Monday, November 10, 2008

The Story Behind 2 Losing Streak Since A.I.

If I were to make a survey what had happen to the last 2 games of Pistons, chances are "Team Chemistry with Iverson" will stand out the most. Along with that may be "Billups leadership or presence". It would be foolish not to admit that both of those are true, but I wouldn't get too close that those were the major issues. After reading Keith's entry at, I would have to agree with the assesment of Michael Curry. This is actually what I'm looking for as I emphasized after the last two games that Curry would need to do a major analysis of this team, fortunately he did, and he knows what went on. Now, its just a matter of looking for the best solution.

Here was Curry before Sunday's game: "As I said when we made the trade, that's a big void we're missing. Our last two games, you can tell when Dice is not out there. Whenever we take (Rasheed Wallace) off the court, we always had a veteran guy out there who could spread the floor and allow Rodney Stuckey to be able to get to the basket. Right now with Max and Kwame, you don't have that shooter. These guys have strengths in their own areas, but they're not Dice. We have to change our rotation around to make up for that extra scoring and the ability Dice had to spread the floor for us in the beginning of the second and fourth quarters."
Here was Curry after Sunday's game: "The first quarter was good. The second quarter is what I've been concerned with since we made the move. We've got to find a way to get something going in that second quarter when we take our scoring big out, Rasheed. We've got to find a way to get things going with other guys. We'll do that. We'll get better. ... By moving Dice to the bench, he became that scoring forward so whenever Sheed was out of the game, Dice was always in. So we always had a big that could spread the floor and really shoot the basketball."

The Pistons headed out to Sacramento today to begin a four-day West Coast trip that further complicates their transition to the Iverson era. If they looked sluggish in the loss to Boston, it might have been more than just the acclimation process to the dramatic personnel change. They'd just returned home after a three-game road trip, making Sunday's home game seem like just another stop along the mid-point of what is essentially an eight-game road trip, and now the Western leg squeezes them further for practice time.
"I would like to have about three or four practice days," Curry said. "I wish we didn't play until Thursday. But it is what it is." Curry decided immediately after the trade that the loss of McDyess meant he needed to add another reliable scorer to the playing group that starts the second quarter. So he and Tayshaun Prince agreed that Prince would be the first starter to check out, somewhere around eight minutes into the game. But when the promising first quarter in New Jersey ended in Iverson's debut, the group that began the second half was Rodney Stuckey and Prince - out of position - in the backcourt with Walter Herrmann, Brown and Maxiell up front. Curry quickly concluced he needed to stagger the coming and going of Iverson and Hamilton so that their time together out of the game was infrequent. Before Sunday's game, he said he would take Hamilton out when he removed Prince, then bring both back along with Stuckey to start the second quarter. But that doesn't solve the issue of not having a big man beyond Wallace who can step outside as a credible scoring threat and provide Iverson and Stuckey the chances to attack a spread-out defense. In the best case, McDyess will return to the Pistons 30 days after the waiver process plays out. In the meantime, expect Curry to keep experimenting with lineup combinations and preaching the message of opportunity to Johnson, Brown and Maxiell. The 20 minutes a game the Pistons had set aside for McDyess are now up for grabs. This is the chance for one of those three to stake his claim to an increased role, whether McDyess returns or not.

Many fans and reporters are so diluted to the Billups-Iverson trade that they are forgetting that McDyess (and Samb) is part of the trade. This simply leads me to believe that many people have no idea how valuable McDyess is to the Pistons.

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