Tag:Detroit Pistons
Posted on: April 6, 2009 4:42 pm
 

Bynum does his best A.I.

One of the things that sent Allen Iverson over the deep end in his aborted comeback from a back injury was this: Not only was he out of the starting lineup, he was playing behind Will Bynum. Will who? Now you know.

If you covered the names in the box score from the Pistons' crucial 104-97 victory over Charlotte Sunday and just looked at the numbers, you'd see a very A.I.-like line: 9-for-15 from the field, 14-for-16 from the line, 32 points (a franchise-record 26 in the fourth) and seven assists. (OK, everything but the seven assists.) Bynum, who is listed at the same 6-foot height as Iverson (both estimates are too low), arrived on the same day the Pistons moved on for good without Iverson.

As Iverson got closer to coming back from a back injury that caused him to miss a month, Pistons coach Michael Curry kept talking about how much he liked Bynum. Part of it was that Curry likes defense; Bynum plays it, Iverson doesn't. But Bynum showed how valuable he can be on the offensive end by trumping his three 20-point games in March with a sizzling scoring display in a game Detroit had to have.

The Pistons announced Monday that they've put postseason tickets on sale. They wouldn't have been able to make that announcement without the steadily improving play of Bynum. Sometimes, generic is just as good as the name brand. Maybe better.

Posted on: April 3, 2009 5:04 pm
Edited on: April 3, 2009 5:48 pm
 

Iverson, Pistons part ways (UPDATE)

Allen Iverson doesn't need to worry about coming off the bench anymore. The four-time scoring champion and disgruntled bench warmer will miss the rest of the season due to what the Pistons described as ongoing back discomfort. But the discomfort for both sides clearly originates from an area a bit lower on the body.

Iverson in Detroit has been nothing but a pain in the ___ for both parties. Now, their brief and stormy marriage is over.

Britney Spears has had relationships longer than this.

It's come to a merciful end for A.I. and the Pistons, who never found any sort of common ground after Iverson was acquired from Denver in the Chauncey Billups trade.

UPDATE: Despite the wording of a Pistons news release that blames the decision to shut Iverson down on his back injury, a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com that the decision also was related to Iverson's escalating rants about playing time and being removed from the starting lineup. And given Iverson's obvious dissatisfaction -- "I'm not happy. At all," he said recently -- the decision can obviously be described as mutual. 

The Iverson trade has been an unmitigated disaster, at least in the short term. Iverson couldn't play with Richard Hamilton or Rodney Stuckey, and he couldn't stomach coming off the bench after he returned from a back injury last week. He went so far as to unleash an impressive tirade after the Pistons lost to the Nets Wednesday night, saying he'd retire before he ever played a reserve role again.

Iverson's contract is up after the season, providing the Pistons with about $20 million in cap space. He turns 34 in June, three weeks before the start of free agency, and clearly won't be re-signing with the Pistons. Perhaps the only surer thing in NBA history was that Latrell Sprewell would never play for P.J. Carlesimo again.

Now, given Iverson's guarantee that he'll won't play again unless he's starting -- "That's 100 percent fact," he said -- you have to wonder whether A.I.'s wonderful, combustible, eventful career has come to an end after 13 seasons.

Here's the sanitized version from Pistons president Joe Dumars:

“After talking with Allen and our medical staff, we feel that resting Allen for the remainder of the season is the best course of action at this time,” Dumars said in a news release. “While he has played in our last three games, he is still feeling some discomfort and getting him physically ready to compete at the level he is accustomed to playing this late in the season does not seem possible at this point.”

UPDATE: Not only has the trade bombed for the Pistons, but Billups has been the key factor in elevating the Nuggets from their previous status as an inconsistent, immature pretender into a solid contender. Denver has a one-game lead on San Antonio and a 1 1-2 game lead on Houston for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Iverson finished the season averaging 17.5 points, by far the lowest of his career. The previous low came in his second season in the league, when he averaged 22.0 for Philadelphia in 1997-98. When Iverson's contract comes off the books, along with possibly Rasheed Wallace's $13.7 million, the Pistons will have more than $30 million in cap space to be allocated over the next two summers if they choose.

Aside from winning four scoring titles and leading the 76ers to the 2001 NBA Finals (where they lost 4-1 to the Lakers), Iverson (6-feet) became the shortest player to attain two of the biggest individual accomplishments in the sport -- lead the league in scoring and win MVP. But as much as Iverson redefined the guard position with his explosiveness and durability, his individual accomplishments overshadowed team performance for much of his career. He clashed with numerous coaches -- most notable Larry Brown in Philly -- and his need to dominate the ball made it difficult to find complementary talent to pair with him. He enjoyed moderate success with Carmelo Anthony in Denver, but the closest he ever came to coexisting with a running mate was when he played with Toni Kukoc in Philadelphia. That didn't end well, either, as the Sixers eventually saw no recourse but to deactivate Iverson in December 2006 and trade him to the Nuggets along with throw-in Ivan McFarlin for Andre Miller, Joe Smith, and two first-round picks.

Ironically, Miller is leading the Sixers to their second straight playoff appearance without Iverson. The Pistons' announcement Friday that Iverson will miss the rest of the season came a little more than 24 hours before Iverson would've suffered the indignity of sitting on the bench in the arena he used to own; the Pistons are at Philly Saturday and face another must-win game at home Sunday against Charlotte, which is threatening to knock them out of the playoff picture. Smith is part of a Cleveland team that is a strong championship contender. And Billups, of course, appears to be orchestrating a long postseason run in Denver.

Iverson also will go down as the player who personified the introduction of hip-hop culture to the mainstream of the NBA. His tattoos, corn rows, and do-rags were a mainstay for more than a decade. Iverson, more than anybody, was the target of commissioner David Stern's decision to institute a dress code for players on league business in 2005. Iverson also drew Stern's ire for some distasteful rap lyrics, among other things.

Times have changed. Now the vast majority of players willingly wear suits on road trips, and even Iverson acquiesced recently when he shaved his trademark braids just before All-Star weekend. There's no telling whether he'll keep the new look when -- or if -- he ever surfaces again.

"I'm happy with my career and the things that I've done in my career," Iverson said this week. "If I hung 'em up today, I'm blessed."

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on: April 2, 2009 1:10 pm
 

Chuck Daly has a play for Jay Wright

If you've never listened to WIP sports talk radio in Philadelphia, it's a guilty pleasure you should entertain at least once. I've lived a lot of places, and for better or worse, there is no other sports radio station in the country like WIP.

Here's an interview with Rollie Massimino, coach of the 1985 miracle Villanova team that beat Georgetown in the NCAA title game. There's a lot of the usual give and take. But about halfway through, there's a touching moment in which Rollie describes sitting at Chuck Daly's bedside right after his chemotheraphy treatment for pancreatic cancer. Daly drew up a play he used to run with the Pistons, gave it to Rollie, and asked him to bring it to Villanova coach Jay Wright to use against North Carolina in the national semifinals.

“He’s really not in very, very good condition at this stage, but he took me aside," Massimino told WIP's Howard Eskin. "He had a piece of paper and he’s diagramming me a play that I have to show Jay that he used when he was with the Pistons. I felt so good about that. Right after his chemo yesterday, when he’s not feeling that well, I actually went over and he said, 'Come here.' He made me sit on the bed with him and he diagrammed this play. I got it in my pocket. I called (Jay) today and want him to see. To me, that’s very special and I know it’s going to be very, very special to Jay.”

You can listen to it here. You should. Hang in there, Chuck D. Keep those plays coming.

 

 

Posted on: March 23, 2009 11:13 am
 

Iverson denies he's sitting out in protest

Allen Iverson's extended absence has fueled speculation that it's not really a sore back that's keeping him away, but his frustration with being relegated to the bench. Not so, Iverson said Sunday in an interview with A. Sherrod Blakely of Booth Newspapers.

"That's hilarious," Iverson said. "My health is the most important thing, that was the whole thing. I know people are going to say that. I've been a warrior my whole career and I pride myself on that. But (the back injury), it is what it is.

Coming off the bench is "something I have to deal with," Iverson said. "That's not going to be a problem. And I wouldn't cheat the game, I wouldn't cheat myself, my family and friends. ... I wouldn't cheat all them because of a situation. It's just another obstacle in my life that I have to overcome. ... I owe too much to myself. I owe too much to my fans, people that care about me and love me and want to see me play. And to my teammates. I owe so much to my teammates to go out there and perform."

Iverson has missed the past 13 games due to the back injury, an absence that coincided with coach Michael Curry's admission that A.I. will have to go to the bench to spark the Pistons, who have struggled to find an identity since the cap-clearing trade that brought Iverson from Denver in exchange for Chauncey Billups. Detroit is 7-6 without Iverson and has lost four out of five, debunking the theory that the Pistons are better off without him. Detroit also has been without Richard Hamilton (groin) and Rasheed Wallace (calf) recently and has plummeted to seventh place in the East, only three games agead of Chicago in the loss column with 13 to play.The Bulls host the Pistons Tuesday night.

Iverson said he doesn't know when he'll be back, but hopes it's soon. Do the Pistons hope so, too? Curry said he's hopeful that Iverson will be able to participate in practice to some degree starting Monday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on: March 22, 2009 6:28 pm
 

Guess Wade has something left

I see Dwyane Wade was himself at the Palace of Auburn Hills Sunday, with 39 points and two key blocks in the Heat's 101-96 victory over the Pistons. That wasn't the same Wade who looked rusty and tentative Friday night in a 96-88 loss to the Nets.

So I'll stand by my opinion that if Wade has run out of gas -- with his nagging hip flexor and the pressure of having to carry the Heat on his back all season -- then Miami's chances of going deep into the playoffs are somewhere between slim and none.

Based on Sunday's performance, though, it appears that D-Wade has a little something left in the tank. Just wanted to point that out. Carry on.

 

 

 

Posted on: March 6, 2009 7:56 pm
 

Doc's thoughts are with Daly

BOSTON -- Doc Rivers knew the question was coming and couldn't hide his emotions.

"It's tough," Rivers said Friday night when asked about one of his mentors, Chuck Daly, being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

There was a lot riding on the Celtics' game against the East-leading Cavs -- homecourt advantage, a gut-check for Rivers' team without Kevin Garnett protecting the basket from LeBron James' aerial assaults. But Rivers had to put it aside for a moment during his pre-game talk with reporters and send his thoughts to Daly.

"He's a guy that I looked up to, made calls to, and got a lot of advice from," said Rivers, who succeeded Daly as coach of the Orlando Magic in 1999. "A lot of the stuff I'm running came from sessions with him."

Players, former players, coaches, former coaches, GMs, former GMs -- they're all taking a deep breath and wishing the best for Chuck D.

 

Posted on: March 5, 2009 3:38 pm
 

Iverson: 'I'll come off the bench'

The Pistons just put out a statement from Allen Iverson in which the injured All-Star said he'll willingly come off the bench once he returns from a two-week absence with a strained back.

“I’m disappointed that the soreness I’m feeling in my back is going to force me to miss two weeks of action," Iverson said. "After talking with the doctors at Georgetown (Wednesday), they have told me that treatment and rest is the best course of action right now. Hopefully my back with heal and I’ll be ready to go following this two-week period.

“My goal is to help this team win a championship, and I’ve said that from the first day I arrived here in Detroit. I’m going to do whatever it takes to help us achieve our goals as a team regardless if I’m starting or coming off the bench.”

That's the first step. Now we'll see how this works once Iverson is healthy.

 

 

Category: NBA
Posted on: March 4, 2009 4:07 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2009 6:22 pm
 

Better off when A.I. is M.I.A.

The news that Allen Iverson must suspend all basketball activities for two weeks to rest his back injury was the best news the Detroit Pistons have gotten all season.

Nothing against Iverson. It's not his fault he was traded to Detroit. He didn't ask for it. He didn't tell Joe Dumars to send Chauncey Billups to Denver. I've known Iverson since his rookie year, and he's always been one of my favorite players. But it's pretty clear that the Pistons are better off without him.

Everybody knew that would be the case when Dumars made the trade. Someday, maybe Dumars will even admit as much. Iverson-for-Billups was a proactive move by Dumars to break up the Pistons before they got old and broke down on their own. At the end of the season, Dumars will have about $30 million in cap space at his disposal when Iverson and Rasheed Wallace come off the books.

But right now, the Pistons are showing that they're still dangerous when they play the way they've played since Iverson got hurt Tuesday night. Without A.I., Detroit might just be a sleeping giant in the East. With A.I., they were a disaster.

It wasn't all Iverson's fault. Spare me all the anti-A.I. rants about Iverson being a cancer. He has been who he is for 13 years, and he's not going to change now. The trade was a gamble from the get-go, and the final score won't be known for two more years.

Here is what has to happen over the next month and a half for the Pistons to make one more push with the core (minus Billups) intact. They have to keep thriving while Iverson is out. They're 3-0 without him so far, and a 5-3 record over the next two weeks would be respectable considering the schedule includes Atlanta, Orlando, Dallas, and Houston before Iverson would theoretically be ready to return March 20 against the Clippers.

Second -- and this is really the most important part -- Iverson has to suck it up and embrace his bench role once he returns. Everything depends on it -- for the Pistons and for Iverson.

Iverson's comments on being replaced in the starting lineup by Richard Hamilton have been classic A.I. Basically, he'll do whatever Michael Curry asks him to do. But then comes the "but," as in, "But I've never come off the bench in my career." But now he has no choice. He has to embrace the role and show teams that might be willing to sign him this summer that he's about the team and not about A.I. Think about all the opportunities he'll have to come in with the second unit and be the primary scorer, which he's been from the day he showed up in Philadelphia in 1996. It's a perfect role for him at this stage of his career, one that Curry should've recognized sooner.

If he doesn't embrace it, the Pistons will suffer and so will Iverson's reputation, which is already damaged enough. My official medical advice to A.I. is to eat two servings of humble pie and call me in two weeks. Then come off the bench for the rest of the season, do what you've done your whole career -- score the ball, without having to worry about getting Hamilton, Sheed, Tayshaun Prince, or anyone else involved -- and reap the benefits this summer when a contender sees how valuable you can be in that role.

These are all things Iverson is perfectly capable of doing. Maybe two weeks is enough time for him to decide that he wants to.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com