Death by a Thousand Dunks: The Eulogy of the Detroit Pistons
As I sat and watched NBA TV's pregame coverage last night, native Detroiter Chris Webber told the story of having to put his 14-year-old dog to sleep a few months ago.
He compared the story of his old dog to the Detroit Pistons.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are, in essence, euthanizing the Pistons.
After another embarrassing defeat in Game Two of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Pistons are left with plenty of questions but no answers.
With Detroit vowing to be more aggressive in defending LeBron James, the Cavs' star answered with a 29-point, 13-rebound effort.
James continues to get his teammates involved and the Cavs are proving that they are on a mission to win a championship.
The Pistons are proving that they are on a mission to find the nearest golf course.
Could a team look anymore disinterested? In particular the starters.
Rasheed Wallace doesn't seem to care, neither does Rip Hamilton.
Antonio McDyess always gives everything, and I'm afraid the veterans could be a bad influence on young Rodney Stuckey.
There's one more starter. Who is it? What's his name?
Oh! Tayshaun "Houdini" Prince, who's done quite the disappearing act in this series.
I guess if there is any consolation, it's that the subs are putting in the effort, proven by their 27-5 run in the fourth quarter.
While this may be something the Pistons say they can build on for Game Three, I think it was just a matter of the Cavs letting their foot off the gas.
These Pistons are done.
Even though this group of Pistons seems to be at the end of the road, you have to remember the ride they've taken us on.
Six straight Eastern Conference Final appearances, an NBA Championship, and another NBA Finals appearance.
Not too shabby for a group of guys who were castoffs from other teams.
The Pistons, in their heyday, celebrated something that is rare in sports these days.
They celebrated team unity.
In a league that loves to put the individual in the spotlight, the Pistons were a team that lacked a bonafide superstar.
They were a unit that played together and showed us that the power of a unit is stronger than the power of one person.
They took on the spirit of the city of Detroit. Hard working, no nonsense, and dedicated.
The Pistons were a joy to watch down the years, and we'll always have the memories of what once was.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
So, where do the Pistons go from here?
The Chauncey Billups-Allen Iverson trade was a disaster in the short term.
In the long run, it may not be so bad.
Iverson and Wallace's salaries come off the books at the end of the season, and will put the Pistons in place to be a major player in free agency over the next two years.
They would love to get a player like Chris Bosh in 2010.
If Carlos Boozer can prove he can stay healthy, he would be a good fit as well.
They have some trade pieces, so don't be surprised if GM Joe Dumars makes a big trade this offseason.
Young players like Stuckey, Aaron Affalo, Jason Maxiell, and the surprising Will Bynum should stick around for a while. Hamilton will likely stay as well.
Throw in a quality big man or two and the Pistons are right back among the elite in the East.
So, while it may pain Pistons fans to see their team in such a bad state, keep in mind that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
It's only a matter of time before the Palace is rocking again and PA announcer John Mason is screaming that oh-so-familiar phrase:
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