Los Angeles Lakers - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
Houston Rockets - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
Denver Nuggets - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
San Antonio Spurs - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
Portland Trail Blazers - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
Utah Jazz - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
New Orleans Hornets - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
Dallas Mavericks - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
Cleveland Cavaliers - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
Boston Celtics - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
Orlando Magic - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
Atlanta Hawks - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
Miami Heat - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
Philadelphia 76ers - http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
Well now that teams are clinching divisions and spots in the postseason I thought it would be cool to go ahead and preview each team that is going to be a part of the 2009 NBA Postseason. I will do one for each team as they clinch a playoff spot and since we already have teams that have clinched, we will start with them. Now we will continue with the former NBA champion Detroit Pistons.
When you think about Detroit, you think about a team with a lot of experience and a team where the core players all boast championship rings. Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace are, surprisingly, the only holdovers from that 2004 championship team, but they all started and played their own prominent role en route to winning that championship. Hamilton and Prince, in particular, are the most valuable players on the team because the offense really runs through those two players. When Hamilton has received big minutes and been in the lineup, the team has really responded with solid play and looks to be at their best and most effecient.
The Pistons still play solid defense as well. Rodney Stuckey, last postseason's biggest surprise in Motown, has good size for a point guard and is capable of staying in front of his man. Tayshaun Prince has a well received reputation as one of the better man defenders in the league, and when the situation calls for it you expect the Pistons to come up big on defense. Also, the Pistons have a deep rotation and throw a lot of players at you. Will Bynum has been a spectacular surprise as of late for Detroit and their bench really plays hard and seems to be a cohesive unit. They can give the starters, who have so much importance on this team, valuable rest and don't force Michael Curry to overexert his starters.
Even though Antonio McDyess and Rasheed Wallace are two solid power forwards, neither are a true center and neither can consistently score around the basket. It's well documented that Wallace has fallen in love with the three point shot as of late, and it really affects the Pistons in the long run because he's almost dominant down there in the paint. Unfortunately, he doesn't take it down there as much and he's a big key for the Pistons. With him in the lineup and playing well offensively and defensively, the Pistons have a chance to really make a run at a championship, but as we saw last year when Garnett lit him up and this season in his production offensively, Wallace's head no longer seems to be in the game.
Also, even though the Pistons have bodies, their bench lacks serious consistency. Arron Afflalo, Jason Maxiell, Walter Herrmann and even Will Bynum have been good in spurts this season but none of them have gotten into a rhythym where the Pistons should feel confident relying on any of them for an extended period of time. Also, with Maxiell playing like a reserve who received a huge contract, and with Amir Johnson and Kwame Brown as the other big man options for Detroit, the Pistons look to really struggle if they play an opponent that boasts a ton of size. The Pistons are without a doubt a guard-oriented lineup and they like to play small for mismatches, and also because they don't have options in the post.
Why They Will Win It
The Pistons are one of those teams who is capable of making a run. The talent and experience is there, and this team has made six straight Eastern Conference Finals. Even though this season has been a trainwreck in so many ways, the Pistons still are not at a lack of confidence, with Rasheed lately stating that the team would be ready to turn it on when the postseason came around. Turning the switch on and off is dangerous, but the Pistons have been notorious for doing it the past few seasons. That just proves that they can do it again this year.
Why They Won't Win It
The Pistons have looked out of sync without Billups all year. Rodney Stuckey is a really good player, but he's not a true point guard and the Pistons discounted a lot of chemistry to acquire Allen Iverson's contract. The Pistons can turn the switch on and off, but they haven't shown this year that they can play with any bit of consistency or togetherness. Rasheed Wallace's production really seems to have affected this entire team as a whole, and with his inconsistent performances the Pistons have struggled, as he is their only true option under the basket. This is a team with a ton of experience from past years, but it's a team that hasn't had much success this season.
You'd like to declare the Pistons dead but you still can't until they lose in the postseason. With the players that they have, and with a team that has all the confidence in the world, a part of you still believes they could possibly make a run in the postseason. They match up well with anybody, however they don't have any size and haven't seem interested at all this season. With their record and with their performance, credit and optimism is undeserved for this Detroit squad. However, by reputation alone, this is a team that, in the right matchup, could win a playoff series. But, with what they've displayed on the court, it's hard to believe that they will do so.
Coming up next: the Chicago Bulls.