PRACTICING THE CURRY WAY
In the early days of training camp, Michael Curry and his Pistons staff are dividing the team into three groups of five, then letting them go at it toward the end of practice while working on specific plays.
He's not going with a first team, second team, third team pecking order. Instead, he's mixing and matching his starters with the reserves in order to keep each group relatively even in terms of talent.
During the second day of camp, the groups were divided in this fashion:
Orange Team - Rasheed Wallace, Amir Johnson, Walter Sharpe, Arron Afflalo, Rodney Stuckey
Blue Team - Kwame Brown, Antonio McDyess, Walter Herrmann, Alex Acker, Chauncey Billups
White Team - Cheikh Samb, Jason Maxiell, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton, Will Bynum
Some quick observations: Sharpe, the team's top draft pick, won't play much this season but he didn't look out of place. He stroked a sweet 20-footer during the half-hour that the media was allowed to watch. He also made a nifty putback, fighting off Prince for a rebound and then scoring on a jump hook in the lane.
The pairing of Johnson and Wallace might have been by design. The staff hopes that Johnson will seize a starting role alongside Wallace. The more times they play together in practice, the more rapidly they'll develop chemistry.
Curry likes to emphasize a couple of sets each practice. He introduced seven of them during the opening night of camp and now wants his players to learn them at a steady pace.
"What we'll continue to do is take about two sets each day and concentrate and try to break them down, so as guys get familiar with them and figure out ways they can score, we can continue to add to it," he said.
They're also working on late-game situations, in which eight seconds are placed on the clock with the offensive unit trailing by two or three points. He's allowing the veterans like Prince and Wallace to diagram plays off those sets during a timeout before their group runs them.
If you're a high school or college coach, you're welcome to watch some of the practices. There were about 20 coaches and invited guests Wednesday, including South Florida coach Stan Heath and ex-Detroit Mercy coach Perry Watson.
Fans who want to see a practice, or some semblance of one, should head to Oakland University Thursday night when an open practice will be conducted at 6:30 p.m.