• Joe Dumars on making trades before seeing what the Pistons can do when they're healthy:
"It's hard to say what you have when you've had your team for just two games," Dumars said. "You don't know about your team. It's not like we've had our full complement of players and we have the record (15-28) we have. "You don't know if you are a playoff team or not. So you don't talk about making trades."
[...] "You have to play with each other for a full stretch before you can get a feel for exactly how your team plays," Dumars said. "That's what I am trying to say. I think it would be premature to do something right now."
As eager as I am to see him pull the trigger at the trade deadline, he's right -- there have been only a scant handful of games that all key players have been available. But most of the injuries have been suffered by wings -- you don't need to see a healthy four-guard rotation to realize this team desperately needs a post presence.
(Random side note: I'm going to save my daily rant about already knowing the Pistons are not a "playoff team" and assume he simply means he doesn't know if this team can be a "playoff-caliber team," as in, capable of beating legitimate contenders on any given night when mostly healthy and in sync, regardless of whether the Pistons advance to the postseason or not.)
• Then again, what's it matter if players have missed time if they don't even try when they're healthy. That's John Kuester's beef:
"It bothers me when both rookies and veterans don’t give it everything that they have. I know we’re capable of it. I’ve seen it at times. We’ve had some of our numbers down, but whoever we put on the floor has to play with a certain amount of passion for us to be successful. Against Boston, we didn’t have a good first half, but we came out and played with a lot of emotion."
• Will Bynum on being injured the season before what should be the first big contract of his career:
"It's tough. I've been waiting on this opportunity my whole life," he said. "To be here and get hurt like this, it's tough."
• Speaking of Bynum, MLive's Chris Iott says he and Ben Gordon are game-time decisions tonight. Don't hold your breath -- Gordon suggested after yesterday's practice that he would play things safe, and Bynum doesn't sound like he's 100%, either:
"I can deal with the soreness, that's not anything," Bynum said. "It's just the sharp pains that I feel when I'm cutting, or defensively when I'm up pressuring the ball, or offensively when somebody's pressuring me. That's just been the problem."
"They both play with energy," Kuester said. "As we've found out the hard way, it takes time."
Memphis struggled early in the season while dealing with distractions from guard Allen Iverson before the two parties agreed to terminate his contract. The Grizzlies started the season 1-8 (.111), but they are 23-11 (.676) since and hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the tough Western Conference.
To put that in perspective, .676 is the equivalent of 55+ wins over 82 games -- and if the Griz won at that pace from Day 1, they'd be the No. 3 seed in the West. Don't sleep on the Griz.
• Charlie Villanueva may or may not have attacked some guy in 2008. The case has already been thrown out once, but -- surprise, surprise -- the guy filed a second complaint and is still hoping to get paid.
• Depending on your point of view, Joe Dumars knows a thing or two about bad contracts, but he's hardly the NBA's worst offender. Patrick Hayes examines the entire league, ranking the worst.
• Speaking of potentially bad contracts, Dan Feldman at PistonPowered.com points out how Dumars seems to have inadvertently admitted Gordon and Villanueva had all the leverage last summer, giving them inflated deals at the expense of waiting for a better bargain. When reading that (and I suggest you do), also realize that Dumars not only spent the most money, but also spent it the fastest.
• And ... speaking of PistonPowered, check out Feldman's nifty composite report card, combining midseason grades from the best of the Detroit's traditional and new media.