The Pistons conducted media day on Monday and held their first official practice of training camp this morning, so there's a slew of good articles out there. Before I dive in, though, I wanted to mention that I made a cameo at Empty the Bench today, answering a whole bunch of questions as part of their entertaining Scribes of the NBA interview series.
Rasheed Wallace approves of Michael Curry:
Wallace, who clashed with Saunders, says Curry has the respect of the players despite his lack of head coaching experience.
"It's definitely a good change to me at the helm," he said. "Everyone's hungry, especially the younger guys. Just playing with them since the beginning of August up here in the practice facility, I've seen the hunger in a lot of the guys' eyes and that's always good to have."
- Rasheed also appeared on WDFN's Stoney and Wojo show and didn't hold back dumping on Flip Saunders. You can listen to the whole segment here, but here are some highlights:
"No, he wasn't (tough enough). In my opinion, he wasn't. He let too many things slide. And that goes as far as myself, and what some of my teammates have done. With L.B. (Larry Brown), I think really, honestly, it was a respect level. Everyone respected Larry. Even though then, we had more of a veteran team, but everyone respected Larry, and everyone respects Mike now."
Why does Curry get his automatic respect even though he's a first-year coach? Because he played the game. He also added this:
"If you mess up a guy's desk and throw coffee on it every day and he doesn't do anything to stop you, are you going to respect him?"
That's all well and good, but if you're messing up a guy's desk and throwing coffee on it every day, why should he respect you? I recommend listening to the whole thing - it's pretty entertaining.
- Antonio McDyess was stuck in Houston for Hurricane Ike, but fortunately came out unscathed:
"That was the worst thing I ever went through," said McDyess, who lives in Houston during the offseason. "And the crazy thing about it, the airport was open to 6 p.m. So me and my wife, we had a flight at 12 p.m. They closed the airport down at 10, so we had to go back home. I had never seen nothing like that in my life."
- Speaking of McDyess, Vince Ellis of the Free Press notes how he was more productive in the past coming off the bench:
During the 2004-05 season, McDyess’ first with the Pistons, he only started seven games, but put up 598 shots in less than 1,800 minutes. Last season, he started 78 games and logged just under 2,300 minutes. His shot total? Try 600 — just two shots more than his first season with the Pistons.
- The Free Press has a nice gallery of pictures from media day, including a shot of Rip Hamilton's absolutely incredible offseason beard. Sadly, Rip told the media he was shaving before today's practice, but not before Jason Maxiell seemed to take a shot at Rip's hairline:
Jason Maxiell, a man of few words, was among those cracking on Rip's long beard. "I have no idea what he's doing," Maxiell said. "Maybe it (hair) can grow up top now."
- Speaking of Max, no news yet on his contract:
"We're just talking; there's nothing going on there yet," Maxiell said. "I am not going to focus on that now. Either way, I am coming back, so I just have to get ready for this training camp."
If he can't get a new deal by October 31, he'll become a restricted free agent next summer.
- Okay, one more Max nugget:
One of the main purposes of media day, which just wrapped up at the Pistons’ practice facility, is allowing all the major media outlets – the area’s newspapers, TV and radio stations, the NBA and The Palace’s TV production department – to get pictures and video clips of the players in their uniforms.
While Jason Maxiell was wielding a sledgehammer for the Pistons’ TV and in-arena uses, the business end of it flew off, crashed to the basketball court and skidded a good 40 feet away. Not too many minutes before that, Chauncey Billups had just emerged from the locker room at right about the spot where Maxiell’s runaway sledgehammer crash landed.
- Chauncey Billups on sharing the backcourt with Rodney Stuckey (same link as above):
"It really enhances everything," he said. "You’ve got another guy out on the court who can make plays, get to the paint and distribute and do the things that for the last five, six years, I’ve been pretty much the only one out there who can get into the paint and create for everybody else. There are going to be times when we both are going to be out there and it causes havoc trying to play against two guys like that for the other team."