SOME PEOPLE WILL SAY NO:
Rip works hard and improves facets of his game every year. He has stepped his game up in the playoffs (even while his teammates have disappeared).
The masked man has been a solid piece of a very successful run for Detroit. He has worked hard for the team and been consistent since day one.
TRUE ENOUGH. BUT…
A Brad Miller or Kris Kaman could really help shore up Detroit’s defense and rebounding. Both big guys will play on the block and have a soft touch from the perimeter.
Any ‘legitimate’ NBA starting center would fill a hole the Pistons have had since Ben Wallace left town. It would be nice to see what the defense could be like with a big center in the paint.
Allen Iverson and Piston guards could go for more steals, leading to more scoring and running opportunities.
The Detroit papers are “talking about” Iverson becoming the focal point of the offense. Where there is smoke, there must be a fire. The team must be considering getting AI the bulk of the looks and minutes at scoring guard.
If so, Rip isn’t going to like that at all—his role will have gone from diminished to absolutely disappeared. Rip would like to play all game…and so would Iverson!!
Something has to give.
Unhappy players and locker rooms is definitely not a winning formula.
Aaron Afflalo is very capable of an increased role off of the bench. He has been on the floor for a lot of good momentum runs. His energy on both ends of the floor spark good plays and he will only get better with experience.
Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess would certainly welcome some help in the paint, and it would save some wear and tear on those veteran legs. A post-up center would allow them both to shoot open perimeter jumpers, which they both love dearly.
Rip hasn’t been necessarily happy in Motown since Chauncey Billups left. He handled the bench role seemingly without issue, but he has seemed to whine on the court more in recent years.
Trading him would symbolize the complete overhauling of the 2004 Finals team, and frankly, it may just be time for that.
Six Eastern Conference Championship appearances in a row is a nice run. But good runs don’t last forever. Rip, as true of a Piston as he is, is no sacred cow. Remember?
Besides, the next two offseasons are aligning to be very active in Detroit.
Is a masked Rip running around tons of screens going to be the meat of the Piston offense in 2009 & 2010?
That is the question that Joe Dumars needs to ask himself.
If it's not, his trade value is as good as it’s going to get. It might be best to part ways now, making room for a rebuilding while still giving yourself a better ball club today.
That’s a win-win.
Rasheed Wallace was acquired late in 2004, and it was the exact piece that they needed to make a run. Perhaps a true center and more room for Iverson can energize this team with a new identity, too.
Dumars really has nothing to lose—either way, the future looks bright. The Answer right now might be more separation from the past.