Last night at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Detroit Pistons fans hit an all-time low. Chants of "M-V-P" echoed throughout the stadium as MVP candidate Kobe Bryant stepped to the free-throw line late in the third quarter to help seal the Los Angeles Lakers 92-77 victory.
Bryant is absolutely despised in Detroit and yet he still received numerous cheers throughout the crowd. Where did it all go wrong? I have a few reasons that may prove the fall of the Detroit Pistons.
Losing Ben Wallace
The intimidating "GONG" during introductions is now absent in the Palace, just like the NBA Finals in Detroit. Since the departure of Ben Wallace in 2006, the Pistons have not made it back to the Finals.
He was a force down low, causing havoc in the middle and making opponents kick it out to shoot contested three-pointers. Although he acquired the "Hack-A-Ben" nickname, Wallace still was the driving force in Detroit. His championship belt, championship defense, and championship spirit will be forever missed.
Hiring Michael Curry
In Curry's playing days as a Detroit Piston, he wasn't the star of the team and mainly was a mediocre role player. Hiring a mediocre player seems to prove that you will receive mediocre coaching results.
Flip Saunders at least got the Pistons to the Eastern Conference Finals. As of today, the Pistons are percentage points behind the Chicago Bulls for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Trading Away Chauncey Billups
Trading away the leader of a team is not a move you should make. Yes, I know we are all looking forward to Chris Bosh here in Detroit in 2010, but what about now? Chauncey is having a tremendous season in Denver while the Pistons find themselves drowning below .500, scratching and clawing for a playoff spot. Iverson is out with a back injury, so basically we traded Iverson for cap space. Will Bynum better save the day.
Drafting Darko Milicic
The Pistons snagged the No. 2 draft pick in the 2003 Draft, potentially one of the deepest drafts in years, and Detroit selected an unknown center from overseas. The Pistons eventually traded away Chauncey Billups to make room for Chris Bosh in 2010, but the Pistons could have drafted him No. 2 overall in that draft where Bosh eventually fell to Toronto. The 2010 Pistons could have had a lineup featuring Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Bosh, and Rasheed Wallace.
These are my four major reasons why the Detroit Pistons are below .500 and need a major makeover if they want to see themselves back in the NBA Finals anytime soon. Until then, enjoy hearing "DEEEEEEETROITTTT BASKETBALLLL" up until April, because you won't hear that famous line anytime in May or June.