Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Clear Path and Direction

When it was my first year in the state university, the goal was crystal clear, graduate and get out. Easier said than done, the first year was no exception, in fact it was my biggest struggle in my college experience. Resources were harder to find than bees in the winter, new environment adjustment, demanding professors (as oppose to community college instructors), minimal financial assistance etc. As a result, my grades were discouraging and the original goal started to fade. There wasn't really a recipe or a dummy guide for this situation except time and effort are the essential key to dealing with it. The difficult part was to be committed to it but as simple as may be, all i had to do was to choose to be committed to it. After that, everything starts falling into the right places, my grades has improved, new environment became a home, the resources didn't just become available but they became my friends.

That's how I picture the Detroit Pistons from the time Billups blew a bitter sad (sweet) good bye kiss to Piston Land and welcome A.I. to the team. It took them few tries to get a win with A.I., starting line up were shuffled, everybody's role were unclear and the Pistons-A.I. marriage was a new environment that required period of adjustment. As a result, there was a lack of consistency on which Pistons team would show up on a game basis. This includes the seven game winning streak, where everyone thought all the riddles were solve. However, when the starting line up has been concluded based on the games played everyone started to realize everyone's specific assignment, furthermore, accepting them. Rip's accepting the sixth man role is a prime example. After that, everything started falling into better (right) places, that has started with Rockets-Pistons game this month. Although the number of wins may not tell you so, the effort and consistency of team were clearly there. Last night's game against the Celtics was no different, the intensity and consistency were present and the game had a classic playoff atmosphere, especially after the Maxiell-Perkins encounter. I was so upset that the game ended in the hands of the Celtics but I realized that there's a clear path and direction for the Pistons now.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

No Energy

I'm not even going to view the stat of the Dallas-Detroit game last night. Detroit's energy was just simply dead on water.
  • What's the thought process of Curry staying on Prince to guard Dirk, after continuing to score easier than reciting the ABC
  • Do we still have Rasheed in our team? I can't seem to find him.
  • Stuckey and A.I. on the backcourt staring line up....that's because of their attack mode and able to create their own shot....Stuckey were just doing fine with that, but his TO was a different story....A.I. forcing it and shooting jump shot instead of going to the teeth of the defense was nowhere to be found
  • If Pistons' practice on Thursday was about defending pick and roll, then they must've practice on how to allow opponents score....I can't imagine the points Dallas got of off pick and roll.
  • In general, the Pistons' defense was harder to find than looking for Bush' staff in DC
  • Did Curry forget that the best defender that we had on Dirk was Walter?
  • It was only the second game with the new permanent (right!) starting line up, but not having the intensity on both ends of the floor is no excuse

I expect to have a better Pistons team this Sunday against the Rockets, not that I care but there will be more eyes on it since it's on national tv once again. It may or may not be a treat for out of town Pistons fans depending on how they perform.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Proposal To Joe Dumars Part I

After Pistons' five losing streak, people in Pistons land are on the edge of becoming panic.....very usual especially with all the changes had happen this season. There are three common protest that you can hear from the fans and columnist. Who Starts, Another Trade Deal and Fire Michael Curry. The last two has been consistent in the voice of the Pistons people, but the issue on who should be in the starting line-up has never really came up. Part I of this segment will cover on Who Starts.With the question whether the Pistons should go small or big has been the controversy around the Curry's regime. Here's a fair suggestion on who should start.

If the Pistons are playing the Suns, Lakers, Celtics or the likes
SF: Prince
PF: Wallace
C: Brown
PG: Stuckey
SG: Hamilton

If the Pistons are playing Golden State, Magic or the likes
SF: Prince
PF: Johnson
C: Wallace
PG: Stuckey
SG: Iverson

These two different line up does not suggest that one is a small ball line up and one is a big ball line up. First, the key is keeping Prince as a small forward and Stuckey as a true point guard while Wallace becomes the floater on two big positions. Theoretically, TEAM 1 suggest that if the Pistons are playing a team with a big shooting guard with a big front court that Brown and Hamilton's presence is necessary for defensive intensity. TEAM 2 suggest that if the Pistons are playing opponents with a small shooting guard with a small frontcourt that Iverson's scoring ability may be more useful than his defense and Johnson as well. In essence, SG and PF positions are flexible depending on who they are playing:

Mandatory Starters: Wallace, Prince Stuckey
Starters Dependent on Opponent: Brown, Johnson, Hamilton, Iverson

Originally, this was Curry's plan and experiement in the very beginning of the season, except it was just revolving between Johnson and Brown. Now that Iverson came, it wouldn't be a bad idea to apply the same to Iverson and Hamilton.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Winter Ice....Still Not Melted

It may not be zero below degree in the west, but in the east better have a good reason worth it enough to fight the snow just go outside the house. Pistons are still far away from finishing up their summer camp mode. The Pistons seven winning streak not too long ago was a sign of consistency on both ends of the floor however, this does not suggest that they are done with the summer camp mode that they started ever since the billups-iverson trade. At the same time, this does not suggest that progress hasn't been achieved. In fact there are, here are few of them
  • Curry did not just filled the point guard position, but awaken Stuckey's development off the chart
  • McDyess' consistency of nearly double-double a game has come back to life
  • Curry realized and admitted that Amir's presence in the line-up gives them a better look on defense.
  • Prince' continue to be the most consistent player in the team
  • The A.I. -- Pistons marriage is starting to look like a marriage
  • Technical fouls came down......a little bit

And the challenges.....?

  • There is no way that Pistons are going into the playoffs with A.I. and Rip in the starting line up.......Something has to be done
  • As I mentioned, Amir is better off in the line up if Pistons expect consistent defense and help defense...but the kid's foul issue early in the game is a conflict to relying on him
  • Prince's is an amazing player AS A SMALL FORWARD........he's body is not built as a power forward
  • A.I.'s injection to the team revitalize Rasheed's three pointer, due to A.I.'s attacking the opponent defense, but shouldn't Rasheed gets a fair share of being set up in the post?
  • Curry needs to make a decision on who will be in the starting line up and stick with's hard enough to mix A.I. in the team, but its even harder to keep changing the rotation and starting line up unless he's still experimenting.....I hope not, or if he is, I hope it'll be done very soon because its almost February.
  • A.I. = could produce more points and create his own shot but less of a defender, Rip = way better defender than A.I. but less of a "create his own shot" type of player

Pistons are going to be featured several times this week on National TV...maybe this is what they just need unless they want to get embarass in national stage.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Together Again

A very emotional night in Denver with the game against the Pistons, the team that Billups led to six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals. Although Billups were playing the way he does (30 points), tonight was a different story. The Pistons managed to come up with a win until the last seconds of the game. Final score 90-93.
  • Thanks to Afflalo for making all the free throw shots in the last seconds of the game
  • Prince may have committed some TO, but he gave the Pistons something to fired up about when he made their last FG
  • The defense picked up in the 2nd half....Personally, that's what got the Pistons over the hump where they were down the whole entire game, except the last minute.
  • No excuse for the Pistons to be playing like this, even with Sheed and Rip's absence, not because Melo didn't play either, but because Pistons defense doesn't just rely on them.
  • Pistons needs to have a freethrow drill practice with the exception of Afflalo. The team combined for 27 for 40.....That's terribly 67.5%
  • A quiet night for Stuckey with 9 points but his buddy Afflalo compensate for him and came up with 17 points
  • A.I. led the team with 23 points
  • Dyess dominated the board with 12 rebounds

Back to back for Detroit heading to Utah tonight for tomorrows game. Will they finally get over the curse in Utah by getting a win? We'll see.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Stuckey? No Surprise Here...Pistons In LA

There's no surprise that Stuckey is being recognized not only in Piston Land but throughout the league. There's a reason why Pistons In LA website chose to have Stuckey's picture as a background and theme, and that reason is simply a reminder of "Didn't I tell you he's amazing?!" From the moment Joe Dumars picked him in the draft, I saw flashes of him becoming a great NBA player when he was in college. With a talent like that and ended up landing in one of the most well rounded team effort oriented in the NBA is one of the best thing that happened to him and to Detroit.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – An award usually passed back and forth among LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and a select few others has been claimed by someone knocking on the door to their exclusive club: Rodney Stuckey.
Stuckey led the Pistons to a perfect 4-0 week despite the absence of Rip Hamilton in all of them and Rasheed Wallace in nearly three full games, averaging 23 points, 5.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds a game.
Since Stuckey moved into the starting lineup on Dec. 17, the Pistons are 10-3 and have won seven straight games – a streak that began with a win over Chicago in which Stuckey erupted for 40 points. Throw in Stuckey’s three other starts this season and the Pistons are 13-3 in those games.

But let’s not focus on scoring. Stuckey is the best distributor of the ball on this Pistons team, and I believe what allows him to be such a great passer is his patience - he’s very similar to Chauncey in that he’ll hold onto the ball for a second or two longer than he probably needs to, sizing up the play before choosing the best option. It’s a measured change from the Rodney Stuckey of last season who at times, was trying to play at 100 miles per hour. It’s no coincidence a few of Chauncey’s traits have rubbed off on him (more on that later) after playing with him for over a year, but it is rare to see a second year player with the smarts and poise to actually execute it. For the record, Stuckey is 15th in the league in assists per 48 minutes.
Defensively Stuckey is no slouch either. He is usually bigger and stronger than his point guard counterparts (just like Chauncey was) and he’s quick and athletic which all makes it very hard for his opponent to score on him. He completely shutdown Beno Udrih yesterday - the guy averages over 11 points a game but against Stuck he didn’t score a single bucket. Stuckey gets in the passing lanes quite often which goes to show how well he reads the play for a young guy. Offense comes pretty naturally to Stuckey, but with more starting minutes his defense will really improve.

Wait a minute!!! Aren't these All Star players? Kobe, Lebron, Dwade, Dirk, Timmy, CP3, Chauncey were just some of the players who became player of the week....Then Stuckey, only in his second year!!!? Surprise? No way! Not in Pistons In LA at least and I'm sure not in Piston Land.