Palace Picks: Charlie Villanueva's Crossroads

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There’s nothing like being at a crossroads.

Especially if you’re a 9-year NBA vet, that probably met the middle of the road four years ago, and just decided to ignore the railroad crossing signs.

Then again, we all thought that Ben Gordon was at the end of the tracks and the Orlando Magic offered him $4.5 million to grace their roster.

Let’s take a moment to ponder the crossroads in our life.

Okay, that’s enough — Let’s get back to making fun of NBA players and bringing you today’s Palace Picks.

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Episode 2 of the epic Crossroads series from Charlie Villanueva has hit the interwebs. This time, we get more boxing from Charlie, some work at the University of Miami practice gym, and him breaking down after a trip to Orlando… Rumor has it that Charlie V was in Vegas begging Dan Gilbert to bring him in to play with LBJ. Okay, I made that up but still..

Crossroads Webisode Week #2: The Domino Effect from Tivity Social on Vimeo.

Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News is talking about D.J. Augustin this morning and how he is a serious competitor for Brandon Jennings’ spot in the starting lineup.

Nobody disputes the talent of the incumbent starting point guard, Brandon Jennings, who had an up-and-down first season in Detroit. Quietly, Van Gundy has spoken highly of Jennings, noting the work he’s doing on his body in California, where Jennings has said he’s gained around 25 pounds.

But if Van Gundy finds himself pulling his hair out over Jennings’ erratic ways — regardless of whether the coach and the guard are on the same page — he’ll have a capable alternative in Augustin.

Vince Ellis at the Free Press took notice of another point guard yesterday. Former Pistons draft pick Peyton Siva. Ellis asked Stan Van Gundy about the decision to sign D.J. Augustin and cut Siva.

“The hardest thing was he’s exactly the kind of person you want in your organization,” coach and president of basketball operatuions Stan Van Gundy said Tuesday of Siva. “Hardworking, team-oriented guy, as good a person as you could possibly have, but we want to be better now, too.

“I think D.J. gives us a chance to better now in the next couple of years, and I thought that was too good an opportunity to pass up. We did not have in our mind where we just take whoever we can get at the point and bounce him out. It’s not like we were looking to get rid of him, but if we could get a quality guy that we think could move the needle for us as a team and make us better, then we knew we might have to do that.”

Kieth Langlois at posted another mailbag yesterday. He was asked about the future of Andre Drummond and if the Pistons plan to avoid another Greg Monroe situation.

Barring any injury that alters Drummond’s long-term outlook, I think the entire NBA expects that the Pistons are going to offer Drummond the five-year maximum deal that will kick in for the 2016-17 season. No other team could offer him that. (If the Pistons were to have offered Monroe the same deal, they would have been prevented from offering it to Drummond. The 2011 bargaining agreement limited teams to one five-year maximum extension of a rookie contract. That’s why Minnesota is now faced with the likelihood of having to trade Kevin Love before losing him as a free agent next summer. They chose to save the five-year max extension for Ricky Rubio.) The Pistons almost certainly won’t have to worry about Drummond leaving as a free agent for another eight years. That gives Stan Van Gundy all the time he needs to put the team he wants around Drummond. The remarkable thing about that is he’ll still only be 28 at the time and could very well still command another maximum contract for the longest term allowed under whatever the bargaining agreement permits at the time.

Joe Lapointe has a new column up on MLive. He believes that Stan Van Gundy can build a winner with his guys.

In small, crowded rooms at The Palace on Tuesday, Stan Van Gundy spoke at great length and with determined optimism of better teams and better times for the downtrodden Detroit Pistons.

“I like the makeup of our team right now,” Van Gundy said, calling his players “a lot of hungry people.”

Unusually powerful as both the new coach and new president of basketball operations, Van Gundy presented his latest two acquisitions, forward Caron Butler and guard D.J. Augustin.

At the very least, he promised, there will be competition for jobs as he shakes out the roster by collecting veteran second-tier free agents who will be loyal to his new regime.

Two for the Road:

  • Matt Dery at Detroit Sports 105.1 had a great segment yesterday on his radio show about the state of prep basketball in Michigan. Dery talked with ESPN basketball analyst Tim McCormick about how the trend of Michigan’s best players moving on to play at different prep schools across the country.
  • Patty Mills is a level 100 troller. Check out what he did to an Australian TV reporter.

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