Beast of the East … right now

In sharp contrast to many some observers in the hoops blogosphere …

[for example]

* Detroit being left behind as rest of East improves
* Summer Forecast: Which way is the East going?
NBA off-season rankings – v3.0
* NBA power rankings: Celtics no surprise as preseason No. 1

if these eyes had to make a projection, this second, on the eventual No. 1 team this season in the Eastern Conference … the pick would be the … Detroit Pistons.

Given the Celtics’ loss of James Posey [F/G] …

* Exchanging Michael Curry for Flip Saunders is going to have a gigantic, positive effect on the performance of this team
* Adding draft picks like Walter SharpeTrent Plaisted, Deron Washington 
* Exchanging Kwame Brown for Theo Ratliff
* Adding a very athletic Euro pro like Will Bynum

and, most importantly

* The continued maturation of Rodney ‘The Real Deal’ Stuckey [Yr-2], Arron Afflalo [Yr-2], Jason Maxiell [Yr-4], Amir Johnson [Yr-4] and Cheikh Samb [Yr-2] 
* While maintaining their overall roster stability … by retaining KEY players like Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Antonio McDyess and Rasheed Wallace

has further ensconced Detroit at the top of their conference and cemented Joe Dumars’ place amongst the finest GM’s in the NBA today.

=======================

Q1. Have the Pistons lost three [3] consecutive Eastern Conference Finals?
A1. Yes they have.

Q2. Do they have the horses, once again, to make it back to the NBA Finals?
A2. Yes they do.

=======================

More importantly, though … no other NBA team has been able to re-tool their overall line-up … while continuing to perform at a very high level … and is better equipped, at this time, going forward from here … with a mix of talented veterans & youngsters, in position to ‘wheel & deal‘, if necessary.

Kudos to Joe D.!

The Man simply knows what he’s doing.

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29 Responses to “Beast of the East … right now”

  1. Travis Outlaw Says:

    But they can’t win a second championship. Rip and Rasheed are free agents next year. The Pistons are coming apart.

  2. khandor Says:

    Travis,

    ===============================
    re: The Pistons are coming apart.
    ===============================

    Respectfully …

    based on the reports I’ve read, thus far, this summer:

    ==========================
    e.g. “If Rodney Stuckey keeps getting better — and reports are he was amazing scrimmaging against Team USA this summer — the Pistons’ have the chance to be one of those rare teams that stays good while completing a youth movement.
    - Henry Abbott/TrueHoop/Monday Bullets [Sep 15 2008]
    ==========================

    I disagree with that opinion. :-)

  3. Travis Outlaw Says:

    The Pistons are still a playoff team. But Rasheed Wallace could be gone next year maybe Rip too. And Rodney Stuckey plays the same position as Billups.
    Billups is pretty old too. They have a weak front line. There not a championship team any longer thats for sure. There just an injury away from coming apart.

  4. khandor Says:

    Yes, both Sheed & Rip could be gone after NEXT season … BUT by then youngsters like Maxiell-J, Johnson-A, Samb-C, Plaisted-T, Sharpe-W, Stuckey-R, Afflalo-A, and Washington-D will all have one year more under their belts, and be in a better position to take up a leading role for this team … in ADDITION to (i) whomever remains from their current Starting 5, PLUS the players they get in return for Sheed and/or Rip.

    Changing coaches is the big move this off-season.

  5. Travis Outlaw Says:

    Johnson-A, Samb-C, Plaisted-T, Sharpe-W, Afflalo-A, and Washington-D aren’t nothing special. Some of these guys probably won’t be last in the NBA.

    The future piston team would be lead by Stuckey-R, Maxiell-J,. Possibly Rip Hamilton, Prince will still be there as well. That at best is a playoff team. I could see rebuilding going on in a few years.

  6. khandor Says:

    Travis,

    Respectfully … I will have to disagree, again, with your opinion.

    i) It is no problem whatsoever keeping 2 high calibre PG’s on your roster … when each one fits into the Big Guard category.

    ii) There’s a reason Joe D. compared A-Afflalo to Michael Cooper … and it isn’t because he thinks Double A is just an ‘Ordinary Joe’.

    iii) Based on what I’ve seen and heard of Walter Sharpe and Deron Washington it would not surprise me in the least if one or both of these 2008 draftees evolves into a key contributor for the NEXT WAVE in Detroit … beside Mr. Real Deal & Mr. Maxiell, etc.

    iv) WHEN [rather than if] the Pistons eventually decide to move one or more of Billups, Hamilton, Prince, McDyess or Rasheed … the players and/or picks who they get back in return will NOT be slouches or retreads.

    v) Based on what I’ve seen and heard, thus far … Michael Curry has a chance to be a special coach in this League.

    In general, Joe D. has proved to me … he knows what he’s doing, as a top flight GM in the NBA.

  7. Travis Outlaw Says:

    (Joe Dumars is a great general manager.) But I question some of his moves.

    Joe Dumars traded a first round draft #29 (DJ White) for two second round draft picks. That made no sense. Walter Sharpe might turn out to be a steal. But Trent Plaisted is going to be a bust for sure. By the way much better players were out there. Deron Washington is the 59 selection he not going to be any good. So as for the draft Dumars did a bad job.

    Walter Sharpe, Trent Plaisted (bust), Deron Washington(bust). They are nothing special.

    ii) There’s a reason Joe D. compared A-Afflalo to Michael Cooper … and it isn’t because he thinks Double A is just an ‘Ordinary Joe’.
    Arron Afflalo is no Michael Cooper. He’s at best an average bench player.

    Cheikh Samb is a bust. He’s not getting any better. Amir Johnson(overrated).

    Rodney Stuckey and Jason Maxiell are the only good young players.

    The Pistons are still a playoff team but these moves will never make them win a championship. I think by next season Antonio Mcydess and Rasheed Wallace are gone. Rip will still be there. While either Billups or Prince will be traded. And I liked the Kwame move. But I don’t see it working out.

    I mean Dumars really blew it when he selected Darko over somebody like Chris Bosh.

    Michael Curry is a first time coach. He’s not going to be any better than Flip who had much more experience. Dumars should have hired Avery Johnson. Unless he thinks Curry can do what Avery did his first two seasons with the Mavericks.

  8. khandor Says:

    Travis,

    re: “That made no sense.” and, “They are nothing special.”

    A trick to evaluating talent properly, in any field … is to see what’s really there … that others seem to miss, sometimes completely.

    As always, you are entitled to your own opinion[s].

    Time will tell if mine are right or wrong. :-)

    [NOTE: IMO, when/if the Pistons fail to win the NBA Championship this season ... it will be because the Lakers are just TOO darn good ... for the entire League ... not because of something Joe D. did not do this off-season. Joe D. has made his share of mistakes in the past. He is far from perfect. What Joe D. does, however ... is operate with a clear vision/plan, never panic and keep his nose to the grindstone. Joe D. is a winner, and so are the NBA teams he constructs, thus far.]

  9. Travis Outlaw Says:

    [NOTE: IMO, when/if the Pistons fail to win the NBA Championship this season … it will be because the Lakers are just TOO darn good.

    Forget about the Lakers. The Pistons for the past few years haven’t even been able to make it to the NBA finals. Losing to the (Heat, Cavs, Celtics).

    Though time will only tell. But I’m pretty sure that Trent Plaisted, Deron Washington won’t do much in the NBA.

  10. khandor Says:

    Travis,

    ===============================
    re: Forget about the Lakers. The Pistons for the past few years haven’t even been able to make it to the NBA finals. Losing to the (Heat, Cavs, Celtics).
    ===============================

    Which means they could still have been considered a legit Top 4 team in the NBA.

    If these are going to be viewed as the ‘down’ years during Joe D.’s tenure as the Pistons’ GM … then I think he might be destined to eventually be considered as one of the NBA’s great GM’s of all-time. :-)

    Only time will tell … but, I’d say he off to a pretty solid start in this department.

    ===============================

    I’m not saying … just yet … that Washington is going to be a star in the NBA … but, from what little I’ve seen of him, I can tell right away what Joe D. sees in this kid that just might … one day in the not-too-distant future develop into yet another serviceable NBA wing player for the Pistons.

    Keep your eye on him in the early going of their training camp.

    If he makes their roster … you just might end up regretting what you wrote up there ^^^ about him … 3 or 4 years from today. :-)

  11. Travis Outlaw Says:

    I’m not saying Joe Dumars is a bad general manager. He’s one of the best in the league. But isn’t the ultimate goal winning lots of championships? Nobody remembers a team who just made the Eastern conference finals. They remember the team that wins the NBA finals.

    The piston group (billups, rip, sheed, prince,) have only one championship. And thats disappointing because a group that talented should be winning multiple championships. Their in a sense “ONE HIT WONDERS”. No different from the Miami Heat.

    I’m not saying … just yet … that Washington is going to be a star in the NBA … but, from what little I’ve seen of him, I can tell right away what Joe D. sees in this kid that just might … one day in the not-too-distant future develop into yet another serviceable NBA wing player for the Pistons.

    Keep your eye on him in the early going of their training camp.

    If he makes their roster … you just might end up regretting what you wrote up there ^^^ about him … 3 or 4 years from today. :-)

    -Or I might be right and he’s a bust and nobody will ever talk about him again.

  12. khandor Says:

    Travis,

    ===============================
    re: The piston group (billups, rip, sheed, prince,) have only one championship. And thats disappointing because a group that talented should be winning multiple championships. Their in a sense “ONE HIT WONDERS”. No different from the Miami Heat.
    ===============================

    On what basis would you say, “That group of Pistons was talented enough to have won multiple NBA championships”? … over solid outfits like:

    NBA Champs Year Finalist
    Boston 2007-2008 [LA Lakers]
    San Antonio 2006-2007 [Cleveland]
    Miami 2005-2006 [Dallas]
    San Antonio 2004-2005 [Detroit]

    In each of those 4 instances, I would say that the eventual League Champs had a better group of players than the Pistons did … and, encumbered by a poor big-game coach like Flip Saunders … Detroit may have maxed out the actual ability of their players in the last 5 seasons, including 2003-2004 when they over-achieved, winning the NBA title.

    ===============================

    As former NBA champions … the Detroit Pistons are NOTHING at all like the Miami Heat.

    [i.e. After winning their most recent championship, the Pistons returned to the NBA Finals the next season and then lost in the conference finals each of the following 3 years. In comparison, after winning their ONLY League title, three years ago, the Heat suffered through major injuries to their two most important players, at different times, on their way to losing 38 regular season games in 2006-2007; and, then, LOST 67 regular season games last season, after trading away Shaquille O'Neal and rushing back from rehab a still injured D-Wade for a stretch of 49 mostly-meaningless games. See a slight Difference? :-) ]

    ===============================

    Yes, indeed …

    OR, in fact, you might prove to be right about Mr. Washington.

    Only time will tell. :-)

  13. Travis Outlaw Says:

    Boston 2007-2008 [LA Lakers] (I was excepting them to lose.)

    San Antonio 2006-2007 [Cleveland] (They should have beaten the Cavs. And had they beaten the Cavs I believe they would have beaten the Spurs that year.)

    Miami 2005-2006 [Dallas] (They should have beaten the Heat. And if they had beaten the Heat they should have beaten the Mavericks that year.)

    San Antonio 2004-2005 [Detroit] (They lost game 7 to the Spurs)

    As former NBA champions … the Detroit Pistons are NOTHING at all like the Miami Heat.
    Though situations are different. In the end the Pistons core might just win one championship just like the Heat. And break apart just like the Heat.

  14. khandor Says:

    IMO … Boston, San Antonio, Miami and San Antonio [again] were each better teams than the Pistons, in those specific seasons … in part, based on coaching superiority.

    ===============================

    Thus far, this off-season, Joe D. has declined all opportunities to ‘break apart’ this group of Pistons … and, if the team gets off to a solid start this year, it would not surprise me in the least to see Detroit finish their schedule without making even one significant player transaction.

    The Heat mortgaged the farm for Shaq, 3 years ago, in an effort to win Riles his 5th and final NBA championship.

    And because it worked out, on the back of D-Wade … that’s a debt Miami’s Management Team will gladly have to pay for the next year or two, as it takes some short term pain, to create the proper circumstances necessary for legit long term gain, in the NBA.

    The Pistons … with 1 NBA championship, 5 straight trips to at least the conference finals, and the core of that team still intact but including now a solid group of talented youngsters, chomping at the bit to succeed in a similar way as their predecessors … are, in fact, nothing at all like the Heat.

  15. Travis Outlaw Says:

    Khandor,

    ————————————————-

    khandor says, “I’m not saying … just yet … that Washington is going to be a star in the NBA … but, from what little I’ve seen of him, I can tell right away what Joe D. sees in this kid that just might … one day in the not-too-distant future develop into yet another serviceable NBA wing player for the Pistons.

    Keep your eye on him in the early going of their training camp.

    If he makes their roster … you just might end up regretting what you wrote up there ^^^ about him … 3 or 4 years from today. :-)”

    ————————————————-

    Just wanted to remind you. Where is Deron Washington? :) He’s not even on the Pistons roster.

  16. khandor Says:

    Travis,

    And my reminders to you would be:

    1. If he makes their roster …”

    2. ” … 3 or 4 years from today.”

    IMO, a player like Deron Washington is a Looonnnggg Term Development Project for the braintrust of the Detroit Pistons … unlike, say, a No. 1 [overall] Draft Pick w/should be.

    As is, the dream is still very much alive for this kid, down-the-road apiece. Detroit’s roster is stacked at the moment. ;-)

  17. Travis Outlaw Says:

    —————————————
    khandor says, “I’m not saying … just yet … that Washington is going to be a star in the NBA … but, from what little I’ve seen of him, I can tell right away what Joe D. sees in this kid that just might … one day in the not-too-distant future develop into yet another serviceable NBA wing player for the Pistons.

    Keep your eye on him in the early going of their training camp.”
    —————————————

    -If he is so good like you said ^ then why couldn’t he make the roster this year? Stacked roster or not.

  18. khandor Says:

    Travis,

    Detroit is loaded right now.

    Adding a Wing like Washington, who is raw and athletic but still in need of further development, makes little sense. Down-the-road, however, it would not surprise me at all to see Deron Washington in the NBA, as a member of the Pistons, or another team, after being traded, because he has the type of ‘upside’ to his game that is extremely valuable in this League.

    As I said before, based upon what I’ve seen from him, thus far, he has the capacity to get a lot better over the next few years.

    Time will tell if I’m right or wrong. :-)

  19. shay Says:

    hey..
    I’m pistons fan from Israel , Deron Washington in now on Israel ..and i was in his first game , and he scored 23 points ! with some blocks and 10 borads.
    very good player thought

  20. khandor Says:

    Shay,

    Thanks for your comment! … and for the update on Deron Washington.

    Hopefully Travis is paying close attention to what you had to say. :-)

  21. Travis Outlaw Says:

    khandor,

    Every player that is drafted by a NBA team should dominate international play. So what he plays well? If international play meant anything then the whole second round of the NBA draft would be in the NBA.

    Let’s say Deron Washington comes to the NBA in two or three years and turns into a bust and goes back to international play? Who wins the bet now? :0

  22. Travis Outlaw Says:

    Joe Dumars is losing his TOUCH. Didn’t you write a post about how GREAT CDR is. Joe Dumars passed up on him. And another steal Joey Dorsey (Ben Wallace #2), He passed up on Bill Walker to draft Trent Plaisted. Are you going to tell me now that Trent Plaisted is going to be better than Bill Walker?

  23. khandor Says:

    Travis,

    I think you need to read what I wrote initially about Deron Washington, again. It seems to me as though you might not have really understood in the first place. :-)

    ==========================

    re: CDR

    I wrote a post about CDR becoming a solid, pros pro and having a long and productive career in the NBA, as a 2nd Round NBA Draft pick.

    If what those mean to you is the equivalent to “GREAT” then we have difference in opinion concerning a working definition for this word. :-)

    IMO, Joe D. passed up on a player like CDR because he already has a fine young player at that position who he drafted last year, in Arron Afflalo, not because he thinks lowly of CDR. There’s a difference between these two perspectives.

    Likewise with the decision to by-pass a prospect like Joey Dorsey … when you already have young players named Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell & C-Samb, intend on drafting a player like DJ White and then trading him for another Big named Walter Sharpe.

    And, if you happen to think that Bill Walker is going to be a better player down-the-road than Trent Plaisted … then, that’s okay by me, since I have no feeling either way about these players, see the benefits to drafting each, as well as the pitfalls, and the possibility that both could have long and productive careers in the NBA, one at a Wing position, the other as a Big.

    IMO Joe D. is one of the top GM’s in the NBA today. :-)

  24. Travis Outlaw Says:

    I think you need to read what I wrote initially about Deron Washington, again. It seems to me as though you might not have really understood in the first place. :-)
    -What didn’t I understand?

    -Joe Dumars was great in the past. But times change. Will Joe D. win a second championship as GM of the Pistons?

    - I would rather have CDR than Arron Afflalo. :)
    -I would rather have Joey Dorsey than Walte Sharpe, Check Samb, Amir Johnson. :)
    What about you?

    And, if you happen to think that Bill Walker is going to be a better player down-the-road than Trent Plaisted … then, that’s okay by me, since I have no feeling either way about these players, see the benefits to drafting each, as well as the pitfalls, and the possibility that both could have long and productive careers in the NBA, one at a Wing position, the other as a Big.
    - Dumars didn’t draft Bill Walker because the Pistons didn’t have enough roster spots and Bill Walker didn’t want to play overseas. So he drafted Trent Plaisted instead. But heres the BIG mistake. Trent Plaisted is a bust at best a solid bench player if he ever comes to the NBA. Bill Walker has a chance to be a star. And what team is he playing on now? The Pistons biggest competition.

    IMO Joe D. is one of the top GM’s in the NBA today. :-)
    - He also drafted Darko over Bosh, Melo, Wade.

  25. khandor Says:

    Travis,

    I have not said that I think Deron Washington is going to be a GREAT NBA player, and I have no idea the reason you would choose to include such a descriptive word in any type of characterization re: my opinion of what it is Deron Washington might eventually turn into, down-the-road, if he ever makes the Pistons’ roster. Re-read what I wrote carefully. :-)

    ===============================

    Joe Dumars’ Detroit Pistons have already won 1 NBA championship, lost in the Finals, and qualified for the EC Finals for something like 6 consecutive seasons, I think.

    In my book, that makes him one of the very best GM’s in the NBA today.

    You, of course, are always free to hold a different opinion from mine … re: Joe D, Deron Washington, Walter Sharpe, Trent Plaisted, etc. :-)

    In general, my opinions re: the NBA tend to be influenced heavily by such things as this right here, for which I make no apologies and will readily acknowledge a bias. :-)

  26. Travis Outlaw Says:

    When I say great I mean you said average. I don’t mean all-star. And I say bust. Time will tell if I’m right or wrong. :-)

    Joe Dumars’ Detroit Pistons have already won 1 NBA championship, lost in the Finals, and qualified for the EC Finals for something like 6 consecutive seasons, I think.
    -That’s great for you. I’m not saying he’s a bad GM at all. Compared to others he’s a LEGEND. But I just like to think Jerry West and Jerry Krause are better because they’ve won several championships. I mean aren’t championships suppose to mean something? Not just qualified for the EC Finals for something like 6 consecutive seasons, I think.

    In general, my opinions re: the NBA tend to be influenced heavily by such things as this right here, for which I make no apologies and will readily acknowledge a bias. :-)
    -Well then you know perfectly well that Joe Dumars could do better.

  27. khandor Says:

    IMO, Jerry West and Jerry Krause ARE better GM’s than Joe Dumars … which doesn’t mean that Joe Dumars isn’t to be considered amongst the very best GM’s in the NBA today.

    He is just that, IMO.

    Any GM in the NBA … could always do better. :-)

  28. Travis Outlaw Says:

    RC Buford is a better GM than Dumars.

  29. khandor Says:

    I agree with the notion that the combination of Gregg Popovich & RC Buford, for the San Antonio Spurs, is at the top of the class in the NBA, along with Joe Dumars [Detroit Pistons] and 1 or 2 others.

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