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An inside look at the Detroit Pistons and the NBA.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NBA institutes Twitter policy

According to The Associated Press, the NBA has instituted a policy regarding Twitter and other social media sites, which bans them from using them during games. The AP article is below:

NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA is instituting a policy regarding Twitter and other social media sites, banning players from using them during games.

The league sent a memo to teams on Wednesday telling them that cell phones and other communication devices can’t be used from 45 minutes before game time until after players have finished their responsibilities after games. That includes halftime.

The rule applies to “coaches, players and other team basketball operations personnel.” NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the memo and its contents.

The memo does not specify penalties for violation of the rule, and says teams are free to create their own policies for practices and other team events.

The NBA has more than 1.4 million followers on Twitter, and many players are active on it.

Pistons individual tickets on sale Thursday

Pistons individual game tickets go on sale Thursday at 9 a.m. Fans can purchase tickets at The Palace box office, at, by calling 248-377-0100 or any TicketMaster outlet.

To get $10 tickets fans must go to The Palace box office Thursday or can purchase them at any outlet starting at 10 a.m. on Friday.

The Pistons will have several promotions throughout the season, including Friends and Family nights for every Sunday home game, where fans can purchase four tickets, hot dogs, sodas and t-shirts for $89 in the upper level and $199 in the lower level. The Pistons will also have bobblehead Saturdays, where the first 5,000 fans get a Pistons player bobblehead.

On November 8 and November 29 the Pistons will hold autograph days where the first 3,000 kids 14 and under will get an in-person player autograph during a special postgame event.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stuckey ready to move on

Nobody is looking forward to moving on from last season more than Rodney Stuckey. The third-year pro bore the brunt of the Richard Hamitlon-Allen Iverson mess last season and had trouble understanding former coach Michael Curry’s message.

“I was overwhelmed and confused,” Stuckey admitted about last season. “But hey that’s part of growing up and being a man. That’s how it’s going to be sometimes. That’s in the past and we’re just looking to the future.”

Stuckey said he took some time off after the end of the season, going home and trying to get his mind off basketball before coming back to Detroit to work on his game.

“I just took some time off to relieve my mind off basketball for a little bit. Went home, went on a couple vacations and after that it was back to business,” Stuckey said. “I actually came up here for a good month to workout and brought a couple of my friends out here to workout with me. From there on, it was workouts.

“(I was focusing on) getting in better shape. Just making sure I keep my core. Mainly it was a lot of shooting. The most important thing for me is to get a lot of jump shots up, because a lot of teams are going to go underneath screens and things like that. I just have to be ready to shoot.”

Stuckey was asked at media day if he thought he was ‘The point guard’ entering training camp and he didn’t hesitate to answer that.

“I come into camp thinking I’m the point guard,” Stuckey said. “Will Bynum is a great player. He is one of my good friends on the team. He’s relentless, a hard worker and I’m happy to have him on my team. I think we are going to do a lot of damage this year.”

There was also talk of Ben Gordon seeing time at point guard, which Stuckey said he wouldn’t mind.

“He’s going to be out there playing the one a little as well,” Stuckey said. “There is going to be times, where I’m on the wing and he’s going get the ball on the break and I’m going to have to fill his spot.”

Mr. Twitter
Charlie Villanueva didn’t realize how big the story would become when he sent the now infamous “Halftime Tweet” while with the Bucks. But Villanueva doesn’t regret the incident and is glad to embrace it.

“I didn’t even mean for it to get that much attention,” Villanueva said. “I don’t know how it happened. Coach (Scott) Skiles just called me into his office and, ‘What’s this about?’ I was, ‘How did he know about this?’ But he did. And it seemed like everybody else just picked it up as far as all the media and what not. Some people didn’t know who Charlie Villanueva, but they know now.”

“It’s cool,” Villanueva said about being known for the incident. “It doesn’t hurt me at all. The more attention, I guess the better. Marketing yourself. You got to brand who you are, the Twitter incident definitely helped me out.”

The NBA implemented some Twitter guidelines for players during the offseason, something Villanueva certainly noticed.

“That’s a Villanueva rule. I’m going to go in there and see if I can change that,” he said. “Twitter is all fun and games. It’s way to stay connected with the fans. I think the fans deserve that. I have a good time doing it.”

Pistons to hold open practice Oct. 10

The Detroit Pistons will host their annual open practice at The Palace of Auburn Hills on October 10 from 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. Admission is free and doors will open at 11:30 a.m.

“The open practice is a great event where our fans can come out and get a preview of this year’s team,” Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars said in a statement. “Having the practice free to the public is a great way to kick-off training camp and get the community excited about the upcoming season.”

Coca-Cola will provide free refreshments at the open practice, as well as free preseason tickets.

“Coca-Cola has always been about the small moments of refreshment — something we all could use — so we’re inviting people to enjoy an ice-cold Coca-Cola, a hot dog and a game, all free of charge,” said Mike Alter, Marketing Development Manager for Coca-Cola.

The Pistons dance team “Automotion” will be on hand as well as Pistons mascot Hooper, who will perform with the Pistons flight crew.

Monday, September 28, 2009

More media day tidbits

A big topic of discussion at Pistons media day was defense. Detroit enters the season with a lot of question marks on the defensive end, but the Pistons’ veterans are confident the team can keep up the defensive standard Detroit established during it’s six straight trips to the Eastern Conference finals.

“We got a lot of guys who can score the basketball,” Tayshaun Prince said. “Obviously, each and every season defense is the key. I think the game has changed a lot since we won in ’04 and went to the Finals in back-to-back years. But I still think defense wins when it comes crunch time in the playoffs. I’m pretty sure coach and the rest of the staff and (my) teammates know we can score the basketball, but what’s going to be important for us is defense and rebounding, especially since we are going to have some guys playing the 4 that are really 3s at times. Having smaller lineups and what not. Defense and rebounding are going to be huge.”

“People think this is a year for us to rebuild, but I think this is a year for us to show that last year wasn’t definitely not Detroit Pistons (basketball).

Richard Hamitlon agreed with Prince that defense has to be a priority, even with all the offensive weapons Detroit has.

“If you look at our team and look at our roster, man for man offensively we can hold it down with anybody,” Hamilton said. “I think in order for us to be great we are going to have to do what we do on defense and that’s stop people. I think every guy on this team can do that. I just think from Day 1, we all have to be on the same page and know where guys are at and helping each other out, things like that.”

Team leader?
Hamilton was asked who the Pistons leader would be this season and had an interesting response.

“My job is to go out there and lead by example,” Hamilton said. “I always say, ‘I hate when guys get a chance to lead, but just talk.’ I think you have to live it and go out there and perform like it. Guys will respect you because of that. I think I love the role that I’m in. I got 10 years in. I’m not a young pup anymore so it’s going to be fun.”

Retiring a Piston
Ben Wallace admitted he was leaning toward retirement before he decided to sign with the Pistons this offseason. One reason he decided to comeback was the chance to retire in Detroit, a place he made a name for himself.

“I was pretty much retired,” Wallace said. “I know what I can do in this league and I know what I’ve done in this league. It’s one of those things where I thought I was closer to the end than the beginning. … I just figured if I was going to retire this would be a good place for me to retire.”

Media Day notebook

AUBURN HILLS — One of the first questions after Ben Gordon signed with the Pistons this offseason was, “How are him and Richard Hamilton going to coexist?”

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.”

Familiar faces
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.

Forgotten man
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.

Training camp roster

The Pistons announced their training camp roster. It is as follows

No. 17 Chucky Atkins
No. 8 Maceo Baston
No. 38 Kwame Brown
No. 12 Will Bynum
No. 5 Austin Daye
No. 7 Ben Gordon
No. 32 Richard Hamilton
No. 33 Jonas Jerebko
No. 54 Jason Maxiell
No. 22 Tayshaun Prince
No. 3 Rodney Stuckey
No. 35 DaJuan Summers
No. 31 Charlie Villanueva
No. 6 Ben Wallace
No. 13 Deron Washington
No. 9 Chris Wilcox

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pistons announce local TV schedule

The Pistons announced their 2009-10 local television schedule with FOX Sports Detroit set to air 78 of the Pistons’ 82 regular season games and two preseason games (Oct. 5 vs. Miami and Oct. 23 at Milwaukee).

The four remaining games will air nationally on ESPN. They are Dec. 9 at Philadelphia, Mar. 5 at Cleveland, Mar. 15 at Boston and Mar. 21 at Cleveland.

According to the press release, "A substantial number of the FSD telecasts will also be available in high-definition on FOX Sports Detroit HD (HD schedule to be announced at a later date)."

The FSD broadcasts will feature Pistons Live, with pre and post-game coverage. A new feature show, Pistons In Focus, will also be part of FSD’s game-night programming, while Pistons Weekly will air on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.

Eleven games will air on FSD-Plus, an auxiliary channel made available by cable and satellite providers. A list of the games is below.

FSD-Plus games
Nov. 14 at Washington
Nov. 18 at Portland
Nov. 21 at Utah
Dec. 6 Washington
Dec. 23 Toronto
Jan. 12 at Washington
Jan. 23 Portland
Jan. 27 Memphis
Mar. 7 Houston
Mar. 13 at Atlanta
April 7 Atlanta

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Iverson agrees to deal with Grizzlies

Allen Iverson has agreed to a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Iverson is expected to a sign a one-year $3.5 million contract with incentives based on performance.

“I feel that they are committed to developing a winner and I know that I can help them accomplish that,” Iverson said on his Twitter page. “I feel that I can trust them.”

It ends an unusual offseason for Iverson, whose stock dropped dramatically after his fallout with the Pistons. The 10-time All-Star didn’t draw nearly as much interest as he would have prior to last season.

“God chose Memphis as the place that I will continue my career,” Iverson said on his Twitter page. “I met with Mr. Heinsly, Chris Wallace and my next head coach Lionel Hollins.”

Iverson never averaged less than 22 points a game until last season when he averaged 17.4 points for the Pistons. He played just 57 games last season (54 for the Pistons).

The Pistons play a preseason game at Memphis on Oct. 17 and open the regular season at Memphis on Oct. 28. The Grizzlies visit The Palace on Jan. 27.

Iverson joins a young Memphis squad that includes O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay and No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet.