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On ESPN, stat-ass John Hollinger has a piece up about the overrated and underrated in the NBA.  He counts Joe Dumars among the overrated, writing the following:

Let’s look ourselves in the mirror, fellow media members: We’ve all given the guy a free pass because of his amazing run to six straight conference finals and blithely ignored the fact that he’s screwed up a hundred ways from Tuesday since he decided to whack Flip Saunders after the 2008 conference finals.

Check out the résumé and find me a correct decision. Just one. Fire Saunders? Wrong. Hire Michael Curry? Wrong. Trade Chauncey Billups? Wrong. Extend Richard Hamilton? Wrong. Sign Kwame Brown? Wrong. Go after Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva? Wrong again.

In two years, the Pistons have gone from one of the best teams in basketball to among the worst. They stink, they’re capped out, and they don’t have much in the way of young talent; for all we know, in two years they’re going to be the Pittsburgh Pisces or the Seattle Grunge or something. If Isiah Thomas or Rob Babcock had done this, we’d have buried them alive by now, so it’s only fair for us to point out that regardless of his previous track record, Dumars is on a two-year losing streak of McHalian proportions.

Now John Hollinger is barely ever right about anything.  And his job is stupid.  He attempts to boil basketball down to pure numbers, ignoring the obvious-to-anyone-who-watches presence of the unquantifiable.  And he uses his statistics to come up with ludicrous claims just to annoy the shit out of me.  A couple seasons ago, he used a batch of cooked-up numbers to declare Reggie Evans the Greatest Rebounder Ever.  Reggie Evans. If you have statistics and a formula that leads you to the conclusion that Reggie Evans is the greatest rebounder ever, you throw that shit out and start over.  Numbers often lie.  Just ask Greg Oden’s penis.  However…

Anyone following the Pistons the last couple years would have a hard time disagreeing with any of Hollinger’s assertions in the piece.  They’re plain to see.  The last couple years have been a disaster for Dumars.  One wrong move after another.  And Hollinger doesn’t even mention Dumars’ terrible draft record: Darko Milicic, Rodney White, Mateen Cleaves, etc.

Due to his previous successes, I believe Joe Dumars deserves a chance to right the ship.  But given the downward trend of the team from bad to terrible and the looming possibility of new ownership, not to mention rumors he’s not getting along with the current owner, I wonder if Joe D. will even get that chance.

Posted by LA Dubbs

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It's time to say goodbye to the Palace's Prince.

The Pistons beat the lowly Nets last night, ending a five-game losing streak and improving their record to 16-31. Ugh.  This is only their fifth win in their last 24 games.  Oof.  And they scraped out the win, needing a 10-2 run at the end of the game to pull ahead and take it. Ack.

Detroit has scored fewer than 100 points in 23 of their last 24 games and has shot under fifty percent in 24 straight games.  Off-season signings Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon have been injured of late (as have Hamilton and Will Bynum), but still…  the team wasn’t supposed to have these offensive deficiencies.

When Chauncey was traded, Joe Dumars described this transitional period as rebuilding on the fly.  It’s past time to dump the ‘on the fly’ nonsense and come to terms with the fact that this team is in full-on rebuilding mode.

One bright spot of late has been the gelling of Rodney Stuckey and Rip Hamilton. They’ve begun playing well together, feeding each other’s games.  In this one, Stuckles had 21 points with 8 assists and 0 turnovers. Richard had 22 points with 7 assists and 5 boards.  This development makes Tayshaun Prince, with his already crappy season, all the more expendable.  It’s time to trade him. And now that he’s healthy again, he’s a very tradeable player.

The latest rumors have a Tayshaun for Carlos Boozer deal being cooked up.  This is not the right move.  Carlos Boozer is a dominant offensive player, a great low-post/paint scorer.  But he’s beyond injury prone, not a great defender, and too small.  The Pistons have one of the weakest frontcourts in the league.  They need a real big man, a defensive presence, someone who can grab boards and alter shots.  They should be going after NY Knick David Lee.   David Lee does all the things the Pistons need, and he can score.  He plays hard every night.  He’s durable. They should have gone after him last summer, when he was right there for the taking, instead of Charlie V.  Detroit won’t be able to afford him this summer, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.  The Pistons should be trying to trade Tayshaun for David Lee now.  The Knicks won’t re-sign Lee this summer.  They’ll be gunning for Lebron, Wade, Bosh, etc.  And D’Antoni would love Tayshaun, a player he can use at the point forward position, not unlike he used Boris Diaw in Phoenix.

If the Pistons can trade Tayshaun and Jason Maxiell for David Lee, then fuck around in the lottery and pick up DeMarcus Cousins, next year you’re looking at a starting lineup of Rodney Stuckey at the 1, Rip at the 2, Charlie V. at the 3 (at least part of the time), and Cousins and Lee at the 4 and 5 (now that’s a frontcourt!).  With Will Bynum coming off the bench at point, Ben Gordon off the bench in the sharp-shooter/Vinnie Johnson role, everyone’s favorite Swede Jerebko at the 3 while Charlie V. moves to the 4, and the ossified yet awesome bones of Ben Wallace spelling the 4 and 5.  This is a team that can make some noise.

Who’s with me?

Posted by LA Dubbs

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This play is as chaotic as this series.

This play is as chaotic as this series.

I told myself if scrappy, little Rajon Rondo dropped one more triple double on a stat sheet I would be forced to write about him. 28 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds later…still no post, Rajon! This isn’t a horseshoes blog, close doesn’t count!

Obviously, Rondo (averaging a triple double for the series) has been spectacular and he deserves credit for elevating his game at a crucial juncture. But despite his heroics, Boston is barely holding on. On paper, Rondo is filling just about all of the roles left vacant by Kevin Garnett’s absence. On the court, though, they look like a completely different team.

The Boston Celtics aren’t great because of Garnett. They are The Boston Celtics because of him. This isn’t pick-up basketball; you can’t just assemble the best players and win. Teams are designed to play a certain way. When Rondo scores 28, 16 more than his season average, those points are coming from somewhere else, and often at the expense of the gameplan.

Paul Pierce has found a way to be decent in this series, because he, like Rondo, is capable of making his own offense. Ray Allen has suffered immensely. It is not a knock on Ray-Ray to say his points are manufactured. He is a key component of the offense, so when that offense breaks down, he is lost. As are the majority of the Celtics, while Rondo and Pierce audible on clear-outs all game.

The Bulls have stuck around in this series for far different reasons than we originally imagined. Touted as a gritty, defensive team, the Bulls were expected to counter Boston nicely in a low-scoring series. Instead, Boston has played right into the hands of the Bulls two important rookies: PG, Derrick Rose and head coach, Vinny Del Negro.

Despite Rose’s epic talents, he should be outmatched in this series for lack of experience. Let’s not forget, he had one year with Calipari at Memphis adhering to a gameplan that was, ostensibly, “Do your thing, Derrick,” followed by a season under the minimalistic tutelage of Del Negro, who should also be outmatched in this series. The Celtics, when resembling themselves, are focused and disciplined. They play within their system and force you to adjust to them, something Vinny Del Negro would’ve failed at.

Lucky for VDN, the coaches have been reduced to spectators as this series has turned into a glorified two-on-two featuring Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon vs. Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce. If this series goes the distance it will be one of the longest (total minutes) in NBA history. Seems fitting, since we all know a good pick-up game can last all day.

Like any loyal Pistons fan, I hate the Celtics. I like it when they lose. But I love basketball, and that Boston squad from a year ago was special. They were the opposite of the one we are watching right now. The Bulls aren’t very good. Not yet, at least. They are in this series because Boston is playing down to their level. I know KG can’t suit up for his team, but you’d think he could maybe shame a few of them into remembering who they play for. Celtic pride used to mean something. But I guess that was way back last year.

KG finds alternative ways to contribute.

KG finds alternative ways to contribute.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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Our picks are in, complete with expert analysis! Don’t blame us when your bookie comes to collect.

(1) CLEVELAND CAVALIERS VS. (8) DETROIT PISTONS

nba_ben_sheed_580

"Scattered pictures, of the smiles we left behind, smiles we gave to one another, for the way we were."

Let’s get this one out of the way.

DUBBS: Cavs in 4. The Cavs are really hard to beat at home. I see the Cavs winning the first two at home, with at least the second game being a close one. After going down 0-2, the Pistons will fold. Goodbye Iverson. Bye-bye Sheed. Hello… Paul Millsap?

BROKEASS: I’m going with the Cavs in 3. No, seriously, Lebron will carve the Pistons up just like he did the last two times these teams faced off in the playoffs. He’ll average 40 in the Cleveland games before the “BJ Armstrong All-Stars” humiliate the Pistons at the Palace. On second thought, maybe the Cavs will win in 3. Either way, at the end of Sheed’s last game as a Piston, he’ll be sure to give Bronny a long, heartfelt embrace.

DUBBS: Yeah, Sheed’s gotta pass that torch from five years ago. So we both have Sheed gone after this year, but you have him leaving during the series. Where do you see Sheed going? I think both he and Iverson should head to Charlotte and reunite with LB.

BROKEASS: I’m not sure Sheed won’t retire, but if he signs a new deal Charlotte would be a wise decision. Old stomping grounds, old coach, young nucleus. And he could do almost every bit for Emeka Okafor what he did for Ben Wallace. As for Iverson, I don’t give a shit. Stick the “A-I” between “J” and “L” for all I care.

DUBBS: Yeah, Sheed could mentor Okafor like he does Dwight Howard. Except they’d actually be on the same team, making it, y’know, appropriate. And Iverson still has college eligibility, right? He should enroll at Florida International University and play for Isiah. Zeke could teach him how to run the point.

(2) BOSTON CELTICS VS. (7) CHICAGO BULLS

celtics-bulls-deng-shoots-over-pierce

Paul Pierce feels the music. Ty Thomas feels it move.

BROKEASS: I like Chicago to give Boston a hard time in this series. Especially if KG is inactive. The Bulls can match the defensive intensity of these Celts and that will result in some tough-fought games. Maybe even a tough-fought fight. I’ve got the Celtics in 6.

DUBBS: Agreed, Celtics in 6. I like Chicago right now. If they had made it to the 6 seed, I would pick them to upset Orlando. Derrick Rose is coming into his own and he’ll make a mark in this series. Ty Thomas and Noah have been playing well. And who’s gonna guard John Salmons?!?! But I think the Celtics will be super-motivated without KG. Pierce is gonna go off.

BROKEASS: I never thought I would read myself write this, but I think Chicago will suffer for the absence of Luol Deng. They need a calming presence that D-Rose does not yet provide. This will no doubt be his coming-out party as an individual, but this Rose is not yet fully in bloom when it comes to running a team. Ugh, did I just type that? Gag me with a penis. Who dominates the Battle of Connecticut: Gordon or Allen?

DUBBS: Allen, most definitely. He’s had a resurgent year, after recovering from last season’s ankle injuries. He’ll be better than Gordon. And I agree with you about the calming presence of Lu Deng. I’ve fallen asleep many a time watching his boring ass play ball. He’s like Tayshaun Prince without all the flash.

BROKEASS: “Luuuuuuuuu Deng will help you get your ZZZZZZZZ’s.”

(3) ORLANDO MAGIC VS. (6) PHILADELPHIA SEVENTY-SIXERS

Sixers smell defeat.

The Sixers smell defeat.

DUBBS: I don’t believe in Orlando. They are sweetmeat. Hedo is injured, Rafer Alston is not Jameer Nelson, and Dwight Howard is not the dominant offensive player he should be. Teams are too often able to contain him on that end of the floor. Having said that, I don’t see the Sixers posing much of a threat. They just aren’t good. And they have gotten worse lately. D-Ho should feast inside. Orlando in 5.

BROKEASS: Philly will have the advantage at guards, but that won’t matter. Two Andres don’t equal one Dwight. I’m taking Orlando in 4. Are we done talking about this unwatchable series yet?

DUBBS: Yes. The only point of interest in this series is whether Stan Van Gundy will wear a mock turtleneck every single game. SVG – Get you some breathable fabrics and live a little, son!

(4) ATLANTA HAWKS VS. (5) MIAMI HEAT

This is the matchup the Hawks should be concerned with.

This is the tandem the Hawks should be worried about.

BROKEASS: The top 3 in the East should’ve received First Round byes. This is the only series that matters. On paper I have to take the Hawks, but this series seems more likely to come down to these three intangibles: 1) Will D-Wade be infallible; 2) Will the referees treat D-Wade like he’s infallible; and 3) Will the Hawks self-destruct? I predict the series to be unpredictable, but am choosing Atlanta in 7.

DUBBS: Yeah, this is the one that’s up for grabs. Atlanta is a better team than Miami. But Dwyane Wade has been just disgusting. Atlanta has a tendency to fall apart a bit at times. And a Heat win would set up Lebron-Wade for Round 2. So, apologies to the always-overlooked Joe Johnson and the always-undereducated Josh Smith, but I’m picking Miami in 7.

BROKEASS: It is hard to bet against Dwyane if it comes down to Game 7. But I’m betting on an Atlanta team that thrives at home and feels like they let an upset slip away last year in Boston. Miami has too little else besides Wade. Mario Chalmers, you ain’t in Kansas anymore. Mike Bibby has too much playoff experience and too many tattoos to read. If JO somehow comes alive, that’s a different story, but we all know in this world, when you’re dead you stay dead.

DUBBS: Too little else besides Wade? Um… hello? Mike ‘Be Easy” Beasley? Jo-el “son of Jor-el, brother of Kal-el” Anthony? AKA The Gazelle? Udonis “Udonis Haslem” Haslem? And JO is a soldier. He lives to come up short in moments like this. No, it’s all on Wade. If Atlanta can keep Wade under 30 for a game or two, they’ll win. But I don’t think they can do it.

That’s all for the East. Western Conference First Round picks coming up.

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