PF Piston Pieces 8/18/09

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by G-man, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    Ben Gordon looking to show Pistons he can do much more than score
    Dave Dial - MLive


    "When Joe Dumars met with Ben Gordon on the first day of free agency, the conversation must have included more than Gordon coming in and lighting up the scoreboard for the new Detroit Pistons. The change in players, 7 players who were not on the Pistons roster last season now are, will also bring a change in philosophy. Dime Magazine talked to Ben Gordon about this change in a recent interview.
    August 17, Dime Magazine: When you picture the Detroit Pistons, there is an unmistakable image of blue collar, gritty basketball that is a direct personification of the city. However, times are changing, and Detroit is certainly not immune in that regard.*


    The NBA is perhaps the most dynamic and ever-changing professional sports league in the world and the trend today is a more free-flowing game dominated by wings, instead of the "bigs" of years past. Pistons GM Joe Dumars recognized the prior Pistons team led by Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Rasheed Wallace had its chance, wasn't moving forward, and needed a shake-up...

    "Everyone's excited," Gordon said about the new look Pistons. "There's a new staff, new coach, and new players. After last season everyone was disappointed with the way things turned out. This year, everyone is excited for the new opportunity and a fresh start. I'm just going to go out there every night and do what it takes to win; that's really everybody's role. The way Joe has built the team it's everyone who will share a piece of the team's success, helping each other do what it takes to win."...

    With Gordon now at the helm, Detroit's roster and personnel look vastly different than the traditional defensive-oriented Pistons teams of years past. Gordon rounds out an extremely athletic roster of players that include veterans Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey, and Charlie Villanueva. In addition, the players Detroit drafted in 2009 signify and represent a change in style as well with forwards Austin Daye and DaJuan Summers.


    "We'll have a lot of firepower," Gordon said. "If you look at the way the game is being played now, Joe has tried to change our team to be successful. The game is a lot more up-tempo now and defending teams is different because it's just not as physical as the game once was. It's really not a grind-it-out style of ball anymore. Though we'll have a lot of offensive guys, defense will still be our staple."


    Making a 5-year commitment to Detroit this off-season to the tune of $55 million, Gordon doesn't just realize that he'll be looked to do more than put points on the board - he welcomes it. With a more flexible system the Pistons will run on the offensive end, Gordon once again will have the freedom not only to score, but also to be creative with the ball similar to his days at Connecticut. Utilizing his all-around game was one of the deciding factors that drove Ben to sign the lucrative deal.
    Joe has the Pistons heading in the right direction and you can't help but get excited with Gordon's enthusiasm, but it's hard to believe that the Pistons will be challenging for a Division Title, or even home court seeding for the playoffs, with the current big man rotation the team has right now.

    Piston fans should read the rest of the interview, and get to better know one of the new Pistons that will usher the team into a new era.
    {Thanks to MLive's Justin Rogers for the info that lead to this entry.}"

    Ben Gordon looking to show Pistons he can do much more than score - Full-Court Press




    Report: Bucks deal Amir Johnson
    Charles F. Gardner - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    MILWAUKEE — So long, Amir Johnson.
    The power forward’s days in Milwaukee were numbered - at 55, to be precise.

    In a sign-and-trade deal worked out between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors, Johnson and guard Sonny Weems will head to Toronto, while Milwaukee will receive small forward Carlos Delfino and guard Roko Ukic, a team source confirmed Monday

    The 6-foot-6-inch Delfino is the key man in the trade for the Bucks, a player who can provide depth at small forward, still a major concern after the departure of veteran Richard Jefferson in a June 23 trade. That was the same deal that netted Johnson from the Detroit Pistons.
    But the 6-9 Johnson became more expendable in the Bucks’ thinking after they signed free agent Hakim Warrick to a one-year, $3 million deal earlier this month. Warrick will have a chance to gain a starting spot at power forward.

    The Bucks also are encouraged by the development of young power forward Ersan Ilyasova, who signed a three-year deal earlier this summer, and they have veteran Kurt Thomas to provide depth at power forward and center.

    Delfino’s contract is expected to be a three-year deal, according to sources. Johnson is scheduled to make $3.66 million next season in the final year of a three-year contract he signed with Detroit in the summer of 2007.

    Delfino, who will turn 27 later this month, is quite familiar to Bucks general manager John Hammond, who was in the Detroit front office when the Pistons drafted him in the first round (25th overall) in 2003.

    Delfino played three seasons in Detroit before being traded to the Raptors for a pair of second-round draft picks in the summer of 2007.

    In one season with Toronto, Delfino averaged 9.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists while playing in all 82 games during the 2007-’08 season. He also averaged 8.6 points as Toronto lost a five-game playoff series to Orlando.

    Toronto retained his NBA rights, but he played last season for BC Khimki in Russia. The global financial crisis put Khimki and several other Russian teams in serious difficulty, and Delfino had his European contract bought out, ssources indicated.

    The Raptors were seeking to deal Delfino after obtaining forward Hedo Turkoglu via a sign-and-trade during the current off-season, drafting small forward DeMar DeRozan and adding wing players Marco Belinelli and Antoine Wright.

    Delfino has played for various Argentine youth national teams and also was a member of Argentina’s gold-medal winning team at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

    When the Bucks open training camp in late September, they will have second-year players Joe Alexander and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in the mix at the small forward spot, along with Delfino.

    Michael Redd, Charlie Bell and rookie Jodie Meeks are the primary players at the shooting guard position.

    Ukic, a 24-year-old from Croatia, averaged 4.2 points and 2.1 assists for Toronto in his rookie year last season. Ukic averaged 12.4 minutes while appearing in 72 games as a backup to Raptors point guard Jose Calderon."

    Report: Bucks deal Amir Johnson - BostonHerald.com
  2. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    5 Things We Learned In The NBA This Week
    Travis Heath - Hoopsworld

    "A More Sentimental Than Productive Homecoming For Big Ben

    Ben Wallace returned to the Detroit Pistons last week signing a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum. It's a feel-good move for the fans of Detroit and for Wallace himself.

    "It's great to be back," Wallace said. "My career took off when I was here, and I'm ready to see what will happen this time."

    Unfortunately for folks in Detroit, what will happen between the lines likely isn't much. Wallace is now 35 years old and not close to the player he once was.
    "They are getting the 35-year-old Ben Wallace now, and my hair isn't as along, and it certainly isn't as dark any more," Wallace explained. "They haven't told me anything about my role, and I'm not worried. When they call my number, I'll play the same way I always play."

    There's little doubt Wallace will play as hard as he always did, but the production will most definitely suffer. This isn't meant to imply the move was a bad one for the Pistons as every team needs to make some moves that are more about chemistry and selling tickets than they are winning games, and it's not like the Pistons dropped a ton of cash on him.

    That said, there's some risk in going the sentimental route. While it feels good to see players of yesteryear back in their original digs, it also sets up the fanbase for disappointment when the team isn't as good as those teams of the past.

    While skipping back a couple of chapters might feel good for a little while, it won't help the team take any bold steps towards creating a new and unique reality. The more likely result will be a yearning for what the fans once witnessed in The Palace and a sense of denial about where the franchise currently is."

    HOOPSWORLD




    Deron Washington Remembers Greg Paulus
    Dan Steinberg - D.C. Sports Blog

    "Deron Washington was in the news twice last week: once for signing a contract with the Detroit Pistons, and once for being permanently honored at Virginia Tech's new practice facility in an image of him hurdling Greg Paulus's head. Oddly, I had talked to him about both issues the previous month in Vegas, when we briefly chatted following one of his summer league games with the Pistons.

    Like other bloggers, I had somehow convinced myself that Washington's leap over Paulus led to a dunk.

    "That was just a layup though," he corrected me. "It was one of my best highlights, but it was just a layup. Still, I jumped over somebody; that still impressed a lot of people."

    As for his best dunks, Washington named three: one against Georgia Tech, one against Boston College, and one on Sean Singletary, who wound up as Washington's roommate in Vegas this summer.

    "I'm always clowning with him; like, 'Oh, I'm about to go watch some YouTube clips, I might watch the YouTube clip from the UVA game," Washington told me. "I'm always messing with him."

    And here's another misconception I had: That Washington's most-hated rival in college would have been Singletary and the Hoos. Not so, he said.


    "We hated Virginia, but Duke was the most hated," he said. "Unless you go to Duke, there's not too many teams that really like them, but we always had a battle with them. It was always a hard-fought game with Duke....It's just something about Duke that makes us just want to beat them even more. It's Duke."

    "It's Duke;" Even players fall back on that, as if nothing else needs to be said. Anyhow, now that he's left the ACC behind, Washington said he doesn't have anything against former Blue Devils.

    "But when I'm watching on TV, watching Tech play Duke?" he said. "It's a different story."

    Washington spent the past season with Hapoel Holon in Israel, and while he said he had a few memorable dunks, he added that it was virtually impossible to dunk on anyone there.

    "Nobody really wanted to jump with me, so it was pretty hard," he explained. "I guess I had the reputation, when he's near the rim, foul him or just get out the way."

    And so for that, Israel thanks you, Greg Paulus."

    D.C. Sports Bog - Deron Washington Remembers Greg Paulus




    Zo's Shootout: Gordon a winner at fundraising, if not golf
    LoHud.com

    "BRIARCLIFF MANOR - It took a long time for Ben Gordon to get comfortable over the ball. He checked over and over to make certain everything was properly aligned with the pin and blocked out the noise from a menacing waterfall that frames the 13th green at Trump National.

    A compact swing launched nothing but grass and dirt.
    "Keep your feet on the ground," Alonzo Mourning yelled.
    Gordon smiled and reset, then whiffed again.

    "What are you looking up for?" Dwyane Wade asked.

    There was a look of determination as Gordon tried again, sending the ball rolling across the packed tee box and into a pond.

    "Good swing," Mourning deadpanned. "You hit it past the ladies' tee."

    It sounded more like a celebrity roast than a charity outing.

    Gordon and Wade joined a number of other NBA players past and present to help Mourning raise money to support his foundation at Zo's Million Dollar Shootout yesterday. They were around mostly for moral support.

    "It's a good cause," said Gordon, who hosted Wade on Friday at his celebrity bowl-a-thon. "The NBA is definitely a fraternity. When you're in town, even if you don't talk to somebody a lot during the season, you should want to be part of something that's helpful to the community."

    No matter how much the ego suffers.

    The former Mount Vernon High star, who signed a [0x07]$55 million contract to play this season for the Detroit Pistons, dressed the part. And the fancy rental clubs helped complete the picture.

    But he freely admitted golf is not something he's familiar with. He's more comfortable staring down Kobe Bryant.

    "I don't play at all," Gordon said. "I've been on a golf course maybe three times in my lifetime: once as a caddie, and the other two times I was just out there messing around."

    The idea of toting golf bags for a couple of dollars was initially appealing.

    "I think it was somewhere in Scarsdale, when I was in high school," he said. "I can't remember where. It was too hot out there for me."

    Wade didn't even risk his credibility with a golf club. He posed for pictures and chatted up the participants.

    Mourning teed up with each group after thanking each golfer for coming. Those who got closer to the pin than he did got a prize.

    "I swing," Wade said. "I don't know if that constitutes playing. I get out there every once in a while, but today I don't want to get out there and embarrass myself."

    While spending the weekend in New York, he's gotten an earful from hopeful Knicks fans.

    "Any city I go to now these days, there is recruiting," Wade said.

    The perennial All-Star would consider a contract extension to stay in Miami, but he is expected to be among the marquee players in next summer's free-agent class.

    "For me, it's about putting myself in a position where I can be successful and win," Wade said, agreeing there could be a lot of pressure on any top free agent who decides to come to New York. "Or you can look at it as being an unbelievable opportunity to really make a mark, not just on an unbelievable organization, but also a great city. So who that lucky person is, I guess we'll see in 2010."

    Mourning wasn't doling out career advice. He was too busy raising money for Zo's Fund For Life kidney research and his ongoing mentoring programs.

    "We're talking about providing resources for kids that have the ability, they just don't have the resources," he said. "Each and every one of us, we got here because of someone else's contribution. You've got a lot of kids out there who don't have that person in their lives - all these kids need is a little bit of help."

    And with that in mind, Gordon kept swinging away.

    He will soon be heading back to Chicago to continue workouts in advance of training camp. There are plenty of cartons and crates to fill as well, in preparation for the move north.

    "I just look at it as a challenge," Gordon said. "I figure I'm going to eventually pick golf up full-time, probably when I'm retired, so I don't mind dibbling and dabbling every once in a while."

    "I think it was somewhere in Scarsdale, when I was in high school," he said. "I can't remember where. It was too hot out there for me."

    Wade didn't even risk his credibility with a golf club. He posed for pictures and chatted up the participants.

    Mourning teed up with each group after thanking each golfer for coming. Those who got closer to the pin than he did got a prize.

    "I swing," Wade said. "I don't know if that constitutes playing. I get out there every once in a while, but today I don't want to get out there and embarrass myself."

    While spending the weekend in New York, he's gotten an earful from hopeful Knicks fans.

    "Any city I go to now these days, there is recruiting," Wade said.

    The perennial All-Star would consider a contract extension to stay in Miami, but he is expected to be among the marquee players in next summer's free-agent class.

    "For me, it's about putting myself in a position where I can be successful and win," Wade said, agreeing there could be a lot of pressure on any top free agent who decides to come to New York. "Or you can look at it as being an unbelievable opportunity to really make a mark, not just on an unbelievable organization, but also a great city. So who that lucky person is, I guess we'll see in 2010."

    Mourning wasn't doling out career advice. He was too busy raising money for Zo's Fund For Life kidney research and his ongoing mentoring programs.

    "We're talking about providing resources for kids that have the ability, they just don't have the resources," he said. "Each and every one of us, we got here because of someone else's contribution. You've got a lot of kids out there who don't have that person in their lives - all these kids need is a little bit of help."

    And with that in mind, Gordon kept swinging away.

    He will soon be heading back to Chicago to continue workouts in advance of training camp. There are plenty of cartons and crates to fill as well, in preparation for the move north.

    "I just look at it as a challenge," Gordon said. "I figure I'm going to eventually pick golf up full-time, probably when I'm retired, so I don't mind dibbling and dabbling every once in a while."

    detroit pistons - Google News
  3. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    It Starts with Stuckey
    Keith Langlois - True Blue Pistons

    "For a game with such a simple basis – putting a round ball through a rim and stopping your opponent from the same end – basketball is incredibly layered and complex. There are infinite means to arriving at that end, and that seems especially true for the 2009-10 Pistons, who’ve added eight moving parts over the off-season and, on paper at least, appear to have more dimensions to their offense.

    But the straightest path toward getting there involves Rodney Stuckey. If the Pistons get from what Stuckey what they hope to get – and that’s what they believe he’s capable of delivering, not just some pie-in-the-sky wish for an overnight miracle – then all those other things fall in place around him.
    And that isn’t to say Stuckey needs to perform at an All-Star level, necessarily. When Chauncey Billups was making his three straight All-Star appearances as a Piston, the East wasn’t overly populated with All-Star candidates. It was Billups and Jason Kidd, basically."

    PISTONS: It Starts with Stuckey




    Pistons Mailbag
    Keith Langlois - True Blue Pistons

    Shin (Novi, Mich.): I have a comment for your response to Ryan from Taiwan in the most recent Mailbag when you said you were curious who he thinks the Pistons should have signed instead of Ben Gordon. I would have recommended Marcin Gortat. Just like Gordon, he had a terrific postseason. I thought he was a young, cheap, true center who would fit with the Pistons. Don’t you think Gortat would have been a great pickup? We could have gotten him for $6 million or $7 million and then we wouldn’t have had to trade away Afflalo for cap space.

    Langlois:Since when is $6 million or $7 million “cheap?” Gortat was a restricted free agent. Dallas raised eyebrows by signing him to a full mid-level exception contract which started at $5.854 million. Orlando matched. So a starting salary of $6 million wasn’t going to scare the Magic away. How high would the Pistons have had to go? Let’s say they gave Gortat a first-year salary of $7 million. That would mean a commitment of $41 million over five years. (And still no evidence Orlando wouldn’t have matched at that price.) You say that “just like Gordon,” Gortat had a great playoff run. Just like Gordon? Gortat played 11 minutes a game and averaged 3.3 points and 3.2 rebounds. Gordon averaged 24 a game. Points aren’t the only barometer, I understand, but Gordon is one of the best scorers in the NBA. It remains to be seen if Gortat can become an average starter. I’ll go this far: Gortat showed enough to make you believe he can be a guy good enough to start and hold his own. He’ll probably average close to 10 rebounds a game if he’s good enough to play 30 minutes. But it would represent a gigantic leap of faith to invest that kind of cash in a guy who has never had to play more than spot minutes behind Dwight Howard. And while Gortat is young, he’s 25. If he were 20 or 21 and was coming off the postseason he had, yeah, I’d say the future is really bright. But at 25, I don’t know how easy it is to extrapolate the type of growth it would require to justify a $40 million investment. Charlie Villanueva, by comparison, is roughly the same age (six months younger, actually) and is coming off a 16-point, seven-rebound regular season. It’s a little easier to project his growth and justify the commitment the Pistons made to him, which is just a little bit more than what Orlando had to match to keep Gortat from leaving for Dallas.

    Steven (Windsor, Ontario): Charlie Villanueva and Kwame Brown are the tallest players on the roster and those two are not so defensive-minded. My question is how will the Pistons do against some of the bigger teams in the league like Cleveland, which has Shaq and Big Z?

    Langlois: I don’t think the Cavs are looking to bring back the Twin Towers that Houston tried in the ’80s with Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon by pairing two senior citizens like Shaq and Z. I predict they’ll be on the floor at the same time for less than 2 percent of Cleveland’s minutes next season, if that. Kwame Brown is a very sturdy defender, by the way, who’ll be used extensively against the few remaining low-post monsters like Shaq and Dwight Howard. Those two teams alone, Cleveland and Orlando, will occupy nearly 10 percent of the Pistons’ schedule (eight games out of 82), but beyond them, there isn’t another truly overpowering center in the East. Brendan Haywood? Andrew Bogut? Eddy Curry? Kendrick Perkins? That’s about as close as it gets. Jason Maxiell is a very good post defender, even if he gives up 4 or 5 inches consistently. Ben Wallace is obviously a very good post defender and remained so last season with Cleveland. Chris Wilcox has the body and the athleticism to hold his own, as well. I don’t see post defense as any more of a concern for the Pistons than it will be for most other teams.

    Jovan (Flint, Mich.):How well do you think Big Ben will play after three years of being away? How much of a reaction do you think he will get?

    Langlois:I think he’s still got something to give, Jovan. As I wrote last week, Wallace led the entire NBA in plus/minus per 48 minutes last season. He was having a very solid season, playing about half the game, until he broke his leg. There’s no reason to believe he can’t give the Pistons plus defense and rebounding for 20 minutes or so a night if that’s what they ask of him. As for the reaction he’ll get, I expect that on Oct. 30, the night of the home opener, he’ll get a thunderous standing ovation much like the one Chauncey Billups got last March when he returned to The Palace for the first time since being traded.

    Kobina (Baton Rouge, La.): I find your Mailbags give fans a great insight to the team and its players, but I am forced to ask myself if I am drinking too much Langlois Brand Pistons Blue Kool-Aid by reading every single one?

    Langlois: It’s powerful stuff, Kobina. As always, drink in moderation."

    PISTONS: Pistons Mailbag - Monday, August 17, 2009
  4. Nemo

    Nemo Pun Master Forum Donor

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    Toronto should be Amir's last team. The only thing we don't know is how many days will he be there.
  5. TaS

    TaS All-Star Forum Donor

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    I'll take the over on that one.
  6. jayborne

    jayborne Bench Warmer

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    After 5 years in the league, Ben Gordon now decides to prove to the league he can do more than score. Better late than never?

    Truthfully, he can play solid defense on point guards.

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