I was devastated when Ben decided to walk. Devastated. I still am. But even so, I thought our Detroit Pistons would recover and remain among the upper echelon in the East. However, I've seen enough to know that we are not going to be such a team. This is a mediocre team, a fat team, and a team holding on to a bygone era. This is a team headed nowhere, with no future to speak of. The Pistons - only recently the league's most intimidating team - have become a platoon of walking dead. They are ghosts of a more successful time (that we can now put in a tidy box called The Ben Wallace Era). Back in those days we played ruff and ugly. We guarded the paint. We drew fouls. We played with confidence and mojo. And under Larry's guidance, we also played smart. We passed the ball and looked for open shots. We tried to go inside. We crashed the boards. We took few three-point attempts. We played Man defense. We created turnovers. All those small things that set a team apart. Chauncey Billups said he was happy that the Pistons could go back to being the hunters this season, what with no real outside expectations for success. But Billups was mistaken. The Pistons have become juicy prey for all the true wolves in the wilderness. They see a vulnerable team with no discernable advantages over their own. They see a beatable team. What's worse is that, after losing Ben, the Pistons braintrust decided to a.) sign two pieces of garbage in Nazr Mohammad & Ronald Murray; b.) overkill the phrase "Deee-troit basketball" as though we were still living in the good ol' days of The Ben Wallace Era. I want to briefly talk about both issues. First, about Nazr & Flip Murray. These guys do some things that aren't awful, but neither does anything worth a damn. Basketball isn't about scoring. It's about being able to do the little things. It's about knowing when to pass and when to shoot. It's about having timing & rhythm. It's about snatching the ball out of the air, not lightly scooping a rebound. Nazr & Flip don't play basketball like this. Nazr is frail, slow, uninspiring and often plain clueless. This guy loses track of where the ball is all too often. Flip looks to dribble too much, then to shoot. Larry Brown would never have played this guy. Sure, it's nice when he gets hot....but how often is he hot? In short, these guys are average and meaningless. Desperate signings by a desperate GM. But what do you do when the heart of your franchise leaves? Apparently, you plaster "Deee-troit basketball" all over billboards and radio commercials and you force us to say it before the tip-off. Yes, this chant meant something two years ago. It came spontaneously from Mason during the 2004 season. Our defense was so lockdown that it only made sense for the fans to get involved. "Dee-troit basketball" mocked the opposition when they failed. It was a perfect way for the fans to connect with their special team. Now it is used as a marketing tool. It means nothing. And everytime it's said, it's as though we're holding on to the past when in reality we should be moving on. If "Deee-troit basketball" is going to stay, then I submit that it's only said once in a great while but never forced or contrived. (HA! Who am I kidding? THERE'S ONE CALL FOR US ALL!!! Hey, and while we're at it let's ring the gong whenever Tayshaun makes a good play!! It'd be ashame to let that one go.) Maybe the Pistons' braintrust wanted to remind the fans that Deee-troit Basketball goes beyond Big Ben, and that's why they chose to put such emphasis on the phrase. After all, Sheed, Billups, Rip, Tay, Hunter...these guys were all here in '04. That's true. But isn't it becoming clear that without Ben none of it works? Might it be worth theorizing that this team should be drastically overhauled. Like without Ben, the other planets have nothing to revolve around? Like Prince, Rip, Sheed, and Billups mean nothing without Ben? Maybe it's time to build a new solar system from scratch? Maybe. Or maybe it's all really Flip Saunders' fault. It is, after all, his philosophies that have molded the Pistons into a team of smooth edges and pink skirts. I am no genius and yet I can see this. Joe D, I know you see it, too. So what're ya gonna do? Are you waiting for Flip to dig his own grave and resign so as to avoid firing another high profile coach? Or is it that you don't know who else to get? I admit, the NBA coaching pool is always shallow, and even more so when you consider how few coaches have won it all in the past 30 years. But this is why you have all the acclaim, Joe. Because you can see what the rest of us can't. Right? Isn't that right, Joe? I hate to say it, but I'm starting to wonder. You're a few years removed of a truly positive move, maybe not since the Rasheed trade. Signing Flip Saunders; signing Flip Murray and Nazr Mohammad; trading Darko and Arroyo for nada; signing Dale Davis; not signing a legit backup PG to replace Mike James, etc. I'm just saying is all. It's worth noting. The thing is, I know you've got the skills to get the job done, Joe. You know Sauders isn't the guy for the job. Even in the "new NBA." You know Pistons basketball - aka Goin' to Work basketball - is about being nitty & gritty. Not about being pretty. Not about jumpshots and zone defenses. And if that won't work, if you - Joe - are under strict orders to keep Flip Saunders by the old man upstairs, then I must turn my plea directly to Flip Saunders. Hey Flip. I know you want to be successful here in Detroit. You want your free-flowing offense to translate into a championship. But the reality is that defense is more important than offense, and your failure to grasp that drove our greatest player out of town. Now our franchise is bleeding to death, and you offer it no hope of recovery. I'm asking you, Flip, please, to step down and go somewhere else. You don't fit here. YOU DON'T FIT HERE. So go somewhere else. Go somewhere where you'll fit better. We'll be happier and so will you. Sincerely, Griffin PS. what's the deal with all these new Palace amenities? Bunker suites? Another bar/atrium area? I wonder sometimes if all the empty seats aren't because people are milling about these periphery means of entertainment? Why not build a tunnel connecting the Palace directly to the Great Lakes Crossing mall? Isn't that what Tom Wilson is morphing the Palace into? or maybe the empty seats are related to the Palace's horrible proximity in the Metro Detroit area. We have central cities so the people can gather to them. Isn't that why they're called the Detroit Pistons? Will there ever be a day when they move back downtown? How come nobody complains about this anymore? I am alone in feeling embarrassed by where the Pistons play? enough.