In what may have been the most exciting, as well as the most anticipated Open Practice in years, the Pistons Organization from top to bottom, put on a great show for the 5,000 plus fans in attendance Saturday morning. This year’s Open Practice may have held the highest attendance in the history of the event. Going from last years practice, held at Oakland University, where approximately 800 fans showed up, it was nice to see a large amount of the Lower Bowl filled.
The Pistons opened their doors to a line of fans wrapping around the side of the building at 10 a.m., where some lucky contestants were involved in a 3-point shootout with a chance to win a trip to All-Star weekend 2014 in New Orleans. After some subpar shooting (as expected), one lucky fan was able to walk away with the grand prize.
After the Sprite Ultimate Challenge wrapped up, the Pistons began arriving out of the locker room to warm up prior to practice. As the coaches appeared, the Palace erupted with the famous “SHEED” chant to welcome home a member of the 2003-2004 NBA Championship team. Along with Wallace, the fans honored 2004 NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups with a standing ovation that shook the Palace from top to bottom. The fans did a tremendous job of welcoming these NBA greats as they return to a franchise that they once called home.
After the Mason introduced the 2013-2014 Detroit Pistons, Strength and Conditioning Coach Arnie Kander led the team through warm-ups/stretching. After, the Pistons broke out into separate groups, the White and Blue teams. They started with 3-on-2 2-on-1 drill which treated the fans to a clinic of fastbreak dunks led by of course, Andre Drummond and athletic freak, rookie Tony Mitchell. Drummond’s progress was evident in the low post as he showed an array of moves on Assistant Coach Rasheed Wallace down low on the block finishing with either a baby hook or thunderous dunk.
As the Pistons finished up a few more drills, they started to form two teams to go against each other in an 18 minute scrimmage (three six minute quarters). The starters of each team consisted of:
PG: Brandon Jennings
SG: Rodney Stuckey
SF: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PF: Jonas Jerebko
C: Andre Drummond
PG: Will Bynum
SG: Chauncey Billups
SF: Kyle Singler
PF: Josh Smith
C: Greg Monroe
The White Team came out of the gate fast, opening up a 12-6 lead halfway through the 1st by the two guard attack of Will Bynum and Chauncey Billups. Brandon Jennings connected with both Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jonas Jerebko on consecutive three balls to end the first in a 12-12 tie.
After the break, the Blue team put in rookie Tony Mitchell and Free Agent signee Josh Harrellson in for the start of the second, as the White team added Charlie Villanueva and Gigi Datome to the floor.
As the teams go back and forth throughout the second, KCP hits another triple to shorten the White teams lead to one with 28 seconds left. Coming out of the huddle, Brandon Jennings drives right though the lane with the lefty scoop off the high glass plus one to finish off the quarter. Blue team led 26-24 after two at the Palace.
In the final six minute period, the teams went back and forth for some highlight reel material. Josh Smith drove right down the avenue for a tomahawk slam in the early goings of the third. And after a no-call on one end, Andre Drummond rocked the Palace with a thunderous windmill slam that drew “ooo’s” and “ahh’s” from the crowd.
As the final period winded down. The White team found themselves on top 42-41 with 8 seconds remaining when Andre Drummond drew the foul on Greg Monroe on the block. Drummond would proceed to miss the free throws resulting in an intentional foul on Greg Monroe with 04.7 ticks remaining. Moose knocked down both to give the White team a three point advantage. Out of the timeout, Pistons ran a beautiful inbounds play that resulted in a wide open Brandon Jennings beyond the perimeter. The shot rimmed out, and the White team finished 44-41 winner at Open Practice 2013.
Miss any of the action? Check out all of the highlights right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNHb_upb4bE
Peyton Siva was held out of the scrimmage with a calf strain that has bugged him throughout the week. Gigi Datome also said he “felt something” in his hamstring after the scrimmage. Nothing serious, just a minor setback.
With the 2013 Open Practice in the books, you can catch the Pistons in action this week at the Palace of Auburn Hills as the open up a string of preseason games at home before heading on the road. Detroit faces off against Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday to open up the Preseason schedule. Following that they will face the reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat on Thursday at the Palace. The Pistons will get their first look at Greg Oden, who hasn’t played in an NBA game in over 2 years.
Two Preseason contests will be scheduled to be aired on Fox Sports Detroit this year. Tuesday, October 22nd against the Washington Wizards, and Thursday October 24th against Ricky Rubio and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Both games will begin at 7:30, make sure to check back here for the first set of Preseason recaps of the season as we look forward to yet another exciting year of Piston Basketball!
Topics: Andre Drummond, Brandon Jennings, Charlie Villanueva, Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons, Greg Monroe, Josh Smith, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Luigi Datome, Mo Cheeks, Peyton Siva, Rasheed Wallace, Tony Mitchell, Will Bynum