timetable on selecting a replacement.

Mr. Dumars will continue his relationship with the franchise as an advisor to the organization and its ownership team.

“It’s time to turn the page on a wonderful chapter and begin writing a new one,” Dumars said. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great people throughout the last 29 years as both a player and executive, and I’m proud of our accomplishments. Tom Gores and ownership is committed to winning and they will continue to move the franchise forward.”

You can read my initial thoughts at ProBasketballTalk, and I’ll have more here this afternoon.

Joe Dumars not resigning (Don’t worry– about that, at least)

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

Source: Dumars has agreed to remain on as executive adviser to the #Pistons, but away from basketball operations.

Pistons executives George David and Ken Cantanella will run team through draft and free agency as ownership conducts search for replacement

David Mayo of MLive:

Joe Dumars will not have his contract renewed as #Pistons president, in an ownership decision. He did NOT resign.

I’d guess Dumars will still be out when his contract expires in a month and a half. This new role sounds as superficial as Lawrence Frank’s daily reports for the Nets. Effectively, Dumars is done, and that’s been clear for a while.

But why are David and Catanella slated to run the team for so long? Tom Gores and crew aren’t further in a search for Dumars’ replacement? Surely, this didn’t catch them off guard, so what gives?

Discussing Pistons’, Joe Dumars’ futures

Joe Dumars to resign, maybe within next few days

Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

Dumars has told multiple sources within the NBA that he plans to resign — possibly as soon as this week

Me at ProBasketballTalk:

Dumars’ championship and remarkable run as an executive should have gotten him a long leash, and it did. His glory days as a Pistons player probably gave him even more leeway, which is not a courtesy that needed to be extended.

But time has, justifiably, run out. Few general managers would have survived the mistakes Dumars has made the last few years, and now he won’t.

Now, it’s just a matter of it becoming official.

You can read more of my thoughts there now, and we’ll have much more coverage here as well later in the day.