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Breaking Pistons news and analysis of developments within the team and around the NBA.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Just got back from Michael Curry's pregame press conference.
Expect to see more of Will Bynum tonight. He wants to put Bynum on the floor with Rodney Stuckey and Rip Hamilton in order to push the tempo. The Pistons are averaging just 83 points in this series on 42.5 percent shooting.
Tayshaun Prince has been bothered by a sore lower back since the start of the playoffs. He scored just two points in Game 2 and has been receiving treatment the last few days.
"He's moving a little better," Curry said. "Hopefully, he'll get something going early."
Curry will play his reserves more if another slow start occurs but he doesn't expect miracles from the second unit.
"Our bench has been playing really good but let's make no mistakes about it," he said. "If Tayshaun and Sheed (Wallace) can't play really good in this series, we have no chance."

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Pistons head coach Michael Curry bristled Thursday at the suggestion that his team isn't playing with heart and desire, even though one of his players, Antonio McDyess, did just that after Tuesday's Game 2 loss at Cleveland.
"I hear that word pride and heart and all that stuff," he said. "I don't know where you would go with that. As a player, when I heard it, it was strange to me and it's still strange to me. You step out on the court to compete. All your pride and heart is there every time you step out on the court. I don't know how you play with pride and sometimes you don't. I don't know if you leave pride at the door and pick it back up on the way out."
For more of Curry's comments and a preview of Game 3, check out Friday's edition of The Oakland Press.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The Pistons' late rally in Game 2 against Cleveland reminded me of the Cavs-Pistons 2006 conference semifinals series. The Pistons won the first two games at home but eased up during a blowout in Game 2 and gave the Cavs confidence with a late rally. That series went seven exhausting games before the Cavs finally succumbed.
Could the same thing happen in this series? Nah.
While that group of Cavs was up and coming, the Pistons are in sharp decline. Their starters have been alarmingly unfocused and listless. That's especially true of Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince.
I remember watching Ben Wallace in his final year with the Pistons, thinking 'He's lost it. He doesn't have the same explosion anymore.'
Same thing this year with Sheed, though Sheed's at an age where you expect that. He just doesn't have the mobility to be a special defensive player anymore, as he was during his first 3 or 4 seasons in Detroit.
Prince is a more maddening case. He seems to be full of excuses every postseason. Before, he'd decline in the conference finals. This year, he's gone into the tank from the start. He's averaging 6 points in his last six postseason games.
I have to believe Joe D. is thinking the same thing. To somehow challenge the Cavs and LeBron in future years, he needs someone who's at least willing to stand up to LeBron and also make him work at the defensive end. Prince appears mentally defeated against Cleveland before the game starts.
Don't be surprised if one of the moves that Joe makes this offseason is a change at small forward. The restructuring of this team is going to take more than an inside scoring option and a shooter off the bench.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Just got this release from the NBA. A classy move by ex-Piston coach Rick Carlisle and the rest of the league's coaches to dedicate the postseason to Chuck Daly and create an award in his honor. Daly is seriously ill with pancreatic cancer.

The National Basketball Coaches' Association
   (NBCA)  announced  today  that it will dedicate the 2009 NBA Playoffs to
   former NBA  Head Coach Chuck Daly.

          Dallas  Mavericks  Head  Coach  and  President  of  the NBCA Rick
   Carlisle and NBCA Executive Director Michael Goldberg announced that NBA
   coaches  throughout  the  Playoffs will wear a lapel pin emblazoned with
   the  initials “CD” as a show of support for Daly, who was diagnosed with
   pancreatic  cancer  in  February  and is currently undergoing treatment.
   The Hall of Famer coached the Cavaliers, Pistons, Nets and Magic and led
   the 1992 Men's Olympic Dream Team to a Gold Medal.

         In addition to honoring Daly throughout the 2009 NBA Playoffs, the
   NBCA  also  announced  that  it  is  developing the “Chuck Daly Lifetime
   Achievement Award” to honor a current or former NBA Coach (Head Coach or

         “I   am  pleased  to announce that the NBCA is dedicating the 2009
   NBA  Playoffs to Chuck Daly and we all send our thoughts and best wishes
   to  him  and  his  family,”  said  Carlisle.   “Chuck has played such an
   important  role as a friend and mentor to so many NBA coaches, it’s only
   fitting  that  we develop the ‘Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award’ in
   his honor.”

         The “Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award” will be awarded yearly
   to a current or former NBA coach who, throughout an NBA career, has made
   a  special  contribution  to the sport and whose work has had a positive
   impact  on the NBA coaching profession.  The award will be voted upon by
   the  members of the NBA Coaches Association and will be announced at the
   conclusion of the NBA regular season.

         The inaugural award will be presented later this year.


During the final week of the regular season, the Pistons played like a team that wanted the season to end quickly. They lost their last three games, dooming them to the No. 8 seed. But guard Richard Hamilton doesn’t want anyone to read too much into that.
“The season is over and the playoffs is a whole different season,” he said. “As you know, the last couple of years the regular season hasn’t meant much. Everybody just waits on the playoffs. Now is the time for us to make a run. It’s going to be tougher than any other year because we are in the eighth spot, but we have to figure out a way.”
Sorry, but the only way the Pistons can beat Cleveland in the opening round is if LeBron James blows out his knee in the opener. Even then, I'd still lean toward the Cavs. The Pistons have just been way too inconsistent and unfocused to suddenly make some magic.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Kwame Brown missed Saturday's game with a tight hamstring but he participated in shootaround and should play tonight against Chicago.
Meanwhile, the team that drafted Brown first overall is about to hire Flip Saunders as its next head coach. Washington is close to finalizing contract negotiations with Saunders, who took the year off after the Pistons fired him at the end of last season.


Right now, the Pistons should have no shot at finishing sixth in the East. They got beat by the lottery-bound Indiana Pacers Saturday night, seemingly banishing themselves to seventh or eighth place. But Philadelphia continues to falter, losing to Toronto on Sunday.
If the Pistons can beat Chicago tonight and Miami Wednesday - the latter a meaningless game to the Heat - the Pistons would finish at .500. They would win the tiebreaker over the Bulls because of a better conference record.
Philly would have to lose both of its remaining games for the Pistons to elevate to sixth but that's quite possible. The Sixers' remaining games are against Boston (home Tuesday) and Cleveland (road Wednesday).
If nothing else, the Pistons will finish seventh if they win their last two games. With Kevin Garnett's knee troubles, a matchup with Boston is more desirable than having the top-seeded Cavs and LeBron James smash them in the opening round.

Friday, April 10, 2009


With the Pistons closing in on a playoff berth - they should get it tonight - the prevailing sentiment is that their season will still be over by the end of the month. And with good reason.
It's going to be nearly impossible for them to finish higher than seventh, even if they sweep their remaining games. Philadelphia, the current sixth seed, is two games ahead of them record-wise and also holds the tiebreaker.
The home finale Monday against Chicago will likely determine who finishes seventh - and draws either Boston or Orlando - and who gets the No. 8 seed and plays Cleveland.
Michael Curry said tonight he doesn't plan on shortening his rotation for the playoffs. He'd like to go nine-deep with Kwame Brown and Jason Maxiell spelling the frontcourt starters, Will Bynum will back up Rodney Stuckey and either Arron Afflalo or Walter Herrmann will get minutes at the wing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


We've talked about the Pistons' cap space a lot in recent months but don't be surprised if the roster is pretty similar to this year's group.
They'll bring in another big man and a perimeter shooter but there won't be wholesale changes, unless a deal comes along where Joe Dumars would give up either Tayshaun Prince or Richard Hamilton.
You figure the point guard tandem will remain Rodney Stuckey-Will Bynum. Backups Jason Maxiell, Amir Johnson, Arron Afflalo are signed through at least next season. Kwame Brown has a player option on his contract and will probably keep the $4 million, rather than take his chances in a tight free agent market.
The team wants to resign Antonio McDyess and would probably take back Rasheed Wallace with a reasonably-priced, short-term deal.
I also think Michael Curry will get another chance to prove he can do the job. The Pistons would have won a few more games with an experienced coach but it would have been tough for anybody, given the turmoil created by Allen Iverson and the injuries they had.

Friday, April 3, 2009


You just knew this was coming.
The Pistons just released a statement, saying Allen Iverson would miss the remainder of the season. The official reason, according to a Joe Dumars statement, is that he was "still feeling some discomfort" in his back. But we all know the truth. He had no desire to be a sixth man and complained all week about it after coming off the bench for three games.
With the team desperately trying to making the playoffs, it didn't need the additional drama created by AI's unhappiness with being a bench player. Will Bynum and Arron Afflalo, two young, hungry players, will benefit in the short term.
In the long team, obviously, the Pistons will take Iverson's expiring contract and use the $21.9 million on free agents and trades.
The question now is will AI play again in the league? He obviously won't accept anything less than being a starter and a main cog in the attack. Who will want to deal with an aging AI's ego and belief that he's still an All-Star? That will be one of the interesting sideshows of the summer.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Boston shut down Kevin Garnett for the rest of the regular season. It's time for the Pistons to do the same with Allen Iverson - not because he's injured but for the sake of team chemistry.
The Pistons put up with Iverson sitting out a month with a mysterious back injury and his insistence on getting outside opinions on his condition. All along, the speculation was that he simply didn't want to come off the bench as a sixth man, a spot that Michael Curry moved him to just before his back supposedly flared up.
In both of the games he's played since his return, Iverson has complained about being put in that role. The first time, he essentially said he felt a player of his stature was too good to be placed in that spot. After the game against Cleveland Tuesday, he fumed about playing just 18 minutes and said the team rushed him back into action.
The Pistons didn't rush him back. In fact, they'd probably be happy if he took the rest of the season off. They're fighting for a playoff spot - they don't Iverson whining after every game about his role.
I've said it numerous times this season - the Iverson deal was a trade the Pistons had to make. They have over $20 million in salary-cap room this summer to reshape the roster, thanks to Iverson's expiring contract. But the on-court results this year have been a disaster. The sooner Iverson sheds his Pistons uniform, the better.