Apr 2, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) shoots the ball over Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith (6) during the third quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers won 101-94. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Pistons Links 06/07/13: Forgotten Finals, Smith's Strengths, Jarnell Stokes

Every Morning, Pistons Palace brings you the reading material you need before you start your day at the office. We bring you the morning’s Palace Picks — Detroit Pistons Links from across the web to get you ready for the day.

It’s the weekends and the links are pouring in. On the weekend, we like to mix things up a bit with some more news from across the league. There is a lot currently on the Pistons slate, yet there is even more going on across the league

Flip Saunders hired himself? Say What?

What’s next? Larry Brown coaches the Lakers and John Kuester takes over the Cavs?

I’d pay money to see Kuester coach Cleveland. A lot of money. Truckloads of money.

Okay enough fantasizing, Let’s get to today’s Palace Picks.

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Stan Van Gundy is already coming up with a plan to make Josh Smith the best player he can be. Van Gundy’s advice to Smith? Focus in on what you’re good at — meaning don’t shoot the basketball. Van Gundy made it clear that Smith won’t be playing small forward next season with Pistons.com’s Keith Langlois.

“When we played them in the second round of the playoffs and they had a very good team, I believe he only shot seven threes the entire season,” Van Gundy said. “He played to his strengths. That’s a big key, not just for Josh but for everybody.

“You have certain things you can do and for whatever reason, players always want to try to do a little bit more. Well, sometimes expanding your game isn’t better. Sometimes shrinking your game is a little bit better and really get to the things you do well. Those are conversations we’ll have, not only with Josh. You want to play to your greatness and there is certainly greatness in Josh Smith.”

I’ve been in what I believe is the minority in believing that Smith will be back next season for the Pistons no matter what. I feel like Van Gundy wants to prove he can return him to the player everyone remembers in Atlanta and will use him as the third forward in rotation with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.

There is no doubt that Van Gundy is being as honest as he pledged he would be when named team President. Van Gundy told Langlois that his staff needs to devise a game plan that fits around Smith.

“Josh Smith, put in the right spots, is an outstanding player. You put Josh down on the right block, in the low post or even on a short isolation – 12 feet, 15 feet from the basket – he can get to the rim. He’s outstanding. He’s not only a very willing passer, but an outstanding passer. I think it’s the best part of Josh’s game. Probably the most overlooked part of his game is his ability to create for teammates. He can also really rebound the ball and block shots. I think he’s great when he takes the ball off the boards and then can lead the break. He’s got great ballhandling ability. He makes good decisions.

“I think Josh has got a lot of talent, but I do think that at times he can get away from his strengths and start playing to his weaknesses.”

From questions raised, to questions asked. Mlive’s David Mayo opened up his email address for his weekly “Ask David” column. He touches on some interesting topics, such as how the free agency period works, what he thinks of the Jeff Bower hire and the interesting case of Greg Monroe. Mayo was asked if he could get a comment from the big man on his desire to come back to Detroit. Mr. Mayo has a great response that I think some fans often forget about Monroe’s current situation.

Monroe isn’t going to paint himself into that kind of corner verbally. He worked hard for four years to get to this point where he could test the market. He has control over that part, but at the end of the day, he has no control over whether the Pistons choose to keep him. If they keep him, he’ll play here; if they choose not to, he won’t. It isn’t his call.

He spoke about that entire situation, in detail, on the morning of the season’s final game at Oklahoma City. Click here to see what he said. Between now and mid-July, I suspect Monroe will let agent David Falk do most of his talking.

The Lottery Mafia’s Miles Wray writes about the Pistons’ blessing in disguise this morning. Okay, maybe it was a blessing the Hornets stung us thanks to those damn Cavaliers rigging the lottery. You think these Mafia guys talking about the lottery had anything to do with it?

By sending the pick to Charlotte in the 2014 Draft, the Pistons are now effectively empowered to experiment — which could mean a lot of losses — in the 2014-15 season. While Van Gundy has never had a losing season in his eight seasons (or portions of seasons) as a head coach, it’s entirely possible that next year could be his first. With these Pistons, Van Gundy is simply not inheriting the caliber of team that he did with the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.

The NBA Finals fire back up on Sunday. No not literally, they got the A/C fixed. Anyways, Ken Berger at CBS Sports is celebrating this time of the year by writing about what he calls, “The Forgotten Finals” of 1994. Houston and New York, the league’s best defensive teams, met in the middle of an era where Jordan was king.

The only time the arguably two best centers of their generation collided with an NBA championship on the line happened 20 years ago this month. For reasons beyond their estimable powers, it has become the Forgotten Finals. In a cruel collision of events, their long-anticipated showdown was overshadowed by more memorable clashes and pre-empted by one of the most compelling news stories of the 20th century: the pursuit of murder suspect O.J. Simpson, right at the apex of their championship series.

That, and Michael Jordan’s three championships on either side of the Rockets’ two-year reign as the best team in the NBA. That, and the hard-knuckle, unappealing style of play.

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