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An inside look at the Detroit Pistons and the NBA.

Friday, May 28, 2010

NBA Draft preview: Baylor's Ekpe Udoh

Baylor's Ekpe Udoh is a name many people in the Metro Detroit area remember from his days at Michigan. Udoh transferred to Baylor and credits the year he sat out for the vast improvement in his game. The 6-foo-10, 240-pound Udoh averaged 13.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.7 blocks last year for Baylor and helped the Bears reach the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament. Udoh rebounding and shot-blocking ability make him appealing, but his offensive game could use some work.

Udoh has shot up many draft boards, but others remain cautious. has him at No. 8 overall as does, but has Udoh at No. 16 overall and the Sports Exchange has him at No. 18 overall. Here's some videos for you to judge for yourself:

Udoh highlights NBA combine interview

Highlight's from Udoh's triple double against Morgan State

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pistons president Joe Dumars refuses to condone tanking

The Pistons won four of their final six games and as result angered many fans by hurting their draft status. Detroit could have finished with the third worst record in the league with two more losses or in a three-way tie for the fourth worst record with one more loss.

If that would have helped the Pistons move in the top three of the draft is anybody’s guess, but they would be drafting higher than No. 7.

Pistons president Joe Dumars was asked if he gave any thought to what could have been with a few more losses.

“I thought about it for about two minutes,” Dumars said. “When you're talking about the lottery and what could have happened and if you would have gotten a ball, it's kind of a bogus conversation anyway to be like, 'Oh my God, the lottery, we could have …’ First of all, you're pissed off that you're in the lottery in the first place, so the fact that I'm going to sit there like, 'Oh, you know, we could have won this.’ ”

Even with the Pistons clearly out of the playoff race Dumars said he never hoped the team would lose.

“It is impossible to feel good about losing,” Dumars said. “I understand that maybe from a fan and media perspective, ‘Oh, just lose games.’ Your mind can’t even get around that. Even down the stretch when we were way out of it, you feel better leaving the arena after you won a game as opposed to losing a game because at that point you’re not looking at standings and trying to figure out where you are because you know what you have to go through a lottery anyway.

“I told the coaching staff after the last game in Minnesota, I said, ‘ You know guys, I don’t care what the situation is whether it be winning a world championship or the season we had, it feels good to win the last game that we played. I don’t care what the situation is.’ We never get into that because your mind can’t even get around that. Ok, we lost tonight we move up one spot. It’s impossible to even think like that. For some reason you just can’t.”

Joe Dumars was a member 1993-94 Pistons team that many people accuse of tanking games at the end of the season to improve their draft status. Dumars was asked if his experience on that team makes it even harder for him to condone losing and while he didn’t confirm it did, he also brought up the fact he missed time with an injury at the end of that season.

“Even when you’re playing and you’re on the court ... when you walk out there the last thing you’re thinking is, ‘God, I don’t want us to win tonight,’ ” Dumars said. “If you’re out there, you’re trying to win. Let’s say I missed some games down the stretch that year. I got hurt so I didn’t play in some of those games.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pistons president Joe Dumars insists ownership is not a problem

The new ownership and uncertainty that comes with being a team up for sale was a subject at Pistons president Joe Dumars annual postseason meeting with the media. Dumars was asked how much the current ownership situation affects his ability to do his job.

Dumars gave a typical PC answer, but if you read between the lines it’s apparent at least to me that things have certainly changed since Bill Davidson’s death. Dumars even took an extra few seconds to answer the question about ownership.

“You make it work,” Dumars said. “That's what you do. You make it work. I live by the same things that I say to my coaching staff, the players and my staff, whatever it takes, let's just get it done. I'm not going to sit here and say we've been hamstrung by the ownership situation. But what we do is we come in and we just try to just concentrate on what we have to do. And if something comes up and I have to deal with the ownership situation, then I go and deal with it. But it's not something that we walk in here every day and discuss. I just won't allow us to do that. You know what? You make it work. Whatever cards you're dealt, that's the hand you play.”

Dumars was also asked if he has to go through channels to sign players or can he make the moves he wants. Dumars said he has always had to go through someone, but now it’s just someone different.

“I've always had the ability to go out and sign players, but I never was in the position of not having to talk to somebody about it,” Dumars said. “Now, it used to be Mr. D that I would talk to about it and kind of tell him. Now there's a different group that I deal with. So I make them aware of whatever I'm talking about doing. But they haven't gotten in the way, hey, you can't do this or you can't do that. It's not like that at all. But you're asking me, do I have to speak with someone? Yes, I do.”

Monday, May 24, 2010

NBA Draft preview: Kansas' Cole Aldrich

Next up in a series of possible candidates for the Pistons to draft at No. 7 overall is Kansas center Cole Aldrich. From what I've gathered from fans, bloggers and other sources is that not many people want to see the Pistons select Aldrich. The names Greg Ostertag and Bryant 'Big Country Reeves' come up when people talk about Aldrich. Comparisons that may or may not be fair. But the truth is Aldrich could be the most NBA ready big man in the draft and while he doesn't seem to have the "big-time potential" some of the other prospects do, he seemed poised to be a solid, reliable big man in the NBA for years to come. Here are some highlights for you to judge for yourself:

A mix of Aldrich highlights

NBA Draft combine interview by Draft Express

Aldrich humbles Colorado's Alec Burks

Iowa State's Marquis Gilstrap dunks over Aldrich, twice

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NBA Draft preview: Georgetown's Greg Monroe

Now that we know the Pistons will be drafting No. 7 overall, it makes it easier to speculate who they might select. Over the next few weeks I will upload some highlight videos of players the Pistons could possibly take so you can see for yourself what you think of these guys. Up first, is Georgetown's Greg Monroe.

UPDATE: I have updated this post to include the NBA Draft combine interview done by

Greg Monroe NBA Draft combine interview by Draft Express

Monroe highlights with 50 cent background music

Monroe lights up Notre Dame

Monroe displays his passing skills

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pistons fire Matt Dobek, three executives

The Detroit Pistons organization has fired longtime public relations director Matt Dobek along with sales executives John Kapral and John Dierkes and executive assistant Julie Telly.

Dobek was hired by former Palace president Tom Wilson, who now works for Ilitch Holdings. Kapral, Dierkes and Telly were all hired by former Pistons executive John Ciszewski, who is also now with Ilitch Holdings. Combined the four had more than 100 years of experience with the Pistons organization.

Published reports say Dobek was told he was being fired for breaking a confidentiality agreement he signed years ago. He was forced to turn in his company BlackBerry and car, and was told he would get no severance package.

It's an unexpected shakeup in the Pistons front office as the organization continues to restructure after the passing of owner William Davidson and move towards a possible sale. It has to be uncertain times over at The Palace and this likely won't be the last of the front office shakeups in Auburn Hills.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Early deadline for declaring for NBA Draft is classic example of NCAA's hypocrisy

The NCAA rule requiring players to make a decision about entering the NBA Draft by May 8 is another example of the NCAA ruling with an iron fist and not caring about what is best for the so-called ‘student athlete.’

Demanding players make a decision by May 8 does not give them a fair amount of time to determine their draft status.

Players can’t work out for a team until the early-entrant candidate list is completed, which was just a week before May 8 this year. Making matters worse, a player can’t miss class to go to a workout, limiting players even further.

The don't miss class rule is a classic example of the NCAA’s hypocrisy. The NCAA doesn’t mind if players miss class for games they make money off, but don’t miss class for anything they aren’t profiting off of.

The NBA gives players until June 14, which may be a little too long for college programs to have to wait for a player to make a decision. But deciding by May 8 is the extreme opposite.

The players that declare for the draft and decide to come back haven’t really hurt anybody.

The real losers are going to be the players that stay in the draft without knowing their true draft status. A total of 51 early-entrant players stayed in the NBA Draft. Since only 60 players are drafted, odds are many of those 51 players won’t hear their named called on draft day. Where they go from there who knows.

If they had a little more time to be evaluated and attend the pre-draft camp in Chicago then they could make an educated decision.

The May 8 deadline gives them no time to gather information and as a result many players are likely making bad decisions based on bad advice.

A proper solution would be meeting somewhere in the middle. A June 1 deadline would be a good compromise. But of course the NCAA will likely keep its rule in place because let’s be honest the NCAA only looks out for itself.

Twenty-nine players pull out of NBA Draft

A total of 29 early-entrant candidates for the NBA Draft have pulled their name from consideration. That leaves 51 early-entrant college players staying in the NBA Draft. Twenty-three international players are also eligible, but have until June 14 to pull out of the draft. College players had to make a decision by May 8 due to an NCAA rule. Below is a list of players that have pulled out of the draft:

Lavoy Allen, Temple
Kevin Anderson, Richmond
Talor Battle, Penn State
Keith Benson, Oakland
Anatoly Bose, Nicholls State
Carlon Brown, Utah
Mike Davis, Illinois
Paul Davis, Winston-Salem State
Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech
Kenneth Faried, Morehead State
Jimmer Fredette, BYU
Anthony Gurley, Massachusetts
Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall
Adnan Hodzic, Lipscomb
JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
Ravern Johnson, Mississippi State
Cameron Jones, Northern Arizona
Kenny Lawson, Creighton
Demetri McCamey, Illinois
E’Twaun Moore, Purdue
Arnett Moultrie, UTEP
Rico Pickett, Manhattan
Eniel Polynice, Mississippi
Herb Pope, Seton Hall
Jeff Robinson, Seton Hall
Tracy Smith, North Carolina State
Alex Tyus, Florida
Quinton Watkins, San Diego State
Chris Wright, Dayton

Friday, May 7, 2010

Detroit Pistons' Ben Gordon commits to play for Great Britain

The Great Britain national team received a huge boost when Pistons guard Ben Gordon committed to play for the team. Gordon, who was born in London before moving to the U.S., will join the national team in July. It's a a nice addition for Great Britain, which will compete in the 2011 Euro-Basket qualifiers this summer. Gordon will join former Bulls teammate Luol Deng on the squad.

"I am delighted to have committed myself to GB for this summer and beyond," Gordon said. "I have heard a lot from Luol about the team and where we are going, so I am excited about the prospect of pulling on the GB vest.

"I have been in discussion with British Basketball for a while now, but various things have stopped me being able to fully commit, however I am now settled with the Pistons and the time is right."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Detroit Pistons' Tayshaun Prince added to U.S. national team

Piston Tayshaun Prince was added to the 2010-12 USA Men’s National team Tuesday along with Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans and Oklahoma City's Jeff Green.

“We’re excited about the addition of these four outstanding players. Tayshaun is a versatile veteran who returns to the program after helping the United States win gold in the Olympics and at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, which served as our zone’s Olympic qualifying tournament. Jeff was part of the 2008 USA Select Team that trained against the Olympic team and he was again impressive last summer at the national team mini-camp. And in adding Tyreke and Stephen we have brought into the national team fold two of the game’s most exciting and promising newcomers,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo.

“The addition of Tayshaun, Jeff, Stephen and Tyreke to our national team roster adds additional veteran experience, versatility, and young talent,” said USA and Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “Although we have a number of players who were members of the 2006-08 national team returning to the 2010-12 national team pool, we are beginning a new selection and team building process and I believe the addition of these four players will help strengthen our national team program in several areas over the next three years.”

Prince, who has played in 28 games for the U.S. national team, averaged 4.3 points and 1.9 rebounds as a member of the 2008 USA’s gold medalist Olympic team. He was also a member of the gold medalist 2007 USA Olympic Qualifying Team, averaging 7.2 points and 5.1 rebounds.

The Rodney Stuckey debate continues

DIME magazine's Austin Burton decided to join the “Is Rodney Stuckey a franchise player debate?” Burton doesn’t take a firm stance one way or the other, but makes a very valid point about the expectations for Stuckey next season.

“If Stuckey is supposed to be Detroit’s meal ticket, next season is ‘put up or shut up’ time. Not saying he needs to hoist the team on his back and go championship-or-bust — but by the end of a player’s fourth year, most of the time, we know whether or not they’ve got superstar quality,” Burton wrote.

Burton is dead on. If Stuckey can’t step up and show he is “The Guy” next season then it’s time for the Pistons to look elsewhere.

I haven’t been as high on Stuckey as the Pistons seem to be. I think he is a nice complimentary player, a second or third option on a good team and or a Jason Terry or Jamal Crawford like role off the bench on a great team.

Unless Detroit wins the lottery and lands John Wall, odds are Stuckey will once again be the Pistons starting point guard next season. And Burton said it best, it’s put up or shut up time.