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An inside look at the Detroit Pistons and the NBA.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Pistons' Jonas Jerebko makes NBA all-rookie second team

Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko was named to the NBA's all-rookie second team on Friday. Jerebko received 22 points, which put him in a three-way tie for the eighth most votes with Minnesota's Jonny Flynn and Oklahoma City's James Harden. San Antonio's DeJuan Blair and New Orleans' Marcus Thornton were also named to the second team.

Sacramento's Tyreke Evans, Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings, Golden State's Stephen Curry, New Orleans' Darren Collison and Chicago's Taj Gibson were named to the first team.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kings' Tyreke Evans wins rookie of the year

Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans won the NBA's Rookie of the Year award, the league announced Thursday. Evans received 67 first-place votes (491 points) from a panel of 123 sportswriters and broadcasters. Golden State's Stephen Curry finished second with 391 points and Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings finished third with 204 points.

Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

Six rookies received votes, with the following breakdown:
Tyreke Evans, Sacramento — 491 points
Stephen Curry, Golden State — 391 points
Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee — 204 points
Darren Collison, New Orleans — 17 points
Jonny Flynn, Minnesota — 2 points
Taj Gibson, Chicago — 2 points

Pistons rookie Jonas Jerebko did not receive any rookie of the year votes. But the all-rookie first and second teams have not been announced yet, so Jerebko could still earn those honors.

Complete list of early entrants to the NBA Draft

The NBA announced 103 players have declared as early entrants for the NBA Draft, including 80 players from U.S. colleges. The college players have until May 8 to withdraw from the draft and return to college as long they didn't hire an agent, according to the new NCAA rule. The NBA gives players until June 14 to decide, which means the international players have until then to withdraw. Here is a complete list of all the early entrants, the projected first round picks by are bolded:

Player, School, Height, Status
Solomon Alabi, Florida State, 7-1, Sophomore
Cole Aldrich, Kansas, 6-11, Junior
Lavoy Allen, Temple, 6-9, Junior
Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest, 6-9, Sophomore
James Anderson, Oklahoma State, 6-6, Junior
Kevin Anderson, Richmond, 6-0, Junior
Luke Babbitt, Nevada, 6-9, Sophomore
Armon Bassett, Ohio, 6-2, Junior
Talor Battle, Penn State, 6-0, Junior
Keith Benson, Oakland, 6-11, Junior
Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky, 6-1, Freshman
Anatoly Bose, Nicholls State, 6-6, Junior
Dee Bost, Mississippi State, 6-2, Sophomore
Craig Brackins, Iowa State, 6-10, Junior
Avery Bradley, Texas, 6-2, Freshman
Carlon Brown, Utah, 6-5, Junior
Derrick Caracter, UTEP, 6-9, Junior
DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky, 6-11, Freshman
Jordan Crawford, Xavier, 6-4, Sophomore
Ed Davis, North Carolina, 6-10, Sophomore
Mike Davis, Illinois, 6-9, Junior
Paul Davis, Winston-Salem State, 6-9, Junior
Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech, 6-3, Junior
Devin Ebanks, West Virginia, 6-9, Sophomore
Kenneth Faried, Morehead State, 6-8, Junior
Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech, 6-10, Freshman
Courtney Fortson, Arkansas, 5-11, Sophomore
Jimmer Fredette, BYU, 6-2, Junior
Keith “Tiny” Gallon, Oklahoma, 6-9, Freshman
Charles Garcia, Seattle, 6-10, Junior
Paul George, Fresno State, 6-8, Sophomore
Anthony Gurley, Massachusetts, 6-3, Junior
Manny Harris, Michigan, 6-5, Junior
Gordon Hayward, Butler, 6-9, Sophomore
Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall, 6-5, Junior
Xavier Henry, Kansas, 6-6, Freshman
Darington Hobson, New Mexico, 6-7, Junior
Adnan Hodzic, Lipscomb, 6-8, Junior
Armon Johnson, Nevada, 6-3, Junior
JaJuan Johnson, Purdue, 6-10, Junior
Ravern Johnson, Mississippi State, 6-7, Junior
Wesley Johnson, Syracuse, 6-7, Junior
Cameron Jones, Northern Arizona, 6-4, Junior
Dominique Jones, South Florida, 6-4, Junior
Mac Koshwal, DePaul, 6-10, Junior
Sylven Landesberg, Virginia, 6-6, Sophomore
Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech, 6-9, Junior
Kenny Lawson, Creighton, 6-9, Junior
Tommy Mason-Griffin, Oklahoma, 5-11, Freshman
Demetri McCamey, Illinois, 6-3, Junior
Elijah Millsap, Alabama-Birmingham, 6-6, Junior
Greg Monroe, Georgetown, 6-10, Sophomore
E’Twaun Moore, Purdue, 6-4, Junior
Arnett Moultrie, UTEP, 6-11, Sophomore
A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt, 6-11, Junior
Daniel Orton, Kentucky, 6-10, Freshman
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky, 6-9, Junior
Rico Pickett, Manhattan, 6-4, Junior
Eniel Polynice, Mississippi, 6-5, Junior
Herb Pope, Seton Hall, 6-8, Sophomore
Jeff Robinson, Seton Hall, 6-6, Junior
Samardo Samuels, Louisville, 6-9, Sophomore
Larry Sanders, Virginia Commonwealth, 6-11, Junior
John Sloan, Huntingdon (AL), 5-11, Junior
Tracy Smith, North Carolina State, 6-8, Junior
Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati, 6-5, Freshman
Lazar Trifunovic, Radford, 6-8, Junior
Evan Turner, Ohio State, 6-7, Junior
Alex Tyus, Florida, 6-8, Junior
Ekpe Udoh, Baylor, 6-10, Junior
John Wall, Kentucky, 6-4, Freshman
Willie Warren, Oklahoma, 6-4, Sophomore
Quinton Watkins, San Diego State, 6-3, Freshman
C.J. Webster, San Jose State, 6-9, Junior
Terrico White, Mississippi, 6-5, Sophomore
Hassan Whiteside, Marshall, 7-0, Freshman
Elliot Williams, Memphis, 6-5, Sophomore
Stevy Worah-Ozimo, Slippery Rock, 6-8, Junior
Chris Wright, Dayton, 6-8, Junior
Jahmar Young, New Mexico State, 6-5, Junior

The following is the list of international players who have applied for
early entry into the 2010 NBA Draft:
Player, Team/Country*, Height, Status
Pablo Aguilar, Granada (Spain), 6-8, 1989 DOB
Andrew Albicy, Paris-Levallois (France), 5-10, 1990 DOB
Robin Benzing, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany), 6-10, 1989 DOB
Stefan Bircevic, Metalac (Serbia), 6-10, 1989 DOB
Bojan Bogdanovic, Cibona (Croatia), 6-8, 1989 DOB
Sarra Camara, Le Havre (France), 6-9, 1989 DOB
Antoine Diot, Le Mans (France), 6-3, 1989 DOB
Bangaly Fofana, ASVEL (France), 7-0, 1989 DOB
Miralem Halilovic, Sloboda Dita (Bosnia), 6-9, 1991 DOB
Thomas Heurtel, Strasbourg (France), 6-2, 1989 DOB
Edwin Jackson, Rouen (France), 6-3, 1989 DOB
Dusan Korac, Centar (Montenegro), 6-11, 1991 DOB
Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Siauliai (Lithuania), 6-9, 1989 DOB
Luc Louves, Maurienne (France), 6-10, 1989 DOB
Uros Lukovic, Radnicki Basket (Serbia), 7-0, 1989 DOB
Donatas Motiejunas, Benetton Treviso (Italy), 7-0, 1990 DOB
Tomasz Nowakowski, Luka Koper (Slovenia), 6-10, 1990 DOB
Tibor Pleiss, Brose Baskets (Germany), 7-0, 1989 DOB
Xavier Rabaseda, FC Barcelona (Spain), 6-7, 1989 DOB
Fernando Raposo, Pau Orthez (France), 6-9, 1989 DOB
Ryan Richards, Gran Canaria (Spain), 7-0, 1991 DOB
Kevin Sèraphin, Cholet (France), 6-9, 1989 DOB
Semen Shashkov, Ural Ekaterinburg (Russia), 6-7, 1989 DOB

*Country indicates where team plays, not country of nationality.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pistons' Ben Gordon has ankle surgery

The Detroit Pistons announced Wednesday that guard Ben Gordon had successful surgery to remove bone spurs and loose bodies from his left ankle. The
procedure was performed at St. Joesph’s Mercy Hospital in Pontiac by Dr. Art Manoli.

Gordon’s left ankle will be placed in a cast for three weeks and rehabilitation will begin immediately following removal of the cast. He is expected to make a full recovery prior to the start of training camp in October.

Gordon played a career-low 62 games as he battled the ankle injury and a groin injury. He averaged a career-low 13.8 points and the career 40-percent 3-point shooter shot a career-low 32.1 percent on 3-pointers. It was the first time in his career he shot below 40 percent.

The surgery is hopefully a step in the right direction for Gordon, who wants to put last season behind him.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Former Piston Rick Mahorn files for bankruptcy

DETROIT (AP) — Former Detroit Pistons star Rick Mahorn and his wife have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy following failed investments, a drop in value of a home they bought and efforts to repay an IRS debt.

The case filed Dec. 8 is pending in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit.

Mahorn was a member of the Pistons’ 1989 championship team from the “Bad Boys” era and coached the WNBA’s Detroit Shock before the team relocated to Tulsa, Okla. He’s currently a Pistons radio announcer.

The 51-year-old Mahorn told The Detroit News for a story Thursday he’s trying to find more work.

Public records show that since 2006 the IRS has filed liens for almost $214,000 in delinquent taxes against Mahorn.

Mahorn’s lawyer Scott Zochowski said the tax debt has been repaid.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pistons President Joe Dumars' older brother passes away

Daniel Dumars, older brother of Pistons President Joe Dumars, passed away on April 15. Daniel Dumars was 51.

The Services for Daniel are as follows:
Lying in State, Friday April 23rd from 3-7 pm at Winnfield Funeral Home, 318 North Street, Alexandria, Louisiana (phone number: 318-352-4404).

Reflections of "Coach"- 5-7 pm.

Funeral Services Saturday, April 24th, 1 pm at Ben Johnson Auditorium, 400 Martin Luther King Drive, Natchitoches, Louisiana (phone number — 318-238-2210)

S & S Flower Shop
800-705-2007 toll free

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pistons' Charlie Villanueva named one of the NBA's worst defenders

Blogger Haralabos Voulgaris of Alone in the Corner recently put together his 2010 All Non-Defensive team of the worst five defenders in the NBA.

Piston Charlie Villanueva was named to the first team along with Minnesota’s Jonny Flynn, Houston’s Kevin Martin, Sacramento’s Andres Nocioni and Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani. Piston guard Will Bynum was named an honorable mention.

Voulgaris isn’t breaking any news by saying Villanueva is not a good defender, but naming him one of the five worst in the league is taking it to a new level.

“There was a quote early in the season where John Kuester stated that until he had a few weeks to be around Charlie V, he didn’t really know just what Charlie could do — presumably this was a compliment,” Voulgaris wrote. “I think given another four months or so he’d likely restate the above, but not in a complimentary fashion.

“Charlie V’s one-year adjusted defensive rating has him at a -6.13, he scarcely keeps his man in front of him and doesn’t defensive rebound particularly well.”

Not exactly high praise for Villanueva and this isn’t just Voulgaris’ opinion. Voulgaris uses a complex database to select the team, a database he discussed with ESPN’s TrueHoop blog.

“In the basketball analytic world (stat geeks) people talk of Offensive and Defensive Efficiency (points per possession),” Voulgaris told TrueHoop. “I take it a step further and break down the efficiency of different types of possessions. Possessions off of turnovers, made baskets, missed shots (broken down a step further types of missed shots), etc.

“As I mentioned, once you have the data you can begin to do all sorts of cool things with it.

“The NBA has an interesting application on their site called “Hot Zones” that shows you how a player shoots from a certain spot on the floor. I can give you the same information but I can break it down with much more detail.

“Take Kobe Bryant for example, we have every shot he (and every other player in the league) has taken in the last five seasons.

“How does Kobe Bryant’s shooting chart look when Bruce Bowen is on the floor (guarding him). How does it look with Shane Battier? (I know, small sample size, but you get the idea).

“How does it look with X lineup for the Lakers, or how does it look with just Gasol on the floor, and on and on.”

I honestly have never heard Voulgaris or his blog before stumbling on this article with an assist to PistonPowered's Twitter account. But it sounds like he took a lot of time and effort into creating this team. Hopefully Villanueva will put as much time and effort into becoming a better defender in the offseason so he won't have to read more articles like Voulgaris'.

Kansas' Cole Aldrich a good fit for the Detroit Pistons? has been profiling potential NBA Draft picks over the last few weeks leading up to the June 24th draft and the most recent one is of Kansas big man Cole Aldrich.

Dime contributor Lucas Shapiro thinks Aldrich would be a good fit for the Pistons.

“The big man situation in Detroit is the worst in the league,” Shapiro writes. “They have virtually nobody who can handle guarding anyone like Dwight Howard, Al Horford or Joakim Noah in the Eastern Conference. Adding a piece like Aldrich would be a great start for the revival of their frontcourt. It would also enable Charlie Villanueva to become more of a threat from the perimeter. Although he may not be the answer to all of their big man issues, Aldrich would provide a solid foundation for another dynasty in Detroit.”

I’m not that high on Aldrich, but I don’t disagree with what Shapiro is saying. At 6-foot-11, 245 pounds, Aldrich will likely be a serviceable big man for years to come and a nice piece for a contending team.

However, he will not be the franchise player many Piston fans are hoping for in the draft. But the reality is now that Detroit is likely going to be selecting No. 7 or 8 (barring getting lucky or extremely unlucky by the draft lottery) getting a solid role player might be the best-case scenario.

The Pistons will have to decide if they want an NBA ready big guy like Aldirch or a project like Marshall’s Hassan Whiteside.

Earlier in the season Shapiro also thought Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors would be a good fit for the Pistons.

“Face it, the Pistons could use anything right now,” Shapiro wrote back on March 8. “Their frontcourt does not feature any big names unless you consider Ben Wallace and Charlie Villanueva quality big men (which I do not). Favors would be a great start to reviving life in Detroit.”

Favors would be a nice pick for the Pistons, but the problem is he likely won’t be available at pick No. 7 or No. 8. Favors is projected to be selected as high as No. 3 by some experts, but most mock drafts have him in the 4-6 range. If he falls to No. 7 or 8 it would be a good pick for Detroit. The 6-foot-10 Favors is not as NBA ready as Alrdich, but has a much higher ceiling.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pistons final grades

Make sure to check out my Pistons final grades.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pistons lose tiebreaker to 76ers

Philadelphia won the tiebreaker with the Pistons on Friday in a random drawing and will select ahead of Detroit in the NBA Draft if neither team moves up in the NBA Draft lottery.

The Pistons (27-55) and 76ers tied for the sixth worst record in the league. As a result of the tiebreaker Detroit will not pick higher than seventh unless it wins one of the top three spots in the lottery.

Detroit has a 5.3 percent chance of winning the top pick, 6.02 percent chance of winning the second pick and 6.96 percent chance of winning the third pick. If the Pistons don’t win a spot in the lottery, they can pick as high as No. 7 and as low as No. 10.

The draft lottery will be held on May 18. The draft is on June 24 in New York City.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Detroit Pistons finish in a tie with 76ers for sixth worst record

The Pistons finish the season in a tie with Philadelphia for the sixth worst record in the NBA. Detroit and the 76ers will split the NBA Draft lottery balls of the No. 6 and No. 7 spots.

Of the 1,000 different combinations the Pistons will get 53 or a 5.3 percent chance of winning the No. 1 overall pick. Detroit’s odds of winning the No. 2 pick are 6.02 percent and the No. 3 pick are 6.96 percent.

The NBA will hold a drawing on Friday to determine who will pick higher, Detroit or Philadelphia in the event neither team moves up in the lottery.

Detroit fell down to the No. 6 spot thanks to a win over the Timberwolves on Wednesday in the final game of the regular season. The Pistons won four of their final six.

The win over the Timberwolves cost the Pistons 37 ping-pong balls or an extra 3.7 percent chance of landing the top pick. A loss to Minnesota on Wednesday would have put Detroit in a three-way tie for the fourth worst record with Washington and Golden State, which both won on Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Best case scenario for Pistons is three-way tie for No. 3 seed in NBA Draft lottery

The Pistons can finish no higher than a three-way tie for the No. 3 seed in the NBA Draft lottery after both the Wizards (25-56) and Kings (25-56) lost Monday night.

Detroit (26-55) fell to the Raptors, but Washington falling to New York and Sacramento falling to Houston means the Pistons can only tie both teams.

Detroit would have to lose at Minnesota on Wednesday and Washington and Sacramento would have to lose their final game. The Wizards host Indiana and the Kings play at the L.A. Lakers.

Golden State (25-55) is sandwiched between the three teams and can clinch a share of the No. 3 seed with losses in its two remaining games. The Pistons could pass the Warriors if they lose their final game and Golden State wins both of its remaining games. The Warriors host the Jazz and play at Portland.

Detroit can finish no lower than a tie for the No. 6 seed as a result of the Knicks (29-52) win Monday. The Pistons loss Monday also assured they will finish behind the L.A. Clippers (28-53).

The only other team in the mix with Detroit is Philadelphia, which fell at home to Miami on Monday. If the Pistons beat Minnesota and the 76ers (27-54) lose at Orlando on Wednesday, Detroit and Philadelphia would finish in tie for the No. 6 seed.

In the event of a tie the teams split the lottery chances between the spots they would occupy. For example if Detroit and Philadelphia finish in tie for the No. 6 seed, they would split the No. 6 seed and No. 7 seed combinations. If neither team moves up in the lottery, a drawing (which will be done on Friday) will determine who gets the higher pick.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pistons Stuckey to return, Gordon to stay in starting lineup

Piston guard Rodney Stuckey will return to the lineup for Monday’s game against Toronto. Stuckey missed the last two games with sore ribs.

Stuckey will come off the bench Monday with Ben Gordon remaining in the starting lineup. Gordon has started the last two games, averaging 30.0 points, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals.

“Ben is a great kid,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. “He’s going to have a bright future for us. He’s gotta feel good about himself the way he played the last couple games.”

Gordon scored 39 points, hitting seven 3-pointers in the Pistons win at Miami on April 9. The win snapped Miami’s nine-game winning streak.

“Offensively he had an outstanding game, he made big shots especially going down the stretch in one-on-one situations,” Kuester said. “But the thing that caught my eye even more so is how he defended Dwyane Wade. He did a great job. He did a great job throughout the entire night, defensively.”

Richard Hamilton (ankle) and Chris Wilcox (hamstring) remained out of the lineup.

Villanueva guarantees a win
Piston forward Charlie Villanueva guaranteed a win over the Raptors on his Twitter account Monday.

“Guarantee win tonight, yeah I said it,” Villanueva wrote.

Pistons coach John Kuester couldn’t help but laugh when told about Villanueva’s guarantee.

“He did?” Kuester said with a hearty laugh. “God bless him.

“That’s interesting.”

Kuester also took the time to praise Villanueva for his play the last few games.

“When I was talking about players that make the extra pass, boy he’s done a real good job in that stretch the last couple games,” Kuester said. “People focus on him and when he’s moving the basketball, boy it makes a big difference. Not to say I want him always passing. I’m also saying, ‘Hey, be more of a threat for other things.’ I tell you I’m very impressed, I thought the Miami game especially he did a great job not only offensively, but defensively.”

Pistons hire Citigroup to assess value
According to reports the Pistons have hired Citigroup to assess the value of the franchise and Citigroup could potentially broker the sale of the Pistons.

The Pistons are not currently for sale, but this could be the first step to put the franchise officially on the market.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Taking part in the Pistons roundtable

Dan Feldman over at Pistons Powered has put together a nice panel of Pistons writers, broadcasters and bloggers for his second annual Pistons roundtable.

Feldman was nice enough to include me in the panel, which was asked the same four questions and one question tailored just for them. It's interesting to see the various opinions of each panelist and makes for a good discussion, so make sure to check it out. Here are my answers to the first three questions along with links to what the rest of the panel said.

How good would the Pistons have been this season if they weren’t hit with so many injuries?

Before the season I thought the Pistons would be a playoff team or the last team out in the East. After watching them all season I’m not sure that is the case, even without all the injuries. Let’s say with everyone healthy (which never happens) the Pistons would have won 10-15 more games this season. Even with those wins Detroit is the No. 8 seed at best and likely still out of the playoffs.

The fact is the Pistons are a flawed team with no identity. If you don’t believe me just ask yourself two questions. First, what are the Pistons real strengths? Takes a minute to think of something, at least it did for me. Second, what are the Pistons flaws? The answers are endless. Where do you start, the poor frontline play, terrible defense, no outside shooting, lack of leadership, the list goes on.

To answer the question, I think even without all the injuries the Pistons would be right where they are now: out of the playoffs, just with a better record.

The rest of the panels answers.

If you had to build a team around a current Piston besides Rodney Stuckey or Jonas Jerebko, whom would it be and why? (Please note if you’d rather build around this player than Stuckey or Jerebko.)

That’s a tough question. The Pistons in my opinion don’t have a franchise player, and that includes Stuckey and Jerebko. There is not one guy you can point to and say he’s the guy. With that being said, I think Ben Gordon is a player that should be in the Pistons’ future plans.

Despite his struggles this season, Gordon has a proven track record. I don’t believe the Gordon we have seen in 2010 is the real Gordon because I don’t think he is at full strength. He is playing through a groin injury and not getting the minutes he is accustomed so his numbers are down.

He can provide instant offense whether it be off the bench or as a starter. He also showed last season that he can produce in the playoffs. Let Gordon get healthy and I think you’ll see the player the Pistons thought they were getting when they signed him.

The rest of the panels answers

Rodney Stuckey has been a key part of the Pistons’ long-term plans. Should that status change?

Stuckey should be part of the Pistons long-term plans, but the question is in what role? Is it as a point guard, shooting guard or both? People in the Pistons organization like to say he is a throwback guard that can play either position, but I don’t think that works unless you have two guards that can play both positions. Having a shooting guard like Richard Hamilton that needs a facilitator doesn’t work with a combo-point guard. The Pistons need to figure out Stuckey’s role and work on having him fill that role.

Now although I say Stuckey should be in the Pistons long-term plans, in no way do I think he is an untouchable franchise player. He’s a solid young player that still hasn’t reached his full potential.

The rest of the panels answers

Check back later for the final two questions.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Atkins Pistons' unsung hero Wednesday

Veteran Chucky Atkins was the unsung hero in the Pistons’ 90-88 win over the Hawks Wednesday night.

Atkins played just eight minutes, but six of them were in the fourth quarter during the Pistons comeback. Atkins finished with three points, one rebound, two assists and no turnovers. He was a plus-six, the second highest on the team.

“One of the MVP guys would by Chucky Atkins,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. “That 3 that he made was huge for us. He settled the team down. We had gotten in a rhythm were we were too one-on-one at one stage. Then we started moving the ball again and became more effective.”

Kuester has always praised Atkins, who has handled his role as one of the team’s veterans leaders well. Atkins started 11 games earlier in the season when the Pistons were dealing with injuries, but had not played in a game since March 15 entering Wednesday night.

“One of the things I think about Chucky Atkins, whether he plays, or he doesn’t play, he’s been outstanding throughout the year,” Kuester said. “He’s done a good job of trying to get us to play the right way. He’s always talking to the players in a positive mode and to see him step in when he hadn’t played in a lot of games, I thought he was outstanding.”

Prince out for Wednesday

Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince will miss Wednesday's game against the Hawks due to personal reasons. Richard Hamilton (ankle), Jason Maxiell (back) and Chris Wilcox (hamstring) all remained sidelined.

The injury list has gotten so long again that Pistons coach John Kuester forgot to mention Maxiell. "I thought I had given you enough names though," Kuester joked after realizing he forget Maxiell.

Ben Wallace (knees) was expected to play Wednesday, despite it being the second game of a back-to-back. Wallace sat out Saturday's game at Atlanta because it was the second game of a back-to-back and it had been speculated he might sit out Wednesday's game.

"He wants to play," Kuester said before Wednesdays' game. "He got enough rest last night. He called in and said, ‘Hey I’m ready to go.’ But we’ll monitor his minutes."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pistons' Villanueva, Daye shine after missing team flight

A day after venting their frustrations on Twitter, Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye turned in solid efforts during the Pistons’ 124-106 win over the 76ers.

Villanueva had 25 points, three rebounds and two steals in 23 minutes. Villanueva's 25 points were the most he scored since Dec. 10. Villanueva also shot an efficient 8 for 11 from the field and 4 for 6 on his 3-point attempts.

Daye had nine points and a career-high nine rebounds in 23 minutes.

Villanueva and Daye both missed the team flight to Philadelphia on Monday and had to fly commercial. Both players tweets, in particular Villanueva’s, made it seem like their frustration was more than just missing the team flight.

A report by 97.1 FM The Ticket said Monday’s practice was very heated and coach John Kuester even punted a basketball.

Both Villanueva and Kuester declined to comment on the situation before Tuesday’s game.

“It was just me being frustrated,” Villanueva said. “Venting a little. It’s been a frustrating year. It’s just one of those things that I wanted to vent a little bit. It is what it is. Leave it at that.”

It seems odd Villanueva and Daye would be so upset about missing the team plane, but if something else was the cause it likely won’t come out.

Lottery watch
The Pistons (24-53) win over Philadelphia propelled them to a tie with Washington (24-53) for the fifth worst record in the NBA. Detroit came into Tuesday night tied for the third worst record. On Tuesday night, the Wizards beat the Warriors (23-54), who now own sole possession of the third worst record in the league.

Sacramento (24-54) has the fourth worst record after its loss at home to San Antonio Tuesday night.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Villanueva: It just got worse

Charlie Villanueva voiced some of his frustration through his Twitter account on Monday.

"This has been a very frustrating year, it just only got worse 2day, I have never experienced, in my 5 years, what I have experience this year," Villanueva wrote on Twitter.

Villaneuva followed that up a few minutes later by writing, "Let's put it like this, I rather not say anything cause I don't want to get fined."

Later Villanueva added, "I respect Joe D so much, that I will keep my mouth shut, just needed to vent a little."

It's unclear exactly what Villanueva is referring to, but you can read between the lines. Sounds like he might not play when the Pistons play at Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Villanueva was benched for the Pistons game against the Heat on March 31, something that took him by surprise.

"I found out yesterday why through the papers," Villanueva said the day after being benched. "He could already have a game plan or whatever he was doing, but it would have been cool if he would just said this is what I'm going to do, you know, just so I'd be prepared for it."

It appeared the benching was in the past when Villanueva played 18 minutes in the Pistons following game and 23 minutes in the Pistons loss at Atlanta on Saturday. But the Twitter posts by Villanueva make it appear there is still something going on.

Villanueva has had a disappointing season, averaging 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds this season. He has battled injuries including plantar fasciitis and back spasms. It will be interesting to see what Villanueva's role will be in the Pistons final six games.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pistons-76ers suddenly has added importance

Who said the Pistons game at Philadelphia on Tuesday was meaningless? The game could provide answers to some important questions for Pistons fans. It could be Detroit’s best chance of ending its current 11-game losing streak and avoid breaking the franchise record of 14 straight, but is also important in the NBA Draft lottery picture.

A loss at Philadelphia Tuesday could set the table for the Pistons to lose 17-straight to end the season. If Detroit loses Tuesday, it would mean the Pistons would have to win at home against Atlanta Wednesday or at Miami on Friday to avoid tying the franchise record for consecutive losses. If Detroit fails to win either of those games (which appears likely) it would have to win at Charlotte on Saturday to avoid breaking the record.

The Pistons wrap up the season with a home game against Toronto, which is still battling Chicago for the final playoff spot in the East, and then at Minnesota.

The franchise record aside, many Pistons fans have been vocal and openly rooting for the team to lose games and bolster their chances to earn a higher draft pick. Sunday was a great night for those Detroit fans. Golden State and Washington both won, putting Detroit in a three-way tie with the Warriors and Wizards for the third worst record in the NBA. The Kings (24-53) are a half-game ahead.

The battle for the third worst record and 15.6 percent chance of winning the No. 1 overall pick that come with it will likely come down to the wire, with all fours teams in the mix right now.

Will the Pistons break the franchise record for consecutive losses? Will Detroit finish with the third worst record in the NBA? Tuesday could provide the answer to both questions.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pistons Charlie Villanueva frustrated by DNP

Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva put it best when he said, “It’s been a roller-coaster ride for me all year.”

A game after being benched for the entire second half, Villanueva earned a DNP-CD (did not play, coaches decision) Wednesday in the Pistons loss to the Miami Heat. It was his first DNP-CD in nearly two years.

“Of course it’s frustrating, you want to play,” said Villanueva, whose last DNP-CD came on April 12, 2008. “I’m very passionate about the game, of course you want to play. But it’s not about me. If I go in or not, it’s not about me. I’m going to cheer my teammates on and help in anyway possible.”

Pistons coach John Kuester said he can’t play everybody and decided to go in another direction, playing some of Detroit’s younger players.

“We made some changes with our rotation and we wanted to give some other guys a look right now,” Kuester said. “It was my decision. That’s the direction that I want to go in right now.”

The changes were apparently news to Villanueva, who said he was the wrong guy to talk to about why he didn’t play.

“There was nothing that was said to me,” Villanueva said. “I don’t know what’s going on. Nothing was really discussed with me.”

Villanueva has had a disappointing season with Detroit since signing a five-year, $35 million deal in the offseason. Villanueva is averaging 11.8 points and 4.7 rebounds this season, down form the 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds he averaged with the Bucks last season.

Villanueva has averaged just 8.3 points and 3.6 rebounds since the All-Star break.

Kuester said it will be a game-to-game situation when asked about Villanueva’s status moving forward.

Villanueva was asked if him and Kuester were on the same page, a question Villanueva actually laughed at.

“Are me and Kuester on the same page?” Villanueva said repeating the question before a puzzled laugh. “I don’t know how to answer that one, to be honest with you.”

Villanueva has been battling several injuries including plantar fasciitis and back spasms this season, but said he was good to go health wise.

“They’re still there, but it hasn’t stopped me before so it’s defintely not going to stop me now,” Villanueva said. “Am I hurt? Everybody’s hurt. But I’m going to keep playing.”