Common Bond Keith Langlois - True Blue Pistons "Ray Giacoletti recruited Rodney Stuckey to Eastern Washington, but never got to coach him, having parlayed his success at Eastern into the head coaching job at Utah by the time Stuckey – the most heralded recruit in school history – was ready to suit up. It was during Giacoletti’s tenure in Provo that Gonzaga’s Mark Few was busy pounding the pavement in the recruitment of Austin Daye. And by the time Giacoletti joined Few’s staff in Spokane, Daye was freshly arrived – as the most decorated recruit in Bulldogs history. So Giacoletti is about as good as it gets as a source for two players Joe Dumars believes are at the heart of the new nucleus he’s put in place during a summer that’s seen him add eight players to the Pistons’ roster. Two players whose paths are about to cross have more than just Ray Giacoletti in common. Stuckey and Daye played college basketball at campuses less than 20 miles apart, both were selected No. 15 in NBA drafts two years removed, both played two years of college basketball and both, most relevantly, are Detroit Pistons. And Giacoletti adds this to their growing list of common traits: He calls each “a sweetheart of a kid,” which won’t necessarily translate to NBA titles but should at least lessen the possibility of repeating the rancorous atmosphere that caused Joe D to call last season the most trying of his nine-year tenure in terms of off-court distractions that demanded his intervention – the sort of stuff that can erode chemistry and throw down huge roadblocks to winning." PISTONS: Common Bond Pistons Mailbag Keith Langlois - True Blue Pistons "Yasir (Farmington Hills, Mich.): Do you think Ben Gordon will have the best chance at Sixth Man of the Year this season? And do you think one of the Pistons could be the Most Improved Player, perhaps Rodney Stuckey or Chris Wilcox? Langlois: Too soon to start making guesses about MIP, Yasir, but Gordon has to be considered a strong contender at this point for Sixth Man. Jason Terry in Dallas and Manu Ginobili in San Antonio, assuming he’s healthy, are the two others that come immediately to mind. I’ve advocated in the past that there should be a minutes limit for Sixth Man consideration because I don’t think any of those players are truly bench players. If you’re always on the floor at the end of games, then you’re a sixth man by the letter of the law but not the spirit of it. Vinnie Johnson was a sixth man for the Pistons – he was sitting behind two Hall of Fame guards. But the role the Pistons have envisioned for Gordon is fundamentally different. Vinnie would finish games if he was sizzling, as he frequently was, but more often than not it would be Isiah and Joe D. Gordon will be finishing games, I suspect, even on nights he’s less than torrid simply because he’s no worse than the Pistons’ second most reliable scorer. Johnny (Sterling Heights, Mich.): In a recent article on NBA.com, the power rankings listed the Pistons at No. 17. Among the teams ahead of them were Phoenix, Chicago, Toronto, Houston and New Orleans. I seriously can’t agree with these rankings. None of these teams, other than Toronto, has added anything worthwhile and I’m not even sold on the fact that Turkoglu will win them 15 to 20 more games. The Pistons are better, I feel. Langlois: There’s a group of elite teams – I count the Lakers, Orlando, San Antonio, Boston and Cleveland at the top – and another group of bottom feeders, Johnny, and there’s at least half the league, meaning 15 or more teams, that could swing from 10 games over .500 to 10 under depending on injuries and how their pieces come together. The Pistons are in that large middle class right now, but I like their chances of hitting the upper range better than most because I see significant growth potential in a number of their players and a real chance that they gather steam as the season unfolds. By the way, I too am a little mystified that people seem to be taking Toronto so seriously. Yeah, adding Turkoglu is nice, but does he represent a huge upgrade over Shawn Marion? It seems to me that people are assuming major contributions from players like DeMar DeRozan and Antoine Wright on a team that still looks weak on the wings to me. And if Andrea Bargnani doesn’t emerge as a more consistent player, I don’t see the Raptors challenging for a playoff spot. Calvin (Frostburg, Md.): I was wondering if Joe Dumars would be able to give Tayshaun Prince a contract extension before 2011 like the one he gave to Rip last fall? Langlois: The short answer is yes. There are different rules in place governing extensions – depending on when the original contract was signed and the term of the deal – but Prince signed a five-year extension to his rookie contract before the 2005-06 season that went into effect for the 2006-07 season and expires after the 2010-11 season. He and the Pistons were allowed to negotiate an extension three years following the signing of the contract. There’s no urgency to do anything at this point, Calvin, especially given the uncertainty of the marketplace with regard to the salary cap." PISTONS: Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, August 20, 2009 Acker Wants to Go Back to Europe Slam "Former the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Clippers guard Alex Acker is looking for a new team in Europe. After an unsuccessful year in NBA, Acker wants to go back to Europe. According to Greek media, the 6-2, 225-pound point guard is close to reaching an agreement with the Italian club Milano Armani Jeans. Acker, 26 year-old-guard, averaged 2.9 points per game last season with the Pistons and the Clippers." SLAM ONLINE | » Acker Wants to Go Back to Europe Good-bye, Big Ben; hello, Ben Wallace LZ Granderson - ESPN "I have to keep reminding myself, this is a business. No matter how attached I may become to a team, regardless of my emotional investment in a rivalry, and despite the invisible bond with a particular player, at the end of the day the world of professional sports is a business, and thus the primary goal is to make money. With that said, I must reach deep within my soul and find a way to re-embrace Ben Wallace. I know it's been a week now since he signed a one-year deal with the Pistons, and I've been trying to get over it, but it's hard. Three years ago he turned his back on Detroit. And only now, after he was rejected by Chicago, Cleveland and finally Phoenix does the prodigal son come home, beaten, battered and about $60 million richer. "We feel like there are intangibles that he can bring that can really help this new group of Pistons," Pistons president Joe Dumars said. "We're happy." I want to get there. Happy, that is. But first I have to finish mourning. No mo' 'fro. The bell tone has been silenced. Big Ben is officially dead. The guy spelling Kwame Brown, of all people, is going to be Ben Wallace … and, well, a boa constrictor would have a hard time swallowing that pill. It just wasn't supposed to be this way. Of all the players to suit up for Detroit this decade, Wallace was the one who epitomized the heart of the city the most. When he arrived in Detroit he was pretty much a nobody in the league: an unheralded basketball player who started off at a junior college, played D-II ball, wasn't drafted, spent time overseas and was considered expendable by a pair of NBA bottom-feeders before Dumars plucked him from the rubble. For a city that has long served as punch-line fodder for comedians, we all knew what it meant to come up the rough side of the mountain. But the mantra in the D is "We do come up," and we helped elevate Wallace into a perennial All-NBA center We helped make Big Ben. The way Yankees fans helped make Donnie Baseball. The way Packers fans helped make you-know-who. I understand tough decisions need to be made, and that athletes might be celebrated like gods but are only human and thus prone to the same temptations as anyone else. Alex Rodriguez wasn't supposed to have taken anything. Marion Jones should have run a clean race. Brett Favre could have been a Packer for life. It seems that every day, human frailty in the sports world reminds us there is no Santa Claus, and while intellectually that is stating the obvious, it does little in terms of easing the sting of disappointment. Especially when the letdown is over money, and it seems like pro athletes already have plenty. Certain likable athletes, such as Shaquille O'Neal, I can accept being a gun for hire. Others, like Wallace … well, I just thought he was one of us. But I have to remember this is a business. And Wallace, like most professional athletes, is really one of him. That's not an indictment of Wallace as much as it is a thorny reminder that you shouldn't put your faith in people you don't know. Ben Wallace arrived in Detroit in 2000. Big Ben left in 2006. And both those cats are strangers to me. So by training camp, I'm sure I'll get over myself and learn to cheer Wallace again. He brings a lot of heart and experience to a team that, thanks to a busy offseason, is in need of both. Will he be the force he once was? Of course not. Can he help? Sure. Will he play his way back into our hearts? Probably not. But then again, he really had no business being there in the first place." Good-bye, Big Ben; hello, Ben Wallace - ESPN Deeetrooittt Basketball–History of the Pistons Scotland Legends.com "In the last couple of decades, the Detroit Pistons have become a real town favorite, like the Pistons and the Tigers. They have a reputation of being one of the toughest teams in the NBA, hence the nickname, “The Bad Boys.” With their home in The Palace, the Pistons are within a luxury sedan ride away from most places in the Detroit suburbs. In The 1950s. Pistons founder Fred Zollner moved the franchise from Ft. Wayne, IN to Detroit in 1957 in order to financially compete with teams from bigger cities like Philadelphia, Boston, and New York. The club came to Detroit on the strength of two consecutive division titles and one year removed from two consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. The team finished the decade with a record of 91-128, making the postseason all three seasons, but advancing to the second round only during the 1957-58 season, where they lost in the second round. The emergence of rookie Bailey Howell, mixed with All-Stars Gene Shue, Walter Dukes, and Chuck Noble gave the Pistons hope for the future as the 1950’s came to a close. In The 1960s. Selecting Dave DeBusschere, a native Detroiter and University of Detroit graduate, in 1962 and Dave Bing from Syracuse in 1966 were moments that infused excitement into an otherwise unsuccessful decade, one in which the team posted a 314-494 mark. DeBusschere was an All-Star forward and spent three years as the Pistons’ player-coach, making him the youngest coach in the history of the league at age 24. Bing burst on the scene in 1966, averaging 20 points, four rebounds, and four assists per game, en route to the Rookie of the Year Award. These legendary Pistons could not change the team’s lack of success in the post season. The Pistons made the playoffs following the 1961, 1962, 1963, and 1968 seasons, but again could not advance past the second round. The hiring of two-time NBA Champion head coach Butch van Breda Kolff and the selection of All-American Bob “The Dobber” Lanier brought the club great promise for the future. In The 1970s. The 1970’s featured Detroit’s first 50 win season (52-30 in 1973-74) and its worst season (16-60 in 1979-80). The team saw eight coaches, including former players Terry Dischinger, Earl Lloyd, and Ray Scott. Ownership changed in 1974, when Fred Zollner sold the franchise to Detroit native and Guardian Industries owner William Davidson. The 1970’s revolved around two of the best players in franchise history. The two combined for two Rookie of the Year Awards, two All-NBA Team selections, and two All-Star MVP awards in a combined 11 All-Star appearances. A reVITALE-ization came in 1978, when the club moved its home from Cobo Hall to the Pontiac Silverdome. The team hired former University of Detroit head coach Dick Vitale. In The 1980s. Over the course of nine months, Pistons GM “Trader” Jack McCloskey would change the future of the franchise. In 1981 he drafted Isiah Thomas and Kelly Tripucka and signed Bill Laimbeer and Vinnie Johnson. Chuck Daly was named head coach and players like Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Adrian Dantley, Mark Aguirre, John Salley, Rick Mahorn, and James Edwards were added. The 1980’s were trademarked with a tough, physical style of basketball, which would lead to the nickname, “the Bad Boys.” The team became hated throughout the NBA, but no place more than Chicago and Boston, the Pistons main rivals in their quest to win an NBA Championship. The Pistons made the postseason from 1983-1990. Every series was a tough battle, with the Pistons going to at least six games in six different series, ultimately winning back-to-back NBA Championships in 1989 and 1990. In The 1990s As high as the Pistons had been during the 1980’s, the tide turned just as low in the 1990s. In 1991, head coach Chuck Daly and GM Jack McCloskey resigned and James Edwards, Scott Hastings, and Vinnie Johnson were traded. Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer retired in 1993, officially ending the reign of the Bad Boys. The future seemed bright after drafting Allan Houston, Lindsey Hunter, and Grant Hill in 1993 and 1994. The three youngsters teamed with head coach Doug Collins to win 100 games during the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons. At the end of the 1998 season, Joe Dumars retired from playing and moved into the front office, and was promoted to president of basketball operations after the 1999-2000 season. A serious injury to Grant Hill’s left ankle not only ended the Pistons’ 2000 playoff run, but would also end his career with the team. 2000 to 2005. Joe Dumars wanted a tough, hardworking, relentless team focused on team success. He acquired Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins from Orlando in a sign-and-trade for Grant Hill, and during the 2000-2001 season, he made 21 roster moves, including hiring Rick Carlisle as head coach. Over the next two years, the club added Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince. The Pistons won 100 games, two Central Division crowns, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2003. In 2003, Dumars replaced Carlisle with Larry Brown. The team cruised to a 54-win season, and added Rasheed Wallace in a trade deadline move. Despite a world full of doubters, the team believed in one another, and defeated the heavily favored Lakers for the NBA title. In 2005, the Pistons were 12 minutes away from “back-to-back” championships, but eventually fell to the Spurs 81-74 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals." Deeetrooittt Basketball–History of the Pistons | Scotland Legends - History/Facts & Information On Scotlands Legends Iverson: Why? Why Not? Chris Alvino - The Knicks Blog "Fourth, do not look at his time with Detroit as a tell all. Chauncey Billups was the engine that made that entire Piston team run. The Pistons were a team in the purest sense of the word. They had a set style and a set way of playing the game. Iverson was brought in to replace Billups as the point guard. He was brought in to replace Billups as the engine. The problem was that Iverson was a different type of player than Billups. Iverson is a shooting guard. As Rice Balls said last night on TKBRadio, had Iverson been dealt for Richard Hamilton and not Billups, would that Pistons team have faced the same problems? I’m not so sure that Iverson in Detroit would have been such a disaster. The Knicks would bring Iverson to play his natural role at SG." The Knicks Blog » Iverson: Why? Why Not?