But Richard Hamilton is worried now. The NBA officials met and decided they were going to hand out more technical fouls this season for whining.
Hamilton, who played in a career-low 46 games last season, still was among the league leaders with nine.
“I do a lot of that,” Hamilton admitted. “One of my good friends told me that the other night. He was like, ‘Hey, man, you know they’re going to start calling whining technicals.’ I was like, ‘Wow, that puts me at 15 before mid-season. But I just gotta do a better job of it.”
It’s going to make Hamilton’s job a lot more difficult since it’s not just the things players say that will get them in trouble. It’s also their expressions or gestures that could be interpreted as whining.
“It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be hard,” Hamilton said. “That’s really hard to call because every play down court, guys are whining. I don’t know how they’re going to figure out what’s whining and what’s not.”
Other than Hamilton, the Pistons were not excessively whiny last season. Ben Wallace and Ben Gordon each had four.
“This team, we didn’t really have that problem last year,” Gordon said. “We were pretty good about that, so I don’t think that’ll really affect us much either way. For other teams, I can’t wait for the refs to start cracking down on that. It should help us a lot more.”
Perhaps or perhaps not.
When Rasheed Wallace was on the team, Hamilton’s technical fouls got overlooked. Now he knows the spotlight will be on him.
“Any player that plays with emotions, it’s going to be tough,” Hamilton said. “Someone like Tayshaun (Prince), he’ll be cool because you never know what he’s thinking. But somebody like me, I might get a gang of them.”
Lots of perimeter options
If you look at the Pistons’ training camp roster, there are lots of players who seemingly play shooting guard or small forward.
There’s Hamilton, Prince, Gordon, newcomer Tracy McGrady, Rodney Stuckey, Austin Daye, Will Bynum and rookie Terrico White.
Coach John Kuester is not worried.
“I think it’ll sort out on that court over there,” Kuester said. “I think that’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to have a number of guys that will be competing for playing time and that’s what you want in a basketball camp.”
The players all acknowledged that Kuester and the rest of the coaches will make the decisions about playing time.
“It’s not really up to me,” Hamilton said. “It’s Coach, he’s going to have a good time when you’ve got a lot of special guys at a position because when you’ve got a lot of special guys that can put the ball in the basket and play and get on the floor and do special things, it’s a good thing for a coach because you’re never really worrying a lot.”
Prince agreed that it was a good problem for the coaches to have.
“What’s neat about it is we have the opportunity to compete against each other,” Prince said. “What better group of guys to have — you’ve got young guys, you’ve got veterans, you’ve got length and athleticism. You’ve got so much talent on the wings that I think from a wing perspective, all the guys should be excited about training camp and testing each other, testing yourself against each other.”
Of course, the Pistons could have some players with bruised egos if they don’t get the playing time they think they deserve.
“You can’t please everybody,” Kuester said. “There’s no question about that. You wish you could give everybody 34 minutes but we’re going to put out the guys that have committed themselves in our practice sessions. Also, we’re going to be committed to what we’re trying to get accomplished defensively. I think again, that’s where the competition will sort its way out.”
Stuckey looking to lead
Stuckey isn’t a rookie anymore and he plans to make his voice heard this season.
“It’s my fourth year now,” Stuckey said. “I’m going to be a lot more vocal this year. It’s just in my nature. It’s my time to take over this team and just be that guy, be that vocal person and also just to lead on the court.”
Kuester is expecting big things out of his young guard.
“I’ll say this throughout the entire year, Rodney Stuckey has a chance to be one of the best defensive guards in our league,” Kuester said. “He’s just got to commit to that 24-7 for us.”