Thursday, November 01, 2007

Above the Fold - Detroit Pistons opening night

The Pistons finally tip off tonight against the Wade-less Miami Heat. Hoops have been off the radar for months, with the last significant news being the drafting of Rodney Stuckey and Aaron Affallo.

Personally, I'm not sure what to make of the Pistons, as for the umpteenth season in a row, we've been told that they are going to make an effort to develop the young players on their bench. Let alone develop a bench, period. I have to see it to believe it, and with the injuries to Stuckey and Johnson to start the season, the bench has been thinned already. (Mlive's A, Sherrod Blakely is on WXYT right now, saying that Rip Hamilton as family issues to take care of, so he will not be in Miami tonight. That's 3 rotation players out against the Heat)

I'm guessing the Pistons end the season around 50 wins, and we'll be screaming for Flip Saunders' scalp after they lose in the Eastern Conference finals once again.

You know it's the start of the season when the Freep's lead "Sports" (Term used VERY loosely) columnist, the Little Fella, makes an appearance. In what odds are will be his only Pistons-centric column till the playoffs start, the the nation's most popular purveyor of overtly sentimental fiction takes on their biggest question mark. Not 'Sheed, not the young bench players, but their coach that always seems to be on the hot seat, Flip Saunders.

Morrie's sap filled student is buying into the Pistons' company line, their "Develop the young players" mantra.

But no amount of misdirection will help Saunders this season. There are two things he has to do. The first is to play the younger Pistons -- the rookies and the reserves -- to preserve the veterans' bodies for the playoffs. The second is to get up into the faces of anybody -- starting five included -- who isn't performing up to snuff.

Last May, when certain starters went dry and committed uncharacteristic turnovers, some felt Saunders was too light. He trusted them too much, shook them up too little.

That won't happen again this season -- or Saunders may indeed be gone.

The News' Chris McCosky takes a look at tonight's matchup, and he's concerned that the Pistons no long have a bench full of big bodies to slow down Shaq. Alas, poor Dale Davis, along with your 275 lbs and 6 fouls, will be missed

O'Neal averaged 27 points in two games against the Pistons last season, but he did most of his damage early in the game. The Pistons, using a fleet of big bodies and a batch of fouls, effectively wore him out.

That fleet is gone. The Pistons no longer have Dale Davis or Chris Webber. They start two power forwards in Wallace and Antonio McDyess. Nazr Mohammed, the one true center on the roster, weighs almost 80 pounds less than O'Neal. The other Pistons' frontcourt players are 6-foot-7 Jason Maxiell and little-used Amir Johnson, who is doubtful because of a sore left Achilles.

At Mlive, A. Sherrod Blakely focuses on the Pistons' "Daunting" early schedule, that has the Pistons, thanks to the NBA and their infinite wisdom, playing 8 of their first 10 games on the road.

How does eight of the first 10 on the road sound?

"Daunting!" Pistons coach Flip Saunders said.

The Pistons are the only NBA team to play more than six road games within their first 10.

"That's cool," Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace said. "That means eight of our last 10 are going to be at home during the end of the season."

Actually, Detroit plays seven of its last 11 at The Palace, but there is a lot of basketball to be played before then.

And it starts in Miami tonight, the first of what is shaping up to be one of the most difficult schedules Detroit has had to open a season.

The majority of the blogosphere is quiet regarding the Pistons. Then again, when you're taking Pistons, it's all about the playoffs, not the regular season.

There's 2 must read-read Pistons sites, and they have been quickly ramping up into daily posting mode.

Detroit Bad Boys has a preview of Pistons starting 5. The biggest change from last season is Antonio McDyess moving from his 6th man role, and into the starting lineup.

The light finally went on in someone’s head, and now the 2nd best big man on the team is going to be in the starting lineup. Hopefully, this will help him shake off the (understandable) early-season cobwebs that have plagued him the last couple of seasons. McDyess played out of his mind after the all-star break, and if he can deliver that kind of production for a full season, the Pistons are going to be the extremely difficult to beat.

The always entertaining Need 4 Sheed is already up to full speed. Natalie reflects upon the starting lineup, and has also posted a video that features the Pistons "Very familiar starting 5." As always, Natalie has a cornucopia of audio, video, photoshops, and game recaps. Plus Need 4 Sheed just looks cool...

The 2007-2008 Pistons is upon us as The Pistons kick it off tonight in Miami against The Heat. We have all been very excited about the new Pistons youth movement, but do you realize that this core group of Sheed, Rip, Tayshaun and Chauncey have been together for quite some time, so long in fact they have started 224 games since the '04 season.

That's "Above the Fold" for Thursday, 11-1-07!


  1. Al,
    I was hoping to be cool myself, but since the site "looks cool" I am happy with that.

  2. You're always cool in my book, Nat!

  3. Good defense by the Detroit Pistons drama boys, if only we could patch up the difference, this will be a Detroit good season. They are running, switching in defense, rebounding see those efforts. We don't have yet the Pistons team down.

    I which I could see some Pistons games live. I was looking for tickets all the good seats on ticketmaster were taken I had to check broker. And man you don’t want to do that especially for the Detroit Pistons. Thanks god there sites like Ticketwood which work as comparators here is the site
    Pistons Tickets

    I like slam dunks that take me to the hoop my favorite play is the ally-hoop,
    I like the pic n roll,i like the given goal its basketball yo, yo lets go!
    Go Pistons Go!!!