Friday, March 13, 2009

Finding the Identity

The Pistons are currently caught in a double intensity spike. They are short two of their key players, Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson. At the same time, they are in the midst of finding their identify completely, a person that's been awaken from a coma and starting to remember what's his/her capable of. They have won six of their last eight games, including a win over Boston and a couple of games against Orlando, who they may be facing in the first round playoffs. However, the other benefit of the past several wins are the revival of the Pistons cast, including the bench players and most notably Antonio McDyess and Richard Hamilton.
Got Rip?
Eversince Rip returned to the starting line up, their last eight games created a different outlook on the scoreboard, or rather, their opponents' averaging less than 95 points per game (94.5). Defensive effort is clearly there and just like what I've been rallying all season, that Rip may not be a hall of famer (yet), but he has a definite advantage over AI in the defensive end. At the same time you can't count him out on scoring because the old Rip that's been seen for the last six season in Detroit once again lead the team, not only in scoring but in assist. When Rip gets into a constant running mode, the opposing team has few options, either avoid the screener (the Power Forward or Center) which is practically impossible especially on the speed that Rip's generates. Another option would be to allow the screener's (whoever's guarding Wallace, Dyess, Max or Kwame) guard to switch and guard Rip. Consequently this will free up Pistons' frontcourt, which in Pistons case, Dyess would love to take that mid range shot and Sheed beyond the arc. Before you knew it, the opponents' defense has been scrambled. Rip may not be able to create his own shot off the dribble like Lebron or Kobe, but he can disrupt the teeth of the opponents defense. This is where Rip's assist stat came from.
Rolling the Dyess
While Rip is too busy on constant motion Dyess is too busy putting up some boards number, not to mention hustling on lose balls. "In my mind, if the ball comes off the boards, I'm going to get it. No matter who it is, I'm going to get the rebound." Having a mind set like that before entering a game is something, but its another thing applying it throughout the whole game. The man is on a mission, playing the game with his heart and his blood and sweat written all over the court just trying to keep the ball alive. And when he's not grabbing rebounds? He's shooting a high percentage mid range shot.

Bench In the Making
Walter Hermann is the first notable bench player that created some threat to the opposing team. With his ability to shoot above the arc and create his own shot below or close to the rim, gave Michael Curry the idea that he should be in the line up rotation. When Curry mention that he fits perfectly with Prince, that pretty much gave away that he'll be in the rotation. Another notable bench player is Will Bynum. His fearless attacking his opponent and taking it to the rim is something that Curry has been drumming, "attack and get to foul line". The norms but are now beginning to show some "zoo crew" life are Max, Kwame and Afflalo. With Amir trying to find his feet back on the gas pedal and everybody else on the bench, a hall of famer is soon to comeback. Chauncey Billups may have named the Zoo Crew, but in most games they played he really never led them. Maybe a guy who loves to push the tempo, loves to attack and able to create his own may just be what the young legs Zoo Crew needs.

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