The Jekyll & Hyde Pistons

Often known for his risky deals that have more-than-not turned out to be gems, Joe Dumars found himself this offseason going the conservative route. In knowing that they were one of the only teams with money, and the salary cap was likely going to go down, Dumars used his Iverson/Wallace/McDyess cap space to add the youth of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to an already aging roster. These former UConn Huskies will provide some great excitement to the floor this season, but they have already shown that their shooting goes up and down the rollercoaster.

gordonbenWhen the Pistons began their run with Jerry Stackhouse to the playoffs in the earlier part of this decade, they looked to have one high scorer surrounded by top-notch defenders. Any points that Jerry wasn’t able to score for the team were often considered to be bonus points and the team’s success drew from the rest of the squad.

For the 2009-10 Pistons line-up, there are so many players being played each night that Coach John Kuester has placed additional pressure on himself to plug the hot hand in at every moment. Who would have thought that Jonas Jerebko would have started a game right now? Who would have believed that 11 players would be averaging at least 10 minutes a game at this point? This competition may place greater meaning in practice, but it has to wear as the season goes on.

Speaking of their season, Detroit’s has already had some great highs (see Memphis, Orlando) and some disappointing lows (see OKC, Milwaukee). Injuries have taken a significant toll with Rip Hamilton, but players like Will Bynum and Ben Gordon have filled in nicely when called on. This team looks capable of winning every night, but no lead is safe with such a streaky team.

Early season notes: It has also looked strange for long-time Pistons fans like myself to see Ben Wallace wearing no. 6 (originally no. 3), Jonas Jerebko wearing no. 33 (previously Grant Hill) and Villanueva wearing no. 31 (previously Darko Milicic). Also, this seems like the seventh go-around for Chucky Atkins on the Pistons.

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