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Notes from the open practice

I couldn't attend last night's open practice at Oakland University, but DBB reader Diablo was there. Just like last year, he was gracious enough to share his impressions in the comments, which I've re-published below:

2nd Annual Pistons' Open Practice @ Oakland University.

One word: Impressive.

[...] Walter Herrmann and Walter Sharpe stole the show. Both guys can play some serious ball (offensively) and would be nice additions coming off the bench to rest the legs of Tayshaun Prince. Unfortunately, both play the same position. So I can expect both these players fighting tooth and nail to get every minute that the Prince leaves behind.

Positive: Sharpe is surprisingly taller than I expected, can shoot the 3, evidence to the unexpected shoot-out between him Herrmann. He also showed signs of athletism with attempts to throw down missed shot attempts and trying to dunk on 7'1 Cheikh Samb. And like mentioned above, the guy is confident with his shot (very shocking), even with a man and a hand in his face. Also, yelling out for the ball with Herrmann all over him in the post, shows you he really wants to be apart of offense.

Negative: Walter Sharpe struggled defensively getting to spots late and leaving people open. Having a defensive coach like Mike Curry should help him along the way but if he wants to be taken seriously this year as a rotation player, he needs to pick up the defense quickly.

Positive: Herrmann. Wide open or covered, the guy was just lethal. Hitting 3s when given any room and when covered well, he took it to the hole fearlessly. Back and forth, him and Sharpe really battled it out. I feel like Herrmann is taking some serious steps to get every minute Tayshaun leaves behind and maybe some at the 4. And if I had to pick between Herrmann or Sharpe, it would be Herrmann by a hair, he was just a tad more consistent.

Negative: He just could not get a good defensive grasp on Walter Sharpe’s offensive style. Don’t know why but it seemed like Herrmann never seen Sharpe play before today. Whatever it is, I know Herrmann can be a solid defender and I’m not too worried about it, since he answered on the other end with something of his own, most of the time.

"Competition brings out the best," lets hope this is the case between Herrmann and Sharpe.

Positive: The emergence of Rodney Stuckey. Easily, Easily...EASILY, could take over a starting spot at the 1 or 2. Last year, I talked about how Stuckey wasn't that great of a jump-shooter. Let me tell you, the jumpshot looks to be coming around which was a main concern for most Piston fans. No long-range shooting attempts tonight but why need to, when you are nailing almost every mid-range jumper and cutting through the defense to the hoop with ease. Simply put, Stuckey looked great and consistent, scary.

Negative: No. 3, had no 3s. Nothing to worry about, he is showing he is trying to perfect a certain part of his game (which it shows) before he extends out to other parts of the floor.

Positive: Amir Johnson. Active. Rebounding. Blocking shots (most notable, the one he threw half way across the court on Alex Acker). I'm still not sold on Amir getting the starting spot but he looked comfortable and well controlled with Rasheed next to him. He had a couple big dunks, one from a turnover and I believe the other one from being left wide-open in paint.

Negative: He didn't create too much offense for himself but never really had a chance. With Rodney Stuckey, Rip Hamilton (somtimes), Rasheed Wallace, and a surprising Walter Sharpe on your team, he was bound to be left out of the offensive play calling.

Positive: Alex Acker, another confident shooter. Wasn't as consistent as Herrmann and Sharpe from long-range but he showed he will take the shot given the opportunity. The guy can also play a little PG, which is nice to know, since he is a bigger guard we might be able to use that in certain situations.

Positive: Will Bynum, a "Lindsey Hunter clone" as far as being the smallest guy on the court and willing to get in the face of bigger guards like Billups and Stuckey on defense. Not as crafty as Hunter but will stick to his man, unfortunately, his height is a disadvantage because Stuckey really took advantage of it. If not aware, the guy is pretty fast, has a good handle of the ball and can naturally take it to the hole. Ask Rasheed what he thought of trying to defend the circus shot Bynum put up over him with the foul. He will probably say "it was Lucky" but it was still nice. :D

Negative: Both Acker and Bynum will probably be 15th and 14th men but knowing most of you, this would be a positive.

Positive: KWA-MAY Brown! (Stephen A. Smith style) With a reduced role and reduced minutes, holds less responsibility than being considered the next KG. I can see him fitting in well, filling in as a 5th big man for defensive purposes. He guarded Rasheed and anyone that was put on him well. As long as no one expects him to explode on to the scene (like the other organizations he was with) I think he will do just fine.

Negative: Passes too much. Most of you might see this as a positive but when you have good position in the post I wish you would make an attempt to make a basket. He even has some good post moves but doesn't use them to his advantage. He will make a good post move but when you think he would put up a shot, he would awkwardly pass it out to the perimeter or Mcdyess (who was paired with him). I hope he grows out of this, quickly.

Also, shame on those who booed the guy when he was introduced.

Positive: Cheikh Samb, rebounding, knocking down some jumpers, and being a big body were his advantages.

Negative: Didn't seem to enforce his will on offense but the team he was on was usually the weakest offensively. So the offense really didn't set up plays for him. Not too disappointing for me because I'm not a person who has his hopes up on him.

Negative: Arron Afflalo. Where were you man? I felt defensively he did his job as best as a second year player could do. But offensively, it just wasn't his night. Missed open shots, caught traveling, and missed a couple free throws. The season hasn't started yet, let's hope Aaron finds his groove somewhere from now and October 29th.

I didn't want to evaluate Maxiell because we already know what to expect from him (I consider him a starter). But he did what I expected from him and that was solid D with some thunderous dunks. And if it wasn't for a hard foul by Rasheed Wallace, Rasheed would of got eaten alive.

Matt W. I would of took some pictures but I forgot my camera and my phone's camera kind sucks. I had a couple friends with me and they were taking pictures, I will see if they have any pictures I can share with all you.

Any other questions or concerns about the Open Practice, just ask and I will answer.