Tag: Detroit Pistons

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James Harden, three Hawks players lead list of NBA All-Star Game reserves


The coaches made good choices.

The problem is, you can also make a case for almost another team of guys left off.

The NBA All-Star Game reserves were officially announced Thursday night. The starters were voted in by the fans and announced a week ago, then this past week the coaches around the league filled out the rosters.

Here’s who they selected:

Eastern Conference

• Jeff Teague (Atlanta Hawks)
• Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls)
• Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
• Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)
• Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks)
• Chris Bosh (Miami Heat)
• Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks)

(Starters: John Wall, Kyle Lowry, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol)

Western Conference

• James Harden (Houston Rockets)
• Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
• Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)
• Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
• Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)
• Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
• LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers)

(Starters: Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol)

There are going to be changes to the rosters in each conference — both Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade are out injured, Kobe certainly will not play and Wade is not expected to.

Meaning at least a couple of the deserving guys left off the roster will get on. (NBA Commissioner Adam Silver picks the replacements, in the case of the West it will be up to coach Steve Kerry to decide who will take Kobe’s starter spot.)

And there are a lot of deserving guys left off these lists.

Starting with DeMarcus Cousins — averaging 23.8 points and 12.3 rebounds a game — and Damian Lillarrd out West. Lillard is averaging 21.7 points and 6.1 rebounds a game. Both of these guys deserved to make the team (both were among my picks) and only one will.

Other deserving guys left off in the West are Mike Conley and Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies, Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets, Eric Bledsoe of the Phoenix Suns. And that list could go on and on.

In the Eastern Conference, if I had to best who gets Wade’s spot, watch out for Kyle Korver of the Hawks. That would mean four Hawks, which seems fair for the best team in the conference. Other guys who out East who missed out include Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Brandon Knight of the Bucks, and Andre Drummond of the Pistons. Again, there are others who could stake a claim as well.

Hornets’ Kemba Walker has successful knee surgery, expected to miss a minimum of 6 weeks

New Orleans Pelicans v Charlotte Hornets
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Kemba Walker going down with a knee injury is a serious blow to the Hornets’ playoff chances, at least on the surface.

Walker’s been the team’s leading scorer this season with an 18.8 points per game average, and has often times carried more of his fair share of the burden while Lance Stephenson and Al Jefferson have both missed time due to injuries.

Charlotte is currently sitting at eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, and could slide a bit while Walker is sidelined. But he may be able to return in as little as six weeks.

From a Hornets team release:

Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker underwent successful surgery today to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee. The procedure was completed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Walker’s recovery time is expected to be a minimum of six weeks.

Walker is the Hornets’ leader in points (18.8), assists (5.2) and steals (1.4). Walker averaged 23.0 points on .429 shooting from the field (171-399), including .355 from beyond the three-point line (43-121) over his last 21 games played. He scored at least 28 points in six straight games from Jan. 3-14, the longest streak of his career and the second-longest streak in the NBA this season behind only Russell Westbrook’s nine straight games from Dec. 12-26. Walker scored 20 or more points in 14 of his last 21 games played.

The good news for the Hornets is that the teams chasing them for that final playoff spot are in worse shape than they are. The Pistons are likely done now that Brandon Jennings has been lost for the season due to injury, and Brooklyn is dealing with injuries of its own, while the team is working toward trading one or more of its stars before the mid-February deadline passes.

As long as the Hornets can somewhat maintain while Walker is sidelined, there should be enough there with a fully healthy squad to make a late-season run that will solidify a postseason spot.

Andrew Wiggins one of just four 2014 draft picks on Rising Star Challenge rosters

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves

The NBA shook up the Rising Stars Challenge, making it the U.S. vs. the World.

Each 10-man team had to have at least four guards, four frontcourt players, three rookies and three sophomores.

Here’s how the rosters shook out:

U.S. Team


  • Trey Burke, Jazz (Sophomore)
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Pistons (Sophomore)
  • Michael Carter-Williams, 76ers (Sophomore)
  • Zach LaVine, Timberwolves (Rookie)
  • Victor Oladipo, Magic (Sophomore)
  • Elfrid Payton, Magic (Rookie)


  • Shabazz Muhammad, Timberwolves (Sophomore)
  • Nerlens Noel, 76ers (Rookie)
  • Mason Plumlee, Nets (Sophomore)
  • Cody Zeller, Hornets (Sophomore)


  • Alvin Gentry, Warriors

World Team


  • Bojan Bogdanovic, Nets (Rookie)
  • Dante Exum, Jazz (Rookie)
  • Dennis Schroder, Hawks (Sophomore)
  • Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves (Rookie)


  • Steven Adams, Thunder (Sophomore)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (Sophomore)
  • Gorgui Dieng, Timberwolves (Sophomore)
  • Rudy Gobert, Jazz (Sophomore)
  • Nikola Mirotic, Bulls (Rookie)
  • Kelly Olynyk, Celtics (Sophomore)


  • Kenny Atkinson, Hawks

These rosters reveal the reason for the format change. The 2014 draft, which could become the most underwhelming of all time, produced just four participants – Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum, Elfrid Payton and Zach LaVine – in the game once know as the Rookie Challenge.

The other rookies – Nerlens Noel, Bojan Bogdanovic and Nikola Mirotic (read more about him here) – were selected in previous years. The deck has never been stacked like this before.

Still, the Timberwolves scrimmage Rising Stars Challenge could be interesting. The Americans are much more guard-oriented than the larger World Team, which could lead to some interesting matchups (or awful basketball).

No clear snubs, but K.J. McDaniels, Tim Hardaway Jr., Alex Len, Pero Antic and Jusuf Nurkic all got squeezed out.

Report: Pistons looking into Norris Cole trade

Miami Heat v Detroit Pistons

With Kemba Walker injured, the Hornets are reportedly exploring a trade for Norris Cole.

Charlotte might have competition.

The Pistons – whose starting point guard, Brandon Jennings, is also injured – are eying the Heat point guard, too.

Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:

The Detroit Pistons are looking into the possibility of trading for Miami Heat point guard Norris Cole, league sources tell Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Miami has sent the word out that the 26-year-old defensive specialist can be had. There’s nothing imminent at this point and talks have been described as “exploratory,” a source said.

Stan Van Gundy said the Pistons will probably add a third point guard behind D.J. Augustin and Spencer Dinwiddie, but the president/coach also said he wouldn’t give up any future assets or draft picks for one.

Acquiring Cole would almost certainly require Detroit relinquishing something of long-term value. However, Cole could also give the Pistons returns beyond this season, so I’m not sure the strictness of Van Gundy’s self-imposed guideline.

Cole, 26, is averaging 6.2 points and 3.4 assists in 24.4 minutes per game. He’s quick and a solid defender, but his 3-point percentage has troublingly regressed to 24.2 percent after nearing league average the last two years.

He’ll be a free agent after the season, a restricted one if extended a qualifying offer. His qualifying offer will be $4,433,683 if he starts 18 more games or plays 1,011 more minutes this season – or $3,036,927 if he doesn’t.

Dwyane Wade’s injury could affect Miami’s willingness to deal Cole. If Wade misses time, the Heat will likely use Cole more often with Mario Chalmers or Shabazz Napier in two-point guard lineups. Plus, they might hesitate to trade a useful player to a team they’re in playoff competition with. That applies to both Detroit and Charlotte.

The Pistons and Heat have plenty of low-paid players to shuffle if they want to make a deal. But before the exact mechanics get worked out, Van Gundy has to decide whether he’s willing to give up something for help now.

Stan Van Gundy: Pistons won’t sacrifice future assets to chase a playoff spot

Detroit Pistons Introduce Stan Van Gundy

The Pistons got off to a dismal 5-23 start to the season, before cutting Josh Smith loose led to a surprising reversal of fortune.

Detroit strung together seven straight wins and nine of 10 overall once Smith was gone, and in the Eastern Conference, that meant that the team was right back within reach of a spot in the postseason.

But then the injury to Brandon Jennings happened, a ruptured Achilles that ended his season. That would appear to leave the Pistons in a bit of a bind in terms of their playoff chances, but the team remains just two games out, and a single trade, if properly executed, may be able to bring in enough talent to keep that dream alive.

Detroit has bigger goals as a franchise, however, and Stan Van Gundy won’t do anything to derail his long-term plans just to obtain some measure of short-term success in the immediate future.

From Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

SVG says #Pistons likely to add 3rd PG soon, but made clear: No future assets sacrificed to chase a playoff spot. Likes who he has.

From Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

SVG said mortgaging assets or picks to pick up a point guard now isn’t gonna happen to replace Jennings

That is the smart decision.

An immediate return to the playoffs would give the fan base a boost, especially considering that the Pistons are in the midst of a postseason drought that’s currently gone on for six straight seasons.

But one playoff berth in a watered-down conference (followed by a lopsided first round loss) won’t truly provide long-term change. Using the assets that are currently in place to build the team properly is the way to go, and Van Gundy wisely realizes that.