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My Moment of Zen. [Jun. 4th, 2007|01:00 am]
[Tags|, , , , ]
[Current Location |Detroit, MI, USA]
[Special Music |Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication]

I'll preface this re-print of a comment I just put out on Detroit Bad Boys dot com with a little story about what happened to me tonight over at a friend's house.

I went over to my buddy's house to watch "The Sopranos" and enjoy myself. My girlfriend went with me, and with my buddy, my girlfriend, and I, my buddy's dad, his cousins, and his cousin's friend also congregated to enjoy this crucial near-final episode.

As I sat down with my buddy, discussion began on the Pistons. I started to hear things that I read earlier today from Drew Sharp and the other local beat writers. I got up from the den, since I know myself too well, told the room that I was not interested in discussion of this team on this night, and I made my way to the kitchen and pulled up a seat next to my buddy's dad.

We talked about bigger problems.

We started to talk about what's going on in this region of the country, with little talk of the sports clubs. We talked about how this part of the country is probably going to see even worse housing conditions, with regard to mortgages and property values and the lack thereof with potential buyers and their ability to afford. We talked about how our governor believes the solution to our state's problems begin and end with expansion of government projects, which require more money the state does not possess, which means even more taxes collected from its residents. We talked about how Oakland county has a pretty good grip on what it takes to maintain a region, since it's one of the most well-run counties in the state. We wondered when we're ever going to get out from under what appears to be more and more a rich-poor plantation system with regard to our nation's leader and the gas prices. In a region where the cost of living seems to be escalating to a level comparable to California, it makes little sense when there aren't as many people in the region and clearly not enough opportunities for wages to continue to support this system, as-is. We didn't have a lot of the answers, but we could both see what was going all too wrong. My buddy's dad is nearing 60, and I just turned 30.

We enjoyed our talk, and then it was time for "The Sopranos." As the episode progressed, it became clear that it was one of the best episodes the show had ever produced. All of the previous problems hinted in snippets of earlier episodes manifested all at once. It left me on the edge of my seat.

Unfortunately, my wish to avoid talking about the Pistons ended when Drew Sharp's recent article with an era being over was discussed . . . and open ponderings for a deal to be made with Zach Randolph were re-iterated.

And that's when my blood began to boil.

I told my buddy's dad, earlier in the evening, that the 1991 Chicago Bulls made the definition for when an opponent truly destroyed the Pistons. That Jordan club was filled with guys that were much greater than the sum of any other team I could think of in recent memory. Guys like Scotty Pippen were worth every penny to the Chicago Bulls . . . Pippen could have been better than Zach Randolph-like on any other team. Pippen could have been a big dog and a marquis player, but he wouldn't have won anything without the help of a team. Jordan, had he no Pippen, Grant, and company, would have been defeated by a weaker 1991 Pistons roster . . . or he would have had a difficult time doing it if Phil Jackson's game plans weren't as great as they were.

So, after one person kept touting Zach Randolph as the answer to Detroit's problems, I got up in a flurry of cuss words, and my girlfriend and I left.

Drew Sharp . . . go fuck yourself.

My testament is nailed, as re-printed, in bold.

My confidence in this team stemmed from the idea that Flip Saunders would have learned from his previous mistakes in Minnesota and Detroit’s run from last year.

When I believed in the Pistons, I believed that Flip could adjust his system with five solid players to defeat any club of any comparable quality. You can’t find 5 guys who are worthy of 30 minutes in a starting role, these last two years, on any other club in the league.

My confidence eroded over the course of one series when everything Flip put into his game plans and adjustments turned out to be so inflexible against what really was a solid perimeter defense and trapping system. Any team in the league could have beat Detroit with that game plan on a minority of nights, but Flip’s system was so rigid that in the end, any playoff entry in this year’s series would have defeated them in seven games.

The players aren’t completely at fault.

I felt the same about Dallas when they dropped like a stone against Don Nelson’s game plan. Dallas’s roster is much better than Golden State’s. If the Spurs had faced Dallas instead of Utah, then San Antonio would have had some trouble.

The second season, the playoffs, is about matchups and adjustments. For two years, I’ve watched a man walking the sidelines who has been given more than most other coaches in the league have to work with . . . and I have watched that man fail.

All of the talk about trades for superstars . . . that’s born out of irrationality and frustration with the outcome.

Don’t tell me that Golden State was the better team. And don’t tell me the Cavaliers are the better team, either.

For over five years, for most of this decade, in wake of the Lakers, I’ve watched San Antonio and Detroit fly in the face of David Stern’s league of stars and high scores.

The Pistons aren’t wrong . . . the league is.

The system can be beaten.

LeBron James is a great player.

Outside of that, Cleveland, here's all the respect you've earned.


[User Picture]From: pierce
2007-06-04 07:23 am (UTC)
i'm not going to argue with you about the Pistons.
for the simple fact that i don't particularly like, but can name at least 4 of them. i have no fucking clue who the Cavs are, and i didn't think that they got KING James dick in the off season last year. since Larry Brown left/got pushed out/wanted too much the Pistons have under achieved in the post season. i thought last year might have been an aberration, both trying to prove too hard that they didn't need Brown, plus running into a motivated Miami team. still, this season there was no excuse to lose to that group of guys. i kept waiting and waiting for someone to put James on his ass and make him shoot from the line. teams stopped doing that with Jordan when he started making free throws with his eyes closed. teams just gave up and thought "fuck it, he'll just make the points regardless". also, you had the Jordan rules...

James has none of these things yet. though he did shoot better from the line, i was stunned at how easily he approached the basket each time he went through the lane. surely Ben Wallace would not have let him get away with that shit?

now i wonder.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2007-06-04 07:40 am (UTC)
Yeah, I wonder about Ben's paint defense too, simply because it was clear Webber's knees robbed him of any power and lift in his paint defense before he left Sacramento.

Ben had hit his limit in being effective against guys sixty pounds his senior in last year's event. Flip, oddly enough, didn't send robbers nearly enough to help out Ben with Shaq, and really, I don't care to see Lindsey Hunter, Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, and Tayshaun Prince defending LeBron, either. None of those guys have a significant height, speed, or weight advantage . . . it's usually offensive advantage for LeBron.

And with all that . . . the zone they were running and the all-too-obvious traps they pulled against LeBron backfired when he kept finding a teammate . . . because that teammate almost instinctively went to the open guy, who oddly enough, was able to hit an uncontested jumper (unless it was Donyell Marshall, who's about sub 30 percent in coming years from beyond the arc, covered and non-covered).

I don't know what else you wanted to write, but unlike Miami, I really don't think Detroit should have lost to Cleveland, and I really don't think Cleveland will even make it back to the playoffs with a decent seed if they don't pick up a better point guard. They can't keep asking LeBron to take it up the court for them, not when he's better off-ball.

Of course, this writing in bold that I put forth would turn to shit if Billups leaves. You'd see an offense that loses one of its main ball-carriers in replacement of nobody who has the offensive and defensive ability like Chauncey.
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[User Picture]From: jmack109
2007-06-04 05:22 pm (UTC)
Ewwww Z-Bo. Gross idea. I know, let's just sign everybody who ever played in the state of Michigan in their collegiate years!

I just looked at salaries and the only possible trade that could work is just swapping Randolph for 'Sheed (a second coming of 'Sheed in Portland lol). It worked out on the realgm.com tradechecker. Any other scenario, and the Pistons would be giving up WAY too much for the chubby Z-Bo. And quite frankly, the above 'Sheed for Zach is ill-conceived and not well thought out; you'd be trading for someone with less range and noticeably less defense tenacity and awareness. Some tweaking of the roster and choaching staff is in order, yes, but I do not believe blowing up the entire team for players who put up big on sub-par teams is the answer.

And, as you already know, completely agreed with you on Cleveland and LeBron; we have the same viewpoint. Larry Hughes, lol.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2007-06-05 12:45 am (UTC)
LJ's having hiccups, so here's what I found out was possible without dealing Rasheed through RealGM:

This deal is kind of amusing, from my perspective . . . if it wasn't for Ben Wallace and the re-up plan that failed, then Detroit would have re-upped this guy from Utah.

Mehmet Okur, Paul Millsap sent from Utah to Detroit for Nazr Mohammed, Carlos Delfino, and Jason Maxiell in return.

I remembered that Boozer and Deron Williams were angry about some other teammates making golf plans? or something scheduled for TBA WCF game dates after the team went down 3-1 to San Antonio.

Nazr Mohammed is an offensive rebounding center more than a finesse center, which Detroit seems to crave in their 5-shooter attack. Mohammed sits in the paint, which allows Boozer to play the 4 and be their main scorer while Mohammed bangs the boards and collects the garbage, which was where he was most effective when he was doing it for Tim Duncan on the Spurs. Mehmet's got that perimeter ability that Detroit craves.

If no draft picks are swung in this deal, then both Detroit and Utah have the possibility of adding that shooting guard (Utah) and point guard (Detroit) which can help them improve for next year. Plus, there's other deals both teams could make.

I came up with this when I'm half asleep, and I am not really sure if Detroit wants to part with Maxiell, nor am I sure if Utah really wants to give up Millsap, but Detroit could use a bigger SF-PF to sub in for Prince similar to Corliss Williamson, and Utah could use a surprisingly quick undersized PF-C to go small.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2007-06-05 12:47 am (UTC)
And, Delfino's like a SG-SF, and the reason why he hasn't done more in Detroit is because he's like a lot of other foreigners . . . they're the biggest dogs on the block in their country, and if they're not starting in the NBA, then they, more often than not, produce less.

Delfino's never been savvy to playing cold . . . trying him out as the starting 2 might surprise everyone in Utah.
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