Detroit Pistons in a bit of a holding pattern this off-season

greg monroe pistons

The one time Eastern Conference power Detroit Pistons missed out on the post-season for a third straight season.  Coincidentally enough, that streak started when general manager Joe Dumars wasted his abundant cap space by overpaying Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to long-term deals.  The franchise is still in recovery mode from those signings and doesn’t figure to make any major moves this off-season.

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Applying the Allan Houston Rule to NBA Central Division Teams in 2011

allan houston knicks

One of the topics expected to be discussed during the pending NBA Lockout is the possible revival of The Allan Houston Rule.  When a new CBA was agreed upon in 2005, it allowed NBA teams a one time opportunity to waive a player and not have his contract count against the luxury tax teams have to pay if their team salary exceeds a pre-determined amount set by the league.  The released player becomes a free agent but his salary still gets paid and counts against his former team’s salary cap.  Ironically enough, Allan Houston was not a victim of The Allan Houston Rule.  The Knicks instead decided to waive Jerome Williams.

If the new CBA once again invokes this clause, most teams will probably take advantage since it would save them possibly tens of millions of dollars.  To keep up with the times, we will change the name of this from “The Allan Houston Rule” to the “Rashard Arenas Rule” since Rashard Lewis and Gilbert Arenas easily have the two worst contracts in the league.  Allow me to break down each team and who would end up being the casualties of this rule.  Here is the Central Division.

By: David Kay

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Detroit Pistons Need Off-Season Therapy

Like we are currently seeing in the NFL, the 2011 NBA off-season is up in the air with a lockout looming.  Free agency could be delayed and completely restructured depending on the new agreement reached by the owners and players.  Still, The Sports Bank continues to break down all thirty NBA teams to see what areas they need to address in the off-season.

As if their record was not awful enough, the Detroit Pistons 2010-2011 season was filled with more drama than a Real World episode.  Led by Richard Hamilton, several players  staged a walkout on first year head coach John Kuester.  Now, the Joe Dumars and the Pistons enter a critical off-season without a whole lot of cap flexibility.

By: David Kay

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NBA Trade Machine Challenge: Blow Up Pistons’ Roster

rip hamilton tayshaun prince

The Sports Guy refers to himself as the Picasso of ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine.  Well if he is Picasso then The Sports Bank’s Peter Christian and David Kay are the da Vinci and van Gogh of the trade machine (though neither would cut their own ear off while working on a trade… or at least I don’t think.)

In this new feature, Peter and David will play the role of NBA general manager since they are likely more intelligent than half of the GM’s out there.  One will propose a challenge to the other to make a trade happen with certain requirements and the other will accept the mission like he were Tom Cruise and explain why all parties involved would pull the trigger on the deal.
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Detroit Pistons Heading in the Wrong Direction

Ben Gordon Pistons

The Pistons come in as the 25th ranked team in David Kay’s NBA season previews.  Injuries killed Detroit last season and they have already suffered a major loss when second year forward Jonas Jerebko tore his Achilles in the Pistons first pre-season game Tuesday night which will reportedly sideline him for three-five months.  It figures to be the beginning of what should be another long season in the Motor City.
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Pistons Must Correct Mistakes of Last Off-Season

ben gordon

By: David Kay

’09-’10 Season in Review:
When Joe Dumars made the first splash in free agency last summer by throwing $90 million at Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, I called it a massive mistake.  And well, I was right.  The revamped Pistons finished with their worst record since the 1993-94 season and failed to make the post-season for the first time in nine years.  They completely lost the once proud identity of their team as a physical, hard-nosed, defense-oriented squad.  In the process Dumars made himself out to be an even dumber general manager than the times he drafted Darko second overall and traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson.

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NBA Power Rankings: #20 Detroit Pistons


By David Kay and Paul M. Banks

2008-09 Season Summary:
In Detroit, both the automotive industry and the professional basketball team headquartered there are in need of aggressive rebuilding options. Both have also seen better days. Despite trading Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess (who was waived and later re-signed) for superstar Allen Iverson, the Pistons regressed during the regular season, partly due to the controversial moves of first year head coach Michael Curry. The former players union representative made questionable choices that disrupted team chemistry, including playing Iverson and Richard Hamilton as sixth men. ‘08-‘09 was the first time since the 2000-01 season that the Pistons failed to reach 50 wins and finished with a losing mark. Detroit also saw their sellout streak at The Palace of Auburn Hills end on February 4. The streak began on January 19, 2004, the year the Pistons won their third NBA title, and was the franchise’s longest sellout streak at 259.

Still, the Pistons were able to earn the eight seed in the Eastern Conference, but were quickly swept out of the first round of the Playoffs by LeBron’s Cavs. It was the first time the Pistons have been eliminated in round one since 2000. In the previous season, Detroit advanced to the NBA Conference Finals for the sixth straight time, where they lost to the NBA Champion Boston Celtics. Today however, the window seems to be closed on the Pistons’ tremendous run this decade.

Depth Chart:
C: Kwame Brown/Chris Wilcox/Ben Wallace
PF: Charlie Villanueva/Jason Maxiell/Jonas Jerebko
SF: Tayshaun Prince/Austin Daye/DaJuan Summers/Deron Washington
SG: Richard Hamilton or Ben Gordon
PG: Rodney Stuckey/Will Bynum

Head Coach: John Kuester (1st year)

2009-2010 Team Salary:
$61.3 million
Projected 2010-2011 Team Salary: approximately $53.0 million

Off-Season Grade: Failed

The Pistons entered the off-season with a ton of cap space.  Unfortunately for Detroit fans, they wasted that flexibility by signing two streaky, offensive-minded players to long-term deals totaling $93 million.  Ish.

hamilton_300_070104Ben Gordon got five years, $58 million and Charlie Villanueva a 5 years, $35 million deal.  The Pistons put their future in the hands of two players who have yet to show they can carry a franchise.  What makes the Gordon signing even more strange is that Detroit already has Richard Hamilton locked up for the next four years at almost $50 million.  That’s $108 million spent on two shooting guards who really don’t have the ability to play another position.  Unless Hamilton is dealt during the season, that’s not a wise investment in my opinion.

One of the major holes this off-season was up-front for the Pistons who faced losing Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess to free agency.  While Villanueva plays power forward, he is far from an intimidating post presence or physical on the boards and spends most his minutes out on the perimeter.  Detroit addressed their need for some toughness inside by bringing back Ben Wallace even though he was washed up two years ago.  Chris Wilcox was signed at a reasonable price and will likely see a good amount of playing time off the bench.

I am far from in love with the selection of Austin Daye at number fifteen.  Daye is a skilled big man with plenty of potential but is soft and rail thin and couldn’t even establish himself on a consistent basis at Gonzaga.  Don’t be surprised if second round pick DaJuan Summers sees more minutes than Daye this season.

2009-2010 Outlook:

Remember, just two years ago Detroit had the best record in the East and was a year-in, year-out contender for the NBA title.  The new look Pistons are going through a reformation of sorts and will not be the defensive-minded team that they have been for the majority of this decade.  Gordon and Villanueva will bring some offensive fire power alongside veterans Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, but there are big question marks on the rest of the roster.

Detroit enters camp with Kwame Brown slated as the starting center which is never an encouraging sign.  It will interesting to see if someone steps up and becomes the low post threat the Pistons need to replace the likes of ‘Sheed and McDyess.

The point guard play will also be worth watching.  Rodney Stuckey is more of a combo guard than a true one and will have to carry more of the ball-handling and play-making responsibilities with Allen Iverson gone.  If he doesn’t firmly establish himself in that role, Detroit might have to look for a true point guard at some point during the season.

Looking Ahead to the Summer of 2010:
Detroit destroyed any cap flexibility they will have for next summer by throwing all that money at Gordon and Charlie V.  Brown will be a free agent and barring a breakout season will likely end up elsewhere meaning the Pistons will need to find an answer at center.  I still maintain that Hamilton needs to be traded at some point, so if it doesn’t happen during the season, I would think Joe Dumars would explore that option during the off-season.