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Friday moring layup drill: The Gilbert Arenas show arrives in Detroit (okay… Auburn Hills)

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  • Keith Langlois has an interesting column on Amir Johnson's positive attitude at Pistons.com; one paragraph sticks out for me:

    By now Dumars was more than intrigued. But the Pistons went into the 2005 draft with two late second-round picks and didn’t think there was any way Johnson, a McDonald’s All-American who had committed to Louisville’s Rick Pitino, would last that long. In fact, they knew of another Eastern Conference team for whom Johnson worked out that very nearly took him in the first round. But they wound up plucking Johnson with the 56th pick, delighted at their luck.

    Thus far, Piston fans have been relatively silent regarding Johnson's (lack of) playing time for the big club -- the prevailing opinion being that he is still too raw, and will gradually work his way into the lineup when he can help the team. I wonder if this would be the case had Johnson been a first-round pick; if Flip Saunders' rotation -- and Amir, himself -- would have been subject to the biting scrutiny normally associated with a first round choice.

    Darko Milicic was younger than Amir Johnson when he entered the league as the second pick overall in 2003, and expectations were immediately high. (Remember: "The only thing that could destroy a kid like that is a woman.") I wonder... Is Amir's continuing positive attitude partially a result of a pressure-free development? Was Darko's timid listlessness made worse by the pains of great expectations? Who knows, but it would be incredibly poetic if the Pistons did draft and develop their star teenage big man after all -- just two years and 54 picks later than expected.

  • Former Wolverine Robert "Tractor" Traylor faces up to 14 months in prison. This has nothing to do with his career as a Wolverine, but it reflects upon the team nonetheless (mainly as a reminder of its sordid past).

    Even the most die-hard of Michigan hoops fans have to understand why athletic director Bill Martin is willing to accept the underwhelming, mediocre teams of the Tommy Amaker era in exchange for the drama-plagued, occasionally successful teams of previous regimes. What is happening at Crisler Arena right now is a cleansing. At some point, M hoops will rise again, and they'll be far enough detached from their cancerous past to build it up right.

  • Your Friday Gilbert Arenas update, courtesy of his blog on NBA.com

    [On the Phoenix Suns, who destroyed the Wizz earlier this week.]
    That team doesn’t talk trash.

    Truthfully, they’re not worried about defense. They’re whole motto for the last couple years is, "we’re going to outscore you." And that’s what they do.

    [On tonight's and next week's matchup against the Pistons.]
    They got Webber down there.

    I know they’re anxious about playing games and getting him situated in that system, but we gotta keep playing at the level we’re playing at – that high-energy level.

    They’re a much older team that we’re going to see, but we know they want to run – they proved it all last year – so we just gotta keep running and hopefully we can come out with the wins because we’re playing there and back here in Washington.

  • Ummm... I really should just go ahead and add Knickerblogger to my RSS reader. Then I could avoid awkward mix-ups like this.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE (courtesy of the Oakland Press and corroborated by the Pistons official site): Gametime for tonight's tilt against the 'Zards has been changed to 7:00pm. Set your tivos accordingly.