Where have the true Pistons fans gone?
It seems after a disappointing 27-55 season, fans have turned on the Pistons. "Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon were a horrible pickup, they suck," "Tayshaun Prince needs to be traded," "Rip Hamilton is no longer in his prime and needs to be traded,"and most recently: "Fire Joe Dumars."
Fans have done nothing but point fingers at almost each and every player on the Pistons squad, saying that everyone has done something wrong and everyone needs to go, including Dumars.
The biggest thing Pistons fans are so upset about are the signings of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. Okay sure, Charlie Villanueva averaged 12 points per game and Ben Gordon averaged 13.8 points per game, but neither of them stepped up as expected in their first year as a Piston. Big Deal.
Villanueva only scored 2 points less per game this season than his career average, and Ben Gordon was sidelined about half the season with an ankle injury. In the last five games we saw a healthy Ben Gordon and what he can do. Averaging about 27 points per game (last 5 games), it shows a sign of something good to come next season for Detroit and Ben Gordon. Charlie Villanueva put his numbers back up to what he averages for his career at 13 points per game, and still has the ability to post up and shoot from long range.
In my opinion, the signing of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva was not a mistake. It all revolves around who plays best with who while on the court. Next season these two will be warmed up to the atmosphere in Detroit and will put up better numbers.
Next we have Rip Hamilton. Everyone seems to think he and Ben Gordon cannot coincide. Everyone also thinks that because he groveled about coming off the bench last season behind Allen Iverson, he will do the same coming off the bench behind Ben Gordon. Of course, everyone thinks he should be traded as well, but everyone seems to think he is not a good player anymore and no team wants to take on his contract.
Rip does have a big contract that doesn't expire until 2013, so that I agree with. But saying Rip is not a legit player? This guy averages around 18 points per game every season for the Pistons and still has an amazing almost automatic shot. Any team in the NBA would love to have Rip Hamilton on the squad and know what a shooting threat this guy is.
Also, Rip Hamilton complained about coming off the bench last season behind Iverson because he was not getting playing time. With the way Kuester plays his bench, he gives the bench players a lot of playing time and would give Rip the minutes to still put up his 18 points per game. Rip then would be satisfied ESPECIALLY if it got them into the post season. Rip would be a GREAT player to come off the bench with Will Bynum and keep the offense going.
On to Rodney Stuckey. I myself have had my ups and downs about Rodney Stuckey these past couple seasons, saying he should be traded away and that he is not a very good guard. But if you look at what this kid has done, and how much he has improved the past couple seasons, you may say otherwise. Sure he still needs to learn to pass the ball, and run the offense as well as Will Bynum, but he has the ability to drive it in and draw contact and get to the Charity Stripe where he is an 83 percent shooter.
Stuckey averaged about 17 points per game this season and 5 assists. He was the reason the Pistons we winning games when Gordon, Hamilton, and Prince were all injured. Sure he is a good trade prospect with an expiring contract in 2011, but I don't expect Joe Dumars to trade away the player he kept to replace Chauncey Billups. Stuckey only needs to improve a few things on his game and he will be a legitimate guard.
Next up, Tayshaun Prince. This is a guy a lot of fans are hard on. "He's getting old and out of his prime," "He's too skinny," "He isn't a scorer," "He isn't all that good of a defender." Are you guys watching the same Tayshaun Prince I have been watching since 2002? This guy has been the heart and soul of the Detroit Pistons for the past 8 years.
How can anyone say he isn't a great defender? Does everyone not remember the block he had on Reggie Miller in 2004 that was said to be the play to lead the Pistons to win the Championship, and is one of the most memorable defensive plays in the history of the game?
Tayshun suffered an injury for the first time in his career and has reduced him to average around 13 points per game and 5 assists for the season. So automatically fans hit the sites again saying Tay has got to go! But once Prince got healthy he once again was the heart and soul of the team. Tayshaun has completely dominated these past few weeks of the season putting up around 18 points per game and playing amazing defense. Everyone wants to see Prince get traded but it will NOT happen unless the Pistons receive a player that is a better defender than Prince.
Now to the biggest topic, Joe Dumars. Everyone is now pointing fingers at Joe Dumars saying he has made one too many mistakes, and he needs to be booted out of Detroit. Why? Because even with Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, and Tayshaun Prince the Pistons haven't won a championship since 2004. So he made it clear it was time for a change and traded off Chauncey Billups? Because people seem to think after a disappointing season that he just doesn't seem to care about the team anymore?
This isn't just a business for Joe Dumars, this is his life. He loves Detroit and he loves the game of basketball. He is not, and will never be at the point where he doesn't care about the Pistons and start making decisions to purposely hurt the team.
Joe had a vision then and still does. See, the Pistons right now are like the Michigan Wolverines. The Wolverines football team brought in a whole new system, and had to recruit all new players which takes more than two, three, or even four years to get the right pieces to the puzzle. Same goes for the Pistons. The Pistons are trying to get younger and faster but keep the defensive experience of Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace. It is going to take more than three years to rebuild a Pistons team to put them back into a Championship contender.
Dumars created a championship team once in 2004 and he can do it again! Fans, you need to be patient and give it time. Stop pointing fingers and saying we need to kick everyone out of Detroit just because they have an off game or an off season.
Let's not hear anymore threats of firing Dumars or telling every player on the Pistons squad that they aren't good enough to be on the team. If we are injury free next season, we have a great chance to at least be a playoff contender. So be patient.