What’s going on with the Detroit Pistons? And why can’t the Bucks beat them despite the ongoing turmoil between the Rip Hamilton cadre of veterans and coach John Kuester? Those questions (and a lot of others about the Bucks) are nagging this week as the Bucks prepare to play the Pistons Tuesday.
At the brink of the trade deadline last week, Hamilton rejected an $18 million buyout offer from the Cavs, who were willing to take him off Detroit’s hands with a draft pick. The buyout would have allowed Hamilton to, ostensibly, go play for the Bulls who were looking for a shooting guard to run with Derrick Rose in the playoffs.
Rip said “No,” he and the veterans were rumored to be hatching a “roundball revolution” against coach Kuester, a shootaround was missed by many, players were fined and benched, Kuester may soon be fired, the fans just want the lunacy to end and the team may be up for sale.
They’re 2-0 against the Bucks this season. Go figure. I can’t. What a mess.
So I’m listening to the Need4Sheed blogger Natalie Sitto’s PODCAST with Associated Press Pistons reporter Dave Hogg, who knows more about these things than just about anybody, except of course for that inexplicable 2-0 record against our Bucks.
“Two more years of this” in Detroit, they sigh in Detroit over Hamilton – who is owed $25 million over that time. Rip, Tayshaun Prince, Big Ben Wallace and Tracy McGrady (the veterans) may have been operating under the assumption that Kuester is on his way out the door. They may have been wrong:
“Because of the sale issue, I don’t think [the Pistons] will be firing [Kuester] anytime soon,” said Hogg. And after Friday [the “roundball revolution”] I don’t think you fire ‘Kue’ now.”
The last time Hamilton played for the Pistons, he scored 15 off the bench in Milwaukee Feb. 5 as the Pistons sent the Bucks to one of their sorriest losses of the season, 89-78.
Detroit shot 51.5% for the game. The Bucks point guards were terrible. John Salmons was sluggishly back from his hip injury. Andrew Bogut scored 18 but the Pistons looked almost like the Pistons of old, running Rip off of staggered screens for open mid-range jumpers and the occasional 3-pointer. The Bucks failed to take advantage of great defense in the 3rd quarter, when they held the Pistons to 14 points.
The Bucks scored just 13 in that 3rd quarter and resorted to fighting the refs under their basket, who were absolutely horrible, nearly as bad as the Bucks shot selection.
Hamilton hasn’t played since, leading to last week’s “revolution.” Why did he play that night against the Bucks?
Such are the mysteries that have perplexed the Bucks all season long as they have failed and failed again to get a streak going. Tuesday may be the Bucks last chance to start one.