Tag Archives: basketball

Indoor fun during the frigid months

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Old Man Winter

By Jeffrey Buck

As the temps continue to drop around the metro area the appeal of indoor activities skyrocket. There is plenty of fun activities outdoors that take place but it’s still nice to get inside and find an activity that is both fun and family friendly. Over the years I’ve tried to find the best places for both kids and adults to escape the wind and snow to let out some much needed energy. Here is my list of places around Metro Detroit that offer just that:

Bowling
Astro Lanes
32388 John R Road
Madison Heights, MI 48071
(248) 585-3131

Rock Climbing
Planet Rock
34 Rapid Street
Pontiac, MI 48341
(248) 334-3904

Swimming
Royal Oak Middle School
709 North Washington Avenue
Royal Oak, MI 48067
(248) 541-7100

Roller Skating (Traditional)
Riverside Arena
36635 Plymouth Road
Livonia, MI 48150
(734) 421-3540

Skate Park
Modern Skate Park
1500 North Stephenson Hwy
Royal Oak, MI 48067
(248) 546-7275

Bocce Ball
Plazzo di Bocce
4291 South Lapeer Road
Lake Orion, MI 48359
(248) 371-9987

Feather Bowling
Cadieux Cafe
4300 Cadieux Road
Detroit, MI 48224
(313) 882-8560

Trampoline Park
Air Time Trampoline & Game Park
662 East Big Beaver Road
Troy, MI 48083
(248) 918-0909

Basketball
Joe Dumars Fieldhouse
45300 Mound Road
Shelby Township, MI 48317
(586) 731-3080

Golf
The Drive-in
11 East 14 Mile Road
Clawson, MI 48017
(248) 577-1203

Soccer
Total Soccer
1319 Lexington Blvd
Royal Oak, MI 48073
(248) 288-2110

Ice Skating
Onyx Ice Arena
52999 Dequindre Road
Rochester, MI 48307
(248) 601-6699

Curling
Detroit Curling Club
1615 E. Lewiston
Ferndale, MI 48220.
(248) 544-0635

Arcade
Dave & Busters
45511 Park Ave
Utica, MI 48315
(586) 930-1515

Whirlyball
Whirlyball Novi
41550 Grand River Ave,
Novi, MI 48375
(248) 788-8900

Go Karts
Kart 2 Kart
42705 Van Dyke
Sterling Heights, MI 48314
(586) 997-8800

Baseball Batting Cages
Macomb Batting Cages
18810 Kelly Court
Clinton Township, MI 48035
(586) 846-4372

I know I have probably just scratched the surface, so if you have a favorite place to take the activities indoors during the winter months please share below in the form of a comment.

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2013 – 2014 Detroit Pistons Preview

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Josh Smith Press Conference July 10, 2013 | Allen Einstein (NBAE/Getty Images)

The 2013-14 Detroit Pistons season gets underway October 8 at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Once again we look to our trusted sport’s gurus, Patrick Smith & Paul Buck, to give us their low down on what to expect this season.

1. Where do you think the pistons will finish this year?

Patrick Smith: The cop out here is to say that they should compete for the bottom three playoff spots, which yeah, sure. But that is too easy. They should be the sixth best team in the East. I really, really want to predict a disaster of a season for either the Knicks or Nets but their best players are too good and the bottom of the Eastern Conference is too bad so it is safe to assume the Heat, Pacers, Bulls, Knicks and Nets will all definitely be ahead of the Pistons. I also feel confident that the Magic, Bobcats, Raptors, 76ers, Celtics and Bucks will be worse. Every single one of them besides Milwaukee is actively trying to be worse for lottery combinations. That leaves the Cavs, Hawks and Wizards to compete with the ‘Stones for those last three slots.

There are all sorts of questions about spacing and shot selection and playing time for this Detroit team, but with Smoove and Brandon Jennings this team has more talent than its mid-level competitors and ultimately talent will win out.

Paul Buck: I think the Pistons can finish anywhere from the 6th seed to missing the playoffs. I think we have enough veteran players to play along with our young core. With Andre Drummond being our starting center, Monroe at PF, Josh Smith at SF, Billups at SG, if he stays healthy, and BJ at PG. Billups will be the leader on the court, and BJ will be taking notes and learning from the former NBA champion. If Greg Monroe can fit into the power forward role, it would mean a lot to our starting five. People say he is a natural center, but I think he can become a natural PF and will hold that spot down for years to come. Our front court can be one of the best once they get more experience.

2. Will Josh Smith work at small forward?

PS: Probably not. At least not for more than 12 minutes a game, but I don’t think he will be asked to play SF much more than the first six minutes of each half. Ultimately the addition of Josh Smith gives the Pistons the ability to keep at least one all-star caliber big man on the floor at all times. No other team in the league can do that. For the minutes where the jumbo lineup is out there the team will have to hope that the defense, rebounding and IQ provided by all three big men can make up for some very real spacing issues.

If Rodney Stuckey starts at shooting guard, which seems likely now based on what Langlois is writing over at Pistons.com then that starting line up is going to be very tough to watch in stretches. They will have literally one guy on the floor who is capable of hitting a long jump shot. That isn’t good. So Detroit is going to have to hope they can make up for that by dominating the stretches when the reserves are playing. Oh also they should get rid of Rodney Stuckey (more on that later).

PB: Josh Smith will work at SF, because he gives us a huge defensive threat at that position where we had Tayshaun Prince for many years. Smith is a more offensive minded player than Prince, but his defense and shot blocking ability is off the charts. He is a player who can spread the floor as well, with his mid-range jump shot and his ability to sink three pointers.

3. Is Brandon Jennings the long term answer at PG?

PS: Yes. He isn’t a perfect option, but I think he is above average and is a good fit for the guys around him. I think it is possible he makes a Chauncey-like leap, but it is foolish to expect something like that. Even if he doesn’t, he is a low-turnover, high-assist guy who is a scoring threat. It is interesting how much certain “smart” NBA people bag on Brandon Jennings considering that he takes care of the basketball, which makes up for a lot of the issues he has with shot selection. If he actually keeps his promise to shoot less he could be really good.

PB: I think Brandon Jennings can be the long term answer at point guard. The key here is that he is going to be able to learn from Billups who was once the leader and point guard of the Pistons. Jennings assists have gone up each of the last two seasons. He is a score first type player right now in his career, but he is only 23 years old and he is entering his 5th NBA season. Having Mo Cheeks, who is a former PG himself, in as the new head coach will also benefit BJ. I think he needs to realize that he has other shooters around him and should focus on dishing it to them rather than trying to get himself a shot. His field goal percentage has been pretty poor his whole career because he has been the main scorer for the Bucks in previous years. He has talent around him now and needs to use them.

4. What was your favorite/least favorite move of the off season?

PS: I love the Chauncey signing, mostly out of nostalgia but I also think it was a really smart move. He can shoot, he brings the leadership this team is so desperate for and he seems like he is interested in mentoring Brandon Jennings. Considering the fact that the Pistons are dreaming on Jennings mimicking Billups career, who better to help him do that than Mr. Big Shot himself?

My least favorite move is not cutting Stuckey before his contract became fully guaranteed and not amnestying Villanueva. If Joe D does either of those things then they could have signed Jennings outright without losing BK7 or Khris Middleton. Maybe you think the team was good to cut ties with Brandon Knight, and maybe you think Middleton was never going to amount to much. You are probably right about both of those things, but the point is both players are assets. With his contract and the abilities he has shown, the team surely could have got something BK, even if it was just a pick. As a fan you should be upset that the team gave up two valuable assets just to save money.

PB: My favorite off season move was bringing back Billups to finish his career here in Detroit; the place where he made a name for himself. I think he still has some juice left in his tank and that he will be a contributor to our team. He is going to mentor BJ and hopefully show him how to be a pass first point guard, but also still be able to get his shot off if he wants it. He has battled injuries the last few seasons, but even if he gets hurt he will be able to work with BJ. I am also a fan of Luigi Datome. He has been one of the best players in the Italian league. Brandon Jennings and Datome have also already played one season together when Jennings played in the Italian league instead of going to college for one year. I think that will help Datome make the transition to the NBA. Datome is a big small forward and he is only 25 years old. He could have the potential to be a solid NBA player and possibly a starter at some point in his career.

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Finally: Pistons trade makes team better now and in future, increases odds of playoffs

Jose Calderon | Raptorsrepublic.com

Jose Calderon | Raptorsrepublic.com

By Patrick Smith

As I am sure most of you know, last night the Detroit Pistons traded Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three team trade in which Rudy Gay went to the Raptors and the Pistons netted Jose Calderon.

Obviously this is great news.

You would be hard pressed to find anyone calling this a loss for the Pistons, so I am not going to spend too much time explaining why it’s so great for Detroit, but I need to spend at least a few paragraphs spiking the football here. As others have pointed out it’s probably the first trade since 2004 that the Pistons and Joe Dumars actually won, and they won it in a big way. This trade made the Pistons better right now and increased their salary cap room to around $30 million next season. The trade also increased the Pistons chances of making the playoffs, although it still seems unlikely they will catch the Celtics.

First off, Jose Calderon may be the best player involved in this trade across all teams, his player efficiency rating (PER) this season of 19.38 is five points higher than Rudy Gay’s, and ranks as 38th in the league, and he has a higher win share than Gay or anyone else. How you feel about these combo stats will determine your excitement about this, but it is arguable the Pistons got the best player and gave up the least in this trade.

What is not arguable is that the Pistons got the absolute best fit. If you were to make a list of needs for the Pistons, regardless of position it would go in some order like this:

  1. More playmaking
  2. Less turnovers
  3. Better 3-point shooting
  4. Better free throw shooting
  5. Better perimeter defense

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The revolution will be televised

By Mike Fossano

It didn’t take long for the Pistons’ 2010-11 season to fall into near lockstep with last year’s dismal output. There is one major difference, however—this year’s squad cannot lean on the injury crutch like they did last year.

This season has been pockmarked by a handful of events that could be read like Seinfeld episodes. It started with “The Determination Era,” then progressed to “The Tayshaun Feud,” “The Losing Streaks,” “The Unresolved Sale” and “The Rip Benching.”

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more pathetic, the events that transpired Friday indicated how wayward this franchise really is.

“The Mutiny”

I’m sure that Friday morning arrived just as any other normal one for Kuester, who’s  21-38 team was in Philadelphia to take on the 76ers later. By the end of the morning shootaround, it was as clear to him as it was to everybody else that something had been brewing within his team.

Only seven players showed up for the practice after what is being called a “player protest” of the coach. Kuester dodged many of the questions that were lobbed his way following the practice, which is something that has dogged him all season long.

By refusing to deal with the issues plaguing his team head on, he allowed them to fester through the media and create a toxic locker room. One of the most common complaints from players has been his inability to communicate with them, which is evidenced by the awkward “he-said/she-said” banter during “The Rip Benching.”

Hamilton performed well after he was inexplicably asked to start Feb. 5 at Milwaukee after rotting on the end of the bench for 13 straight games. His subsequent re-benching was the final straw for the players, who had discussed taking a stand against their coach over a week ago, according to Terry Foster of the Detroit News.

At the same time, however, these players are getting paid millions of dollars to be professionals, show up and play a game. For these players to be pulling this stunt in Detroit, with our sour economy on team that’s nearly 20 games below .500 is ridiculous.

Not long after the debacle in Philly, word leaked out through Yahoo! Sports that Hamilton scolded his coach during an expletive-laden tirade just prior to his benching. Assistant coaches were stunned by the outburst, and younger players would later privately confide that they wished they had the courage to step up to Hamilton.

Looking at it through an objective lens, you’d be hard-pressed to disagree with the crux of Hamilton’s argument, which questioned Kuester’s viability as an NBA head coach. The results, or lack thereof, during the supposed offensive mastermind behind the 2008-09 Cleveland Cavaliers speak for themselves. However, Hamilton’s course of action was juvenile and displayed a grossly skewed sense of reality.

Prior to his arrival in Detroit, Hamilton was considered a talented, but one-dimensional shooting guard. Paired with Chauncey Billups, the duo helped to spearhead the Pistons from mediocrity to world championship-caliber basketball for much of the 2000s—even when their defensive deficiencies were exposed once Ben Wallace departed for Chicago.

From an offensive standpoint, Hamilton’s game fell off a cliff once Billups was shipped to Denver for Allen Iverson (in retrospect, and perhaps at the time, a trade that should’ve never happened, but I digress…). Even with a rookie head coach in Michael Curry and a transitional roster, Hamilton signed the Pistons’ three-year, $34M extension offer immediately following the trade. Since then, Hamilton has been given space to develop into a relative malcontent with zero repercussions for his detrimental behavior and lack of production—other than reasonable requests for him to come off the bench.

“The Takeover”

It’s time for Joe Dumars to show some culpability for this disaster as well. When things were great, Dumars was easy to find and had a much stronger media presence. Nowadays, the only time you see him is when the in-game camera picks him out from the depths of his shadowy suite.

Firing Kuester right now would continue what has been an awful run of Piston players running coaches out of town, but it’s likely an inevitable end to this relationship. As he rightfully received credit for culling the pieces to their 2004 championship run, he deserves criticism for a string of questionable free agent signings and draft picks since then.

Dumars needs to regain control of the team by either working behind the scenes to dissolve infighting, or by taking the reins from Kuester as head coach himself. If neither happen, Piston fans can expect this turbulent period to continue.

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American Made – Jonas Jerebko

Pat Smith returns with a shiny new piece on a video series featuring Jonas Jerebko, the injured Pistons’ player we interviewed at Social Media Night, being produced by Nike Sportswear Sweden.

By Patrick Smith

The latest episode of Nike Sportswear Sweden’s “American Made” features the Pistons’ own Swedish import Jonas Jerebko driving through the streets of Detroit with Swedish-born rapper Adam Tensta. The video is a little heavy on Tensta talking about himself and a little light on basketball talk for my taste, but the cinematography is cool and Jerebko shows once again why he’s a fan favorite with his down-to-earth style.

Definitely worth a look for Jonas’ beautiful Aryan mug and some nice shots of Detroit, both grimy and picaresque.

Below the jump are the trailer and first episode that were released earlier this year, as well as the freshly released episode two.

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Wayne State’s Ian Larkin Dunk

By Jeffrey Buck

Mike is off to Chicago with his dad this week to take in the Chicago Auto Show and hopefully come back with some words on how different the event was from the NAIAS here in Detroit. With that said, he texted me the other night to tell me our WSU Warriors made it on the ESPN Top 10 list. I was a little shocked at first but I have been following them a bit this year and know they are having a really good year.

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