Guest Post from Detroitbadboys.com
Like Terry Stotts at crunch time, I completely messed up. I did a guest post for detroitbadboys.com, but I didn't think they were going to return the favor. (This proves the value of actually opening emails that are sent to you. Sorry, Ian. Won't happen again). A thousand pardons to the good people at detroitbadboys. For the record, this post was written prior to Game One, and should have been posted then. (Notice how prescient they turned out to be on point one!) Straight out of Detroit, here it is:
5 Points about the Pistons: A Primer for Bucks fans prior to the start of Round One
Rasheed Wallace can be as dominant as he wants to be.
It's hard to defend against a seven-footer draining threes at the top of the key... but it's easy to generate a ton of fast break points when a seven-footer is bricking shots and setting up the guards on the run with long rebounds. Rasheed's 434 three-point attempts (117 more than his previous career high) ranked ninth in the league, but his .357 percentage of makes ranked just 65th among NBA players who made at least 55 three-pointers. All too often Rasheed favors the quantity over quality approach, which frustrates Pistons fans to no end but should help make the game entertaining for Bucks fans.
But when Rasheed does get the ball down low, watch out. With his length, there aren't very many players in the league who can stop his turnaround jumper, where he releases the ball with a flick of the wrist with his arms fully extended. When he's at home, listen for the fans: when he gets the ball on the low post, you'll hear the crowd let out a deep "Sheeeeeed!" As if on cue, Rasheed almost always shoots the ball after hearing the crowd call his name. It's uncanny.
Watch out Bogut!
Ben Wallace is superhuman...on defense
Ben is a man of few words. But when he has spoken out to the press this year, it's often been out of frustration of not being more involved with the offense. No one on the team commands more respect than Ben, and his teammates often try to throw him a bone by getting him the ball early in the game. Sometimes it works, like when Rip Hamilton throws him a perfect alley-oop. Other times, no so much -- like when he tries a little spin move to the basket only to dribble the ball off his foot, or when he attempts an awkward jumper from the high post that barely grazes the rim.
It wouldn't be accurate to say Ben has no business touching the ball on offense -- after all, he led the league (again) in offensive boards this year. But while Ben's the heart and soul of this team on defense, things go a lot more smoothly on the other end when his offensive touches are limited to rebounds, put-backs, and alley-oops.
Tayshaun Prince will take over for periods of time...then disappear.
Perhaps that statement isn't entirely fair, as Prince's defense usually remains fairly consistent the entire game. But it's a little frustrating for Pistons fans how quickly he can go from dominating on offense one quarter to not getting any significant shot attempts the next. Prince stands 6-9 at a waif-like 215 pounds, but he has a 7-foot-2 wingspan, which makes him extremely dangerous when he drives the lane for baby hook or comes out of nowhere to slam home an oop from Rip or Chauncey.
Why does he disappear? Hell if we know. Perhaps he's too timid to demand the ball, or perhaps he just tires after expending so much energy on defense. Whatever the reason, it's going to happen at some point this series, as Prince rarely strings together a whole dollar (four quarters, get it?) on offense.
Yeah, Chauncey's cocky. But he deserves to be (especially this year).
For those of you sleeping on Chauncey Billups as a legit MVP candidate (or laughing at use of Chauncey Billups as his publicity firm), consider that Chauncey's 4.11 assist-to-turnover ratio is tops in the league by a good margin and far beyond Steve Nash's 2.99 (which ranks a mere 10th in the league). It is hard to argue against those who claim that the Pistons could still succeed without Chauncey -- the team is built so that no one piece is more important than the whole. But I would submit to you that the difference between the good Piston teams of '03-04 and '04-05, and this great Piston team of '05-06, is the emergence of Chauncey as a dominant individual performer. Put him in charge of the Suns offense, and he's a 25 and 12 a night guy, hands down. Also, per his recent MVP comments and how they are being perceived: when asked to choose, Chauncey picked himself for MVP over a number guys around the league also thought to be candidates. But when asked, he has repeatedly stated that Rasheed is the Pistons' MVP.
Also, on Billups, we know Bucks fans are familiar with quality perimeter play, but trust us, Chauncey is a bit of an anomaly. On the season, Chauncey has shot 43% from three -- better than any of the Bucks' impressive shooters -- but his two-point percentage is under 41%. He's actually more comfortable beyond the arc and often chooses to dish once he gets close to the paint (he's averaging 8.6 dimes on the season, almost a full 3 more than his previous season high).
Richard Hamilton just keeps getting better
Piston fans were a little weary when the team's top scorer in '01-02, Jerry Stackhouse, was shipped to the Wizards in exchange for Rip Hamilton. But he quickly established himself as a lethal midrange shooter, and is an integral part of the best starting five in basketball. Up until this season, you could always expect endless energy and a consistent 17-18 points a night from Rip, but he could be frustrated by athletic, on-ball defenders like Bruce Bowen or Ron Artest who would get around picks and force Rip into jumpers slightly outside of his range.
Defenders are finding it a bit more difficult to limit Hamilton this season though, since Rip decided to add the 3-point shot to his repertoire. The results? He led the league in three-point shooting at almost 46% (he shot only 31% last season). And he's shooting a silly 49% from the field overall. As you may have guessed, we're not second guessing that Stackhouse trade. Once again, the lesson is: Joe Dumars is infallible.