Morning Shootaround: 2009-2010 Forecast, Instilling a Defense-First Mindset, NBA's Twitter Guidelines, Replacement Refs Grumblings from a Former Piston, and Pistons Tickets

I meant to do this for the first official day of camp, but I had some other things going on and couldn't get around to it in time.  I'll run some extra suicides after practice today. 

A lot more is being discussed regarding the Pistons and that's because camp has started and the first exhibition game is just four days away.  27 days from now, we'll be talking about the Pistons opening game at Memphis.  Get ready, it'll be here faster than you know it.  In the meantime, shoot around the interwebz to read up on the team.

Balls_mediumJohn Hollinger of ESPN gives his 2009-2010 Pistons' forecast.  He admits the Pistons have added firepower, but wonders if Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton can co-exist.  In the end he has the Pistons winning 39 games and sneaking into the playoffs as the 8th seed.

Balls_mediumOne of the bigger questions during the off-season has dealt with one of the smaller Pistons.  Many fans have expressed concerns that the Pistons' No. 1 draft pick lacks the size and, in turn, strength to compete at a high level in the NBA.  His teammate, Tayshaun Prince, is exhibit-A that he can be a factor as a wiry thin forward.  A. Sherrod Blakely of MLIVE quotes Tayshaun Prince, saying that Daye's "strength factor will come, so we can't worry about that part of the problem.  But what he can do, he can help us."

Balls_medium Now that Billups, 'Sheed, and Dyess are long gone, you'd think Prince and Hamilton would step up and be the locker room leaders for the Pistons.  When Rip was asked by Dave Pemberton of the Oakland Press who the team leader is, Rip replied that his job is to go out there and lead by example, insinuating that he won't have any more of a vocal leadership role than he has in the past.  Rip went on to say, in other words, that he hates it when a player has a chance to lead by example and just yaps his trap.  Is he taking a shot at someone with that comment?

Balls_medium Patrick Hayes is previewing the Pistons players at MLIVE.  His latest preview is DaJuan Summers.  Patrick thinks Summers will get a chance to prove himself from the get go and should match up well with the smaller teams of the East like Atlanta, Washington, and Toronto among others.  Patrick has also previewed Chris Wilcox, Tayshaun Prince, Kwame Brown, Jason Maxiell, and Deron Washington already

Balls_medium John Kuester's resume and the Pistons off-season additions scream an up-tempo offensive minded team, but Kuester has shouted back all along that defense will be the main focal point of improvement during the preseason.  As he's said, and we should all know, you can't win games without getting stops.  Dan Feldman of Piston Powered breaks down the Pistons' goals and the ultimate execution in becoming a defense-first team.  The players realize it's going to be a work in progress, but appear more than willing to put in the work.  (H/T to Detroit Bad Boys)

Balls_mediumReplacement refs are on their way after the latest offer to the NBA referees was nixed.  Leave it to former Piston, Rasheed Wallace, to express his thoughts

"I know there's going to be a lot of stupid star calls like it is with the old refs, so I don't (think) there's going to be too much change," Wallace told the Boston Globe.

"I hope (they'll be fair). Of course I know they are going to come in all happy-go-lucky 'Oh I gave Sheed Wallace a tech tonight, ha ha ha.' But I could care less about that."

These replacement officials have every reason to work their tails off at being as fair as they possibly can.  These guys are fighting for jobs.  It's the equivalent to a non-guaranteed guy coming into camp and battling for his roster life.  Therefore, replacement officials really have no incentive to make star calls like we see so often with the regular refs -- it would be to their detriment.  That is, of course, assuming Stern is happy with parity, which I'm not completely convinced he is.

Balls_medium This wouldn't really be relevant to the Pistons if we didn't have a two big "tweeters" on the team this year. As Twitter continues to grow, and mainly due to Charlie Villanueva's halftime tweet last year while he was with the Bucks, the NBA has imposed their league-wide rules on social medias "during games":

The use of cell phones, PDAs and other electronic communications devices -- and thus accessing Twitter, Facebook and similar social media sites -- is now prohibited during games for players, coaches and other team personnel involved in the game.

The league has defined "during games" as the period of time beginning 45 minutes before the opening tip and ending "after the postgame locker room is open to the media and coaches and players have first fulfilled their obligation to be available to media attending the game."

"During games" also encompasses halftime, according to the memo, but the new guidelines do allow players to engage in social networking during the pregame media ccess period that starts 90 minutes before tipoff and lasts for 45 minutes

Balls_mediumIf you're interested in scoring some tickets for the Pistons this preseason, you might want to go to the open practice the Pistons are hosting on October 10th at the Palace.  In addition to providing refreshments, the Pistons will be handing out free preseason tickets.  Watching the team practice, interacting with players and coaches, and the Automotion, Hooper, and the Pistons Flight Crew perform are obviously the main events.  Practice is from 12:30-2 P.M., doors open at 11:30 A.M., and admission is free.

Balls_mediumSpeaking of tickets, individual game tickets for the regular season go on sale today at 9:00 A.M., an hour after this is posted.  Here are the highlights of the schedule:

Two home meetings against 2009 NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and the Cleveland Cavaliers (November 25 and March 16), a single-game match-up with Kobe Bryant and the NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers (December 20) and two home meetings with Dwight Howard, Vince Carter and the Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic (November 3 and January 31). Former Piston Rasheed Wallace will return to The Palace for two visits with his new team, the Boston Celtics, on January 20 and March 2, while Chauncey Billups will make his only return when the Denver Nuggets visit on December 10. Pistons guard Ben Gordon will square off against his former Chicago Bulls team twice, including a New Year’s Eve matinee tilt on December 31. Antonio McDyess and the San Antonio Spurs visit The Palace on February 21, while a late-March homestand includes games against Chicago (March 28), Miami (March 31) and Steve Nash, former Piston Grant Hill and the Phoenix Suns (April 2). The No. 1 pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, Blake Griffin, will bring his Los Angeles Clippers team to The Palace on November 27, while superstar guard Chris Paul leads the New Orleans Hornets into The Palace for their only visit on January 15. Download the entire 2009-10 schedule at www.pistons.com.

Balls_mediumHere is some trivia Dan Feldman posted on Tuesday over at Piston Powered.  How many NBA No. 1 draft picks can you name from the last 42-years?  Go here; you have ten minutes.  As I said in the comments of Dan's post, I'm only 24-years old, so I was really reeling when it came down to naming the guys drafted in the '70s, aside from the fairly obvious ones.  I managed to name 33 of the 42, but I admit I played some "guess and check" with a few.  You'll also see, if you type in strictly the last names, one name will get you two.  How many were you able to name?

Balls_medium I'm looking forward to the start of the season and getting this community built up as best as it possibly can.  I'm willing to do whatever it takes to do so.  If you guys ever have any story suggestions, questions, advertisement inquires, general concerns, etc., feel free to email me anytime at Motownstringmusic@gmail.com.

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