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Conversations with DBB: Justin Lambregtse and Rban

Discussing Pistons fandom, hobbies, and what their expectations are for next season

Justin Lambregtse (Pistons fan, DBB writer): I guess I will get this started with a pretty general question. How did you become a fan of the Pistons?

Rban (Pistons fan, DBB commenter): Well I was born in New Brunswick Canada, my cousin got me into the NBA as he was a Celtics and Pistons fan and I really took to the whole Bad Boys era, being the gritty and tough squad and at the time I hated M.J so watching him hit the hardwood over and over really cemented my love for everything Piston related.

Are you a Michigan native? Grew up loving them?

JL: I was actually born in California. I moved to Ohio when I was about 3, so I never really got into sports while living in California so I have no attachment to the teams out there. I just started getting an interest in basketball while living in Ohio, and I grew up about 30 minutes from Akron, where LeBron James went to high school. All of his high school's games were televised and you had to pre-purchase tickets in order to even go to one of his games. I saw him play a few times and when he was drafted by the Cavaliers I started rooting for them, although I was only about 6 so I did not have a full grasp on all the aspects of basketball. I moved to Michigan in April of 2004, right around the time the Playoffs were starting. As my interest in basketball was starting to grow, I decided to start watching the Pistons because they were the local team. It helped that they were also really good. I guess I was kind of a ban-wagon Pistons fan, but I was still so young and I did not have an attachment to any team at this point. I have always been somebody who just supports the local teams.

I watched every playoff game with my dad and fell in love with Ben Wallace. Once I started watching the Pistons I was hooked. I would watch them quite a bit, but I never planned my day around watching like I do now. After 8th grade, a knee injury prevented me from playing competitive basketball at a high level, so I turned to watching basketball. That is when I developed my current obsession with the Pistons as I would watch every game that I possibly could. This was also the time when the Pistons started to fall off (it was around 2010). That did not matter to me as I watched Tracy McGrady run the point, Kyle Singler hit his corner 3s and do Kyle Singler things, and Greg Monroe use his beautiful post footwork.

I wish I was older and understood basketball more during the Going to Work era, but I still remember it very fondly.

What do you do in your free time and what do you do job-wise?

Rban: Well, I worked briefly in the film industry in Nova Scotia Canada, mostly government video and such, worked a little with some of the guys from trailer park boys, I try to do editing and graphic design when I can but jobs are right, so right now I'm in sales for Sherwin Williams paint, super exciting stuff...

When it comes to off time, mostly focused on film and TV, been a die hard Star Wars fan for years so that takes up a lot of time. I'm living in Alberta now so my fiancé and I do a lot of hiking and exploring of the national parks.

How about you? Is Detroit basketball your main obsession? Any other specific hobbies?

JL: Detroit basketball is my main obsession, and I am also a huge Star Wars fan just like yourself. I am also a pretty avid gamer in my free time, and I play games on the Xbox One. I enjoy playing mostly sports games like NBA 2K, Madden, and FIFA. I also play games like Overwatch and Titanfall 2. Although I love Star Wars, I am not much of a movie buff, I see maybe 2-3 new movies per year. I would like to see more, I just never really make the time to go see new movies.

I am currently a student at Central Michigan University going into my final year in the Sport Management program. My dream job would be to work for the Detroit Pistons, obviously, but I would be happy working in any job within the NBA for pretty much any team. I would prefer a job in marketing or communications, but I would take whatever job I could get to get my foot in the door.

I have not had much time during this Summer to do much of anything because I am balancing an internship and a job. My internship is at the United Shore Professional Baseball League, and Independent League that plays at Jimmy John's Field in Utica, MI. I am in the marketing and promotions department for that. I also work shifts at my job I have done for the last few summers, which is in the Mobile Recreation department with Oakland County Parks and Recreation. That job entails setting up inflatable bounce houses, tents, and our portable zipline and climbing towers at various summer events throughout the County.

I currently reside in Lake Orion, about a mile up the road from the Palace. For that reason, I am in the minority of people who do not want the move downtown because of how convenient it is for me to attend a game. I obviously understand the benefits of moving downtown and am happy to see it happen, but it will be a lot less convenient for me to attend games.

What is your opinion of the Star Wars prequels? I like them a lot more than most people and have never really understood why they get so much hate. Also, what are your expectations for this upcoming season for the Pistons? Are you more of a pessimist or optimist?

Rban: Nice! When it comes to the prequels I'm somewhere in the middle, I certainly don't love them like the originals but there is a lot to like in them, they flesh out the universe more and add to the lore, obviously things like midichlorians, whiny Anakin and the Jedi Order being pretty lame hurt them but I still have a certain love for them.

As for our beloved Pistons.

I have tempered expectations, at the end of last season I felt as low as possible, but that is usually the case after we miss the playoffs.

Around this time in the offseason my expectations rise with all the fluff about additions we've made, health improving and there is always that distant thought that Drummond will finally clue in.

I'm really hoping the addition if Bradley can light a spark in Dre and get him to push defensively, that's all I really care about with drummond now, his defence.

Also the east blows so I think we can crack the playoffs, which really isn't much to write home about.

If it all comes together with health and effort I think we could be a 4/5 seed in the east. I do think a big change is coming if we falter horribly to start the year.

What are your expectations? How do you feel about Drummond as the corner stone? How far can we go with him?

JL: I have always been a pretty big optimist when it comes to the Pistons. I am of the mindset that a healthy Reggie Jackson will bring this team back to the playoffs, and with how weak the East is becoming now, even if the Pistons win 44 games like they did in 2015-2016, they would probably be a 4 or 5 seed. I love the addition of Avery Bradley, and I think he can be the spark that gets everybody on this team to at least play a little more inspired basketball.

I am hoping that Stanley Johnson starts at the 3 with Tobias Harris at the 4. I think that lineup will give us a solid mix of secondary playmaking and defense that could possibly get the Pistons up near 50 wins as long as Reggie Jackson is 100%.

When it comes to Drummond as a corner stone, I have not seen enough out of him in his career so far to ever see him being a corner stone player. With how the NBA is shifting in terms of the skill set you need to play the center position, I don't see Dre ever being able to be "the guy" on a perennial contender. I still think he has a lot of untapped potential that I do not want to give up on him yet. Andre Drummond benefited greatly from the cap spike, and if he was a restricted free agent this offseason, I do not think he would have gotten a max offer. I also think the Pistons would not have jumped to giving him the max, especially after the season he had. If he is not a max player, I think people's perception and dislike of him would shift. I could see the Pistons being a 50+ win team with Dre as their best player, but I don't see them ever being a team that could make it past the 2nd round. I just don't think he has a dynamic enough offensive skill set in the offensive-driven NBA to ever carry a team, even if he becomes dominant defensively.

When did you join DBB and how did you come across DBB? Also, you mentioned earlier how you do a lot of hiking and exploring of National Parks. What National Park that you have visited is your favorite and what are all of the National Parks that you have visited?

Rban: Without checking the site I'd say I started reading I'm not sure maybe mid early 2000's, I didn't start posting until maybe the dreaded Charlie V/ Ben Gordon signings off season.

I'm not exactly sure how I found the site, might have been on Need4Sheed, found DBB and never looked back.

National Park wise mostly just exploring everything alberta and B.C, hitting up banff a lot, lake louise, canoeing on some sweet lakes and a lot if up hill treks. The badlands in Alberta are pretty interesting to see.

Who are your Top 5 Piston role players all time?

JL: Haha, great question.

Number 1 for me would have to be Walter Hermann. He was not a great player by any means, but I just loved him (who didn't).

Number 2 for me is Kyle Singler. I know I am in the minority with this one, but I loved me some Kyle Singler. I know he was technically a starter, but he was pretty much a role player.

Number 3 for me is Lindsey Hunter. I loved watching him come off the bench with his intense defense during the Pistons Finals run in 2004. That is one of my first memories of basketball, and he really sticks out to me.

Number 4 is Boban. Although he did not have much of a role last season, the rush of joy and excitement I get whenever he heads to mid-court to check in is unmatched.

Number 5 is Antonio McDyess. I loved his mid-range jumper and I loved his scoring and toughness off the bench.

What about you, who are your top 5 Piston role players? Do you follow any other sports closely besides basketball? I am a pretty huge Lions and Tigers fan.

Rban: Walter is a great choice. I remember going to a game in Boston a few years back and watching him post up Marbury over and over with utter dominance.

Top 5:

1. Lindsey Hunter

Such a pest, I don't remember anyone else who could pressure the ball after the inbounds like he could.

I could see Bradley continuing that trend.

2. Jon Barry

Can't stand him as a broadcaster but he was fiery and worked his ass off non stop.

3. McDyess

A guy it's impossible not to rout for, killer mid range jumper, great locker room guy, just sad we couldn't get him that ring.

4. Kyle Singler

Like you I appreciated Kyle, great corner 3's did what was asked of him and was a reliable starter.

5. Darko

Human Victory Cigar.

As for other sports, not really. I grew up in a strictly hockey town and never took to it. Picked up a bball and never looked back.

Do you have any Piston or NBA memorabilia that stand out for you?

I have a Larry Brown championship autographed hat.

The best though is my Larry Brown signed Darko jersey, pretty ironic and hilarious piece.

JL: I have a giant version of the picture that was taken after the Pistons won the Championship in 2004. It has the whole team, plus Chauncey holding his MVP trophy and Ben Wallace holding the Championship trophy. I have it framed and hanging up in my room.

I also have a replica Championship ring from 2004.

I have a shirt signed by Tayshaun Prince, although I was dumb and wore it a bunch when I was growing up so the autograph is faded out on it.

What NBA stadiums have you been to? My dream is to eventually go to all of them once I finish school and have a steady job with steady income to afford it.

I have been to Staples Center, Quicken Loans Arena, the Palace, and I have parked inside Verizon Center in Washington DC when I was on vacation there, although I did not go to a game or anything.

Rban: Growing up in eastern Canada, I didn't get to attend many games. The closest city was Boston so we took a lot of trips there to see Boston/Detroit, my cousin loves the C's so it has made way to a fairly heated in family rivalry.

Shockingly I've never been to the Palace and looks like I never will be.

I lived in Toronto for the last few years before moving out west, so I've seen a ton of games at the air canada center. I've also seen a few games in Orlando, that arena is a dump.

How do you feel overall about SVG? Seems to be getting a little divided among DBB fans. I'm still on board, I give him a lot of credit for even getting us back to a playoff spot with what Joe left him with. Sure Stan has some issues but he has seemed to have won every trade we've been a part of.

I tend to place the blame more so on Drummond, and Reggie to a lesser extent. I also remember how embarrassing the coaching carousel was a few years back and I really don't want to experience that again.

I enjoy having a well respected coach and basketball person leading the charge, it brings a little more cache to us as an organization.

JL: I am more of a fan of SVG the executive than SVG the coach. While I do not think either one have really been terrible like some fans do, I like his roster construction a lot better than his job coaching that roster.

I don't like the fact that this team is in luxury tax and not anywhere near being a Championship contender, but the roster is a lot better than what it was and it is not as bad as last season made it seem. There are not any trades that I can think of that SVG has lost. While Andre Drummond is not a cornerstone player in my eyes, SVG has done a decent job finding players like Reggie Jackson that complement him well. Andre Drummond is the closest this team has to a "star" and building around him is the right way to go. I would like to see some better shooting, and I feel like SVG has done a pretty good job of acquiring that with what was available this offseason.

When it comes to coaching, his stubbornness when it comes to his playing rotation drives me nuts. I hate his insistence on keeping the rotation at 9 players and not finding a way to get players like Boban, Reggie Bullock, or Henry Ellenson minutes when the guys in front of them were struggling. I get showing loyalty to your players so that they can play a bit and make some mistakes without feeling like they will get benched right away, but there are times where you need to get a bit more creative when certain players are struggling and shorten their leash a bit. I like his ability to get an above average defense out of this roster, but his offense needs to be a bit more creative. I'm fine with the Andre Drummond-Reggie Jackson pick and roll as the base of the offense, but there needs to be more ball and player movement.

I agree completely about your thoughts on the coaching carousel. I like the stability that SVG brings as coach and I don't really think you will improve on him without hiring one of the upper-tier NBA coaches like Brad Stevens, Gregg Popovich, or Eric Spoelstra. None of those guys will be available anytime soon.

I think that is all that I have unless there are any other questions you have on your end or anything else that you want to mention.

It was great getting to know you a little bit better!

Rban: Yeah it was great getting to know you man! See ya on the boards!