This is the perfect time for the Detroit Pistons to begin their rebuild. The NBA lockout has ended and fans are looking forward to seeing what the Pistons can do to replenish what was once a grand reputation around the league.
The first step towards this goal is for new management to begin blowing up the roster. Former Pistons’ head coach John Kuester may have been the primary issue, but he was not the only problem that the franchise was experiencing. Veteran players that do not fit the direction can become more and more like tag-alongs rather than contributors to a playoff run.
With the recruitment of Brandon Knight, a young and explosive guard known for twisting a game to his liking with speed and quick releases, Detroit is heading towards stacking the lineup with younger players with much more juice in their bones than a 37-year old who used to be one of the leading men in the locker room.
It would show a grand amount of respect for Richard Hamilton and Ben Wallace to allow them to sit on the sidelines and retire as Pistons. It would also not prove to be indicative of where Tom Gores is trying to take this team.
- Neither Hamilton nor Wallace is the man either used to be. While it would be ideal that they would be able to exceed expectations down to the last drop, neither of these men is really leading the team in a manner that is desired from two veterans. The soap box that Hamilton rested himself upon during Kuester’s reign only took the attention off of the franchise and gave fans an intimate and uncomfortable look into the locker room.
The issues between he and the head coach only gave way to a slew of problems that became the primary headline of any Pistons’ story that ran last season. Wallace’s latest guilty plea for misdemeanor charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and possessing a firearm while under the influence of alcohol has nothing to do with it.
It was a mistake that he made and should be forgiven for. But, Wallace’s continuing depletion of production speaks volumes. It is just time for him to go because moving forward his effectiveness will not be a factor.
- The guard position is stacked with meaninglessness in Detroit. The Pistons have a bunch of guards, but there is a huge standing problem with the organization in this regard. None of the guards are really all that great. Not to say that every player on every single team should be a superstar because at that point there would be far too many sous chefs in a single kitchen.
It would make for an overpopulation of egos and a handful of misfortunes. Still the group of guards has not really sparked a sense of revival…at all. With the exception of Austin Daye’s potential, Rodney Stuckey’s ability to score and the newly acquired Knight, the guards that remain on the roster are expendable (Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon).
- Hamilton and Wallace are an average of 35 years old. Age means a lot more than many NBA spectators wish to relay to the public. Jason Kidd is not the rule. The Dallas point guard is the prime example of an exception.
The reason people marvel at the way he is still able to contend against younger and more athletic guards is because it is not expected or widely witnessed that a man of his age (38) is able to still move as he does. Kidd is still a prolific shooter and still remains an asset to an older Dallas Mavericks team.
Hamilton and Wallace do not hold the defensive or offensive prowess (any longer) to have the same type of effect that the Dallas players had in their latest run to the NBA Finals and a win over the highly-hyped Miami Heat team.
Hamilton cannot shoot like the 34-year old Jason Terry and Wallace does not have the same defensive mentality as an almost 30 Tyson Chandler.
- Eastern Conference is too competitive to keep them. The Miami Heat acquired point guard Norris Cole in the draft and still has two of the most influential players in the league. When Chris Bosh handles his business, the sky is the limit. Mario Chalmers came into his game throughout the playoffs and Mike Miller also showed that his three-pointer has yet to completely disappear.
The New York Knicks traded for Carmelo Anthony and now only need to redefine their defensive presence to become viable Finals’ contenders.
The Indiana Pacers have a bevy of young stars being molded as we speak to take over the future of the conference. Darren Collison is an excellent point guard that heavily rivaled Derrick Rose in the first round of the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls. Tyler Hansbrough (Psycho T) does not give up in the face of any fight during the game no matter how highly regarded his opponents come. His drive is unbelievable and watching him grow in the league is something special.
The Boston Celtics have already begun restructuring their lineup with the removal of Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, the retirement of Shaquille O’Neal, and the trade for former OKC players Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.
There are more than a handful of other reasons why the Eastern conference is growing so competitive, but the point has already been proven. Wallace and Hamilton will not be able to compete at the level that the EC has risen to and it will show massively if they are kept on for the long haul.
- It is no longer about now. It is about the long term. All of the moves being made in the league have not been about making strides towards simply winning in the short-term. These trades and free agency pickups are being made in light of general managers and owners making a stand for the long term.
LeBron James was brought into a system in Miami that he had not been used to and Pat Riley understood that. As a basketball guru/former coach himself, he knew that James would not immediately mesh well with Dwyane Wade’s playing style as both are used to being the go-to men of their respective franchises.
The thought was in his head that they would go far fast, but this was not a move that was made for just last season or this shortened season that is vastly approaching. It was made because both Chris Bosh and James have so much left in them and they will be bringing victories to South Beach for many seasons to come.
Wallace and Hamilton are not the men that Pistons’ fans or front office see bringing much more to the table for much longer.
Both of these men have done great things for the city of Detroit. But, the NBA is a business, as we were painfully reminded during the dirty labor dispute. Huge decisions have to be made and they may not always echo great character or infallible loyalty. The Detroit Pistons are headed in a different direction and need to reevaluate Hamilton and Wallace’s shelf life before extending their involvement. It may have expired.