Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesAugust 26, 2010
The hot issue last week was the Detroit Pistons recently signed veteran Tracy McGrady to a one-year contract in an effort to provide a new spark to their lackluster offense. McGrady averaged 8.2 points while in appearing in 30 games last season for the Rockets and the the Knicks.
Unfortunately, the signing of McGrady does little for the Pistons and actually may hurt them; here's why:
With McGrady's addition, reports have again surfaced that the Pistons will move either Rip Hamilton or Tayshaun Prince before the season opens. But even if one is moved, Detroit still will be pigeonholed at the guard slots.
Previously, the Pistons were carrying four guards on their roster (Hamilton, Gordon, Rodney Stuckey, and Will Bynum). Signing McGrady makes a fifth. For those who say McGrady is more of a forward, I'll humor you. However, Detroit also invested a second-round draft pick on Ole Miss guard Terrico White, bringing the grand total to six when training camp opens a few weeks down the road.
The players who averaged the most minutes came from the perimeter. Discounting players who were traded last season, Detroit had five backcourt players who averaged 26 minutes or more, by far the highest of any team in the Eastern Conference and tied with Golden State for most in the league.
And it's not a coincidence that the clique of Gordon, Stuckey, Bynum, Hamilton, and Prince totaled only 72 points, the fewest amount garnered by any five-man tag team in the NBA which played at least 26 minutes.
Four combo-guards and a point-forward (at 26+ mpg) isn't exactly a recipe for success. In fact, the last team to boast a similar team to make the playoffs 2006-07 Warriors, who infamously upset the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. However, before the Golden State episode, there hasn't been a team this decade facing those exact obstacles and made the playoffs.
Adding Tracy McGrady to the fold doesn't address their main concern, which is, and has been over the last three seasons, better play from the guards they have. By adding McGrady, there is of course, the potential of a low-risk high reward acquisition, but at what cost?
Although they underperformed over the last few seasons, the Pistons' guards have built a strong level of continuity and chemistry. When Joe Dumars pulled the trigger on the Iverson deal two seasons ago, that feeling dissolved and since they have been struggling to find their identity and introduce new pieces into their mix.
Every GM in the league has a goal to build a roster and in aspirations of competing for a championship. Dumars is no different. The surplus of guards Dumars has been well chronicled in this article already for their lack of production but here is another interesting stat.
The trio of Hamilton, Stuckey and Gordon attempted 11 shots or more last season. The last NBA champions to replicate those numbers were the Bad Boy Pistons of 1989-90, featuring trio of Dumars, Mark Aguire, and Isiah Thomas, 20+ years ago.
At this rate, it seems as if the Pistons are slowly but surely aspiring to become the Golden State Warriors of the East (sorry, New York).
In a league like the NBA, stranger things have happened, but the tables are certainly stacked against them to say the least.