CV31 has the Powerrrrr! PistonsNationBlog.com "Ok so here’s the thing; I got a little gitty when Villy Tweeted earlier today that he’s going to announce the winner of his “Hairless Wonder” photoshop contest on national television (ESPN?)." PistonsNationBlog.com » Blog Archive » CV31 has the Powerrrrr! Watch List Keth Langlois - True Blue Pistons "1. How Hamilton and Gordon mesh – The Pistons now have two bona fide 20-point scorers in the lineup, Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon. They happen to play the same position, shooting guard, and Gordon is likely to be coming off the bench. As Pistons fans learned in gory detail last season, not all natural-born scorers feel comfortable in that role. Gordon could care less, as long as he gets enough minutes and scoring chances at some point. It’s not much of a stretch to think Hamilton-Gordon will be a more fruitful marriage than Hamilton-Iverson. It will be up to John Kuester – and also to Hamilton and Gordon, and also to their teammates – to make sure it’s a union that maximizes their potential all the way around. 2. Those other guards, too – If the Pistons had stood pat in their backcourt – hanging on to Arron Afflalo and having him back up Hamilton, with Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum sharing the point – most people still would have said the strength of the team was its guard corps. Now, that’s overwhelmingly the case. It might be a little tricky managing their minutes well enough to keep them all sharp and find ways to exploit their individual strengths. But it can work. Hamilton figures to spend about 10 minutes a game at small forward and another 12 to 14 minutes on the bench. That’s 22 to 24 minutes open at shooting guard. You have to pencil Gordon in for all of them and look for ways to get him other minutes, too, playing alongside Hamilton. That would leave less than 48 minutes a game to split between Stuckey and Bynum – unless they give Tayshaun Prince regular minutes at power forward and stretch Hamilton’s minutes at small forward. And I wouldn’t rule that out as long as Stuckey and Bynum prove they deserve more than a split of 48 minutes minus whatever time Gordon spends at the point. 3. About Stuckey – Is he the care-free kid who gave Boston great trouble in the 2008 Eastern Conference finals as a rookie and dropped 40 on Chicago just before Christmas last season? Or the paralyzed-by-confusion starter of last February and points beyond prone to mistakes? Stuckey had to keep a lot of balls in the air last season, caught in the vortex created by the polar-opposite force fields Hamilton and Iverson radiated. One of Kuester’s biggest challenges will be to convey to Stuckey a blueprint for how to run his offense and take charge of the team as a point guard should, in much the way Larry Brown – Kuester’s mentor in the first phase of his NBA career – molded the Chauncey Billups who came of age as a Piston. It’s fair to wonder where Stuckey’s ceiling is after last season, but the Pistons certainly know his floor is a lot higher than what they saw from him in the dog days of his second season. 4. The frontcourt puzzle – The Pistons got a little spoiled over the years with first Ben Wallace, then Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess – big men who could defend the post and bounce outside to harass perimeter-shooting power forwards with equal effectiveness. The latter two were nearly as versatile offensively as defensively. There won’t be a complete-package big man on next season’s roster, necessarily, but enough options in combinations for Kuester to always be able to field a tandem that can give him scoring, rebounding and defense as needed. My hunch is that Charlie Villanueva winds up with the most defined role because he’s the best scorer of the bunch, capable of getting points inside and out, and his rebounding numbers per minute have always been more than solid. Kwame Brown gives them the biggest body plus sturdy rebounding and defense. Jason Maxiell can score in the paint, block shots and remains a monster offensive rebounder. The guy who fascinates me is Chris Wilcox. In a winning and stable environment for the first time in his career, I think it’s conceivable the former lottery pick gives the Pistons 12 points and seven or eight rebounds in 24 to 30 minutes and winds up looking like a steal. And if Wilcox does that, then the frontcourt will hold its own and give the firepower-laden perimeter ample chances to win games. 5. And the rookies – It’s prudent to make whatever projections you care to make about the 2009-10 Pistons without regard for Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers or Jonas Jerebko. But if even one of them forces his way into a rotation already deep with young veterans – and they all showed flashes in NBA Summer League of having that one skill that could allow them to do so – then be prepared to alter your projections. Daye’s perimeter shooting, Summers’ apparent readiness for the NBA’s level of physicality and Jerebko’s energy and athleticism are wild cards. Even if they’re not ready to crack the rotation by November, their considerable growth potential means the Pistons could be a much different team by the time April and the postseason arrive. They’ll be eager to prove their merits – and establish a pecking order among themselves, by extension – when training camp opens in less than eight weeks." PISTONS: Watch List Delayed Delivery Keith Langlois - True Blue Pistons "The Pistons liked what they saw from Trent Plaisted in the 2008 Las Vegas Summer League after making him the 46th overall pick of the draft a few weeks earlier. They never intended for him to crack the 2008-09 Pistons roster, encouraging him to sign with a European team to hone his game, particularly at the offensive end, and come back with a shot at sticking a year later. But his season with Angelico Biela of the Italian league, whose roster also included 2009 second-rounder Jonas Jerebko of Sweden, was cut short just two games into the regular season when Plaisted’s lower-back pain became too much to endure. He returned to the United States for treatment, ultimately undergoing surgery for a herniated disc in the lumbar region just before Christmas, and wasn’t cleared to return to full basketball workouts until the spring. By then, it was too late to return to Europe. Plaisted’s first year was pretty much a washout, meaning he’ll again be playing in Italy, this season with Reggio Emilia of Bologna. So except for pickup games, last month’s Las Vegas Summer League play with the Pistons was the first five-on-five basketball Plaisted had experienced in more than eight months. “The tough thing for him this summer was the fact he missed all last season, so it’s probably not the best or most fair evaluation to have of him right now,” Pistons vice president Scott Perry said after the 6-foot-11, 245-pound Plaisted averaged 3.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in less than 12 minutes per game over the five-game Las Vegas schedule. “Quite frankly, he was a little rusty. When you miss five-on-five competitive basketball for as long as he did, it’s tough to get your timing back.” PISTONS: Delayed Delivery Is The Power Shifting To The Eastern Conference? Sean Bafaro - AllDayNBA.com "The Eastern Conference has begun to pick it up over the past two seasons and last season was the first time this decade that the collective winning percentage of the playoff teams in the Eastern Conference was above 60%. Three of the top 4 teams in the NBA were apart of the Eastern Conference last season in the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers. The biggest knock on the East this past season was that aside from these three team, they had little to no depth in the rest of the conference, but with some of the moves that have been made during this offseason, I don’t know if that is the case anymore." "The Detroit Pistons are another team that is worth mentioning as they had a fairly busy offseason by signing Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Chris Wilcox. Although I am not a huge fan of the moves that the Pistons made, with a lineup of Stuckey/Hamilton/Prince/Villanueva/Wilcox with Ben Gordon off of the bench just may prove me wrong." AllDayNBA.com Basketball Blog » Is The Power Shifting To The Eastern Conference?