*Notes: #1) I know no one wants to hear this, but.. A. Drummond is currently ten years younger than B. Wallace was in ’04; G. Monroe is currently seven years younger than R. Wallace was in ’04; and B. Knight is currently six years younger than C. Billups was in ’04. Our current core is probably still at least five or so years away from hitting its peak. I know it sucks, but it is what it is, and that’s how I’m looking at it. #2) The ‘03/’04 team had, IMO, four core pieces (Rip, Chauncey, Sheed, Ben), and then a number of ‘important’ additional pieces (Tay, Corliss, Memo, etc.). I’m going to be comparing these two groups under those definitions. #3) The statistics I’m using for comparison are from the ‘03/04 post-season and the ‘12/13 regular season (not perfect, I know, but, whatever..). **Core Pieces: B. Wallace v. A. Drummond …Offense: B. Wallace – 10.3ppg (45%FG, 0%3P, 43%FT), 1.9apg, 1.6tpg. A. Drummond – 7.5ppg (61%FG, 50%3P, 43%FT), 0.5apg, 0.8tpg. …Defense/Rebounding: B. Wallace – 14.3rpg, 2.4bpg, 1.9spg. A. Drummond – 7.3rpg, 1.6bpg, 0.9spg. …Other: B. Wallace – 29, 6-9, 240, UDFA, 4x DefMVP, 2x RebChamp, BlkChamp, 4x All-Star, 3x 2ndTeamNBA, 2x 3rdTeamNBA, 5x Def1stTeamNBA, Def2ndTeamNBA. A. Drummond – 19, 6-10, 270, #9 pick. …Thoughts: First things first, these numbers are skewed. A. Drummond is 19 years old (a full decade younger than B. Wallace in ’04), and he’s not even averaging 20 minutes/game. Offensively speaking, there’s no comparison. B. Wallace was a garbage points put-back man. A. Drummond, I fully believe, will be the league’s preeminent low post offensive force in two or three seasons. Defensively speaking, B. Wallace was perhaps the greatest low-post defender and rebounder of his era. A. Drummond, while perhaps not as dynamically as Ben, I fully believe will become the same to his. We’re off to an excellent start here. Ben Wallace’s leadership and intangibles, however, cannot be put on paper. R. Wallace v. G. Monroe …Offense: R. Wallace – 13.0ppg (41%FG, 24%3P, 77%FT), 1.6apg, 1.9tov. G. Monroe – 15.4ppg (47% FG, 0% 3P, 70% FT), 3.3apg, 3.1tpg. …Defense/Rebounding: R. Wallace – 7.8rpg, 2.0bpg, 0.6spg. G. Monroe – 9.2rpg, 0.6 bpg, 1.3spg …Other: R. Wallace – 29, 6-11, 230, #4 pick, 4x All-Star. G. Monroe -22, 6-11, 250, #7 pick, Rookie2ndTeam. …Thoughts: This was an interesting result, to me at least. Again, it should first be mentioned that G. Monroe is currently seven years younger than R. Wallace was in ’04. And still, the only advantage R. Wallace has over G. Monroe, statistically speaking, is blocks. Monroe scores more, and with more efficiency (though, is not an outside shooter…not that ‘Sheed should’ve been). He rebounds more. He gets more steals. And he adds a number of assists to the mix as well. Overall, offensively, this comparison is at least a wash – with an edge to the current core. Defensively, G. Monroe will probably never be quite the player ‘Sheed was. BUT…it’s not like ‘Sheed was THAT much better of an athlete? And Monroe, at least from what I can tell, seems to be the harder worker. ‘Sheed’s court sense is something you can’t teach, BUT, with hard work and continued improvement, I do believe that Monroe could close the gap enough defensively for his slightly superior offense to make up for it. Still going strong here. But again, ‘Sheed was a tremendous leader for this group in ’04, and you can’t put that on paper. C. Billups v. B. Knight …Offense: C. Billups – 16.4ppg (39% FG, 35% 3P, 89% FT), 5.9apg, 2.6tpg. B. Knight – 13.8ppg (41% FG, 38% 3P, 74% FT), 4.3 apg, 3.0tpg. …Defense: C. Billups – 1.3spg, 3.0rpg, 0.1bpg. B. Knight – 0.6spg, 3.6rpg, 0.1bpg. …Other: C. Billups – 27, 6-3, 210, #3 pick, FinalsMVP, 5x All-Star, 2ndTeamNBA, 2x 3rdTeamNBA, 2x DeF2ndTeamNBA. B. Knight – 21, 6-3, 189, #8 pick, Rookie1stTeam. …Thoughts: Again, I was sort of pleasantly surprised here. And again, it should be noted that B. Knight is currently six years younger than C. Billups was in ’04. Surprisingly B. Knight only averages about two and a half less points a game, one and a half less assists a game, and half a turnover more a game than Billups ~ and he actually shoots at a higher percentage from the field and deep. Six years should be more than enough seasoning to close that gap (or exceed it?), right? Statistics don’t really tell the story defensively for guards though. Chauncey was one of the best on-ball defenders in the league. Knight really, really, really needs to improve in this area. And, of course, the leadership intangibles aren’t there yet either. R. Hamilton v. ? This is the missing piece. R. Hamilton was 25 years old in ‘03/04, our leading scorer (by about six points a game), an above average defender, and a hell of a teammate. I wouldn’t dare disrespect him by comparing him to – currently 26 years old – Rodney Stuckey. This is a missing piece. I’m praying that we will somehow get a shot at drafting Blake McLemore or Shabazz Muhammad in the ’13 draft. **Additional Pieces: …I’m not going to get too in-depth here. Like I said, I’m looking out five years into the future. That’s too far out to be thinking a ton about non-core pieces imo. T. Prince v. K. Singler …Singler’s currently a year older (24) than Tay was in ’04 (23) - - but Tay was still several years away from his prime at that point, so I think we can still make the comparison. Across the board, Tay was a little better statistically in ‘03/04 than Singler’s been thus far this season, but it is close, and Singler does shoot at a significantly higher percentage. What did Tay bring to that team? He was a solid fifth man on the court. He played good defense. He chipped in occasional points. He didn’t turn the ball over. He gave us smart, efficient, responsible minutes. Can Singler do that in five years? Sure. A little differently, but the end result could be similar. C. Williamson v. R. Stuckey …People seem to forget how important Corliss was to that team. He was the NBA’s sixth man of the year. He played well defensively. He brought attitude and leadership in loads. Does Stuckey have the potential to bring points off the bench in bunches along with solid defensive effort. Of course he does. Will he work hard and reach that potential? Who knows. Will he forever be a distraction and malcontent, let’s hope not. M. Okur v. J. Jerebko. …What did Memo bring to the squad? He was a big who stretched out the court – and contributed critical points – with his outside shooting. He added some points in the interior. He didn’t kill us defensively. Jonas’ shooting hasn’t quite been what it once was…but there’s a chance he could turn it around, right? Daye and Villanueva’s absolutely atrocious defense – I believe – rules them out. E. Campbell, M. James, L. Hunter v. V. Kravtsov? …A solid big-big who could come in and slow down the likes of Shaq. A solid backup point who could maintain pace while giving Chauncey a breather. A good defensive guard who could come in and annoy. Do we have any of that on the roster right now, in long-term pieces? Not really. But these aren’t things that would be hard to add when the time comes. **Conclusion: #1) We need a Rip Hamilton-type. Really, really hoping we get a shot at Blake McLemore. Shabazz Muhammad wouldn't be bad. #2) Brandon Knight needs to continue his offensive progression, and really, really improve on the defensive end (perhaps add some serious muscle). #3) Greg Monroe needs to continue his offensive progression, and also, really work hard to become a complete defensive post-presence. #4) Andre Drummond ooozes with potential and just needs to continue with his all-around progression. #5) Important secondary pieces need to be groomed from within (Singler, Stuckey, Jerebko, etc.) or acquired (free agency / draft) over the next several seasons. Core pieces MUST be retained!! #6) Leadership must emerge. An attitude adjustment is absolutely necessary. As I'm sure we all remember, what made that championship team truly special couldn't be put on paper. It was the attitude and leadership of players like Ben, Chauncey, Sheed, Rip, Corliss, etc. Veterans who set this tone, and who are strong role-models for our young players must be brought in immediately. Lazy cancers who bring the exact opposite to the team - such as Charlie V - must be removed as quickly. #7) Coach? Not Frank.