Rodney Stuckey: "On paper, we are the best team in the League." What paper? Zig Zag?

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Thumbnail image for stuckey_dunk.jpgWe’ve said it before, this few weeks around when training camps open is the time to be optimistic, to believe. You’re team can make the playoffs. You’re team will live up to potential. This is the year.

The Detroit Pistons are the best team in the league on paper.

Okay, that last one is over the top. But it is also exactly what Rodney Stuckey said in a Q&A with Dime Magazine.

We all just have to stay healthy and the sky is the limit for us. On paper, we are the best team in the League. We are deep and athletic. All we have to do is play to our abilities. We don’t have the biggest roster, but if we share the ball, we’ll be alright.

What kind of paper are we talking about, exactly? Rolling?

I’ll admit, I’m more down on the Pistons than most this season. I don’t like teams undergoing an ownership change. I have concerns about a roster that was clearly decimated by injuries bouncing back as well as people think. I think Tracy McGrady could be a mistake. I’m in the group that says they still need to start rebuilding now, not trying to win with this group when clearly outmatched.

Go ahead and disagree, but you’re all with me on this — the Pistons are not the best team in the league on paper, they are not getting out of the East, right? Good, we’re all in agreement.

Except Stuckey. Who also said in the interview:

I was focusing on getting in better shape. I wanted to slim down, which I’ve done. I’ve also been working on my jump shot. I wanted to get those two things down. I will be alright with everything else. That’s pretty much it.

[On why the Pistons struggled so much last season] Everyone was injured, so there was no set lineup. The amount of minutes we played changed every night (due to injuries). It was never like that before. We had to find out right before games who was healthy and who was going to play and for how long.

That last part is true. The Pistons can and should be better. But the best team on paper is out of the question.

Al Horford shows he still has hops dunking on Solomon Hill (VIDEO)

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That’s just nasty.

Atlanta’s Al Horford gets the ball out high, but within his range, so when he pump fakes Indiana’s Lavoy Allen goes flying by. That opens up the lane and Horford attacks it, Solomon Hill tries to cut him off, but Horford just finishes threw him.

Pacers and Hawks played an entertaining, close game Friday night.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.