Morning Shootaround: Moral Victories Don't Exist ... Right?

Joe Dumars in one of his fireside chats with Keith Langlois:

KL: Injuries aside, and I know that’s a big one, is there anything about this season that’s disappointed you?

JD: There’s only one thing – we’re used to winning more than we are now. We’re used to winning games that we’ve lost this year. That’s disappointing. No matter if you’re going through a transition or not, you’re not going to feel good about that. You’re not going to say, oh well, we’re going through a transition, it’s OK. No, it’s not OK. So if there’s anything I can say, it’s that we don’t like losing. No matter what the situation is, no matter if you’re going through a transition and no matter if you’re hurt, it doesn’t matter. We never show up and say well, we’re going through a transition and we’re hurt and we have a lot of guys out, so it doesn’t feel as bad. Yes it does. It feels just as bad as it did four years ago, five years ago, three years ago. It feels just as bad, because mentally and emotionally, you can’t allow yourself to get to the point where it’s OK. No matter what the excuse is, it’s not OK.

He's right: losing is never OK. Except for, apparently, when it is. John Kuester after Wednesday's loss to the Grizzlies:

"We played almost 48 minutes," Kuester said. "I was pleased. I was pleased that we started to head in the right direction. We worked hard. I have no complaints about that.

I'm poking fun, but Kuester is mostly right. Packey already came through with the recap so I'll keep this short, but consider this: the Pistons took more shots, converted at a higher percentage, tallied three times as many assists (30) as turnovers (10), held a 33-4 advantage in bench scoring ... and still lost by six.

How is that possible? For one, the Grizzlies shot 26-28 (92.8%) from the charity stripe, an order of magnitude better than Detroit's 11-19 (57.8%). It happens. If the Pistons keep doing most of what they did on Wednesday, they'll be headed in the right direction -- and considering how direction-less this team looks at time, that works for the time being.

• Speaking of silver linings, at least we'll be able to see one Pistons play during All-Star weekend. As previously noted, Jonas Jerebko has been selected to play in the Rookie-Sophomore Game. From MLive:


"He gives you those extra possessions, those 50-50 loose balls," Kuester said. "He's the type of player who just has a way of finding the basketball. You need those type players on your team.

"Here's a guy 6-10, he runs the court every time, not once or twice, runs it every time, defends every time, tries to do things right, and even when he makes mistakes, he's trying to cover up by his effort to try to get back into the play."

As a second-round pick, Jerebko was not a lock to make the Pistons roster when training camp started. His goals have changed as the season has progressed.

"First off, I came into the NBA just wanting to have a roster spot," Jerebko said. "Then, when playing time came, I wanted to get regular playing time. When playing time came, you want to do something else. Goals always change, you know?

"This was a goal of mine to make the rookie All-Star team, so I'm happy."

I'm guessing that was one of Austin Daye's goals, as well -- and sitting with a DNP-CD on the same day Jerebko was honored must have felt like salt in his wounded ego.

• There's been a lot of negative chatter lately about bad contracts, but who are some of the best (non-rookie or soon to expire) contracts in the NBA? Empty the Bench lists their top eight long-term deals.

• Another positive note: while league attendance is down, it's not down nearly as much as the NBA feared. Then again, the Pistons' (self-reported) attendance figures puts them among the league's top-10, so take those numbers with a grain of salt.

• As bad as the Pistons have been lately, as least they have two guaranteed wins in their next five by facing the Nets twice, right? Ah, not so fast: the Nets picked up their first win of 2010 with a blowout over the Clippers.

And with that, feel free to get all open thready, won't you?

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