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Pistons’ player-coach tensions boil over November 7, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Home, Off the court.
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The Detroit Pistons are on the verge of imploding.

After a Tuesday loss to Boston, coach John Kuester called for more leadership from the team. Forward Tayshaun Prince pointed the finger right back at his coach.

The Detroit News reported that Kuester held a team meeting after the loss to the Celtics and his uncharacteristic public criticism of players. Kuester said he was pleased with the team’s effort in the next game, a loss to Atlanta the following night that put the Pistons at 0-5.

It was the team’s worst start since the 1980-’81 season.

However, during that game against the Hawks, guard Rodney Stuckey — one of the team’s supposed leaders — ignored his coach when he called to him from the sideline in the third quarter. Kuester benched Stuckey for the rest of the game.

According to the Detroit Free Press, all Stuckey would say about the incident was that, “It is what it is.” Kuester cut interviews short after the game.

Kuester may be on the verge of losing the players, wrote Jamie Samuelsen, the sports director for the morning show on WCSX-FM (94.7) and a blogger for the Detroit Free Press.

Samuelsen thinks the players are in the wrong and need to grow up and show support for their coach.

But if recent Pistons history is any indication, Kuester could soon go the way of Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown, Flip Saunders and Michael Curry — all canned or pushed out, in some cases perhaps prematurely.

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Monroe sits in opening game loss October 29, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Game recaps, Home.
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Rookie forward Greg Monroe didn’t see the floor in the regular season opener. / Photo via the Detroit Free Press, Kirthmon F. Dozier

Fans cried foul when Pistons coach John Kuester sat rookie forward Greg Monroe in the season-opening loss against the New Jersey Nets Wednesday night, 101-98.

Why would coach keep the seventh pick in the NBA draft — a 6-foot-10-inch player — on the bench the entire game, especially for a somewhat vertically challenged Pistons team playing the bottom feeder Nets? It’s a fair question the Detroit Free Press asked afterward.

Kuester explained that part of it was 6-foot-7-inch forward Jason Maxiell’s energy level, and that Monroe will definitely get his shot this year.

Chris Iott of MLive.com was not surprised by the move. He pointed to Monroe’s lack of defense in the preseason, which may have spelled a monster game from 7-foot center Brook Lopez of the Nets. Lopez was held to 25 points, but Iott believes he could have scored more with Monroe guarding him.

The Pistons play their home opener against Oklahoma City tonight, 8 p.m. EST.

Monroe gets no love from rookies October 18, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Home, Pistons news.
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Pistons rookie forward Greg Monroe earned no votes for Rookie of the Year when NBA.com surveyed 40 rooks in August.

Picking Washington Wizards guard John Wall — the clear number 1 pick in last summer’s NBA draft — for the this year’s award is unsurprising. But PistonPowered.com wonders why Monroe didn’t even get a look from his fellow rookies.

The blog makes a good argument in Monroe’s favor: He’ll get significant playing time in Detroit’s frontcourt, especially with the loss of Jonas Jerebko.

Monroe is also the first legit post threat the Pistons have had in years, notwithstanding the times Rasheed Wallace decided to stay inside the arc.

Hopefully, Monroe will use the news as bulletin board fodder to spur his play to greater heights, as Patrick Hayes of PistonPowered.com suggests.

Refs ready to “T” it up this season October 17, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Home, NBA news.
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Richard Hamilton will have to tone down the whining this season, and he knows it. Photo via Robin Buckson / The Detroit News

This year, the NBA front office has instituted a much stronger technical foul policy.

The new rules are partly aimed at curbing players’ arguments and complaints toward referees. NBA officials want to clean up the league’s image as the major sport with the players who arguably whine the most.

But the NBA Players’ Association thinks the stricter rules and fines take it way too far. Ben Wallace says it will cut off healthy communication between players and referees.

I don’t know how this will shake out between players and refs, but at least part of me is glad the Pistons no longer have perennial technical foul champion Rasheed Wallace on the team. (I love you Rasheed, but you know it’s true, Mr. All-Time NBA Leader in Technical Fouls.)

On the other hand, we do still have Richard Hamilton.

An argument in favor of televising all NBA preseason games October 17, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Home, NBA news.
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One of my favorite Pistons blogs, Need4Sheed.com, last week called for televising the NBA preseason.

The point is well-taken when you’ve got 6-foot-tall Will Bynum rising up for one-handed jams like that.

But would the NBA really gain anything by televising more preseason games?

Clock ticking on the Palace? October 8, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Home, Pistons news.
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Crain’s Detroit Business reported last week that Detroit Pistons owner Karen Davidson is selling the team and its parent Palace Sports & Entertainment Inc. to Mike Ilitch, a Detroit pizza chain mogul who already owns the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers.

The deal is not done, but the Detroit Free Press reports Pistons ownership has reportedly given the Ilitchs a 30-day exclusive window.

While this is potentially relieving news for Pistons fans freaking out about the team perhaps vacating Detroit, Ilitch might move the team downtown and out of the Palace (which would also require renaming this blog). Word on the street is the Red Wings would share the new facility, moving out of the famed Joe Louis Arena.

Currently, almost 79 percent of voters in the Detroit Free Press’ poll think the Pistons moving downtown is a good idea.

Free Press columnist Drew Sharp thinks Ilitch can’t fiscally handle keeping three professional teams successful, and the Pistons will draw the short straw.

Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News thinks the pros outweigh the cons.

What about you? Do you want the Pistons to join the other Detroit franchises downtown, or is the scent of Palace nostalgia too powerful for the team to leave?

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