Pistons ’10-11 Preview
30 teams in 30 days.
by Eric Woodyard / @eric32woodyard
“Last year was tough. We were inconsistent. There was no chemistry. We all just have to stay healthy and the sky is the limit for us. On paper, we are the best team in the League. We are deep and athletic. All we have to do is play to our abilities. We don’t have the biggest roster, but if we share the ball, we’ll be alright.” – Rodney Stuckey says to Dime Mag.
I love Rodney Stuckey but are you kidding me? The “best team in the League!” C’mon son. The Detroit Pistons?
Let me get this straight once again, Rodney Stuckey believes that the Detroit Pistons are the best team in the League…on paper. I want to make sure I’m looking at this same paper, so let’s examine the Detroit Pistons roster.
|Will Bynum||PG||27||6-0||185||Georgia Tech|
|Rodney Stuckey||PG||24||6-5||205||Eastern Washington|
|Ben Wallace||C||36||6-9||240||Virginia Union|
I’m looking very closely, and I still don’t see this team as being one of the best. In 2004, maybe, but this year…nah. Last season, I made the mistake of getting caught up with what was “on paper.” I liked the additions of Charlie Villanueva, Ben Gordon, and Big Ben and I predicted that the Pistons had the possibility to compile a 50-win season, just like in 2001. Instead they lost 55 games.
At the Pistons Media Day earlier this week, Stuckey did attempt to clean up his statements to Dime.
“That was inaccurate, he kind of wrote it down wrong. I told him that we were one of the best, not the best team, and we are,” Stuckey said Monday at the Pistons Media Day. “I believe in my team, I believe that we are very athletic, we have a lot of great players on the team and I think if we could put it together and work as one, then we will be pretty good. I know the Eastern Conference is tough now but I think that if we all stay healthy the sky is the limit for this team.”
To the Pistons credit, the injury bug did hit hard. In the ‘09-10 season, Ben Gordon played 62 games, Tayshaun Prince (49), Rip Hamilton (46) and Will Bynum (63). Who knows what the results could have been if they had only stayed healthy. The true starting lineup competed in under 20 games together. How could any camaraderie be established with such miniscule amount of games played with integral pieces to the overall puzzle?
Adding to their injury concerns, the Pistons will be taking a chance with Tracy McGrady. Last season, T-Mac only played a total of 30 games but the teams hopes he can be that spark for the franchise by being a key role player.
“I think [McGrady's] a great addition to our team. He’s definitely gonna help us out, but the biggest thing is that we’ve all gotta stay healthy,” Richard Hamilton said. “We went so many years without anybody getting injured to going one year and having four of your top guys injured. It was a huge blow for us, so I think guys really came in this year and prepared their bodies to hopefully having a good year.”
Other than McGrady, the roster has no real noticeable changes. There are two rookies, Terrico White and Greg Monroe, who probably won’t make a huge impact, a head coach who is a year smarter, and a new leader.
“I’m gonna be a lot more vocal this year, it’s just in my nature and it’s just my time to take over this team and just to be that vocal person and also just to lead on the court,” Stuckey added. “It starts in practice though and each and every day I gotta come out and work and show that I’m here to get better each and every day and once I do that in practice than it’s gonna lead into games.”
This year’s Pistons team is hard to predict. They may be good or bad, mediocre or solid. The injuries could have given the veterans a new zest for the game and ignite a fire inside of them that we haven’t seen in years. All in all, I predict a .500 team. I think they will go 41-41 and be a sixth or seventh seed in the Playoffs.
Previous Season Previews can be found in the archive.