Friday, February 06, 2009

Michael Curry tryes to keep Detroit away from rumours consequences

The NBA trading deadline is in less than two weeks, which means trade rumors will float around regardless of how baseless or unsubstantiated they might be.

In fact, it makes for good water cooler conversation, but there is a potential downside for the players mentioned and their squads.

It’s interesting to mention that trade speculation can get in the way of player performance, and also how a squad plays.

But the topic of trade rumors is not one Pistons coach Michael Curry will address with his players.

"I leave that up to management," Curry told reporters after Friday's practice. "A lot of times, the more you talk about things, the more they become a theme or whatever. I never worried about it as a player, so maybe that's where I draw it from."

The Pistons already made a blockbuster trade this season at the time they sent captain Chauncey Billups and forward Antonio McDyess along with Cheikh Samb to Denver for Allen Iverson on Nov. 3.

More than three months have passed since the trade, and the Pistons still are figuring out how to mesh Iverson's talents with the current group of Pistons.

As we said, Detroit is 22-21 since the trade with Iverson in the lineup, and 4-0 without him.

Joe Dumars, Detroit's president of basketball operations, has heard several players linked to Detroit as possible trade targets.

While he will not rule out another important trade, Dumars expressed in an e-mail Friday there is "nothing but the usual chatter" between him and fellow league executives leading up to the Feb. 19 trade deadline.

If the squad does consider making a move, Dumars must weigh the deal's impact on a roster that has not handled change particularly well this season.

"To be really good, you have to be able to handle change," the Coach expressed. "You have to be able to handle trade rumors, just anything that comes up; just stay steady. The steadier you can be, the better you perform."

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Allen Iverson still thinks about final victory

Asked about Detroit Pistons' prospects after their latest loss -- Sunday's 90-80 defeat by Cleveland -- Allen Iverson responded as expected.

Indeed, despite losing nine of their past 12 clashs and watching the Cavaliers and Boston Celtics dominate late in their last two losses, the Pistons still have plenty of time, Iverson expressed.

"I'm sure everybody's confidence is still up because we got a long way to go," expressed Iverson, who scored 22 points against the Cavs. "At this point, even before the All-Popular player break, if we lose our confidence there isn't any reason to even come back after break because we would be going out there playing for nothing.

"My confidence is at an all-time high, honestly, because I still feel good about the guys I play with and our coaching staff."

But it's tough for others to share Iverson's bravado.

It’s good to say that January's 6-9 record was the squad's first losing month since February 2004 -- which happens to be the month Rasheed Wallace joined the Pistons during their last NBA title run.

Detroit is 25-21 and tied for the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference, but the Pistons are only four clashs ahead of the ninth-place New York Knicks at 21-25. Finish ninth, and the Pistons are watching the playoffs in their comfortable living rooms.

The squad's recent bad defense has made headlines, and rightfully so, since there have been some frightful outings.

But the Pistons are fourth in the NBA in scoring defense (93.2) and seventh in field-goal percentage defense (44.9%).

As we said before, the problem is on the offensive end, where the Pistons are still disjointed after trading for Iverson nearly three months ago. The Pistons are 28th in scoring (92.9).

Coach Michael Curry would like to run more to take advantage of the open-court skills of Iverson and Rodney Stuckey, but do other members of the squad mesh with that style?

The Pistons saw two squads in sync over the weekend in the Cavaliers and Celtics.

"Those two squads are all on the same page, offensively and defensively," backup guard Arron Afflalo expressed. "They have one common goal, and that's to win the clash and do whatever it takes to win. And that's the point we all have to get to."

And though it may be tough to believe right now, others say they share Iverson's confidence.

"I’m sure it's going to take a lot (to turn things around)," Tayshaun Prince expressed. "It starts in practice. Everybody has to buckle down and take it individually. We just have to respond.

"It's frustrating. Especially for guys like myself, (Rip Hamilton) and (Wallace) who've had the success we've had here. To come in here and take the losses and losing the way we have, it's frustrating."

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