I’m trying to figure out why it is that the Detroit Pistons’ fall from grace has been so rapid and startling ! The Eastern Conference team’s fall has been all the more surprising because in Joe Dumars, I was of the belief that he was one of the brighter and smart young executives within the NBA ! Unfortunately this hasn’t been borne out by the team’s record at present with their 25-53 record within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference. The division leading Cleveland Cavaliers – 61-17 has a commanding 36 game lead over the woefully inept Pistons !
Dumars a “two time” NBA champion and a member of the “infamous” Bad Boys’ team that reigned supreme over the NBA is the now the General Manager of the organization. And he has been instrumental as the architect of the team’s most recent win of the title in 2004 when they upset the Los Angeles Lakers in a rather easy 4-1 series’ win. The following year they would make a return trip to the NBA Finals where they would end up losing to the San Antonio Spurs in a hard fought 7 game series 4-3 . Between 2002 and 2008 it was a regular occurrence to see the Pistons make an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals. During that period they made six consecutive appearances where they would end up winning two Eastern Conference Finals .Such was the team’s dominance during that stretch that it is hard to imagine how they could not have foreseen the danger signs. Rather than choosing to rebuild and nurture talent from within , Dumars chose instead to remain with an aging roster that had began to show >its age and fallibility.
One of the cornerstones of that success was Ben Wallace who was traded but has since returned to the team. No longer the defensive he once was but on certain nights you get to see a glimpse of what the player once was, when “he was at his very best”. But those are the nights that the fans yearn for a on a more consistent basis not just from Wallace but the entire team .
Today there are three remnants from the success of this earlier decade still on the team’s roster . And they are Richard Hamilton , Tayshaun and Wallace, himself. The team is coached by John Kuester , whose predecessor , Michael Curry , was abruptly fired by Dumars because of the team’s lackluster success and inconsistent performances of last season.
At the core of this team are the three aged veterans in Hamilton, Prince and Wallace. But now there’s a budding youth movement with a group led by Ben Gordon , Rodney Stuckey , Will Bynum , Austin Davis and DuJuan Summers . Dumars for his part , hopes that with that nucleus of young players mentioned the team is on the road to heading in the right direction. With just four games left on the team’s remaining schedule, one would hope to see the Pistons play with a great deal of resolve and a sense of pride . If Kuester and his coaching staff can get any semblance of that from the team then it would bode well for the future of this “storied club” .
As much as we’ve seen the decline of the Pistons . I wouldn’t count them out as being able to bounce back and become a contender once again within the upper echelons of the Eastern Conference. At the moment teams such as the Orlando Magic , Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks and to a lesser extent the Boston Celtics are riding high. But it only takes something fortuitous to happen by way of very good NBA draft pick and the fortunes of a team can seemingly change overnight. Does anyone seem to remember actually “how bad the Cavaliers were” before “the phenom” known as LeBron James rode into town and “took” not only the “city of Cleveland by storm” but also “the entire” NBA ?
This now might be as bad as it gets for the Detroit Pistons. In the future should things be turned around then it’s liable to get hot, extremely hot , as they look to contend not just against the might of the Eastern Conference but also against their counterparts in the Western Conference . And as I alluded to earlier , if they’re able get searing hot in terms of their play. Then the Palace of Auburn Hills could become a place where not too many teams will be able to withstand the heat. Because it’s going to be getting hot in there !
NB The gallery is in place is there to take your mind “off” the bleakness of the subject matter.
Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………….
Actress Vanessa Marcil former co-star of the NBC “hit” drama series “Las Vegas” .