The Pistons are officially recruiting one of their own players. They have about 2 1/2 months to convince free agent-to-be point guard Jose Calderon there's a bright future for him. The Pistons recently traded for him in a three-team deal that sent Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince to Memphis.
Calderon has started just one playoff game in his career and at age 31 he should be looking for a team that can afford him a chance to make deep playoff runs. The Pistons probably won't make the playoffs this season and must show Calderon they can add a piece to get them there next season.
There will be a number of teams after the Spanish playmaker.
The Pistons are 6 1/2 games behind Milwaukee for the final playoff spot and show no signs of making a run, especially with the injury to Andre Drummond that will keep him out at least a month.
Pistons coach Lawrence Frank admits the recruiting process has already begun.
"That's every day," Frank said. "There is not a lot of window dressing. … We are going to do things the right way. It's a great opportunity both ways. It is an opportunity for us to show him what we can offer and it is a chance for him to show what he can offer. It is a great opportunity for both sides."
Get the point
Brandon Knight is not a point guard. That's one reason the Pistons traded for Calderon. Here, however, is why I won't say Knight will never become a good NBA point guard: The dude works on his game longer and harder than anybody. He's been in the gym as late as two hours after practice ends. He even spends an extra hour in the gym on game day.
"It's like a home for me," Knight said inside the Pistons' practice facility. "I enjoy staying here and preparing and getting better. It's the best way for me to prepare for the game. … I might eventually change my mind-set as I get older but as of right now I don't leave the gym until I feel like it."
The Big Ten race has been great and the winner or winners could finish with four conference losses. Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio State are beating each other at home and whipping everybody else outside of an MSU loss to Minnesota or Indiana's loss at Illinois. But the big five are playing each other tough on the road and Indiana broke the trend with an 81-68 victory at Ohio State on Sunday.
That makes things more difficult for Michigan but I am still not calling the Wolverines' game at Michigan State a must-win. Let's say the Wolverines (8-3) lose and fall two games behind Michigan State (9-2) and Indiana (9-2) in the loss column. Michigan has games remaining with MSU and Indiana at home. The toughest game beyond that is at Purdue.
MSU must travel to Ohio State and Michigan while Indiana must visit MSU and Michigan.