I'll be adding links throughout the evening -- let's kick things off with a live chat at Pistons.com, currently being moderated by 97.1's Matt Dery. (Update: And ... the chat is over. But you can still check out the link to read what you missed.)
- Several Pistons players chatted with fans earlier in the day -- Packey grabbed the highlights at Motown String Music, including this from Chucky Atkins:
Q: Chucky!! How do you think the long ball will treat ya in 09-10? (From Adam)
CA: The Long ball is better than ever! i ve had a great summer and had a lot of practice after 2yrs of injuries so its feel good
Q: What can you bring to the Pistons the second time around (From Scott)
CA: well the 2nd time around i bring more experience...i'm alot more patient and i'm seasoned...i've gotten better in every aspect of my game especially the mental part and i relish the challenge of being the leader and mentor that this team needs
- Speaking of Atkins, both he and Maceo Baston have been added to the official training camp roster, which features 16 players. Atkins and Baston are fighting for the same roster spot, which may not even exist -- like many teams are expected to do, the Pistons may opt to carry 14 men into the regular season, one fewer than the league's limit.
Dave Pemberton of the Oakland Press with some choice quotes from Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton:
"We got a lot of guys who can score the basketball," Tayshaun Prince said. "Obviously, each and every season defense is the key. I think the game has changed a lot since we won in ’04 and went to the Finals in back-to-back years. But I still think defense wins when it comes crunch time in the playoffs. I’m pretty sure coach and the rest of the staff and (my) teammates know we can score the basketball, but what’s going to be important for us is defense and rebounding, especially since we are going to have some guys playing the 4 that are really 3s at times. Having smaller lineups and what not. Defense and rebounding are going to be huge."
[...] "If you look at our team and look at our roster, man for man offensively we can hold it down with anybody," Hamilton said. "I think in order for us to be great we are going to have to do what we do on defense and that’s stop people. I think every guy on this team can do that. I just think from Day 1, we all have to be on the same page and know where guys are at and helping each other out, things like that."
I like their commitment to defense, but I'm not sure why Prince and Hamilton think they're some kind of offensive juggernaut -- Detroit's offense actually ranked in the league's bottom third in terms of offensive efficiency, not to mention second to last in terms of offensive pace.
Obviously signing offensive-minded free agents like Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva and swapping Curryball for Q-ball will help, but it's far too early to take anything for granted. This team has much to prove on both sides of the ball, not just on defense.
- More from Pemberton: Ben Wallace talks about why he returned to Detroit:
"I was pretty much retired," Wallace said. "I know what I can do in this league and I know what I’ve done in this league. It’s one of those things where I thought I was closer to the end than the beginning. … I just figured if I was going to retire this would be a good place for me to retire."
- And ... even more from Pemberton, except this time I'll simply provide the link and won't pilfer his quotes. But check out that piece for Rip and Gordon talking about happily co-existing, Kuester on how he expects to use the two of them and why Will Bynum was briefly hospitalized last week. The Oakland Press has a notoriously difficult-to-navigate web site, so bookmark Pemberton's blog and follow him on Twitter.
- From Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News, Rip Hamilton isn't dwelling on the past:
"Everybody knows it was crazy," Hamilton said Monday at the Pistons Media Day, a kickoff to the 2009-10 season. "You can't dwell on the past. It can only make you stronger. I accept it. Take it face on, and live and learn from it."
- From A. Sherrod Blakely at MLive, Rodney Stuckey is taking the same approach:
Rodney Stuckey, on whether he was overwhelmed at times last season in dealing with the Richard Hamilton and Allen Iverson drama, coupled with then-head coach Michael Curry wanting him to be more aggressive. "Yeah. That pretty much sums up the whole season last year. I was overwhelmed, confused. But hey, it’s part of growing up and being a man. That’s how it’s going to be sometimes. I think a lot of guys are happy that’s in the past, and we’re just looking ahead to the future."
- Everyone is expecting Stuckey to take another step forward this year, but it'll be interesting to see if he'll continue to struggle playing with Ben Gordon, who certainly seems like he fancies himself a point guard:
"Our games are really different," Gordon said. "Me playing with the basketball in my hand, and Rip coming off screens. He's one of the best shooters in the league. When you have shooters like myself and Rip in the backcourt, it's tough to deal with.
I don't think it'll be a huge issue, but when you toss in how well Will Bynum looked at the end of the year, there are going to be more than a few games that Stuckey starts on the court and finishes on the bench. Stay tuned.
- Speaking of Bynumite ... he caught John Hollinger's eye (In$ider link), as well:
The Palace Guards are no longer a tandem, but make no mistake: This remains a backcourt-dominant team. The Pistons will get most of their scoring from the trio of Stuckey, Hamilton and Gordon in the backcourt, with each offering different pieces of the puzzle. Stuckey is a demon off the dribble who can carve up defenses with his penetration and strength at the basket. Hamilton is the off-the-ball ace who torments defenders with his non-stop cutting and running and frees himself for mid-range Js. And Gordon is the gunslinger off the bench, a 3-point ace who fills a niche for a Pistons team that rarely tried the long ball a year ago. Let's add another name to the list as well: Will Bynum. I didn't mention him earlier, but he was the one pleasant surprise in a largely disappointing Detroit season. Believe it or not, he led the team in PER while earning the league minimum, and he's contracted to make the same again this year. It's unclear how much daylight he'll see behind the three minor stars in front of him, especially if the Pistons are unwilling to play small with Hamilton at the 3, but for however long they need him, Bynum will provide one of the best fourth guards in basketball.
- Take a close look at the blue piping around the back of Ben Gordon's neck in this picture -- nice little tribute to Bill Davidson there. (Kudos to PistonsNation for picking up on that, which was also confirmed by Vince Ellis.) Also check out the "CD" patch honoring Chuck Daly on the front in the pic below, which is courtesy the team's official Twitpic account:
- Speaking of links swiped from PistonsNation, let me present this from the Kansas City Star, without comment or context:
Picture this: NBA player Rasheed Wallace, a Derrick Thomas jersey and a prosthetic leg. That was the scene in the lobby Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. Wallace, wearing a No. 58 Chiefs jersey, tossed a man’s prosthetic leg back and forth.
- Last but not least, a reminder that preseason game No. 1 is less than a week away -- Monday, Oct. 5 against the Heat. Be sure to mark your calendar, because it appears only the first and last preseason games will be televised before the regular season.
For as long as the offseason seemed to drag, is anyone else surprised how quickly the season snuck up?