Thursday, August 13, 2009

Signing Big Ben Welcome Addition Or New Low For Pistons?

I understand, in theory, why there is a spot for Ben Wallace on the Pistons.
He doesn’t cost much by NBA standards in terms of salary - $1.3 million. He doesn’t cost anything in regard to the salary cap.
The Pistons badly need inside presence. That five- to-10 minutes per game Big Ben may give the Pistons could be important. Well, maybe that’s a stretch.
I find the coming together of the two parties to be a bizarre remarriage. This is not a hero returning to the fold. It’s more like a divorced couple getting back together because it helps take care of the rent for both while they are struggling.
When Chauncey Billups returned to The Palace with the Nuggets this past season, he was treated like a king by the Pistons, and given extremely warm welcome by fans.
When Big Ben would come back, there would be no extra inflection in Mason’s golden voice when introducing him. The fans booed. They particularly enjoyed him clanking his free throws - for the other team.
The Pistons are the masters of spin - and I mean that as a compliment. They will eventually convince the media and fans that this is, indeed, a hero returning for his swan song - or something like it.
However, it should be noted:
- The night of The Palace brawl, Big Ben provided the matchstick to Ron Artest and the crowd because he just wouldn’t calm down.
- He was downright insubordinate to his coach, Flip Saunders, during a game in Orlando.
- He is a horrible offensive player, who spent much of his last couple years with the Pistons sulking because he did get the ball enough.
- When Big Ben left, it was almost as if he turned his nose up at this town. Yeah, he got a little more money to play in Chicago. But if there was ever a player who should have considered the hometown discount it was Ben Wallace. Or at least been sad to move on. Instead, it was like he was gloating.
This town and the Pistons made Ben Wallace. What’s he been since he left other than grossly overpaid?
All of a sudden, he’s grateful for it? How convenient. Are the Pistons really improving their team by signing Big Ben?
Or stooping to a new low?



Anonymous Jeff said...

Evidently the Pistons couldn't come to terms with Leon Douglas, Ben Poquette or Dan Roundfield so they signed the next oldest old Piston available. If they wanted to sign a big man for a homecoming, they should have gone after Paul Davis.

2:09 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

I don't know where you're coming from on this one at all, Pat. Ben was a fan favorite here, and it was a very sad day in Detroit when he left. And he didn't leave for a slightly bigger offer, Chicago offered him $12 mil more than we were offering him.

Now he's coming back for the veteran minimum. Where's the downside? Why bash on his lack of an offensive game for a guy signing for the veteran minimum? Personally I think its great to have him back at such a low price despite his decline in production, and I don't think I'm in the minority.

3:12 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think one fact is continuously overlooked about ben leaving town for more money was a quote from Joe D. (i believe i read it in the oakland press) when wallace left. he told ben that he needed to take that offer as he would be able to take care of generations of his family to come. everyone keeps overlooking the words that came from the boss man himself. on top of that i dont see him leaving as pure greed, if anything i think it takes a hell of a lot of courage to leave a familiar place with those you are most comfortable with to charter territories unknown. he thought he could contribute more offensively elsewhere. it was a gamble he took and it failed. a lot of successful corporations will wish an employee well and thank them for their contributions and let them know the door is always open if they'd like to come back (and i consider the pistons franchise to be a pretty successful operation in its own). i dont see this a desperation move by the pistons. he was a leader on successful teams and he may bring something back to the locker room of a team that is searching for an identity. i see it as an opportunity to gain more than a chance to lose.

lil rob

3:16 PM 
Anonymous tigerclone said...

Hey Pat, T. Prince is probably glad Big Ben is back. Now he has someone to back him up when his man gets by him. Honestly, why is T.P. still on the team? He can't shoot the three, he won't go in the paint, and his defense is overrated. Plus, he's the only player on the floor that doesn't break a sweat. Can't Joe get anything for him?

5:12 PM 
Blogger Teach313 said...

Ben's fierce pride drove him to take his limited set of skills and make himself into an impact player in a league of gifted athletes. It seems to me, knowing Ben only through the sports pages, that his pride demands a high price. From little thing, not working on his free throws, to big issues, his clashes with coaches, his demands for the ball, Ben's consuming pride seems to have prevented him from understanding his limitations. I don't think he'll ease into the role of wise veteran who'll guide the kids. It's more likely that he'll fight Kwame Brown than tutor him. (But then that might not be a bad thing.) I wonder if Ben will learn how to bank the fires that burn in him. If he doesn't find a way to do so, he will become a bitter man, unhappy with his reduced role.

7:35 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

All the sidebar issues aside, can Wallace still play? Not from I've seen the last couple years.

9:54 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
There were a number of issues. And he didn't leave as afan favorite. He was roundly booed every time he returned. And it just wasn't because he was on the other team. They didn't boo other returning '04Pistons that way.

10:10 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

Pat, he DID leave as a fan favorite. Almost everyone wanted him to resign, people were just pissed that he left for more money. From what I've seen on mlive the fan reaction to bringing him back for the veteran minimum is very positive overall.

Kind of weird that you wait a week and then bash what seems like a nice move for everyone, including the fans.

10:37 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Lil Rob,
Big Ben was disappointment in terms of his ego when he was with the Pistons before. It got out of hand. And how much, honestly, is he going to help them win games?

11:04 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Ben Wallace was one of the best off-the-ball defenders in the history of basketball - "was" being the key word. He isn't the same player.

11:11 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Bitter? Happy to get one last paycheck is more like it. Doubt he'll be motivated at this stage of his career.

11:13 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
I just feel differently about it than you and some fans do, I guess. But there are people who agree with me about this.

12:06 PM 
Blogger DaveT said...


You are wrong on this one.. For 1.7 and no cap hit this is a no-brainer pick up. Ben Wallace was a big driving force for the Championship.. He left for more money (something that most people would do at their own job), I have been to a few of his return games and do not remember the onslaught of boos you describe.

You’re on an Island.. You’re one man ATTACK on him is totally unwarranted.

12:10 PM 

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