Jackson: "I don't believe there necessarily is a ceiling (for the team)"
As if you needed more hype for the NBA season to get underway, Reggie Jackson has expressed his excitement at getting into the groove of the regular season during an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio, per Brian Manzullo of the Detroit Free Press:
"I don't believe there necessarily is a ceiling," Jackson said. "We can go as far as we want. But it's really going to come from internal growth as a team. Not just in skills but mentally, as well, and being ready for the burden of the season.
"Just stay motivated through the season. Like I said, it's a long, 6- to 9-month season, so you've got to stay locked in, stay geared, you're going to have your ups and downs, going to have your tough times, but you gotta rely upon everybody in the organization, especially the teammates that get you through it. You gotta be mentally tough and, if we can check each other, then I think we can have another great year ... and have an even better year."
A better year should definitely be in the cards, with the team retooling over the offseason and becoming more lethal off the bench, the Pistons are in for what should be a very entertaining season, unless that is you believe what the 'experts' are saying. The addition of Boban Marjanovic, Ish Smith and Jon Leuer definitely bolsters the depth in the second unit, and should help Detroit push for a second playoff appearance in as many years, something Jackson says has been driving the team since their first round exit to the Cavaliers last season.
"Once you get a taste of (the playoffs), you want more," Jackson said. "I know going into the playoffs last year, myself, I was the only starter who had been in the playoffs. And just seeing the expressions of the guys throughout being there, seeing how they handled the playoffs, even though it was a short, four-game stretch, I think we were ready.
"I think we got a lot of experience out of it. Seeing the glare in everybody's eyes. They wanted more. They definitely wanted more."
With several teams in the East going through various stages of roster reshuffling, Motown is in the right position to capitalize on their mix of youth and experience to overtake some of the stagnating organizations in their Conference. Its good to hear the players are hungry for more playoff appearances, as they continue to grow in what could become a classic Eastern powerhouse team.
Stan Van Gundy expecting players to be in shape prior to start of camp
Fitness wins games, and the fitter the team is prior to the season, the better the odds of a better start, better performance and a reduced risk of injury. So if the players could report to camp fit and ready to roll, it would make SVG a very happy coach. Per the Freep's Perry A. Farrell:
"The thing we've tried to impress upon the players is coming back in great shape,'' Van Gundy said this week. "Hopefully, over the course of the summer. And I think they have. We've been out and seen them all. Hopefully, they're all working and will have made improvements in some areas of their game.''
Several Pistons were active on the hardwood during the summer, rookie Michael Gbinije and a top-knot adorned Aron Baynes represented their respective countries at the Rio Olympics (the latter was even robbed of the chance to win a medal). Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Stanley Johnson both partook in some offseason training with the USA Select Team, with Johnson going a step further and participated in the Drew League with teammate Andre Drummond playing on different squads. Marcus Morris also spent some time on the court, playing alongside his brother Markieff and James Harden at the Philadelphia-based Rumph Classic.
Additionally, the entire team spent some time doing more team building exercises prior to the start of camp, as they'd done the previous year, in what seems to have become a team tradition. Its refreshing to see a team spend so much time together off the court, with their chemistry building up and helping them become a cohesive unit on the court.
Rasheed Wallace shows he could transition into successful music career
Ball Don't Lie? MC Sheed? Goin' to Work? So many potential stage names could work out for Wallace should he decide to pick up a mic. Courtesy of SLAM, watch Sheed drop a freestyle as part of the #SoFarGoneChallenge.
Tweet of the Week