Brandon Jennings opens up on Mo Cheeks, Josh Smith
SLAM's Adam Figman wrote a piece based on an interview with both Brandon Jennings and Kenny Anderson, after whom the Detroit point guard modeled his game. The two floor generals discussed many topics, including how they adapted to the NBA, social media and answered each other's question. Here are some of the highlights:
On Mo Cheeks:
"Then once I got with [Head Coach] Mo Cheeks, Mo Cheeks was like a father figure to me because we would talk about more than just basketball. I could text Mo any hour of the day, and even today, I still talk to Mo. I've had some great coaches since I've been in the League."
On playing with Josh Smith:
Anderson: I wanted to ask you, also, because I've been rooting for you, and you came to Detroit and then you turned the corner and started balling and playing well. How do you like the fit in Detroit?
Jennings: At first it was hard. Being 5-23, nobody wants that. That was the most difficult time, because since I've been in the League, I've never had a losing record that bad, so I didn't know how to handle it. With Stan and his system and the way he likes things, they were definitely different. I had just come from a coach with Mo Cheeks that just gave me the ball and told me to go. It was definitely different, but once we made the move with Josh [Smith], I put it on myself, because I felt like it was my time.
Anderson: Let me ask you something about that. Sometimes, playing with certain players, it affects your game. I didn't like playing with certain players. Being a point guard, sometimes—maybe it's a 2-guard or a 3 or a 4-man—someone else can hinder your game. And I thought Josh Smith affected your game a little bit. What do you think?
Jennings:Well the thing about it was every time I would come off the pick-and-roll, the team would trap me, because the scouting report was to get the ball out of my hands. It was tough at times because I need the ball to make plays and things like that. It was just at a time when our record was bad, so everybody was feeling down. Everybody was like, This is not gonna work, we need to do something else. It was everybody. We were all just like, Yo, something's gotta change, because it's either me or it's Coach or it's—everybody was pointing a finger instead of trying to come together. I feel like once we made that move, I felt like it was in me to just go now. Just go. I feel like once the Josh Smith situation happened, it gave everybody else another opportunity. We were able to really do what we wanted to do.
Read the rest of the piece here. It's definitely worth a read.
With news that the Pistons could target a power forward in the draft to replace Greg Monroe, Sporting News' Sean Deveney reports that Detroit could be interested in pursuing the Atlanta Hawks' DeMarre Carroll. The 28-year-old Alabama native is coming off the best season of his career, averaging 12.6 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting .487/.395/.702 for Mike Budenholzer's Hawks. In the playoffs, the forward has averaged 15.4 points and 6.1 rebounds, and shot an outstanding 41.3% from three.
According to Deveney, the Pistons will have to compete with the Celtics and Lakers for the forward's services, and Atlanta is also expected to offer Carroll a substantial pay raise. Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons have made their offseason intentions clear as they look to shore up both forward spots during the draft and free agency. Caron Butler, Quincy Miller and Cartier Martin are the only small forwards still tethered to Detroit as they enter the draft, and DeMarre would prove to be an upgrade over all three of them. His size (6'8", 212 lbs) and versatility mean he could easily man both forward positions for Detroit like he has for Atlanta, and his outside stroke would fill a need for a Pistons squad that shipped out some of its best shooters at the trade deadline.
Deveney claims an unnamed NBA executive has indicated that Carroll's next contract may start in the $15 million per year range, although Hoops Rumor's Chuck Myron believes the forward's price tag will likely be between $8-9 million. The Hawks hold his Early Bird Rights and can only put forward a $6 million/year contract before having to go over the cap to sign him.
Grant Long looking to join the NBA's coaching circuit
A familiar face for anyone who watched the Pistons on Fox Sports Detroit, and even more so if you watched him in a Pistons uni during his short stint in Motown, Grant Long has decided to take the next step in his career. The analyst has decided to pursue his dream of coaching in the NBA, per The Detroit News' Terry Foster:
"I know I am not ready to be a head coach, but I feel in time I will," Long said. "That is why I want to be an assistant first. I know the game. I can convey it to players to make them better. I can motivate people and can relate to younger players."
"What's odd is when I was playing I heard all the time from coaches what a wonderful coach you would make," Long said. "And when I finished playing I got nothing. Sometimes it's just lip service until you get in."
Long played for five different teams during his 15-year career, the 6-foot-8 forward retired following the 2003 season, and has been an analyst since 2008, when he started covering the Oklahoma City Thunder. He began covering the Pistons for Fox Sports Detroit in 2014. An Eastern Michigan product, Long has completed the NBA's coaching program, coached three pre-draft camps and once coached the Nets' Summer League team. With many front offices looking to re-tool their coaching staff this offseason, Grant may get an offer to join the NBA's sidelines as an assistant coach after frequenting them both as a player and sideline reporter.
Tweet of the Week
Brandon Jennings said physical therapist Arnie Kander speculates he could be back by August and could be ready by camp. #Pistons— Vincent Ellis (@Vincent_Ellis56) May 19, 2015