Detroit Pistons Look the Same, But Can They Finish Differently?

Curtis SmithContributor ISeptember 25, 2008

Big hopes, big dreams—but again, for the up-teenth year, no big trade! 

Rumors of 'Melo coming to the Pistons circled Detroit, but Dumars still didn't pull the trigger.  What does it mean? Absolutely nothing at this point.

Today, Detroit is still a contender.  The Eastern Conference goes as follows—Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, and probably Washington (maybe Chicago).  They will win 50 games and most likely will get back to the Conference Finals—but what will tip them back to the Finals? 

What sort of magic will Dumars pull during the season? What 'Sheed-esque trade will he pull off?

Or will it come down to Michael Curry, with his no-nonsense attitude to play the game, play it the right way, and win!   Although he has no head-coaching experience he brings Bad Boys-style of play with him.   

Defense wins championships.  I’ve believed that for as long as I can remember.  Will Curry be that final piece that will get the Pistons back to the Finals, or will they end at the Conference Finals once again, and book early tee times at the golf course. 

I think in the end, it will be on the shoulders of Jason Maxiell and Rodney Stuckey, and the defense and scoring ability that both of them possess.  Watch Maxiell have an All-Star season, putting up over 10 points and 10 rebounds per game, plus the intangibles he brings to get the crowd into it with an amazing block or a thunder dunk. 

We've all watched Stuckey grow up in front of us last year in the playoffs.  Watch that continue this year. 

The last few years, Detroit has lacked a player who could take over a game. We all know Billups is clutch and Hamilton is consistent, but Stuckey has the ability to put the game in his hands and make it his own.  Curry will put pressure on Stuckey early, making him the go to guy in the clutch.  My predictions for him are 13 points, eight assists, and two to three steals a game—and that’s all in limited time. 

As the East gets better and the Pistons pretty much stay the same, it can be the subtle changes that make the biggest change (not always, for the sake of Boston last year).  More times than not teams, can’t count on big trades or signings, but rather must make sure the right pieces are in place. 

Forcing a square peg into the round hole has never worked.  The proof of that is the run-and-gun Suns trading for the slowest guy in the league.  

Joe Dumars did the right thing.  He is giving the changes that he made time to pan out.  The NBA has a long schedule, and things will be clearer in a few months.  

My predictions for the Pistons are second in the East, making it to the Conference Finals, and eventually losing to the Boston Celtics in seven.  All the Pistons fans out there have seen this before—let's just hope this year is different.