Conceptualized and built in 1987-88, the Palace of Auburn Hills still is one of the best basketball venues in the NBA.Since it was built, another $141.5 million of upgrades have the building looking as vibrant and fan-friendly as the day it opened Aug. 13, 1988, when Sting performed to a packed house.
Since then, the Detroit Pistons and WNBA’s Detroit Shock have won championships in the building. Excited fans packed the joint while the Bad Boys and the Chauncey Billups-led Goin’ to Work teams ruled the Eastern Conference.
In 2009, the Pistons recorded their 259th consecutive sellout at the 22,076-seat facility — from Jan. 19, 2004 to Feb. 4, 2009.
Now it seems that the Pistons will move downtown to share the still-being-built Little Caesars Arena with the Detroit Red Wings. It would be hard to see them leave the Palace, but here’s a look back at some of the great Pistons events there:
With the end of the season for the Detroit Pistons, the look is to next year and what lies ahead for the team. The Pistons made the playoffs this year, thus ending the longest drought in the Eastern Conference of not playing in the post season. Although they were swept by the Cavaliers, the future is promising for the Pistons. The core of the team is young and talented, led by All-Star center, Andre Drummond and point guard Reggie Jackson.
The major improvement that must be made for the team to progress further in the free throw shooting of Drummond. In a season where he shot a league-worst 35.5% from the free throw line, Andre Drummond’s head coach says that the All-Star is thinking about shooting under-handed, amongst other possibilities next season. It is demoralizing for the team if their best player can’t be on the court during winning time if he can’t shoot free throws. He becomes a liability and the team is weaker. This situation probably cost the team at least one, maybe two games in the playoffs.
Read More: Van Gundy: Drummond To Consider Alternatives For FT’s | http://thegame730am.com/van-gundy-drummond-to-consider-alternatives-for-fts/?trackback=blogroll_widget-recent-stories&trackback=tsmclip
The Pistons are within 1 1/2 games of the Atlanta Hawks, who sit in the No. 4 spot, which would give them home-court advantage for a first-round playoff series. With their 13-5 home record — and 8-11 road record — getting home court advantage has to be the immediate goal if they’re going to make any kind of postseason run.
The Detroit Pistons are quietly making a little run toward making the playoffs for their play this season, led by center Andre Drummond and guard Reggie Jackson. The Pistons are 21-16 at this point in the season compared to their record of 13-24 last year at this time. That is an eight-game turnaround. Not bad!! We will continue to keep on eye on them as the season nears the midpoint. So far the results are positive for the new look Pistons.
As a life long Detroit Piston fan, the amazing statistics that center #Andre Drummond is putting up night after night, reminds me of another big man who played for them in the early sixties named #Reggie Harding. Harding has the distinction of being the first high-school basketball player drafted by the NBA not so much for his skill, which was apparent, but for the fact he had no other place to go. His career, for the most part, is a case of a player with a million dollar talent, but a two dollar brain. As a youth, he was constantly in trouble committing petty crimes. Harding, a 7-foot product of Eastern High School in Detroit, had short careers in the NBA and ABA. Harding made his NBA debut with the Pistons in the 1963-64 season midway through the season because of a suspension on a gun charge. In 39 games, he averaged 11.0 points and 10.5 rebounds playing almost 30 minutes per game. The following season, he played in 78 games averaging 12.0 points and 11.6 rebounds in playing over 34 minutes per game. That was, for the most part, the highlights of his career with the Pistons as his career was pretty much downhill after that. The 1964-65 season he did not play for being suspended for reasons unknown. The next season he averaged only 18.5 minutes a game which produced 5.5 points and 6.1 rebounds. His next stop was with the Chicago Bulls where he lasted only 14 games after which he signed with the Indiana Pacers of the ABA.
Despite playing in only 25 games with the Pacers, Harding wanted $15,000 to finish the season, but the Pacers only offered $10,000, however he was convinced by management that the team could play 50 games if it went all the way to the ABA championship, The team only played in three postseason games, which didn’t matter because between fines and suspensions for missed practices and being late for flights, Harding ended up owing the Pacers $4,000. In a New Orleans hotel, he reportedly woke up his teammate and roommate, Jimmy Rayl one night with a gun pointed at Rayl threatening to shoot him. After that season, he was out of basketball at the age of 25. Afterward, he returned to his native neighborhood in Detroit committing petty larcenies. One such attempt was made in his old neighborhood at either a liquor store or gas station where Harding walking in wearing a nylon mask over his head brandishing a gun and demanding money. The clerk took one look at the 7-footer and reportedly said “Reggie, I know it’s you to Harding replied, “It ain’t me, man.” Now think about it, everybody knows everybody in the neighborhood and 7-footers don’t exactly walk around every day not noticed. It didn’t matter what disguise he wore, everybody knew Reggie!!! Some may remember this scene was re-created in the movie “White Men Can’t Jump” where former NBA player Marques Johnson played the neighborhood thug in a nylon mask trying to rob a liquor store and the owner of the store, played by Reynaldo Rey, knew who he was and ran him out of the store. Harding was shot on a Detroit street corner after an argument in September of 1972 and was dead at the age of 30. One could only say “what could have been!”
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What is becoming very apparent for the Pistons in this young NBA season is the dominating play of center Andre Drummond. His statistics for the first six games are outstanding. He joins an exclusive group with those statistics. That group being Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in averaging 20 points and 20 rebounds per game in the first six games of a season. Not to say he is the player those two greats were, but the play on the court speaks for itself. Averaging a double-double (20 and 20) in points and rebounds is not something to take lightly. The #Pistons are a pleasant surprise so far in this season at 5-1, which is their best start since the 2007-2008 season. I will continue to observe this team through the first month and see where things then. So far, so good!