Toughness is synonymous with basketball in the Motor City.
The world champion Bad Boys were physical and intimidated the league with their rough style. They had the type of players that would knock you down and stare at you, that’s how they got down.
The Wallace and Wallace team was another tough defensive team. Hardcore basketball has always been the recipe when success comes in the motor city. Which is fitting for a tough, blue-collar town.
Teams generally gravitate towards a certain style of play and have an identity.
The Detroit Pistons are known as a defensive, hard working basketball team. That is just what the red and blue is all about.
Artest was born a Bad Boy. He is a physical specimen, as strong as anyone playing his position in the NBA. Pound for pound, Ron is as tough as anyone lacing up shoes. Anywhere.
The versatile Artest would fit in really well as the small forward for the Pistons.
The team is badly in need of a shake up. Tayshaun Prince is as boring as bird watching when you’re sleepy. It seems at times that he is just going through the motions on the floor.
He is a solid pro, but he seems to have peaked as a player, especially offensively. The team is still badly in need of new blood.
The often-unpredictable Artest is the polar opposite of the quiet Prince. But that may be just the shot in the arm that we need.
Tay is a good defender, but versus Paul Pierce or LeBron James, the two top small forwards in the Eastern Conference, the physical Artest presents a much tougher match up for either of them than Prince. He can give guys fits.
That is something to consider given that those are two teams that figure to be at the top of the conference.
Also the Pistons do not like to double team players. Artest will take on those tough one on one challenges with pride, and that intensity can be contagious with the rest of the team.
That is not the only reason that the Pistons should think about going after the unrestricted free agent.
Artest brings a presence and attitude to the team that we have sorely missed since Ben Wallace left town. The team has been too complacent, too cool, and too easygoing. They seem at time to have no passion for the game.
That is the reason why on paper the Iverson trade made sense. The talent was definitely here, but what is missing from the equation was hunger and passion. They simply didn’t give 100% effort every night.
Joe had to break up that group. More demolition is forthcoming. Rasheed Wallace is likely gone via free agency. Of the remaining members of the team, Prince is the king of nonchalance.
It is time to move him as well.
Artest brings the fire that is attached to Detroit, the city, and the basketball team.
Numbers wise, at $7.5 million in 2008, Ronnie A is both tougher and cheaper than either Chris Bosh or Carlos Boozer. Plus he brings great versatility to the team.
He is a much more spirited player than either of them as well.
I would put my money down that Artest could shut either of those guys down. Regardless of their size advantage.
That is just the kind of gritty, in your face attitude that defines Piston basketball.
Yes, I know that he ran into the stands of the Palace. But that was years ago. Fans can forgive and forget. Kobe was accused of rape a few years back but Laker fans still adore him.
Pistons fans can let bygones be bygones.
He has cleaned up his act and played very well for the Houston Rockets, who had a strong run in the playoffs with limited talent. When he is focused, Artest is arguably the best and most versatile defender in the NBA.
As the Pistons look to retool this summer, I think they should look for Piston style players. Ron Artest might fit that bill better than anyone else on the free agent market.
It also leaves some cap space that the team can play with.
From Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn, Dennis Rodman, Ben and Rasheed Wallace—it is easy for this town to embrace bad boys.