To be completely honest with you, there wasn’t a worse time to start this new weekly piece. We are all horrified and saddened by the passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, on January 26th, 2020. Kobe’s legendary career has impacted us all in some way, and his passing was a shock to us all. I will get into my thoughts on Kobe at the end of this piece, but for now, let’s talk Detroit.
The Week In Games:
To start the week on Monday, January 20th, Detroit lost in a close one to Washington in D.C, 106-100. This game ended a short winning streak that the Pistons had been on, and it was a battle from the get-go. Derrick Rose and Andre Drummond led the Pistons in scoring, while Drummond put up a pedestrian (by his standards) 18 rebounds. The Pistons struggled to defend in this game, and had to keep up with Washington’s offense throughout the course of the night.
The Pistons proceeded to bounce back on Wednesday against Sacramento, 127-106 in Detroit. This game marked the return of Reggie Jackson, who returned to action for the first time since October 25th of last year. Reggie posted 22 points and four assists, which was a sight that could make any Pistons fan smile, love him or hate him. Christian Wood and Derrick Rose both had solid outings as well, posting 20+ points each.
The Pistons fell back down to a young Memphis squad on Friday, 125-112 in Detroit. The young core of Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant showed out against the Pistons with strong outings. Derrick Rose had another 22-point outing, but needed 22 shots to get there. The Pistons initially went down 35-20 off a 14-0 run from the Grizzlies, but brought the game back for a brief moment off a Reggie Jackson three. However, Memphis blew open the lead as the clock winded down to zero.
Finally, Detroit faced Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, losing in an OT battle 121-111 in front of the Piston faithful. Kyrie Irving incinerated the Pistons with 45 points and seven assists, while Jarrett Allen posted 20 points and 15 rebounds, including two humiliating blocks on Sekou Doumbouya. Andre Drummond posted a double-double in a matter of eight minutes, while Derrick Rose showcased his vintage abilities to keep the Pistons in it until OT. Detroit fizzled out once OT hit, leading to the Pistons ending the week 1-3.
The Bad Boys Breaking News
In terms of news that surrounded the Pistons this week, Detroit was swirled in trade rumors regarding Derrick Rose and Andre Drummond. Multiple teams with championship windows, including the Lakers and Sixers, have expressed interest in the Pistons’ point guard.
As for Drummond, the Pistons have dealt with complications on the trade returns they expect. Currently, teams don’t seem willing to budge in providing the Pistons with a first rounder in return for the former All-Star. Additionally, Drummond was given flak by an executive for having bad habits. This isn’t good news to hear with regards to Drummond’s value, and teams like Dallas seem to have moved on from trading for Drummond by acquiring other pieces at the same role.
For the final piece of news this week, the Pistons have filed a Disabled Player Exception for Blake Griffin worth $9.2 million. Griffin, out with surgery on his knee, is taking up much of the Pistons’ salary books. With this exception, the Pistons may be able to relieve some of their salary cap woes.
The Weekly Piston Awards:
Game of the Week: Pistons vs. Sacramento Kings, January 22nd
This was the only win of the week for the Pistons, and it was a blowout. Therefore, I don’t exactly have a choice BUT to put this game as the game of the week. With Reggie returning and the play of Derrick Rose, this was a game that we can look back to when we feel disappointed about the season so far. This is a reminder that no matter how many miles the Pistons may have on them considering the injuries, sometimes you can get that engine to start.
Player of the Week: Derrick Rose
This week might’ve been full of losses, but Derrick Rose decided to remind us that calling him vintage, well, is getting vintage. This week, Rose scored 20+ in each outing, and had big plays throughout the course of the week. Rose now has a scorching 12 straight games with 20+ points. His best individual game this week was against Brooklyn, where he dropped 27 points, six assists and four rebounds.
Play of the Week: Derrick Rose vs. Brooklyn
Of those 27 points, Derrick Rose had an incredible bucket to tie the game with under two seconds to go in the fourth quarter. While this game ended in a loss, this layup was incredible to see, generating one of the loudest crowd reactions at Little Caesars Arena in a long time.
Pistons Twitter Tweet of the Week:
Stay cool Johnny!
The POP Podcast:
This week’s podcast talks about what would happen if the Pistons trade aspirations and possibilities fall shot of expectations. The tragic news of Kobe Bryant is also discovered midway through the podcast.
The Week Ahead:
The Pistons will be taking on the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers at home on Monday. That marks the beginning of what will be a very challenging week for the Pistons, as they will face the Nets in Brooklyn, and then the Toronto Raptors and Denver Nuggets in Detroit.
In Memoriam: Kobe Bryant
I don’t know what to say. To see a hero in the eyes of millions die the furthest thing from a hero’s death was one of the most shocking, horrific and saddening moments of my life. To me and millions of others, Kobe Bryant was an influence that we as fans of basketball will always cherish.
I don’t know what Kobe’s thoughts were like in those final moments. But I believe that while his helicopter was coming down, he was fighting and working his hardest to save the lives of those with him on that helicopter. That’s the man we know him for, and like he did throughout his career, I believe that he put his team on that helicopter before himself.
Regardless of what we might believe about him during his career, he was a competitor through thick and thin. He fought his hardest to win, and I can imagine that he never lost faith in himself or those with him that passed today during those final moments.
Kobe has changed the lives of millions already, and we as fans of not only basketball, but soldiers of the struggle we know as life, have to pass down the impact he had on us to those who never had the honor of witnessing him play. Kobe was a warrior and a fighter. He reminded us that even when we are already striving to be great, we should strive to be our greatest.
Life might have forgotten Kobe, but we will never forget what he did for the game, for his family, for the Lakers and most of all, us as people. We all leave from this court we call Earth at some point. We just have to give it our all like Kobe did night in and night out on the hardwood.
For Kobe’s daughter, Gianna, I’m truly heartbroken to hear that a bright young star like her had to pass away as well. Gianna was becoming a prominent talent on the girl’s basketball circuit, and would’ve been an incredible influence on the game for women around the world. For Kobe’s family, I as well as millions of others around the globe will keep them in our prayers for a long time. This is a tragedy many of us can’t even fathom, and we hope to channel any of our remaining strength, weakened in this terrible time, towards the Bryant family.
For the others who passed away, you will not be forgotten either. Your impacts on the lives of those around you will also be remembered, and we mourn for the families of the others who were lost as well.
To the man who had us all yelling his name when we had to throw away our papers, you will be forever missed, but never forgotten.
Thank you, Kobe Bryant.
(Featured Image: Gina Ferrazi/Los Angeles Times)