Monday, June 4

Detroit Dilemma

An old photo, specifically a little more than a year ago in the 2006 All-Star game featuring four of the five Detroit Pistons starters; the year the Pistons flirted with 70 wins and looked en route to win the NBA Championship, until the inevitable happened.

Year after year, the Detroit Pistons' achievements based both on performance and playoff depth have slowly dwindled. From winning a title, to being the bridesmaid to the Spurs the year after, to losing in the Conference Finals, to finally losing again in the Conference Finals in a more painful situation than the preceding year. All these achievements have been done under a single core group of starters, save for Ben Wallace who jumped off ship in last year's off-season (and it is obvious that they miss him so). So what does a diminishing rate of achievements as a team have to do with a single core group? Well, to put it simply, I think it's either they're getting bored (obviously) or people just know them too damn well. The Pistons' lack of focus has been an issue stemming from last year's fall-out; flirting with 70 wins in the season to getting bumped around by Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O'Neal; it's a totally different story from the Maverick's predicament in this year's playoff ousting. If a kid started to watch Chauncey Billups and company when he was 3 years old; guess what, he's already 8 and he's still watching Chauncey Billups and company. It's possible that everyone already knows the Pistons like the back of their hands and more. I'm sure Joe Dumars has already noticed the pattern and the current direction of the team, and it's pointing down in case anyone still hasn't caught my drift.

This year's playoff disappointment has been utterly painful for a lot of faces; mainly for Antonio McDyess and Chris Webber. Something I took from Bob Wojnowski's article: "I feel like I'm at the end of my career and it just ain't gonna happen," said McDyess, 32, who has a contract option to return. "Tonight, I accepted that I'm never gonna win. I felt this team was the one to get us there. We had all the chances in the world and we blew it. It seems like it's over for me now." McDyess' arrival with the Pistons just came a little too late as he arrived only after the Pistons won their 2004 Title, and never yet again. Chris Webber on the other hand seems to be running out of time himself in searching for that one championship that all great and once-great players seek for; in fact, I already wrote something about that earlier.

All I can say for now is that there will indeed be changes in the Detroit Pistons' roster next year. The only thing certain for now is that Flip Saunders will seemingly remain as the Piston's head coach for at least next year. Other than that, there is a world of possibilities. For starters, the Game 6 loss might be the last time I, or anyone for that matter, would ever see Chauncey Billups in a Pistons uniform ever again. Chauncey is still 30, and still has enough caliber to run the Detroit Pistons the way that certain Finals MVP did in the 2004 championship, but seeing the deterioration of the Pistons team in itself might force Mr. Big Shot to look for greener grass elsewhere in the league. It's also hard to see the role of Rasheed Wallace in the future Pistons; especially now that everyone can notice one way or another how his sickness regarding drawing technical-fouls time and time again is hurting the team. They were proud of him for being the way he was, and I'm sure they meant it with all their heart, but the outburst in Game 6 probably closed the casket on Rasheed Wallace and his tenure with the Pistons. Tayshaun Prince is another hot commodity, considering he played WOEFUL basketball in the Cleveland series only adds more questions regarding his availability. Tayshaun Prince is indeed valuable. He is the Pistons' X-Factor: having break-out games and priceless defense. One painful series shouldn't spell the future of a player considering everything else good he has done for the Pistons all year round, but I'm sure it's not unthinkable; especially after shooting close to 25% FGs and 17% 3-pt FGs for the series, along with not really being able to accomplish the most important succession expected of him, to stop LeBron James. They play extremely efficient with each other on the floor, and the 2006 NBA All-Star game can vouch for that, but all good things come to an end.

The Detroit Pistons is like a car driving down a steep hill, and if Joe Dumars doesn't pull the breaks soon and turn directions, they are going to go over the cliff with little means to be able to recover from their fall. Tweaks, trades, and changes. Antonio McDyess stated that they didn't really need to revamp their roster, only their c
ocky-mindset. With that admission of cockiness, all I have to say is: they never really had any right to be cocky about anything to begin with. Maybe they're a free-agent or a nut-busting trade away from reclaiming that throne, I don't know how exactly, but they need to make that move now; because next year is not really an option anymore.


TH@! said...

Even an underacheiving Pistons team on the decline is still better to have than what Atlanta, Boston or Milwaukee have.

Anonymous said...

If they don't do anything soon, the roles will turn. Big time.