The Dismantling of the Detroit Pistons
That quite doesn’t sound as intimidating these days; just annoying. The fantastic 5 of Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace, and Ben Wallace are distant in memory. The core is being phased out one by one. Ben Wallace was the first to leave to Chicago, and recently, Billups was traded to Denver for Allen Iverson. Joe Dumars has now given up on this core.
Who is next to leave?
I bet it’s Rasheed Wallace since Rip just signed a 3 year extension and he’s still in his prime. Tayshaun Prince, a fantastic defensive player, is 28 years old and just got a gold medal in Beijing. Sheed is 34 years old and continuing to decline. All signs point to Sheed. With the Billups era ending, Dumars has made it clear that Rodney Stuckey will be the guy after Allen Iverson’s short stint here. He mainly did the trade to get Iverson the Contract. It’s an expiring deal and most likely AI will not be resigned unless the Answer accepts a bargain deal. He does provide a shot in the arm for one last push to the Finals this season that Billups couldn’t give any more.
On election night 2008 with the new guys beginning to take over and the old guys ushered out, I just don’t think the new guys for Detroit will have the same impact. Jason Maxiell is no Ben Wallace and will never be that type of player. Rasheed is an extremely versatile big man who is hard to obtain through any draft. Dumars got very lucky to land a great defensive gem in Prince late in the first round. Billups is a combo guard who transformed his game to be a pure point. You know how hard that is to do that? The only player who is interchangeable is Rip. He’s not a clutch player nor does he do anything else that is special. He just shoots and scores. Guys like that can be found in any draft or trade because many guys want to be scorers anyway. They’re plentiful, but great defensive players will always be much more difficult to find.
I can safely say that the Pistons are currently rebuilding, but knowing how good overall Joe Dumars is as a GM (although he did mess up bad with not drafting Carmelo Anthony) he’ll have the Pistons back in 5 years or maybe he’ll never do it.
The 2004 Pistons were defensive beasts. The defensive trio of Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, and Tayshaun Prince will be argued with the great defensive squads of the Chicago Bulls dynasty, the Bad Boys, and the San Antonio Spurs of the early 2000s. I think they’re great, but not super elite as those squads listed because they just didn’t win multiple titles with that cast.
In the end, it’s sad to see this squad become over the hill and dismantled to create a new era right before our eyes after such a successful run with no true superstar.
Where do you rank the 2004 Piston defense?