What Not To Expect Tonight

Tonight’s draft promises to be very unpredictable.  Teams are blowing up phone lines trying to switch spots so that they can land their man, and this is an ever-increasing trend in the NBA.  In fact, in the 1990s there were only 5.2 traded picks on draft day.  Today, that number has risen to a remarkable 13.4.

Unfortunately, the Pistons have only taken part in TWO draft day deal since Joe Dumars has taken over the General Manager position.  In 2008 the Pistons selected DJ White on behalf of the then Super Sonics at #29 in exchange for the 32nd and 46th picks.  As I detailed in an earlier rant, this was not a wise move as Detroit selected Walter Sharpe and Trent Plaisted, both who never amounted to a damn thing in the NBA.  In 2009 the Pistons selected GF Chase Budinger for the Houston Rockets in exchange for future 2nd rounders.

On draft night Joe and the Pistons usually just set their sights on a small set of players and select their BPA, according to their draft board, when the time comes.  They haven’t been shown to react to players who have inexplicably slipped in the draft, either by trading up or into the draft to select a targeted player or trading with another team so that they can land said slider.  The NBA Draft can be like a game, wherein you win by getting the most value out of your picks, and sometimes you can manipulate other teams into surrendering value.  Chase Budinger was one instance of this, yet the Houston Rockets had to contact Joe Dumars and indicate their interest.

Forgive the shitty picture quality, but it hasn’t appeared that Joe has been as aggressive as he was in the early 2000s (when the pic was snapped) or taken the initiative to find deals that will shrewdly benefit the Pistons.

NBA draft picks do have a cap hold against the salary cap, but do not require matching salaries to be traded away.  This makes it possible for teams to purchase draft picks for $$$, up to 3  million per.  The Pistons have never purchased a draft pick outright, or even with the addition of a present or future draft pick.  Other teams have been much more proactive, and in 2009 cash was involved in the acquisition of no less than four draft picks, and the exchange of future picks was featured in three trades.  In 2008 there was more of the same, as five more deals involving the movement of cash and/or future draft picks were seen.  Many players were had or could have  been taken at these draft slots, and many would have been of great aid to Detroit, such as Mario Chalmers, Goran Dragic, Ramon Sessions, Eric Bledsoe, and more.

Joe built a championship team via trades, acquiring Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins for Grant Hill, Rasheed Wallace from Atlanta for a bunch of scubs, and Richard Hamilton for Jerry Stackhouse.  Now we find ourselves building our roster via the draft, with Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey and Austin Daye and Jonas Jerebko set to make a big impact next season, along with whomever we select tonight.  Dumars would be wise to combine both of those philosophies and make deals to land coveted prospects as we continue along the rebuilding process.

For this reason, I do not foresee us trading up to land a top prospect, nor do I see us snagging a can’t-miss prospect unless the Pistons were targeting him from the get-go.  If we do trade down, expect it to be for a name we’ve been linked to for a while, as the Pistons tend to make their desires more available than they ought to.  New owner Tom Gores may provide the front office with a looser leash than seen under William Davidson’s ownership, which would give Dumars few excuses to not fix the team by the end of the three year window he’s been allotted.

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Posted by on June 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


Obligatory Darko Post

Every year there’s a draft, and, predictably, every year since 2003 we’ve had to tolerate Darko Milicic talk.  I don’t plan on talking about him as a solo subject often…

…But I’ll say this much:

  • No, he wasn’t the next Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol, as he was hyped up to be before the selection.  He never displayed an elite jumper and hasn’t played a minute at SF.
  • He did, however, become a top 5 shotblocker in the league, both in terms of total blocks and average per game.  When Larry Brown said he wanted Darko to pattern his game after Bill Russell, he listened.
  • Unlike most rejection specialists, he’s not a total liability on offense, and is a capable, but not stellar rebounder, averaging 8.3 rebounds PER36.
  • He could fit in the rotation of almost every team in the league and thus I’d gladly welcome him back on the Pistons.
  • He may have developed further had he not had six different coaches and played for five different teams in his seven seasons in the league.
  • A few pretty good bigs have played next to Darko; Ben/Rasheed Wallace->Dwight Howard->David Lee->Al Jefferson->Kevin Love.

Nobody knows how good Darko could have been had he ever experienced some consistency as a priority big on a good team.  He is certainly not, however, a bad player, and there have been worse #2 picks in the last decade, and not all have had the perfect careers set out for them on draft day:

  • Evan Turner was considered the most NBA ready player and he wasn’t a starter…
  • Hasheem Thabeet was the highest draft pick to land in the D-League…
  • Michael Beasley was traded for future 2nd round picks after his rookie season…
  • Marvin Williams has only had one season with a PER higher than the average player when his 16.5 bested 15.0…
  • Emeka Okafor never developed as a scorer and couldn’t come close to matching his defensive impact achieved at UCONN…
  • Jay Williams motorcycled himself out the league…
  • and finally, Stromile Swift flamed out of the league entirely.
Of course, the Pistons could have been better off had they drafted Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, or Chris Bosh (and maybe the goddamned Big Three would never have formed in Miami), but this post is about Darko.  In summary, he was a bust, but he’s also a keeper.
Get Some.
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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized


Mock Lotto 8

I’ve been reading so many silly things about the draft lately, particularly the Pistons.  In the past two days we’ve been rumored to have promised Kawhi Leonard, zeroed in on Tristan Thompson, been blown away by Markieff Morris (same for Marcus earlier), narrowed things down to only Kemba Walker and Jonas Valanciunas, and that we’ve decided on Biyombo.  Including Jan Vesely, there are eight players rumored to be in play at the #8 pick, and we have ourselves a clusterfuck.

Let me share with how things should play out, assuming teams are worried about need and role than they are about potential and workout-warriors.

1) Cleveland Cavaliers-SF Derrick Williams.

The Cavaliers have four players that are capable of playing SF under contract next season in Antawn Jamison, Joey Graham, Christian Eyenga, and Alonzo Gee.  Jamison’s played PF for them,  Eyenga is raw and equally suited for the SG position, and Graham/Gee are scrubs.
The Cavs can afford to pass on a PG because they have Baron Davis’ monster contract to play, Ramon Sessions (who puts up better PER36 numbers than Rodney Stuckey), and Boobie Gibson as options at PG.

Manny Harris/Gibson
JJ Hickson/Jamison
Anderson Varejao/Ryan Hollins

2) Minnesota Timberwolves-C Enes Kanter

The Wolves need another rebounder besides Kevin Love on the roster.   Love has a great face-up game and needs to remain exclusively at PF, so acquiring a back-to-the-basket complement would be ideal, and Enes Kanter can be that guy.  Darko is their starting C and is a great shot-blocker, but his rebounding leaves a lot to be desired.  Between the two #2 picks in Milicic and Kanter and the contributions of Nikola Pekovic the Wolves suddenly would have one of the strongest C rotations in the league.
The Wolves pass on a PG because of Rubio coming stateside, Luke Ridnour making 4 million a year, and not having success moving Jonny Flynn  yet.

Rubio/Ridnour or Flynn
Wes Johnson/Wayne Ellington
Michael Beasley/Martell Webster
Kevin Love/Anthony Randolph
Enes Kanter or Darko Milicic

That’s actually a solid, well-rounded two-deep.  It’s amazing how underrated Michael Beasley has become; last I checked 19/6 was nothing to scoff at.

3) Utah Jazz-PG Kyrie Irving

I know, its controversial that I have likely #1 pick Kyrie Irving falling to #3 overall.
There’s not much to be said for the rationale behind this pick.  They don’t need frontcourt help between Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, and Derrick Favors, and they just used a lotto pick on a SF last year in Gordon Hayward.  If there were a stud SG prospect available they would probably opt for that, as incumbent PG Devin Harris is no slouch, but alas, the best SG prospects would be reaches at #3.

Harris or Irving
Millsap or Favors

4) Cleveland Cavaliers-F Jan Vesely

The Cavs would also love for there to be an elite SG prospect available here, but they settle for flexibility and depth with Jan Vesely.  It is unclear whether he’s a SF or PF, but his tenacity and big play ability would make him a fan favorite on the rebuilding Cavs.  If he plays PF, that would allow Hickson to play more minutes at C (if he isn’t moved).  If he plays SF then that pushes Eyenga to SG full-time and Williams has a super-sub as a backup.  Either way, Antawn Jamison shouldn’t be a deterrent for the selection of a F tweener.

Williams/Eyenga and Vesely
Hickson/Jamison and Vesely

5) Toronto Raptors-C Jonas Valanciunas

The Raptors are looking at PGs IRL, but the position is covered by Jose Calderon and Jerryd Bayless, who somehow fell out of the top 10 in the 2008 draft and hasn’t really been given a fair shake.  Throw in Leandro Barbosa who can play some PG and ought to receive minutes to justify his 7.6 million dollar salary, and I’m surprised to hear how sold they are on Kemba Walker.
They take a C because Andrea Bargnani is a horribly inadequate rebounder and defender at the C position, and his perimeter-oriented skill-set is better justified elsewhere.  Prospect Bismack Biyombo would be redundant with Amir Johnson a Raptor, so Valanciunas is the pick.

DeMar DeRozan/Barbosa
James Johnson/Sonny Weems
Valanciunas or Ed Davis

6) Washington Wizards-SF Kawhi Leonard

Sorry Brandon Knight, but the Wizards already have John Wall at PG.  Washington opts for a SF because all their other positions are covered by young talent; you have Wall, the volume-shooting Nick Young at SG, the versatile Andray Blatche at PF, and Marcus Camby-esque JaVale McGee at C.  Leonard should infuse some toughness into a lineup that has several soft players: Young, Blatche, Jianlian.
They’d consider a reliable C to compensate for McGee’s mental lapses, but there aren’t any polished five-men available.

Wall/Jordan Crawford
Young/Mo Evans
Blatche/Rashard  Lewis
McGee/Kevin Seraphin

7) Sacramento Kings-PG Brandon Knight

Tyreke Evans hit a sophomore wall last season and didn’t match the 20/5/5 we enjoyed out of his rookie campaign.  There are debates as to whether he’s a SG or PG, and Brandon Knight’s selection would clear things up nicely.  Both are considered combo guards, but Evans is more of a slasher and Knight is an underrated shooter.    Beno Udrih and Marcus Thornton would be great backups, and in one fell swoop the Kings would have one of the more promising young backcourt units around.

Omri Casspi/Francisco Garcia
Jason Thompson/Darnell Jackson
DeMarcus Cousins/Hassan Whiteside

8) Detroit Pistons-C Bismack Biyombo

I consider him the fourth best prospect overall, and having him slide to #8 is not an indictment on his abilities or homerific on my part.  If teams are paying attention to roles/balance/depth the way I do, Biyombo only makes sense at #2 or #8, and there he lands.


A bunch of teams are going to GET NONE tomorrow if the reports are true about all the promises being handed out and reaches about to be made.

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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized


Put All Your Eggs In the Biyombo Basket

As far as I’m aware, the Detroit Pistons are not one of those franchises that employs a number of stat guys, and have assigned the assistant coaches and even the trainers (God bless them) to keep track of statistics.

If the Pistons were to heed the advice that the numbers provide after 82 games and 3,936 minutes, they’d draft a defensive-minded center at #8 and never look back, only hesitating if PG Kyrie Irving or SF Derrick Williams were still on the board (they won’t be).

  • The Pistons finished as the third worst defensive team in the NBA last year, finishing only above the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors.  That’s right, we barely beat out a squad that starts defensive stalwarts Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani.  The defensive rating is a statistic that estimates the amount of points surrendered per 100 possessions, controlling for pace and including free throws, and the had a DRtg of 111.7.  The season before under Kuester, they were at 111.4.  To add some perspective, the 2004 championship team had a DRtg of 95.4, and the teams that made the Eastern Conference Finals (or more) for the next four seasons averaged 102.85 points surrendered per 100 possessions, according to
  • Detroit can’t excel defensively when there isn’t a defensive anchor or stopper in the entire roster.  In fact, the Pistons scored the fifth-lowest amount of points in the paint and allowed the third highest efficiency rate for opponents in the paint.  They ended the season tied for last place with the Golden State Warriors in the Deff, which is the Efficiency Recap – Opponent’s Efficiency Recap, meaning that overall the Pistons were overmatched in the paint on almost a nightly basis according to  This shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody, as Charlie Villanueva has turned into almost an exclusive three-point shooter (as Rasheed Wallace did later in his career) who is not adept at man or team defense, Jonas Jerebko was injured for the entire season, we tried to play Austin Daye in the post (bust),  Ben Wallace was held out of many games, Jason Maxiell misses dunks, and Chris Wilcox didn’t get a chance to shine until the season was all but wrapped up.
  • A good way to be out-powered in the paint is by losing the rebounding battle, which the Pistons often did, amassing a league low 38.62 rebounds a game according to, and finishing in the bottom six in rebounding differential (so we can’t really blame it on our having the slowest pace around).  Beyond Greg Monroe, a nightly double-double threat, we didn’t have any rebounders capable of grabbing ten a  game, with Ben Wallace’s 6.5 and Chris Wilcox’s 4.8 not being nearly enough support.
  • When you trot out a lineup of poor rebounders, your only chance of preventing easy buckets is if you can block shots, or at least change shots with the threat of a rejection.  Also according to, the Pistons recorded the fewest blocks in the league last season, with 4 a game and a bottom eight differential, which can be explained away by our perimeter-oriented offense as it is harder to block a jumpshot than a layup.
  • The Pistons graded out as having a bottom seven front-court overall and the third worst relative to their opponents.  As the Pistons already have Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell, and some combination of Jonas Jerebko and Austin Daye at the PF position, the remedy to our frontcourt ailment must come in the form of a 5-man.
If it’s not clear that the Pistons need a game-changer on the defensive end, specifically in the post, then I don’t know what else I can do for you.  The Pistons have won three championships as a franchise, and there was at least one rebounding specialist and enforcer in the starting lineup for each.   We need to start two true, effective bigs to have a chance at making any noise in this league.  Greg Monroe is big and strong enough to check the larger centers defensively, but he’s going to need some help on the weak-side and some assistance to alleviate some of his pressure to rebound, allowing him to focus more of his energy on becoming our go-to post scorer.  I think I know just the man for the job…
and this is what he’s capable of at only 18 years old and two years after being discovered as a prospect:
He is a specimen defensively and physically, at 6’8″ without shoes and 6’9.5″ in them, which the NBA will likely round up to a solid 6’10”.  His arms are long enough that he could hug you twice, with a 7’6″ wingspan.  There are no figures on his leaping ability or his agility, but his standing reach of 9’3″ should enable him to contest shots in the paint just by standing tall and raising his arms.  At 245 pounds and an amazing 4.3% body fat, he’s built like a Greek God.  and he’s just 18.
People talk about how much of a project he is-which is true-but I’m not concerned about his inability to hit a jumper-we have Villanueva and Jerebko for that- because he would still satisfy our biggest needs even if he doesn’t improve his game in the slightest; he is programmed to grab rebounds and block shots and bail out his teammates.  Studies have been shown that rebounding and shot-blocking are the two most reliable statistics when projecting a potential draftee’s effectiveness at the next level, with R-values of .8927 and 0.9314, respectively, which indicate a very strong correlation thanks to
 He has the potential to be great but will still contribute if he plateaus early, with his upside being close to that of  a Ben Wallace or Dennis Rodman and his downside being Reggie Evans or Amir Johnson.  Joe Dumars needs to throw us a bone after having us suffer through the past three seasons and select the player that will complement the team and grow with the Pistons.  In summary…
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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized


How Joe Has Treated Me On Draft Night /rant

I get the most worked up at the Pistons come draft night for two reasons:
a) General Manager Joe Dumars usually leaks who he covets far in advance, and I’m hoping the Pistons steer away from that prospect, and
b) Somebody slips in the draft who the Pistons clearly should select, and they don’t.
After the Pistons fired Flip Saunders and hired Michael Curry it was clear that our deep playoff runs were over. As Detroit has never been a free agent hot spot, there has been an even bigger onus on our draft picks panning out.

Here’s what’s happened the last three years:

In 2010, we wound up with FC Greg Monroe and G Terrico White.  I was praying for DeMarcus Cousins to slip to #7, as I considered him the top prospect in the entire draft (he had one of the most productive college seasons EVER), but wanted Greg Monroe to be available just in case.  We can thank the Golden State Warriors for seeing something in Ekpe Udoh that we didn’t and selecting him at #6, enabling us to snatch up Moose.  When the second round approached I was crossing my fingers for Hassan Whiteside, a prolific shot-blocker in the NCAA, but he was taken by Sacramento (of course) three picks before ours.  When Terrico White was selected I was satisfied, as he graded out as a top athlete from the draft class and was a worthy project.
Joe was right.  I was right.  =Two get somes.

The 2009 draft saw me wanting Ty Lawson to be available at #15, as I didn’t see much in Will Bynum as a backup PG.  Bynum since has grown on me and proven himself, aided by that giant chip on his shoulder…but Ty Lawson is now the starter for the Denver Nuggets, holding his ground against the challenge that All-Star candidate Raymond Felton presents.
Joe drafted Austin Daye.  Daye has loads of potential as a 6’11” sweet shooter, but his position is hard to peg and he can’t defend a lawn chair.  Daye projects to be our starter at SF next season, unless the new coach heeds my advice and runs uptempo small(ish) ball with Hamilton at SF or we draft a SF with the #8 pick in two nights…but he hasn’t progressed statistically from his rookie to sophomore seasons.  Literally.  His PER36 numbers are virtually identical across the board, making his increased production deceptive, as they are merely a product of his receiving more minutes. = Get None.
Then, I got super excited as DeJuan Blair, formerly pegged for the lottery, slid to the second round due to reports that he, uh, had no cartilage in his knees.  Jason Maxiell comparisons led my message board colleagues to deem him redundant, but there’s something to be said for NCAA rebound leaders, as it is one of the statistics that projects most accurately to the NBA.  Instead we took DaJuan Summers, a SG/SF/PF/scrub chucker.  =Get None.
When Jonas Jerebko was available I was looking forward to selecting Chase Budinger, another first-round “lock” that somehow slid to the second round (Why?  He is a great athlete and a great shooter.  What gives?).  However, we just drafted two F tweeners and I didn’t count on a third being taken.  When Jonas Jerebko’s name was called I screamed at the television set, for he hadn’t even been on my radar.  =Get Some Joe.  Get None George.
Then we actually DRAFTED Chase Budinger.  I was torn, for we drafted a player I had made no secret of my desire for, yet he’d be joining a large crowd at the SF position.  Before I could figure out which way I was leaning it was announced that we had traded his rights to the Houston Rockets for future draft picks.  He has since been a very serviceable player for them.  Verdict=Get None Joe, Get Some George.

2008 still burns  me.  It was all sorts of suck.  The last thing we needed to take was a PF, as we had Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, Jason Maxiell, and Amir Johnson-a mancrush of mine-manning the post positions.
Then we selected DJ White out of Wisconsin.  FFFFUUUU.
Thankfully, we traded his rights to the Sonics for a few picks later.  This was all sorts of promising, as C DeAndre Jordan and PG Mario Chalmers were available at #32, two positions we needed some help at (no true PGs or Cs on the roster).   Then we drafted WALTER.  FREAKING.  SHARPE.  A “sleeper pick” (get it?) that was projected to go UNDRAFTED.  He’s now out of the league, Mario Chalmers is a borderline starter for the Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat, and DeAndre Jordan is bound to be the permanent starter next to Blake Griffin in Clipperland.
Then, Michael Beasley’s teammate Bill Walker was available at #46, but we selected Trent Plaisted.  Walker’s still in the NBA and played 22 mpg for the Knicks in the playoffs, whereas Plaisted never even got his feet wet in the NBA.
This draft was all sorts of Get None.

I hate to say it, but there is a good chance that some epic dumbassery will take place Thursday night with regards to #8.  Bismack Biyombo or Jonas Valanciunus are the only players I would be happy with…yet there’s a good chance we take a PF.  This draft is a weak one overall, with no tier 1 prospects to be seen, but we can still acquire a player that satisfies our needs (Rebounder.  Shot blocker.  Defensive anchor.) and fills a glaring hole (backup C) and we damn well better.

Plz don’t make me do this on Thursday KTHNX

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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized


WTF is Walter Hermann

One of my friends on facebook asked what on Earth happened to Walter Herrmann this morning.  He is an Argentinian F tweener that played for the Pistons from 2007-2009, previously a starter for the Charlotte Bobcats, acquired in the Nazr Mohamed trade.  I have no idea where or if he is playing now, but I miss those huge hands and frequent finger rolls (…that’s what she said?), and would think that there are components of Hermann’s game that Jonas Jerebko would be wise to emulate.

Lest we forget…

He’s only 31 years old, so if he doesn’t get on the court and makes some news soon I’ll just have to assume he’s getting some by hanging out with these two…

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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Uncategorized


Balancing Depth Chart and the Case for Drafting a Center

The Pistons’ problem-if I had to choose one-is that the Pistons had a lot of talent that was distributed unevenly throughout the depth chart and then toyed with by head coach John Kuester.
We all remember Rip Hamilton getting benched for weeks, only to be abruptly asked to suit up and check into a game and then play well.  Tracy McGrady was asked to play a different position, point guard, yet he’d be rewarded with a solid performance with a few DNP-CDs.  Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva were our big free agent signings in the summer of 2009, yet they both received minutes far lower than their career averages.  Only Stuckey and Prince were treated with any consistency, and even then Kuester was shown to waver in his commitment to Rodney at the PG position by the end of the season.
If you were to look at the Pistons *real* depth chart-where guys would line up for the majority of other teams-the problem is apparent:
PG Bynum
SG Stuckey and Gordon and Hamilton/(McGrady)/White
SF (Prince)/Daye
PF Jerebko and Villanueva/Wallace and Maxiell and (Wilcox)
C Monroe

Assuming there won’t be any trades and Tayshaun and McGrady won’t be brought back from unrestricted free agency, the roster can be saved-thank God-with a little creativity and exploitation of our teams’ versatility.  Here is a breakdown in terms of minutes played at each position.
24 Stuckey/24 Bynum
30 Gordon/10 Hamilton/8 Stuckey
20 Hamilton/20 Daye/8 Jerebko
24 Jerebko/24 Villanueva
32 Monroe/16 ROOKIE and-or Wallace

That’s a 9-10 man rotation, depending on the night, and everybody is given minutes in accordance with what is necessary to get them going.

Hamilton at SF, where he will be overmatched by most starting SFs, can be offset offensively by a) going uptempo, b) using Gordon and Hamilton the way they are accustomed to playing, by having them run off screens, and c) going to Monroe in the post once the offense slows and manipulate the SF into biting on double -teams.


This means we MUST take a rookie that is capable of playing C.  If we don’t there won’t be anybody legitimate or reliable behind Greg Monroe, and many argue that HE is a PF (they’re wrong, btw).  Charlie Villanueva is too poor a rebounder and too bad defensively to warrant any minutes at the five; Jason Maxiell is 6’5″ without shoes and his wingspan and strong base, which allows him to be a decent man defender against much bigger opponents, doesn’t make up for his poor defensive rebounding and lack of any certifiable skill on offense; Ben Wallace missed 28 games last season and only played 23 minutes a game.  Even if he’s healthy and playing, he’s 36 years old and is likely retiring after the season.

The only acceptable draft would be selecting Bismack Biyombo, Enes Kanter, or Jonas Valanciunus.  I will have write-ups about these players soon.

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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Uncategorized