3.2.09

the detroit experiment


after the pistons were dispatched from the playoffs last season, gm joe dumars announced that everyone in the starting lineup is on the trading block. that bold statement is a wake-up call for the pistons to step up their game.

with the emergence of the celtics and the cavs in the east, they can no longer play with the same attitude that they have in previous season when they could sleepwalk through three quarters of the game to come alive only when needed. dumars is telling his starters that they can do much more than what they have done last season. at least that's what i think.

despite dumars' announcement that all starters are on the block, no trade was made until the start of this season. at that point, i thought that dumars is giving his squad one last chance to prove they can still pull the trigger. the contract extension given to rip hamilton only strengthened my belief that dumars will not trade any of his starting five... then came "the trade".

on november 3, the detroit pistons shipped chauncey billups, cheikh samb, and antonio mcdyess to the denver nuggets for allen iverson. i for one got excited for the nuggets as they are finally getting a guard which can help carmelo anthony further improve his game.

for the pistons, not quite. i'm a fan of the answer but seeing him joining a team known for its defense and already has established scorers, i already assumed that this is a trade that the pistons will not benefit from or iverson for that matter.

why dumars made the trade

just like other teams in the league, the pistons are jockeying for position to sign any big name player in the free agent class of 2010. iverson's expiring contract means they would have the cap space to sign a marquee player by that time. also, hamilton's contract extension serves as an insurance for the pistons. they can be sure that even if they do not land a big name player in the summer of 2010, they would still have hamilton and rodney stuckey.

apart from that, having hamilton in your lineup would surely make your team attractive to a player who wants to be in a championship caliber team.

but in planning for the future, did dumars throw away the present?

the result for the pistons

the pistons' record show just how tough the trade has been for them. while the nuggets are coasting in the west, the pistons are losing games left and right. with this losses came the need to place the blame on someone. or does it?

some people may blame dumars for trading away billups who is now thriving in denver. some may blame rookie coach michael curry for not finding the right way to play iverson. some would even blame rip hamilton for not playing as hard as he used to since he might be feeling betrayed after his best buddy billups have been traded. and some might even fault rasheed wallace because he's rasheed wallace.

but instead of pointing fingers, the pistons should work on getting the best out of their current lineup. yes, curry has been tweaking the starting lineup but the fact that it is not giving the desired result does not mean he should stop experimenting. why not bring iverson off the bench?

rip hamilton showed that even if you came from the bench, you could still get a lot of touches. sure, iverson said he wants the ball in his hands a lot. but he also said that he will do anything that would help the team and his teammates. and i think the latter should be what iverson must choose.

in philly, he had a team made to suit his game. but he never won a ring playing that way. maybe iverson should understand that his way did not work in philly and it will not work in detroit. instead, iverson should play as the team wanted him to play. with his versatility, i'm sure he can play as a pass-first point guard. after all, iverson is quite a good passer.

what to do now

instead of going to the media and talk and blame someone else, why not sit down as a group and work things out. curry might not have the confidence of his players anymore and that could be solved by sitting down and talking to them. i mean these guys are millionaires and could be hard-headed but the challenge of taking down boston and cleveland might be enough motivation for them. or not.