The Detroit Pistons have appeared in the NBA finals 6 times, claiming 3 world titles in the history of the franchise. Current team president Joe Dumars played a prominent role in all three of those. Dumars played on the first two championship teams, including being the 1989 NBA finals MVP. He orchestrated the 3rd title from his perch in the front office.
While the championship teams played nearly 15 years apart they had two undeniable characteristics in common. Both were the most physically tough teams in the league and played defense at a level no other team could rival. Both teams also had dynamic backcourts. Dumars has gotten away from the culture that has made him successful on and off the court.
Detroit in case you hadn’t heard is a tough city. And we expect our sports teams to not only win, but to play a certain way that begets toughness. The finesse roster Joe has put together not only has performed and been coached pathetically, they play a brand of basketball the fans simply cannot respect.
Long before Oklahoma City even had a franchise the Palace was the loudest arena in all of Basketball. The flame throwing introductions by arena announcer Mason set the tone for a raucous atmosphere for any road team. Now the arena is half empty except for the few fans that showed up to see Black Sheep perform at the halftime show.
If Ron Artest ran up in the stands now to start a riot, he would have to keep running until he made it to the upper deck before he found someone to punch. I have friends that literally cannot give tickets away. Corporate sponsorship is down, and the fanbase has gone from angry to the always dangerous apathetic.
I always tell out of town people that Ron should be very happy that the palace is 40 minutes from downtown Detroit. If that game was at Joe Louis arena downtown and Ron ran up in the stands like that he would have been the first NBA player to die from getting stabbed in the stands.
The Pistons were finally sold last season and have a new owner who really wanted to shake things up, so he fired absolutely no one. They hired Lawrence Frank, a hire that I actually liked, and spent a boatload of money on bringing in A list halftime entertainment like Vanilla Ice. No really, in the hometown of the best white rapper ever the Piston brass thought it would be a wise decision to bring Vanilla Ice.
As you can see things are not going too well for my Pistons. These are especially trying times for Mr. Joe Dumars. Joe has been in a slump. The slump of slumps. Kind of like Chevy Chase ever since he hosted that late night talk show type slump. Ever since that dreadful June night when he drafted the white Kwame brown, aka Darko steal-a-check, it has been all down hill. Don’t get me wrong, the Pistons won a championship that year after he shrewdly traded for Rasheed Wallace. But what could have been a dynasty built around Melo, Wade, or anyone not named Darko, was instead just one NBA title and a swift fall from the ranks of the elite.
Later he would trade fan favorite Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson (and his expiring contract) in an effort to free up salary cap space that he would then spend foolishly on Ben Gordon and Charlie Ron Devoe – Villanueva. Just this week he traded Ben Gordon for Corey Magette and a half eaten bag of funyons. Yet when Tashaun Prince had an expiring contract he not only did not trade the one asset he had on his roster, (an expiring deal) he resigned Prince last summer for some ungodly reason.
Joe is spinning his wheels. He is trying to rebuild on the fly and mixing and matching puzzle pieces that don’t fit. The last two drafts have been solid, picking up Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight. Neither will ever grace the cover of a video game, but both are solid players that have demonstrated the work ethic to improve.
Take one look at this list of names below, and after you throw up all over your keyboard ask yourself this. Maybe I am not qualified to call the shots for an NBA franchise, but I sure as hell wouldn’t have put this roster of derelicts together either:
Will Bynum G 6-0 185 01/04/1983 Georgia Tech/USA 4_5
Austin Daye F 6-11 200 06/05/1988 Gonzaga/USA 2_8
Ben Gordon G 6-3 200 04/04/1983 Connecticut/USA 7_33
Jonas Jerebko F 6-10 231 03/02/1987 Angelico Biella/Sweden 1_7
Brandon Knight G 6-3 189 12/02/1991 Kentucky/USA R_20
Vernon Macklin F 6-10 227 09/25/1986 Florida/USA R_54
Jason Maxiell F 6-7 260 02/18/1983 Cincinnati/USA 6_10
Greg Monroe C 6-11 250 06/04/1990 Georgetown/USA 1_22
Tayshaun Prince F 6-9 215 02/28/1980 Kentucky/USA 9_23
Walker Russell G 6-0 170 10/06/1982 Jacksonville State/USA R_3
Rodney Stuckey G 6-5 205 04/21/1986 Eastern Washington/USA 4_31
Charlie Villanueva F 6-11 232 08/24/1984 Connecticut/USA 6_6
Ben Wallace F-C 6-9 240 09/10/1974 Virginia Union/USA 15_9
Damien Wilkins G-F 6-6 225 01/11/1980 Georgia/USA 7
I bet you couldn’t pick half of that roster out of a police line up of all midgets. The Pistons roster has no balance, and lacks NBA caliber talent. The Pistons have more swingmen than a Tyler Perry surprise birthday party.
Enough with the problems lets get to some quick solutions that will get the Pistons back to respectability and hopefully back in the playoffs. Here is how I’d fix my pistons. This is fool proof I tell you:
1.Beginging Thursday night I would draft Terrence Ross
2.Use the amnesty on Charlie V
3.Sign Chris Kaman in the off season. To a 4 year deal at the maximum
4. Move Rodney Stuckey to the bench. He is an average starter but would be great off the bench.
5.Tie Tashaun Prince’s left hand to his side for the entire off season so he FINALLY develops a right hand.
6.You now have a starting lineup of Knight, Ross, Prince, Kaman, and Monroe. Your bench is Stuckey, Magette, and
7. Do not resign Jason Maxiell; in fact replace him with 2nd round draft pick Quincy Acy.
8.Sign a legit 3 point shooter. There are always several snipers that are affordable. A Jason Kapono/Lenis Klieza/James Jones type player who has one designated role and that is to spread the court.
9.Don’t fall in love with veterans. If you want veteran leadership get veterans who can play, not holdovers that are basically coaches getting paid players salaries.
10.Speaking of which do not under any circumstance resign Ben Wallace. If he wants to contribute let him be a coach. Its time to move on, let Ben retire as a possible Hall of famer, and get on with his budding acting career in the reenactment of Roots.
11.Lastly, play at a faster pace. So many NBA teams are incredibly poor in transition defense. The pistons can win 10 more games a year by simply playing harder and faster.
Look at our owner. Tell me that guy doesn’t look shady. He looks like the type of guy who would sell used tampons to your aunt. Exactly.