Monday, January 08, 2007

Rob Parker, Pistons apologist

The Pistons often looked bored early on in the regular season, only playing their best when an opponent intrigued them. To their credit, they did turn on the jets, going 15-3 from mid November through Christmas.

Since that streak ended, the Detroit Pistons are once again stumbling along, admittedly much in thanks to Chauncey Billups' calf injury. Unfortunately, they do seem to be coasting. They are 1-4 in their last 5 games, while looking totally disinterested.

What hasn't helped is that Flip Murray has been a disaster as Billups' back up, and is rumored to be on the trading block. The other healthy point guard, Will Blaylock, is playing like one would expect the last player picked in the 2006 draft. He's
occasionally decent, but looks overwhelmed the majority of the time. The 85 year old Lindsey Hunter is once again injured, and will be kept on ice, much like last season, till the playoffs near.

For the most part, the Pistons have been what we expected, no more, and no less. A good team that is in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.

Seems like a strange time for a gushing column to appear in the Detroit News, one highly praising head coach Flip Saunders. All becomes clear when you see that it's a "Column" from Joe Dumars' lapdog, Wobb Parker.

The headline alone raises an eyebrow. "Saunders' efforts move the Pistons above expectations."

I'm aware that the columnist don't write the headlines, but it does fit the tone of the column. But come on! "Above expectations?" 4th in the East, 2nd in the Central is above expectations? That seems to be meeting expectations, and that's being generous at best.

Wobb does his normal shill job when it comes to anything Pistons related. This column comes off as a paid advertisement selling the sometimes dubious virtues of Flip Saunders.

"Flip Saunders has held it together. Somehow, someway, the Pistons aren't the total mess they could be at this point."

Total mess? Saunders still has 4/5 of what was considered the best starting lineup in the NBA. It'd be damn hard to screw that up.

"Saunders has a chance to turn in the best coaching performance of his career. With the loss of Ben Wallace to free agency, he had to make changes and they have worked -- without any fall-off on defense or rebounding."

The only change is that Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince are each averaging close to 2 boards more a game when compared to last season. Add that with Wallace's replacement Nazr Mohammed's 5.8 per, and you have essentially replaced what Wallace brought to the boards. It appears more to me that 'Sheed and Prince stepped up their game, knowing that Ben Wallace was no longer around to cover their asses. I honestly don't know how much of that is Saunders, and how much the players. But considering the NBA is a players league, I hesitate to give Flip a ton of credit.

"The bottom line remains the Pistons, as much as any team, have a chance to get to the NBA Finals for the third time in four years."

That is exactly what fans and experts expected, even with the loss of Ben Wallace, that the Pistons would be in the mix for the Eastern Conference title. What exactly is so special about Flip having the Pistons exactly positioned where EVERYONE expected?

But don't feel sorry for Saunders. He knew what he signed up for when he came here after being fired by the Timberwolves. He could easily have taken a less-pressure-no-expectation team gig. Instead, he took the challenge of taking over a team that went to the NBA Finals two years in a row and probably could only go down.

With all that has happened, that's where they should be. But, Saunders has them still up near the top.

I doubt ANYONE feels sorry for someone making millions on a guaranteed contract. And why would any coach worth his salt choose a NBA bottom feeder over a playoff tested contender like the Pistons? That would be outright stupid.

The last 2 sentences utterly confuse me. The Pistons are where they should be, in contention. Yet Saunders has them where they are supposed to be, in contention? What? I have no idea what Parker is trying to say, and from the confused wording, Parker doesn't either. Must have been s misprint in Dumars' latest memo...

What's interesting after reading the Dumars bought and paid for Parker column, the the News' Pistons beat writer is not quite so optimistic. Today's Chris McCoskey article is not written using the red, white, and blue colored glasses that Wobb wears when writing about the Pistons.

"Bored or not, injured or not, the Pistons have to start getting serious about securing their foothold in this raggedy Eastern Conference playoff race."

"The Pistons are squandering way too many games in this, the easy part of their schedule. And those are games that are going to be difficult to retrieve later in the season."

In my mind, McCoskey accurately describes the Pistons team that we have seen through the first months of the season. Bored, inconsistent, and making things more difficult for themselves. Why Parker hasn't seen that is a mystery...

One thing has become clear, as was noted in a post today by the go to blog for all things Pistons, Detroit Bad Boys. The Pistons don't have a chance in Hell unless Chauncey Billups is on the floor.

It's interesting to note that it took an injury to Billups to reinforce the idea that the Pistons have to sign him long-term in the coming off season. Without Billups, the Pistons just might as well go into rebuilding mode. Pistons apologist Parker would likely blow sunshine up our asses, and claim that the Pistons don't rebuild under Dumars, they just reload.

Either way, we'd all feel a little better about the Pistons if they at least looked interested as the season slooooowly moves toward the playoffs.

As quoted in McCoskey's article, 'Sheed is thinking the same thing.

"No doubt," Rasheed Wallace said. "We've got to put it in second gear right now. It's the second half of the season right now, even before the All-Star break. We have to start locking in."

I hope you take your own advice, and don't believe Parker's apologist "All is well" mantra, 'Sheed...


  1. If you really want me to read thes things, gon't put the words :Wob Pawka" in the title....after I read that, the rest was like listening to Charlie Brown's teacher.....

  2. Sorry fot the typo's....I got my fingers messed up....