Category: Top News Written by Leland Stein III
The Detroit Pistons just concluded their fourth consecutive losing campaign, finishing the regular NBA season with a 25-41 record. Some basketball pundits have said there are plenty of reasons to smile when looking into the crystal ball of the Pistons’ future.
However, after giving Detroit area fans a noteworthy run of six consecutive NBA Eastern Conference Finals, watching the 2012 NBA Playoffs unfold still leaves a void in my basketball spirit. The question is why am I feeling a void, when the Pistons have posted 25-41, 30-52, 27-55, and 39-43 records since 2008-09?
Just think, in 2007-08 our Pistons had a 59-23 record and lost in the Eastern Conference Finals. It now seems like a thousand years ago. The main question is when will this gallant franchise right itself and get back into the NBA hunt for a title?
With a shortened year due to the lockout and a roster of unproven talent, the expectations for the 2011-12 Pistons season were set at a low bar. The Pistons weren’t expected to make the playoffs or become the Cinderella team of the NBA.
Also, this was head coach Lawrence Frank’s first season at the helm. He followed a string of unsuccessful coach selections by Pistons President Joe Dumars. Flip Saunders, Michael Curry and John Kuester all have had recent shots at being the face of the franchise.
The Detroit fans are eager to see the Pistons get back to their winning ways. Could it come sooner than expected? Will next season be the one?
Many are saying Dumars has found his guy in Frank. Did Frank, unlike Kuester, start the process of changing the mentality of the team and create a positive vibe with his players? The popular theory is he will be the coach for many years to come.
“We started the season 4-20, but finished it over .500 the rest of the way,” Frank told me. “I’m disappointed that we did not make the playoffs or finish .500. With us sitting at home watching the playoffs, hopefully it will be motivation for some. No doubt we have to get better, starting with me.”
Frank does indeed have a solid nucleus to revamp the franchise. Point guard Brandon Knight and guard Rodney Stuckey are a decent backcourt pair. They may not be as good as the Bad Boys era — the Pistons who had one of the best backcourts in the NBA with Dumars and Isiah Thomas. Years later, Dumars paired Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups as they helped lead Detroit to a championship in 2004.
As the season progressed, Frank turned the team over to his young point guard. Knight made great progression as the season went on and earned his stripes as a rookie. With a full offseason and continuous development with the team, Knight can be the leader the Pistons need.
“As the season went on I felt better about what I could contribute to this team,” Knight said.
“I know I have work to do to get better and compete with all the great point guards in this league. I plan to stay in Detroit in the offseason and work on the things I can to take my game to another level and help this team get better.”
For many seasons, head coaches tried to make Stuckey into a point guard.
With the growth of Knight, Stuckey was able to slide over to shooting guard and highlight his natural ability as a scorer. Stuckey drives the lane as well as anybody in the NBA and has had some big fourth quarters for the Pistons.
Another bright spot for the Pistons was center Greg Monroe. He put together a fine campaign for Most Improved Player this season, averaging 15.4 points and 9.7 rebounds, including an impressive 31 double-doubles.
Monroe established himself as one of the better centers in the league and will stay in that elite company as his game continues to evolve.
It’s unclear where Detroit will draft on June 28, but the draft carries a deep pool of talent, especially in the frontcourt.
The Pistons need to find a consistent power forward to play next to Monroe.
Frank played musical chairs at that position last season, rotating a large number of players at that spot (Jason Maxiell, Austin Daye, Charlie Villanueva, Ben Wallace and Jerebko). All are useful role players off the bench, but the Pistons need a real beast to complement Monroe.
There is plenty at stake on the Pistons’ offseason.
Last Updated on Friday, 18 May 2012 18:48
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
Black borrowers face “a perception out there that African Americans have an inferior skill set and expectations,” argues R. Donahue “Don” Peebles, chairman and CEO of Peebles Corp., an African American real estate developer. “How do you start a business if banks won’t lend?” asks the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Smaller nonprofit players such as Seedco Financial, which extends money and technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs, may help some deal with the funding gap.
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 May 2012 01:49
Category: Breaking News Written by WXYZ.com
DETROIT (WXYZ) - Pastor Marvin Winans' SUV remains missing as of Thursday morning and so do the men who punched, kicked and robbed the famous gospel singer.
Winans' was pumping gas Wednesday afternoon at a Detroit Citgo station on the corner of Linwood and Davison when at least two men ambushed him.
The carjackers took his deep purple Infiniti QX56 SUV, a couple hundred dollars in cash and his watch.
The legendary pastor is well known in Detroit and for his family's gospel music. Winans recently gained attention when he gave the eulogy at Whitney Houston's funeral . He told 7 Action News that he did not believe his attackers recognized him.
Pastor Winans said he felt something was wrong when he came out of the gas station's convenience store.
He said several men followed him out and assaulted him while he was pumping gas.
They robbed him, punched him and even ripped off his pants. Pastor Winans says he's OK, but is more saddened that it has come to this.
“This kind of nonsense just has to stop," he said Wednesday afternoon. "It’s just the savageness of what’s happening in the streets. We just have to take a look at ourselves and say this has to stop,” said Pastor Winans.
Winans went to a hospital Wednesday night to have his hand examined following the incident.
His left hand was bandaged as Pastor Winans spoke to WXYZ's Carolyn Clifford during an interview late Wednesday night.
"Given the gravity of the situation, it was minor," said Winans of the injuries he sustained to his hand. He said his finger would remain bandaged for about eight weeks.
Winans said he was disturbed that this happened "in the middle of the afternoon" and, at first, "nobody came to help."
In February, security cameras at another Detroit gas station recorded video of an 86-year-old man who was carjacked as others passed by and ignored him .
"Your life has to be bigger than sitting in a gas station and robbing innocent people," Winans said in a message to his carjackers during the interview Wednesday night.
Earlier this week, Detroit police told 7 Action News about a new trend in carjacking incidents in the city. They said some carjackers were using prostitutes to setup and distract victims .
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 May 2012 01:45
Category: Top News Written by Bankole Thompson
At a time when the city is financially strapped, revenues are down, and crime is spiraling to unprecedented levels, Detroit is set to take another financial hit. This time not from the city itself, but from neighboring Ohio where the push to establish four casinos there is going to chip away at the city’s coffers.
Our leaders are noticeably silent on this issue that will seriously affect jobs in Detroit —
not that they can do much about it because we live in and acknowledge the free market enterprise principles that allow for competition in the marketplace.
The bare fact, according to McKinsey & Co., is that with the existence of the Ohio casinos, Detroit would stand to lose $30 million in annual casino tax revenue by 2015.
Because a significant number of patrons of the casinos in Detroit — MGM, Greektown and Motor City — come from places like Toledo, Ohio. With Ohio now competing against Detroit, those patrons would no longer see the need to drive the distance to Detroit to gamble.
The Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland opened on Monday, the Hollywood casino in Toledo will open May 29 and two more are set to open in Cincinnati.
For Detroit, no matter where we stand on the morality of gambling, all three casinos create jobs for residents of the city and contribute to the treasury.
Just last year, all three casinos contributed $177 million to the city’s $1.2 billion general fund, and if that amount is now slashed by $30 million, it means Detroit would have to cut or reduce services.
This is a crucial economic issue for the city, and could create more headaches as the city attempts to move forward. The unemployment numbers are deplorable as is the case with urban centers around the nation, with more than 50 percent of young Black males being unemployed.
And anyone who thinks the high rate of crime in Detroit is not tied to the economic climate we find ourselves in is living on another planet.
While the bleeding economic atmosphere is not a justifiable reason for crime, including armed robbery and selling drugs, and commiting acts of violence, the reality is that some of the young men involved in heinous crimes are not only acting out of desperation, but out of an economic need, even holding their victims at gunpoint at places where a lot of financial transactions takes place, such as gas stations and shopping malls.
Because they do not see any alternative, they take to guns and drugs, literally transforming some of our neighborhood streets into war zones. Some of the culprits are repeat offenders, others are young people pressured by their peers to take to the streets as a rite of passage as opposed to being meaningfully engaged in activities that will help them become productive, despite the absence of employment.
A dire economy makes matters worse because it creates a “survival of the fittest” climate in which too many of our young people are turning to criminal activity instead of interpreting it as a climate to make use of their talents in a way that allows them to find a sense of achievement now and assures their futures.
This is the reality we live in. This is the truth that Detroit must face.
Abraham Joshua Herschel reminded us that “in a democracy, some are guilty but all are responsible,” and in this current tough economic climate, we are all responsible for the crisis. Our leaders cannot abdicate themselves from an economic dispensation where jobs are hard to come by, and its relation to the high ratio of crime been committed in Detroit.
They now have to be creative and discover how to widen the city’s revenue base.
When the city starts losing millions of dollars in casino tax it would, among other things, mean job losses. The dependents of those employees will feel the pinch including their children. It would also mean fewer people visiting Detroit and patronizing the entertainment centers, restaurants and everything else the city has to offer.
Certainly, the challenge for the three casinos in Detroit will be to become more competitive as Ohio competes for the same clients that made Detroit the Las Vegas of the Midwest.
The fact of the matter is that Detroit will have to start making projections about the city’s economic future and how to be prepared when bad news such as this comes.
Unfortunately we are very reactive, and not proactive. The writing was already on the wall about the casinos in Ohio.
Now, some are beginning to feel the heat after a national study validated the fears of some about why Ohio will undercut Detroit and underscores why this moment in the era of a consent agreement is even more important.
As Detroit goes through a chapter of financial surgery with the appointment of Jack Martin as chief financial officer, along with the Financial Advisory Board, the mayor and City Council, we hope that the Ohio situation will prove that we can be a community that thinks prudently and makes plans so as to be prepared when unexpected things happen in the future.
Dr. Benjamin Mays, former president of Morehouse College and a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., once said, “The man who outthinks you, rules you.”
That is what Ohio is doing to Detroit.
What will be our city’s response?
Last Updated on Monday, 21 May 2012 09:24
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!
- Duggan Court of Appeals Decision (1)
- Medical Marijuana Illinois: Veto Session Could Make Legal Weed A Reality (1)
- President Obama Hosts Father’s Day Luncheon At White House (1)
- Democrat: IRS Manager Denies Targeting Of Conservative Groups (1)
- Detroit Area Has Strong Legacy With African American Dealers (1)