It’s clear. The Pistons need to hit the reset button and start fresh next season with a new plan and a new direction. The foundation that resulted in a 27-55 record this season is unsound. There were high hopes for Joe Dumars’ plan of implementing a high octane offense, but in the end it sputtered with newcomers Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva failing to live up to expectations. Even granting Joe D some lee way for injuries, this current squad is not a playoff caliber team. It was plain to even casual fans that the Pistons leaned so heavily on the defensive efforts of 35 year old Ben Wallace that when he came out of the game the Pistons were regularly shredded by the opposing offense. A lot of the blame rests on the shoulders of Charlie Villanueva. When Charlie V subbed in for Wallace you could feel the cumulative cringes. These two players are mirror opposite counterparts of each other. With each substitute the intensity, toughness, fundamentals, and smarts of Wallace would be traded in for the fading jumpers, flat body language, slow feet and slow jogging of Charlie V – and it would almost always result in the Pistons falling behind or falling farther behind.
Based on Joe Dumars recent comments, I tend to think he agrees. He says the Pistons were far too soft in ’09 – which could be taken as a sign that Villanueva is on his way out. Blame also rests with GM Joe Dumars for not having any real defensive or offensive presence inside. To think that Kwame Brown or Chris Wilcox would have any positive contribution at all is delusional. That is why the offseason must start and finish with a whole new cast of players in the post.
Fortunately, circumstances have provided an opportunity for the Pistons to remedy both of these problems. With the Washington Wizards looking to start anew, having dumped two thirds of their own big three -- they will be desperate to move Gilbert in the off-season. Thegrio.com has reported Wizard front office sources have called Arenas “a cancer” and that they want their new prized superstar point guard John Wall nowhere near Arenas. The Pistons could use a ball handling point guard that will allow Stuckey to play his more natural position. This trade would also solve the Gordon/ Hamilton riddle at shooting guard. If the Pistons are willing to take Arenas off the Wizards’ hands they may be able to pry away Blatche and center Javelle McGee in the process. The inside toughness of Andre Blatche will be a huge shot in the arm to a front line “starring” the likes of Kwame Brown and Chris Wilcox. A trade of Hamilton, Villanueva and Summers for Arenas, Blatche and McGee works numbers wise as well. It also gives the Pistons height and toughness down low. Most importantly it allows the Pistons to simply take the best low post player available in the draft at pick 7 rather than having to play it safe and taking a player like Cole Aldrich that has already hit their ceiling. Even if the Wizards are not willing to part with both big men, if the Pistons could secure one of them, preferably Blatche, it would be a huge credit to their playoff hopes next season.
A starting 5 of Arenas, Stuckey, Prince, Blatche and either Wallace or rookie selections Cousins/ Edoh/ Aldrich/ Monroe at center certainly qualifies as a Eastern Conference playoff team and would be a huge improvement on 2009.
Andre Blatche stats as a starter last season: Games: 36, FG% 48.1%, RPG: 8.2, SPG 1.4, PPG 20.8
Gilbert Arenas averaged over 7 assists and 22 points in an injury plagued season
JaVelle McGee averaged 1.7 blocks in only 16 minutes per game
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