Morning Shootaround: Monroe ready to 'take over,' Celtics are Pistons deja-vu, Jerebko overshadowed by Lin

Calm, steady Greg Monroe ready to 'take over' Pistons, Ben Wallace says | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com
High praise for Monroe from the soon to be departed Ben Wallace:

"Everybody coming in (to the Pistons' franchise) after him will look up to him," Wallace said.

"When I'm gone, he'll be the leader. "He's ready to take over now."

Joe Dumars trying to get Pistons back up to speed - The Boston Globe
Read the whole thing, but here is an excerpt:

Dumars shares a similarity with former rival Danny Ainge, who is trying to determine when to officially end the Big Three Era. Dumars perhaps hung on too long to Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace but eventually had to move his aging veterans and spend a couple of years in the draft lottery.

"Probably around ’09 is when I started to see it,'’ Dumars said. "You started seeing us slow down, and we knew we’ve got to rebuild the foundation and start getting a younger base of guys because those teams had a tremendous run.

"Once you see the run starting to fray and lose its legs, then you have to face the reality. We went to six straight conference finals, and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that, and I was fine with acknowledging that."

Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight look like future Pistons building blocks | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
Joe Dumars says that Monroe still has some work to do before being mentioned as one of the NBA's best big men. But, Dumars says, Monroe is definitely headed "in the right direction."

Midseason Report Team Grades: Cream rising - CBSSports.com
It should surprise no one that the Pistons are not high on many first-half recap lists.

Detroit Pistons (11-23)

The Pistons are playing much better basketball as of late, winning seven of 10. But still this has been another colossally disappointing season. Remember how the Pistons were once a team contending for the East? You know what's weird about that? That was happening as of just five years ago. But it feels like the Pistons have been bad for a long time. That's where it's at for Detroit. Save for a better stretch early on, it's been another bad year for the Pistons. Horrible attendance, fan apathy and worst of all, there really doesn't appear to be a path out right now.

GRADE: D

Midseason report: Cuban view on teams troubling; LeBron's MVP - NBA - CBSSports.com News, Scores, Stats, Fantasy Advice
"Biggest disappointment: Detroit Pistons. Not that much more could have been expected. It's just sad to see a proud franchise stuck like this, with little means to get out of it. Also, with Lawrence Frank at the helm, I didn't expect them to defend this poorly."

The Point Forward " Posts Biggest surprises, disappointments and more midseason evaluations "
Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe had positive and negative comments for the Pistons. For best offseason/inseason move, an honorable mention:

Detroit and Philadelphia brought back Rodney Stuckey and Thaddeus Young, respectively, on decent long-term deals.

And for worst offseason/inseason move, a dishonorable mention:

  • The Pistons gave Tayshaun Prince a four-year, $28 million contract, a deal I liked at the time and still don't really hate.

And Jonas Jerebko makes John Hollinger's list of quality players with little to no expectations being overshadowed by Jeremy Lin. (In$ider required):

It doesn't quite have the same cachet as being the league's first prominent Asian-American, but the league's first Swede is also having a nice season in unexpected circumstances. Recovering from a torn Achilles that knocked him out all of last season, Jerebko hasn't skipped a beat. His numbers are virtually identical to those he put up as a rookie except better, given that (a) he's doing it with more touches and (b) offense in the league as a whole is way down.

GORDON CONFIRMS COMMITMENT TO GB | Sporting Life | Cycling, Rallying, Athletics, MotoGP
And while Pistons fans don't have a whole lot of love for Ben Gordon right now, basketball fans in Great Britain are ready to embrace him. Gordon says he is fully committed to playing for Great Britain in the 2012 summer Olympics, which will be held in London.

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