Media Day notebook
The questions largely stem from the struggle between Hamilton and Allen Iverson to coexist last season and the Pistons struggling to a 39-43 record because of it.
Hamilton and Gordon both were quick to squash any animosity between the two of them and said they are looking forward to playing together.
“We are Connecticut guys,” Hamilton said. “I think it’s going to be great, another Connecticut guy. I always (said) that Connecticut has the best program in the world. We produce the best guards in the world. It’s a blessing. Adding (Gordon) to our team takes a load off me, with scoring and things like that because all the stuff he brings to the offensive end. I think it’s a big plus for us.”
“Our games are really different,” Gordon said. “Me playing with the basketball in my hand and having Rip come off screens, he’s one of the best shooters in the league. I think when you have shooters like myself and Rip in the backcourt it’s really tough to deal with. I can play off the ball. I think we are going to put those rumors and concerns to (rest) real soon.”
One of the big issues last season was Hamilton and Iverson both had a problem with coming off the bench, which is something Gordon has done throughout his career and thrived. Gordon said starting isn’t a big deal to him and doesn’t change his mentality.
“I just have a lot of confidence in my game,” Gordon said. “Regardless of what’s going on out on the floor, that doesn’t effect my approach to the game. I’m a ball player. As long as my shoes are on and I’m out there having fun, it doesn’t really matter. Especially if it’s helping us win. At the end of the day it’s not a big deal.”
The guy in charge of managing Hamilton and Gordon is rookie Pistons head coach John Kuester, who said he doesn’t see it as a problem and believes having the duo will make the team better.
“I think one of the things we have to recognize is they have to be on the floor at the same time,” Kuester said. “There is no question about that. Whether it’s in a 2-3 situation or 1-2 situation, we’ll have a number of times where you see Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton on the court at the same time. We got to be efficient and we have to be effective with it, but I tell you this, we should be able to score a lot of points.”
Ben Wallace isn’t the only Piston making a return this season. Guard Chucky Atkins is on the Pistons’ training camp roster after being released from the Timberwolves last season.
Atkins is not assured a roster spot and will likely be battling former Michigan standout Maceo Baston for the final roster spot.
The Pistons have 14 players signed to guaranteed contracts. Pistons GM Joe Dumars has said he’s comfortable starting the season with 14 players on the roster so Atkins or Baston will likely have to shine in the preseason if they hope to make the roster.
With all the talk of Hamilton and Gordon at shooting guard and Rodney Stuckey at point guard, the man that many people have forgotten about is Will Bynum.
Bynum shined at the end of last season, averaging 14.2 points a game over the Pistons final 18 games and 11.8 points in the playoffs. Bynum dedicated himself to improving in the offseason, shedding 15 pounds, and even had to go to the hospital last week for dehydration.
Bynum said the Gordon signing didn’t help motivate him during the offseason, but rather the taste of success in the NBA.
“I’m self-motivated. I been doubted all my life,” Bynum said. “The success I had last year just made me that much more hungry. I always knew that I could do it, but last year I got the chance to show that I can do it. It just made me that much more hungry for more success.”
Quote of the day
“It’s kind of hard for me to downplay my return. I’m 6-foot-9, 240. I’m pretty sure everyone sees me coming. It’s hard for me to downplay it,” Ben Wallace when asked if he was downplaying his return.