As we approach the halfway mark in the 2008-09 NBA season, there have been some bright spots thus far and there have been some major disappointments as well.
The Boston Celtics began with a 27-2 start—a start that some thought could challenge the 1990 Chicago Bulls for the best regular season record of all time. Lately, the vision of that record has been crushed with six losses in their last eight games. The Oklahoma City Thunder, in their first season of existence, are off to a horrific start, recording only five wins in their first 36 games.
The Los Angeles Clippers have been depleted, with injuries to Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph, and Baron Davis this season. A roster that some believed could make some noise in the Western Conference is now fighting to put together a twelve man roster with all of their injuries.
Yet, there is another team that has failed to impress upon the rest of the league. This team has not been struck with the injuries that the Clippers have suffered from. This team doesn’t even have the dismal record that the Thunder have put together.
However, this team has already been ruled out of the race in the Eastern Conference—a team that has been a finalist for each of the last six years.
This team, as you should have already figured out, is the Detroit Pistons.
Fresh off a loss against the Portland Trailblazers, the Pistons were riding their first long winning streak of the year at seven. A streak that included games missed by both Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace due to injuries.
Fans and the media alike questioned whether the Pistons had found their chemistry—with the breakout play of second-year guard Rodney Stuckey.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news to Pistons’ fans, but they’re not going to make it out of the second round with their play right now. It would be a push to put them in the upper half of the Eastern Conference playoff teams.
Until this team is able to snag up a shot-blocking, rebounding center, this team is not going to win ball games.
Over their seven game streak, the Pistons beat one team with over a .500 record—the Orlando Magic. Two of their wins were over the Kings and Clippers—two of the bottom-dwellers in the Western Conference.
Yet, in their games against Chicago, Oklahoma City, and Los Angeles, just to name a few, they were able to secure double-digit leads. In each of those games, they allowed the opposing team to get right back into it—with Allen Iverson playing the role of the savior in a couple of them.
These are games that good teams are supposed to win. When fans get excited over a streak like the Pistons just had, something’s not right. We’ve grown accustom to winning basketball in Detroit.
Much of what I am saying is probably old news to many readers. However, what are Joe Dumars’ plans for this season?
We all know that the main reason of the Iverson trade was to clear salary for the upcoming free agency boom. However, with a team that has come extremely close to the NBA Finals for the last six years; you don’t just destroy that success to prepare for something that may not even be a factor when the time comes.
There is no chance that LeBron comes to Detroit. Zero. Zilch. Wade could be on his way to the Windy City, and Bosh could be headed to New York. We can sit here and dream of what it would be like to snag up one of those superstars, but the reality is that we are two years away from any possibility. Are we just going to forget about the next two seasons?
Dumars must have something up his sleeve, because it seems the obvious and right move would be to perfect this team now. Make the small changes. Get a center!
If the Pistons wish to reclaim their spot in the top tier of the Eastern Conference, change needs to be made.
Obviously, Joe Dumars has his own reasoning for everything he does—whether it’s right or wrong is in the eye of the beholder.
But what can we do? We’re just the fans. I can tell you that the city of Detroit will not sit and watch another mediocre professional sports team. The Pistons and Red Wings are the only pride and joys of the city.
Maybe Dumars will prove us all wrong. Maybe he will make another blockbuster move before the deadline. Maybe he’ll read this very article and go out there and get a center. But until that happens, I’ll keep writing.
In Dumars we trust?
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