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The Source

People are talking about the Pistons? Really?

Starting Five: PG Brandon Jennings, SG Rodney Stuckey, SF Josh Smith, PF Greg Monroe, C Andre Drummond


Key Bench Players: SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, PG Chauncey Billups, PG Luigi Datome, G/F Kyle Singler


Notable offseason additions: Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Chauncy Billups, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Luigi Datome


Notable offseason subtractions: PG Jose Calderon, PG Brandon Knight, PF Jason Maxiell

FACT OR FICTION: With the additions of Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings, the Pistons will earn a playoff spot in the East.
FACT. This team looks much different from last year, and, before we get into why or what that means, lets just understand that different is better for Detroit. Last year was ugly. Heading into the 2012-13 season, the Pistons had 1.5 NBA caliber players on the roster in Greg Monroe and Tayshaun Prince (Prince doesn’t weigh enough to count as 1 player). The hope was that Andre Drummond would prove to be NBA caliber too. Well, Drummond struggled with some back problems, but he certainly showed plenty of potential. Then he dominated the Summer League, posting 15.5 points, 14.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and 2.0 blocks while shooting 51.2% (generally, summer league stats are worth little, but as a Pistons fan I’m allowed to say things like “Did you see Drummond this summer? Incredible. Definitely having a breakout season, 25/15 at least. The Pistons are so exciting, you gotta watch. Probably the 3 seed in the East”). So back in July, even with Prince gone and Jose Calderon in Dallas, the Pistons already had two NBA caliber players. Wild.… Read more...

Three-peat? Miami Heat Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Mario Chalmers, SG Dwayne Wade, F Shane Battier, F Lebron James, F/C Chris Bosh


Key Bench Players: Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem, Norris Cole, Chris Anderson, James Jones


Notable offseason additions: Greg Oden, Michael Beasley


Notable offseason subtractions: Mike Miller


FACT OR FICTION: Three-peat?


Fact. If you had to bet on either the Miami Heat or the field, who do you like? The Heat have LeBron so I don’t see anyway to pick the field. James is the closest thing to basketball perfection right now and maybe ever. He’s not perfect, and he can’t do it alone, but with the same core, some veterans and some potential, and a flat-faced coach who gets his guys to commit on the defensive end, the Heat are definitely the favorites.


We all have the same questions about the ‘13-’14 Miami Heat: Can D Wade stay healthy enough to be a consistent contributor? Can Bosh and Chalmers be the players Lebron needs if Wade isn’t a superstar? Will the bench have enough firepower or are Ray Allen and Udonis Haslem too old? Does is matter that Mike Miller is gone and Greg Oden is in? Does Michael Beasley still do drugs?


We asked most of these questions last summer. Mostly the answer was “yes”: the Heat won the title so they clearly did not have many major flaws. They beat a very deserving Spurs team, and faced some stiff competition along the way. It was no cake walk. Of course, with a guy like LeBron James, some nights the answers to the those questions were “no”, and it didn’t matter. There are going to be nights like that this year too. The worry for Heat fans is that at some point we are going to remember that James is a human being. But for all us NBA fans, let’s hope we aren’t forced to remember that for a few years.

So let’s focus on what’s different.…

(Not So) Instant Trade Analysis: Brandon Jennings to the Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons get: PG Brandon Jennings (three years, $24 million)
Milwaukee Bucks get: PG Brandon Knight, F Khris Middleton, C Viecheslav Kravtov
(Writing about basketball in damn near August is always hard. But writing about two teams from the Midwest that haven’t played since mid-April? Buzz’s girlfriend, woof. So to help, we contacted friend of the blog and proud Detroit Pistons fan, The Source, to help us decode a really interesting deal with no clear winner. At least in our eyes here at MAMBINO. Below is his thoughts, along with mine)
The Source: My basic thoughts? Brandon Pettigrew is committed to fitness now, and is working hard to cleanup his drops and fumbles from last year. A productive TE, plus Reggie Bush, and maybe a decent to below-average #2 WR is all we need to get Calvin some space.

Veras adds depth to a bullpen that really needed it. If Benoit keeps the closer role, which he seems to have embraced, then the Tigers will have two reliable, late-inning relievers in Smyly and Veras. Phil Coke just can’t cut it. And Iglesias gives us more range at SS (our starters will be happy), some above average speed (of which, we had almost none), and Peralta will be juicing at home soon rather than in the clubhouse so we needed a steady infielder for the next 50 games.
In the same week the city of Detroit announced its bankruptcy, a state board approved plans for a new hockey arena, which will cost tax payers almost $300 million. OK, Detroit.
Oh and the Pistons…..
Adding Jennings to Smith and Monroe, the Pistons now have 3 starting lefties so opposing lineups will have to….
We needed a PG. Calderon is gone, Stuckey is bad, and Knight is gone and bad. Billups isn’t there to play a ton of minutes. When you look up Brandon Jennings on ESPN, one of the first things you see is “#3 PG.” That’s a win right there. By the numbers, Jennings is a better scorer and passer, and he averages almost a steal per game more than Knight. The shooting percentages are similar but Jennings has the edge from the line and he’s got this cool tattoo that looks like a necklace.… Read more...

MAMBINO’s World Series Preview

The 108th World Series starts tonight, so let’s set the stage:

The American League’s Detroit Tigers will be playing in only their third World Series in nearly thirty years, seeking their first title since 1984. Led by a pitching staff including reigning AL Cy Young and MVP award winner Justin Verlander peaking at the right minute, the Motor City’s professional baseball team will attempt to complete their quest of resurrecting a once proud franchise, a task they couldn’t quite finish off in 2006. 

Meanwhile, the National League champion San Francisco Giants are seeking their second title in three seasons. Prospective NL MVP Buster Posey and NL Cy Young hopeful Matt Cain have helped keep the SF squad at the top of Major League Baseball, despite losing Brian Wilson for the season in April, All-Star starting OF Melky Cabrera to a drug suspension in July and Tim Lincecum to an abduction last season that still hasn’t been solved. The Giants could be the first National League team to win two World Series within a three year span since the mid-seventies. In related news, I will vomit for a week straight if this happens.
In true MAMBINO fashion, we polled our rugged writing crew and came up with a consensus pick to win it all. However, in the interest of hedging our bets, we’re also going to bring you the alternative opinion. Let ‘er rip!

Why the Tigers will win the World Series in 5 Games
The Source: Defense wins championships right? Isn’t that the key? Good pitching beats good hitting?

It seems easy enough. The Tigers have been dominant on the mound. Look at their starters over their 9 postseason games: 62.0 IP, 7 ER. That’s pretty good. The guys in the bullpen have been solid too, except, of course, the set-up guy and the closer. But it hasn’t mattered. The starters have been going deep, the bullpen has been near perfect, and instead of watching Valverde blow saves and dance about it, manager Jim Leyland has been using the very solid Phil Coke. He’s earned 2 saves against the Yankees in the ALCS and totally owning the clubhouse open mic during the ALCS Game 4 rain-out with killer “guess what I found in this guy’s air duct” stories. 
Actually, Benoit and Valverde, the “reliable” 8thand 9th inning guys, are the only Tiger pitchers to give up runs out of the bullpen.  Oh well; Leyland has been picking his matchups well and it’s paying off. With a sweep of the Yankees, Detroit’s got their starting rotation set just how they want it and everyone is well rested. Plus, one of the advantages the Giants having coming in is their momentum but with Verlander on the hill in game 1, San Fran could hit the wall hard.
As for offense, hitting is always tough in the postseason. The Tigers haven’t been blowing anyone away with their huge power numbers but their lineup is a scary one to face. You know Austin Jackson, you know Miguel and Prince, and you’ve probably heard about Delmon Young winning the ALCS MVP, committing hate crimes, and driving in 8 runs in 9 postseason games – great. But some of the lesser known guys are playing well too. Jhonny Peralta is leading the team in first-name misspellings and a .343 BA through the first two series, rookie Avisail Garcia is hitting .333 with 4 RBI, and good ol’ Don “No really, I look like this and play professional sports” Kelly even won a game for us back against Oakland. 
The Giants seem like a team of annoying guys who aren’t great hitters but get big hits. Plus Buster Posey. So they’re hot and the best way to stop a hot team is good pitching. That

What’s the Biggest Problem? – Detroit Pistons Preview

 (Here’s a lil’ Deeeeeeeee-troit Pistons preview from our man The Source. He’s one of the last remaining Detroit Pistons fans, wearing his colors proud and his tears heavy. Take a look at his MAMBINO debut!)

Starting Five: PG Rodney Stuckey, PG Brandon Knight, SF Tayshaun Prince, PF Jason Maxiell, C Greg Monroe

Key Bench Players: G Will Bynum, SF Corey Maggette, PF Jason Maxiell, C Andre Drummond

Notable offseason additions: SF Corey Maggette, C Andre Drummond (9th overall pick)

Offseason subtractions: G Ben Gordon, C Ben Wallace

Let’s be honest: there isn’t much to be excited about. The best thing the Pistons have going for them right now is an 18 year old kid with clearly no chance of being NBA-ready by Halloween and who shoots 28% from the FT line. Seriously – he shoots 28% from the FT line! But with an adolescent head coach and a newly over-the-hill Corey Maggette, Andre Drummond is really all we’ve got.

Since Christmas, the only thing Piston fans have genuinely been excited about was the day we finally got rid of our best shooter. Ben Gordon was so bad for us, and so overpaid, we had to throw in a first round pick just to get Charlotte to take him off our hands. We landed Maggette in return, who no one is excited about, but after this season the move saves Joe Dumars somewhere around $10 million. I can support that. 

Unfortunately, the other travesty of the 2009 summer, the horrific signing of Charlie Villanueva, continues to haunt us. I guess you could argue he earned his $7.5 million last year with that gaudy stat line he threw up: 7.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG in 13.8 minutes/game. All with no eyebrows, mind you.Villanueva really isn’t the problem though. He would be, but Lawrence Frank doesn’t play Charlie V enough for him to live up to the cancer-to-your-teamhype that KG labeled him with. So what’s the real issue? No go-to guy? Lack of talent? Missing pieces? Inexperience?

Well, those are all the real issue. The roster the Pistons roster is not very impressive. Look at the point guards: Stuckey, Knight, Bynum. Now look at our shooting guards: Stuckey, Knight, and Kim English. See the problem here? The backcourt is incomplete and it’s time everyone stops acting like “combo guards” are good things. Stuckey can score, so can Knight, and Bynum is a speedy driver who is good for 12-15 minutes each night. But none of them can shoot and Stuckey and Knight both averaged less than 4 assists per game last year. So now we’ve got a starting PG (Knight) who doesn’t distribute well and a starting SG (Stuckey) who can’t shoot. But hey! You can switch them back and forth and get the same production!

Kim English is a rookie from Missouri who might actually be helpful if he can be the NBA shooter we are hoping for. If he can put up 40% from the 3-point line, then the Pistons will have….one guy who can shoot 40% from the 3-point line. There just isn’t much hope for the backcourt this year. Stuckey and Knight are pretty good players but they aren’t the guys who lead a team. They don’t complement each other the way Rip and Chauncey once did back there.

As you move down the depth chart it doesn’t get any better. There is a log jam of mediocre players vying for the small forward spot. Of course, we’ll keep it reserved for Tayshaun Prince because he was a big part of the ’04 championship team so we have to act like we still like him. Truthfully, Prince isn’t really very good at anything: his defense is overrated these days, he still can’t shoot well, and, for some reason, the frailest guy in t