Monday , May , 29 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Do the Detroit Pistons Have a Problem?

With things falling apart on the court, the Bad Boys would be well advised to draw together as a team to figure out how best to beat the Heat. The pressure of the situation seems to have affected them, however, as various reports in today’s media suggest that the players of the Detroit Pistons are unhappy with Flip Saunders. While they’re yet to have taken a direct shot at the new coach, it’s pretty clear that something ain’t right.

Asked the difference between today’s Pistons and the Pistons of 2004 and 2005, especially on defense, Detroit’s Ben Wallace said, “Night and day . . . night and day.” He pointed out that his team has dropped defensively from No. 1 to “the middle of the pack.”

Big Ben wasn’t the only one with beef, however. Even Tayshaun Prince, a player not known for running his mouth to the media, has expressed concern over Saunders’ tactics in game three.

Do the Detroit Pistons Have a Problem?

But Prince did say: "I was pretty disappointed we didn’t give Lindsey Hunter any action in the second half. Obviously, he’s our best suit for Dwyane [Wade], as far as putting pressure on him. I know Dwyane can shoot over him, but at least he has the quickness to be where he’s at all the time. We didn’t give him the opportunity [in] the second half."
Unsurprisingly, Rasheed Wallace also had something to say. His comments weren’t as inflammatory as you would have expected given what his peers had said, but the cumulative effect of having four-fifths of the starting line-up question their coach has to be disturbing for Detroit fans.
Asked about his offensive involvement on Sunday, Wallace replied, "That’s a question y’all should ask Flip. It’s more of a coaching call."

Wallace also made clear his disdain for the Hack-a-Shaq method. "It never worked in Portland," Wallace, a former Trail Blazer, said. "It didn’t work now. To me, personally, if I’m the coach, I don’t like that."

How are we to take this? On the one hand, these comments can be seen as simply being the product of frustration following an embarrassing game against their biggest rivals. On the other, they can be construed as the first signs of discontent within a team which has consistently failed to meet expectations throughout the playoffs. Tonight’s game will go some way to showing which of those is true.