December 25, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Jodie Meeks (20) attempts a three point basket as Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra watches during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Palace Picks: Jodie Meeks wants to pay back Pistons

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.

Good morning and welcome to another edition of Palace Picks. The segment that hopes it isn’t as ugly as next season’s Christmas jerseys.

And is glad the NBA  realizes that life is all about going sleeveless.

We’re not rednecks here at Pistons Palace, we just love to live life on the edge.

Before we fall off, let’s get to today’s Palace Picks.

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Jodie Meeks wants to prove to Detroit and to the Pistons that he is willing to pay back Stan Van Gundy and company for believig in him. Vincent Goodwill with the Detroit News talked with Meeks after he signed with the Pistons on Monday.

Meeks is coming off a career year for a bad Lakers team. His mission now is to prove he didn’t just put up good numbers in a losing situation, and to reward the faith of an organization that came calling on the dawn of free agency.

“I was their No. 1 priority,” Meeks said Monday. “He liked the way I competed on offense and defense. That’s my motto: Not worry about the bad shooting nights. Just play hard and let the chips fall where they may.”

The Pistons introduced fellow free agent signees Caron Butler and D.J. Augustin yesterday. We have the audio highlights right here on Pistons Palace.  Vince Ellis with the Free Press wrote about how SVG believes Augustin is a major bargain.

“I just got an opportunity,” Augustin said. “The last two years I didn’t get an opportunity to play as much like I did in Charlotte.

“When I got to Chicago, Coach (Thibodeau) gave me a chance to play and play a lot of minutes, and I think for anybody in the NBA, when you get a chance to play a good amount of minutes every night, you get comfortable, you get confident and you get a rhythm. That’s what the NBA is about. I don’t care how talented you are. If you’re not playing a certain amount of minutes every game, you’re not going to play as well.”

Goodwill answered yesterday with a profile of Caron Butler, who was brought in to lead as well as play major minutes for the Pistons next season.

Not only does he have to prove to the NBA he can still play at a consistent level, at age 34, but he’ll be looked upon as the “old head” in the locker room, a locker room that has new faces to incorporate —with the incumbents still smarting from being fragmented last season.

He’ll observe before he speaks, although he understands the urgency of the fan base wanting things to improve, post-haste.

“You do it naturally. You kind of soak up everything and see what happens,” Butler said. “You watch and listen and then open your mouth.”

So how is the national media responding to Detroit’s free agency game plan? Grantland’s Zach Lowe asks, “WTF are they doing?”

The Pistons chose the same route as the Lakers, only they already have at least one young star in Andre Drummond, and they spent much more conservatively on guys who fit actual needs in D.J. Augustin, Butler, and Meeks. The Lakers just threw random amounts of money at guys to fill a barren roster.

The Meeks contract is a puzzling overpay, but Stan Van Gundy wanted shooting, and he got it before the market could sink its fangs into Meeks. Van Gundy also has a record of turning subpar wing defenders into good system guys.

Detroit still has to figure out the Monroe situation, and Monroe’s camp is still making noise about possibly signing the one-year qualifying offer if Detroit doesn’t come with a max deal. But Detroit is still decently positioned going forward, and Van Gundy will have this team playing better this season.

MLive’s David Mayo talks Pistons front office this morning. It looks like while see some more expansion for the Pistons up stairs. Detroit is still looking to add two assistant coaches, a number of scouts, a video coordinator and possibly a specialty coach. An interesting Michigan name has popped up in the third and final Assistant General Manager opening as well.

Two of the three assistant general managers, or equivalent, already have been identified. Brian Wright was hired last week. Ken Catanella was retained as director of basketball operations from the previous regime.

The third position has not been filled.

The Pistons have interviewed Mark Hughes, a Muskegon native and veteran NBA and CBA player, scout and assistant coach who co-captained the 1989 University of Michigan NCAA title team.  Hughes has been speculated for several days as a favorite for the job but more interviews are scheduled.

As a Muskegon native, I was fortunate enough to have Mark Hughes once read a book to my 2nd grade class. He’s more than qualified for this position. If you can read to a rowdy class without issue — you can do anything in the NBA…

So.. What if the Pistons brought in an all Michigan born roster to start the season instead of Caron Butler, Jodie Meeks, D.J. Augustin and Aaron Gray? As Detroit Bad Boys breaks it down — it’d be quite ugly.


The Pistons could add depth with JaVale McGee (Flint), Wilson Chandler (Benton Harbor), Willie Green (Detroit), Ray McCallum, Jr. (Detroit), Jason Richardson(Saginaw), and rookie James Young (Flint). Maybe they — Don Nelson (Muskegon) or Rudy Tomjanovich (Hamtramck)? — can convince Shane Battier (Birmingham) to stick around for another year, too.

Man, that’s ugly.



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