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Tag:Allen Iverson
Posted on: November 25, 2009 11:33 pm
 

Allen Iverson: The Answer is Retirement

Sad to see The Answer hang up his sneakers. I don't want to insult anyone's intelligence or call anyone an stupid, but if you don't think Allen Iverson deserves to be in the HoF you need a serious mental evaluation and should consider checking yourself into a psychiatric hospital.

The guy gave us the greatest crossover of all time and broke countless ankles. He is one of the greatest scorers in NBA history: he is tied for 4th all time in points per game with 27.0 ppg (tied for 5th if you count LeBron James, but I don't) and 17th all time in total points. He's ahead of guys in scoring like Charles Barkley, Elgin Baylor, Adrian Dantley, Clyde Drexler, and even Larry Bird. Explain to me how those guys deserve to be in over him (except for Bird, Baylor, and Drexler; but how does Barkley and Dantley deserve to be in?). And I don't see how you can say he's only a scorer? The guy has a career average of 6.2 assists per game and has proven to be a very good passer. Yes, he takes a lot of shots but when you're one of the greatest scorers of all time then I think you should take a lot of shots. And if you know you're history well, I'd like to see you show me someone on those 76ers teams in AI's prime that should have got more shots because they could score good and be worth taking points from AI. He can penetrate the lane just as well as LeBron can now and he's about 8-9 in. shorter and almost 100 pounds lighter. He was able to draw a lot of contact and get a lot of FT opportunities which he knocked down at a good percentage.

And what about his ability on defense? Yes, I just said defense. No, a 6 foot guard is not going to be able to defend 6'6" and 6'8" guards but he could defend other PGs his size very well. And he was an excellenct ball hawk which got his teams a lot of easy points in transition. He is 7th all time steals per game average with 2.2 spg and 12th all time in total steals. He has a better steals per game average than John Stockton and Maurice Cheeks, both whom are seen as two all time great defensive PGs. Then you throw in the fact that he was a warrior and could play just about the entire game every game all year long. He has a career average of 41.4 minutes per game (4th all time), and has played through countless different injuries and has been banged up on many occasions while still playing big minutes in games.

Plain and simple facts are AI is one of the greatest scorers the NBA has ever seen in it's entire history. Pound for pound, he is the most athletic player of all time. Pound for pound, he is one of the greatest players we've ever seen play the game. He could play 5 on 1 and still win and make it all the the NBA Finals in 2001. You can't blame him for being a ball hog when he became one out of necessity when playing for those horrible 76ers teams. And then later in his career with the Nuggets and Pistons, it's hard to ask him to change at 30+ years of age; I'm sure the old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" really applies here. Regardless of whether he needed the ball in his hands alot or not, so did all the great scorers. Did MJ, Wilt, Kareem, West, etc. not have the ball in their hands for most of the game when they were in their prime and scoring a ton? It's just an excuse to hate on AI because you don't like him because he could beat your team all by himself.

Allen Iverson is my 2nd favorite player of all time behind Ben Wallace, and unless the HoF voters are a bunch of haters then there should be no question this guy gets into the HoF and is a Top 50 NBA player of all time.
Posted on: September 28, 2009 8:24 am
Edited on: September 28, 2009 5:59 pm
 

NBA Southwest Division Preview - 2009/2010

The Southwest division has become the best division in the NBA. There seems to be a lot of rivalry games and tough competition mainly to due the fact that 3 of the teams are located in Texas (San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston). They've had four of their teams making the playoffs for the last couple years now, all four of those teams constantly flirting or reaching 50 wins in a season. The division is filled with some of the best players in the game with Duncan, Nowitzki, and Paul. For the last three years, at two of the top three seeds in the West have come from this division. The division is filled with legends like Timmy D, J-Kidd, and AI, but it also has young stars that will be among the best players in the NBA for years to come in CP3, Tony Longoria, and possible Mayo. There are also three MVP candidates (two of which have won the award before) in Paul, Dirk, and Duncan.

The division is always very competitive and only Memphis has been a team that doesn't contend in the playoffs.   There won't be a team that dominates this division because of much talent each team has and how competitive each team is. Following will be my analysis of this division and how I see each team turning out this season.

1. San Antonio Spurs

Since Duncan has been here, this team has always been among the best teams in the league, and has always been a contender for the title. Duncan is the kind of player that has the greatness to lead his team to victory no matter what the talent around him. However, he does have a good amount of talent around him and that just gives this team an even better chance at success.

Starting at the point we have Tony Parker , a.k.a. "Eva's husband." A Top 5 PG who is lightning quick and has improved his scoring each year. He is one of the best players at penetrating to the basket, and that proves very valuable to his team. Then you have the other guard in Manu Ginobili , a.k.a. "The Argentinean Flopper." He is one of the best shooters in the game and makes it harder on defenses with his ability to take it up with his left hand or right hand (being naturally left handed). He is a good team player that has won championships at both the NBA and Olympic level.

We move to the forwards with the newly acquired Richard Jefferson . He is a very gifted scorer that can shoot or penetrate the lane. However, he has been known as one of the weaker defenders in the league. Then we have the also newly acquired (damn Joe D, why didn't you resign him?) Antonio McDyess . An aging big man that can do whatever you need him to. He can hit that mid-range jumper, he can rebound, and he can play good post defense.

Then at center we go to "Mr. Fundamental" himself, Tim Duncan . Getting older now, but still one of the best big men in the game and guy who just knows how to win. To quote Ricky Bobby, "he wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence." He has the best post moves in the league on offense, and is still one of the best post defenders and shot blockers in the NBA.

They have very good, young bench players in George Hill , Roger Mason Jr. , and their rookie DeJuan Blair . I might be higher on most about Blair, but I think he was a huge steal in the 2nd round for the Spurs, and they've had a couple other 2nd round draft picks turn out very well (Parker and Ginobili). Not to mention that he'll have one of the greatest big men in NBA history teaching in Timmy D. The only concern about him seems to be his injuries in the past (but they were both in high school, not in college and didn't slow him down in college). They also have veteran big men defender Theo Ratliff , and veteran scorer Michael Finely to add some more depth off the bench.

My prediction: 57-25 (1st or 2nd seed in the West)

Timmy D doesn't have much time left to get another title before he retires, but this is probably the best chance he'll get. Parker is improving to the point where he can take over any game with his scoring and playmaking skills, Ginobili should be at full health this year, and the additions of Jefferson and McDyess should prove very valuable to this team. The only weakness I can see for this team is the loss of Bruce Bowen. He never contributed a lot in terms of offense or stats, but he was their best perimeter defenders and one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Now that he has retired, they don't have any great perimeter defender to rely on. Ginobili can look good at times with his flopping, but that won't be enough when playing against some of the best perimeter players in the league.

I don't think that will keep them from being one of the best teams this year and making to the Western Conference Finals, but if they have to play the Lakers to go to the NBA Finals, there is no one to stop Kobe Bryant and that could prove costly. But Timmy D and the interior defense will really have to step it up if they want to make up for Kobe beating them on the perimeter. However, that interior defense has proved to be very valuable in the past and can get them to the Finals if it's at it's best with Duncan and McDyess. If they play the Lakers, I think it goes to 7 games without question and it's going to come down to Duncan and Kobe, who can will their team to victory. It's a toss up for me, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Spurs won or the Lakers won.

2. Dallas Mavericks

This is the team I will enjoying watching the most out of the West this year (of course I won't favor them over my Pistons though). They have two of my favorite players of this past decade, Kidd and Marion, who were teammates earlier in their careers for the Phoenix Suns and will now be teammates on the Mavs.

This is a team of aging veterans who have a small window of time for winning a title before their careers are over. However, they are still very good players that can contribute a lot to a successful team. Also, the amount of talent doesn't always equal the amount of success you have. A factor that comes into play in their advantage with these older veterans are, ironically, their age. With their age comes years of valuable NBA experience. They know how to play the game just as well as anyone, but it depends if their bodies can keep up with their brains.

We start with the floor general Jason Kidd . He's not the same player he use to be, but he's still among the best playmakers and passers in the game. Also, he's still one of the best defending PGs in the game as well. He knows how to run the team and is unselfish as they come, looking to find his teammates for open shots. Then we move to Josh Howard , the perimeter scoring threat. He has plenty of talent, but it's his attitude that hurts him at times. If he can keep his attitude in check and play team basketball, this guy can score very well and prove very valuable to this team.

At forward, the Mavs have newly acquired Shawn Marion . He has struggles the last two years, but that is due to him not being with a true PG. Other than the one year between Kidd leaving Phoenix and Steve Nash joining the Suns (with Stephon Marbury at PG), he's always had a true PG to play along side with him until he joined the Heat . However, he stepped up his game quite a bit after being traded to the Raptors last season (coincidence that he was playing with another true PG again in Jose Calderon ?). Marion is not a guy that can make plays for himself and be one of your main scoring threats. However, now with the Mavs he won't have to do that since they have Howard and Dirk. He can spread the defense with Kidd being able to find him for open shots, and he can use his athleticism to cut to the basket for easy buckets and alley oops being set up to him from Kidd. But this biggest value is his defense, which has not gotten worse regardless of his struggles. He is still a very good perimeter defender that can cover anyone from the 1 to the 4.

Of course we can't forget the team's best player, Dirk Nowitzki . Dirk is still one of the best scorers and most difficult players to defend because of his size and shooting abilities. With Marion being able to defend the team's best perimeter scorer and Dampier or the newly acquired Gooden being able to cover the post threat, Dirk will be able to focus more on offense this year than ever; which should provide some very good results (possibly MVP again?). Then their other post player will be either Erick Dampier or Drew Gooden . Dampier has become old, slow, and pretty much just a guy to clog the lane now. However, Gooden is still relatively young and could be valuable to them as a starter. He is not a great defender, but he's is not a bad one either. He's a very capable post defender and very good rebounder as well.

They also have possibly the best 6th man in the game in Jason Terry . "The Jet" should get lots of playing time again this season being able to fill in at either guard spot and provide lots of scoring. He will prove to be very valuable to this team coming off the bench, especially to give the old J-Kidd a breather and keep his legs fresh.

My prediction: 54-28 (3rd or 4th seed in the West)

I think the Mavs are going to have a very good season this year and will be a Top 4 seed. Marion should be able to find lots of success and chemistry with his former teammate in Kidd, and also contribute a lot of defense thus taking the pressure off Dirk and Howard that will allow them to score better and more efficiently. The only issue with this team of course is their post defense, and that should prove to be costly when going against the Lakers and Spurs who both have post-scoring threats.

I'll root for them to make a huge upset and somehow win the West, but I just don't seem the being able to overcome Duncan with the Spurs and Pau Gasol and Kobe with the Lakers. Who knows though, miracles can happen.

3. New Orleans Hornets

After CP3 had his breakout season in 07/08 leading his team the 2nd seed in the West and being the runner-up to the MVP Kobe Bryant, the Hornets were not able to repeat their success in 08/09 (although they still came within 1 game from having another 50 win season). However, Tyson Chandler missing 37 games seems to be at the root of their problems. After getting rid of Chandler this off-season, they replace him with athletic center in Okafor. The question is will he be able to provide a better center for them than Chandler> Well let's take a look

At the point they have the best PG in the game and one of the best players in the NBA in Chris Paul . He's become an amazing playmaker that can score, pass, and defend all at a high level. He is a very good leader at such a young age, and that can only improve with more experience. After losing last year's starting SG Rasual Butler , they will now have to turn to Morris Peterson to start. But we've seen his minutes drastically decrease each year since '06 so I expect him to share time with Devin Brown and even Posey at times here. Really doesn't matter who's there because Paul has the playmaking capabilities to get his players open shots.

At forward you have the 3pt specialist in Peja Stojakovic . He's as good as he was in his Kings days, but he's still a very good outside shooter that Paul can find on plenty of open shots. James Posey should see some time here as well as (seeing time at both wing positions) because of his valuable defense, outside shooting, and clutch play. Posey has contributed quite a bit to two previous NBA champions ('06 Heat and '08 Celtics ). At the other forward is David West . He has developed a very good chemistry with Paul, best two-man PNR game in the league, which provides the main source of offense for this Hornets team.

Then at center you have the newly acquired Emeka Okafor . He's not as tall as Chandler but he's younger, just as athletic, just good of a rebounder, and even better defender. We might not see the alley-oops like Paul did with Chandler so often, but he is solid post scorer and can do more in one-on-one situations instead of having to be set up by Paul every time (like Chandler did). He won't need to be a main post scoring threat for them with West, but mainly their post presence on defense. He's been among the league's best shot blockers and rebounders, and his post defense is very good as well. It may take him a little while to get some chemistry with Paul and his other teammates, but he can be just as valuable or even more valuable than Chandler was. Plus he's not an injury risk like Chandler has become since getting older.

My prediction: 50-32 (5th seed in the West)

A team led by Paul will always make the playoffs and no matter whom the other four players are he's going to be at the top of his game and win this team games. The system and style they run fits perfectly into his game, and he has players that compliment him very well. That's key for your best player to have all those things working for him. They only issue for this team is a lack of a perimeter scorer. They have Paul at point, they have West down low, but Peja is no longer that legitimate perimeter scoring threat that they can rely on. That's the only thing standing in the way of them making it to the WCFs and having a good shot at beating the Lakers or Spurs. However, they should still have plenty of success and get around the 5th seed in the West this year. I just don't see them as being a contender with the two favorites, but Paul has already shocked the world once in 07/08, so he could always shock the world again (and prove me wrong) and take his team to the WCFs and give either the Lakers or Spurs a run for their money.

4. Houston Rockets

After finding out Yao Ming will miss the entire year for 09/10 and T-Mac will likely be out until after the All Star Break, the Rockets are really going to have rely on their young players to step up and keep this team competitive and successful. The Rockets have had success before when Yao was out with an injury for extended time, and they've had success when T-Mac was out with an injury for extended time. However, they've never had to deal with them both being injured at the same time for this long. How will they fair this season because of it? Well.....

At the point they will have the young Aaron Brooks . He became a big scoring threat for the Rockets towards the end of the season and the playoffs last year, and he should only improve on that this year. To start out, Shane Battier should look to get the start at the other guard position until Tracy McGrady returns from his injury. He is still arguably the best perimeter defender in the game, and that is valuable to this team's success.

At forward is the newly acquired Trevor Ariza . Ariza is a good defender and good shooter with lots of athleticism who contributed to a title with the Lakers last season. However, with T-Mac out for the first half and Yao out for the year, he will look at to be their main scoring option. Can he take his game to another level and step up to fill that role? At the other forward is young big man Luis Scola . Scola is not athletically gifted nor does have any unique and special abilities. What makes him a good player is his hard work, hustle, and toughness that makes him successful. He works hard on the boards to get rebounds and he uses smart, precise moves in the post on offense to score. Like Ariza, he's going to have to step it up even more this year with the loss of Yao.

Now that Yao is out for the season and Mutombo has realized, what we all have known a couple years now, that he is to old to play anymore the Rockets had to scramble to find someone to play center for them. All they could find was David Anderson. Anderson was drafted by the Hawks in 2002 but has spent his career playing for Australian and Europe leagues. He's big and has size, but so was Shawn Bradley and that guy was horrible. I don't know much about this guy so I can't really say how good he will be for them, but I can tell you that he will not come close to filling Yao's shoes.

My prediction: 46-36 (8th seed in the West, or barely missing playoffs)

I think Brooks, Battier, Ariza, and Scola can keep this team from completely falling apart until T-Mac returns. When he returns, he will be rusty and still getting over that micro fracture surgery so he won't be at the top of his game. However, despite having injury problems every year the Rockets some how always find a way to make the playoffs. This year is a little different though with both their stars out until at least the All Star break. It all depends on how T-Mac heals from his surgery. If he is able to come back at 100% shortly after the All Star break, this team should be able to make the playoffs, but if he struggles to get healthy at all this season they could be barely missing out on the playoffs this year.

5. Memphis Grizzlies

When you have a team with lots of young talent in players like Mayo, Gay, Conley, Arthur, and the #2 overall pick in Thabeet what do you think the best acquisitions would be to make in the off-season? Would you get two notorious "me first" players in Randolph and Iverson? I know I wouldn't if I was the GM. However, a bigger concern for this team is their financial issues and the need to sell more tickets and merchandise. So from a business standpoint, it was something that had to be done regardless of what it does to your actual team.

However, I think AI has gotten a bad rap for being too much of a ball hog when frankly until he joined the Nuggets , he had no one else to do the scoring when he was on the 76ers . However, that has made it more difficult on him to fit into a different role than the one he has been use to his entire career. We seen last year with the Pistons that he couldn't fit into that team player/role player and not the star role. With the Grizzlies it should be different because they don't need him to be a set up guy and a role player; they need him to be one of their stars.

Allen Iverson will have to play the point position for the Grizzlies this year because of his size and the fact that they won't bench their star in the making in Mayo. Despite getting the reputation as a ball hog and selfish player, he is a very capable passer and playmaker. He has shown that with his assist numbers, and for anyone that has actually watched a lot of him you'd see he is able to penetrate the lane so well that defenses collapse on him and give other players open shots. I'm not saying he will be Jason Kidd or anything, but he's not going to be jacking up 30-40 shots and never passing the ball. He will draw the defense to himself and pass it to the open man if he can't find a shot for himself.

At the other guard is O.J. Mayo . Then 2nd year guard out of USC has shown he was worth the hype. He is a very good scorer who is a capable passer himself. He has a very bright future in the NBA, but he may see his numbers dip this year with AI and Randolph on the team now. At the other wing position is Rudy Gay . Gay is a very athletic forward who can score very well and loves to play above the rim. Like Mayo and the other young players on the team, his numbers might see a dip because of the scoring veteran additions, but that doesn't mean he is declining at all.

The newly acquired Zach Randolph should see most of his time at power forward for Memphis. I can see the Grizzlies rotating Gasol here at times to give their first round draft pick Thabeet more time at center. Randolph is a very good scorer and rebounder. He's a weak defender, but he doesn’t have many weaknesses outside of that as far as his talents are concerned. The problem with his is that he can become what is known as a "black hole" on offense. He will rarely give the ball back to his teammates after he gets the ball. He's going to put up good numbers, but that's going to affect the overall team negatively.

At center they have the young Marc Gasol , a.k.a. "The Other Gasol." He showed that he is a very good big man in the NBA and has benefited from his time overseas. He is not an athletic or physical gifted player, but he is a very fundamental player that knows how to play the game well. He has good post moves on offense, is capable rebounder and defender, and knows how to play team basketball. The problem is, not many other players on this team know how to play team basketball as well. Expect Hasheem Thabeet to steal some minutes from Gasol this year to provide rebounder and post defense off the bench. Thabeet has tons of talent and potential, and they won't let their No. 2 overall pick go to waste on the bench.

They also have two young talented players in Mike Conley and Darell Arthur who will most likely see limited playing time this year. Those players are young and need time to improve, but they might not get many chances this year to do that.

My prediction: 36-46

From a business standpoint, this team will have achieved it's goal of making more money than they have in the past with Iverson and Randolph putting up numbers, selling jersey and other merchandise, and winning this team a few more games. However, this will hurt their young players and not give them as much chances to improve and develop like they should be. So while the Grizzlies will be happy with this decision now, they will regret a few years down the road. They don't have a shot at making the playoffs, and I'd be surprised to see this team win 40 games.



So that's it for my preview of the Southwest division. Look out for the other 5 division previews on the blogs of other posters (Feanor, ignorepeter, HurricaneDij39, GoHornets21, and kmvenne)

Posted on: April 2, 2009 9:59 am
 

I'll admit it: I was wrong

I hate to say, but I was wrong. I thought the Allen Iverson expirement would work out much better than it has, but it hasn't. I thought he would be able to sacrifice his scoring to become a better team player for the Pistons. I thought he would be fine if they wanted him coming off the bench, but he's not. I was one of the biggest supporters of him joining the team and being able to lead the Pistons to a championship, but I was wrong. I still don't regret the trade because we will still be able to use the cap space and regardless of how great Chauncey Billups is, we still wouldn't get past the ECFs with him. We may be worse off without Chauncey, but we wouldn't be able to win a championship with him so that trade was a necessary move.

The last couple games have really gotten me depressed when watching Allen Iverson coming off the Pistons bench. He can play very well in the role when he wants to, but he is more concerned with starting and getting huge minutes. AI is one of the greatest scorers in history, no one can argue that (he's tied with George Gervin at 4 scoring titles which is 3rd behind MJ and Wilt), but he's not in his 20s anymore and he is not in his prime anymore. It took awhile, but his age is finally catching up with him. He can't be nearly as effective as he was was. Let's face the fact, he can try to play good defense all he wants but his height and size will always work against him. The Pistons have been having one of their worst defensvie seasons in a long time, and we need all the defense we can get.

We don't need AI to play 35-40 minutes a game like he did for the 76ers and Nuggets. We have two young point guards who can be great for us. We all Rodney Stuckey is the next leader at the point for the Pistons. He needs to work on some things still (mainly being more aggressive and stop letting Rip control the offense), but he is still young. Will Bynum is my favorite Pistons player because of how aggressive he plays. He's about the same size as AI, but puts in triple the effort. He can get into the lane at will being able to get to the lane, dish the ball out, or stop and hit the mid-range jumper. Not only is he effective on offense, but he is a very pesky defender as well. He reminds me of a young Lindsey Hunter on D, always hounding the ball handler and looking to get a few steals. I love seeing him come off the bench and being a spark for that 2nd unit, and right now I'd rather see more of him than AI.

AI is not the Pistons main problem; they don't have a post threat, Curry is almost as bad as Flip, Stuckey and Prince are not aggressive enough, and their defense is horrible compared to the usual great Pistons defense that has been with them for decades. But he is not working out like I expected him to; he is not working into the team aspect of the Pistons. He has had to have the offense revolve around him in order for his previous teams to have success, but he can't make the transtition to a team that doesn't need him in that role. Call it set in his ways or old and stubborn, but we can't have that type of player or attitude on the Pistons. I've stuck by AI this whole time because I really believed it could work and he is one my most favorite players of all time, but I was wrong. I'm not ashamed to say I'm wrong because I was, and now AI needs to go. I'm sure Joe D was only doing the deal for the cap space in the end, but we can't have AI making the sort of comments he has been and having that bad mood in the lockeroom rub off on other players.

AI can just sit on the bench and not play any minutes if he doesn't like his new bench role. We can give Will Bynum his minutes; I'm sure he will give everything he has in however many minutes he gets. I've been a huge AI fan all my life, but I've always been a Pistons fan and they always come first.

 

 

Posted on: March 13, 2009 11:33 pm
 

Allen Iverson Haters: Pay closer attention

Now this isn't just directed at Allen Iverson haters, but anyone that makes the assumption that the Pistons are better off without AI. You only hear people saying that because they either: a) have always hated him since his days on the 76ers and Nuggets, or b) don't pay close enough attention to the Pistons, or c) strong haters of the AI for Chauncey Billups trade, or d) all of the above. Everyone wants to keep saying "I told ya so" about the trade for AI, and the Pistons recent winning streak without him is their latest so called proof of this. Now I'm here to show you all that this is not only completely absurd, but complete ignorance to the fact that the Pistons went on a strong winning streak early in the season without another one of their important players. But how could that be? The media never told us about this?

Earlier in the season, not too long after Christmas Day, Richard Hamilton went down with an injury. The Pistons had to play an 8 game stretch without him, but to many people's surprise, they went 6-2 during those games. Now where does that look familiar? Why that's the exact same record the Pistons have right now without AI in this current 8 game stretch since he went down with his injury. Now I dare you to make the argument that the Pistons played tougher competition this time and played easier teams when Rip was out. Go ahead, you'll just make yourself look foolish. In fact, it's almost the exact same in each of the stretches. The Pistons have beat both the Magic and the Nuggets in both the stretch without Rip and the recent one without AI. Now you might say, "But they beat the Celtics this time!" Let me remind you they don't have their most important player and their cornerstone on defense in Kevin Garnett. If the Pistons played the Celtics when Rip was out, and KG was out then too, then the Pistons would have beat them then. Also, let's look at who the losses were against each time. Without Rip, the Pistons lost to the Trail Blazers and the Jazz (at Utah). Now those two teams are doing pretty well for themselves if I remember correctly. Now without AI, there two losses are from the Hawks and the Knicks. The Knicks are no where near the Blazers or Jazz, and the Hawks were on their bad streak when they beat the Pistons.

So continue to make the foolish assumption that the Pistons are better off without AI, but you're only saying that because you already have that instilled in your mind because of your hate/bias for Allen Iverson, or because the media has been feeding you this garbage and you can't think for yourself. The fact is, the Pistons are a team that knows how to play with great teammwork and defense, and they know how to continue to play at that high level and get wins even without some of their key players. So whether be AI, Rip, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, Rodney Stuckey, or any other Pistons player, the Pistons can easily go on a good winning streak with any of them being injured. The Pistons have been very streaky this year, and that is not something you can blame on AI alone.

Morale of the story is: Things are not always as they appear.

Posted on: March 13, 2009 11:33 pm
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Posted on: February 3, 2009 7:39 am
Edited on: February 3, 2009 7:42 am
 

Don't Stop Believing..............

..................... in the Pistons (Pistons fans). This is mainly addressed to Pistons fans because in all honestly, I could careless what the rest of the league thinks. In fact, the Pistons have shown in the past they do better when they are the underdog and don't have a lot of people supporting them. So I doubt I will change any minds of other fans that have completely given up on the Pistons (and I don't intend to), but I just want to make sure my fellow Detroit fans keep the faith and don't lose hope.

The first thing to remember is we haven't even made it to the All Star break yet. The Pistons always play better in the 2nd half of the year, and in their most successful seasons (i.e. the 2004 championship season) they catch fire shortly after the All Star break and carry that into the playoffs. The Pistons can still get things together and star clicking after they have time to figure things out during the break. It's not like the Pistons are a below .500 team struggling for a playoff spot. They will make the playoffs, but the only thing that is questionable is what seed they will get. It doesn't matter if the Cavaliers do win the division because back 2004, the Pacers finished ahead of the Pistons to win the division, yet Detroit still went on to win the championship.

The next thing to consider is look closely and compare this year to the 2004 championship season. They go out and make a trade for a superstar player, they start out slow and everyone doubts them (and continues to do so all the way until they win the championship), a little while after the All Star break they catch fire and finish the season strong, and they carry their success all the way through the playoffs and win the championship against a team no one thought could be beat. Ever since then things have changed; everyone started supporting the Pistons and putting them amongst the contenders every year. The only problem was they couldn't seem to get past the ECFs (other than the following year in 2005). This was because they had gotten overconfident and didn't have that same "hunger" factor as they did in 2004.

This year, they made the trade for Allen Iverson , and while they might be doing better right now with Chauncey Billups , they would still fall short with him again in the playoffs. Billups is still one of the best PGs in the game (IMO 2nd behind Chris Paul ) and he contributed just as much (or more) as everyone else to our success and in helping us win the championship (he deserved that Finals MVP). But he, along with the rest of the team, and had gotten arrogant, cocky, and overly confident and felt that they had enough talent and skill that they could take games off and relax and only play when they needed to. He had lost his hunger to win another championship, and that in turn rubbed off on the entire team. I'm not saying it was his fault entirely, because Rasheed Wallace and the rest of the team had a lot to do with as well (also losing Larry Brown didn't help any either).

AI is one of the league's oldest veterans and an all time great player. His years are numbered now and he doesn't have much time left. He has had so much individual success and accomplishments throughout his career, but has yet to win the ultimate prize: a title. You can say he isn't a team player and is a cancer, but he wants to win just as bad as anyone. He hasn't been on any great teams (Carmelo Anthony is not a complimenting player for him) and every team he has joined has gotten better with him. He wants to win a championship, and has that "hunger" factor in him. He has shown that he is willing to sacrifice his high stats in order for the team to play better. I'm sure if Curry had the guts to bench him and make him their 6th man (but still get big minutes like the Spurs would do with Manu Ginobili ) he would have accepted his role if it would help the team have more success. He is still one of the league's best scorers, he can pass very well, and has been making an effort on defense (though his size will always work against him).

Curry is only in his first year as head coach (not just with the Pistons, but first head coach job in his career; he's a rookie), and he still has lots to learn. However, I can tell just by listening to his comments and post game reports that he is trying his best to make the team have more success. Now we can't expect him to be the next Red Auerbach in his first year of head coaching, so it's not like he's going to make all the right moves right off the bat. I have faith that during the break, he'll be able to sit back and evaluate things and make better decisions on what to do. He will realize that he needs to get the team to focus more on defense and playing the whole through. He needs to find the right rotation that works, and use it for the rest of the season. He needs to start running more plays for Stuckey and let him get to the hoop like we know he can do so well. He even needs to consider benching AI instead of Richard Hamilton (because Rip works better with the starters and AI would be huge off the bench).

The one thing that needs to be done, that I'm not so sure is possible, is to get Rasheed to stop jacking up so many 3 point shots. No Pistons coach has been able to do this since Larry Brown, and it has been a major problem for Detroit. He is a great post player, and without him the Pistons don't have any inside presence on offense. Sure AI, Stuckey, and Prince can get to the rim but they don't have any post player who can score inside without Sheed. That's why teams can just sit back and pack the paint preventing the drives and turning us into a jump shooting team (which we are not). When he's hot he's unstoppable, but when he's cold he's terrible. Curry needs to man up and realize he runs this team, and not the players. He needs to stand up to Sheed and tell him to get back down in the paint where he belongs. I have no problem with him shooting about 5 shots per game from outside (maybe a little more if he's shooting well that game) because it helps stretch the defense, but shooting 10+ and leading the league in 3pt attempts is not something we want from Sheed. I don't know if Curry will have the courage to step up to him and do this, but this is the ONLY thing that I'm not confident Curry will be able to do after the All Star break.

We also can't forget that even if we don't win it all this year we have an even better future ahead of us. Rodney Stuckey is only in his 2nd year and is already starting to become a very good point guard capable of running the point for us. He is only going to get better, and the best is yet to come from him. He has shown a lot of improvement on defense this year (a concern last year), and now I'm completely sold on him being our next floor general who can lead us to a championship. Jason Maxiell , Arron Afflalo , Amir Johnson , and Tayshaun Prince all have lots of years left in them and will become keys to our success. Also, if Sheed retires and/or leaves the Pistons at the end of this year, and  AI is not able to get us a championship and decides to either call it quits or go to a new in 2010, we will have tons of money to use in that star studded FA class in the summer of 2010.

So don't lose hope Pistons fans because there is light at the end of this dark tunnel we are in right now. It may be hard to see right now, but keep the faith. Don't worry about what all the haters say, because we don't need the support of the rest of the league. All that matters is what we know about our team, and that we keep our faith in them. We still have a shot at the championship this year (whether anyone realizes it or not), and we definitely have a very good future ahead of us with Stuckey and the 2010 FA class. Remember the 2004 championship season. So say it with me my Pistons brothers:

DEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTRROOOOOOOOOOIITT BAAAAAAAAAASSSSKKEEETTBAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted on: January 1, 2009 10:44 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2009 10:55 pm
 

New Years Resolutions: Detroit Pistons Edition

Now that it's officially 2009, it's time for some resolutions. I've came up with some New Year's Resolutions for the Detroit Pistons. Just five things they need to focus on to have more success and get back atop the Central division.

1. Bring Allen Iverson or Richard Hamilton off the bench


They can't have both those scorers on the court for very long. AI and Rip's game is scoring and having two guys who do essentially the same thing (besides AI handling the ball more) it hurts the overall team flow and effectiveness. By having one of the bench and Stuckey in the starting lineup, it puts a better distributor in the starting lineup and a great scorer off the bench to come in and produce. The Pistons have always had a strong bench and used it to their advantage, why not make it even stronger by putting AI or Rip to come off the bench? They have tried this already and the results were awesome (see game vs. Nets).

2. Make Rasheed Wallace stay in the post on offense more often (stop shooting so many 3's!)


I love Rasheed and he's the most exciting (and frustrating) player for me to watch. When he gets the stroke going from the outside he's unstoppable and can hit the 3-ball as good as anyone. The problem is, he can only do this when he gets hot and he's not a consistently great 3-point shooting big man like a Dirk Nowitzki. When he tries to hit the outside shot and is cold, he needs to stay down in the post for awhile. They don't have much of a post threat on offense besides him when the starters are in. They need him down there to have that post presence because he has some very good post moves and can score well in the paint. If he's hot let him shoot, but if he's not hitting any outside shots make him stay in the paint and work the low post game he has.

3. Continue to make Rodney Stuckey a starter and give him the big minutes


Whenever Stuckey starts and/or gets big minutes, he produces very well and shows that he deserves to be the starting point guard full time. Everyone knows he has tons of talent and a very bright future; it's a huge part of why Joe D was so willing to trade Chauncey Billups. Stuckey is not a great PG yet, but he has to get experience and tons of playing time to be able to get to that high level we all know he can get to. He can run this team at the point and be very effective for us. He may be young, but he can still contribute a lot for us in the starting lineup. Curry needs to make sure he keeps Stuckey as the starter (putting Rip or AI to the bench) and continue to give him his big minutes so he can gain the experience he needs to become a better player.

4. Get Tayshaun Prince back to being more involved in the offense


Early in the year Tay was involved a lot more in the offense than he ever was before. He was looked to as one of their primary weapons and options on offense. He was doing very well, scoring over 20 ppg a game. Now that AI has been here, with him, Rip, Stuckey, and Sheed, Prince has been not been involved nearly as much with all these other scorers. Now there is no question he can't get as much touches as he was in the beginning of the year, but he still should be getting a lot more than he has been. He is a very good overall player on offense, and isn't just a great defender. He can drive to the lane and use his long arms to get over the defenders and get the ball in the hoop. He can the outside shot, and his mid range shot looks a lot better this year than it ever has. He is also a very good ball handler and passer for his size. He needs to get more involved in the offense and can even run point forward when Stuckey is out and AI or Rip comes in off the bench.

5. Beat Boston!!!!


We have two more games against the Celtics this season (Friday, January 30th at the Palace and Sunday, March 1st at the Garden). They have already beaten us twice so far this season have all the bragging rights right now. We need to win at least one of them (both of them would be our ultimate goal though). We all know how cocky those Boston fans are, and it's crazy in the trash talks before the games. Getting a win or two over them will be huge for our team, and give us fans some more reasons to talk trash and brag about our team.






We need to accomplish all of our resolutions so the Pistons can work there way to another championship. But don't be worried if you don't see all of these accomplished (who always does every New Years resolution they set out to anyways?) because even though the road to the championship might be rough and shaking, it's still possible to get there. It wasn't easy for the Pistons in 2004 so it may be a good sign that things are tough this season as well.
Posted on: December 1, 2008 2:09 pm
 

A Familiar Feeling

For some reason this season feels very familiar to this Pistons fan; it's almost like deja vu. It's kind of like the Pistons traded for aging superstar early in the season before. It feels so familiar like the Pistons struggled at first before and then caught fire around the all star break. Wait, now I remember, that was back in 2004 when the Pistons traded for Rasheed Wallace. Didn't the Pistons win the title that year too? Wasn't that the last time when no one (outside of Detroit) believed in the Pistons and gave them no chance against the Lakers? Yes, now it all seems so clear to me.

Please everyone, don't start having faith in the Pistons. It's that type of thinking that has kept them out of the NBA Finals since 2005 against the Spurs. They are a blue collar team that strives off of the hate from everyone else. They can't perform well when everyone believes in the Pistons. They need everyone to doubt them and hate on them so the they can prove everyone wrong. The Pistons know they can win it all, but when they hear everyone else saying and believe in them, they get cocky and overconfident. They no longer have anything prove and work for because they are already seen as great.

The Pistons have been stuck in the ECFs for the last few years because they become too cocky, arrogant, and overconfident (most of which started with Chauncey Billups; not a shot at him but it's the truth). Since the Pistons won the title back in 2004 and went back into the NBA Finals in 2005 everyone believed in the Pistons and expected them to be one of the front runners for the title every year. However, they continued to disappoint us by losing in the Eastern Conference Finals year after year.

Up until now, the Pistons were seen as one of best teams in the East (Top 2) and one of the league (Top 5), but after the Allen Iverson trade people have lost their faith in the Pistons. After the Pistons haven't had too much success since and the Nuggets have with Billups, people are doubting the trade. After both beatings by the Celtics, people no longer believe the Pistons will be able to beat them in the playoffs if they were too meet. Most people will even say the Cavaliers are a better team (despite the Pistons beating them this year), and you might hear a few crazies saying the Magic are better too.

Now I for one love this. Don't get me wrong, I don't like it that the Pistons are losing, but I do enjoy everyone doubting them and not seeing them as such a great team anymore. This is the exact type of things the Pistons need to win the title this year. They need the media and the fans (not Pistons fans, but other NBA fans) to doubt them. That will give them something to work for, something to try to prove. That's the type of team the Pistons are; if they're not hungry enough for a title they won't win it, but if they are then watch out. Allen Iverson really helps with that too. He is an all time great player who is running out of time in his career. He has yet to win a ring, and is really hungry for one. It's just like Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen last year with the Celtics. Both are HoF players who wanted to win a ring before their career is over. It will be the same thing AI this year because he wants to add a championship ring to his list of great accomplishments over his career.

Mark my words: Around the all star break (February) the Pistons will start to click. AI will be fully worked into their offense and things will start to run smoothly. Their defense will be great (as usual) and they will continue to play their great style of teamwork. They will get hot all the way through the end of the season and go into the playoffs ready. They will take care of their first two opponents (in the first two rounds), and go into the ECFs. They will most likely face the Celtics who will give them a run for their money. But in the end, the Pistons will be hungry for another title and defeat the Celtics going on to the NBA Finals. And if they make the NBA Finals, I guarantee they win it all and bring a 4th title to Motown!

Now I'm not gonna lie, the money situation helps too. Even if the Pistons some how don't win the title, they will still have lots of option in 2010. Once AI's contract runs out, that leaves them tons of money to sign one (or two) of the numerous superstars who will be free agents in the summer of 2010. They also still have Rodney Stuckey, and anyone who has watched him play knows this guy is a future star. The Pistons will be able to start him within the next few years.

So in summary, haters can continue to hate because it can only be good for the Pistons. They will get things together and once again bring a title to Detroit. I can see the parade already.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com