Rotating Kwame Brown, Amir Johnson, Antonio McDyess, and Jason Maxiell no problem for unselfish Detroit Pistons
A typical NBA player wants four things: minutes, shots, contracts, and groupies. Order of importance varies based on the individual.
It’s always refreshing when coaches demand players share. It’s more refreshing when the coach doing the demanding is a rookie sideline boss. Best of all, the players involved appear willing to sacrifice.
Detroit isn’t typical. Neither is their first-year bench-boss Michael Curry. Yesterday, Curry casually commented that the Pistons could start four different players at center next season.
"We are looking at how we can inject our young guys into the rotation more, giving them a solid role and still get the most out of our veteran guys and be as efficient as possible," Curry said. "One of the things we are looking at is having ‘Dyess go back to his role of coming off the bench." (Chris McCosky, Detroit News)
On some squads, such a statement would create trouble. In Washington, the first and second-string posts have thrown haymakers over starting –and more than once.
This won’t be an issue in Motown. Not for a second. The Pistons have stayed atop the Eastern Conference employing a team-first, collectivist approach Karl Marx could appreciate. Meanwhile, Curry has paid dues as a mentor/player rep in Toronto and assistant coach in Detroit.
So Kwame Brown, Amir Johnson, Jason Maxiell, and Antonio McDyess will split starts and minutes based on Detroit’s opponent. When the team needs size and defense, Brown gets the call. Johnson, the former NBDL player of the year, is the lanky, all-world athlete. Maxiell is an energizer, who changes tempo. And McDyess is the veteran anchor.
Depth down low is just one of the Pistons’ strengths. They’ve got four returning All-Stars in Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Rasheed Wallace. Then there’s emerging star Rodney Stuckey. The Eastern Washington grad will thrive as the sixth man.
Detroit, despite their team focus, has collapsed in recent playoffs. This year, their unselfish style could finally get rewarded with a second championship.