Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by mikhail1973, Jun 24, 2007.
An interesting take:
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PISTONS: Draft Do-Over
That's wrong. How many championships have been won by team 3 deep? Bird's Celtics had Ainge and DJ at least. Magic had Byron Scott. Jordan had Cartwright and Paxson. Duncan had Robert Horry. Isaiah had Edwards and Salley and Vinnie. Who is going to say that Rajon Rondo is Bryon Scott?
Look at other big 3 teams. Wizards. er. Yeah but our 3 is better than their 3. ok.
Blogger News Network » Why The Celtic’s Won’t Win a Championship
Inactive Heat falling behind by the day - 08/01/2007 - MiamiHerald.com
Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, National Basketball Association - CBS SportsLine.com
All-Stars aside, Celtics' season rides on Rondo
Ever since winning the NBA title in 2004 the Pistons have entered each season with extraordinarily high expectations. “Championship or bust” has been the mantra among the fans and unfortunately, the team has busted in the Eastern Conference Finals the last two years.
This year expectations from around the league have begun to wane. The core players left over from the championship run are now three years older while a sudden influx of young talent has taken over the second half of the roster.
Four rookies (Rodney Stuckey, Arron Afflalo, Sammy Mejia and Cheik Samb) will join the team this year, and two third-year forwards (Jason Maxiell and Amir Johnson) are expected to play major roles in the rotation. Assuming the young players get their fair shake there will be growing pains this year, and any early struggles might ultimately cost the Pistons their fourth consecutive division title.
In addition, the starting lineup once again has a big question mark in the middle. Nazr Mohammed, signed last summer to replace Ben Wallace, never quite fit in as a starter. Even before Chris Webber arrived last season, Mohammed rarely played even 20 minutes a game. Now, barring an unexpected development such as Rasheed Wallace embracing a move to center, Mohammed is once again the most likely candidate to man the middle.
But perhaps more than anything the biggest reason the attention has shifted from Detroit being one of the favorites in the East has been the complete makeover of the Boston Celtics. By flanking Paul Pierce with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, Danny Ainge has made the Celtics relevant again. Yes, the moves may have come at the expense of Boston’s future, but in the short-term there’s no denying the Celtics are a new powerhouse – certainly the team to beat in the Atlantic Division, if not the entire Eastern Conference.
So does this mean that Detroit’s championship window has officially closed? Not exactly.
To acquire that outstanding trio of talent the Celtics had to give up nearly all of their depth. And rounding out their starting lineup will most likely be second-year point guard Rajon Rondo and fifth-year center Kendrick Perkins, two players who would be hard-pressed to start on any other team.
After giving up five players and draft picks to acquire Garnett, the Celtics had an excellent opportunity to go after some of the top remaining free agents to round out their rotation. But instead of adding a reliable ball-handler like Brevin Knight, they signed a shooter in Eddie House. And instead of nabbing an experienced veteran like P.J. Brown, they signed a career bench-warmer in Scot Pollard.
The rumor mill still has the Celtics in the running for the age-less Dikembe Mutombo, but for the most part the Celtics failed in strengthening the back of their rotation with players to keep Pierce, Allen and Garnett fresh for a lengthy playoff run – or, in a worst-case scenario, step in and start in case of injury.
With that in mind, the balance of power in the East likely remains centered in the Central Division. The Cavaliers, Bulls and Pistons have had three of the quietest offseasons in the conference, but that’s to be expected considering how far ahead of the pack those three teams were in the first place.
Assuming they re-sign restricted free agents Anderson Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic, the Cavs will return the same core that advanced to the NBA Finals. They had a miserable showing against the Spurs in the Finals, but they’re still one of the few teams in the NBA willing to put a premium on defense, ranking fifth in the league last year in points allowed per game.
The Bulls are still banking on improvement from their young core of Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon and Luol Deng. While they did lose P.J. Brown at the four, they still managed to improve the position as a whole with the additions of Joe Smith and Joakim Noah, not to mention an improving Tyrus Thomas.
Even if the Cavaliers and Bulls have enough firepower to compete for the top seed in the East, there are still holes in their rosters they need to address before they can seriously challenge for an NBA title. Cleveland has yet to find a reliable complement to James, who scored more than twice as many points last year as anyone else on the roster. And Chicago still hasn’t acquired a consistent inside scoring threat – and likely won’t, now that Garnett is off the trade market and the Grizzlies have apparently decided once again to build around Pau Gasol.
The door is definitely still open for the Pistons. By re-signing Chauncey Billups and refusing to trade any of his starters, Joe Dumars made it clear he thinks the core of this team still has a chance to make a run for the title. Flip Saunders has struggled to avoid wearing out his starters in the past, but a mandate from Dumars to integrate the young players should make that a non-issue this year.
The team’s only significant loss was the departure of Chris Webber, but his impact on the team may have been a bit overstated in the first place. It’s true the Pistons won 15 out of their first 18 games with Webber in the starting lineup, but that stretch also coincided with Billups returning from an eight-game absence due to injury and Antonio McDyess emerging from his annual first-half slump. Plus, as the playoffs progressed, Webber’s lack of mobility was exposed and he frequently spent most of the fourth quarter watching from the bench.
With Stuckey, the 15th overall pick, serving as the first guard off the bench, the Pistons finally have a player who can penetrate with ease. And with Maxiell and Johnson expected to see regular minutes, Saunders has a couple of athletic big men who play above the rim to complement the jump-shooting prowess of Wallace and McDyess.
It may take some time early in the season for all of the new pieces to come together, but come playoff time the Pistons should be much deeper this year. And unlike in the past, they have just as much untapped potential as they do proven experience.
Pistons: Still A Team To Beat? | HOOPSWORLD.com | NBA News and Information | powered by Basketball News Services
Well, if Stuckey can penetrate with ease indeed, youngsters get significant minutes, and AJ and J-Max will play well above the rim, we should be in the good position to go to the finals.
we just need Camby!
RealGM: Wiretap Archives: Miami Signs Penny Hardaway
You've gotta be kidding me.
They wanted to out Celtics the Celtics. I guess.
Old Riles is on to something... soak up all the old (previous) untouchables so that the Celtics are left with only three players... genius, pure genius
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Ben + Camby?!?! dear god
Billups helped convinced Garnett to become a Celtic
Sometimes, you just wish CB would shutup.
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