Pistons pick Brandon Knight with no. 8 pick in NBA draft.

Detroit Sports Blog - Brandon Knight NBA 2011 DraftDetroit — The Detroit Pistons selected Kentucky's Brandon Knight with the eighth pick in today's NBA Draft.

Knight has a great mid-range game, but will need to develop before having much of an impact in the NBA. The Miami Herald predicted that Knight would be a top-five pick.

Knight's coach, John Calipari, says of him: 

"Brandon is a warrior on and off the court. He is as driven as any other player that I've ever coached. He has an innate ability to score while finding the open man. Right away he should be a leader and also a top-notch defender for us."

Some of us, myself included, are going to wonder why the Pistons didn't trade down in the draft for a pick they could use next year. Knight is going to take some time to develop, so either way we won't see much of an impact on the team from this pick. Time will tell.

At least we didn't pick Darko again.

Pistons to be sold to Tom Gores

DETROIT - Michigan State University grad and Los Angeles financier Tom Gores has agreed to buy the Detroit Pistons from current owner Karen Davidson.

A formal announcement will be made on Friday.

The total value of the deal, which will include the team, the Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theatre, is expected to be announced at $420 million. Current Pistons ownership is expected to retain a minority stake of approximately 10 percent for a few years.

Gores, 46, is founder and chairman of Platinum Equity, a private equity investment firm that owns more than 30 companies in a range of industries, from industrial fasteners to recreational boats and a San Diego newspaper. Gores was raised in Flint.

Karen Davidson, widow of longtime Pistons owner Bill Davidson, is the primary owner of Palace Sports & Entertainment, the umbrella operation for the team and the venues. Bill Davidson’s son Ethan has a minority stake.

Forbes Magazine recently valued the Pistons at $360 million, down $119 million from the previous year. Much of this reduction in value was a result of Michigan’s sagging economy.

Spartans Coach Tom Izzo talks about rebuilding

Michigan State University Spartans, Tom Izzo, Detroit Sports
Okay, I admit it. My headline is more than a little misleading.

But Tom Izzo went ahead and said it, the “R” word, at his weekly news conference.

“We are not a team that should be totally rebuilding,” Izzo said.

That’s right, Tom. I’d bet, there are a lot of other people across the state who are thinking the same thing. Especially since this is a team that made it to the final four the last two seasons.

But last year is last year, because the Spartans are a meager, inconsistent 4-3 in the Big Ten. And they’re hanging on in the college basketball poll with a No. 25 ranking in this week’s poll.

Rebuilding is not the word, consistency is the word. MSU has star players that aren’t playing like stars. In a case like this, could it be the coaching? Possibly. Is it likely it could be the players? Very likely.

Trying to find the root cause is almost beside the point. And fretting about the Spartans’ record is pointless, because we’ve seen what the Spartans can do if they can be simply good enough to get into the NCAA tournament.

What I fear is going on here is a case of managing expectations. It’s very possible that Izzo can feel that his team just doesn’t have what it takes to perform this year. And if he can tell that now, he’s possibly getting fans ready for a late season disappointment.

On the other hand, could it be possible that he’s using this to motivate his team? Possibly, but I think it’s more likely that Izzo and is team are simply frustrated.

Nothing is clicking, nothing seems to be going right. And sometimes all you can do is show up and keep working. And then maybe things will start going your way.

Spartans make it to Final Four! Again!

Michigan State University Spartans - Detroit Sports BlogMichigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo has lead the Spartans to the NCAA Final Four for the sixth time in 12 years.

Izzo has been reminding the team of the importance of defense to championships and the Spartans did a remarkable job of shutting down the athletic and talented Tennessee Volunteers, winning 70-69.

While I’m not going to go into details of the game, I am going to go out on a limb and speculate. This team is not going to win the National Championship.

The Spartans’ best player, Kalin Lucas, is not playing. And even if they get through Butler, they’ll find themselves facing exceptionally talented teams in West Virginia or Duke. Heart and great defense can get you to the Final Four. The jury is still out on whether it’s enough to best Coach K.

The Spartans play fifth-seeded Butler on April 3 at 6 p.m. The championship game is April 5.

Here’s a link to the Detroit Free Press’ photo gallery.

And here’s a link to the Freep’s coverage of the game.

Spartans hang on for win against Maryland, headed to Sweet 16

The MSU Spartans hung around for a two point victory against the University of Maryland Terrapins last night.

At one point, they were up on Maryland by 16 points. But once point guard Kalin Lucas went down (and out of the game with an obviously serious injury), the Spartans lead evaporated.

In fact, the Spartans found themselves behind with 35 seconds left. Then they came back. And they found themselves trailing by one point with six seconds left in the game.

Backup guard Korie Lucious, a sophmore, saved the game and the season for the Spartans. He sunk a 3-pointer from above the top of the key at the buzzer, giving Michigan State an 85-83 victory.

Next steps for the Spartans (26-8), is the Midwest Regional in St. Louis, where they’ll play ninth-seeded Northern Iowa, which upset No. 1 Kansas on Saturday. If second-seeded Ohio State beats sixth-seeded Tennessee in the other regional semifinal, there could be an all-Big Ten regional final.

Read about the game at the New York Times.

Spartans hang on for slim three-point victory in NCAA opening round

The Michigan State Spartans survived to play another day in the 2010 NCAA tournament.

The Spartans played a tremendously uneven game. At times they were brilliant and at other times they were sloppy. This is exactly how this team has played all year.

A highlight for the Spartans was Kalin Lucas’ career-high 25 points.

The Spartans are now getting ready to play the University of Maryland Terrapins on Sunday afternoon.


U of M beats U Connecticut in Ann Arbor

A quick piece of good news from the struggling University of Michigan basketball program.

They beat 15th ranked Connecticut 68-63 on Sunday in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines were led by Manny Harris, who had 18 points and eight rebounds.
Maybe this team will be making a run for the NCAA tournament after all? It’s still an uphill battle.


Breaking News! Pistons fire Coach Michael Curry after one mediocre season

Things had been pretty quiet around the Motor City Sports Blog offices the past week.

The brouhaha over Sidney Crosby’s snub of Nicklas Lidstrom, as well as the fact that our Winged warrior came up one game short of the cup, has worn off.

And the Tigers have been playing great, with a seven-game winning streak (aside from a blown lead and a couple of flops on the road).

The Lions and Michigan Wolverines are making all the right noises in their march toward incompetence.

And aside from the draft, nothing really much from the Pistons. My bet was on Joe Dumars giving Michael Curry another year, and a better, more motivated roster, to prove himself.

There’s going to be a lot of speculation about who should coach this team. My concern is that this group of players, who won a great championship in 2004, has a chip on their collective shoulder. In every year since 2004, they have come up short. But they still talk the talk and walk with the swagger of a championship team. The sad truth is that they’ve fallen quite a bit since their 2004 win.

Is this group of players coachable? Can they dredge up the humility they need to recalibrate their collective work ethic and make at least one more serious run at a title? And can they do this in a conference that’s going to be dominated by LeBron James for the next few years?

Pistons fire Michael Curry | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press


Cavs beat Pistons 99-78, capping series and ending era

Like you, I watched yesterday’s Pistons game hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. And the only positive thing you can say about the game is that our expectations were met.

The Pistons 2008-2009 season came to a crashing halt on Sunday as “King” LeBron James further solidified his reputation as one of the greatest players in basketball. And he did so at the hands of an unraveling, aging Detroit Pistons team.

James had 36 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for the Cavaliers in this series-clinching game.

Over the next few weeks, there will be much noise in the local and national media about what this team needs to do to recover.

Getting younger will help, hopefully Rodney Stuckey will emerge from Rasheed Wallace’s shadow.

Getting hungrier will also help. Even with his talent, Tayshaun Prince may not be more than a mere role player. Coach Michael Curry certainly gave Prince an opportunity to prove himself this year and Prince did not meet Curry’s challenge.

I think that Joe Dumars realizes this and I suspect that he’s also plotting a few key pickups that he can make through free agency. We’ll see what happens, but we do know for sure that this look and feel of this team is changing.

That we can expect.

Freep.com: LeBron dusts off Pistons for sweep

Pistons now down 3-0, clock ticks toward the end of an era

It’s always like this in the end. Athletes rarely quit before their time is up (Barry Sanders is the exception to this rule) and teams are rarely broken up and reimagined by their management before they are unraveled by a younger, hungrier and yes … more talented team.

What’s happening to the Pistons in this series is not merely an issue of a “lack of effort.” Yes, the Pistons won a championship and made it to six consecutive conference finals and yes, they are a talented bunch of players. And yes, their lack of effort could probably be the root cause of them not having achieved more (remember wondering where Rip and Chauncey were in Game 7 of the 2005 NBA Finals?).

But let’s not focus on the Pistons right now, because as much as we don’t want it to be this way, the cold, lonely truth is that their effort is irrelevant to the outcome of this series.
Rasheed Wallace in game 3.
The Pistons are simply in the way of a young player who is on the verge of greatness.

Lebron James is willing himself and his team towards the NBA Finals and even without that willpower, I’d propose that Lebron could almost get there on his talent alone.

Last night, James was one assist shy of a triple-double. He is inspiring his teammates to play above their level and contribute their fullest. And that, my friends, is how championships are made.

Yahoo! Sports: Game Recap