For those who may not know, I am an avid Detroit Pistons fan. Since I was a little kid, watching the Pistons has been one of my favorite past-times. When I was a boy I would pray that the Pistons would win before each game, and I would often cry when they would lose… yikes.
In any case, Michael Curry (new head coach of the Pistons) announced recently that the starting lineup of the Pistons will be shaken up – and much to my surprise, McDyess will be going to the bench. Curry has assured Antonio that he will continue to play a major role as the first big man off the bench for the Pistons, which I think he must for them to succeed.
You can read the entire article here: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080930/SPORTS0102/809300362/1127/rss13
I have mixed thoughts. On the one hand, I agree with the coaching decision to shake things up a little bit. The Pistons have been successful but stagnant over the past several seasons. Many teams would be thrilled with Detroit’s success over this time – repeated trips to the conference and NBA finals – however, dedicated fans who watch the Pistons often know that they are capable of not just making the Finals but actually winning them. When they are clicking on all cylinders, they are capable of not just beating but blowing out any team in the league.
Moreover, moving McDyess to the bench will finally allow some of our younger bench players to develop, something Flip Saunders always preached about but never practiced. Maxiel has shown time and again that he has double double potential if given the minutes. Amir Johnson has shown some signs of low post dominance, particularly on the defensive end. And both add a whole bunch of athleticism to an aging albeit competitive starting five. Kwame Brown obviously remains the X factor. Will he be able to make a valuable contribution? I think so, and here’s why. In Detroit, there is no pressure for him to be great. He can simply be himself. And if he is himself, he will get us 8-10 points and 6-8 rebounds as well as some shot blocking here and there. Plus, he is another big body to put on dominant big men, such as Dwight Howard, Elton Brand, Chris Bosch, and Jermaine O’Neal.
On the other hand, moving Dyess to the bench raises a few concerns. First off, he hasn’t come off the bench very well in the past. It seems that Dyess is a player who needs to get off to a good, quick start in order to make his mark on any given game, and coming off the bench might make that difficult for him. In addition, so much of his success over the past few years can be attributed to moving well without the ball when the defense was focused on other of Detroit’s weapons. Whether it be rolling after setting a pick for Chauncey or curling after setting an off-the-ball screen for Rip, Dyess is the benefactor when other people create the play and dish it to him for his patented 15-foot pure jumper finish. Certainly he will still get reps with the starters, and I think he needs to to remain successful.
But in the midst of the doubt surrounding the Pistons this season – a new coach, threats of major restructuring, etc. – I think we can count of Dyess’ mental toughness, which will ensure his successful contribution. Remember, he’s been through reconstructive knee surgery twice, and he’s come back to be a major contributor to a championship caliber team. He’s not going anywhere, even with a new role. And neither are the Pistons.