Posts by: "Danny Bohnlein"

So we’ve got some down time between now and the end of Summer when it comes to Pistons basketball.  What better to do than discuss who would be on your 12 man roster of All Time Detroit Pistons.  Some of the readers here are only old enough to know the young(er) guys like Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince, or Grant Hill, while some of the old(er) readers remember Dave Bing, Bob Lanier and even Dave DeBusschere.

Let’s set some ground rules:

  1. 2 point guards, 2 shooting guards, 1 combo guard/forward, 2 small forwards, and 5 power forward/center types.  Although the Miami Heat showed they can win without a true big man, there are enough good Pistons big men from the past that could get the job done.
  2. Pick a Coach, and coaching staff.  Your coaching staff can be a complete staff from a particular coach, if you’re not aware of the individuals who have coached over the years.
  3. Pick a uniform era (Teal era, Bad Boys blue and white, old blue and white with thunderbolt, etc)
  4. Pick an arena (likely all will pick The Palace, since The Silverdome was awful)

Ok, with all of that said, here is my team and an explanation as to why for each:

  1. Isiah Thomas (Starting PG): Hall of Famer.  Fiery leader who left it all out on the floor each night.
  2. Chauncey Billups (PG): Quiet leader who let his game do the talking.  Value was truly unknown to this team until his was traded.
  3. Joe Dumars (Starting SG): More of a combo guard than anything, because of his ball handling skills.  There is not a better guard tandem to have ever played this game than the backcourt of Thomas and Dumars.  Plus, he was my favorite player growing up.
  4. Vinnie Johnson (SG): Instant offense off the bench – may not be more talented than Richard Hamilton, but if I need a guy off the bench I want the Microwave.  (Note: my omission of Rip Hamilton is not meant to be a slight against him)
  5. Dave Bing (Combo SG/PG): Hall of Famer.  Bing was a player who was way ahead of his time.  Averaged 22 points a night in an era where the 3 point shot wasn’t available.
  6. Adrian Dantley (Starting SF): A lot of people will say that Mark Aguirre put the team over the top, because Dantley was only good at one end of the floor (offense).  Dantley made his impression on me as a youth with his scoring ability and high socks which made it look like he was faster than he actually is.
  7. Tayshaun Prince (SF): “The Block” is what should put him on every All Time Pistons team for the rest of his life.  That block was what helped propel the Pistons into the 2004 Finals for their franchise’s 3rd NBA Title.
  8. Dennis Rodman (Starting PF): “The Worm” is there to get under your skin.  A lock down defender against guys twice his size and weight.  Awful on offense, but with all the shots being hoisted up by my backcourt, I need solid rebounding down low.
  9. Ben Wallace (Starting C): Having Big Ben start alongside Rodman leaves me short up front, but who scores on these guys when both are in their prime?  This front court could average 24 rebounds a night.
  10. Bob Lanier (Backup PF/C): Averaged 23 and 12 a night for the majority of his career.  Left handed big men always get bonus points with me.
  11. Rasheed Wallace (Backup PF/C): Is the best stretch Power Forward from an era when the stretch power forward became a fad.  Known for his constant trash talking, Rasheed has been called the best teammate that his teammates ever had.
  12. Rick Mahorn (PF/C – 12th man/head benchmob cheerleader): Mahorn was a load in the paint.  Would smile in your face if he knew you didn’t like it.
  13. Chuck Daly (Head Coach): The implementer of the “Jordan Rules” would relish the chance to design defenses to guard some of today’s young “me first” basketball players.
  14. 1989-1990 Coaching Staff: Lead by future Toronto Head Coach Brendan Malone.
  15. The Palace of Auburn Hills (Arena): The Palace still looks new to me.  In an era where things have to be “bigger and better”, the Palace has been able to thrive for over 20 years now.  Sure, there have been several facelifts and modifications.  But like with fine wine, the Palace seems to get better with age.
  16. Bad Boys era blue and white Pistons uniforms:  Something about these unis signified toughness for me.  If it wasn’t the plain block lettering with the big red and white stripes, it was the plain blue shorts with the stripes around your waist and down your thighs (like boxing trunks).  Plain and simple, until they were screwed up by the teal era.

Detroit Bad Boys

Honorable mention: Grant Hill, Bill Laimbeer, Richard Hamilton, James Edwards, and John Salley.  Larry Brown and Flip Saunders.

I couldn’t nominate Grant Hill to be a starter, because although he was one of the best players to ever wear the Pistons red blue and white, he wanted to get out of Detroit.  He wanted to escape the teal era.  I couldn’t do Rip either – too many guys who were the epitome of Pistons basketball for me growing up as a child of the late 80s and early 90s.  These are guys who I emulated on the basketball court myself.  Buddha and Salley were tough casualties, but I could only keep 12.  Same with Laimbeer.

So let’s hear it Pistons fans, who is your All Time team?  I can admit I wasn’t around to see Bob Lanier or Dave Bing play, but their stats don’t lie.  It would be fun watching the combination of Ben and Rasheed Wallace match up against the big men from the Bad Boys era, like Laimbeer and Salley had to.

 

Any thoughts on the Pistons tanking this season for a better chance at the #1 overall pick in the upcoming draft were squashed last night as the Pistons turned back the clock a bit, and beat the Lakers 88-85 in overtime at The Palace.  Games like this are the reason why I believe Lawrence Frank was the right hire for the job.  This game was a guaranteed loser on the schedule under former Coaches John Kuester and Michael Curry, because of the negative response from the veterans to coaches they didn’t respect.

Rodney Stuckey was by far the star of the night, and the main reason why the Pistons were in it to win it at the end.  Stuckey hit a big 3 pointer with 9.8 seconds left in the game to put the Pistons up 2, before Kobe came back to hit a clutch jumper to tie it up and send it to overtime.  In overtime, Tayshaun Prince nailed a key 20 footer to put the Pistons up 1 before Stuckey stepped to the charity stripe to knock down the final 2 free throws which put the Pistons ahead for good.

Rodney Stuckey over the Lakers

Photo/AP editing Need4Sheed.com

  • Rodney SssssssssssssssssssssssssTUCKey finished the night with 34 points on an efficient 13-20 from the floor.  He also finished 1-1 from the long line, and not only was it a key 3 pointer that I referenced earlier but if you’ll notice, Rodney has improved from the 3 point line this season.  He still doesn’t take a lot of 3s, but when he does he’s making them at a 35% clip – his career average is 28%.
  • Ben Gordon showed some flashes off the bench, and while he had a solid night off the bench, he was mostly playing off of Stuckey’s hot hand, as he finished 7-15 from the floor with a team high +24 +/- off the bench.
  • Jonas Jerebko finished a healthy 3-8 from the field with 2 key 3s – and a +10 on the night.
  • As usual, skilled low post scoring big men gave the Pistons front court trouble – Andrew Bynum finished with video game numbers (34 points/15 rebounds) and Pau Gasol finished with 20 and 10. 
  • Greg Monroe held his own on the glass – he finished with 15 rebounds (8 defensive and 7 offensive).  The Lakers’ size gave him fits on the block – he had a tough night offensively.
  • Super Rookie Brandon Knight wasn’t so good in this game – 0 points, -14 +/-.  The good news is he only turned the ball over 1 time.
  • What happened to Ron Artest? Metta World Peace?  He looks like a totally different player these days.  He and Tayshaun Prince have not aged well in their roles as starting SF on their respective teams.
  • Kobe, lose the black mask bro.  Rip Hamilton wears a clear mask every game to protect his nose.  It’s not about fashion, it’s about function.
  • Former Michigan Wolverine standout guard Darius Morris received a DNP-Coaches’ Decision for the Lakers as he remains buried in the rotation.
  • The Laker big men could not do anything to stop Stuckey from finishing in the lane.  Stuckey, who has had his issues in the past finishing at the rack, settled in a nice groove by attacking both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
  • Way to go Lakers Pistons fans!  Last night was the 3rd sellout of the season.
  • The Lakers are now 6-13 on the road.  The Pistons are 10-11 at home.

And let’s not forget this highlight of the night – Stuckey taking old man Kobe to school.

Rodney Stuckey breaks Kobe’s ankles

MAY THE GORES BE WITH YOU!!! (seriously, I didn’t think anyone wore shimmery shirts anymore?).  Gores should be a happy man – not only did the Pistons win a thrilling game against a team they’ve competed against 3 times in the Finals, but they did it in front of a sellout crowd that was reportedly 60% Lakers fans.  Way to go Pistons!

Tom Gores Pistos over the Lakers in OT

Photo/AP editing Need4Sheed.com

 Next up for the Pistons is Jeff Teague and the Atlanta Hawks on Friday at 7:30 at the Palace.  The Hawks are 7-8 in their last 15 games as they’ve fallen a bit on hard times as the injury to Al Horford has finally caught up with them.  Meanwhile on the other side of the court, the Pistons are on a bit of roll having pulled together wins in 9 of their last 15 games.  The Hawks are currently sitting in the 6th seed spot in the East, while the Pistons are 5 games back of the 8th spot.  The Hawks aren’t looking up too high though, as their playoff opponent (if the season ended today) the Orlando Magic are the 3 seed and they’re only up 1 game.

The Hawks have a lot to play for, whereas the Pistons are scraping together win after win and building confidence in their young core for the future.  With the way this rotation has settled in a bit lately, and the roll they’ve been on, I don’t see where Charlie Villanueva fits in when he comes back unless he takes Jason Maxiell’s minutes.  Maxiell has been providing solid numbers as the starting power forward since taking over for Ben Wallace.

Rising Star Greg Monroe was the only player that remained sharp after the All Star break for the Pistons, as the visiting Sixers had their way with the sluggish Pistons on their way to an easy 97-68 win. Monroe was tied for a game high 20 points with the Sixers Thaddeus Young, while the Sixers finished with 6 players in double digit scoring with the Pistons only finishing with 2.

  • Rodney Stuckey finished with a solid 17 points as he continues to show Pistons fans that he has talent to be a solid starting off-guard in the league
  • Underrated Sixers guard Lou Williams had a great game off the bench, along with Thaddeus Young, finishing with 13 points and 7 assists only 25 minutes
  • Just how bad was this game for Detroit? They did not connect on a field goal attempt outside the paint until the third quarter. They shot 35% in the first half. Turrable
  • 22 turnovers for Detroit. Turrable
  • 25 of 79 field goals. Turrable
  • 14 assists. Turrable
  • Sixers began the 2nd quarter on an 11-0 run which sealed the deal for the night. Turrable
  • I could hear the hecklers on TV. Sparse turnout indeed. Turrable
  • 0 blocked shots for Detroit.
  • How far was I off on saying Austin Daye would have a breakout year? He’s so awful that he can’t even start over Tayshaun Prince who finished with 4 points on 2-10 shooting

The Pistons get a chance to bounce back tomorrow night by facing the awful Bobcats. Pistons fans who were hoping that Joe D would draft Bismack Biyombo can get an up close and personal look at how awful he is, which should make them grateful that Brandon Knight was available in the draft when the Pistons pick came up. Knight, no matter how inconsistent he’s been, has not been as bad as Biyombo.  Actually, since Biyombo was placed into the starting lineup in Charlotte, he has produced as well as you can expect a rookie big man to produce.  He is extremely raw, but his numbers since becoming a starter have been solid.

The Pistons’ young guns showed off a bit of what Pistons fans should expect in the coming years tonight, as Jonas Jerebko, Greg Monroe, and Brandon Knight lead the Pistons to their first win in 5 games.  While Charlotte isn’t exactly a great team, they are a scrappy young team that can put it together occasionally and they do have an exciting young core in guards Kemba Walker and overseas sensation Bismack Biyombo.

  • All Pistons starters were in double figures for scoring with Jonas Jerebko leading the way with 22.  Jerebko scored 12 total points in his previous 3 games.
  • Rookie sensation Brandon Knight finished with a double-double (13 points and 10 rebounds) to go with 4 assists.  The stat line Coach Frank likes most is his 0 turnovers.
  • Former Piston draft pick DJ White finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds off the bench for the Bobcats, in 30 minutes.  (White would look a lot better in a Pistons’ uniform now, considering Walter Sharpe is no longer on the team)
  • Remember Tyrus Thomas?  The guy the Bulls traded LaMarcus Aldridge for?  He’s still in Charlotte and had 10 points and 7 rebounds.
  • Aside from the Wizards roster, I can’t think of another roster that is worse than the Pistons besides Charlotte’s roster.  Charlotte has drafted in the lottery every season they’ve been in existence except for 1.  There is not 1 player on that team that I’d take over the top 7 guys on the Pistons.  (I’d take Biyombo over Charlie Villanueva or Kemba over Bynum but they aren’t in either team’s top 7 players in terms of playing time)
  • Is there a team that people forget about more than Charlotte?
  • Tayshaun Prince took a night off from being the Piston fans’ punching bag, and finished +18 on the night (a team high).
  • The Pistons won the rebounding margin – 46-34.
  • The Pistons had a a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio on the night – in recent years these types of numbers would guarantee a Piston win.
  • Brandon Knight lead all rebounders with 10.
  • Jonas Jerebko was the high scorer for the game with 22 points.
  • DJ Augustin lead all players in assists with 13.
  • Bismack Biyombo blocked 5 shots – the Pistons had 6 blocks total.
  • Ben Gordon and Gerald Henderson got into a bit of a scrap – they both received technical fouls in the 3rd quarter.
  • Charlotte falls to 2-10 on the season and Detroit improves to 3-9.

Highlights via Pistons.com

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Detroit heads home now to face the upstart Golden State Warriors and former Pistons great Kwame Brown.

Charlie Villanueva continues to sit out because of a lingering ankle injury.  It is not known when the former UCONN star will be available for the Pistons, who will continue to remain shorthanded in the frontcourt in his absence.  It is also not known what kind of shape Villanueva will be in once he is available for the Pistons.  Charlie V has often been criticized for being “soft” both from his lack of ability playing D on the block, and for his muscular definition (or lack thereof).  Villanueva may be feeling the pressure to come back sooner, rather than later, because of the looming amnesty clause that the Pistons held onto coming into the season.

Greg Monroe has made the most of his time on the floor by putting up All Star numbers in the first 12 games of the season (17 and 9) all while playing solid defense.  Monroe, who has turned out to be one of the better players from last year’s 1st round draft class, has benefited from increased playing time.  It is almost a guarantee that both Greg Monroe and Jonas Jerebko will be virtual locks for the Sophomore team during All Star weekend, but Monroe has to have the All Star game in the back of his mind right now.

There were countless things that didn’t happen tonight, that lead to the Pistons getting the beatdown tonight from the Cavaliers.  Poor rotation on defense, guys out of position, offensive sets that were out of sorts, guards firing bullet passes to big men not ready for them, etc.  Tonight’s game was flat out hard to watch.

The lone bright spot for the Pistons was the emergence of 2011 lottery pick Brandon Knight.  Knight enjoyed a bit of a coming out party against his lottery mate, Kyrie Irving, with 23 points on 10/13 shooting including a 3 pointer to close out the 2nd quarter and 10 points in the 3rd quarter.  The kid proved why the Pistons decided to pick him with the #8 overall pick in this past year’s draft, and like George Blaha said, this is the first of many games like this for Knight.

  • Vernon Macklin saw some garbage time minutes, and finished 1/2 from the field with his only basket coming off of a highlight worthy no-look pass from his draftmate, Knight.
  • Jonas Jerebko got outplayed all night by the veteran Antawn Jamison and got outmuscled by Samardo Samuels and Tristan Thompson.
  • Ben Gordon got in kind of a rhythm, finishing with 25 points on 9/19 shooting.
  • Pistons were outrebounded 40-26 on the night.
  • Paint defense is still an issue, and is even more of a concern against a team that doesn’t have much upfront offense like the Cavaliers.  Samardo Samuels and Anderson Varejao got what they wanted by simply cutting to the basket.
  • Cavaliers backup point guard tried to “tit for tat” with Brandon Knight in the game – he ended up with 16 points on 4/11 shooting with 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
  • There were many possessions where the Pistons were taking perimeter shots, with only Greg Monroe near the basket.  This is not how you improve your rebounding totals.
  • Greg Monroe finishes with a better 2nd game – 10 points and 7 boards.
  • Brandon Knight scored 23 of the Pistons 25 points off the bench (the other 2 being from the garbage time dunk, by Macklin).
  • The Pistons lineup is missing Charlie Villanueva (LOL!).
  • Tayshaun Prince ended up with a -15 for the night with Ben Gordon, Ben Wallace, and Jonas Jerebko with a -13.
  • There were several plays that showed why Irving and Knight were so  highly regarded out of college this past draft season.  Knight definitely has a developed 3 point shot, while Irving has the ability to cut to the rim and finish with relative ease.  Now if only both teams can build around their centerpiece point guards, the Pistons and Cavaliers could have quite a point guard rivalry for the next 12 seasons.
  • Lawrence Frank is now 0-19 in his last 19 games as a head coach in the NBA.

Video Highlights via Pistons.com

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

This was a tough game to watch, you guys.  Aside from the awesome opening, with the new hype video and the gospel singers, the new cheerleading squad and improved dance team, and the halftime show with Taio Cruz.. this is going to be a long season for Pistons fans.  There were some highlights tonight that I wasn’t expecting: Brandon Knight coming out, and Ben Gordon finding a rhythm.  There is also a lot for this team to work on, but there is nowhere to go but up.

It should be exciting to get in on the ground floor now with a team that appears to finally be putting the right centerpieces in place for another long run.  Lawrence Frank appears to be in full on “teacher” mode right now with guys like Brandon Knight, Austin Daye and Greg Monroe.  So long as they’re willing to be open to the new system, there is no reason to think that this team won’t improve soon off of these 2 season opening losses.

In podcasts, Natalie and I (and Dave) do shtick for an hour about how bad the Pistons are gonna be.  We joke about CV’s lack of hair, Ben Gordon’s lack of skills, and Rodney Stuckey’s ego among other things.  Deep down, we want the team to do well and it bothers us when they don’t.  I can say one thing about last night though…

It was 1 game.  Step back off the ledge.

I’m not going to give a pep talk, or an Al Pacino style talk (from Any Given Sunday) to get your “buy in” on the Pistons.  I’m not going to ask you to overlook things like the Tayshaun Prince re-signing, or the Rodney Stuckey re-signing.  These things happened, and there is nothing we do about it.  I also can’t ask you to forgive the Chauncey Billups trade or even letting Ben Wallace go to the Bulls in 2006.  I can ask you to stop living in the past, because the past isn’t going to do anything but make you mad when you compare the past to this team.  I can ask you to step back off the ledge.  It was 1 game, in a season that is clearly about rebuilding.

Yes, they looked terrible.  Yes, the lack of frontcourt depth was never more evident than against one of the deeper frontcourt teams in the Eastern Conference last night.  Yes, they showed they still don’t have a consistent scoring threat on the perimeter or in the post.  The anticipated bright lights of the team going into the season were flickering, with Jonas finishing with 17 points, but with Greg Monroe only finishing with 8 and 7 in 22 minutes (due to foul trouble).

We knew this team wasn’t going to be good, right?  If you didn’t know the team wasn’t going to be good, you’ve been sipping a little too much kool aid.  This is a team in transition, and aside from the Tayshaun re-signing, this is a team that is still being shaped as much as it can be shaped with such a short off-season.  This is a team that will have a lottery pick this season, in one of the deeper drafts in recent memory.  This is a team that still has its amnesty clause to use on a contract through next offseason.  This is a team that still will have control over franchise building blocks Greg Monroe and Jonas Jerebko for at least the next 2 seasons.

I am not putting up with people complaining anymore about how the team isn’t good.  It’s not a surprise.  It’s going to be a tough 2 year transition for this team.  At least Chris Paul didn’t end up in New York, so the East has only 1 super team instead of 2, right?

With the right moves this offseason (amnesty on Gordon or CV), a top 5 pick, and a decent free agent signing, this team could step back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture as early as next season.  A team with Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe and top 5 2012 pick could be a formidable opponent this time next year.

Jump off the ledge if you must, but do it silently, and stop clogging up mine and Natalie‘s twitter feed with it.

A lot of moves have happened recently in the NBA, so let’s catch up on where our favorite former Pistons have landed:

  • Chauncey Billups was waived via the amnesty clause from the New York Knicks, and was claimed by the LA Clippers
  • Chris Wilcox signed a contract with the Boston Celtics
  • Richard Hamilton was waived via contract buyout from the Detroit Pistons, and was signed to a free agent deal by the Chicago Bulls
  • DaJuan Summers signed a contract with the New Orleans Hornets
  • Tracy McGrady has signed with the Atlanta Hawks
  • John Kuester was hired by the LA Lakers to be an Assistant Coach to Head Coach Mike Brown

A lot of you didn’t like what I had to say about Richard Hamilton’s time in Detroit, as a member of the Pistons.  Allow me to clarify:

  • I don’t blame Hamilton for the Pistons problems.
  • I don’t think Hamilton was the ring leader of last year’s buffoonery, but he was a willing participant.
  • Hamilton is one of the greatest Pistons in the history of the franchise.
  • Aside from Chauncey Billups, there is not a guy on the team I would trust more with a game winning shot than Hamilton.
  • It is not Hamilton’s problem he signed a virtually untradeable contract, he was offered the contract.
  • You can’t blame Hamilton for thinking he can still play at a high level, he was only 32 last year and is in great shape.

I believe Rip has the chance to be the “Rasheed Wallace” type of acquisition for last season’s #1 seed Chicago Bulls.  He will bring a veteran presence who has been through the wars, and could be a calming influence on Derrick Rose which will only make him better.  So many times last year, Rose was forced into being the go-to guy on a team with questionable backcourt support.  Kyle Korver and Keith Bogans are not as good as Rip Hamilton, who I think will give the team 25-30 quality minutes and is someone who should step right in and claim a starting spot based on ability alone.

The terms of the deal Rip signed with Chicago are 3 years 15 million (2 years fully guaranteed, 3rd year partially guaranteed).

I believe this deal puts Chicago over the top, and in direct competition with the Miami Heat for this season’s championship.  Even though I can’t go back and re-record the podcast from a couple of weeks ago where I proclaimed the Lakers to be the next champions, I will say that I believe the Bulls will be this year’s NBA champion now that some of the pieces have fallen (Chris Paul to Clippers, Dwight Howard staying in Orlando for now).

It’s clear by the comments on my previous Richard Hamilton post that the good lot of you will miss Rip even though the last few years have been underwhelming.  I wouldn’t be against seeing the Bulls or Clippers do well this season with the additions of Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups collectively.

In Chauncey Billups the LA Clippers acquired a guy who would’ve started and served as a mentor for Eric Bledsoe had they not been able to acquire Chris Paul.  Now Billups can start at shooting guard and backup Paul at the point until the offseason when the Clippers are able to acquire a pure shooting guard.

Chris Wilcox isn’t really guaranteed a spot in the rotation for the Boston Celtics, honestly he seems a little out of place on that team.  With the Celtics aging, and if Wilcox makes the team, he should play most of his minutes on the 3rd game of the back to back to backs and in the 2nd game of back to backs to keep KG fresh.  With Jeff Green missing the season with a heart aneurysm, Wilcox could step in with 15-20 minutes a night possibly at the backup PF and C positions depending on how Jermaine O’Neal holds up.

DaJuan Summers was never really given a shot with the Pistons, either by his overall lack of talent or with the coaches that were trying to keep their jobs by not giving him or Austin Daye playing time.  It’s hard to say that Summers wasn’t given a chance, because Jonas Jerebko stepped up and played important minutes as a rookie and would’ve played more minutes last year had he remained healthy.  Summers, known for his NBA-ready physique, has shown flashes in garbage time with the Pistons.  If he makes the New Orleans Hornets, he will be fighting for playing time with Quincy Pondexter and Al Farouq-Aminu behind returning starter Trevor Ariza.  Considering both Pondexter and Aminu are former 1st round picks, the Hornets would likely opt to keep their potential around than Summers, who couldn’t see playing time in a season where the main backup to the SF position on the Pistons was out for the season last year.

Tracy McGrady has signed a contract with the Atlanta Hawks, where he will serve as Joe Johnson’s primary backup with the departure of Jamal Crawford.  McGrady, who made the most of his time with the Pistons (while also being labeled a team cancer by Mr. Wieme), will be able to show the league that he is healthy and still can play important minutes in the league  on the playoff contending Hawks team.

McGrady spent time on the Pistons last season as the starting point guard, and first guard off the bench for the Pistons.  It was his first successful season since knee injuries began to de-rail his career with the Houston Rockets, and in his short stint with the New York Knicks where his expiring contract helped the Knicks line themselves up for the “Summer of 2010″ Free Agent class.

And John Kuester… LOL who cares?

Earlier today, Rodney Stuckey and the Detroit Pistons agreed to a 3 year, 25 million dollar deal to bring the 4 year guard back to Detroit.  The roster is now coming back together, and showing some semblance of a legitimate NBA roster (by legitimate I mean that all of the positions and appropriate depth are starting to fill out).

Kris Humphries (PF-UFA), most recently of the New Jersey Nets, should be a guy that Joe Dumars pursues next to fill out the front court.  Humphries, 26, is a guy who, aside from his television exploits with former wife Kim Kardashian, personifies the “Going to work” mentality that a lot fans of love about the Pistons.

Kris Humphries

Photos/Getty Images Editing Need4Sheed.com

In 74 games last year with the Nets (44 as a starter), Humphries shot 53% from the field, and averaged 10.4 rebounds and 10 points per night.  If you’re going to push to play Greg Monroe at the 5, even though he’s not a true center, you could do a lot worse than Kris Humphries alongside him as the starting power forward.  Humphries is not great on the block as a defender, but he is an excellent defensive and offensive rebounder and knows how to put the ball in the basket on putbacks.

There hasn’t been a lot of talk about Humphries, outside of his failed marriage that I mentioned earlier.  It is likely that he’ll find a new team, as the New Jersey Nets look to continue to clear cap space for a run at Dwight Howard next offseason.  I think it’s reasonable to expect a guy like Humphries will take the full mid-level exception, and he’s a guy that it would be worth signing to that kind of a deal.  Somewhere in the 4 year, 22 million dollar range will lock him up through the early portion of his prime, and will allow him to hit the market again ready to sign for a much larger deal in the middle of his prime.

Obviously, this is a bit of forward thinking but look at how the roster shakes out with a potential Humphries signing:

PG: Knight/Stuckey/Bynum
SG: Stuckey/Gordon/Knight
SF: Prince/Daye/Jerebko/Wilkins
PF: Humphries/Villanueva/Jerebko
C: Monroe/Humphries/Maxiell/Wallace

Don’t kill me for slotting Jerebko so far out in the rotation, this rotation should show who I would have as the “odd man out” with the team still having their amnesty clause to use until the start of the next NBA season (Villanueva).  I think Jerebko is kind of limited due to his slight frame against PF, and his foot speed to guard SF.  I think his hustle and work ethic will push Villanueva out, but I don’t think he’s deserving of a starting spot in the league until he fills out and becomes a true PF.

I think what you see with that starting lineup is a team that could push for a playoff spot, solely based on its depth.  That lineup makes the Pistons one of the deeper teams in the lower seeded playoff teams, and it’s a lineup that could make some noise as Brandon Knight improves and Rodney Stuckey evolves into his more natural shooting guard slot.  This also is a roster that doesn’t have too many bad contracts for the talent, aside from Tayshaun and depending on how Stuckey plays with his new deal.

What do you guys think?  It’s pretty obvious that the Pistons need 1 more big man.  Maxiell is a little played out, and it’s hard to count on Ben Wallace for anything more than being a mentor to Greg Monroe at this point in his career.  Am I way off base?

Today was the first day that players could officially re-sign with their teams after ratifying the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) agreed to a little over a week ago to end the NBA Lockout.  Today was also really the first day that new Pistons owner Tom Gores’ staff could get to work evaluating the talent that is already on the roster, and evaluating the available talent in the free agent market.

Yesterday, in a bit of a surprise move, Tayshaun Prince and the Pistons agreed in principle to a 4 year, $27 million dollar deal.  The Pistons, who drafted 3 small forwards inRip Hamilton the 2009 NBA Draft and 1 small forward in the 2011 NBA Draft, brought back an aging Prince who has seen his statistics drastically decline in recent years to compete with Austin Daye and Jonas Jerebko for playing time (DaJuan Summers was not brought back, and Kyle Singler has decided to stay overseas this season and is playing well).

Today started off rather dull, the Pistons announced the signings of 1st round pick Brandon Knight and 2nd round pick Vernon Macklin.  Signing draft picks is merely a formality, since 1st round pick salaries are slotted and 2nd round picks are often signed to non-guaranteed 1 or 2 year deals.

About 5:30pm today, the Detroit Free Press tweeted that Pistons guard Richard Hamilton had been bought out.  No, the Pistons didn’t use their amnesty clause from the recent CBA, they bought Hamilton out of his contract for the purpose of giving him outright release which will give him the opportunity to sign with the team of his choosing just as any other free agent can.  The Pistons would’ve been on the hook for approximately $20 million dollars had Hamilton not accepted the buyout, and remained in a Pistons uniform this season and next.

Richard Hamilton

Photo Getty Images Editing Need4Sheed.com

Hamilton was bought out of the contract extension that he agreed to on November 3, 2008, at the same time his backcourt mate Chauncey Billups was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson.  The contract extension was for 3 years, $34 million dollars and was seen as something given to Rip to prove his worth to the franchise while they traded his friend Billups out from behind his back.  This move was immediately questioned by the fanbase who saw that this extension would cripple the franchise every year that Hamilton remained on the roster, and it was only made worse by the fact Iverson came in pouted his way off the team while Chauncey Billups helped lead the Denver Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals.

I’ll admit, I never really have respected Rip’s game.  All of the talk about how he was well conditioned and modeled his game after Reggie Miller couldn’t make up for his poor ballhandling ability and penchant for getting technical fouls when the team needed them least.

But I’m not here to kick dirt on his time with the Pistons, he is an accomplished Piston.  He will go down as the all-time leading playoff scorer for a Pistons franchise that has had several great guard tandems, most recently being Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars.  He was a member of a team that made an improbable championship run to beat the Lakers in 2004 and that took the Spurs to 7 games in 2005.

Hamilton will go down as one of the best all around players in Pistons franchise history.  Hamilton was one of the first players Joe Dumars acquired at the beginning of the early 2000s playoffs and championships run.  He was the centerpiece of the trade before the 2002-2003 season with the Washington Wizards that saw Dumars swindle Michael Jordan out of Hamilton, Hubert Davis and Bobby Simmons while giving up Jerry Stackhouse, Brian Cardinal and Ratko Varda.  In his 2nd year with the team, the team won the NBA Finals for the first time since the 1990-1991 season.  Hamilton was the leading scorer for the team as they beat the Lakers in 5 games, in an emotional series that ended perfectly on the Pistons home floor.

Rip Hamilton with 35 off the bench

Photo/Getty Images editing Need4Sheed.com

That same season in which they won the championship against the Lakers, Hamilton broke out his now famous protective mask that protects his nose from being broken.  His nose had been broken twice that season, and once before in the 2002 season.  He wore the mask as a recommendation from his doctor who warned he would need complete nasal reconstructive surgery if he were to break his nose again.

Hamilton leaves the Pistons having earned $79,744,283 in salary in his 9 years on the team (not including the buyout amount, which is still yet to be announced).  Hamilton leaves the team having played 631 games, and 21,679 minutes in a Pistons uniform.  He is a 3 time All Star as a Piston, from 2006-2008 (as a reserve).

Let’s not forget while we celebrate Rip and his albatross of a contract are gone, how important of a member of those playoff teams he was.  Rip had a great mid range game, he was a pesky defender and could often get in the head of the man defending him by talking trash to him all game.  He stepped up in some of the games the Pistons needed him the most, which made him one of the most clutch players in the NBA from 2004-2007.  Rip is already missed, but the old Rip has been gone since 2008.

It is not Rip’s fault that Dumars signed Ben Gordon and that Rodney Stuckey hasn’t panned out as the team’s point guard of the future.  It’s not Rip’s fault the Allen Iverson experiment didn’t work.  It’s not Rip’s fault that when Chauncey Billups left, his game went with him.  It’s also not Rip’s fault Dumars offered him that 3 year extension that most of us fans hated.

Rip Hamilton

Photo Getty Images Editing Need4Sheed.com

Rip is going to be remembered for his time in a Pistons uniform as being one of the best complimentary players of all time.  Rip is arguably a top 10 Piston of all time, and during the recent success of the organization, he was one of the biggest team players for an organization that built around team and not superstars.

Thank you Rip.  Thank you for playing your heart out, and for going to work night in and night out, no matter how screwy the situation has been in recent years.  You will always be one of our favorite Pistons.

After another marathon negotiating session between the owners and players, both sides failed to leave with an agreement and apparently there is an even larger split than we all feared.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski was tweeting some quotes from Commissioner David Stern as soon as the negotiating session broke, and here you go:

  • “We tried very haard.  We made concession after concession.  I’m proud of my owners.  [They] demonstrated that they really tried”
  • “With every day that goes by, there will be further reductions on what’s left of the season”
  • “we remain very, very apart on all issues.”
  • “We have a gulf that separates us”

Stern also insinuated that the owner’s offers will get worse for players to account for NBA losses during missed games.

This is not a good sign for NBA fans.

David Aldridge also adds that the major sticking points are with contract length, annual raises, luxury tax, etc.  With those 3 specifically listed, it proves that the Owners and Players are really, really far apart.

So… Tom Gores’ ownership of the Pistons is not off to a good start.  The players are locked out, he’s not able to get any return on his investment, etc.  You’ve gotta wonder if he’s reconsidered this “ownership” thing at any point during this lockout. (Before you yell at me by saying “WELL THE OWNERS ARE LOCKING THE PLAYERS OUT!!11″ – I know.  If the owners are losing money under the old CBA, why would they continue to operate under it?  That’s why they locked the players out… along with being greedy and stuff, which the players aren’t exactly innocent of.)