Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pistons Up And Down In Preseason Play

by Steve St-Pierre
Pistons Sports Writer
In Play Magazine
From the Current issue...

The Pistons have a brand new coach, four rookies, several new veterans, a faster style of play, and it has shown throughout the 2009 NBA Preseason.

Detroit made plenty of noise this summer by signing four key free agents in Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Chris Wilcox and Ben Wallace. Gordon has looked like his old self, coming off the bench and scoring in bunches, but Villanueva and Wilcox have hardly played, whether due to injury or simply for match-up purposes. Wallace, on the other hand, has been a pleasant surprise after being named the current starting power forward.

“(Wallace has) been outstanding all preseason…” says John Kuester, Pistons Head Coach. “…The guy’s still got juice. I keep telling people…he’s a leader. He’s somebody that I trust, that I know is going to be able to tell me when I’m right, when I’m wrong, and his energy is contagious for our team.”

Joining Wallace in the starting lineup has been veterans Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey and Kwame Brown, who was expecting to compete with Wallace and Wilcox for the starting center spot. Villanueva is anticipating coming off the bench until he proves he’s completely healthy and capable of contributing consistently on the defensive end. The other starters have all played well in limited minutes as the coaching staff has been preserving them while giving younger players a chance to earn extended run.

           CLICK ON COVER!

Wallace, Villanueva Start In Frontcourt

The Pistons coasted to an impressive win last night in Memphis against the Grizzlies. Detroit boasted a starting lineup that consisted of Charlie Villanueva and Ben Wallace alongside one another at power forward and center, respectively. It's a move that could pay major dividends early in this NBA regular season.

Villanueva struggled early, picking up two quick fouls in the first quarter before sitting out the remainder of the second half. Wallace appears to be in full-health and capable of providing a major presence defensively, much the way he did when he was a superstar defender during his initial tenure as a Piston.

We'll see if the Pistons can keep it up. Their next game is the home opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder Fri. night.

Click on cover!

Steve St-Pierre
Sports Writer
In Play! Magazine

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pistons Release Washington

The Pistons have announced that they have requested waivers on rookie swingman Deron Washington. He averaged 3.3 points, 0.6 rebounds and 6.4 minutes in seven preseason games.

The move comes as a surprise. Washington had a guaranteed contract for the upcoming season, while veteran guard Chucky Atkins still has a non-guaranteed deal. It remains to be seen whether or not Joe Dumars, Pistons President, will pursue a veteran free agent to fill the vacant spot.

Click on cover!

Steve St-Pierre
Sports Writer
In Play! Magazine

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pistons Waive Baston

Joe Dumars, Pistons President, announced today that the club has requested waivers on forward Maceo Baston. The Pistons roster is now at 15, though Chucky Atkins' contract is not yet guaranteed.



Monday, October 19, 2009

Detroit Shock, WNBA. Season of Whither

Editorial Viewpoint
Jack Rosenberg

Being a publisher of Detroit's only sports magazine I can tell you it was very hard to come up with good and interesting editorial each month concerning the Shock and the WNBA.

In my opinion the biggest problem with the WNBA is the season.
It's during the summer when people are out on their boats, on vacation, on the golf course or gone camping.
That to me, is the biggest mistake!

Change the season so I coincides with the NBA, play around the NBA schedule when its cold out and people are more inclined to go to an indoor sporting event.
Not the middle of summer!

Next, play the games at a college campus arena instead of 22k seat venues, the economics are way out of whack. You're forcing a square peg in a round hole.

Finally, to be brutally honest, the WNBA was a hard sell here in Detroit because we are a heavy duty sports city and the WNBA just didn't cut it.

Maybe the game needs some rule changes; lower the net or make the court smaller. Woman basketball players are (on average) nine inches shorter than the average NBA player, so it only makes sense that the rim should be nine inches lower. This is not an insult to women, it's just a simple fact.

I'm not sure what the answer is to increase the intensity of the game and spark an interest.

But, it's not our problem anymore to worry about...


Shock Moving To Tulsa

The Detroit Shock has been sold to a group of investors based in Tulsa, Okla. The team will play at the BOK Center, a brand new downtown arena that holds about 18,000.

The investors, called Tulsa Pro Hoops LLC, have already hired Nolan Richardson, former mens' collegiate head coach at Arkansas and Tulsa, to serve as the new WNBA team's head coach and general manager. The group reportedly had also been targeting the Indiana Fever and Atlanta Dream as backup plans to the Shock.

The Shock finished dead-last in the WNBA in 2002 with a record of 9-23, hiring former Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer as its new head coach midway through the season. Laimbeer's hiring proved to be a tremendous transaction as the Shock won WNBA Championships in 2003, 2006 and 2008.

Steve St-Pierre
Sports Writer
In Play! Magazine

Friday, October 16, 2009

Villanueva To Play Tomorrow

Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva will make his preseason debut with the team tomorrow in Memphis. He'll likely come off the bench in favor of Ben Wallace, who has been starting at power forward during exhibition season but was given the night off during last night's loss in Dallas. Detroit also hopes to have starting small forward Tayshaun Prince back in the lineup as he recovers from a foot injury.

They know they can score points, but the Pistons need to prove they can play consistent team defense. It will be vital for Villanueva to prove he can defend at both forward spots if he plans on eventually starting for this team.

Steve St-Pierre
Sports Writer
In Play! Magazine

Monday, October 12, 2009

Villanueva Awaiting Pistons Debut

The Pistons are 3-0 in this exhibition season, and they've done it without power forward Charlie Villanueva.

Villanueva, who has an injured hamstring, has yet to even dress for one of Detroit's preseason games. He's a key free-agent addition and has been expected to start this season in the team's frontcourt.

In his absence, the Pistons have used Ben Wallace at power forward with Kwame Brown playing center. It's a combination that has offered little production offensively but a major staple on the defensive end. Despite his age, Wallace is proving his value as a savvy defender capable of guarding not only post players but perimeter players as well. Brown - at 6'11", 270 pounds - offers a big body around the rim who has contributed at both ends of the floor.

It's to the point now that head coach John Kuester is actually considering starting Brown and Wallace together during the regular season. Ideally, the Pistons would like to get Villanueva healthy enough to gauge how valuable he can be as a defender. However, if he's not able to play in the next couple of preseason games, he might not have enough time to convince the team he deserves to start over Wallace or Brown.

Steve St-Pierre
Sports Writer
In Play! Magazine

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pistons News & Notes 10/9

It's been an entertaining first two preseason games for the Pistons. Kwame Brown looks to have solidified the starting center spot, the team's guards are developing a great amount of chemistry and Detroit's rookies have displayed an impressive amount of toughness.

Brown has started both games in the middle alongside Ben Wallace, who has been starting at power forward for the injured Charlie Villanueva. It's possible Wallace could move to center with Villanueva taking Brown's starting spot, but that's highly unlikely given that Detroit wants to see more of their other, younger bigs before Wallace at this point in his career.

Rip Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey have played well together as Detroit's starting guards, and Ben Gordon looks like he'll be one of the best reserves in the league this year. It comes as a shock to say that despite these facts, reserve guard Will Bynum has been the team's best player in training camp. He looks extremely confident not only in his slashing ability but also his perimeter shooting, and it's possible he could take some minutes away from the starters once the regular season begins.

It seems the toughness of veterans Wallace, Brown and reserve big man Chris Wilcox is rubbing off onto the Pistons' rookies. First-round pick Austin Daye had an amazing block on Miami Heat superstar Dwayne Wade, while second-round selection Jonas Jerebko was suspended after an altercation with Miami's backup center Jamaal Magloire. Magloire came into the game and immediately attempted to bully Jerebko in the post, and eventually the two exchanged punches. In the second game, 2008 second-rounder Deron Washington provided plenty of highlight plays on both ends of the court.

All in all, the Pistons aren't looking too shabby. Of course it's only exhibition, but Detroit is winning and playing with the passion that hasn't been seen around here since the team's back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

Steve St-Pierre
Sports Writer
In Play! Magazine

Thursday, October 1, 2009