Yashinsky: Open Letter to Newest Piston Brandon Jennings
Dear Mr. Jennings,
I’d like to formally welcome you to the city of Detroit. Well, actually it’s Auburn Hills. Eh, what’s the difference? The cities in America have all begun to resemble one another anyway; rows of houses and strip malls all centered around a massive Buffalo Wild Wings. If I walk more than three blocks without seeing a Subway or BWW storefront, I just assume I’ve wandered into a different country. But I digress.
Joining a new team can be overwhelming, Brandon, so let me introduce you to some of your new mates.
The tall ones under the hoop working on their slam dunks are called Andre and Moose. They are the cornerstones of the franchise. Their free throw percentages resemble batting averages. We try not to think about this.
The man currently taping your ankles, that’s Mike Abdenour. He’s been our trainer going back to the Fort Wayne days. The tool belt around his waist? Don’t worry, we’re confused by it, too. What he would possibly need a hammer for during an NBA game is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.
The fellow over on the bench munching on hot dogs is Charlie Villanueva. Yes, he knows practice is going on, but we cut him some slack on days when he puts his whole uniform on all by himself. We restrict him to one light on-court snack during the 1st and 3rd quarters of every game; but there is an incentive clause in his contract that permits him unlimited Dippin’ Dots should any game ever carry into double overtime.
The skin and bones over by the water fountain is Tayshaun Pri...oh wait, he was finally traded. I didn’t know Dumars was aware he could do that. And we’re sure he’s not coming back, right? Okay, moving on.
The micro machine scoring all the baskets during the scrimmage? That’s Will Bynum. Don’t fret, though. He’ll likely outplay you severely throughout the year, only to inexplicably get stapled to the bench for 35 consecutive games. It’s sort of an annual ritual around here.
Oooh, the guy that just walked in is Rodney Stuckey. Watch him closely. Identify his every move. Then do the exact opposite. You’ll be a Hall of Famer.
Before I forget, let me warn you that the gym is not going to feel quite full once the regular season starts. See, we’ve been...umm...fumigating the Palace for a few years now, and that’s why crowds have been so sparse. But if you know of anyone that wants to come to a game, we’d be more than happy to oblige. Ask them where they’d like to sit, and also when they can get to the arena. We’ll tailor the start time around their schedule.
Now we’ve heard you are a bit of a chucker, is that right? Jeez, 17 shot attempts per game a couple years ago? Yikes. Let’s try and take that down a notch this year so you can get more open looks for Josh Smith. On second thought, maybe that’s not such a good idea. Bombs away, Brando!
You’re a left hander, right? That’s unique. Hey, why is that lefties need their own pair of scissors? Was that really an item that needed to be crafted to suit each individual person? Is the cutting action so tricky that we couldn’t have handled a “one size fits all” scissor? Think on that.
We know you’ve had some issues with authority during your time in the league. Getting benched for entire fourth quarters for a middling team like the Bucks is quite troubling. But that’s why the coaching staff brought in an assistant like Rasheed Wallace, so he can mentor you on key attributes like “accruing technical fouls at critical junctures” and “continually hoisting 27-footers while struggling because the next one’s ‘definitely goin’ down’.”
But really, we’re super-happy to have you here.
You have been tabbed as the new savior of our basketball team. Consider this an honor. Before the house of horrors that has come to be known as “2009-present,” this was a franchise soaked with historic figures, many of whom were point guards like yourself.
Tricky Dick McGuire brought his Hall of Fame career to a close with the infant Detroit Pistons in the late 1950s. Mayor Bing handled the rock for about a decade in Motown, leading his squad in assists for each of those nine campaigns. Kevin Porter did his thing during the Dick Vitale era. Zeke was simply the best, and Chauncey keeps coming back for more.
The floor is yours now, Brandon. Literally and figuratively.
Joey Yashinsky is a Detroit area free lance sports writer and contributor to Deadline Detroit.