Detroit Pistons

Pistons to Retire Dennis Rodman’s #10 Jersey on April 1st

dennis-rodman-pistonsThe Detroit Pistons are retiring the jersey of Dennis Rodman this Friday (April 1) when the Pistons host the Chicago Bulls. Wikipedia’s entry for Dennis Rodman notes that that Rodman was voted to the NBA All-Defensive First Team seven times and was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year twice. He led the NBA in rebounds per game for a record seven consecutive years and won five NBA championships (1989 & 1990 with the Pistons and 96-98 with the Bulls). His biography at NBA.com states that he is “arguably the best rebounding forward in NBA history.”

Rodman was recently named as a finalist for induction to the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame, but likely due to the fact that he wasn’t a big scorer and (probably more to the point) lived one of the most troubled off-the-court lives ever are definitely standing in his way. The Bleacher Repors asks if he belongs in the Hall. They decide he does, noting that:

Since 1973, Dennis Rodman owns five of the top eight single-season rebounding averages. Five out of eight!

The other three on that short list came from Elvin Hayes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Moses Malone, all of whom are Hall of Famers.

A secondary reason that supports Rodman’s body of work has to do with the fact that he won five NBA Championships.

If you dare, you can visit dennisrodman.com and definitely check out this high energy highlight video!

Big Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons

big-ben-wallaceThe Detroit Pistons are having a pretty rough year, but at least they were able to Ben Wallace’s 1000th game. Wallace joined Avery Johnson and Moses Malone as the only undrafted players to reach the 1,000-game mark. That milestone came a few weeks after another much more significant achievement, Wallace’s 10,000th rebound.

Wikipedia says that Ben Camey Wallace was born in White Hall, Alabama and the tenth of eleven children. He came to the Pistons with Chucky Atkins in what proved to be an amazing trade of Grant Hill, and his awards include being named NBA Defensive Player of the Year four times, a feat only matched by Dkembe Mutumbo. He has also been voted to 6 All-NBA Defensive teams and led the league in both rebounds and blocked shots in 01-02 and 02-03, the first to do that since Hakeem Olajuwon.

You might also want to check out Ben Wallace at NBA.com and PistonPowered’s argument that Ben Wallace remains the greatest thing about the Detroit Pistons.

You can see Big Ben’s Top 10 plays (as selected by some guy on YouTube) but to really get a sense of the Beast of the East, you need to watch Ben Wallace – The Evolution of a Beast, a great tribute to Number 3.

2010-2010 Detroit Pistons Preview

NBA Preseason: Pistons at Timberwolves by First Team Photo
Pistons at Timberwolves by First Team Photo

Wikipedia notes that last year was the worst since 1994 for the Detroit Pistons as they finished with a 27-55 record, last in the Central Division.

2010-2011 starts with the roster, and the change starts with their two rookies. In her 2010-2011 Pistons Preview, Natalie writes:

If you can call having a horrible season and finally getting a lottery pick a move then Greg Monroe is it. Finally the Pistons draft the Big Man they so dearly need. You can’t pin all your hopes on Monroe until he proves himself in the NBA. Monroe, a skilled rebounder and passer at Georgetown will have to show up every night and contribute to be live up to Detroit’s expectations.

Detroit also picked up a what may turn out to be a draft steal in the second round. Terrico White had a strong showing in the Summer League and turned heads with his dunking abilities during the rookie photo shoot.

White unfortunately had surgery on a broken bone in his foot and won’t see the court until early 2011. That’s a better case than defensive stopper Jonas Jerebko who will be sidelined 5+ months. Speaking of injuries, the Pistons took a flyer on one of the NBA’s most often injured superstars, Tracy McGrady, as Detroit Bad Boys notes in their preview:

Beyond the draft, Dumars made solid decisions in free agency. He extended the Benaissance for another two years, inking Ben Wallace to a contract worth not much more than the vet minimum. He gave Will Bynum one of the most fair contracts issued this summer, not spending a penny more or less than what the little fella should have earned. While Joe still had the mid-level exception in hand, he opted instead to issue a flyer to Tracy McGrady, the two-time scoring champion who had been crippled by back and knee injuries. In the off (like, very off) chance that McGrady stays healthy, the Pistons could luck into some real talent.

pistons_marvelThe upcoming season is critical for Rodney Stuckey, as he’s got a lot of pressure to become the point guard that Dumars hoped when he traded Billups away. While Stuckey is optimistic, the predictions for the Pistons are not. Motown Lowdown tipped us off to this less than flattering the Marvel cover for the Pistons from ESPN the Magazine (more about the Marvel covers). Is Joe D really trying to re-create the Bad Boys? While “doom” may be too strong a word, as you can see in mLive’s survey of sportswriters, there’s not a lot of folks out there calling for success for the Pistons.   Many point to the Pistons’ overabundance of wing players and relative lack of defense, and John Hollinger of ESPN.com sums up the opinion of many:

Detroit will be better because Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva will play better and the others are likely to spend less time on the injured list. Additionally, I expect Greg Monroe to pay dividends right away. All those changes may help make the Pistons a halfway decent offensive team, albeit a well-nigh unwatchable one that continues to play a sleep-inducing pace while running mid-90s style isolations. In the big picture, Detroit’s perimeter depth makes a playoff appearance possible if everyone has a good season and stays healthy. That’s a best-case scenario, though.

One of the biggest stories that will affect the Pistons in the upcoming year has nothing to do with what’s on the court, but rather who’s picking up the bill. Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings is apparently seeking a monopoly on major sports in the Motor City by seeking to add the Pistons to his holdings. While the move would enable Ilitch to seek a new combined downtown arena for the Pistons & Red Wings, you can put Drew Sharp in the not-a-fan of the move column.

Here’s Flintstone TV talking to some of the Pistons including Rip Hamilton & Tracy McGrady at their 2010 Media Day:

Tracy McGrady is a Detroit Piston

Tracy McGrady by Keith Allison
Tracy McGrady by Keith Allison

Those of you who weren’t producing a giant wine festival might have noticed that the Detroit Pistons signed 31 year-old all star Tracy McGrady. Yesterday, they made it official. Michael Rosenberg writes that the Pistons have nothing to lose with Tracy McGrady:

Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars signed McGrady for $1.35 million, the minimum for a veteran. That makes this low risk to the point of being almost no risk. The Pistons added talent without committing to it. It was a no-brainer for them. They can’t mess up their championship chemistry, because they don’t have championship chemistry.

What does the Pistons blogosphere think? (and please tell us what YOU think in the comments). Kevin at Detroit Bad Boys agrees that McGrady has injury and 3 pointer jacking issues but says:

The team can’t possibly be wedded to the notion that a Hamilton-Prince-Gordon ensemble is going to win basketball games. Otherwise, why even bother with T-Mac? McGrady can plug in easily at the two or the three, and can defend both positions quite well. Plus, if he begins to play well, and the Pistons aren’t, the pressure to give him more minutes will be overwhelming. Again, lottery teams don’t have logjams. They have holes.

…If nothing else, having an aging superstar whose legacy is on the line gives us fans something to be excited about. It’s like a movie, but at matinee pricing.

Charlie Villanueva via Twitter “@TheReal_TMAC It’s official, welcome to Detroit Basketball. Doubters will become believers, all will witness your delivery. Let’s get this!”

Danny at Need4Sheed:

Honestly guys, I can’t find anything positive about this move. …Right now, this roster has even less balance than it had before. Without another move in mind, or agreed to in principle, this move makes absolutely 0 sense. The guy is a talented player, in 2003. Right now, he’s just going to eat minutes from guys who need them to get experience and/or he’s taking up a roster spot from a big man who the team so desperately needs.

Eric at SlamOnline (includes a cool highlight video):

It doesn’t matter what point they are at in their careers, it never seems to work. The trend stays the same: Superstars just can’t play in the Motor City. Bob McAdoo tanked. Allen Iverson quit.

It’s because players are supposed to become stars in the D. Isiah Thomas set the tone. Jerry Stackhouse lit up the League. Chauncey Billups was sculpted into one of the best floor generals of his era.

Here’s the Pistons Eli Zaret on Pistons Insider talking with T-Mac.

Halloween Fun from the Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons kick off the 2008 season TONIGHT (Oct 30) at the Palace vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder. You can get upper level tickets for just $15 and $5 of that goes to breast cancer research at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.

You can also download Detroit Pistons pumpkin stencils of – can you believe how dramatically changed the 2009-2010 Detroit Pistons are?? – Arron Afflalo, Chauncey Billups, Michael Curry, Richard Hamilton, Amir Johnson, Jason Maxiell, Antonio McDyess, Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey, Rasheed Wallace and Hooper. Then carve one and send the photo of it to Pistons.com for their Pistons Pumpkin photo gallery.

Here’s a video from last year’s opener…

Detroit Pistons 2009-2010 Season Preview

Pistons Shoe by Kevin.Ward
Pistons Shoe by Kevin.Ward

The almost completely revamped Detroit Pistons open the 2009-2010 season tomorrow night at Memphis (who will possibly be sporting their brand new Allan Iverson). On the subject of the dramatically changed Pistons including the not-so-dearly departed AI,   Natalie at Need4Sheed (repping the D regardless of where Sheed is now) had a great Detroit Pistons 2009-2010 Season Preview:

Key Losses: Antonio McDyess, Rasheed Wallace, Amir Johnson, Arron Afflalo, Chauncey Billups (does that still count) (I say “YES”), head coach Michael Curry (a good loss) and possibly the best loss in Pistons history, the end of Allen Iverson in red, white and blue.

Key Additions: Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Chris Wilcox, Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers, Jonas Jerebko and Ben Wallace.

“One thing is sure, they may not be slotted to make the ECF like they used to, but this Pistons team is going to be fun to watch.”

Read on, check out another cool 2009-10 Pistons preview from Pistonpowered.com and meet the new guys in a rather offbeat manner in Absolute Michigan’s Offseason Primer.

Party Like It’s 1999 2004?

Alert observers may notice two more names from the Pistons 2004 championship to join Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton on this year’s squad. Pistons.com blogger Keith Langlois has a nice post about Ben Wallace & Chucky Atkins that quotes new Detroit Pistons head coach John Kuester:

“(Fans) couldn’t see all the things he did from a positive standpoint,” Kuester said. “He has been a great role model for our young point guards. He’s really done an outstanding job of running the team in practice. He’s challenged both (Stuckey and Bynum) every day in practice and I’m very impressed with what he did on the court and off the court.

“It’s huge, for me being a first-year coach and having people I can trust in the locker room. That’s where Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince (are important) and I’ve talked about Ben being such a good influence on our bigs. Chucky has to fit into that category also. I’ve been very impressed with what he’s done so far.”

detroit-pistons-twitpicAlong those lines, Matt at Detroit Bad Boys thinks that Chucky Atkins probably made the roster more for what he can do as a role model for Stuckey & Will Bynum than anything else. Over at the Freep they have declared that the Pistons will be a clanking machine if Rodney Stuckey doesn’t step up to become a premier point guard, so here’s hoping that Atkins (and Wallace) can provide a whole lot of veteran leadership (and maybe a few boards a game).

Speaking of the official Pistons web site, they’ve added a new Detroit Pistons Twitpic feature to their Twitter that offers some interesting glimpses behind the scenes.

If you’re looking to get more in front of the scenes, how about opening night at the Palace this Friday vs the Oklahoma City Thunder? They have upper deck seats for just $15 and it’s a benefit for breast cancer research at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.

Keep up with Pistons news & links all season long at absolutemichigan.com/Pistons and we’ll see you out with the first of a three part series “Pistons Recharged” (thanks Detroit Bad Boys for the find and here’s part two and part three)

Detroit Pistons Offseason Primer

Click the picture to see it bigger or get it from Flickr.

I started this 2 weeks ago and it just kept growing. I heard Dumars traded Mason and Hooper to the Lakers for Jack Nicholson’s sunglasses and the “D” from the “HOLLYWOOD” sign.

Below are my brief thoughts and links – please add your own in the comments…

John Kuester for Michael Curry It was obvious that despite being an all-around nice guy, Curry wasn’t ready to be a head coach. I don’t know much about Kuester, but the word is that he had a lot to do with the Cavs offense and he has a reputation as a guy who is great at building contenders (great article – must read). I’m going to believe that it is a solid move to bring in a builder in what will likely be a rebuilding year.

Charlie V and Ben Gordon and Chris Wilcox for Sheed and ‘Dice and Amir and (not pictured) Arron Afflalo and Walter Hermann I cried a little when Rasheed left and even more when McDyess did. Two solid players and great clubhouse presences who will be missed. I never formed an attachment to Afflalo and Hermann – though I did like his energy and regular-guy vibe – and despite his massive upside, Amir Johnson never seemed to have the confidence of the organization.   At the end of the day, the NBA is a young man’s game and the Pistons certainly got younger here. I love Charlie Villanueva (except for the typing his name part and especially the Twitter addictiontwitter.com/cv31) but I worry worry that Ben Gordon is a sign that Rip is on the trading block. Wilcox definitely brings some potential but he seems like a trading chip … unless (perish the thought) Jason Maxiel is.

The end of the Allen Iverson era I’m pretty sure there are choirs of angels singing about this … or at least a special Automotion dance.

The Pistons rookie class The class of ’09 seems to be doing well. Austin Daye will need to bulk up, DaJuan Summers seems to be proving his critics wrong and as the first Swede in the NBA, Jonas Jerebko seems destined for glory.

Thoughts? Comments? Links? Share them below!

Starting at Mayor, Number 21, Dave Bing

Dave Bing, Mayor of Detroit and #21 for the Detroit PistonsYesterday Dave Bing was sworn in as the 62nd mayor of Detroit (here’s the list of Detroit Mayors). Wikipedia’s page on Dave Bing notes that he was a seven-time All-Star for the Detroit Pistons from 1966 to 1975. He was rookie of the year, is in the Basketball Hall of Fame, his number 21 was retired by the Detroit Pistons and in 1996 he was named as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players of all time.

In 1980 Bing founded Bing Steel which eventually became the Bing Group, a supplier of materials and parts to the automotive, appliance and furniture industries. The Bing Group company history on Funding Universe presents a side of Dave Bing that few might know:

During the off-season, Bing worked for National Bank of Detroit, where he moved from teller to branch manager over a seven-year span, and then later participated in the Chrysler dealership training program. These jobs helped him learn the respective trades as well as supplementing the relatively modest wages he earned from basketball in the pre-free agent era.

In 1978, after Bing had finished out his playing career with short stints as a Washington Bullet and Boston Celtic, he began to look for a new job back in Detroit. Rejecting the familiar but no longer inspiring fields of banking and auto sales, he examined an offer from Pistons owner Bill Davidson to work as a public relations representative for Paragon Steel, a company Davidson co-owned. The steel business intrigued Bing, and he convinced Davidson to let him train at Paragon to learn every aspect of it. After working for two years in a wide variety of different departments, he left with plans to found his own company.

I missed Bing and beyond: Why we must hope he’ll be the best mayor ever by Jack Lessenberry, but our own Michitwitter didn’t. Jack’s column is far and away the best thing I’ve read on Bing’s election and the challenges he faces. This Free Press article on Bing also has the video of the swearing in and the Detroit News reports that the new mayor has hit the ground running – already naming key staff and working to lobby GM to remain in Detroit, and that he:

…began his first full day as mayor Tuesday addressing immediate crises and ongoing ones, wooing General Motors Corp. to stay in the Renaissance Center and laying groundwork to revive talks to expand Cobo Center.

Bing said he’d spoken with “one of the top execs” of the company to sell them on Detroit. The mayor did not identify that executive, but on Monday he described GM CEO Fritz Henderson as a “friend.” .

“The response has been, ‘We are in Detroit,’ ” Bing said of his conversation with GM. “What I can say from a leadership standpoint is that Detroit will do everything in its power to make sure they’re competitive so that whatever decisions that will be made by any business, we can retain.

Definitely Bing walks into one of the toughest jobs in America – here’s hoping that he displays the same quiet excellence as a mayor that he did as an NBA player.

Chuck Daly, 1930 – 2009

chuck dalyChuck Daly, who won back-to-back NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons and then went on to coach the Dream Team to the Olympic gold medal in 1992, has died. He was 78.

Daly was voted one of the 10 greatest coaches of the NBA’s first half-century in 1996, two years after being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was the first coach to win both NBA and Olympic titles.

The Detroit News and The Freep both have nice tributes to the legendary coach. Shall we will never forget the incredible years of basketball that coach Daly gave Detroit, the state of Michigan and fans worldwide.

R.I.P. coach….

Remembering Detroit Pistons owner Bill Davidson

The Real Fab Five

The Real Fab Five, photo by Dave Hogg.

For any successful organization or business, you have to have integrity, and you have to make everything as straightforward as you can make it.
~Detroit Pistons owner William Davidson

(via Michigan in Pictures) Sometimes when I don’t know what I’m going to post on Michigan in Pictures, it’s a happy thing. Other days, like today, it’s not.

Last night we lost a man who has done as much as anyone to bring athletic excellence to the Palace and the state of Michigan. On his photo from December of 2005, Dave wrote “These five guys have brought a lot of joy to the Motor City in the last 18 months.” I think that Detroit Pistons owner William “Bill” Davidson certainly merits consideration as a sixth man.

bill-davidson-detroit-pistons1William Morse Davidson was born on December 5, 1922 in Detroit. He played football in the Navy during World War II and was a member of the track-and-field team at the University of Michigan, where he majored in business, following it up with a law degree from Wayne State in 1949. He eventually transformed the family business, the Guardian Glass Co., into Guardian Industries, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of architectural and automotive glass.

From William Davidson’s Wikipedia entry, I learned that Davidson was only the second owner the Pistons have ever had and that his name is on the Palace floor along with Piston legends who all played during his tenure: Dave Bing, Bob Lanier, Bill Laimbeer, Vinnie Johnson, Chuck Daly, Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas. The Detroit Pistons web site tells the story of his involvement with the Pistons and the WNBA’s Detroit Shock:

Mr. Davidson owned the Pistons since 1974 and won three NBA Championships (1989, 1990, 2004), three WNBA Championships (2004, 2006, 2008) and one NHL Championship (2004). He became the first owner in sports history to win championships in three different professional sports leagues during the 2003-04 calendar year (NBA – Detroit Pistons, NHL – Tampa Bay Lightning and WNBA – Detroit Shock). In September 2008, Davidson’s contributions to the game of basketball were honored when he was officially enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. (view his induction speech)

In 1988-89, the Pistons began play in The Palace of Auburn Hills, a state-of-the-art arena built with Davidson’s financial support: a privately-financed facility, which when combined with the Pistons, formed the foundation of his entertainment business.

…The Pistons have played in the postseason in 19 of the past 25 years, including 11 of the past 13 seasons. Davidson acquired the Detroit Pistons in 1974 from the late Fred Zollner, the man who founded the team in Fort Wayne, Indiana in the 1940s. With a franchise-record seven straight seasons of recording 50 or more wins, the Pistons have won 384 regular season games (.669 wining percentage) since 2001, including a franchise-record 63 wins in 2005-06. The club has compiled 73 playoff wins in that same span and made six consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. Detroit has won six Central Division titles in the last seven seasons and nine overall since 1987-88. Only the San Antonio Spurs have won more division titles in the same 20-year span.

The Detroit Shock joined the Washington Mystics as the first two expansion teams in the WNBA in 1998 and the team was an immediate success in the upstart league. The Shock have won three championships since their inception (2004, 2006, 2008) and set a WNBA attendance record (22,076) in Game 3 of the 2004 WNBA Finals while also becoming the first team since 1890 to go from the worst team in a professional sports league to the best team.

The Detroit Free Press has a nice article on Bill Davidson that tells more of how Davidson presided over the transformation of a team that was “basically a laughingstock” into one that has won 3 championships and appeared in the post-season far more often than not. You probably will be happiest, however, with Mitch Albom’s September 2008 interview with Bill Davidson. They also have a nice photo gallery as does the Detroit News (the second photo in the gallery is great!)

Be sure to check the above photo out bigger and see more great work from Dave in his Your Favorites slideshow.

More links as they roll in… (and please add ones you find in the comments!)