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Buddahfan

2008-09 Rotation

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Buddhafan; you're not an insider .. please, will you stop acting like one!

The odds that Joe still makes a blockbuster trade, to be honest, is as high as it's been the entire off season, meaning .. it's likely going to happen.

The email was from a a writer on a very popular hoops blog. I didn't ask him for permission to publish his comments to me, which I probably didn't need to do, so I didn't put his name to them.

I just sent him an email asking if I have his permission to use his name. I will let you know what he says.

The whole email communication with him started by me commenting on an article that he wrote about the rumored Josh Smith and Tay trade. He then volunteered the information about Brown.

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I was thinking more about us signing Herrmann.

However, the numbers don't seem to fit

We were over the salary cap before we signed Kwame, therefore we can't sign anyone else unless we use one of the salary exceptions to do it.

As I understand it there are three salary exceptions that are available to us to sign Herrmann or anyone else that we may care to sign at this point.

1. We would have used part of the $5.35 million MLE to sign Kwame, which leaves about $1.35 MLE.

2. We could also sign Herrmann for the Minimum Salary Exception which I believe for a two year veteran is about $.8 million this year.

3. The Bi-Annual Exception if we have it available is $1.83 million which is a little more than we have available under the MLE and a lot more than the MSE.

Herrman made $1.95 million last year.

So it doesn't appear that we could sign him with what he have left from the MLE. MSE or Bi-Annual unless he takes a pay cut from last year.

It seems to me that if he got an offer to play internationally that it would be $1.5 million Euro minimum which translates to over $2.2 million U.S. It would most certainly be for longer than what we can offer under the Minimum Salary amount which limits the contract to two years.

So it seems to me that the only way that we could sign Herrmann for this coming year is if he doesn't get an international offer or he does get an international offer but agrees to take a pay cut.

Any Salary Cap experts out there that care to share on this?

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I was thinking more about us signing Herrmann.

However, the numbers don't seem to fit

We were over the salary cap before we signed Kwame, therefore we can't sign anyone else unless we use one of the salary exceptions to do it.

As I understand it there are three salary exceptions that are available to us to sign Herrmann or anyone else that we may care to sign at this point.

1. We would have used part of the $5.35 million MLE to sign Kwame, which leaves about $1.35 MLE.

2. We could also sign Herrmann for the Minimum Salary Exception which I believe for a two year veteran is about $.8 million this year.

3. The Bi-Annual Exception if we have it available is $1.83 million which is a little more than we have available under the MLE and a lot more than the MSE.

Herrman made $1.95 million last year.

So it doesn't appear that we could sign him with what he have left from the MLE. MSE or Bi-Annual unless he takes a pay cut from last year.

It seems to me that if he got an offer to play internationally that it would be $1.5 million Euro minimum which translates to over $2.2 million U.S. It would most certainly be for longer than what we can offer under the Minimum Salary amount which limits the contract to two years.

So it seems to me that the only way that we could sign Herrmann for this coming year is if he doesn't get an international offer or he does get an international offer but agrees to take a pay cut.

Any Salary Cap experts out there that care to share on this?

We have his Bird rights, we can go over the cap to sign him.

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We have his Bird rights, we can go over the cap to sign him.

Larry Bird exception

Perhaps the most well-known of the NBA's salary cap exceptions, it is so named because the Boston Celtics were the first team permitted to exceed the salary cap to re-sign one of their own players (in that case, Larry Bird). Free agents who qualify for this exception are called "qualifying veteran free agents" or "Bird Free Agents" in the CBA, and this exception falls under the auspices of the Veteran Free Agent exception.

In a nutshell, the Larry Bird exception allows teams to exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own free agents, at an amount up to the maximum salary.

To qualify as a Bird free agent, a player must have played three seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent.

This means a player can obtain "Bird rights" by playing under three one-year contracts, a single contract of at least three years, or any combination thereof. It also means that when a player is traded, his Bird rights are traded with him, and his new team can use the Bird exception to re-sign him. Bird-exception contracts can be up to six years in length.

It doesn't appear that Herrmann qualifies for Bird Rights since Herrmann has only 2 years in the league.

Early Bird exception

This is the lesser form of the Larry Bird Exception.

Free agents who qualify for this exception are called "early qualifying veteran free agents," and qualify after playing two seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent.

Using this exception, a team can re-sign its own free agent for either 175% of his salary the previous season, or the NBA's average salary, whichever is greater. Early Bird contracts must be for at least two seasons, but can last no longer than five seasons.

A much-publicized example for this would be Devean George, who vetoed his inclusion into a larger trade during the 2007-08 that would have sent him from the Dallas Mavericks to the New Jersey Nets because he would have lost his Early Bird rights.

It appears that he would qualify under the Early Bird exception.

So to sign him under the Early Bird exception we would have to sign him to the leagues average salary with in 2008-09 is $5.6 million which is greater than 175% of his contract last year of $1.95 million.

This seems highly unlikely as as I don't believe he is worth $5.6 million a year, especially since he would only be a rent a player with the expectation that Sharpe would become Tay's backup by next year at the latest.

However it is possible and if we did we would be at

$61.4 current total team salary

4.0 Kwame

5.6 Herrmann

--------

$71 total -

71.15 Luxury tax threshold

We would then have 14 players and still be under the luxury tax threshold. However, if we signed Linsdey that would have to be the Veterans Minimum which would be $1.3 million. That would take us over the luxury tax threshold which I believe that Davidson would never allow.

I don't see us having only 14 signed players.

So signing Herrmann sees very iffy at this point to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_Salary_Cap#Larry_Bird_exception

http://www.insidehoops.com/minimum-nba-salary.shtml

http://hoopshype.com/salaries/detroit.htm

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It doesn't appear that Herrmann qualifies for Bird Rights since Herrmann has only 2 years in the league.

It appears that he would qualify under the Early Bird exception.

So to sign him under the Early Bird exception we would have to sign him to the leagues average salary with in 2008-09 is $5.6 million which is greater than 175% of his contract last year of $1.95 million.

This seems highly unlikely as as I don't believe he is worth $5.6 million a year, especially since he would only be a rent a player with the expectation that Sharpe would become Tay's backup by next year at the latest.

However it is possible and if we did we would be at

$61.4 current total team salary

4.0 Kwame

5.6 Herrmann

--------

$71 total -

71.15 Luxury tax threshold

We would then have 14 players and still be under the luxury tax threshold. However, if we signed Linsdey that would have to be the Veterans Minimum which would be $1.3 million. That would take us over the luxury tax threshold which I believe that Davidson would never allow.

I don't see us having only 14 signed players.

So signing him sees very iffy at this point to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_Salary_Cap#Larry_Bird_exception

http://www.insidehoops.com/minimum-nba-salary.shtml

http://hoopshype.com/salaries/detroit.htm

You are reading the early Bird rights part wrong. It says:

Using this exception, a team can re-sign its own free agent for either 175% of his salary the previous season, or the NBA's average salary, whichever is greater. Early Bird contracts must be for at least two seasons, but can last no longer than five seasons.

The biggest raise you can give him is 175% of last years salaray, or the league average salary, whichever is larger. You are free to give him any amount under those figures.

Amir is a good example of early Bird rights. He signed for $3.6 million per year, far under the league average salary.

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You are reading the early Bird rights part wrong. It says:

The biggest raise you can give him is 175% of last years salaray, or the league average salary, whichever is larger. You are free to give him any amount under those figures.

Amir is a good example of early Bird rights. He signed for $3.6 million per year, far under the league average salary.

I don't know about Amir's contract but

Using this exception, a team may re-sign its own free agent for 175% of his salary the previous season or the average player salary, whichever is greater

Not "and"

It seems to me that the qualifying statement is "whichever is greater". In other words they must sign the player for the greater of the two, not whichever one they want.

So I guess we at an impasse in our understanding of the wording. Sounds like two lawyers to me. LOL

http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#19

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I don't know about Amir's contract but

Not "and"

It seems to me that the qualifying statement is "whichever is greater". In other words they must sign the player for the greater of the two, not whichever one they want.

So I guess we at an impasse in our understanding of the wording. Sounds like two lawyers to me. LOL

http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#19

If your understanding of the statement were true, Amir would be making over $5 million a year now. He was a second round pick and we were over the cap. To sign him we had to use his Early Bird rights so we could go over the cap to get him back.

The wording isn't very good in that statement. It should read something like "up to 175% or the league average, whichever is higher."

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Also.

Are you sure that we used the Early Bird Exception to sign Amir?

I don't recall us being over the cap of $55.6 million last summer when we signed Amir. I believe that when we signed him we were just under the cap. We then signed Nazr a week later using the MLE.

I don't think that we signed Amir using the Early Bird rights.

Do you have a link?

Here is the link for last year's salaries for us. You can subtract the applicable salaries to back into where we were at when we signed Amir in July.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/DET/2008.html

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If your understanding of the statement were true, Amir would be making over $5 million a year now. He was a second round pick and we were over the cap. To sign him we had to use his Early Bird rights so we could go over the cap to get him back.

The wording isn't very good in that statement. It should read something like "up to 175% or the league average, whichever is higher."

I don't believe that we were over the cap when we signed Amir. See my previous post.

If we were you would be correct. But my calculations show that we were under the cap when we signed Amir.

Do you have a link showing otherwise?

I think we are getting close to resolving this. It seems to me that the only disagreement at this point is whether we were over the cap when we signed Amir.

I say we weren't based upon some calculations I did from the information on the link below.

You say we were.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/DET/2008.html

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I don't believe that we were over the cap when we signed Amir. See my previous post.

If we were you would be correct. But my calculations show that we were under the cap when we signed Amir.

Do you have a link showing otherwise?

I think we are getting close to resolving this. It seems to me that the only disagreement at this point is whether we were over the cap when we signed Amir.

I say we weren't based upon some calculations I did from the information on the link below.

You say we were.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/DET/2008.html

Nazr signed in the summer of 06 I believe, so his deal was already on the books last summer.

http://www.nba.com/pistons/news/mohammed_signing_060718.html

July 18, 2006 Nazr signed. Amir did his deal in the summer of 07.

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Nazr signed in the summer of 06 I believe, so his deal was already on the books last summer.

http://www.nba.com/pistons/news/mohammed_signing_060718.html

July 18, 2006 Nazr signed. Amir did his deal in the summer of 07.

You are correct.

I had forgot that we had him for more than one year. LOL

However, if you work the numbers backwards on Amir.

He is now at $3.66 million which is what he made last year. If you divide that by 175% which is maximum increase he could have gotten under the Early Bird Exception he would have to have been making $2.1 million in his second year. I don't believe that he was making that much considering where he was drafted. However, I could be wrong on this.

If I am not then it would appear that we would have to pay Herrmann about $5.6 million if we signed him for this year.

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You are correct.

I had forgot that we had him for more than one year. LOL

However, if you work the numbers backwards on Amir.

He is now at $3.66 million which is what he made last year. If you divide that by 175% which is maximum increase he could have gotten under the Early Bird Exception he would have to have been making $2.1 million in his second year. I don't believe that he was making that much considering where he was drafted. However, I could be wrong on this.

If I am not then it would appear that we would have to pay Herrmann about $5.6 million if we signed him for this year.

No, I doubt he was making that much. But remember, it says 175% or the leagues average salary, whichever is higher. So they would of had to pay him the $5 million because that would have been higher then 175% of his salary.

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No, I doubt he was making that much. But remember, it says 175% or the leagues average salary, whichever is higher. So they would of had to pay him the $5 million because that would have been higher then 175% of his salary.

I agree, so that means if we are to sign Herrmann for more than he was making last year the only way we could do that would be using the Early Bird Exception therefore we would have to pay him $5.6 million which I believe is a bit pricey for him and would leave us with just 14 players under contract and right at the luxury tax threshold.

So it seems to me that to sign Herrmann it would have to be with the Bi-Annual Exception of $1.8 million which was less than he made last year or at $5.6 million which I believe is too pricey for him.

We shall see.

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I agree, so that means if we are to sign Herrmann for more than he was making last year the only way we could do that would be using the Early Bird Exception therefore we would have to pay him $5.6 million which I believe is a bit pricey for him and would leave us with just 14 players under contract and right at the luxury tax threshold.

So it seems to me that to sign Herrmann it would have to be with the Bi-Annual Exception of $1.8 million which was less than he made last year or at $5.6 million which I believe is too pricey for him.

We shall see.

No, you can sign him for anything under and up to $5.6 million. You don't have to give him the full $5.6 million. You just cant go over that amount, you are welcome to go under. If that wasn't true, Amir would be making $5.6 million now instead of the $3 million he is making.

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No, you can sign him for anything under and up to $5.6 million. You don't have to give him the full $5.6 million. You just cant go over that amount, you are welcome to go under. If that wasn't true, Amir would be making $5.6 million now instead of the $3 million he is making.

Sorry but according to this it is at at the league average not under it but over the 175%

Greater of 175% of previous salary or average salary

If it was how you are suggesting then it would say

Greater of 175% of previous salary up to the average salary or not to exceed the average salary. and not just "average salary"

http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#1

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Sorry but according to this it is at at the league average not under it but over the 175%

If it was how you are suggesting then it would say

Greater of 175% of previous salary up to the average salary or not to exceed the average salary. and not just "average salary"

http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#1

Yes, you use whatever number is greater. If a guy is making $8 million, you obviously dont use the $5.6 million number for his new deal. You would use $8 million + 175% of $8 million. Same thing with Amir, he was making around $1 million his second year, so you use the $5.6 million. It doesn't mean you have to give him that amount, it means you can raise it that high if you need/want to.

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Yes, you use whatever number is greater. If a guy is making $8 million, you obviously dont use the $5.6 million number for his new deal. You would use $8 million + 175% of $8 million. Same thing with Amir, he was making around $1 million his second year, so you use the $5.6 million. It doesn't mean you have to give him that amount, it means you can raise it that high if you need/want to.

I think we have come to an impasse.

You think it is up to the league average

I believe it is at the league average.

We shall see what happens

It was fun. Thanks for the discussion.

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I found something else, boy this CBA is complicated. LOL

NON-BIRD EXCEPTION -- This is also a component of the Veteran Free Agent exception. Players who qualify for this exception are called "Non-Qualifying Veteran Free Agents" in the CBA. They are veteran free agents who are neither Qualifying Veteran Free Agents nor Early Qualifying Veteran Free Agents, either because they haven't met the criteria, or because they are

Early Bird free agents following the second season of their rookie scale contract and whose team renounced the Early-Bird exception.

This exception allows a team to re-sign its own free agent to a salary starting at 120% of the player's salary in the previous season, 120% of the minimum salary, or the amount needed to tender a qualifying offer (if the player is a restricted free agent -- see question number 36), whichever is greater.

Raises are limited to 8% of the salary in the first year of the contract, and contracts are limited to five seasons when this exception is used.

Non-Bird exception

Free Agents who qualify for this exception are called "non-qualifying free agents" in the CBA, meaning they do not qualify under either the Larry Bird Exception or the Early Bird Exception. Under this exception, teams can re-sign a player to a contract beginning at either 120% of his salary for the previous season, or 120% of the league's minimum salary, whichever amount is higher. Contracts signed under the Non-Bird exception can last up to six years.

So it seems from this if we renounced the Early Bird exception on Herrmann that we could sign him for 120% of his salary from last year using the Non-Bird Exception. This would be about $2.3 million.

I think that this would be doable provided that he did not have a much better offer from an international team.

My comments here in no way eliminate our differences in how the Early Bird Exception operates but just say that if we renounced his Early Bird Exception that we could sign him for the Non-Bird Exception at an amount that seems like a reasonable salary for him.

http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_Salary_Cap#Non-Bird_exception

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So it looks like we now have 14 signed and most likely Hunter will be 15.

So the changes from last year to this year are

Herrmann replaces Hayes as Tay's backup

Bynum replaces Murray then Dixon as the 5th guard

Brown replaces Nazr then Ratliff as the 5th big

I think that should do it and we should be good to go unless something obscenely ridiculous in our favor falls into Joe D's lap.

Voluntary workouts for the Stones for 3 weeks in August in Auburn Hills.

Before Washington has to leave for abroad, they hope can take part in some or all of the three weeks of voluntary workouts Michael Curry has scheduled in Auburn Hills for August.

http://www.nba.com/pistons/news/washington_080731.html?rss=true

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csamb_300_080801.jpg

Samb’s shooting touch, shot-blocking length set him apart

Ahead of Schedule

by Keith Langlois

Editor’s note: Pistons.com continues an eight-part series on the eight players from the Pistons’ NBA Las Vegas Summer League roster who have NBA futures. This week we’ve posted daily stories on the three second-round draft picks, holdover center Cheikh Samb and free agent point guard Will Bynum. Next week we’ll post profiles on the three players who figure to be part of the playing rotation – Rodney Stuckey, Arron Afflalo and Amir Johnson. In today’s Part V, we look at Cheikh Samb. Coming Monday: Arron Afflalo.

The Pistons have seen enough from Cheikh Samb to know he has a long NBA career ahead of him if he so chooses. What they don’t know yet is just how great his impact on the game will be.

As a big man with an uncanny shooting touch and an enormous wing span that makes him a shot-blocking force, Samb has a skill set unique enough among to ensure he’ll always find a place on an NBA roster. And because he’s only been playing basketball for about five years, he’s still learning the nuances of the five-on-five game.

How far Samb can go will depend on a number of other factors. Can he continue to develop physically to become strong enough to battle thicker and stronger players? Will he develop enough of a back-to-the-basket game to complement his ability to step outside and knock down 18-footers? Can his love of the game and his thirst for knowledge overcome all the years of experience he missed as a youngster in Senegal more interested in soccer until his younger brother, Mamadou, began playing basketball and others urged the gangly Cheikh to give it a try?

“Cheikh brings a different component to the game,” Pistons coach Michael Curry said in Las Vegas, where Samb averaged 10 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots a game in the Summer League. “He can really shoot the basketball and defensively he can change the game around the basket for us. We definitely have to continue to develop him and get him out on the court. We’re going to find minutes for him (during the regular season) in certain situations.

Samb appeared in four games for the Pistons last season, two in November when Antonio McDyess was sidelined by a shoulder injury and two late in the season when Flip Saunders began resting his starters for the playoffs. Samb was particularly impressive in a November game in Los Angeles when he blocked two shots, altered another handful, and grabbed four rebounds in 15 minutes against the Lakers, knocking down a baseline jumper, as well.

The 7-foot-1 Samb also had two stints with Fort Wayne of the NBA Development League, setting a league record with 10 blocked shots in a triple-double performance. He broke his jaw and had two teeth dislodged in his second D-League game, impressing the Pistons by not shying away from contact upon his return. And while many big men are pushed into the game because of their size but never really embrace it, Samb has amazed the Pistons with his work ethic and his openness to coaching.

“He has come in and worked hard,” said Darrell Walker, brought in by Curry as an assistant coach. “I didn’t know he was that long – very, very long. Any big man that can shoot the ball in this league has a chance to stick around and get some minutes. And with this team, Michael wanting to play his bench a lot more, he has a chance to get some minutes and he can make some shots.”

“The kid can shoot,” Rodney Stuckey said. “He’s going to be a big part of our team during the season, too. He can get in the lane and block shots and he’s coming along really well. I think he’s ahead of schedule.”

When the Pistons traded Maurice Evans to the Lakers on draft night 2006, their original blueprint called for Samb to spend two more seasons playing professionally in Spain. But when Samb showed up considerably stronger for Summer League 2007, they decided to bring him to the NBA a year ahead of time. Now they might be rethinking their original plan to give Samb a second year of D-League seasoning.

“Depending on how everything goes in camp, if he’s getting some regular time on the floor, then obviously there’s no need to send him to the D-League,” Perry said. “But if he’s not playing as many minutes and he’s inactive, the value of him getting more game experience is always an option and a possibility.”

That’s the most critical piece to hastening Samb’s development – more live, full-court basketball. All the work Samb has put into the weight room and shooting and taking individual instruction from assistant coaches, especially Dave Cowens, is also important, but there’s no substitute for basketball as played under game situations.

“The big thing for Cheikh is just getting more playing time,” Perry said. “The only thing that’s going to take care of that is continue to practice five on five, get game opportunities. He’s got to play more basketball and only time is going to cure that. You just have to wait and see when he gets here in the fall how far he’s come along. I can see the improvement in his body. You’re talking about a young guy who hasn’t played basketball for a very long time.”

Samb was listed at 195 when the Pistons traded for him, but he began seriously attacking the weights when he suffered an ankle injury during his last season in Spain. He’s somewhere in the 235 to 240 range, now, with a noticeably bigger upper body.

“For any basketball player, core strength is important – abs, back, upper legs, the middle part of the body,” Perry said. “I think his legs have gotten a little bigger, too. He just has to continue to get stronger in that base, because he’s playing against some big, strong men. He’s a taller, leaner body. As he gets stronger, the more he plays, he’ll learn how to establish better leverage and position and use the strength he does have to get places on the floor. That’s going to come, again, with just playing more basketball.”

260 would be very nice.

http://www.nba.com/pistons/news/samb_080801.html?rss=true

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Herrmann replaces Hayes as Tay's backup

Bynum replaces Murray then Dixon as the 5th guard

Brown replaces Nazr then Ratliff as the 5th big

I'm going to hope that Afflalo gets the majority of minutes as Tay's backup and we hang on to Hermann as a "just in case" guy. Afflalo has proven that he needs playing time and that he can defend at the SF spot. There were more than a few games where I thought he defended SF superstars better than Tay due to his speed. Curry also seems to be in love with what this kid brings due to his attitude, work ethic, and defensive mindset. Another benefit is that playing Afflalo at the SF will open up more minutes at the PG/SG spot for Stuckey to get starter time along with our two entrenched All-Stars.

Obviously none of this matters if Joe makes a deal that shakes it all up (which I expect he will).

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I'm going to hope that Afflalo gets the majority of minutes as Tay's backup and we hang on to Hermann as a "just in case" guy. Afflalo has proven that he needs playing time and that he can defend at the SF spot. There were more than a few games where I thought he defended SF superstars better than Tay due to his speed. Curry also seems to be in love with what this kid brings due to his attitude, work ethic, and defensive mindset. Another benefit is that playing Afflalo at the SF will open up more minutes at the PG/SG spot for Stuckey to get starter time along with our two entrenched All-Stars.

Obviously none of this matters if Joe makes a deal that shakes it all up (which I expect he will).

Its alway nice to have options with players that can play multiple positions.

You have 144 minutes among the #1, #2 and #3.

We have got Tay, Billups, Rip, Stuckey and Afflalo. If most of those 144 were divided among just those 5 guys then they have to average about 28 minutes each.

K. Langlois has also suggested dividing those 144 minutes primarily among those 5 guys.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

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Michael Curry admits to having a teacher’s pet – Arron Afflalo

Poster Boy

by Keith Langlois

Editor’s note: Pistons.com continues an eight-part series on the eight players from the Pistons’ NBA Las Vegas Summer League roster who have NBA futures. Last week we posted daily stories on the three second-round draft picks, holdover center Cheikh Samb and free agent point guard Will Bynum. This week we’ll post profiles on the three players who figure to be part of the playing rotation – Rodney Stuckey, Arron Afflalo and Amir Johnson. In today’s Part VI, we look at Arron Afflalo. Coming Wednesday: Amir Johnson.

At times during Arron Afflalo’s rookie season, the Pistons didn’t ask much from him. At others, like the nine games Rip Hamilton missed at various points of the season, they asked more than they might have expected from the 27th pick in the 2007 draft. But whatever they asked of the UCLA rookie, Afflalo delivered.

And new coach Michael Curry noticed. An unabashed Afflalo supporter, Curry will look for every opportunity to use him during his second season in the NBA.

“I’m a little biased toward Arron,” Curry admitted during the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League, where Afflalo led the Pistons in scoring with 15.0 a game. “I don’t think Arron played a bad game for us last year.”

When Curry was hired to succeed Flip Saunders in June, he said Afflalo “is the poster boy for the way we have to be. The way he prepares every day, he’s going to be a model where he doesn’t stand out so much by the way he prepares – we have to get everyone else preparing that same way every day.”

Afflalo goes into his second season as the clear backup to Hamilton, but his ability to defend all three perimeter positions gives Curry tremendous flexibility. Afflalo is content to be used however Curry sees fit, but he bristles a little at the perception that he’s destined to be a role player used solely for his defensive prowess.

“People will place stereotypes on you as they see fit, but from the time I was a little kid I always wanted to be a complete player,” Afflalo said in Las Vegas. “I wanted to be the best player on both ends. It just so happened that coming into the NBA, I was more ready defensively than offensively. But I don’t see myself as just a defensive player. I can go down there and score with the best of them. It just takes time. It’s a different level – better athletes, different system. So I have to learn those things. I’ll be a lot more comfortable with that this year, but I’m definitely going to maintain and get better defensively. I can only go forward.”

A few days later, Afflalo flashed his offensive potential when he scored 25 points in a Summer League win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Rodney Stuckey left that game at halftime with a minor toe injury and Afflalo scored 19 points in the second half. In his five games in Las Vegas, Afflalo got to the free-throw line 37 times. Throw out a 1 for 13 game and Afflalo shot better than 50 percent from the field.

“Even though he didn’t shoot the ball particularly well that one game, watching him throughout the practices and most of the games there, he’s more confident with his shot and that’s the result of a guy who really works on his game,” Pistons vice president Scott Perry said after Summer League concluded. “He spent a lot of time throughout the season, throughout the playoffs and the summer trying to develop that area of his game.”

But Perry, Joe Dumars and his staff don’t want Afflalo’s expanded offensive game to take anything from the defensive intensity he brings to the team and, Perry says, that’s his ticket to increased playing time in a backcourt crowded by the presence of Stuckey and two All-Stars in Hamilton and Chauncey Billups.

“It’s important for all players to understand where their bread is buttered,” Perry said. “He’s going to be a guy who is going to be a very good defender at this level because he has the toughness, the mind-set and the will to defend. The more he does that and does that at a high level, he’ll have the opportunity to increase his minutes played – and the more minutes he plays, there’ll be more opportunities to get baskets. In his case, he just has to make open shots. He doesn’t have to worry about creating on his own.”

“I think he has a chance to be a solid pro for 10 or 11 years,” Stuckey said of his backcourt partner. “I think he’s going to make the all-Defense team one year. There’s no question in my mind. And why I say that is he loves it. You only become a good defensive player if you love it and he loves it.”

Curry thinks that with experience Afflalo will learn to make the adjustment from defense to offense so that his shot becomes a more consistent weapon.

“The biggest difference between now and last year is he knows how to slow down from defense to offense,” he said. “He plays at such a pace on defense with his activity that he has to learn to slow down and he’s been doing a really good job of that. Arron makes his shots when he slows down and takes his time and he’s not pressing. I go back to whenever Rip was out and Arron started, he shot the ball well. Whenever he was in the rotation getting consistent minutes every night, I thought he shot the ball well. He didn’t shoot it great from three and I think he’s a better 3-point shooter than the numbers showed. I think he’s going to be fine.”

Because Afflalo is such a notoriously hard worker, it’s fair to wonder how much growth potential he really has – or if he’s already maxed out.

“He definitely has room for growth,” Perry said. “Obviously, the great work ethic is part of his personality, but there’s still so much to learn about the game. The thing for him now is to learn the nuances of the game and just become smarter about the game. He’ll learn to become more efficient in some ways. That’s the key thing for any player, no matter how hard they’re working.

“That’s what is going to be his next big jump – just becoming more efficient at what he does, whether it’s understanding defensive angles better, offensive angles better. That’s what he’s got to do. By no means has he hit the ceiling of what he can be as a player."

http://www.nba.com/pistons/news/afflalo_080804.html

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