The Pistons host the Orlando Magic Wednesday night in another pretty much must-win game. As Packey duly updated us yesterday, here are the standings and the schedules for Detroit's 7th and 8th seed challengers. Now to some links.
Tobias Harris: 'I'm not mad at Orlando for the trade' -- Orlando Sentinel
"I'm not mad at Orlando for the trade," Harris said Tuesday. "Actually, if I was to sit here and be upset, that would be selfish, wouldn't it? All they did was put me in an amazing situation. Truthfully, I thank them for that. I mean, I loved my time there, but business is business, and I think being here has been great for me."
How Harris is getting on with Van Gundy so far:
"SportsCenter" recently aired a highlight from a game the Pistons were losing badly. In that clip, Van Gundy screamed during a timeout after his players had been awful on defense.
"He knows he can coach me, and he knows he can scream in my face," Harris said Tuesday. "But I think there's a mutual respect, because at the end of the day, when he is screaming, I'm not really hearing how loud he talks. I'm hearing what he's saying and the message. I think anytime you're a player, you've got to be able to listen to that and to hear that and to understand where it's coming from. At the end of the day, it's all coming from him trying to better me as a player."
Magic need to face reality -- Orlando Sentinel
Here on DBB and other, as SVG likes to call them, "message boards", many fans are concerned by the backup point guard situation in Detroit for not only this season but also moving forward.
In Orlando the point guard situation is much more sticky and uncertain. If Orlando feels there's a chance Elfrid Payton won't work out as a starting caliber point guard, maybe Brandon Jennings in Orlando long(er)-term makes some sense and may not be that bad of an option for both parties. At any rate, let's be thankful for Reggie Jackson and not take him for granted.
Below in bold is a positive about the Magic this season that the writer is trying to unearth:
We've seen players like Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon improve. And Nik Vucevic is still one of the most consistent centers in the league.
Oladipo has come on strong near the end of another season again. Need to see more of that all year, however. Vooch is Vooch. And, yes, Gordon has expanded his game beyond jumping over mascots. But the most ticklish subject will be the point-guard position and Elfrid Payton. It already is ticklish.
It's no secret that Payton hasn't won over coach Scott Skiles. Whether Payton's future could become a bone of contention between Skiles and GM Rob Hennigan - who moved up in the 2014 draft to pick him - could be an intriguing dynamic.
How are Brandon and Ersan fairing in Orlando?
Glad you are curious.
In 17 games with Orlando, Jennings has started five of them (all recently due to Payton's injury it seems) and has put up 7.5 points and 4.1 assists in 19.2 minutes per contest. That might seem pretty decent for a 'backup' point guard but if you look just a little closer Jennings is shooting still well below 40% from the field. That could use some work.
As for Ersan Ilyasova, he's also played in 17 games and has played almost same amount of minutes as Jennings, at 19.1. He's shooting just 38% from the floor overall, 39% from downtown and so far his rebounding per game is slightly higher than it was with Detroit when he was playing eight more minutes per game. Many Magic fans on those message boards are saying they are warming up to the idea of Ersan in a Magic uniform going forward if it's at the right price. Even Ersan's defensive mastery is earning praise on the boards as it has been written that his defense is far better than former Magic stretch fours Ryan Anderson and Channing Frye. That was written two weeks ago, so opinions could have been swayed since.
If anybody out there that has caught any Magic games recently and wants to fill us in on the eye test area of how our old buddies in their new jerseys are doing, please enlighten us.
2015 Draft is Best in Recent Years -- Basketball Insiders
Lots of good points and names from the 2015 NBA draft and also from previous drafts. Stanley Johnson is mentioned along with Mario Hezonja, Cameron Payne, Justise Winslow and a few others as potential stars in the future.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Darko Milicic living on a farm near Novi Sad
In Monday's Detroit Free Press some parts of a catch up with Darko in a Serbian publication (never too late to begin learning a foreign language, people) were "translated" and published for us English readers to enjoy.
Here are a few...
On his family (two sons and a daughter): "Children grow, thank goodness. They also have a sports gene. Sin Lazar (7) only about basketball. Would like to enroll in basketball. He says he will play in the Stars and then the NBA. "I will be better than my dad," he says. Here, I confirm, it will be better."
On the farm life: "I'm in the fruit. I took the land and nurture cherry, apple and plum. Otherwise, an ordinary man living in Serbia is difficult. But I do not like pessimism, which is expanding."
Detroit Pistons card collection: Distraction turned obsession -- DBB
Check out Jason Brunskowski's story and some of his dynamite Pistons cards!
Four in a row for the Pistons, yes or no? Yes. Though hopefully Detroit won't need any last second flick of its magic wand to secure the W. A straight drubbing would be super.