Archive for the Pistons Category

I’m Still Excited

Posted in Basketball, Photos, Pistons on December 16, 2009 by trapperKeeper

Cameras are real fun to play with when you have real lens and the best way to learn is to play.  I am still not over how exciting the idea of photography has gotten since getting the new camera.  I’m going to be taking some portrait’s soon, so I need to practice.  I’m getting used to using a lens with no zoom, which means every significant move forward or back means a focus adjustment.  Thus, a few shots that could have been composed better weren’t.  Good thing I have Stella around to refine my approach.  As I said before, it has only been days but I am still so excited.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/4172/saturday-night-live-focus-on-beauty-ii

Perhaps, the Pistons will put on a better showing tomorrow.  Joe D really messed up when he cut Chase Budinger, who gave another team the business including a fairly vicious oop.  The ugly Pistons were on full display tonight for long stretches, but offensive struggles shouldn’t be to surprising when Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins are out on the floor together and surrounded by only players ranging from equally putrid (Kwame Brown) to marginally better (Maxiell, JJ, Summers).  Some of their misses tonight were hideous, including several airballs.  Ben had one of the worst free throw whiffs ever.  Superscrub Chris Wilcox got some playing time tonight with 3 rebounds, a block and usual high white socks.  Chris Paul must have had his matchup with Chucky Atkins, especially after unsuccessfully chasing Aaron Brooks tonight.  Clyde Drexler and Houston’s play by play tv guy take the award for biggest homers.  The refs had no impact on the blowout tonight, but would it kill them to give Rodney Stuckey some respect.  Only 4 foul shots for a guy constantly taking it to the hole is ludicrous.

Bynomite (Price Check on Maxipads)

Posted in Art, hoops, Music, Photos, Pistons on December 5, 2009 by trapperKeeper

I enjoyed a Piston victory, old friends’ company, and a slippery walk home.  After getting home,  I went through a few photos, played on the boxes for a little, and gave Stella some attention.  I’m feeling more and more comfortable on the boxes.  Slowly, I am getting there.  My soundcard isn’t performing terribly well, so I apologize for the sound being off.  This is only a jam, but one with ripe fruit for plucking.

http://soundcloud.com/trapperkeeper/jam

The above image is from the great Detroit Pistons’ blog http://need4sheed.com/

Dreams of Cecil at Bat (Crack!)

Posted in Basketball, Detroit, Detroit Tigers, Pistons on March 9, 2009 by trapperKeeper

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I was looking at the Detroit Tigers’ homegrown talent vs. Detroit Tigers’ acquired talent on http://sullybaseball.blogspot.com/2009/03/detroit-tigers-all-time-home-grown-team.html.  I have always enjoyed lists, particularly sports lists, and engaged in hypothetical all-time match-ups, often around my sports cards, while staring out the window of long vacation car rides.  Seeing Sully’s list, I misted up at the video of Mags’ home run. The Tigers were my first professional sports love, so their success was especially sweet that year after years after crappy mediocrity.  My parents actually had to miss the game in 1984 when the Tigers clinched the pennant due to my birth.  The Tigers are in my blood.

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Rise to the Top: Exposing the F(l)akers & Being Thankful for the Human Victory Cigar

Posted in Basketball, Detroit, humor, life, Pistons on February 23, 2009 by trapperKeeper

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As the Pistons’ season falls into further disarray there is no time better than the present to wax poetically about the past. As William DeVaughn sang, “just be thankful for what you got.” And there were plenty of moments from 2003-2004 to be appreciative for as Joe D realized the same level of success as a GM as he had as a player with a team built similarly to the original Bad Boys. Ferocious defensive intensity, a strong bench, good chemistry, and just enough scoring, made the faithful hopeful for a better chance to reach the finals.

Few had expected the Pistons’ to beat the Nets. A pattern runs through basketball history of champions failing before succeeding. The original Bad Boys had to battle and lose to the Celtics and Showtime Lakers. Jordan’s Bulls took lumps at the hands of the Bad Boys. Likewise, Detroit had to take some lumps before getting over the hump. Still, the way the Pistons lost to the Nets was disheartening. Having home court advantage, it was safe to count on the Pistons stretching the series to five or six games. As I stated previously, the Pistons’ weaknesses, specifically the lack of a small forward and explosive scoring, were exposed by the Nets. Tayshaun had gotten a few starts that series and looked like a potential solution to the small forward problem.  Would he also be the answer to the Pistons’ offensive woes?  Certainly, replacing Michael Curry with Prince would provide an immediate boost to the offense, but how much of one?

Fortunately, the Pistons were in a good position to address their roster issues, having two first round draft picks, including the second overall pick, thanks to Joe D’s skills. Carmelo Anthony was talked about for logical reasons. The Pistons needed to upgrade the SF position.  Even more, they needed a scorer for the moments the offense grew stagnant. Melo would have filled both roles while Prince could have still have gotten significant playing time.

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However, Darko, aka “the human victory cigar” was in the draft. Some commentators and fans seem to forget that Darko was the consensus #2 pick. He was an athletic 7-footer, who could run like a deer, showed decent passing, shot blocking, and shooting ability. Certainly, he was raw at age 17, but the potential within his package was too much too pass up. He was projected as the second pick on every team’s draft board. In short, Darko fooled more than just Joe D and the Pistons with his bouncy gait, length and love of Europop.

darko

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Lucid Memories of the Piston’s Past Decade, Pt. 1: The Building of a Champion

Posted in Basketball, Detroit, humor, Pistons on February 14, 2009 by trapperKeeper

Don't Mess w/ the Fro

The shorter abstract has become a much longer entity, so it is being broken up into parts. Here is part one, which focuses on the the rise of the new Bad Boys. They weren’t as dirty as the originals, but both versions were an unconventionally built teams who stressed a commitment to rugged defense.

Entering the new millennium, the Pistons were coming off a semi-successful, strike-shortened, season. Finishing at 29-21, good for 3rd place in the Central, they received a 5th seed and match-up against Mt. Mutumbo’s Atlanta Hawks. Taking them to a do or-die 5th game in the first round was as far as the talent-challenged Pistons could go. The team was appeared to be solid, coming in at 10th and 9th respectively at offensive and defensive efficiency. However, the roster had a few good players, and was atrocious if you look twelve deep.

Lacking a real post presence, point guard, and bench, the Pistons were a limited team. If it weren’t for the skill of Grant Hill, I can’t imagine the carnage in the loss column. Explosive, rounded, gentlemanly, and extremely gifted, Grant only lacked a consistent outside jump shot, which was something he was working on. Unfortunately, injuries had to prematurely limit his abilities. One of the better players in the league, he was surrounded by a soon to retire Joe Dumars, Bison Dele, Jerry Stackhouse, and not much else. Jerome “Junk Yard Dog” Williams was a scrappy, energetic bench player who could rebound well came off the bench and is worth a mention, but otherwise most of the bench consisted of never beens.

The 1999-2000 season, under coach Alvin Gentry and then interim George Gervin, saw the return of Detroit-area native and one of my favorite Piston players, Terry “T-Three” Mills, who made the second most amount of threes while shooting a respectable 39% from long range during the season. This was during a time where it was less common for big men to shoot threes. The impact of European migration had not yet approached full realization. I remember Sam Perkins and Bill Laimbeer being other big men long range shooters, although in a different way than Dirk.

The lack of a true big man, especially on the defensive end, was again a problem. This situation wasn’t really remedied until Ben Wallace came in. Brian Williams, aka Bison Dele, was a solid offensive player, but even he was gone after the 1998-1999 season. Becoming a swingman dominated team, Hill and Stackhouse put up numbers; however, the lack of big men contributed glaringly to the porous defense and rebounding. Ending the season at 42-40, they earned a 7th round playoff seed against the Heat, whose big men were too much, and were promptly swept.

Who picked out this color scheme?

Who picked out this color scheme?

At one point during the season, Grant Hill was out for a bit and Jud Buechler actually started five games at SF. Grant was going to be a free agent after the season, so he was traded after the playoff loss to Miami to Orlando for Chucky Atkins and Ben Wallace. Unfortunately for Grant, and the Magic, the ankle injury he had sustained and played through during the playoffs was more serious than initially thought. The trade, engineered by Joe Dumars, worked out well for the Pistons though. Ben Wallace blossomed into a dominant defensive player and leader. Joe had been brought in as the President of Basketball Operations right after the postseason. He wasted no time building a team in his image.

George Gervin, who had replaced Gentry as head coach during the previous season, retained the position for the 2000-2001. He did not fare well as the team finished 30-52. Sporting the not so fearsome PG trio of Chucky Atkins, Dana Baros, and local hero Mateen Cleaves, the team lacked a game plan capable of masking the limitations of the roster. Cleaves was Joe Dumars first first-round pick. To be fair the team needed a PG, although it was clear Cleaves was not going to the be answer and was a hometown hero. Joe grabbed another Big Ten player, Brian “The Janitor” Cardinal, who turned out to be a serviceable, albeit extremely overpaid, bench player, in the second round.

“Big Nasty” Corliss Williamson was brought over from Toronto for Jerome Williams. I remember Corliss and Scotty Thurman running Nolan Richardson’s “40 Minutes of Hell” defense to the Final Four. He was a pretty efficient low-post scorer off the bench, who would bang and could draw some fouls. Although, he was too small to guard most players he was matched up against in the post.  He would win the Sixth Man of the Year, being an important member of the dynamic bench unit, dubbed the “Alternatorz” by Jon Barry.

Jerry Stackhouse really went off, averaging 29.8 ppg, with the extra shots provided by Grant Hill’s departure. Sadly, he also led the team in assists with 5.1 ppg. Free throws and offense were never Ben Wallace’s professional forte, but his rebounding and defensive provided an encouraging piece to build around. Averaging over 13 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks a game, he was able to change the game dramatically while doing almost nothing on offense.

During the off-season, Mateen Cleaves, drafted more as a publicity move, was traded for Jon Barry, who provided some long-range shooting and fire. Joe was fashioning a scrappy, defensive minded ball-club built on the model of the original Bad Boys. Jud Buechler was exchanged for Cliff Robinson. Buechler was a solid athlete, and a real good volleyball player apparently, but didn’t bring many skills to the basketball court. “Uncle” Cliffy was known for his headband, perimeter offensive game, and solid defense.

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