WMU gets a road win, Pistons just aren’t very good and the Tigers are looking for catching options
WMU shows veteran strength
Western Michigan claimed another early season win last night beating Oakland 82-71. WMU led by six at the half but Oakland came all the way back to tie the game at 65 with 5:35 left in the game. The Broncos didn’t fold under the pressure though as they went on an 8-0 run and never looked back. Connor Tava gave a solid all around effort with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Tucker Haymond bounced back from a quite game one with 19 points and six rebounds. The win improves Western to 2-0 on the early season and they come home on Saturday to face Drake.
A few good things came out of this. First of all there were a few firsts this season. It was their first road game and that can be a learning experience for a lot of teams. This team showed there veteran savvy by not folding under pressure down the stretch. Secondly it was the first decent team they’ve played. After exhibition games with Spring Arbor, Kalamazoo College and a game against Aquinas, they hadn’t actually played anyone above a D-III level. The step up in competition seemed to go just fine.
I do like this team, and I did like seeing they got contributions from others last night. It was very much different from the first game when it was all Richie and Brown. This time those two combined for just 16 points. That shows what this team really has which is plenty of others who can put the ball in the basket. It looked like it would be tough for this team to win big if they didn’t have Brown scoring, but on a night when he was held to just six they had plenty of others willing to do the job. There’s no doubt that Haymond is a future star for this team but he showed again how good he can be with 19 last night. Then there’s Connor Tava. I’m probably not supposed to have favorites but I love how that guy plays. He is their best all-around player and it would not surprise me at all if he leads this team in assists this year from the power forward spot. In general, this team is off to a nice start and I really like their blend of veterans and youth.
Pistons just aren’t very good
The Detroit Pistons continued their early season woes last night with an 88-86 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Trailing in the fourth quarter the Pistons mounted a comeback which was capped off by a Caldwell-Pope three pointer to give Detroit the lead with :34 seconds left. That was all fine and dandy until they allowed Eric Bledsoe to go right down the late on the ensuing possession to give the Suns the lead again. Detroit had one last look but Brandon Jennings layup was blocked and KCP missed an open look at a three pointer. It drops the Pistons to just 3-9 on the season and still looking for answers.
The Pistons just aren’t a very good team. I’ve been saying that they are a work in progress but they might not even be that. They are teetering on the brink of completely falling apart at this point. The solutions seem simple. If they would just play a whole game they might be ok. The problem with that is that they can’t. Now whether that’s because they aren’t capable or if they aren’t interested in it I don’t know. But that’s what separates good teams from bad teams and that’s the reason they aren’t good.
Tigers searching for catching options
The Tigers appear to not be satisfied with their catching situation. While most of us already weren’t happy with the situation it has taken until now for the Tigers to look into making some changes. Nothing seems imminent but there are plenty of rumors out there about the Tigers looking to make changes at the catcher position and that leads me to believe they are actively trying to make some changes. Alex Avila just had his option exercised early in the week and will be due to make $5.4 million this coming season. Following the 2015 season he will be a free agent and the Tigers have former top pick James McCann waiting to take over.
What the Tigers are going to do here I don’t know, but I do think it is part of turning over a lot of the supporting parts of this team. There were rumors that the Tigers were talking about trading Avila and now there are rumors today that they had talks with Houston about acquiring a catcher. As for the trading of Avila, it would surprise me a little if someone would want to trade for him. While he’s proven to be one of the best defensive catchers in the league he hasn’t been able to hit for average or even very much power since his rookie year. On top of that he was dealing with big concussion issues at the end of the season. I’ve said that he’s a lot more like a back-up catcher than a starter at this point and that’s probably what another team would want him for. But that’s a lot of money to pay a back-up catcher who may not be able to play because of his concussions. If they did rid themselves of Avila you would need to sign another veteran because there’s no way the team can go into next season with a rookie catcher and his only back-up is Holaday. The fact that they are looking to trade for another catcher also says they may not be happy with their other options either. I think they are certainly trying to make a change here and maybe more. This may be a two deal situation where they trade Avila but then need to find someone to take his place still.
On Tap for Tonight:
Michigan Basketball vs. Detroit. 6:00
Red Wings @ Winnipeg. 8:00