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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan • 25

Detroit, Michigan
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WWW.FREEP.COM THURSDAY, JUNE 23, 20U I MSU GUARDS LUCAS, Indians. Rockies. 3 QIINMICDC IIMI llCIV TA DT)acks. White Sox 4 UUIVIIVILIUJ UlNLIfXLLI IU BE PICKED TONIGHT 8C Cubs. NBA draft, 7:30, ESPN NHL awards BOBBY NICKLAS ORR LIDSTROM I BOURQUE PiSfC.RJ 17111 GIF Qi'J 01G09 Irtflflfr DOUG HARVEY t- i-'S-'SZ mum 7 a Prizes aplenty With his win Wednesday, Nicklas Lid-strom is one behind Bobby Orr for the most Norris trophies.

The top four: 7 3 Ageless Lidstrom takes home Norris Trophy Will Greg Monroe get help in the Pistons' front-court tonight? Could there be a certain foreign flavor with the team's No. 8 overall pick in the NBA draft? Lithuanian Jonas Valanciunas, Czech Jan Vesely and Congolese big man Bismack Biyombo are strong first-round candidates for the Pistons. "It would probably be fun having someone from overseas, just getting a chance to see someone else's lifestyle," Monroe told Vince Ellis of the Free Press at a charity event Tuesday. "Just talking to Jonas (Je-rebko), I've learned about how things are in Sweden. Having someone else from over there, other than being a good teammate, learning about a different lifestyle, would be nice." Other possibilities for the first-round pick from the U.S.

include Texas power forward Tristan Thompson and twins Marcus and Markieff Morris of Kansas. The Pistons also have the No. 33 and No. 52 overall picks in the second round of the draft. I KANSAS GUARD JOSH SELBY COULD BE ROUND 2 OPTION.

2C I WHY IT LOOKS LIKE DUMARS WILL GO BIG IN ROUND 9C I VINCE ELLIS' FINAL MOCK DRAFT FOR THE FIRST ROUND. 9C I FOLLOW OUR DRAFT BLOG TONIGHT AT FREEP.COMSPORTS. PISTONS SHOULD GET TO THE POINT IN 2ND ROUND 4i A By HELENE ST. JAMES FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER LAS VEGAS Red Wings defense-man Nicklas Lidstrom left the Palms Casino Resort with the one trophy he really wanted the one that has become synonymous with his name. The James Norris Memorial Trophy recognizing the NHL's top defenseman went to Lidstrom for a seventh time Wednesday at the NHL Awards Show, leaving Lidstrom one short of Bobby Orr 's record.

"It's very satisfying," Lidstrom said. "I'm very proud to win another one, especially at this stage in my career. I've just turned 4L and still being able to play against the best, I take a lot of pride in that." Lidstrom narrowly edged Nashville's Shea Weber and Boston's Zdeno Chara for the award. Lidstrom lost the Lady Byng to Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis, and the Mark Messier Leadership Award to Chara.

Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk finished third for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, after three straight victories. It went instead to Vancouver's Ryan Kes-ler, who hails from Livonia. Teammates often refer to Lidstrom as "Norris" in recognition of the fact it has been his for most of the past decade. He won his first in 200L setting off a string of three straight, and won another three in 2006-08.

Now he's got No. 7. "It feels surreal having reached seven Norrises," Lidstrom said. "Having played for 20 years I'm very proud to still be able to play at this level and win another Norris." I AWARD WILL HELP MOTIVATE CAPTAIN AS HE GEARS UP FOR NEXT SEASON. 7C Close race Nicklas Lidstrom won his seventh Norris Trophy on Wednesday in the closest voting since 1996.

Here's the breakdown: PLAYER TM Ms 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Nicklas lidstrom PET 736 35 23 34 15 10 Shea Weber NAS 727 32 41 14 14 8 Zdeno Chara BOS 688 33 24 24 20 10 Lubomir Visnovsky ANA 573 20 20 26 28 19 Keith Yandle PHO 312 5 10 17 25 32 It can't be draft day without the customary smokescreen, but any diversionary plumes this time actually might reflect the emanating fumes from an overall grade of higher-ranked players perhaps more worthy of being placed in your driveway on trash day. The NBA draft lottery no longer excites. This year's pool is particularly shallow, replete with talents of modest ceilings. There was a time in a league far, far away when the lottery regularly produced that individual difference maker either the franchise builder or the quality contributor that further pushed the franchise forward. But middle-of-the-lottery picks inspire more nervousness than anticipation now because the upside fluctuates so dramatically among those chosen in the top 10.

What the Pistons might do at No. 33 could have more impact on their future than what happens at No. 8. That's where the real interest lies tonight. No.

33 is probably where they're getting their next point guard. It's the deepest position in the draft. And once you get beyond expected top-five selections Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker, there are plenty of equally valued point guards projected from late first round to middle second round: Duke's Nolan Smith, Cleveland State's Norris Cole, Boston College's Reggie Jackson, Michigan's Darius Morris, Butler's Shelvin Mack and Kansas' Josh Selby. No. 33 is the pick Joe Dumars must get right, because he's hopefully selecting this team's next leader with that choice.

Everyone understands the Pistons' needs. They need a big man. They also need an athletic defensive-minded small forward with DREW SHARP HOPES DUMARS WILL SEEK FLOOR LEADER AT NO. 33 Tayshaun Prince and Tracy McGrady unrestricted free agents and probably seeking teams more capable of contending sooner than later. But what the Pistons need more than anything else is a strong leader who instantly inspires respect in the locker room and the new coach's office.

That's often the point guard. Smith and Cole are most ready to step in and contribute immediately in a four-guard rotation. Morris and Selby perhaps have the higher upside. The Pistons worked out Selby on Wednesday. There also were reports Wednesday that Dumars might accept calls for trading down from the eighth pick if the good fortune that dropped Greg Monroe in their laps at No.

7 last year doesn't repeat itself tonight. If they can get out of that No. 8 pick, they should, because there's a better chance of maximizing the value of a suspect overall draft the further you fall. Dumars probably will get his big at No. 8, especially if Euro prospects Jan Vesely or Jonas Valanciunas is on the board when NBA commissioner David Stern calls the Pistons' name.

Dumars wants somebody he can pair with Monroe and potentially shed the image of the once hard-hat Pistons as physically spongy. But a bigger project is rebuilding the mental and emotional toughness of a franchise turned soft. That road begins in the second round tonight. I CONTACT DREW SHARP 313-2234055 OR DSHARPFREEPRESS.COM. JEFF GROSSGetty Images Wings defenseman Nick Lidstrom said he takes "a lot of pride" in winning his seventh Norris Trophy.

Detroit 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 5 if. Jackson saves the day in 9tli to the track, he slowed down to make sure he got a good look at the ball. "I got a pretty good jump on it and a good read on it," he said. "I felt the warning track, and I knew how much room I had." Jackson, who didn't start, entered the game in the ninth for defense. "That's why they put me in there to try to make a big catch," he said.

Reliever Jose Valverde, who gave up the drive to Navarro, said of Jackson: "If it stays in the park, I know he can catch it." I LEYLAND REAFFIRMS ALL-STAR STANCE. 2C By JOHN LOWE FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER LOS ANGELES It wasn't centerfielder Austin Jackson's greatest catch, but perhaps his most important. That's what Jackson alluded to when he said of his game-saving, bases-loaded, warning-track grab on Dioner Navarro for the final out of the Tigers' 7-5 win over the Dodgers on Wednesday: "With the situation, it was probably a better catch than it really was." Unlike other grabs, Jackson knew he'd get this one before it got in his glove. Once he got STEPHEN DUNNGetty Images Tigers closer Jose Valverde intently watches Dioner Navarro's deep fly ball to center with the bases loaded. D), (mniffTifrn WW to) 1.

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