In anticipation of tonight’s game between the Washington Wizards and the Detroit Pistons, I present a quick Q&A with Matt from the excellent Pistons blog, Detroit Bad Boys.
1) Over the summer, Joe Dumars said that no one was ‘untouchable’ and then did not make any major moves. How satisfied were you with what the Pistons did in the off-season coming into this year?
At first I was disappointed, but once it became apparent that Amir Johnson was going to start and Rodney Stuckey was expected to average 25-30 minutes, I got excited. Not a lot of team can undergo a youth movement while staying in contention, but I think the Pistons have a chance to pull it off. I’ve been dying to see Johnson get a fair shake the last two years and Stuckey looked like a future All-Star at times in the playoffs, so if all the pieces come together, it’ll be like the Pistons added two impact players to their rotation without giving anything up.
Plus, I’m not completely convinced the roster will look the same come playoff time. With Rasheed Wallace on the verge of free agency and Rip Hamilton potentially opting-out, Dumars will be taking a lot of calls at the trade deadline. Maybe something falls in his lap, or maybe he looks at the team and decides it’s a little younger and a little deeper than last year and sits tight. Anything can happen.
2) Was Kwame Brown worth the risk? How much faith/expectations do you really have in him?
A lot of fans were upset at his signing, which I didn’t really understand. I think there was this feeling of anticipation all summer waiting for a big trade that never happened, and so when his arrival was announced, it was like, “wait, that’s it?” But objectively speaking, it’s hard not to like his contract: two years, $8 million is chump change for serviceable big men, especially since he might opt-out after one year.
The fact of the matter, though, is that he’s only going to play against some of the league’s bigger centers — he’s fifth in the pecking order rotation behind Rasheed, Amir, McDyess and Maxiell. He’s just another big body to throw out there as needed; there’s no other expectation on him to do anything. If the Pistons face Orlando again in the playoffs and he can lean on Dwight Howard for 15 minutes a game, he’ll live up to his contract. There really are no other expectations.
3) Knock on wood….(as a Wizards fan/blogger dealing with injuries, I must ask this)…..but of Billups, Wallace, and Hamilton, who would the Pistons miss the most should one get hurt for an extended period of time?
I have a lot of faith in Stuckey’s potential, but Billups is the straw that stirs Detroit’s drink. He’s one of the elite point guards in the NBA and has a knack for stepping out to hit a big three-pointer when needed or finding the open man, neither of which Stuckey can do yet on a consistent basis. Maybe an injury to Billups where Stuckey is force-fed into taking on that role would expedite his development and have long-term benefits, but strictly speaking in terms of wins and losses now, losing Billups would be the most costly.
Thanks again to Matt of Detroit Bad Boys. Be sure to check out a recent interview that he had with former Piston, James “Buddha” Edwards.