Tag:Ben Wallace
Posted on: May 22, 2011 1:46 am
 

Detroit Pistons Draft Outlook

Well I was hoping to see the Pistons get lucky and move up in the draft from their originally slotted 7th spot, but instead it was the Cavaliers that got the lucky draw and the Pistons went the opposite direction and moved down one spot. With this draft lacking alot of potential huge stars, it's likely the Pistons won't be getting any player that is going to be able to be a future leading star for them. So the most important thing will be to draft a guy that not only has talent, but also can impact their team and be a great role player right off the bat. There are a few options, but I think it clearly comes down to two guys: Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo.

When Chauncey Billups was at the PG helm for the Pistons leading their offense, they were contending for the East title each year and always at least in the ECFs. The won a title and went to back to back Finals appearances in the Billups era, but since trading him to the Nuggets they have dropped off significantly and that's really an understatement. Allen Iverson was one of my favorite players of all time, but that experiment failed miserably. They had picked Rodney Stuckey in the 2007 draft and had hoped he was going to be able to step up and be Billups understudy and eventually take the starting job once Billups got too old and had to step down. He showed flashes of amazing talent and ability to get to the lane and create offense; even in the 2008 NBA playoffs where he was penetrating the Celtics defense very well at time (and I remind you this was the #1 defense at the time that went on to win the title).

This is what gave Dumars the thought that he could trade Billups now, get Iverson and use his expiring contract to free up cap space in the 2010 super FA market to get players to go along with Stuckey and the other younger Pistons players to start the transition from the older 2004 championship players to a new Pistons team. Well as we have seen since, Stuckey hasn't stepped up and Joe D decided to use his extra money on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, which has also proven to be disappointing. Stuckey has still shown those flashes, but has to be consistent enough to be that PG they need to lead the offense. Now he has shown horrible attitude problems and refuses to play for the team at the end of the year because of arguments with the coach. Well I say good riddance to him as he has obviously failed to live up to expectations and is now being a whiney baby that has no business being our point guard.

So now the question will be who will fill that spot? I love Will Bynum as he is a tenacious defender with quickness and lots of athletic ability (dude can throw down for a little guy), and I like how unselfish he is on offense always looking to pass first and creating open players by being able to penetrate the lane well. But I know he is never a guy that is going to be able to lead their team, so they will need to get someone he can. A guy that could do that is Kemba Walker. He has proven to be a strong leader and able to take a team on his shoulders and win them games. He has amazing scoring ability as well as some good passing skills (didn't use it a whole lot in college but he does have it when I watched him play games at UConn). He has the ability to get into the lane, stop-n-pop for jumpers, and get them big shots. Sound familiar? The next Mr. Big Shot maybe? Of course if they do this they need to try and trade Stuckey, and he still has talent and with some teams needing PGs I'm sure someone would bite. They would have a good two-man, inside-outside tandem with Kemba and Greg Monroe that could be the future of the new Pistons squad and possible start turning things around back to at least making the playoffs.


The other option is to look down low, which is most likely the bigger concern at the time. They got Greg Monroe last year and I really liked what I seen from him. He should be the main big for the Pistons for years to come. He's got size, good rebounding, good passing, and a developing offensive game that will get better each year. He can anchor them in the post on offense for sure, but while he's a solid post defender he's not the best help defender and is not great and helping on driving players. Ben Wallace was the doing this for the Pistons in his prime years (being the best defensive player in the league) and is doing it now at the twilight stage of his career. But he's not the young athlete he once was and is close to hanging it up and focusing on becoming a defense attorney upon his retirement (fitting isn't it?), and the question is now who is going to do that? The Pistons have turn things around on defense because that had been their identity for years and always what was the backbone of their success. A guy that could fill that role is Bismack Biyombo.

The young (or old depending whether you think he's 18 or 30) kid from Congo is not someone that was a big time draft prospect all year. He hasn't been playing in any big time college basketball, and has only recently been playing big time professional Euro basketball for Spain. However, what he lacks in experience at high levels, he makes up for freakish talent and athleticism. He can jump out of the jump, has energy galore, and a monstrous 7 foot 7 inch wing span. When I looked at his size, 6'9" 240 lbs, I thought to myself: "That looks familiar; I think that was Big Ben's size." Then I watched tape on him and I got a chill up my spine as Big Ben flashbacks went through my mind.

He is a very strong defender, with strong rebounding, great leaping ability, a long wing span, and lots of energy and hustle that just makes him a carbon copy of a young Ben Wallace in terms of physical attributes and abilities. I even watched a few highlights where he was playing up and pressing the ball handler after the ball was in-bounded, and the only other big man I ever seen do that was Big Ben. I'd love to put Bismack alongside Monroe and give them an excellent post duo for their future. Monroe can lead them on offense while focusing on man defense and Biyombo can do the dirty work, clean up the boards, swat shots left and right, and just straight out hustle. While I'm tired of watching the Pistons drafting European players and them failing to pan out (Darko ruined Euro players for me to be honest), the potential ability Bismack has to be the next "Big B" just has me hoping they get him at the 8th spot.

Either way it's time to end the transition phase and move onto to the new generation of players. Tayshaun Prince's contract is up and while I wish they would have been smart enough to get something out of him (someone would have wanted an expiring contract), it's time to cut ties with him and move on. Richard Hamilton will always be remembered and loved for what he did with the Pistons and is probably their best pure shooter in history and I think one of the best shooters running off screens of all time, his time has passed as well and they need to trade him along with Stuckey. Guys like Monroe, Bynum, Jonas Jerebko, Gordon, and Austin Daye are their future now and they can add another young gun to that group in a couple months with their 8th overall pick. Whether they choose to get a guy that can lead their offense in Kemba or a guy that can impact and improve immensely their post defense in Bismack, it's time to get the new era of Pistons basketball started. We finally have a new owner, Flint's own Tom Gores, and we can finally move past this phase of unbearable to watch basketball.

I want to be proud again to say............

DEEEEEEETROIT BAAAAAAAAAAAAASKETBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!
Posted on: February 24, 2011 7:50 pm
 

Joe Dumars, What is Wrong With You?!?!?!?!?

After watching all these go on over the last couple days before the deadline today, I can't believe not one deal was done by the Pistons. What was Joe Dumars doing, just sitting back and twiddling his thumbs? Was he expecting someone to come drop some great deal in his lap? It's very frustrating as a fan to watch all this activity go on and the Pistons just to sit back and do nothing when it's obvious they need to do some work to this team if they expect it to start improving and getting back to contending in the playoffs again. Why is Richard Hamilton just going to sit there and rot on the bench? Why is Tayshaun Prince's expiring contract to being used to entice some team into a deal? Why are they just going to sit back and hope it all magically works out and the team just transforms back to the 2000s Pistons?

I can't say I'm completely shocked to see they didn't do any deals as Joe D has really be slacking the last couple years. It's so obvious this team is just sitting in limbo and has no organization, no identity, no leadership, and no idea what the hell they are doing right now. They couldn't honestly think Ben Gordon and Charlie Villaneuva were the answer. Those guys are excellent role players but come on, neither one is a guy I'm counting on to lead this team. They can't keep waiting around expecting Rodney Stuckey to suddenly transform into Chauncey Billups; sorry that's not happening any time soon and likely never. Rip and Prince are both guys that have been lost without Billups, as has the whole team, and neither can step up and lead this team. They've tried and failed miserably (making themselves worse in the process; Rip can't be a Kobe/Wade type of SG and Prince is no LeBron James but guys try to put themselves in those roles and can't get it done).

This team has very good young role players in Gordon, Charlie V, Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko, Austin Daye, Will Bynum, Chris Wilcox, and Jason Maxiell that can all contribute to a good team but none are guys you can count on to lead your team and/or run/be the center of your offense. Tracy McGrady has been doing his best to try and be some sort of a leader for this team, and he's actually help keep them at least competitive in some games, but he's not that kind of guy anymore. He's still a very good player, but he's not the answer. He could have been used as well as trade value.

They can't expect a rookie in Greg Monroe and an gray haired Ben Wallace to do it all in the post. Jason Maxiell and Chris Wilcox have shown some solid play in bursts but have overall not been doing much for the Pistons in the paint. Big Ben can't play much more than 20-25 minutes in a game anymore. He gives everything he has for those 20-25 min. and has still been able to rack up 8-10 boards in those short amount of times (as well as playing smart defense drawing lots of offensive fouls) but what happens for the other 23-28 minutes of the game? Greg Monroe has steadily been improving and been strong on the boards, solid on defense, very good at handling the rock and playing transition, but his scoring is not enough yet to anchor them in the post. He's showing flashes of what he could do (with a 27 point game the other night) but he is not a guy that can give them a respectable option to go to in the post. And when Big Ben, Wilcox, and Maxiell are nothing more than garbage guys on offense, that makes it even worse.

Rodney Stuckey can't lead a team, and it's frustrating and hard to say that after all the high hopes we've had for him. He's shown flashes of being amazing but he has yet to show consistently he's willing to play the role of facilitator as well scorer. He's also yet to show he can knock down jumpers on consistent basis. He can drive to the rim like a Derrick Rose when he wants, but he because he has no jumper to respect and because he isn't willing to feed his teammates enough, that diminishes his scoring and his overall value at times. He was unfairly expected to be the next Chauncey Billups for the Pistons right away as a rookie, but he could at least try to be a PG at times. Will Bynum has actually shown he's willing to be a facilitator and find his teammates, and also has a strong ability to get the rim. He also knows that his ability to get to the rim can be used to find his teammates (by drawing the defense to himself). He's also shown he's an intense, fiesty defender that really likes to put pressure on the ball handler for the opponent. He plays Lindsey Hunter like defense and uses his speed and quick hands to disrupt the opposing PG. But like Stuckey, he lacks a consistent jumper and he does at times fall in love with jumpers, even when he's not knocking them down and has gone cold.

I just can't believe Dumars did NOTHING before the trade deadline and Rip will continue to just sit on the bench pouting and not being used at all, and the Pistons will continue to be stuck between old and new in this transition phase that is just utterly disgusting to watch after we Pistons fans had watched them be contenders in the East for so long. I can understand all good things have to come to an end sometimes, but when your GM isn't in any hurry to try and fix and improve the team it's just frustrating as a fan especially when you watch all these teams be so active during these last couple of days. It's even worse when you've got a guy like Rip, who know is still a good player but just doesn't fit in with the team anymore, just sit there and waste away on the bench; and when you watch a guy like Rodney Stuckey, who you've been waiting to just turn into your team's star for awhile now, continue to lack the ability to step up and not improve on his game like you've been expecting.

I've been very patient with Joe D as he was one of the best players we've ever seen for this franchise and won us two titles and Finals MVP as a player, and then went on to orchestrate and manage a team that won another title in 2004 and contended in the East for most of the last decade. However, after breaking my heart and not resigning Big Ben, trading Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson, using cap space to sign Ben Gordon and Charlie Villaneuva, and now standing pat during a very active trading deadline and letting Rip rot on the bench, I'm starting to lose my patience with him. I'm tired of watching the Pistons lose games when I can see if this team had any direction whatsoever they could be at respectable and in the playoffs. If Joe D doesn't make any moves this off season that can give this team more structure, an identity, and organization for their future then I'm sorry to say it but I think it's time for Joe D to go.
Posted on: November 10, 2010 8:37 pm
 

Big B's Early 2010 Defensive Highlights

I figured with everyone raving over the amazing offensive skills being displayed early on in the season with guys like Kevin Durant, Monta Ellis, Dwyane Wade, Rudy Gay, and Derrick Rose lighting up scoreboards; or Celtics fans going insane about Rajon Rondo dropping almost 15 assists a game so far; or guys like LeBron James and Pau Gasol putting up triple doubles; I thought how about we talk about the other side of the ball and give some love to defense being displayed so far this year. Now I know it's early so this is not a "top defensive player of the year candidates" list. This is just a place to shine the light on some great defense being played so far this season. I'm going to touch a few players a teams, but feel free to give a shout out to a guy on your favorite team for his defense.


Dwight Howard

He is the two time reigning Defensive Player of the Year and he's definitely proving why he's just a huge impact on defense this year with Magic. Now Howard isn't putting up huge statistical numbers this year like he has in the past; he's ONLY putting up 11.3 rebounds per game, 2.7 blocks per game, and 1.2 steals per game (I say only just because he's put better statistical numbers than that before, but these numbers are still impressive nonetheless). However, it's how much of an impact on his team that truly makes his defensive worth so valuable. The Magic so far this year are allowing only 88.7 points per game (1st in the NBA), 41.4% FG (1st in the league), have an 11.2 ppg differential, have 46.5 rebounds per game (2nd in the league), allowing only 38.8 rebounds in the league (2nd in the league), and have a +7.7 rpg differential (1st in the NBA). The Magic are no lower than 2nd in all the major defensive categories and that speaks volumes of Howard's defensive impact. It's not like he's getting lots of help from Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, or anyone else on the team. Without Howard, this team is bad defensive team, but with him, they become one of the best defenses in the NBA.

Dwyane Wade

While I think Heat fans have been playing better defense for their team than post defense of the actual Heat players, the team has been solid overall on defense. The Heat allow only 90.1 points per game (2nd in the NBA) and allow only 41.6% FG (3rd in the NBA). Since we know it's not their post defense that is making this team respectable, we have to look to their perimeter players. LeBron James has been good, but their truly most valuable defender has been Wade. He's been all over the court for the Heat and ever single game I've watched for the Heat I've seen this guy hustle his butt off to not only stay in front of his man, but go play help defense (especially in the paint where they struggle). He's averaging 6.6 rpg  1.6 spg and 1.0 bpg and has had two games where he's got double-digit rebounds. Wade has definitely been working hard to just keep the Heat defense from being absolutely abyssmal and has actually made it at the very least respectable.

Josh Smith

Boy this guy has come a long way since a few years ago. Remember when he use to be in love with his deep jumper (which he couldn't hit consistently) and didn't know how to use his athleticism to actual impact his defense instead of just getting block and steal numbers? He has become a much smarter player and it shows not only on offense but on defense. He realizes that while he has the athleticism and ability to play on the perimter, he's far more dangerous in the post. He's such an excellent leaper and uses that do very well on the glass above much bigger players. So far this season he's averaging 9.6 rpg 3.4 bpg and 1.4 spg and has been all over paint on defense as well out of it as well. It's tough to find easy passing lanes and cutting lanes to the basket when J-Smoove is roaming the court. He's been swatting the ball left and right this season and proving to be a dangerous threat on defense in the paint for the Hawks.


Joakim Noah

He has become a very good defensive presence for the Bulls in the paint. He's leading the league averaging 15.0 rpg and also chipping in 2.2 bpg and 1.0 spg so far this season. While Rose has gotten the highlights with his flashing offense and big time dunks, it's been Noah who has been leading their defense and has put the Bulls 6th in the league in rebounds with 45.0 rpg, allowing only 39.3 rpg (5th in the league) and has them 2nd in the league in rpg differential with +5.7 rpg. He look freakish and has a gap tooth grin that would make Michael Strahan proud, but he's a very tough defender in the paint and he's establishing that early on this year.


The New Orleans Hornets

I can't choose just one player from this team because it's been such a great team effort on defense that has allowed the Hornets be very impressive so far on defense and has been a big reason why they are undefeated so far through the early goings this season. They are 3rd in the NBA in ppg allowed with 90.1 ppg and 4th in the NBA in FG% allowed with 42.3% FG allowed. Chris Paul has been impressive not only with his thievery of 2.4 steals per game but also being impressive on the boards with 5.4 rpg on the season. Trevor Ariza has looked good defending defending the perimeter while adding 5.0 rpg and 1.9 spg. Emeka Okafor has proved he is still a very good defensive presence in the paint averaging 2.3 bpg and 8.1 rpg on this season. But while no single player has stood out and looked like a top defensive player, they have been a very good defensive unit together and the whole team is looking sharp on both ends of the court this year which has led to their great start.


Andrew Bogut

The Aussie big man has picked up where he left off last season and has been getting it done on defense for the Bucks. So far he's averaging 10.3 rpg and 1.9 bpg on the season while making the Bucks a good defensive team. The Bucks are allowing 91.4 ppg (good for 4th in the NBA) and 42.3% FG (5th in the NBA). He missed one game so far with an injury and I'm sure got some Buck fans and others (including myself) worried his injury problems would return again and keep him from being a top big man in the NBA. If he can stay healthy like he did last year and consistantly prove to be a defensive presence and overall good post presence for the Bucks, he will finally be living up to that #1 status.


Ben Wallace

You know I had to give my Pistons boy some love when I'm talking about defense. Now this isn't the Ben Wallace of old for the Pistons, he isn't getting 13-15 rpg and 3-4 bpg and making people "Fear the Fro" anymore, but he's shown when he's motivated now again back with the Pistons, he can still get it done for the Bad Boys on defense, even if you can see the gray in his hair now (which is the reason why he's not growing that fro out anymore). He's an old man now so he's only playing 24.3 minutes a game so far this season, but he's been impressive on the defensive end during the time he's in. He's averaging 8.3 rpg 1.3 spg and 1.0 bpg in the limited time and giving the Pistons their only post defensive presence (which is sad, I know).



Well that's all the guys I'm showing loving right now, but I'm sure there are plenty more guys that could use some spotlight for the defense so far this season. Feel free to throw out some guys you've been impressed with on defense so far this season.


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: October 31, 2009 9:10 am
 

Ben Wallace - Still a Top Post Defender

Yes, you heard me right and now that he's back with the Pistons he's proving it. He wasn't be used correctly on the Bulls and Cavaliers who tried too much to play him out of position (PF) and never let him roam like he could. He's old now, so I won't argue he's better than Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett but he's still in that upper group of post defenders. He can still go one-on-one with any post player and slow them/shut them down. He can still get up (though not as well as he use to) and block shots or get rebounds. He is also still quick enough and has quick enough hands and feet to press players after the throw in and still can step out on players and get some steals. If you need any proof, go watch the last two games for the Pistons and you will see plenty of proof.

He's not just putting up individual stats or slowing down just one player, but he's effecting the entire defense again and getting back to being that anchor on defense. The first game against the Grizzlies, the Pistons held them to 74 points on 36.1% FG shooting and Big Ben had 9 rebounds and a block. The game last night against the Thunder, the Pistons held them to 91 points on 43.4% FG shooting and Big Ben had 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 3 steals. Yes, they did lose last night but there was no more that Big Ben could have done to help them win (they only played him 30 min. for one, and even though they played good defense it was their offense that couldn't get it done).

I know you still have a bad taste in your mouth from what he looked like on the Cavs and Bulls, but you can't expect a player like Ben to be able to play out of position and not in his own style. The excuse sure works for Steve Nash and a few other players, so why does it get ignored for Big Ben? And for anyone who has tried to say it was the Pistons defense that made Big Ben, please explain how their defense is making him look good now? Ben Gordon, Rodney Stuckey, Charlie Villaneuva, and Richard Hamilton are making him look good on defense? Please, Tayshaun Prince is the only other one who can play great defense on the team right now.

I know you will say "it's only the Grizzlies and Thunder," even though I heard a lot of people talking about the Thunder being a "surprise team" this year and their offense is really good but their defense is the weak part. However, Tuesday, November 3rd 2009 (mark it down) the Pistons will get to play Dwight Howard and the Magic. Once you see Big Ben take on Howard and still play great, I'll be waiting to hear what excuses you can come up with then.

Ben Wallace is still one of the best post defenders in the league.


Posted on: October 29, 2009 9:47 am
Edited on: October 29, 2009 9:49 am
 

My Thoughts on the Pistons Opener

For the most part, I loved what I seen in this game. Love seeing Big Ben Wallace back on the Pistons , and I love his defense even more! He had Zach Randolph frustrated all night long and had him shut down. I think I only seen Randolph score once or twice on Big Ben, with the rest of his points coming on FTs or on Kwame Brown /Charlie V. At 35 he can still play very good defense and rebound well; his hops aren't what they once were but he's no chump. He's still the best defensive prescence they have in the paint and is the best they've had in there since he left before. This is one of the better games on defense I've seen this Pistons play in a long time (maybe all the way back to when he left before), and it's no coincidence that they do it with him back. Anyone that has ever doubted or hated Big Ben just was shown what he's still capable of even though he's no where near his prime. For a long time now haters have said it was Big Ben who was made by the Pistons, but I think all us Pistons fans know and anyone that watches him play knows it's the other way around. He might be having them hold teams up 90 ppg all year long like in his prime days, but he can make sure they are still a formidable defense. He with Kwame Brown and Jason Maxiell can lock down the paint on defense. Now of course we need to see them against a real threat down low first before this is proven, but I think we'll get to see what they're really made of against the Magic on the 3rd (next Tuesday).

I've been a Ben Gordon hater and have been upset with how Richard Hamilton has turned out since Chauncey Billups left, but for the most part I was impressed with how they played last night. Rip still had still isn't playing like he should be (still trying to dribble too much instead of just getting open for a shot and knocking them down), but he was good for the most part. I was very impressed with Gordon right off the bat with Gordon (that 4 point play was amazing) and he really looks like he could fit in nicely. He didn't ball hog like I expected him too, and if he continues to fit in and play team ball like he did last night, I'm glad we got him and will admit I was wrong for hating on him this off season.

Rodney Stuckey had some flashes of the great play we know he is capable of, but not enough of them to prove to me that he's going to "come out of his shell" already and be more aggressive. Bynum looked very good still (other than trying to shoot jumpers when he should be driving) and if Stuckey don't step it up this season I wouldn't be against starting Bynum. Prince was looking good on offense, but I want him to get back to playing lock down perimeter defense too; there is no way a guy like Rudy Gay should get that much made shots on him. Charlie V was really the only Piston who I was disappointed with (although he did start playing well toward the end), and I expected more from him. Like Logic said, we need more scoring from the front court and he's a guy I expected to step up and do that. However this game he didn't do that, but luckily it was only the Grizzlies and not an actual tough team we were playing. I guess you can chalk it up to him being a little banged up still and not getting much time in the preseason, so maybe once he plays a few games he'll start getting more into the offense and scoring more. I hope so because we do need his scroring; Rip and Gordon can't score all our points.


Overall, the team did well and looks like they could improve quite a bit after the disappointed last year. I still need to see more and against better teams before I say they will be a competitive playoff team, but right now they're off to a good start. There was a lot of doubt from the general public, Pistons fans themselves, and even myself. However, a lot of those doubts and pessimistic thoughts are gone for me (with some still remaining to be seen). I know this is just the Memphis "my college team is better than I am" Grizzlies, but it's still a positive sign to see the defense holding a team under 80 points and Rip and Gordon playing well together. We'll see soon enough if they can have success against a good team when they play the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, November 3rd! I'm ready to see some more...........

DEEETTRROOOOOOOIIITTT BAAAAAAAASSSKKEETTBBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!! Laughing


Posted on: October 13, 2009 9:15 pm
 

DeJuan Blair: The Next Spurs Star?

I know what you're thinking: "Blair? Seriously? This guy was drafted in the second round of the draft for a reason." However, maybe we should take a closer look before completely dismissing this guy just because he dropped to the 2nd round, is undersized (in terms of height), and has had "injury problems" (I put that in quotations for a reason).

Let's start with his so called "injury problems." Everyone's first response to dismiss Blair is his previous injury past with him tearing both ACLs in high school and having them both surgically repaired. However, that was back in high school and he played two full season for Pittsburgh in college and did very well (winning the Big East Player of the Year last year and getting Pitt a #1 seed in the NCCA tourney). Now sure, he could possibly having some problems 5-10 years down the road but why judge him before you see him play? Just because he might have injury problems as he gets older doesn't mean he can't have a successful start to his NBA career does it?

Now to him being under-sized. I hate this term because people only use it in terms of height. Now in basketball, height is important and can be very helpful in making a player better. However, shouldn't the word "size" also include a player's weight? Blair may only be 6'7", but he is a strong 265 lbs. Much like other big but short players in NBA history who turned out to be very good (Ben Wallace, Charles Barkley, Wes Unseld, etc.) he knows how to use his body and strength to his advantage and make up for his lack of height. He was one of the best rebounders in college and has already proven he is could be a good rebounder in the NBA as well (19 rebounds in 22 min. in his first preseason game).

The most important thing that should influence how he turns out as a player is the team he was drafted for: the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have a history lately of getting players late in the draft and turning them into stars. First it was Manu Ginobili in 1999 as the 57th overall pick in the draft (2nd to last pick in draft). Since Manu is now considered by most as one of the best SGs in the NBA (most would say at least Top 10 and some would even say Top 5). Then there was Tony Parker who was drafted in 2001 as the 28th overall pick in the draft (last pick of 1st round). He is now considered one of the best PGs in the league (most would say Top 5). Now we have Blair who was drafted as the 37th overall pick pick in the 2009 draft (7th pick in the 2nd round). So will we be seeing Blair as star in the next few years to come?

Blair won't be starting this year, but he will get to play behind one of the greatest big men in all of NBA history: Tim Duncan. Right now Blair has a lot of talent and is a very explosive player, but like most rookies (and other NBA players) he could learn more about the fundamentals of the game. What better than to learn from Mr. Fundamental himself. Blair said right after he was drafted to the Spurs that he would stick himself close to Duncan so he could learn as much as possible from him. Learning and playing without one of the best can only make you a better player.

I'm a fan of the NBA and I'm also somewhat of a history buff, so I like to look at things in the history of the NBA that tends to repeat itself. One thing is there is always a sleeper late in every draft, no matter which one you look at. Now the Spurs have had 2 of them this decade, so would another one be so crazy to think about happening? I'm not guaranteeing Blair will be a star or claiming he will be the next great big men for the Spurs (David Robinson, then Tim Duncan, then......), but I'm saying that he is definitely a big sleeper and could turn out a lot better than most expect. No, I don't expect him to put up eye popping numbers this year or win ROTY, but I do expect him to contribute well off the bench to spell Timmy D, Antonio McDyess, and the veteran big men. Then maybe a few years down the road, he might be something special. However, if Timmy D retired soon maybe all is lost for the Spurs; maybe the only reason Parker and Ginobili turned out so well was because of Duncan. Who knows, but I guess we'll find out soon enough.


Posted on: May 31, 2009 9:54 pm
 

Will history continue to repeat itself?

History tends to repeat itself a lot; not only in sports but in all of life. However, here we're only interested in the sports history. One such thing that has been consistent in NBA history is defense winning championships. Almost every time, one of the best defensive teams will win the championship. Now of course there are a few exceptions here and there, but you have to look at the overall picture. This, however, is not about defense in NBA history, but instead great big men winning championships. The majority of NBA championships have been won by teams who are lead by a great big man (almost always one who has very good defense, if not great defense). You can go all the way back to Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to see that great big men have always been able to win championships with their great post play on both offense and defense (mainly defense though).

I only bring this up of course because of this year's NBA Finals matchup: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Orlando Magic . Now Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are both very good big men, but neither one could come close to being consider one of the best big men in the game (on both ends of the court). Of course I am talking about Dwight Howard , who most would agree is the best big man in the NBA right now. Howard has proved very worthy of that title thus far leading his Magic to the 3rd seed in the East, being a Top 5 defense in the NBA, winning the DPOY (well deserved), and getting his team past the favorites, the Cleveland Cavaliers led by LeBron James . Without a shadow of a doubt he has been the main reason for what has got the Magic into this year's NBA Finals. Of course there are always very important role players for every great team, so Rashard Lewis , Hedo Turkoglu , Rafer Alston , Courtney Lee , Mickael Pietrus , etc. have all contributed to the team's success as well.

The last 10 years in the NBA has been dominated by big men - as far as championships go. Shaquille O'Neal has four NBA titles (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006), Tim Duncan has four titles (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007), Ben Wallace has a championship ((2004), and Kevin Garnett has a championships (2008). You can argue the Pistons were led by Chauncey Billups (but he couldn't get them one after Big Ben left) and Paul Pierce led the Celtics (although he couldn't get the Celtics one without KG), but regardless the last ten years of NBA champions have been dominated by big men (Shaq & Duncan combine for 8). Will Dwight Howard be next on the list of great big men to lead his team to a championship? Or will Kobe Bryant and the Lakers break the cycle?

There are some things to point toward a break in the dominance of big men. Howard is still very young and has never been in a situation like this before. Can he step up and rise above the pressure to prove he has what it takes at this young age to win his team a title? Kobe Bryant has contributed to three championships himself (although Shaq was with him too), and is the best player in the game. He has always been a great closer and clutch player that has gotten his teams deep into the playoffs almost every year. Phil Jackson is one of the all-time great coaches who knows them game just as good as anyone. Also, even when Shaq was young and first with the Magic, he led them to the only other Finals appearance for the Magic. He was swept 4-0 by the Rockets . However, they also had one of the best big men in the game with Hakeem Olajuwon (so Hakeem was just a better big man at that point in their careers).

There have been two all-time great players who have risen above dominate big men and led their team to championships: Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. Yes, both did have very good defensive big men who contributed to their teams' success, but it goes without saying that MJ and Bird were the ones who led the teams to the championships. Now Kobe has been an all time great player, but he is not in the class yet of MJ and Bird. However, if he can led his team this year and win a championships without any dominate big man (like Shaq), then I believe he could be entered into that group of the NBA's greatest wingmen (although it doesn't mean he is just as good or better). He might need to win another one to really solidify that, but I would be satisfied with just this year (but that's just me).

So this is definitely something to think about when watching this year's NBA Finals. Will we see history repeat itself again? Or will we see one of those exceptions when a great player rises above it? Will Dwight Howard be able to handle the pressure and be good enough to lead his team to the championship, or is he still too young and not enough developed offensive game? Can Kobe finally win a championship without Shaq and thus solidify his name on the list of the NBA's greatest wingmen? For me, I've always been a fan of defense and will always root for defense to come out on top. I'm a big Howard fan, but I also remain in a pact between Pistons and Lakers so I cannot officially root against the Lakers. I will be happy with who ever wins the championship this year to be honest, so I will just sit back and enjoy the NBA Finals while the rest of you argue over who is better and who will win. I just figured I'd give you all something more to add to your discussions.


 
 
 
 
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