Monday, November 05, 2007

Pistons Better Because Their Bench Is Better

Seems to me what the Pistons have missed most since they won the NBA title in 2004 is depth off the bench.
Obviously, when he was in that role, Antonio McDyess was an excellent sixth man. But when you think about it, the catalyst for many of the Pistons’ biggest playoff wins during the 2004 playoff run came from players such as Mike James, Mehmet Okur and Corliss Williamson.
Because of salary cap reasons, the Pistons had to break up that group. And while Williamson, who was older, is out of the league, Okur and James have been successful in expanded roles since leaving the Pistons.
Conversely, the Pistons haven’t had the same degree of success from the players they have attempted to use to augment their bench since.
This season appears to be different. Sunday night, the Pistons won their home opener, edging the vastly improved Atlanta Hawks by a point.
The last couple years, the Pistons probably would have lost the game. They didn’t because Jason Maxiell gave them a massive lift off the bench. It wasn’t just because of the 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks he posted, either.
The Hawks are a young, athletic team comprised of a who’s who of the NBA’s lottery picks in recent years. When the game got into an athletic mode, Maxiell matched it. He is extremely aggressive and not afraid to attack in every way. The Pistons were lacking that from their bench before.
Jarvis Hayes then hit some key shots down the stretch. He is another upgrade. When the Pistons get Rodney Stuckey back - and he displayed the ability to get into the lane during the preseason - it will solidify the Pistons’ depth.
This is a much better team the way Joe Dumars has formulated the bench. And it should pay off at playoff time.

Random Thoughts

- The number one question being asked out there is, "What really happened to Joel Zumaya’s shoulder?" With no facts to base it on, it does seem unfair to Zumaya. But why are the rumors so persistent.? It does make you wonder.

- After long trips to the West Coast and the Canadian west, the schedule takes a turn directly in the Red Wings favor. This appears to be one of those years when the Red Wings separate themselves quickly from the rest of the pack. They have been, in a word, terrific.

- Given their checkered past, skepticism about the Lions’ 6-2 start is understandable. And the second half schedule is difficult. But it has been impressive the way the Lions have cut down on turnovers and penalties, performed at home (a 4-0 record) and won close games. It is a formula that usually produces a playoff team.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The success of the Pistons bench so far is really showing in the number of minutes the starters are logging. It looks like most of them are playing 27-37 minutes (I think only Tayshaun has one game over 40). This will really pay off in the spring if the bench can maintain this effort.

12:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
I agree. I think Joe Dumars has done a very good job of tweaking the roster. The Pistons are being underestimated.
Caputo

2:31 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book,

The Zumaya shoulder thing.

I know it's unfair - but the whole story sounds scripted. But I also know that fact is stranger than fiction - look at Dick Chaney. Who could make that guy up?

In either case, I didn't think Zumaya would ever be the same 100 MPH thrower he was before the finger. Now it seems even more unfortunate.

And if I don't get a chance to post before Sunday - The Lions stink. Thank me on Monday.

I miss my friggin baseball. I hear Cricket is starting up now.

10:15 PM 
Anonymous David said...

In my opinion Jeremey Bonderman is the key to the Tigers sucess next year.

My baseball predictions have been right on nearly all the time and I think we will win 95+ next season.

And with everybody complaining about the age of the Tigers roster... in reality who is a major injury risk?

Pudge - yep but Leyland rests him often (I'd like to see more of Vance - he is vastly underrated)
Guillen - shouldn't have any trouble this year with 1st.
Sheff - hopefully he heals up good and never plays in the field again...
Kenny (assuming he is resigned for 8-10mil) - I think last year's surgery was very abnormal for him, but he is old

Seriously though we shouldn't have any trouble (I hope) with Bondo, Verlander, Robertson (#5 kid pitcher), Polanco, Inge, Rentaria, Ordonez, Grandy, Raburn/Thames/ and the Pen

1:54 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

David,
That is an asute observation as I am concerned about Bonderman. Two years in a row he had the same problems as their No.2 starter. It hurt them very badly this season. Again, if they are going for it now, why not consider trading him for an older - but more dependable - No. 2 starter.
Caputo

10:12 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
LOL on the Lions comment. We'll see how they do in Arizona. You have to give them credit where credit is due for what they accomplished so far. And I, too, miss baseball already. Maybe it's because the World Series was so anticlimatic.
Caputo

10:14 AM 
Anonymous Marty said...

Pat and Fred Bill,

I don't understand why so many are doubting Zumaya's story. It is perfectly plausible, and I have had similar things happen to me when I have tried to help others out. You aren't used to doing certain things, and often don't have the time to do it really, so you rush through it and get hurt. I tore a rotator cuff doing something very similar, because I moved something that I didn't really have time to move and that I wasn't really expecting to move when someone else wasn't able to. The story looks entirely plausible, and I don't think of Zumaya as a Jeff Kent type of guy, because he just doens't have that type of personality. If he made a mistake, he would definitely admit it; it is just who he is.

-Marty

5:01 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
I have heard doctors say it is difficult to get that type of injury the way Zumaya described it. Having said that, though, your point is well taken. It is unfair to speculate without proof. But it can't denied what the buzz is about the injury. It's like people can't help themselves.
Caputo

10:33 AM 

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