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News » Detroit Pistons Getting Inside 2009-05-28

Detroit Pistons Getting Inside 2009-05-28

Detroit Pistons Getting Inside 2009-05-28
The Allen Iverson experiment was a miserable failure but there are still plenty of benefits that can be reaped from the trade that sent low-keyed Chauncey Billups to Denver and the domineering Iverson to the Pistons.

Iverson, who couldn't bear the idea of being a reserve, was long gone by the time Cleveland swept the Pistons in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. President of basketball operations Joe Dumars hoped that Iverson would put his ego aside and blend his ability to break down defenses in a team-oriented setting. Instead, chemistry problems plagued the Pistons throughout the season.

Iverson's expiring contract, which will give the Pistons approximately $20 million in salary-cap room next season, could bring long-term solutions to a team with too many aging veterans and underperforming young players.

Dumars' makeover plan will require creativity, skill and luck to make his franchise viable again. One major free agent signing and trade won't get it done.

The frontcourt could have three new starters next season. Rasheed Wallace has nothing left in the tank. Tayshaun Prince's woeful playoff performance against Cleveland can be excused somewhat by a sore lower back. There are no LeBron James stoppers in the universe but the Pistons need a more dangerous offensive player at the small forward position, someone who can make James work harder at the defensive end.

Antonio McDyess was the team's most consistent player after he was re-signed in December. But it's likely that McDyess, an unrestricted free agent, will sign with a contender with real hope of winning a title next season.

The starting backcourt will probably remain the same. Richard Hamilton signed an extension earlier this season, which makes him harder to trade. Given more time to develop chemistry with point guard Rodney Stuckey, Hamilton could have a bounce-back year.

The bench, at the very least, needs a consistent scoring threat. There are a lot of so-called energy players but no one that give the team an instant offensive boost regularly, though backup point guard Will Bynum was surprisingly effective late in the season.

With many other teams in a cost-cutting mode, the Pistons will get some very interesting trade offers. Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire could be available and either one could go a long way toward solving Detroit's frontcourt issues. Dumars could also target potential free agents such as Carlos Boozer, David Lee, Lamar Odom and Ben Gordon.

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Allen Iverson made a triumphant return to Denver, scoring 23 points, and Tayshaun Prince made the go-ahead shot in the final minute as the Pistons defeated the Nuggets, 93-90. That was the Pistons' eighth victory in nine games and put them 10 games above the .500 mark. Once Richard Hamilton returned from an injury, the headaches with trying to mesh Iverson's and Hamilton's skills resurfaced and the Pistons were 14 games below .500 the rest of the way.

TURNING POINT: November 3, 2008. With the team preparing to play its first road game of the season, Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess are informed in Charlotte, N.C. that they have been traded to Denver. The Billups deal stuns the rest of the Pistons veterans, who feel they're still good enough to compete for championships. Emotionally, they struggle to recover. On the court, they never recover from the loss of Billups' leadership.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 28, 2009


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