This past NBA off-season was a dramatic one. LeBron James’ nationally televised decision to “take his talents to South Beach” to join forces with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade left most teams in the league scrambling to add superstars to their rosters.
Amar’e Stoudemire left Phoenix and signed with the New York Knicks, Carlos Boozer left Utah and signed with the Chicago Bulls and Shaquille O’Neal left Cleveland and signed with the Boston Celtics. And those are just a few of the big-name acquisitions teams made this off-season.
But what have Joe Dumars and the Detroit Pistons done to keep up with this frenzy of superstar signings?
Not much at all, actually.
Personally, I think Dumars is trying to go back to the non-superstar approach that won them the title in 2004.
And who can blame him? When he tried to get some star power for Detroit, he ended up being responsible for the biggest failed trade in Pistons history.
The botched trade Dumars made in 2008 sent the 2004-finals MVP Chauncey Billups to the Denver Nuggets. In return, the Pistons received a little bit of star power, which is supposedly needed to win championships, in Allen Iverson.
Iverson didn’t even play a whole season with the Pistons, and that trade alone can be seen by a lot of loyal Detroit Piston fans as the reason why the
team has been sliding, each year, further and further out of playoff contention.
Now, when I look at this year’s roster, it reads almost exactly like last year’s squad that was tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for the sixth-worst record in the entire NBA, I see some big problems they need to address if they want to have even the slightest chance of making the playoffs this season.
First, what you want to do in seasons like this, when you clearly don’t have the talent to compete with the NBA’s elite teams, is you want sign fresh young talent and try to build on a core group of your best players. Not sign injury-prone players like Tracy McGrady, who hasn’t played a full season in five years.
Secondly, why do the Pistons have two of the same player? Richard Hamilton and Ben Gordon have the same playing style – work off screens and get an open jump shot. I love both of them, and they sure are automatic, but you are wasting talent and money if you have two potential star players like that on the same team with only Rodney Stuckey, a pure scoring point guard, to feed them the ball.
Lastly, there is no inside presence for the Detroit Pistons. Ben Wallace, being the only true center on the team, stands a mere 6-foot-9 inches and doesn’t have the same defensive force as he once did. I don’t see how he and Jason Maxiell can stop teams like the Orlando Magic with Dwight Howard, the Los Angeles Lakers with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum or the Boston Celtics with Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal.
As a life-long Pistons fan who remembers the original Bad Boys with Isaiah Thomas, Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer, I am disappointed that key off-season additions that are supposed to help the Pistons try to return to their championship form are a fragile McGrady, who is already complaining of “tired legs” in preseason, and a rookie — Greg Monroe.
It just doesn’t seem Dumars and the Pistons have done much to give the Pistons, or their fans, hope or a fighting chance for this season.