Meet the Author: Isaac A. Kado

Isaac Kado is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan-Dearborn majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Isaac grew up watching the Winged helmet Wolverines take the field and continually break his heart, and has actually gotten the University to pay for his emotional trauma counseling after his meltdown following the 2016 Michigan Ohio State game. Isaac was almost fully rehabilitated until Michigan traveled to Happy Valley this season, where Isaac’s scream actually registered a 6 on the Richter scale after Ronnie Bell’s game tying Touchdown was dropped in the endzone. Behind Michigan Football, Isaac shares an equal love for the Detroit Pistons and the Wolverines on the hardwood. Isaac’s love for the storied Pistons has never faltered, especially with legends such as Steve Blake, Josh Smith, Charlie Villanueva, and Brandon Knight representing the Motor City in such eloquent fashion. Isaac also shares a smaller interest in the Detroit Lions, but for sake of his sanity, he was deterred from watching Lions games as a young boy. Outside of being a student and working, Isaac enjoys listening to the artistic work of Aubrey Graham, as well as cooking various ethnic dishes.

Norwegian Wood (This Bird has Flown)

Yesterday (2/18/2020), the Detroit Pistons bought out their veteran point guard Reggie Jackson. As a Detroit fan, I have mixed feelings.

First, let me get one thing straight; I’m ecstatic that Reggie Jackson is no longer a Piston. Here are some reasons why:

  1. His entire Pistons tenure is defined by his time spent off the court, rather than on.
  2. His playmaking was rendered obsolete upon the arrival of Blake Griffin.
  3. His playmaking was rendered obsolete upon the arrival of Derrick Rose.
  4. He lacked the outside shooting capability to help the team after the ball was taken out of his hands.
  5. His inconsistency made it impossible for the front office, coaches, and fans to know what they were dealing with.

That last one is the kicker. Upon his arrival, Jackson was viewed as a core member of an up and coming team. His playmaking combined with Andre Drummond’s rim running spelled potential danger for opposing teams. As time progressed however, it became apparent that Stan Van Gundy’s plan for the team had a much lower trajectory than intended. Noting that his job was in danger, Van Gundy made many desperate attempts to save himself (see Reason No.2), and instead pushed the hope of contention much further away from Detroit than can be deemed measurable.

At the start of the 2019-2020 season, the Detroit Pistons, as an organization, set a goal to make the playoffs. This not only underlined a colossal sense of delusion regarding the team’s ability to make the playoffs, but also exposed the teams reluctance to embrace the magic word: tank.

Now with the departure of Reggie Jackson, the Pistons have seemingly, finally, changed course. This brings forth our 6th and 7th reasons for being happy Reggie has left:

  1. The Detroit Pistons can finally be as bad as they were meant to be.
  2. Our young players can take on more significant roles.

In classic Pistons fashion, however, this long overdue shift in attention comes with multiple drawbacks. Here are a few:

  1. The Pistons waited far too long to get rid of Reggie Jackson
  2. The Pistons received nothing for Reggie Jackson

These reasons go hand in hand. Vacating Jackson’s $17 million/year contract does not directly benefit the team at all. Seeing as the team will not be ready to contend for many years, the additional cap space for this summer only leaves room for the Pistons to make another mistake, and sign a player that has already seen the best of his playing days. Additionally, Detroit is not an attractive market for free agents, or so I’ve been told, so the odds of signing anyone actually worth $17 million would be low anyways. Actually, let me correct that, the odds don’t exist, it won’t happen. Reggie Jackson’s expiring contract could have been traded away to a bigger market team with young players and draft picks to spare (hello, Knicks?), or to playoff teams in need of playmaking. Or anyone… literally anyone. 

In all honesty, I would’ve been happy with anything we could have received for Jackson in a trade. In fact, I’m still happy about the package we received for Andre. That’s the entire premise of trading away an expiring contract: no matter what you receive, it will be more than you would have been left with had that player walked away in free agency. For the same reason, I’m pissed Langston Galloway wasn’t traded before the deadline either.

So now, with Blake Griffin on the books until 2022, the Pistons have a deadline for themselves to be ready to spend on free agents. In the meantime, the future of the team will largely be determined by the draft. While the benefits of Jackson’s departure far outweigh the costs, the Pistons have made it no easier on themselves to build a team worthy of landing a big free agent in 2022. Honestly, it would have been better if Jackson walked in free agency, at least then the Western Conference Finals would be more interesting.

The anarchist in me still has some hope that Reggie will tear apart the Clippers from the inside. Nevertheless, RIP Bobby. You will not be missed.

W. Peter Lianos: an Introduction

W. Peter Lianos is an undergraduate engineering student at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Born and raised in the Detroit area, he grew up as an avid Detroit Tigers fan, as well as being a fan of Michigan football and basketball. Within the past 3 years, Peter has garnered a ferocious appetite for the NBA, finding a place as a fan for the hometown Pistons. Peter also roots for the Green Bay Packers, because he views all Lions fans as masochists.

His achievements include, but are not limited to:

  • Almost founding a sports podcast
  • Eating an entire pizza in one sitting
  • Being the only baseball fan born in the 21st century
  • Making his middle school basketball team

Peter hopes to make a living using no more than 15% of the education he has received in college(see first achievement).

Outside of sports, Peter is very interested in music and being dormant.

Meet the Founder

Welcome to Great Takes in the Great Lakes, a sports blog dedicated to covering teams primarily located within the Great Lakes region,” founded by me, Blake Stackpoole.

I was born into a family that loves sports, Detroit sports and the University of Michigan athletics have been an integral part of my life. Ranking my teams in order of my love for them would be the Wolverines, Pistons, Red Wings, Lions, then Tigers.

My childhood was spent going to almost every Michigan football home game from 2005 up until I want to college in 2018, with my grandpa and my mother. Our seats were in section 44 and that cold blue bleacher was where some of my best, and worst moments of my life took place. Additionally, I went to a majority of the Michigan bowl games and most major games witnessing my fair share of losses, especially that Appalachian State game.

The Palace of Auburn Hills was another time where I spent numerous afternoons and nights at. The shrieks of Pistons PA announcer Mason introducing the Goin’ to Work Pistons and yelling “DEEEETROIT BASKETTTTBALLLLL” are memories I cherish. After going to many of the games and following the team through Elementary and Middle School, I became a super fan. Sneaking out of bed and down the stairs to watch the end of Pistons games on school nights, trying to not get caught by my mom or sister to watch the Pistons go to work with my dad. I became so invested that when Ben Wallace left the Pistons for the Chicago Bulls in free agency I burst into tears and locked myself into my room, for what seemed like days.

The Joe Louis Arena was another location of a majority of my sports memories, with the Red Wings being one of the greatest dynasties in the history of sports. Thanks to my cousin Taft and my uncle Jeff, we had seats on the glass in row zero. We went to many, many wins and even a few playoff games. I remember being in my living room when Chris Osgood saved a last second shot from the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup for the Red Wings. Of course, the year after I remember crying as well when Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin ripped my and the rest of Detroit’s hearts beating the Red Wings in seven games.

Finally, there were the Tigers and Lions games me and my family went too but we weren’t that big of Lions fans, but the Tigers were a better team and thanks to the spending of Mike Illich, the Tigers were a great team. The Tigers couldn’t ever win a World Series, but they went deep into the playoffs many times. I remember going to a playoff game where the Yankees featuring C.C. Sabathia and noted cheater Alex Rodriguez who we booed relentlessly.

Now of course Detroit is in a state of total failure as every professional sports team is in the lottery for each of their respective sports, and both Michigan college football teams are non-contenders. I have faith that we will once again see the glory of Detroit as the city of champions it once was. Go Blue, Go Pistons, Go Tigers, Go Lions, and Let’s Go Wings.

Finally, J.T. was short.