A lot of lists are floating around now. And I’ve found them really enjoyable an though-provoking. I definitely plan to make at least one next offseason.
But they’re also really wrong.
ESPN’s Eastern Conference standings
The Pistons are slotted 10th. Here’s the logic:
Detroit fans are already defining success downward, and our panel says they have the right idea. If our forecast plays out, the Pistons will miss the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons, and will have a lottery pick to show for their hotly debated trade of Chauncey Billups and acquisitions of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.
Yes, the Pistons have a lower bar this year. But that’s relative to all those trips deep in the playoffs – not last year’s eighth seed and first-round exit.
Billups was already gone last year. It’s not like Detroit is losing him all over again.
And I’ve already explained why I think the Pistons will be better than last year.
Slam’s top 50
Slam ranked Allen Iverson the 50th-best player in the NBA right now.
He just doesn’t have it anymore. He can’t finish his drives. He can’t shoot. He can’t defend. He can’t be a good teammate.
Ben Gordon came in 47th. I’m not sure how off that is, but it definitely seems low. He was the best player on a playoff team last year.
Ball Don’t Lie’s top 10 value-for-money deals of the last decade
Chauncey Billups is third, and Ben Wallace is fourth on Kelly Dwyer’s list.
It’s nice to see a couple Pistons so high, and they certainly deserve it.
But Wallace made less than Billups and was a better player. He should be higher.
Wallace was one of the greatest defenders of all time (more on that later). Billups was great, but Wallace should have been an MVP candidate.
Ball Don’t Lie’s top 10 best defenders of the last decade
Also from Dwyer:
He just guarded everyone, every play, every feint, every drive, everything. And then he’d get the rebound. Pity that nobody seemed to be paying attention.
A perfect description of Ben Wallace. I remember possessions where he guarded all five opponents at some point. He once charge from Allen Iverson (in his prime, not the rundown version we saw last year) while pressing him in the backcourt.
Wallace won Defensive Player of the Year awards, but he deserved more. He alter the game on defense more than top offensive players. He should have been in the MVP discussion.
But as Dwyer said, nobody was paying attention – as they never are to defense.
Alas, Dywer’s description is of his top choice: Kevin Garnett. And Shane Battier is second.
Wallace is third – far too low.
At least Dwyer adds a dead-on assessment of Wallace:
And during his prime, Wallace was just a stud. Blocked your shot, sure, but he changed and altered five times as many, while still (and this is so, so huge) picking up the rebound after forcing some poor soul into an attempt that was bound to go in barely a third of the time.
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