Posted on: November 17, 2010 9:43 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:51 pm
Detroit Pistons guard Will Bynum missed a dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers so badly the ball landed out of bounds. Posted by Ben Golliver. It's been a disastrous start to the 2010-2011 NBA season for the Detroit Pistons, who have dealt with dysfunctional team dynamics, weird coaching decisions, trade rumors and poor play. But the Pistons hadn't seen anything quite as disheartening as this play by guard Will Bynum during the fourth quarter of a blowout loss to the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva saved the ball from going out of bounds near Detroit's baseline, and threw a quick outlet pass ahead to center Greg Monroe. Monroe in turn gave the ball up to a streaking Will Bynum, who had a clear path to the basket. Bynum went in for the big time flush, only to have the rim intervene. Take a look at the video. The missed dunk caromed so far that the ball appeared to land out of bounds on the fly, without bouncing in the court of play. That's not easy, folks. In Bynum's defense, he's listed at just 6'0" and may have missed the dunk on purpose so as to hand out a souvenir to a lucky Pistons fan seated courtside. In a sign of how the Pistons' season has been going, Bynum walked off the court with his head down and the camera panned to Pistons Tayshaun Prince and Ben Gordon, who didn't appear to be paying attention to the action on the court, instead engaging in a deep discussion on the bench. Tough year to be a Pistons fan.
Posted on: November 10, 2010 1:42 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:40 pm
Tuesday night ended for the Detroit Pistons with a shirtless Richard Hamilton seated, hunched over a box score placed between his legs on the locker room floor, silent, oblivious to his teammates and the world for at least five minutes. Hamilton just stared and stared and stared at the numbers, which, once again in this young season, revealed a franchise stuck between the past and the future, with a hodge-podge present that simply doesn’t function.
The Pistons had just been worked by the Portland Trail Blazers, 100-78, with Portland’s litany of injuries not affecting their ability to dominate the game on both ends, and the glass. Pick just about any statistic on Hamilton’s box score and Portland dominated the category. Rebounds: 45 to 33. Assists: 26 to 16. Shooting: 50% to 42.5%. If Hamilton was searching for a silver lining, he wasn’t immediately finding one, and by the time he finally trudged off to the shower room, some of his younger teammates had already cleaned up, dressed, conducted their post-game interviews and headed to the waiting bus.
You need not spend more than a few minutes glancing at Detroit’s roster to realize this is a team divided, a group that, even with maximum effort and improvement from all of its rising players, isn’t constructed for short-term success. “We played like strangers,” Pistons coach John Kuester said after the game, making reference to his team’s ability to register just five second-half assists, but the statement fairly encapsulated the 2010-2011 Pistons as a whole.
Hamilton and old guard championship teammates Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince occupied one side of the post-game locker room, heads down, voices monotone, after the loss. Prince didn’t mince words when discussing his frustration. “It’s everything. Not just one thing. Everything. It’s always that way when you’re not winning. Even our wins didn’t feel like wins. When that happens, you know it’s a problem.”
A problem for Prince, perhaps, but his younger teammates on the other side of the locker room didn’t seem as touched, as Charlie Villanueva laughed and smiled, second-year forward Austin Daye exuded a flat air of relative indifference, and a shell-shocked Greg Monroe looked like he was trying to escape his decision to turn pro as he hustled quickly out of the locker room with headphones drowning out the world.
The night ended with that distinct divide, but it started that way too. Two hours before the game, Daye, Monroe and DaJuan Summers worked through their shootaround routines together, looking to develop skills under the tutelage of the team’s assistant coaches, and to enjoy a few laughs. Only after the young trio ceded the court did Prince and Wallace take the court, briefly and mostly in silence, to get their blood going before the game.
Asked to define the team’s identity after he completed his pre-game workout, Daye stuttered briefly before admitting the group feels like two halves of a team that haven’t yet joined together. “We’ve got older guys, younger guys, we’re trying to mesh it all together,” Daye said. He also pointed to himself, Monroe, Villanueva, Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon as possible core pieces for Pistons president Joe Dumars going forward. “He’s just trying to get a good nucleus and we’ll see where he goes.”
The in-game product evinced this generation gap, as Detroit’s offense was predicated almost entirely on which one of four perimeter players would shoot a jump shot, while Wallace was tasked with claiming any and all rebounds by himself. On defense, the Pistons leaked points, giving up 36 in the first quarter to the Blazers, the most Portland has scored in a quarter all season long. Multiple times Prince snapped at Daye for either missing a rotation or losing contact with his larger opponent, Portland power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who ate the lithe Daye alive on the block, to the tune of 19 points and 17 rebounds.
Prince said he was only trying to help Daye. “I’m talking to him a lot because he’s in a tough position. Usually when you’re at a disadvantage, guarding a bigger guy, playing out of position, you want him to stay in contact with that guy so he can work the boards at all times. We’re asking him to do a lot. Not only asking him a lot to do a lot on defense but also keep a 7-footer off the boards every game. His job is harder than everybody else’s.”
Daye’s task isn’t just harder than everyone else’s though, it’s impossible. A pure shooting prototypical small forward who has worked to develop his NBA range, Daye is mismatched against just about every NBA power forward when the Pistons play him at the four spot in their undersized starting lineup. The positional switch is by necessity, so that Daye can get enough minutes to develop with Hamilton and Prince ingrained as mainstays, but given the directionless path Detroit is on, the lineup feels short-sighted. For his part, Daye says doesn’t mind it. “The playing time is a lot better,” he said with a smile before the game. Better to be playing out of position, than not playing at all.
But the playing time would be even better for Daye, who is averaging 21 minutes a night, should the Pistons move either Hamilton or Prince in a midseason trade, allowing him to transition into a more natural perimeter role. League sources tell CBSSports.com that trade speculation surrounding Prince is accurate. Watching him slowly pull on his leather boots one by one after another defeat, it seems like a move is in the best interest of all involved parties.
Should either Hamilton or Prince be moved, a big man capable of manning the glass and establishing a low post presence would seem to be the clear target. “It obviously hurts just having Ben as our only primary rebounder out there … I’m pretty sure all but one game we’ve been out-rebounded so we’ve just got to do better,” Prince said.
But he didn’t sound convincing when he uttered those words. Surely he realizes that Detroit’s biggest problem, rebounding -- they’re currently ranked No. 28 in the league in overall rebound rate -- is a matter of personnel and not effort. “Doing better” is not a viable solution for this team's rebounding ails. Better players is.
Nevertheless, after an extended post-game conversation with his team, Kuester finally faced the media and was asked how the Pistons might play more consistently throughout the course of a game. “I can’t pinpoint what we can do, but I do know we have to become better,” he said.
And that said it all. Hoping to do better, but with no specific plan to make it happen.
There really are no answers for this group, no matter how long you stare at the box score or how you juggle the lineups. It’s time to hit the trade market, and get started on the future.
Posted on: November 6, 2010 1:10 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:31 pm
Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett called Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva "a nobody" on Friday night. Posted by Ben Golliver. Welcome back to the latest installment of the Thirty Years War of Words. That's right: another post about the back-and-forth squabbling between Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva and Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett that began when Villanueva took to Twitter to accuse Garnett of calling him a "cancer patient." To quickly recap the week's events.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 6:45 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:28 pm
Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge stands up for forward Kevin Garnett, who had been the subject of criticism after Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva accused Garnett of calling him a "cancer patient." Posted by Ben Golliver. Just when you were starting to get completely sick of the feud between Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva and Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, prompted by some Villanueva tweets that accused KG of calling him a "cancer patient," Celtics president Danny Ainge steps boldly into the fray to defend Garnett's honor. In an interview on Boston radio station WEEI, Ainge reportedly called Villanueva's claims "ludicrous" and accused him of using Twitter to promote himself rather than spread an awareness message. ESPN Boston has a partial transcript of the interview.
"There's one thing that I know for sure, and it's that KG would not offend cancer patients," Ainge said. "That makes no sense. It makes no sense on a lot of fronts. Not only is he experiencing it in his own family, but that's just not something I've ever heard -- in 30 years -- ever say, in trash talking. What is logical in a trash talking situation for a player to say to another player, 'You have cancer' or 'You are cancer'?"
"...Tweeting is about self-promotion in most cases," he said. "He's [Villanueva] not trying to be a public servant by telling everybody. As a matter of fact he's the one who brings light to this attention ... There's self-promotion in tweeting -- all the time. You are talking about a guy who tweets in the middle of a game. Talk about self-promotion.The sentiment expressed in Villanueva's tweets immediately drew criticism from cancer surviving coach of the Denver Nuggets George Karl. In an official statement Wednesday, Garnett denied calling Villanueva a "cancer patient," stating that he instead said Villanueva was "cancerous to your team and our league," and he did not apologize for his actions. While Ainge's message might not have been necessary given that the public was just about getting ready to move on from the situation, it exemplifies effective management in a business that's subject to public scrutiny. Although he goes too far when he blames Villanueva, who is the victim here, Ainge's job, first and foremost, is to defend the reputation of his players and his organization. He succeeded at that task, without question. By standing up so forcefully for Garnett, Ainge sends a clear message to the entire organization and its fan base that he will defend his players, especially if they feel they have been wronged or if they are suffering intense criticism. By speaking so frankly, Ainge also invites criticism of himself, which neatly takes some Heat off of Garnett. It's a win-win. Now that we've heard from all of the involved parties, and all of their supporters and sympathizers, hopefully that is the last of it.
Posted on: November 3, 2010 5:07 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:25 pm
Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett gives his side of the cancer trash-talk controversy with Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva in a team-issued statement. Posted by Ben Golliver. Another hour, another wrinkle to the ongoing cancer trash talk war of words between Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva vs. Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett. Late last night, Villanueva took to Twitter to tell the world that Garnett had called him a "cancer patient" during Tuesday's game between the Pistons and Celtics. Villanueva suffers from alopecia universalis, a skin disease that leaves the body hairless. This morning, Denver Nuggets coach George Karl, himself a recent cancer patient, weighed in, saying that Garnett's statement crossed the line, even in the heated world of the competitive NBA. This afternoon, we have word from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com that Garnett is denying calling Villanueva a "cancer patient" in a statement released by the Celtics. The statement reads in part...
“I am aware there was a major miscommunication regarding something I said on the court last night," Garnett said in a statement from his representatives released by the Celtics. "My comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact, ‘You are cancerous to your team and our league.’ I would never be insensitive to the brave struggle that cancer patients endure. I have lost loved ones to this deadly disease and have a family member currently undergoing treatment. I would never say anything that distasteful. The game of life is far bigger than the game of basketball.”So Garnett wants the world to understand that he insulted Villanueva not by calling him a victim of cancer, but by calling him cancer itself. "You're not stricken by a deadly disease, my enemy. You are the deadly disease!" If that's not trying to parse oneself out of a politically incorrect statement after the fact, I don't know what is. Kudos where they are due for Garnett extending an olive branch to those struggling with cancer. Obviously missing from the statement, though, is any kind of an apology, either a direct one to Villanueva for his statements or an indirect one that acknowledges responsibility for what he admits was a "major miscommunication." If we read between the lines, Garnett is therefore letting us know that he feels he has nothing to be sorry about, and that feels like a conscious decision to undercut the merit of Villanueva's accusations and turn this into a "believe who you want, he said/he said" situation. We're now left with two versions of events: Villanueva's or Garnett's. Garnett either called Villanueva a "cancer patient" or he said "you are cancerous to your team and our league." Unfortunately for Garnett, his track record works against him here. We're supposed to believe a guy that made his teammate cry on the bench during a game sounds like a bigger dork than Evan Turner when engaged in double-technical trash talk? Hardly.
Posted on: November 3, 2010 2:57 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:25 pm
Denver Nuggets coach George Karl, who has battled cancer, responds to alleged cancer-related trash talk by Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, to Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva. Posted by Ben Golliver. Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl has been through a lot this year. Karl was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent grueling treatment for the disease that forced him from the bench during the stretch run and the playoffs. The details of his treatment, as documented by ESPN's Rick Reilly, who shadowed Karl for a day, are incredibly difficult to read.
With only three of his torturous six weeks of treatment done, and the inside of his mouth looking like he just took 100 bites out of a lava-hot pizza slice, and his head throbbing and his eyes hollow, Karl looks like a guy who should be on a stretcher, not an NBA bench.
"George, this is only going to get harder," a nurse tells him. "You're not going to feel like working." Clearly, she's never met George Karl.
Suddenly, the huge gray machine whirs like a giant Transformer, turning sideways, first this side, then that, as though it's trying to decide how to eat him. Then it zaps his throat and neck lymph nodes, ravaging them. It gives him a radish-red rash that's covering his face, chest and back. I know. He shows me. He shows me many things I don't want to see. He's doing it because he wants people to know exactly what it's like. Wants to take the fear and mystery out of it for people.
While Karl had trouble speaking and watched his Nuggets bomb out in the first round of the playoffs to the Utah Jazz, he maintained his commitment to returning to the bench throughout the summer, and he made it back. His Nuggets currently sit at 2-1 and, while embroiled by Carmelo Anthony's ongoing drama, things could be a lot worse.That brings us to Tuesday night, when Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva posted a number of messages on Twitter, stating that Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett called him a "cancer patient" during Tuesday night's game between the Pistons and the Celtics. Villanueva suffers from a condition called alopecia universalis, which has rendered him hairless. Alopecia is not cancer, so Villanueva's baldness is no more similar to someone who has undergone radiation treatments than it is to someone that simply has male pattern baldness. Clearly, Garnett's alleged statement was not only medically inaccurate, it was also way over the line of common decency, even by NBA trash talking standards. You probably wouldn't be surprised at the level of vitriol during heated exchanges on the hardwood -- it's astonishing how many claims are made regarding opponents interacting sexually with other people's mothers -- but there are limits. Racist comments, references to the Holocaust and cancer or other life-threatening disease talk are rightfully still off-limits, even given the competitive, charged atmosphere of an NBA game. The NBA existence isn't like everyday "real life," but it's not completely divorced from reality either. And that goes for the pain of cancer, given that just about everyone has either dealt with the disease personally or through a family member or friend. In that vein, Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post sought Karl's response to Garnett's taunts today. Here's what Karl had to say.
“My initial response is – it’s disappointing and crossing the line. I don’t know if cancer is an epidemic in our country, but we accept it as a problem and it’s a very dangerous part of life for everybody. Making fun of it, that’s part of (some people’s) sarcastic side of trash talk. … Sometimes, responsibility comes from knowing when to argue when not to – when to cross the line and when not to cross the line. So philosophically, if Kevin and I were close friends, I’d probably call him up and say, ‘I don’t think that’s right (what you said).’ But I also believe that competition makes us do things when we don’t have our total mental morality in line. We act like children at times, even coaches.”While a generally accepted code of silence among NBA players (what happens on the court, stays on the court) was broken by Villanueva, his online outburst is understandable. As for Garnett? There's no defending his alleged statements, not as an attempt to gain a competitive edge, not as "just part of the game." On this one, Garnett is not pushing the envelope like he has many times during his career, he's way off the ethical cliff. And it shouldn't take a phone call from Karl to help him understand that.
Posted on: November 3, 2010 2:54 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:25 pm
A late-night rant about Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett appeared on the Twitter account of Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva. Posted by Ben Golliver. Between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning, multiple messages appeared on the Twitter feed of Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva, who goes by @CV31 on the social networking site. Villanueva is a regular Twitter user, but these messages were different, as they were extremely negative and directed anger and frustration at Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett. A first message read, "KG talks alot of crap, he's prob never been in a fight, I would love to get in a ring with him, I will expose him." Shortly thereafter, two additional messages appeared on the account, "KG called me a cancer patient, I'm pissed because, u know how many people died from cancer, and he's tossing it like it's a joke ... I wouldn't even trip about that, but a cancer patient, I know way 2 many people who passed away from it, and I have a special place for those." Screenshots of the tweets are visible below. The Pistons played the Celtics on Tuesday night in Detroit, and Villaneuva and Garnett were both issued technical fouls after a minor confrontation late in the game. Villanueva has dealt with jokes about his appearance for years, as this 2006 SI.com article by Andrew Lawrence makes clear. Villanueva suffers from "a mysterious skin disease known as alopecia universalis," writes Lawrence, "which would slowly make him hairless." NBA players have had their Twitter accounts hacked in the past, most memorably Celtics guard Ray Allen, whose account had explicit messages posted on it. It's not immediately clear whether Villanueva was posting the messages or if his account was hacked, although shortly before the Garnett-related tweets were posted, the following message was posted: "Just landed in the ATL, we must win tomorrow, we will turn this around, I'm a believer." The Pistons, who are one of only two teams in the league that are 0-4 on the season, along with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers, play the Hawks in Atlanta on Wednesday night. Update (Wednesday): ESPN's Justin Verrier confirms that the tweets were written by Villanueva himself.
Posted on: September 29, 2010 9:28 am
Edited on: September 29, 2010 10:04 am
Davis is a baby, Brooks wants his dough, Garnett's feeling spry, and Hayward bought a new car in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore
The only exception to the "rah-rah," "happy to be back," "excited for the season to start" mantras of NBA Media Days and training camp sessions is the public extension demands. Aaron Brooks has entered that arena in full garb. Brooks told the Houston Chronicle that his contract situation is "bothering" him . Brooks is a tough spot for the Rockets . He's emerged as one of the best players on the team, and helped keep them afloat through Yao Ming 's injury. But he's also a score-first point guard who's not terribly efficient. He gets the job done, but not well enough to make it a no-brainer. Which is likely why the Rockets have decided to wait to enter discussions on an extension with him.
Donnie Walsh denied that the Knicks tampered in any way with the now-dead four-team deal proposal for Carmelo Anthony . Very quietly, the Knicks and Nets are kind of slipping into a nasty little rivalry between the two teams, one that's likely to only accelerate when the Nets move to Brooklyn.
Charlie Villanueva is actually wracked by guilt about his performance last season. It's nice to hear that from an athlete, as they typically tend to bristle and deny that they even had a bad year, or explain it away. The question is how he'll actually improve, because the things he's typically criticized for are difficult to improve upon, often considered "you have it or you don't" territory. But stranger things have happened...
Apparently Kevin Garnett is feeling spry, prompting Boston media to claim he'll be back to 2008 standards . I would consider this to fall under the category of "jinxing yourself into oblivion." Garnett was healthy enough for the Celtics to win the East. That needs to be the expectation. Anything else is failing to acknowledge the realities of the situation.
Jacque Vaughn has joined the Spurs coaching staff, and Pop thinks he's got the same qualities as Avery Johnson. The comparisons are striking to a certain degree.
Efforts for a new arena in Sacramento have hit a gigantic iron wall. Keep your eyes on the horizon for storm clouds.
Triano has no reservations about playing Barbosa at point. That's a weird thing to be discussing with both Jarret Jack and Jose Calderon on roster, making a combined eleventy billion dollars. Additionally, that seems an awful lot like a recipe for the highest turnover margin in professional basketball history.
Glen Davis is acting like a... wait for it... baby about his role with the Celtics and Doc's not particularly drawn to take care of him.
Rashard Lewis is spending more time at small forward this year. That's a pretty big move, and one that could have significant changes for how the Magic do business. The trick is that the Magic have had so much success with Lewis at the four, and a move otherwise could change their four-out, one-in approach. But it could also provide them more balance. Things are so complex.
Gordon Hayward bought a shiny new car with his contract... a Honda Accord. That's just great.