Posted on: October 29, 2009 9:47 am
Edited on: October 29, 2009 9:49 am
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...........
Posted on: September 22, 2009 7:18 pm
What do Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, and Dirk Nowitzki all have in common? Other than being teammates on the Dallas Mavericks of course
They are all over 30 years old (Nowitzki & Marion are 31 and Kidd is 36), all have had great careers and are seen as one of the top players at their position in their best days, and (most importantly) none of them have a championship ring. I bring this up of course because they are now going to be all teammates with the Mavs in the upcoming 09-10 NBA season. We all remember the Kidd/Devin Harris trade between the Mavs and Nets a couple years back, and now this summer Marion was involved in a 4 way trade between the Mavs, Raptors, Magic, and Grizzlies that sent Marion to Dallas. Kidd and Marion spent two years together with the Suns (99/00 - 00/01), but that was Marion's first two years in the league and when Kidd was in the prime of his career. Both are now "over the hill" (with Kidd WAY over the hill) and are not quite the players they were once. Kidd is still one of the best defensive PGs and a good passer, but he is much slower, can't jump to get tons of rebounds like he use to, and doesn't look as sharp on his passes or drives as he use to. Marion is still a good defender (not great anymore) and rebounder, but he hasn't been able to his scoring (shooting percentages) have went down and his athleticism isn't as "freakish" as it use to be.
Now neither one is a bad player at all, and both can still contribute a lot to a team. Kidd is still one of the best floor generals and leaders at the point, and Marion is still the "Matrix" who can defend anyone from the 1 to the 4 (even some 5's). They just are not at the top of their game anymore. This is more true for Kidd than Marion who may just have been missing an offense that allowed him to contribute a lot of offense. When he had Kidd in his prime, Kidd would set him up with lots of alley oop chances, and when he left the Suns 3 years (in which he still put up really good numbers) until they started the "D'Antoni Run n Gun" with the Anti-Christ. The all offense no defense style provided some very entertaining seasons and boosted Marion's stats. But once he left the Suns in 07 for the Heat, he didn't have an offense or a PG who could set him up and give him the scoring chances. He showed some flashes of returning to his glory days with the Raptors, but it was short lived.
However, this team isn't just about Kidd and Marion, but there is still a player I've yet to talk about who is the best of all of them: Dirk Nowitzki. Even though he is 31 years old, he is still playing as well as he ever has. He averaged 25.9 ppg last year (3rd highest of his career, 4th in the league) and got the Mavs to another 50 win season. His rebounds have went down, but that is not because he is declining but due to the fact he doesn't need to rebound as much with the improved rebounding of the team (Kidd adding some to that). Dirk is a former MVP that is one of the most difficult players to guard in the league because of his size and ability to shoot the long ball. His biggest weakness, and the reason he hasn't been able to win a title yet (losing to the Miami Heat in 06 season NBA Finals), is his defense. But with Marion being able to cover 3's and 4's, that may not be as big of a problem as it once was.
All 3 of these players have had plenty of recognition and success for their individual success (Kidd making 9 All Star teams, 6 All NBA teams, 9 All NBA Defensive teams, being regarded as one of the best PGs ever, and having 2 NBA Finals appearances; Marion has made 4 All Star teams and was regarded as one of best defenders in his day; Nowitzki has made 9 All Star teams, 8 All NBA teams, made an NBA Finals appearance, and won an MVP), but they have yet to win NBA's greatest achievement: the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy. Their time is running out on a chance to win one (especially Kidd), and I'm sure they are hoping this is the year they can do it. They have other good teammates in Josh Howard, Jason Terry, and Drew Gooden.
The West is tough, but there are only 9 teams that have a shot at the playoffs (Lakers, Spurs, Nuggets, Mavs, Hornets, Trail Blazers, Jazz, Rockets, and maybe the Suns but really probably just the other 8). There are a lot of the games top PGs on these teams (Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups, and Andre Miller) so it's a good thing the Mavs have Kidd. However, the teams that look to be favored (Lakers, Spurs) and the some of the other top teams (Hornets, Jazz) have a big post prescense. Will Marion being able to help mask Dirk's bad defense? Is Erik Dampier just a waste of space that can't rebound and defend well enough anymore? Can Drew Gooden be the new defensive presence for the Mavs down low? Can this team of old stars band together and pull out a surprising title run? These are some important questions when judging the Mavs and they should be one of the interesting teams to watch this year.
Posted on: May 31, 2009 9:54 pm
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.
Posted on: April 2, 2009 9:59 am
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.
Posted on: February 3, 2009 7:39 am
Edited on: February 3, 2009 7:42 am
..................... 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.