Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Screw Darko and the lottery pick, what about point guard?

The Darko trade rumors are getting me to the same point I was with the Martz to the Lions talk. I'm ready for something, anything to happen, just so we can stop being amateur GM's. Unfortunately, we may be talking Darko for the next week, up to the trade deadline.

Out in the blogosphere, thoughts are most definitely mixed. Ian, Eno, The Leelanau Sports Guy, The Sports Dude* and Corey at Motoring have all chimed in, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. The general consensus being, make the trade, in Joe we trust.

I gave my thoughts on Monday, and they still haven't changed. In fact, my feelings have grown stronger. I have no issue with Darko being given a championship ring, a hearty handshake and a pat on the back, then shoved out the door. Darko's a dead man walking in the D, it's more than obvious he's going somewhere by the deadline. A 2006 number one pick is a nice recovery from blowing it with Darko, but it best be in the lottery. If it's lottery protected for this year (Right now, talk is it's protected at 7 or higher), or outright changed to Orlando's 2007 first pick, as word is Orlando would prefer, then I'm more than concerned, I'm pissed.

Disregarding where the pick is in the draft, let's say Joe Dumars pulls the trigger and this particular trade is made. What happens then? Most importantly, Flip Saunders' bench is shortened even more than it already has been. Lindsey Hunter is NOT, I repeat, NOT, an option as the primary back up at point. He'll get some minutes, but he's old, he's been injured, and just got his first meaningful playing time of the season last night. All of 9 minutes, and that's in a blowout win that was never in question midway thru the 2nd half.

Remember last season, with concern that the starters were wearing out, especially Tayshaun Prince? What's going to happen to Chauncy Billups and Prince if Arroyo is out of the picture? Again, don't say "Lindsey Hunter!" If you say, "Alex Acker," I'll sign the papers for your committment.

Why am I concerned about Prince? Because I can see Prince getting significant minutes handling the ball as a pseudo point guard, with Delfino getting a few extra minutes spelling the Prince/Billups combo. You know what that brings? Burnout. Are you comfortable with Delfino getting more time in the rotation? Me? I'm on the fence. Delfino looks good in spurts, but is still very inconsistent. I don't think he's fully earned Flip's trust either.

So if the moves are made, and as the roster would stand after the trade, where does that leave the Pistons for this season? We all know how coaches are, they'll ride their best players. Flip will use a 6 man team. Sound familiar? Evans and Delfino pick up the leftovers. We don't see Davis till the Pistons face a true center in the playoffs, that being the very large man in Miami. We never see Cato (If he isn't cut first), Maxiell, Acker, and Johnson. They are still short a scorer off the bench. Do you sense the deja vu?

My feelings may change if Joe Dumars has another iron in the fire. Thing is, with what does he have left to bargain? His two biggest bargaining chips, Darko and Arroyo, would be gone. He'll have an expiring 8.5 million dollar contract, but that's supposedly set aside to allow the Pistons to keep both Ben Wallace and Chauncy Billups. What about a future draft pick(s)? But how do you take on a contract in a pick for player trade? So how does, called so deservedly, the best GM in the NBA find that extra piece of bench depth they desperately need? If I knew, I'd be running a team.

If Dumars does have that piece up his sleeve, he won't just be considered the best GM in the game, he'll be an out and out miracle worker.

I want to add this... We need to remember one thing, considering all the angst over this impending trade. The Pistons are still running away with the East, and they would still be considered favorites to win the NBA title. Which is what we all wanted anyway, right?

*Edited to add another link...


  1. I like the trade, with or without the Arroyo factor you mentioned. I commented on this elsewhere and I'll say it again anyhow, Hunter will be used only for 8-10 minutes a night, even in the playoffs. Can anyone honestly see Billups not being in there for the 40-42 minutes in the playoffs anyway?

    Besides, if it makes you feel better, I watched the game last night on FSN and either Kelsar or McCloud was saying that Dumars opened up about the rumors and talked about the truth. In the conversation Joe said that, if he pulled the trigger, he would definitely shop for another guard, he doesn't want Hunter to be forced to be the primary back up. I just think it is more about Arroyo and the fact he doesn't fit on this team.

  2. I know it's a good move for the future. I know I'm probably focusing too much on the bench. you're correct that Billups plays a ton in the post season. I'm probably reading to much into the trade. Like you said, Joe D knows they need backcourt reinforcement.

    But I want home court and Joe D better find another GUARD!

    BTW, glad to see another post finally on LWF...

  3. I said this in the comments of my blog, but Pistons fans might not realize how valuable a role Arroyo played until he's gone - especially if they can't find a suitable replacement. (And by "suitable," I mean someone who can actually run the offense, unlike Lindsey Hunter.) Upgrading that position might not be as easy as some people think.

    One more thing: Sure, Chauncey will get the majority of the point guard minutes in the playoffs. But what about the remaining 31 games of the regular season? Making sure the starters aren't overplayed could be Flip's biggest concern after the All-Star break.

  4. dude, it's carlos arroyo. We traded a backup point guard, and an inconsistent one at that. The negativity about this trade is puzzling. All we need is a guy to play the last couple minutes of the first and third quarters to give Chauncy a little bit of rest. The bench in the NBA is over rated. It may be important for teams who do not have five all star starters. The truth is it makes much more sense for us to have veterans like Hunter who can play well in short spurts, than younger guys like Arroyo who can never get it going because they don't play enough minutes. Plus, Delfino may be inconsistent but so is Arroyo. You trade a guy and all of a sudden you think the world of him. A replaceable cog and I already think Dumars is on it, but keep going you nattering nabobs of negativism (and ignorance.)