The Low's Sour Notes Volume 1 Track 1 Here we are fans. Since I've managed to be cast as the resident Doom and Gloom Seer here at PF.com, I think it's time that I toss out a few ideas that will solidify the title of Maestro of Fine Whine. With that in mind, I offer the first track from my album of Sour Notes. Before I begin, don’t think that there aren’t things I am enjoying about this year’s NBA season. I enjoy seeing the team get off to the best start in franchise history. I enjoy watching the team make paste of the Spurs on two separate occasions, one of them being Christmas Day. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to George Blaha’s emphatic call of Amir Johnson’s windmill jam against the Timberwolves. But, then there’s the not so fun part. The things that keep me up at night after the Pistons toss away a 13 point lead on the road at Miami or give away to 15 point leads to the Utah Jazz. The things that turn my stomach when they lose to the Atlanta Hawks at the buzzer courtesy of none other than Joe Johnson a “non-All-Star” that we made look very “All-Star” that night. The ailments that make them lose to a Pacer team with half its roster in the infirmary bring me pain. Let us make a list: 1) The lack of rebounding has been a thorn in our sides from the beginning of the season and as Utah (twice) and Indiana has shown us. When teams decide to crash their offensive boards, the Pistons are either unwilling or unable to stop them from doing so. One problem with this magical start to the season is that when you’re winning games with bad habits, you have no incentive to change those bad habits. Such is the case with our occasional lack of rebounding. Now, I’m well aware that we have Big Ben Wallace down there to clean the boards with ease. However, there is not a single player in the history of the NBA that has gotten every single rebound for his team in a game. By that I mean this, “Help the guy out!” All too often I watch shot after shot go up and if Ben doesn’t get it, no one else wearing a Pistons jersey will either. I’m willing to give Rasheed Wallace his due because he often will crash the boards, but it is hardly a consistent practice. Once the rest of the league figures out that they can send 4 or 5 guys to the offensive glass and come up with 80% of the rebounds, the Pistons will be in some serious trouble. 2) The Pistons reluctance to challenge shots in the paint and at the basket this year has been utterly mind blowing. I’ve grown accustomed to watching guys go to the rim in the past 3 seasons and have any shot attempt essentially pushed back down their throats. Unfortunately, no more. The Miami game was a perfect example of this. I counted 4 to 5 layups when a Piston was within 3 feet of a Heat player driving for a layup. Were these shots challenged? Why, of course they weren’t. The result was a Pistons player pulling the ball out of the net with that, “We’ll get it back on the other end.” look on their face. Judging from the fact that the Pistons lost this game by 2 at the buzzer (2.8 sec), one might conclude that those 8-10 points may have come in handy. Alas, such is the defensive effort when a team decides that they will now run and gun people out of the gym. This leads to my next point: 3) The Pistons, and more importantly, their new coach have apparently decided that defense is no longer a priority as long as they can put up 105 points a night. Oh, how wrong they will find themselves in April and May when, while forsaking their defensive ways, routinely give up 107. I was most disappointed with the new coaches responses to the questions of defensive intensity at the start of the year sounded more like, “They know how to play D…so I’m not going to worry about it.” What I think the new coach is missing however, is that his predecessor (who must be the most hated championship coach in history) focused on these defensive principles and made it a point to chew on players pretty well if they managed to slack off on defense. Simply rolling out the balls and saying, “They know how to do it…” or giving up career nights to players that have no business scoring 30 on the Pistons didn’t get it done two years ago, and definitely wasn’t the philosophy that got them to game 7 of The Finals last season. 4) Lastly, I’m becoming increasingly less comfortable with the solution to adverse situations at the end of games being simply to hoist more 3 pointers than the opposition. The Pistons’ dream season will come to a rather abrupt end once those jumpers stop falling on a consistent basis. Moreover, I’m appalled at the apparent lack of ability to recognize when those jumpers are not falling and STOP TAKING THEM. Personally, I’m thrilled that the fan base has a more exciting and up-tempo style of basketball to watch, however, at the end of the day all I want is the NBA Title. I don’t care about scoring 110. I don’t care about making the top 10 on ESPN, or NBA TV. What I do care about is being a fan of a solid ball club that WILL NOT lose come June. What I see slowly but surely revealing itself is a laundry list of bad habits that will eventually catch up with the Pistons at the end of the year. A long list of bad habits that, having been practiced all season, will not be cast aside at the most crucial time of the season. While many fans wish me to simply, “Shut up and enjoy the ride.” I cannot. I cannot blindly ignore the very problems that got the team beat 4-0 by New Jersey in the Conference Finals a few years back. I cannot ignore actions that I know this team is capable of taking, but passively attempt. I, as a fan, sit in agony as the team I know and love, slowly but surely does itself in by not practicing due diligence. I have no interest in seeing the team become the Phoenix Suns of 2005 or the Indiana Pacers of 2004. Regular season “fool’s gold” means nothing to this Pistons fan. I want the real “bling”. I know this team. I know this game. Currently, neither is the best it can be. editor: Think The Low is blowing the wrong end of the trumpet? Tell him his record is scratched by commenting on this rant!