From Natalie Sitto, Need For Sheed: What Significant Moves were made during the off-season? If you can call having a horrible season and finally getting a lottery pick a move then Greg Monroe is it. Finally the Pistons draft the Big Man they so dearly need. You can’t pin all your hopes on Monroe until he proves himself in the NBA. Monroe, a skilled rebounder and passer at Georgetown will have to show up every night and contribute to be live up to Detroit’s expectations. Detroit also picked up a what may turn out to be a draft steal in the second round. Terrico White had a strong showing in the Summer League and turned heads with his dunking abilities during the rookie photo shoot. He may have a really hard time getting time considering the log jam at his position, but his potential is more than interesting. Lastly and many would say the biggest pick-up of the offseason was the signing of Tracy McGrady to a one year contract. With McGrady well past his prime and injury plagued for quite some time, one can only think he’s likely to play a small roll on this team. If T-Mac is willing put his pride aside and accept the role the Pistons need him to play, he just might rejuvenate his career in Motown.
From Steve Kays, DetroitBasketball.net: What are the team’s biggest strengths? The backcourt. Will Bynum, Rodney Stuckey, Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Terrico White, Austin Daye, and Tracy McGrady compose one of the league’s best back courts. The Pistons can go big (Stuckey, McGrady), small (Bynum, Gordon), or tall (McGrady, Hamilton) and still have plenty of options to spare. They all bring something different to the table, but trading one of them sure would make Coach Kuester’s job easier. Surprisingly the Pistons also excelled in offensive rebounding last season. Detroit averaged 12.8 offensive boards per game (led by Ben Wallace’s 3.6) which was 2nd in the entire league. The addition of Greg Monroe and continued growth of Jonas Jerebko should help add to the Pistons’ dominance on the offensive glass.
From Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times: So much for the uncertainty. All week, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson seemed to waver on whether Kobe Bryant would play when the Lakers begin their preseason games, beginning in London on Oct. 4 against the Minnesota Timberwolves and in Spain on Oct. 7 against Regal FC Barcelona. Jackson had thought last week that Bryant’s rehabilitation efforts on his right knee following off-season arthroscopic surgery would prove enough to warrant minutes. Then, with Bryant only participating in one full practice this week, Jackson expressed uncertainty on whether he’d suit up for next week’s games. There’s still some questions that will have clearer answers leading up to tipoff, such as how many practices Bryant fits in, how much progress he makes and if there’s any more discomfort. But Jackson’s announcement Thursday that he plans to play Bryant at least in some fashion proves to be the best choice for a pair of preseason games that boast more importance than usual.
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: During Lakers Media Day, Brian and I were lucky enough to secure interview time with nearly every member of the team. But “nearly every” isn’t quite “every,” so we’ve been trying to run down the players who managed to avoid our table. Yesterday, Brian posted his conversation with Derrick Caracter. For the next installment, a few minutes I spent with Shannon Brown. Question: Talk about your offseason, the process of narrowing down your options, and eventually deciding to stay with the Lakers. Shannon Brown: I don’t really know too much to say about it. Like I said, weighing my options, seeing what the best situation was for me. Obviously, it was the Lakers. You got a chance to come back here and do something special and make history and win three NBA championships in a row. I don’t really know about all the rumors (about other teams). People were telling me about them. I don’t even know about those. I just know this is the place where I was meant to be.
From Dexter Fishmore, Los Angeles SB Nation: It didn’t take long for the Lakers’ three-peat convoy to hit its first land mine. On Sept. 20, before training camp even began, news came that center Andrew Bynum, he of the perennially cursed knees, wouldn’t play in any preseason games and hadn’t even been cleared to take part in practice. The culprit was the surgery he underwent on July 28 to repair the achy right knee he lugged through the playoffs last season. Somewhat surprisingly, David Stern has elected not to postpone opening night while Drew completes his rehab. Where’s that pro-Laker conspiracy when you need it? At the team’s media day, Bynum said that he didn’t expect to be back in action until the end of November. A day later, Phil Jackson offered a different assessment, telling reporters that Drew might miss only the first two or three weeks of the regular season. As usual, when it comes to Laker injuries, the best advice I can give is to trust no one.