Pistons Are Trainwreck; No One Stops to Stare

Pistons fans, like the Spurs faithful, complain that their team doesn't get enough media love. It's because they're not flashy, festooned with major endorsements, or built around a single show-stopping talent (Duncan is the greatest PF ever, but show-stopping he is not). ↵
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↵How times have changed. We only ignore the Spurs for so long, than grudgingly admire their latest retooled robot army. Detroit, on the other hand, has fallen off the map because, well, we just can't stand to look at them. They've gone from bland to catastrophic, low on sizzle to threatening to spread a flesh-eating virus to all those who get too close. And this while having acquired Allen Iverson, the big gun they supposedly always lacked on both the marketing and competition fronts. ↵
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↵Simply put, as beat writer A. Sherrod Blakely outlines today, the team lost like crazy when Rip Hamilton went to the bench, and now Hamilton's gently insisting he start again. The numbers back him up, too; as Blakely observes, "The Pistons are 17-16 this season with Hamilton in the starting lineup. But in his current role as the team's sixth man, they are just 4-12." ↵
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↵Rodney Stuckey, voice of the future, hasn't exactly continued the uninterrupted ascent that, to Dumars, made Billups disposable. Coach Curry wonders if Stuckey needs to "be in a position to be more aggressive." I wonder if he's just not experienced enough to provide balance and order to such a chaotic team, rather than get dragged down by the brewing Iverson/Hamilton drama, which is infecting the whole team. ↵
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↵And yes, there is most definitely an overall feel of collapse. You can sense the wheels starting to lose a screw or two, right down to grown Sheed losing control of himself and getting tossed last night. But ultimately, this comes down to two men: Iverson and Dumars. It gets downright old asking AI to better integrate himself into a team, but if he would just voluntarily come off the bench here, at least he'd take a back seat to the old Pistons, who at least had some semblance of a plan. ↵
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↵Then, there's Dumars. This season was always meant to be a calculated risk. Let's just hope that it hasn't permanently derailed whatever long-term plan the master GM has in mind. Because you'd hate to see a perennial playoff-team have a one-year hiccup turn into the beginning of an end, all because the front office didn't really consider what they were getting themselves into, or how to quickly rebound from it in 2009-10.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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