Monday, March 17, 2008

On The Pistons, Hasek and Denny Bautista...

I don’t get it. There seems to be an awful lot of concern about the Pistons. I just don’t understand why. Seems to me, they are in excellent position to take a run at the NBA title. Seems to me, that it is more likely than unlikely they will make the Eastern Conference finals for the sixth year in a row. Seems to me like the Pistons just might be the best franchise in professional sports. Honestly. The Pistons are run that well at every level.
People seem confused by their bench. They wonder if Flip Saunders should stay with the high energy younger players. Or play the veterans they have added recently. At least Saunders has options. Jarvis Hayes, for example, is capable of winning a playoff game or two with his scoring. The Pistons were missing that type of streak shooter off the bench in the past.
Rodney Stuckey is a high-energy player, who is fearless attacking the basket. What he does, is give the Pistons a much different look than Chauncey Billups off the bench. They were missing that element last season. Theo Ratliff will help inside. And that’s before you get to Aaron Afflalo, Juan Dixon and Amir Johnson.
I like the Pistons bench. I see it as much improved. Not as a source for constant consternation.

Random Thoughts

- There is still time, but the No. 1 priority for the Red Wings right now has to be getting Dominik Hasek prepared for the playoffs. He didn’t get much defensive support Sunday before he was pulled against Columbus, but was hardly sharp, either. If Hasek doesn’t play well during the playoffs, the Red Wings are doomed. And he seems to be getting more "iffy" by the day.

- The biggest bright spot for the Tigers this spring has been reliever Denny Bautista. He has done a good job of commanding the baseball, but how will he react under the glaring lights of the regular season? Certainly velocity is not a problem. This kid has a great arm. It's just that he is unproven.


Anonymous Mike from Monroe said...

Hi Pat - I agree with your assessment of the Pistons bench (it will probably determine how far they advance in the playoffs - should be the EFC at worst). But you forgot to mention their top bench player: Jason Maxiell.

He, Johnson, Stuckey, Afflalo will be the cornerstones of the next great Detroit team (if they can keep all of them under contract).

Keep up the great work! I really enjoy your blog.

11:29 AM 
Blogger Dakota Mark said...

Hey Book, don't get me wrong, I love the Pistons and I watch ever single game. I agree they are one of the best ran organizations in the NBA, save maybe San Antonio. The problem with them, in my opinion, is that they rely too much on the perimeter game. If they are not hitting shots right out of the gate, teams are running track meets with them in transition and are able to put a lot of separation in the first quarter. During the regular season, they have high energy bench guys to come in and take the pressure off. In the playoffs, the bench is shorter and they play way less minutes. Thus, the starters who maybe struggling early on are left in to work their way out of it. When in the regular season, the energy guys would come in and sometimes play extended minutes. In the post season, that rarely happens. The starters are getting too old to play the catch up game through 3 rounds of the playoffs any more. I know they are fresher this season, then in the past...but, our opponents have had a few years now to get better themselves and to figure out the Piston starters game.

I still think they are one of the best teams in the NBA overall, but their defense is not what it was in 2004 to make up for some inevitable awful shooting start of games. Thus, I am very skeptical...excited also yes, but very skeptical. I hope you are right my friend.

Later, Dakota Mark

1:32 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...


Top of the morning on this St.Pats

I was sitting at the Henry Ford Sports medicine facility today - I'm going to have my knee rebuilt (they have the technology!) and was reading in a copy of SI there about a kid we got from Seton Hall - Rick Porcello. They were talking about him coming up by end of the summer. Sounds like the Andrew Miller thing all over again. SI was really up on him. Inge was quoted there saying "Why wait?".

I think Miller did well enough in his short stint up with the boys last year - but more minor league time was needed - how do you think Porcello fits in here?

(PS - Bautista has been fun to read about)

2:06 PM 
Anonymous Tom Mohan said...

I'm not concerned about Hasek; being a bit of an older dude myself I anticipate he is saving the height of his emotional intensity for the playoffs. You realize the depth of your reserves at a certain age and I would be more concerned if he were playing like a maniac right now.

9:59 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Mike from monroe,
I think Maxiell is very good and played well last season during the playoffs, but will obviously fill a more important role this year. I can see where Stuckey, in particular, may develop into an excellent player.

10:12 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

dakota mark,
I agree about te jumpshots. It is a weakness. Maybe their biggest. Rasheed staying the blocks is important. They need most consistent production from Maxiell. Ratliff isn't really a post threat as much as an offensive rebounder.

10:14 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Good luck with your knee...Because he is so tall, there are a number of things that can go wrong with Miller's delivery. That could be a problem for him. He was ready when they brought him up. Had several good starts, but lost it quickly after missing a couple starts. Porcello is young, but has played at a high level for an amateur for awhile. He should arrive quickly if all goes right. I have talked to scouts not connected to the Tigers who compare him to Beckett. It didn't take Beckett long. I suspect this kis is the real deal.

10:17 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tom Mohan,
I go back and forth on Hasek. Sometimes I think he is great, other times I wonder about him. If nothing else, it makes the playoffs more interesting to wonder which Dominik Hasek will show up.

10:19 AM 

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