Blogs > Pistons' Point

An inside look at the Detroit Pistons and the NBA.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another disappointing road trip for the Pistons

The Pistons concluded their final West Coast road trip 1-3, topping Sacramento before dropping three straight to the L.A. Clippers, Denver and Golden State. Detroit is now 2-12 on the road against Western Conference teams, with just one road game against the West remaining (at Minnesota on April 14).

Detroit had fourth quarter leads in all three of its losses, but couldn’t hang on and found a different way to lose each game.

Free-throw shooting (10 for 22) cost the Pistons against the Clippers, including 2 for 8 from Richard Hamilton who hit 51 consecutive free throws coming into the game. None were bigger than the three Hamilton missed with 7.9 seconds left and his team trailing, 95-91.

It was a pair of former Pistons that helped lift the Denver Nuggets over Detroit. Chauncey Billups (25 points) and Arron Afflalo (14 points) combined for 39 points with Billups scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Seeing Billups (who was traded for the failed experiment that was Allen Iverson) and Afflalo (who was given away for a second round pick to clear cap space) enjoy so much success against their former team had to be a tough pill to swallow for Pistons fans.

Detroit followed that up by allowing Golden State’s “defense” lift it to a win. The Warriors held the Pistons without a field goal in the final 3:52 and used the hack-a-Ben (Wallace) strategy to effectively get back in the game.

Wallace went 1 for 9 from the free-throw line, including two consecutive air balls. Wallace has made it clear he is not a fan of the hack-a-Ben strategy but the reality is more teams will start using it if they find themselves down to the Pistons in the fourth quarter.

Wallace’s teammate Tayshaun Prince came to his defense telling the Associated Press, “It doesn’t come down to that if we take care of business throughout the game and throughout the third quarter and keep our 10, 12-point margin, they wouldn’t be able to do that. Once we get in position where it’s a one or two possession game, it allows them to do that. Obviously he feels bad about it.”

It was a disappointing trip for Detroit, which was hoping to build some momentum after a win at home against San Antonio and a convincing win at Sacramento to start the trip.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Celtics at Pistons to air on NBA TV

Tuesday's Boston at Detroit game will air on NBA TV after being voted as the Tuesday Fan Night matchup of the week. Every week NBA TV allows fans to vote for the Tuesday Fan Night game.

It will be the second of three games between the Pistons and Celtics this season. Detroit defeated Boston 92-86 at The Palace in the first meeting back on January 20.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kuester to coach with heavy heart

Pistons coach John Kuester will coach with a heavy heart this week after the death of his father on Saturday. Kuester will coach the entire four-game trip before going to Richmond, Va. for Monday's memorial service. He will return to Detroit in time for next Tuesday's game at home against Boston.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pistons Ben Wallace says fouling strategy is 'garbage'

Trailing by 11 points in the fourth quarter Sunday, Spurs coach Greg Popovich elected to have his team intentionally foul Ben Wallace on every Pistons possession. The idea was to send Wallace, a career 41.9 percent free throw shooter, to the line and stop the clock.

The strategy was not a popular with the fans at The Palace or the Pistons, but it allowed San Antonio to get back into the game. Wallace went 4 for 10 from the line and San Antonio outscored Detroit 17-6 in the final four minutes to force overtime.

The Pistons ultimately prevailed in overtime, but the strategy clearly got under the skin of Wallace. Wallace was visibly frustrated each time he was fouled and tossed his head band on the ground when Pistons coach John Kuester took him out of the game with 1:23 left in the fourth quarter.

After the game Wallace was asked what he thought of the strategy and replied, "It's garbage." Wallace was then asked how he felt about Pistons coach John Kuester showing confidence in him by leaving him in the game and replied, "That's garbage too," and quickly ended the interview.

Teammate Richard Hamilton was not a fan of the strategy either, but admitted teams will keep doing it unless there is a rule change.

"That's not basketball," Hamilton said. "But the way the rules are set up, that allows you to do it. Until they make a different rule, it's all part of the game. It's part of team strategy nowadays."

Teams can not intentionally foul away from the ball in the final two minutes of the game. If a foul is made away from the ball, the opposing team gets one free throw and the ball.

This likely won't be the last time the Pistons see this strategy if they have a fourth quarter lead, but Kuester says he won't let it deter him from playing Wallace in situations like Sunday.

"I will keep Ben (Wallace) there three-fourths of the time, I’ll be keeping him in,” Kuester said. “I have confidence in him. He went to the line and a couple of those went in-and-out, but Ben Wallace will be in those situations if he’s been playing the way he’s been playing. He’s been phenomenal, we’ll win or lose with him.”

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pistons sit out trade deadline

The trade deadline came and passed Thursday without the Pistons making any moves. General manager Joe Dumars was working the phones, but couldn’t find a partner for a deal he felt helped the franchise.

“We communicated with teams throughout the league, but at the end of the day, we were not presented with anything we thought was beneficial to us at this point,” Dumars said.

It was one of the more memorable trade deadlines in recent years with 18 NBA teams making deals in the final week before the deadline, but the Pistons were not able to find a deal that suited them.

The Pistons (19-34) will move forward with their current roster for the final 29 games of the season. A roster that has not played together much due to a rash of injuries to key players.

Detroit is currently 7.5 games out of the final play spot in the Eastern Conference and its playoff hopes are looking dimmer and dimmer by the day.

Any major changes to the roster will have to wait for the draft and the offseason.

The Pistons will also be quiet in the highly anticipated 2010 free agent market unless they can’t make a deal to clear cap room or a sign and trade deal. Detroit has more than $51 million committed to players next season (if Chris Wilcox picks up his $3 million player option). The NBA salary cap is expected to go down and one estimate has it dropping to $53 million.

Detoit will have its mid-level exception and the good news is, it could be a buyers market with many teams hoping to avoid the luxury tax at all costs.

Ben Wallace, Kwame Brown and Chucky Atkins will become unrestricted free agents after the season, while Will Bynum will be a restricted free agent. Bynum will likely be in line for a significant raise, he makes just more than $825,000 this season.

Pistons chances of making a trade slim

It appears the trade deadline will pass without the Pistons making a move

ESPN's Chad Ford is reporting that a source with the Pistons said, "There's a less than 10 percent chance. There's just no deal that makes sense for us right now."

Ford also writes, "The Pistons had been hoping to use either Richard Hamilton or Tayshaun Prince to land a frontcourt player — they especially had interest in Jazz forward Carlos Boozer. But with Prince's injuries and the Jazz playing terrific basketball during the past month, any interest Utah had in a deal has dried up."

Nothing ground breaking here, but as the deadline nears it appears the Pistons will wait until the summer to make any moves.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pistons options limited at trade deadline

Wednesday was a busy day for the NBA as Thursday’s trade deadline nears.

Antawn Jamison was sent to Cleveland in a three-team deal as Washington attempts to rival New Jersey for the worst team in the league.

Chicago ridded itself of John Salmons, who while a solid player was not a good fit for the Bulls.

Even Darko Milicic got traded and for Brian Cardinal of all people.

Amare Stoudemire ... well he just broke the record for most trade rumors in a season and he’s not done yet.

This leaves Piston fans wondering, is Detroit going to make a deal?

Well that’s tough to say. General manager Joe Dumars is likely hard and work trying to make a deal to better the franchise, but the reality is the Pistons might not have anything anyone wants.

Teams that are active at the trade deadline have one of two motives. Clear cap space for the summer or try to add that piece to put them over the top.

Detroit has nothing to offer teams looking for cap space. The Pistons highest paid player with an expiring contract is Kwame Brown and his contract won’t clear much room.

The number of teams looking to add a piece to win a championship has decreased with Dallas and Cleveland both making deals. The Mavericks acquired Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood. The Cavs added Antawn Jamison.

What other contenders are looking to make a deal? And what do the Pistons have to offer them?

Detroit is likely not willing to give up Rodney Stuckey, Jonas Jerebko or its first round draft pick.

Nobody is likely calling to ask about Chris Wilcox, Chucky Atkins, DaJuan Summers or Austin Daye.

Odds are the Pistons are not willing to ship Ben Gordon or Charlie Villanueva out of town so fast unless the deal is right.

That leaves five guys: Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Jason Maxiell, Will Bynum and Ben Wallace.

Bynum and Wallace don’t make enough money to facilitate a major deal, although both have expiring deals. Odds are the Pistons want to hang onto Bynum, who is a restricted free agent. Wallace could get moved, but odds are he will retire as Piston.

Hamilton and Maxiell are pieces that could help a team, but the problem is their contracts. Both have three years left on their deals so teams will have to invest a lot if they want to add Hamilton or Maxiell.

Prince is the one guy most likely get moved, but the reality is his stock is probably the lowest it has been since his rookie year. Prince has battled back and knee injuries this season.

The questions about his durability are back despite the consecutive game streak Prince had before the back injury. Most teams will likely try to low ball the Pistons in a deal for Prince or try to dump players they don’t want.

Fans likely won’t be happy if the Pistons remain pat at the trade deadline, but the team is in a tough place.

Sometimes it’s better to stick with what you got than make a bad deal that can set our franchise back. The Pistons have to find that balance and the clock is ticking.

Tom Wilson resigns as Palace CEO

Tom Wilson resigned Wednesday as president and chief executive officer of Palace Sports & Entertainment, Inc. and the Detroit Pistons.

Chief operating officer of the Palace and Pistons Alan Ostfield will immediately assume Wilson’s duties.

“I have had the honor to be a part of the Pistons family for the last 32 years, 31 of them working along side Bill Davidson,” Wilson said in a statement. “He was a dear friend and partner. I believe that, with Mr. Davidson’s unfortunate passing, however, the time is now right for me and my family to explore many exciting opportunities that have come my way recently. With Alan, I leave the Pistons and Palace in very good hands.

“Mr. Davidson and I built an organization of talented people and planned for an orderly leadership transition. Alan Ostfield, has been involved in every aspect of our business and helped to make every important decision we’ve made over the last 10 years. Alan has outstanding experience in all areas of sports franchise management and operations, including strategic planning. Now, Alan is ready to help guide the Pistons’ and Palace’s future.”

Wilson along with the late Mr. Davidson took The Palace of Auburn Hills from simply a vision to an venue that earned Arena of the Year honor nine times.

During Wilson’s tenure DTE Energy Music Theatre was the nation’s top-attended outdoor venue for 19 consecutive years and the Pistons were heralded as one of the best marketed and most highly valued teams in the NBA.

Since Mr. Davidson’s passing last March, The Palace has gone through an uncertain time.

Mr. Davidson’s widow Karen Davidson recently began the process for putting the Pistons and possibly the entire Palace Sports and Entertainment company up for sale, although it has not officially went up for sale yet.

The Detroit Pistons themselves are in a transition year and will likely miss the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons.

“I would like to wish all the best to Tom Wilson,” Karen Davidson said in a statement. “He was close to Bill personally and professionally and was instrumental to this organization’s growth, reputation and success.”

“Our organization is like an extended family, and Tom has been a valued member of that family for years,” said Ethan Davidson, Bill Davidson’s son. “While change always brings challenges, we are very confident in the future success of the Palace and Pistons.”

Ostfield will assume Wilson’s role immediatley. Ostfield joined the Pistons and The Palace in 2000 as senior vice president for legal affairs and assumed his current title as chief operating officer of Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons and as assistant general manager of the Detroit Pistons in 2002.

“I have the deepest respect for Tom Wilson and the culture of excellence he and Mr. Davidson developed here,” Ostfield said. “Working with Tom has been an extraordinary professional and personal experience, and I am confident the management team we have in place can build on his achievements and momentum. I appreciate Mr. Davidson’s confidence in me as well as ownership’s trust and support as I assume these new responsibilities.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wallace not worried about trade rumors

Several Pistons players have been the topic of trade rumors as Thursday’s trade deadline nears. One name to come up recently was Ben Wallace. Denver was rumored to be interested in the veteran big man, who is averaging 5.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks this season.

Wallace was asked about the trade rumors after Tuesday’s win over Minnesota and said they don’t bother him.

“If somebody called and asked about me that means somebody still wants me,” Wallace said. “When people stop calling to inquire then I should be worried.”

Wallace could add toughness and interior defense to a contending team and a team would not have to invest anything long term with Wallace. He is making the veteran league minimum of $1.3 million as part of a one-year deal he signed in the offseason.

Wallace said he is not worried and nothing would surprise him at this point in his career.

“Nothing in this league surprises me anymore,” Wallace said. “I came here to hopefully finish my career, but I know the situation when I sign an NBA contract, there is a possibility I could get traded. It’s the nature of the business.”

Monday, February 15, 2010

FSD drops two Pistons games

Fox Sports Detroit has dropped two Pistons games from its local TV schedule, Feb. 27 at Golden State and March 13 at Atlanta. FSD picked up two Pistons games that were originally scheduled to be on ESPN (Dec. 9 vs. Philadelphia and March 21 at Cleveland) and in exchange dropped the two other games.

The Pistons struggles this season likely contributed to this decision. If the Pistons were in a position to make a playoff push, my guess is FSD would not be dropping the games.

The remaining Pistons TV schedule is below:

Tue. 16 MINNESOTA 7:30 FSD (HD)
Wed. 17 at Orlando 7:00 FSD (HD)
Fri. 19 MILWAUKEE 8:00 FSD (HD)
Sun. 21 SAN ANTONIO 6:00 FSD (HD)
Tue. 23 at Sacramento 10:00 FSD
Wed. 24 at L.A. Clippers 10:30 FSD (HD)
Fri. 26 at Denver 9:00 FSD (HD)
Sat. 27 at Golden State 10:30 No TV

Tue. 2 BOSTON 7:30 FSD (HD)
Wed. 3 at New York 7:30 FSD
Fri. 5 at Cleveland 7:00 ESPN
Wed. 10 UTAH 7:30 FSD (HD)
Fri. 12 WASHINGTON 8:00 FSD (HD)
Sat. 13 at Atlanta 7:00 No TV
Mon. 15 at Boston 8:00 ESPN
Tue. 16 CLEVELAND 7:30 FSD (HD)
Fri. 19 at Indiana 7:00 FSD
Sun. 21 at Cleveland 8:00 FSD (HD)
Tue. 23 INDIANA 7:30 FSD (HD)
Fri. 26 at New Jersey 8:00 FSD
Sun. 28 CHICAGO 6:00 FSD (HD)
Wed. 31 MIAMI 7:30 FSD (HD)

Fri. 2 PHOENIX 8:00 FSD (HD)
Sat. 3 at Atlanta 7:00 FSD (HD)
Tue. 6 at Philadelphia 7:00 FSD
Fri. 9 at Miami 7:30 FSD (HD)
Sat. 10 at Charlotte 7:00 FSD (HD)
Mon. 12 TORONTO 7:30 FSD (HD)
Wed. 14 at Minnesota 8:00 FSD

Sunday, February 7, 2010

NBA power rankings - Feb. 7

1. Cleveland — Shaquille O’Neal averaging 16.6 points, 6.8 rebounds in his last 10 (1)
2. Denver — Chauncey Billups named to his fifth straight All-Star game (3)
3. L.A. Lakers — Kobe Bryant's 235 consecutive games played streak snapped (2)
4. Utah — Andrei Kirilenko averaging 15.4 points since becoming a starter (7)
5. Orlando — Magic blew a 21-point lead in a loss to Washington (6)
6. Dallas — Mavericks have been a below .500 team since the start of 2010 (5)
7. Atlanta — Hawks starters playing the most minutes in the league (4)
8. Boston — Marquis Daniels back in the lineup on Sunday (8)
9. Phoenix — Suns complete 4-0 road trip for the first time in more than three years (10)
10. San Antonio — George Hill stating at shooting guard after the return of Tony Parker (9)
11. Toronto — Raptors have already won as many home games as they did all last season (11)
12. Portland — Travis Outlaw has returned to practice (12)
13. Oklahoma City — Kevin Durant will help coach the rookies at All-Star weekend (14)
14. Houston — Kyle Lowry playing through knee injury (15)
15. Memphis — Grizzlies starting five averages 83.3 points, most in the league (13)
16. New Orleans — Chris Paul’s knee injury a huge blow for the Hornets (16)
17. Charlotte — Bobcats owner hopes to have team sold by March or April (18)
18. Chicago — Joakim Noah out until after the All-Star break with foot injury (19)
19. Miami — Heat have a $4.3 million trade exception that expires Feb. 15 (17)
20. Milwaukee — Brandon Jennings shooting just 37.7 percent from the field (21)
21. L.A. Clippers — Mike Dunleavy steps down as coach, remains GM (20)
22. Indiana — T.J. Ford returns to the lineup after a 18-game hiatus (24)
23. New York — Knicks searching for a consistent point guard (22)
24. Sacramento — Rumors continue to surface about the future of Kevin Martin (23)
25. Washington — Javaris Crittenton won’t appeal season-long suspension (26)
26. Philadelphia — Allen Iverson closing in on 20,000 points as a 76er (25)
27. DETROIT — Ben Gordon broke out of his shooting slump against Indiana (27)
28. Golden State — Monta Ellis scored a career-high 46 against Dallas (28)
29. Minnesota — Ryan Hollins averaging 13.5 points in four games as a starter (29)
30. New Jersey — Brook Lopez is the only Net to play in every game this season (30)

Pistons links - Feb. 7

Here are some links to stories in Sunday's Oakland Press, got a lot of stuff on the Pistons in today's paper so check it out.

Game story from the Pistons win over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday.
Column on the five Pistons most likely to be traded before the trade deadline.
Feature on Ben Wallace, who recently became the shortest player in NBA history to block 2,000 shots.
Pistons notebook on the team's offensive struggles and Kwame Brown's role on the team.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Villanueva day-to-day with back spasms

Charlie Villanueva has seen his share of injuries in his short career as a Detroit Piston. First it was a hamstring injury in training camp, then a broken nose at the end of November, followed by a bout with plantar fasciitis in December and now the latest back spasms.

Villanueva missed Sunday’s loss to Orlando because of back spasms and is questionable for Tuesday’s game at New Jersey.

“It’s a little better, but it’s still bothering me to bend down and what not,” Villanueva said Monday. “Hopefully tomorrow I’ll give it another try and see where it stands.”

Villanueva is unsure how the injury occurred, but said it had been bothering him for a couple days before he woke up Sunday in a lot of pain.

Monday Villanueva was using steam and massages to treat the injury and had it wrapped to keep it tight.

Villanueva admitted all the injuries this season have been frustrating for him, but he doesn’t expect to miss much time with the latest set back.

“This is something that’s not going to keep me out for a long time. I know that,” Villanueva said. “I’m just going to take it day by day and see where I’m at, but it’s not going to be long.”

Pistons links - Feb. 1

Here are a couple links to stories in Monday's Oakland Press

Game story from the Pistons loss to the Magic, the Pistons fifth straight loss.
Pistons notebook on Jonas Jerebko being back in the starting lineup and Charlie Villanueva being a late scratch Sunday with back spasms.