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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.

Alternate Pistons-Raptors grades

Ed: Pardeep is a Raptors fan with a sizable interest in the Pistons. He attended yesterday’s game and provides fresh perspective on Detroit.
Toronto Raptors 116 Final
Recap | Box Score
107 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF 34 MIN | 8-13 FG | 7-11 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 23 PTS | +6Moose is great and I love that Mason exclusively refers to him as “Moose Monroe” in arena. Every time I get down on Moose, which I have been for the past couple weeks, I watch him play and I’m back on the bandwagon again. Also, love that Chuck Hayes was put in as the “Moose Stoppa” (like Ruben Patterson was the Kobe Stoppa and DeShawn Stevenson the LeBron Stoppa) on multiple occasions during the game. He was better on Moose than anybody else the Raptors had today.

Kyle Singler, SF 41 MIN | 4-9 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -14Singler was having a such a good game and season too. It’s a shame that it had to end this way.

“The Atlantic Division Champion Slam”

The saddest part about this crime scene is that it wasn’t his fault. If you watch the first five seconds of the clip below, Drummond is way out of position and then decides to jump out on DeRozan rather than let Singler recover. It was an unnecessary switch that led to a very necessary incident. Singler’s only fault is that he tried to make the right basketball rotation on a team that doesn’t care for such things.

Andre Drummond, C 31 MIN | 5-9 FG | 4-8 FT | 17 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +2Another monster game for Drummond. He’s was active and dominant around the ball and didn’t bite on Valanciunas’ pump fakes this time around. The Raptors could have drafted him and established the modern version of the twin towers but they took Terrence Ross one pick ahead of Drummond instead to fill a need rather than stockpile raw talent. As intriguing as this hypothetical is, it still doesn’t rank in the top-three imaginary scenarios for Toronto. Here are the top-three: 1) What if Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter stayed together? 2) What if the Raptors kept the pick that landed Roy Hibbert (to pair with Chris Bosh) rather than trade it for an aging Jermaine O’Neal? 3) What if Joakim Noah declared for the draft in 2006 when he was projected as the number one pick rather than going back to Florida for one more year? A Noah/Bosh front court could have changed everything. Instead they got a Bosh/Bargnani front court. Drummond gets docked points for his aloofness on the defensive end when he’s away from the ball but this is a bigger story than just this game.

Brandon Jennings, PG 29 MIN | 6-18 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | -4Why are you still shooting? Why? Please stop. I can’t talk about this right now. I need more space and time. Lowry/Vasquez combined to go 14-of-27 from the field, including 6-of-11 from three-point territory and 8-of-10 from the free throw line.

Rodney Stuckey, SG 28 MIN | 5-11 FG | 8-10 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | -4Stuckey was fantastic today.His ball denials on Grevis Vasquez in the first half and DeRozan in fourth quarter were inspiring. He got to the line and put enormous pressure on the defense. Forgive my ignorance but has he been this good all year? Somebody pay this man. At least the April 13, 2014 version of him.

Tony Mitchell, PF 7 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -3Poor Tony Mitchell. After not playing most of the season, he finds himself guarding Jonas Valanciunas one-on-one in the post in the first quarter. This leads to three consecutive Valanciunas post-ups and the end of Mitchell’s afternoon. Of course the guards didn’t sag to help and a double-team never came.Either the Pistons really believe in Mitchell’s one-on-one defense versus a creative and skilled big man or this was a classic case of rookie hazing. I felt bad for Mitchell. Hopefully there are better days ahead in his career.

Jonas Jerebko, PF 23 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -20I must have been on a 23-minute pretzel break when when Jerebko played because I don’t remember seeing him out there. Looks like he did fine.

Luigi Datome, SF 13 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1Datome receives an outstanding grade for interrupting the halftime t-shirt toss by coming back out to the court at the 8:31 mark of halftime (meaning he only spent 5:30 in the locker room) to launch mid-range jumpers despite the chaos around him. Datome made his point. He will not be intimated by a t-shirt cannon.

Peyton Siva, PG 20 MIN | 2-9 FG | 5-7 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -5Siva does not impact the game in a positive way on either end of the court. Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez waltzed to anywhere they wanted on the court without resistance when Siva (or Jennings for that matter) was in the game. Offensively, the Raptors went under on screens which jammed the bigs and stunted the offense even more because Siva is not a threat to shoot.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 15 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -2KCP – look at me. Listen to me. It’s not your fault. This season is not your fault. You are innocent. It’s not your fault that the team never runs a set play for you or tries to get you open. It’s not your fault that you had to force up multiple off-the-dribble jumpers today because that’s the only way you can get a shot. It’s not your fault that you had to play with Peyton Siva. It’s not your fault that you used to start and now play sparingly. Your rookie season has been mismanaged and you are not to be blamed for that. Hopefully you will have a Terrence Ross-esque comeback next year meaning you will get consistent minutes no matter how much you are struggling, will be held accountable on defense, will be asked to drive and kick as well as launch long distance jumpers and have screens set specifically for you to get open.

Josh Smith, SF DNP LEFT KNEE TENDINITISGrade is for the entire season.

John Loyer
I’m not sure about the strategy to play Stuckey/Jennings in the first and third quarter and then Siva/Caldwell-Pope in the second and fourth (until the game got close at which point Jennings and Stuckey were brought back in). Simultaneously, there was a lack of commitment to player development and winning. It felt like a middle ground of indifference. We shouldn’t expect anything else at this point in the season.

Raptors beat Pistons as the end of the bench finally gets a little burn

Toronto Raptors 116 Final
Recap | Box Score
107 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 34 MIN | 8-13 FG | 7-11 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 23 PTS | +6

Monroe’s play has been criticized lately. But there’s not a lot negative you can say about this outing. Against a pretty good team with a lot to play for (they want that 3rd seed), Greg scored efficiently and often, he rebounded well, and he kept Johnson and Patterson in check.

Oh, and he did all of that as a PF if anyone cares.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 41 MIN | 4-9 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -14

Singler put up a solid line, but he wasn’t able to keep up with Toronto’s perimeter players. And, once again, he got way too many minutes. But I can’t really blame him for that.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 31 MIN | 5-9 FG | 4-8 FT | 17 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +2

Drummond continued to grab every board in sight. His help defense could be a lot better, but, over the past 8 games, Drummond is averaging 17 points and 18 rebounds in 35 minutes. He is even a +17 in that time frame in spite of the Pistons being -42.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 29 MIN | 6-18 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | -4

A 17 and 7 line sounds solid but Jennings was awful. Besides bricking all game, he was almost as bad defensively as some of our more exaggerating commenters like to insinuate that he typically is.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 28 MIN | 5-11 FG | 8-10 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | -4

Stuckey not only scored well, he actually filled out his stat sheet a bit for once.

Tony Mitchell, PF Shot Chart 7 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -3

Yay, minutes for Mitchell. As always, his per minute numbers were excellent. And, as always, that tells us nothing because he got so few of them.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 23 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -20

Jerebko was efficient enough, but his usual hustle was lacking to my eyes. And really, he didn’t produce as much as could be hoped for in half a game.

Peyton Siva, PG Shot Chart 20 MIN | 2-9 FG | 5-7 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -5

Siva has vastly improved his assist to turnover ratio since early in the season. But he was still terrible in this one. He missed more shots than he should have taken total and he didn’t play a lick of defense.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 15 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -2

I still hope KCP can turn back into a useful player. But right now, he doesn’t look like one.

John Loyer

Loyer still gives way too many minutes to Singler and Stuckey and honestly Monroe and Drummond too. But at least he finally gave a little more than garbage time to some of the guys whose abilities are not completely known.

Given how bad of a coach he is, that makes almost a commendable performance.

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?

Pistons host Raptors

Essentials

  • Teams: Toronto Raptors (46-33) at Detroit Pistons (29-51)
  • Date: April 13, 2014
  • Time: 3:30 p.m.
  • Television: NBATV, FSD

What to look for

Over at Raptors Republic, I answered a few questions about the Detroit Pistons, and Tamberlyn Richardson went on to preview the contest based on some of the analysis I provided. Here’s an excerpt:

“Smith is an underrated passer and solid defensive player when engaged, but Pistons fans will find that hard to believe since they’ve only seen that player sporadically. I don’t expect any change from Jennings going forward, but Smith can certainly be salvageable depending on the team’s philosophy and scheme next season.”

Feel free to give it a read.

Read about the Raptors

Raptors Republic

Pistons to end the season with strong, though not certain, chance of keeping their first-round pick

With the Pistons’ loss to the Bulls on Friday, Detroit clinched at least an 82.4 percent chance of keeping its first-round pick.

Extremely likely, that’s where the Pistons will remain when the season ends. Only if they lose out and the Kings win out would Detroit change its odds – bumping it to 90.3 percent.

Here are the final scenarios:

image

Considering how unlikely this outcome appeared, I’d gladly take 82.4 percent. It sure beats The Disaster Zone.

Still, I’m pushing for 90.3 until the bell sounds.

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Zach LaVine

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-5, 180 lbs, freshman point guard from UCLA
  • Key Stats: 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 turnovers per game, 44 FG%, 37 3pt% and 69 FT%
  • Projected: Top 15-20

Matters to No One But Me …

I watch college basketball because I am way too into basketball, basically. But my dislike the NCAA coupled with my dislike the college game in general — it’s officiated terribly inconsistently, teams run awful iso systems that choke the life out of the ball and the way the game is played is set up to limit the impact of the most athletic, physically gifted players on the court by allowing teams to play gimmicky defenses, double and triple team players without the ball, pack guys in the lane and never move them and just generally make the beautiful sport into a brutish cluster. OK, rant over. That’s basically my way of saying I watch college basketball with some self-hatred for supporting a product I’m not a huge fan of.

Anyway, that’s some context for why I am a big Zach LaVine fan. From Yahoo!’s Jeff Eisenberg:

Paul LaVine told the Los Angeles Daily News late Thursday night that his son will declare for the NBA draft because the family thinks LaVine will be a first-round pick and because they aren’t happy with how UCLA has used him. UCLA coach Steve Alford has played LaVine almost exclusively off ball, handing the starting point guard job to all-conference Kyle Anderson and giving backup responsibilities to his son, Bryce Alford.

Love that. “Oh, you’re not going to play me and let me develop where I’m most comfortable while you find minutes for your son? OK, well I will just go to the NBA and get paid then. We’re done here.”

I also loved that the immediate reaction to LaVine leaving from NCAA media was, “He’s not ready for the NBA!” (see Eisenberg’s analysis in the link above), but the immediate reaction from Chad Ford, for example, was, “he’s a top 15 player in this draft!

Fits with the Pistons because …

The last time UCLA had a prospect entering the draft who was super athletic and whose NBA position was somewhat of a question, things worked out pretty well for Russell Westbrook. LaVine doesn’t have Westbrook’s massive build, but he can jump out of the gym and finish like Westbrook, and he has the added bonus of having a better 3-point shooting touch.

He was right to want to play more point guard at UCLA. If he can learn to play the position, at his size, with his athleticism, that significantly enhances his NBA value as he’d be among a select few PGs in the league with those physical tools. If he turns out to be more of a shooting guard, his size and athleticism are a bit more average among NBA wings. That’s why the Pistons tried so hard for many years to make Rodney Stuckey into a full-time point guard. Obviously that didn’t work out as intended, but the thinking behind attempting to make him learn the position was sound.

The Pistons still need a point guard and they also need shooting. I’m not convinced LaVine can come in and be a full-time point guard from day one, but his shooting would be enough to earn him minutes on a team like the Pistons, his athleticism would be a fun addition to the lineup and his passing ability would certainly be enhanced by the fact that the Pistons have strong finishers like Andre Drummond and Josh Smith on the roster and good cutters like Drummond, Kyle Singler and Jonas Jerebko. LaVine is likely a project, but at the back of the lottery where the most likely prospects available are bigs like Noah Vonleh or Aaron Gordon, where guards like Gary Harris or Nik Stauskas might be a bit of a reach, taking a high upside player like LaVine who could pay off with Westbrook-like improvements is an intriguing option.

LaVine’s long arms and quickness also make him an intriguing perimeter defender. He could create a lot of steals and bother a lot of shots against opposing guards, which would be a major upgrade over the Brandon Jennings/Will Bynum combination, which might be the worst defensive point guard duo ever assembled.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

If Tom Gores continues his “win right now here’s all my money spend it on whoever” mantra, taking a project like LaVine over a player who more immediately addresses Detroit’s deficiencies on the wing and shooting the ball is probably not preferable. LaVine also struggled down the stretch of the season, either out of frustrations with his diminishing role or possibly just fatigue (he is young, after all). He also needs to add strength.

The biggest issue is that, as mentioned above, the Pistons already know what happens when you take a prospect with insane physical tools but no real defined position and said player doesn’t turn into Russell Westbrook. Not that Stuckey is a useless player by any stretch, but the Pistons need production. Stuckey is a free agent, Chauncey Billups looks like the end is near, Peyton Siva hasn’t shown in a late season audition that he can be counted on as a rotation player, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hasn’t been a major contributor and Kyle Singler playing any minutes at shooting guard for a third straight season is something no one, Singler included probably, wants to see. If LaVine needs time to develop, that’s completely fine, but it also might put him off the Pistons’ radar as they search for more immediate contributions.

From the Experts

Chad Ford:

LaVine is still a controversial prospect. Some NBA GMs and scouts love him, thanks to his upside (he’s an explosive athlete with good size for his position who can really shoot the rock). Others point to his frail body, poor shot selection and inconsistent play in Pac-12 competition as they question how ready he is for the NBA. He’s not. But that hasn’t stopped teams in the past from drafting players almost exclusively on upside. His draft stock is all over the place, but I continue to hear that teams in the late lottery are looking at him hard.

DraftExpress:

The appeal around LaVine revolves heavily around his tremendous athleticism, as he’s one of the most explosive open court dunkers in college basketball. He’s an amazing leaper off one foot, and also possesses a dynamic first step and great quickness in the open floor. LaVine will likely test about as well as any player athletically at the NBA Combine, which undoubtedly gives him significant potential to continue to improve as his career moves on.

LaVine is also an impressive shot-maker, sporting unorthodox mechanics but looking very confident in his shooting stroke, be it with his feet set, pulling up off the dribble, or even coming off screens. The ball comes out of his hand very smoothly and he has deep range and a quick release on his jumper. LaVine started off the season in very impressive fashion, making 42 of his 97 3-point attempts (43%) in the first three and a half months, but then tallied off quite a bit in his final month in college, making just 6 of his last 31 attempts (19%), which brought down his season percentage to a still decent 37.5%.

Highlights

Previously:

Bulls erase 18 point deficit and overcome Drummond’s beastliness

Detroit Pistons 98 FinalRecap | Box Score 106 Chicago Bulls
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 36 MIN | 3-9 FG | 1-4 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | -6I like to compare Monroe to Boozer, but tonight the latter soundly thumped the former on both ends of the floor. Monroe was a big part of the reason the Bulls were able to come back in this one,

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 43 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -2Singler had a couple pretty offensive rebounds in traffic. But apart from that, he was fairly worthless. Why is a limited-upside role player getting big minutes in meaningless games at the end of a lost season?

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 42 MIN | 11-17 FG | 4-9 FT | 26 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 26 PTS | +1Drummond wasn’t as good as his numbers, but that’s not taking much away from him. 26 and 26 is absolutely ridiculous. I really hope the Pistons soon manage to put a good team around him. Players who have managed a 25 and 25 game have generally turned out pretty well..

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 34 MIN | 7-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | -2As per normal, Jennings’ shooting was poor. But he wasn’t passing well either. On the plus side, he covered Hinrich well.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 32 MIN | 10-18 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 22 PTS | -5Besides Drummond, Stuckey was the primary reason for the Pistons’ big third quarter lead. But it’s a rare night when Stuckey can carry the team to a win.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 18 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -11Jerebko was still hustling hard. But his energy and movement mostly looked undirected and useless in this one.

Peyton Siva, PG Shot Chart 17 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -6Siva had his best offensive and statistical game of his NBA career. But his defense was pretty weak. Augustin burned him time and again. When you can’t check Augustin, that’s a problem.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 19 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -9KCP rarely looks good these days, but he should still be seeing more minutes.

John Loyer
Siva and KCP got a few more minutes than they normally have of late. So I’m not going to flunk Loyer. But his rotations still suck and being unable to hold on to an 18 point second half lead is pretty pathetic.

Pistons at Bulls preview

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (29-50) at Chicago Bulls (46-32)
  • Date: April 11, 2014
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The Chicago Bulls are currently seeded fourth in the Eastern Conference standings, and they have an opportunity to climb to the third spot.

The Bulls have four games left on the regular-season calendar, and this is how they shake out: Detroit Pistons (tonight), at New York Knicks, Orlando Magic and at Charlotte Bobcats.

They currently have an identical record to the Toronto Raptors who currently own the tiebreaker. Hence, they need to finish with a superior record than Toronto to get the third seed.

The Raptors have won four in a row and end the season against sub-.500 opponents: Knicks, at Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks and at Knicks.

Thus, these games still count for these playoff teams. Still, I’m intrigued at the idea that perhaps Chicago might want to remain seeded fourth. The Miami Heat have owned them in the postseason since the 2011 playoffs, and a third seed might mean a second-round date with the defending champions.

On the flip side, if all things remain equal and the Bulls advance to the second round, they will find the Indiana Pacers waiting for them. Given the Pacers’ struggle with respect to scoring, it might be the best matchup for the Bulls.

Hence, tonight’s matchup has actual meaning for Chicago.

Read about the Bulls

Bulls by the Horns

Pistons’ odds of keeping their first-round pick, by scenario

When the Pistons’ season ends, they will have between a 30.8 percent and 99.0 percent chance of keeping their pick which goes to the Bobcats unless it falls in the top eight.

We’re close to narrowing that range, though. A single result by five teams – the Pistons, Cavaliers, Pelicans, Kings and Lakers – would swing the minimum or maximum.

Here are the current range of possible season-ending odds along with what happens if one of whatever is listed in each scenario occurs:

image

Note: Each scenario affects only the minimum or maximum. So, if multiple scenarios occur, you can apply both changes. E.g., if Detroit loses and Sacramento loses, the Pistons minimum increases to 82.4 and their maximum decreases to 90.3.

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