Monthly Archives: December 2020

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To an outsider’s eye, there was nothing amiss about the Pistons in early 1989. They were on pace for 60 wins, battling Cleveland for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and looking very much as if they’d get their chance to avenge the bitter Game 7 loss to the Lakers in the 1988 NBA Finals.

But Jack McCloskey’s perspective told him otherwise. The body language of the Bad Boys was worrisome. Chuck Daly tipped him off that Cheap Adrian Dantley Jersey had become sullen and both men were concerned his mood threatened to make for a toxic locker room.

McCloskey pulled Dantley aside one day after a Pistons practice. They met in the tiny officials locker room at The Palace, off the tunnel entrance, and McCloskey pressed for an explanation. Dantley demurred.

McCloskey finally told him bluntly: “Adrian, if you don’t want to talk about it, I’m going to trade you, and I’m not kidding you. I’m going to trade you. I’m not going to have you break up this team. I’m not saying you’re at fault, but you know something that I don’t know. I told him, flat out, ‘I’m going to trade you,’ and I think it was just two days later we flew down to Dallas and made the trade.”

The Feb. 15 deal stunned the NBA. There had been no rumblings that the Pistons were shopping Dantley or intent on doing anything to alter the mix of a deep and versatile roster that came within one outrageous call – the phantom foul on Cheap Bill Laimbeer Jersey in Game 6 of the ’88 Finals – of winning its first league title the previous spring. Speculation centered on a rift between Dantley and Cheap Isiah Thomas Jersey. When Dallas – to which Dantley was traded in exchange for Cheap Mark Aguirre Jersey – visited The Palace the month following the trade, Dantley spent several fraught seconds before the opening tip whispering something into Thomas’ ear as a full house watched, transfixed.

It later was reported that Dantley admitted to saying, “I’ll never forgive you for what you did to me.”

But McCloskey flatly rejected the notion that Thomas pushed for a Dantley trade.

“No. God no,” McCloskey told me in 2011. “If a player ever said that to me … no. No.”

And Thomas also doused rumors of his involvement, telling reporters at the time, “People didn’t give me credit for trading Paul Mokeski for (Bill) Laimbeer and I’m not the one who traded A.D., either.”

Pistons fans reacted angrily to the deal. Dantley had come to the Pistons prior to the 1986-87 season and helped them take the next step. After being eliminated in the first round by Atlanta in 1986, the Pistons pushed Boston to seven games in the 1987 Eastern Conference finals. He led the Pistons in scoring that season (21.5 points a game), again in 1987-88 (20.0) and was leading them again (18.4) at the time of the trade.

If McCloskey doubted how fondly Dantley was viewed by Pistons fans, he got a stark reminder as he was driving near The Palace with his wife, Leslie, one day soon after the deal went down.

“We stop at a red light and there were two guys in the other car. They both looked and saw me, then they pointed their finger toward me with their thumb up – like they were going to shoot me for making the trade. I told Leslie, ‘You made that trade; I didn’t.’ ”

It’s fair to assume the collective temperature of Pistons fans cooled as the results of the trade played out. The Pistons closed the regular season on a 30-4 run and blew through the playoffs with a 15-2 record, sweeping the Lakers to win the first NBA title in franchise history. With Aguirre in the starting lineup, the Pistons went 44-6 that season.

There’s no definitive way to know how it would have played out if the Dantley-Aguirre trade hadn’t been made, but McCloskey doesn’t equivocate.

“It was going to get worse,” he said. “It was not a risk. I went to Chuck and said, ‘He didn’t communicate with me; he’s not communicating with you. I’m going to trade him.’ We just had to move Adrian. And I really liked Adrian. But something happened there. And I still don’t know.”

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DETROIT — — Stephen Curry scored 31 points and Andrew Wiggins added 27 to lift the Golden State Warriors to a 116-106 victory over the winless Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night.

The injury-plagued Warriors have won two in a row after dropping their first two games by a combined 65 points. The decisive stretch Tuesday came with Curry on the bench. Rookie big man James Wiseman had a dunk and Wiggins followed with a 3-pointer to cap a 12-0 run that put Golden State up 98-89 in the fourth quarter.

“Just a great feeling to turn what was a mess of a road trip into a really good one,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

Cheap Jerami Grant Jersey led the Pistons with 27 points.

The Warriors are without stars Klay Thompson (right Achilles tendon) and Draymond Green (right foot), but now Detroit has injury problems of its own. Cheap Blake Griffin Jersey ended up in the concussion protocol and did not play in the second half, and rookie guard Cheap Killian Hayes Jersey left with a sprained right ankle.

The Pistons led 89-86 in the fourth before a 3-pointer by Wiggins tied it. Wiseman’s dunk came after the 7-footer blocked a shot at the other end and dribbled most of the length of the court. That put the Warriors up by six and sent several Golden State players spilling from the bench area in excitement. Curry tossed a towel in the air after Wiggins’ 3 moments later.

The Pistons, who led by as many as 12 points in the first half, were up 51-48 after two quarters. Golden State went on a 17-3 run early in the third, but Detroit stayed close well into the fourth.

Wiggins scored 17 points in the final quarter, and three of his five 3-pointers came in the fourth.

“He was phenomenal,” Kerr said. “He just took over the game, knocking down 3s, getting to the rim, getting to the foul line. Andrew was fantastic, just that whole fourth quarter.”

Wiggins has shot better the past two games after going 10 of 34 from the field to open the season against Brooklyn and Milwaukee.

“Just keep shooting, it’s going to fall,” he said. “You’ve just got to believe in yourself.”

TIP-INS

Warriors: Announced after the game they exercised the third-year contract option for next season on G Jordan Poole. … Golden State improved to 9-22 in regular-season games without both Green and Thompson in the lineup since 2012-13.

Pistons: Griffin did not play in Monday night’s loss at Atlanta because of left knee issues. He finished with eight points Tuesday. Cheap Derrick Rose Jersey, who did not play either on Monday, had 15 points against the Warriors.

TOUGH START

The Pistons have lost all four of their games, although none by more than 10 points.

“We’re playing excellent basketball through stretches, but now that next step is to continue to close the deal,” coach Dwane Casey said. “Some good things, but again, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”

UP NEXT

Warriors: Friday night they host Portland. That will be Golden State’s home opener after the Warriors opened with four games on the road.

Pistons: Friday night they host Boston. Detroit went 1-1 against the Celtics last season. Both games were on the road.

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The Pistons finished the preseason with a 2-2 record after Saturday’s 99-96 loss at Washington. They split two games at home and two on the road, but as the book closes on the exhibition season and moves toward the regular season on Wednesday, there are some good takeaways from the four-game preseason.

The starting group had its ups and downs, but the reserves, led by Cheap Derrick Rose Jersey and Cheap Josh Jackson Jersey, brought some optimism about the depth that the Pistons will have. Because of the shortened training camp, they’ll lean more on the second group to play some of those minutes.

Detroit Pistons’ Jahlil Okafor, right, puts up a shot over Washington Wizards Robin Lopez (15) during the second half.
Here are some observations from the final preseason game:

The rotation
The Pistons stayed with the starting lineup of Killian Hayes, Delon Wright, Cheap Jerami Grant Jersey, Cheap Blake Griffin Jersey  and Cheap Mason Plumlee Jersey. The reserves were about the same, with coach Dwane Casey going deep into the bench again, with 12 players seeing the court.

Casey reiterated after the game that there shouldn’t be any guesses at the rotation from the exhibition games and that the preseason was just a trial run for several lineup combinations. It will be that way for the first couple of weeks in the season at least, as he tries to ramp up the minutes for the starters and figures out a way to get minutes and determine which groupings work best for the team. It’s a preseason game, so worrying about how many minutes any of the starters plays is pure craziness.

BOX SCORE: Wizards 99, Pistons 96

Wayne Ellington played nine minutes in the first half — after not playing at all in Thursday’s game — and struggled from the field, but there will be times he’s needed in the lineup. When the regular season rolls around, he won’t get a ton of minutes, but they’ll be valuable, and most likely, they’ll need him to be solid.

There were limited minutes for rookies Cheap Saddiq Bey Jersey, Cheap Isaiah Stewart Jersey and Cheap Saben Lee Jersey, as Casey is trying to get a handle on which players will get the majority of the minutes when things get real in the regular season.

Jackson’s role
Josh Jackson had another strong outing off the bench, with 13 points and eight rebounds. He went 3-of 7 from beyond the arc and his strong play on the defensive end was one of the catalysts for the second-half comeback.

Fans of the Detroit Pistons are especially frustrated with the Cheap Bruce Brown Jersey  trade after a recent move.
The Detroit Pistons have officially wrapped up their preseason, and one final roster move needed to be made before opening night. Detroit decided to waive Cheap Dzanan Musa Jersey, who only appeared in one game and was acquired in exchange for Bruce Brown.

Anyone who watched Musa play with the Nets and their G-League affiliate should have known that he never really stood a chance with this roster. While it’s true that the Pistons are taking fliers on a plethora of raw projects, it’s equally true that Musa didn’t fit the timeline.

Instead, the only thing that remains from the deal with Brooklyn was the 2021 second round pick that they also sent over. It’s worth noting that it was the least favorable of four second rounders that the Nets owned at the time.

RELATED STORY: Troy Weaver’s vision for Detroit: Trust the new process?
This has somewhat justifiably sparked some frustration with the fans. Brown was more or less the quintessential embodiment of what Pistons fans looks for in players. Additionally, he was easily Detroit’s best on-ball defender and he was making promising strides offensively.

It also could be easily argued that he fit whatever timeline Detroit had set up.

However, with their lack of second round picks over the next few years (a situation that only got worse with the Cheap Luke Kennard Jersey trade) it created a scramble to try and accumulate some by any means necessary.

The issue with keeping Brown on this roster is that for as promising as he became as an overall product, his role on this team would have been left ambiguous. Assuming all the same moves were made, between him, Cheap Wayne Ellington Jersey, Svi Mykhailiuk, Saddiq Bey, and Josh Jackson, the rotation would have been ever more cluttered than it already is.

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Dwane Casey had already reiterated that they weren’t interested in continuing to play Bruce at point guard, and even if he was, the minutes would’ve been equally clunky.

The way that fans are trying to explain this is that Detroit trade Brown away for a second round pick, and that it doesn’t seem fair.

The question then becomes: What was he worth then? As valuable as he was to this Pistons team, it’s clear that Brooklyn won’t have much room for him to play barring any injuries.

He could’ve been moved to a team who’s more in the same position as Detroit, sure, but they probably wouldn’t be too keen on moving draft capital. Seemingly every single team in the league has their own version of Bruce as well.

To that same point, the idea that trading him for a second round pick is a “bad trade” is inherently flawed. Where did Detroit draft Brown in 2018? The second round. Admittedly they got pretty lucky with him, given the number of second round picks who don’t pan out, but the principle remains the same.

Players like him come around every single year. Troy Weaver has a solid track record with his drafting, and Pistons fans need to be patient.

It’s perfectly okay to still be a bit sour over the move in general, though. Even with someone like myself who is urging you to get over it, I too think it was a frustrating move. But at the end of the day, it’s not a make or break deal for their season or their rebuild.

He’s been one of the biggest surprises of the preseason, with consistent play in the final three games. Jackson looks to be a very nice pickup for the Pistons in free agency and if he can continue to provide the two-way production that he has in the preseason, he’ll be a big part of the rotation and garner significant playing time, possibly with the starters to finish some games.

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“Josh has really played well on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he’s shot the ball well. He’s a talented young man who just needed an opportunity,” Casey said. “He’s going to be a big plus for us this year, the way he’s playing. Defensively, he sets the tone for us and he had seven rebounds, which is huge for a guard.”

At 6-foot-8, Jackson’s length and inside-outside game complement the starting group well and there are times he could be there instead of Wright if the situation calls for it.

More from Hayes
Following a subpar game in the opener with seven turnovers, Hayes has looked much more comfortable in the starting lineup and getting a rhythm. Though the shots haven’t fallen as much during the preseason, he’s stuck with trying to get his step-back jumper to go down.

“It’s something I’ve always had and something I use when I want to create space,” Hayes said.

Hayes did return in the fourth quarter for another stint and had his best scoring game of the preseason with 11 points, but just being comfortable is a big step up for Hayes heading into the regular season.

Hayes had a 4-point play, one of his two 3-pointers to fall on Saturday. He’s still doing well defensively without getting lost in rotations or switching onto bigger players off defensive changes.

Watching the boards
The Pistons outrebounded the Wizards, 51-45, which will be something to watch this season. Without Cheap Andre Drummond Jersey, they’re not going to dominate the boards quite as much, but they can get more rebounding out of Grant (nine) and Jackson’s eight were a pleasant surprise.

Plumlee also had eight rebounds, along with four from Cheap Jahlil Okafor Jersey, which is decent production from the centers. Getting some help on the boards from the guards and small forwards will determine how well the Pistons do in getting extra possessions on the offensive end or cutting down on having to defend extra time defensively.

That rebounding margin is a key stat that something gets overlooked.

The Wright choice
The more that Cheap Delon Wright Jersey can play like he did Saturday, the more he looks like the right fit in the starting lineup. He went 3-of-5 from the field, including a 3-pointer, for an efficient nine points.