Hamilton and Gordon pushing each other
Hamilton and Gordon have been pushing each other in practice in hopes of helping turnaround the Pistons this season after a disappointing 39-43 finish last year.
“If you didn’t know Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton had such a special relationship between each other, you would have thought one of them didn’t like the other because they have gone after each other from the get-go,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. “Rip has this attitude of, ‘Hey we get in between the lines, I don’t care who you are, I’m going at you.’ And Ben has responded. That’s been pretty neat to know how special their relationship is and seeing how they’ve pushed each other from the beginning.”
Hamilton, who averaged 18.3 points last season, and Gordon, who averaged 20.7 points for the Bulls last season, could pose serious problems for opposing teams, especially if on the court at the same time.
“I love it,” Hamilton said of having Gordon around. “I think he loves it too. One time we was just watching, going over a play and how Boston plays defense, how they jump strong side, I was telling him, ‘With me and you on the floor, there is no way they can play that way because one of us is going to be on the opposite side of the court so they got to pick their poison.’ I think it’s going to be fun because when you got guys that can shoot as well as we can and create and get to the basket, it’s always a tough cover.”
Hamilton and Gordon will get their first chance to play with each other Monday night when the Pistons host the Heat in their first preseason game.
Starting five still in the air
After Sunday’s practice, Kuester said the starting five for Monday’s preseason game is still to be determined, but admitted there is a couple spots set.
“We are going to get together as a staff and discuss a number of issues we have from a minutes standpoint (and) what we want to do from a lineup standpoint too,” Kuester said.
Kuester was asked if the team has named captains and said he would discuss it with team president Joe Dumars. But Kuester acknowledged the team’s unquestioned leaders are Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace.
“I got three guys that, you call them whatever you want, that will tell me exactly what’s on their mind and that’s the bottom line. They’re leaders. That’s all I need,” Kuester said.
Villanueva doubtful for Monday
Charlie Villanueva has battled a hamstring injury during training camp and participated in some light drills Sunday, but will likely miss Monday’s preseason game against the Heat.
“I doubt very seriously that Charlie plays,” Kuester said.