Shockingly, the Detroit Pistons may not want a logjam on the wing


tracy_mcgrady.jpgI’m not sure Tracy McGrady fits in well with any NBA team at this point, but the Detroit Pistons are a pretty bizarre match. He may not be breaking the bank with his recently signed one-year, $1.3 million deal, but T-Mac is a fairly demanding offensive player whose level of production no longer validates his inefficient style. To make matters worse, the Pistons already had all kinds of options lined up at both shooting guard and small forward. Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton are set to be shooting guard fixtures, and Detroit’s forward crop yields Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers, Jonas Jerebko, and Charlie Villanueva.

McGrady will eat into somebody’s minutes, but why would the Pistons go through this much trouble to sign an aging superstar-turned-role-player-who-doesn’t-seem-to-know-he’s-a-role-player? Detroit isn’t making a championship run or even a legitimate playoff run, yet they insist on signing McGrady and sacrificing the playing time of either their young, emerging talent or their biggest trade chips/most qualified veterans.

Everything that has transpired between McGrady and the Pistons has been odd, but David Aldridge of gives us a slight indication as to what the team’s thinking might have been:

A league source indicated Tuesday that the Pistons will work to
“un-jam the log jam” the team now has at the shooting guard and small
forward spots after signing the 31-year-old McGrady, who has been
working out for several teams this summer looking for a home, including
Chicago and Cleveland.

The source said that McGrady agreed
without conditions to play behind starters Rip Hamilton and Tayshawn
Prince next season, though it’s likely that Detroit will move either
Hamilton or Prince before the start of next season. It’s more likely
the Pistons will move Prince, who is entering the last year of his

If Detroit can successfully trade either Prince or Hamilton for a non-wing player, the move is made a bit more understandable. However, with the current cast in Detroit, it would behoove the franchise to dole out McGrady’s minutes among the team’s younger and more productive players.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Don’t expect more wins in Toronto

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After winning the Atlantic Division then getting thumped in the playoff two years running, the powers that be in Toronto decided it was time for a change.

The added DeMarre Carroll and made shifts to make this a more defensive-minded team, all because of dreams of playoff success (which for the Raptors would be making the second round). What this changeover is not going to mean is an improvement off the 49 regular season wins the Raptors had last season — they sacrificed some scoring to get this defense, and there is a trade-off.

That said, I still expect the Raptors to win the Atlantic. Maybe they make the second round of the playoffs (way too early to make that call).

How many regular season wins they get — and if they win a postseason series — for me is going to come down to if Jonas Valanciunas takes a step forward. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be strong, Carroll is an upgrade, but the big man in the middle will be the hinge for everything.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.