Just days after the Detroit Pistons were eliminated from the Eastern Conference Finals by the Boston Celtics, Joe Dumars promised big changes among the core players. He told the media that day, that other than Rodney Stuckey, nobody is safe. Rumors swirled about what Dumars would possibly do to a team that had made six consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, and coming into the season Dumars hadn't made any moves.
Joe Dumars, in the first blockbuster trade of the season, has acquired Allen Iverson from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for PG Chauncey Billups, PF Antonio McDyess, and Samb. Iverson will bring his 9 all star appearances, his MVP title, and his 27.7 PPG average, to a Pistons team, that has been known as just that. A team.
The Pistons haven't been known for having that one superstar player, that they can continously go to night after night to hit that game winning shot because it could be any one of the starting five on any given night, and that's what has made the Pistons so tough to beat over the years. They have truly been the benchmark for how NBA basketball should be played as a team.
Billups has been given the nickname Mr. Big Shot by fans of the fans in Motown for his playoff heroics in their run to the 2004 NBA championship. Now the Pistons have acquired their superstar, and now might have everything in place to come out of the east this season. Analysts all over the country were saying that it was Boston, and Cleveland at the front of the conference, and there was little to no talk about the Pistons.
This Pistons team is hungry, and Iverson is without that championship ring that many of the players he'll be starting alongside, already have. The Pistons want to prove that they still have what it takes to win a championship, and Iverson wants his ring to cap off what has already been a fantastic career. With a veteran backcourt now consisting of Iverson and Rip Hamilton, and young reserves, Aaron Afflalo, and Rodney Stuckey, the Pistons are primed for a run.
If you look at the big men the Pistons possess, those players are equally as impressive, especially considering how young some of them are. Amir Johnson was promoted to the starting role alongside Rasheed Wallace, and Johnson brings so much energy to the floor whether he's blocking shots, crashing the boards, or throwing it down on the opponents. Add to that reserve Jason Maxiell, who comes off the bench night after night with such force, such intensity, and that's what the Pistons have lacked in the paint since the departure of Ben Wallace.
The Pistons are already off to a 2-0 start, and now all of the players are going to be even more excited about this season when they welcome Iverson to practice in the next few days. Iverson is the total package. He drives the paint, takes fouls, distributes the ball and creates shots to his teammates, and he will help to further develop reserve guards Afflalo, and Stuckey.
We all thought that Dumars was all talk, and today he called our bluff.