It was about this time over five months ago when the Pistons pulled out a huge victory over the Lakers in Los Angeles. For many people, this win had validated the Iverson trade that had taken place days before. The win at Staples brought Detroit to 7-2 and clearly in cruise control of their season. In hindsight a moment like this was just the beginning to a season that seemingly spiraled out of hand. We were told to believe that the Iverson trade was to make the team better. When it was all over following Cleveland’s home feeling at the Palace, we now realize how quickly things can change in professional sports.
Detroit obviously cannot continue with the same core group of players into the 2009-2010 season. The draft will be a nice place to start – Detroit’s opportunity to pick up a solid player like Ty Lawson or Tyreke Evans. This combined with signing a quality free agent or two to a short-term deal would set the ball in motion. Following attrition with the current line-up, the present line-up (without any additions) would feature Amir Johnson, Jason Maxiell, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey. Seemingly Hamilton and Prince would be expendable at a relatively low price.
When Detroit won their last title in 2004, they had a team that played hard for 48 minutes. With the title on the line next year, they fought with the refs and each other on their way to a tough defeat in the Finals. Since 2005, it has been Miami, Cleveland (twice) and Boston celebrating in front of the Pistons. These have been teams that have outhustled Detroit at both ends with inspirational play. If you’ve watched any of the Bulls-Celtics or Hawks-Heat games, you’ve likely seen what a mix of young talent and grit can produce on the floor. If Dumars really wants to turn things around from 39-47, he just needs to turn on his television for the blueprint.