By KRISTIAN CAMPBELL, Staff Writer
As the NBA playoffs move along, one thing is apparent: It’s still sad to be a Pistons fan.
For most of the 2000s we’ve become accustomed to seeing them in the playoffs and making strong pushes towards the NBA title, even winning one in 2004.
That was back in the days when Ben Wallace was one of the most feared defenders in the league, winning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards. And when Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton teamed up to make one of the best guard duos in the league. One thing was clear; that was a team that would contend for quite a few years.
Well, all of that came to a screeching halt when the Pistons inexplicably traded fan-favorite Chauncey “Mr. Big Shot” Billups for Allen Iverson on Nov. 3, 2008. That’s when it all began, from going to the Eastern Conference finals every year, to not even making the playoffs.
Chauncey wasn’t only Mr. Big Shot, or the fan favorite, he was the leader of that team. He was the glue that held them together. Iverson has never been a leader; he’s always been about himself. Now he’s gone and we’ve struggled even to keep a consistent starting five.
But today we have something the Pistons haven’t had in years — a center and a point guard. It’s not everything, but it’s a start.
Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight have the Pistons back on track to make the playoffs again hopefully in the next two years. Monroe nearly averaged a double-double this season with 15.4 points per game and 9.7 rebounds per game. Brandon Knight had a solid rookie season considering it was a shortened year and he really didn’t get any summer workouts with the team to work on developing his skills as a point guard.
And Rodney Stuckey’s move to shooting guard was, I think, the best thing for him. His scoring went down from a season ago, but I think he’ll pick it up. If not, look for the Pistons to go for a shooting guard in next year’s draft, free agency, or via trade.
But what I think is hurting the Pistons are the forwards. Tayshaun Prince isn’t the player he used to be at small forward, and we don’t even have a solid power forward. But hopefully that will all change in this year’s draft.
My Fantasy Draft
(And believe me, fantasy is a big understatement.)
This year the Pistons have a 1.9 percent chance at winning the number one pick in this year’s draft. Let me clear that up, at winning Anthony Davis. I think if the Pistons miraculously won the top pick and drafted Anthony Davis and teamed him up with Greg Monroe, that could be the beginning of a very good basketball team. But I doubt that will happen, although they should end up with a top 10 pick, and hopefully can draft Jared Sullinger from Ohio State. Sullinger isn’t as good as Davis, but he’s still a solid player and will definitely help the Pistons at the forward position. Sullinger is really good in the low-post, a great rebounder, and is a strong, physical player — something I think the Pistons could most definitely use.
But the June 28 draft is still a few weeks out and many, many things could happen between now and then. Hope for the best and hopefully soon Detroit will have a team back in the playoffs. Go Pistons!