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Game Review: McDyess deserves better

Who’s your favorite Piston?

Richard Hamilton? Rasheed Wallace? Tayshaun Prince? Rodney Stuckey? Jason Maxiell? Are you still hanging onto Allen Iverson? What about Walter Herrmann?

Detroit fans have so many different favorites these days. But they all seem to have the same No. 2.

Antonio McDyess.

McDyess is the consummate professional. He’s quiet, but he usually gets the job done. Last night, he did a little more than that.

McDyess scored 21 points and grabbed 22 rebounds. It was the Pistons’ first 20-20 game since Bison Dele had 26 and 20 in 1997.

Still, the Pistons lost to the Knicks, 116-111 in overtime. In all too typical fashion, McDyess’s teammates let him down.

  • Richard Hamilton had eight turnovers and fouled Larry Hughes on a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in regulation.
  • The Pistons bench scored just 12 points — compared to 49 by the Knicks, including 30 from Nate Robinson.
  • In his first start of the season, Jason Maxiell had just three points and two rebounds.

It was the fifth 20-20 game of McDyess’s career. The other four came in an 11-month span with the Nuggets. During that time, he also won a gold medal with the 2000 U.S. Olympic team.

McDyess was a supreme athlete and a rising player. In 1996, then-Denver coach Bernie Bickerstaff glowed about his star rookie to The (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Gazette.

“The guy has got talent,” Bickerstaff said. “You don’t see many guys who can jump with that kind of quickness and that kind of explosiveness. Those things just jump out at you. . . . He’s a keeper.”

But McDyess’s career derailed. He played just 94 games from the 2001-02 season through 2003-2004 as he dealt with an assortment of knee injuries.

In his first game back with the Knicks in 2003, he got teary eyed during and had to leave the court during the national anthem, according to The (Hackensack, N.J.) Record. As he tried to come back, he suffered through an inconsistent season, which included a trade to Phoenix.

Then he signed with the Pistons in 2004, and he became a solid contributor. His hops are gone, but he’s smarter. He has an excellent mid-range jumper, and he positions himself well for rebounds. That intelligent play endeared him.

But when he decided to come back to to the Piston when the Nuggets waived him after the Billup-Iverson trade, well, that took the respect everyone had for him to a new  level. He wanted to be in Detroit. These days, not many do.

The Pistons win over Orlando on Monday made McDyess a Piston. Of course, he was a Piston before, but that game meant he had played more games with Detroit than the Nuggets.

His impact is being seen this year more than any of his other years with the Pistons. The rebounded tone he set immediately improved them.

In the Pistons’ 19 games with him, they were 5-14 in the board war. With him, they’re 21-20-3.

McDyess is just 50th in the league in rebounds — hardly elite. But every player above him has played more minutes because McDyess had to sit out while waiting to sign with Detroit after Denver waived him.

McDyess originally joined the Pistons after they won the 2004 NBA Championship. McDyess has never won an title, and he took less money to join Detroit.

But the next year, the Pistons, no longer as hungry for a ring, blew a nine-point second-half lead to the Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. McDyess cried in the locker room. Then he went home to Houston and stayed in house for two weeks.

Last night’s loss won’t cost McDyess the ring he signed, and re-signed, with the Pistons to get. But it certainly doesn’t help.

McDyess has given so much to the Pistons, but what have they given him?

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