Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pistons Hire Brown, Rogers As Assistant Coaches

Steve St-Pierre
Sports Writer
In Play! Magazine

The Pistons have hired new assistant coaches: Dee Brown and Roy Rogers, who both played in the NBA during the 1990's.

Joining them as an assistant coach will be John Loyer, who has spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the New Jersey Nets.

Brown, who has coached in the NBDL and WNBA, is most famous for winning the 1991 Slam Dunk Contest. Meanwhile, Rogers spent last season working with Lawrence Frank, Pistons Head Coach, as assistants with the Boston Celtics. Prior to last season, Rogers was an assistant and scout under Frank with the New Jersey Nets.

Brian Hill, an assistant the last two seasons under former Pistons coach John Kuester, is likely to be retained. Pat Sullivan, also an assistant under Kuester, does not appear to be returning.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stuckey, Jerebko Likely Top Free-Agent Targets

Stuckey, Jerebko Likely Top Free-Agent Targets
By Steve St-Pierre

We don’t know when the NBA lockout will end, but when it does, you can bet the Pistons will be talking quickly with restricted free agents Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko.

It’s easy to envision a long, bright future for Jerebko. Despite being injured and missing all of last season, he remains a fan favorite and heavily-marketed Piston. The people of Sweden adore him, and as a versatile combo-forward, Jerebko easily fits into the rotation.

Stuckey, on the other hand, is a different story. Though he’s still young and improving as a scorer and ball-handler, he’s failed to establish himself as the Pistons’ point guard. In fact, he’s struggled to prove he can even handle playing the position. It’s because of this that the team opted to draft point guard Brandon Knight this summer.

With Knight and Will Bynum both expected to earn minutes at the point, Stuckey’s future could be at shooting guard. Unfortunately, he has to prove he can handle playing that position as well. Stuckey’s outside shot still needs work, and he’ll need to improve defensively if he’s going to check the Kobe Bryants and Dwayne Wades of the NBA every night.

Most importantly, Stuckey finally needs to do what he’s said he would since the day Detroit traded Chauncey Billups – take control of the locker room. Instead, Stuckey has followed in the footsteps of disgruntled veteran teammate Rip Hamilton, publicly ignoring or cussing at coaches. Yet, he’s failed to take control of the team on the floor or in the huddle the way Pistons fans were used to seeing from Billups.

If the team decides that Knight is the franchise point guard, Stuckey will have to compete for minutes at shooting guard with Hamilton and Ben Gordon. If Detroit finds a way to trade Hamilton, that still leaves a four-guard rotation with Knight, Gordon and Bynum.

Joe Dumars, Pistons President, still says he plans on keeping both Stuckey and Jerebko around long-term. Because each player believes he’s about to sign a lucrative contract, neither of them are expected to play anywhere during the lockout and risk getting injured.

On the other hand, Detroit second-round pick Kyle Singler is set to play in Spain until the lockout ends, and former Piston DaJuan Summers signed a two-year deal to play in Italy earlier this summer. Current veterans Greg Monroe, Charlie Villanueva, Austin Daye and Bynum have all expressed interest in playing during the lockout but have yet to sign anywhere.

If Stuckey and Jerebko both return, they’ll be playing for Lawrence Frank, Pistons Head Coach. In all likelihood, Dumars believes that Frank will have an easier and more effective way of communicating with his players than Detroit’s last two coaches did. Frank could have what it takes to get the best out of them, particularly Stuckey. It’s likely that Frank is spending his days at the Palace practice facility studying tape and determining where each of his players best fits in the rotation.

With nine players currently under contract and three rookies set to join them, the Pistons roster would be at 14 out of a possible 15 after adding Stuckey and Jerebko back. If Frank assumes both free agents will return, he can already begin planning his lineups based around those 14 players. Dumars wouldn’t be able to make many other additions unless it was via trade.

Should the Pistons bring Stuckey and Jerebko back, they’ll need to clearly define each of their roles. Both Dumars and Frank will be required to work closely and carefully to balance out the rotation and put each player in the best positions for them to be successful on the floor.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


In Play Magazine
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment announced today that Dennis Mannion has been appointed President, effective immediately.

Mannion, 52, will oversee all Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment business operations, including sales, marketing, finance and administration.  Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars will continue to oversee all basketball operations.

Mannion brings a broad and unique perspective, having spent 29 seasons working in four major professional sports, including two years managing business operations for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche from 1998 to 1999. Mannion most recently served as President of the Los Angeles Dodgers where he worked from 2007 to 2010. He also previously worked for the Baltimore Ravens from 1999 to 2007, and for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1982 to 1997.

“Dennis is very well qualified and will bring a fresh perspective to the organization,” said Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment owner Tom Gores.  “He is an innovative guy and he shares our vision of creating the best possible experience for our fans.   He also shares our core values of hard work and commitment to the community.  Dennis knows what it takes to succeed at a high level and we are excited to have him on board.”

Throughout his career Mannion has led operations during 12 post-season runs, including two World Series, an NHL conference championship and a Super Bowl.

“Detroit is an incredible sports and entertainment town and I am honored by this opportunity,” said Mannion.  “I look forward to working with the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment team, our corporate partners and the community to build on the legacy of this great organization.  We will do everything we can to provide the best, most exciting experience possible for everyone that comes out to see a game or a show.”

In Los Angeles, Mannion’s marketing initiatives and efforts to improve the game day experience helped the Dodgers lead Major League Baseball in paid attendance in 2009 for the first time since 1986.  He also created the Dodgers Sports Lab, an in-house production facility and staff that generates content for all of the team’s game broadcasts, motion graphics and video, online content and printed materials.

Mannion joined the Dodgers in 2007 following eight seasons with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens where he was Senior Vice President of Business Ventures. In that role, Mannion oversaw all revenue streams, image, and brand-generating properties. He led and coordinated the development of more than 60 Ravens sub-brands, 12 season-long Ravens television and radio shows, and annual events such as Spring Football Festival, Ravens Kickoff Week, State of the Ravens, and the Ravens All Community Team.

Prior to joining the Ravens in 1999, Mannion spent three years as Senior Vice President at Ascent Sports, owner of the Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Avalanche and the Pepsi Center. Mannion managed all business operations for both teams and the arena.

Mannion spent 16 years with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1982-1997, serving as Vice President of Marketing and Sales for his last eight seasons. He was noted for enhancing the fan experience at Veterans Stadium during his tenure and was instrumental in securing and the staging the 1996 MLB All-Star Game in Philadelphia.

Mannion is a native of New York and graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in business and sports management.