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The post about Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince you don’t want to read

I’m sorry, typical Pistons fan. You’re not going to like this. You’re already sick of Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, and this won’t make you like them more. Ken Berger of CBS Sports:

Hamilton and Prince didn’t elaborate on the improvement in chemistry that is required, but you don’t have to be a psychologist to figure it out. Take the lingering bitterness over the Billups trade, combine it with three coaches in three seasons, and lather it all up with losing and you have a team that one person close to the situation said is "in need of serious change."

The way the veteran core of Hamilton, Prince, Billups and Rasheed Wallace ran roughshod over Flip Saunders at the end of his tenure has come full circle. After a dismal year under the inexperienced, but no-nonsense Michael Curry, the Pistons have another pushover in the lead chair on the bench. Old habits have returned under first-year coach John Kuester, whose vision for the future is being clouded by the faces of the past.

There’s a growing feeling in the locker room that Kuester isn’t holding the veterans on the team accountable, and that he’s "too soft," said a person with direct knowledge of locker room conversations.

"Once Joe traded Chauncey, that was sort of the tipping point for all that stuff," the person said. "There is this old-guard mentality there, and it holds them back."

Berger’s column has plenty of flaws (see below the jump). But I think the above passage gets at a huge issue with the Pistons.

I’ve noted Tayshaun Prince’s apparent poor attitude with his new coach and his new teammates. And I expressed doubt’s about whether Kuester could transition from being an assistant to a head coach who commands respect.

I’m not ready to vilify Hamilton. I think he really wants to be in Detroit. He went out of his way to praise Ben Gordon before the season, and I think that was, in part, an effort to show the two could coexist. And he’s transformed his game to fit better as a second fiddle. Still, this column gives me pause.

Looking for a silver lining? Maybe these issues will make it more likely Joe Dumars trades Prince and Hamilton. Not so fast. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

“Teams calling the Detroit Pistons about Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince are finding out that GM Joe Dumars isn’t interested in expiring contracts, but getting value for his players.”


Column flaws

Berger:

“The Pistons’ chemistry experiment is 15 months in the making, and the toxic stew that was cooked up when Chauncey Billups was traded to Denver in 2008 still isn’t any more palatable.”

Truth: This group of core players has played two games together. Two! I have a lot of doubts about whether it will work, but you can’t say they’ve had a chance and failed – at least not yet.

Berger:

Stuck in the middle are the players who represent the future, in the form of Rodney Stuckey and 2009 draft picks DaJuan Summers and Austin Daye.

Truth: Has he ever heard of Jonas Jerebko? Pistons most productive rookie? Playing in the rookie-sophomore game? Ring a bell?

Berger:

“Prince would be good in the East or the West.”

Truth: This is more a distraction that a flaw. Any player who’s good in the East would be good in the West and vice-versa.

Berger:

“Trading Hamilton is much more problematic. The extension he signed in 2008 — believing, at the time, that Billups would remain with the team — has three years and $38 million remaining.”

Truth: Hamilton actually signed the extension after Billups was traded.

Berger:

They are the ultimate proof that you can either be in contending mode or teardown mode; you can’t do both.

Truth: Except the Pistons already did that once. Between the 2001-02 and 2006-07 seasons, the Pistons won 50 games every year. They also completely turned over their roster in that span. And they even made the playoffs the two seasons after that.

Berger:

Such an owner also would not necessarily be loyal to the Dumars regime, which produced six consecutive conference titles and one NBA title but nothing much since.

Truth: Well, it was only two straight conference titles (six consecutive trips to the conference finals). But this is like saying James Cameron hasn’t directed a ground-breaking movie since “Avatar.”

8 Comments

  • Feb 4, 201010:19 am
    by xerowattbulb

    Reply

    I think you made some good points, but there has to be something said about the composition of this roster.  Dumars knew what he had in Stuckey, Hamilton and Bynum, but still brought in Gordon and then invoked the name of Vinnie Johnson.  But didn’t Bynum show last season that HE could be the next VJ, for a fraction of the cost?  He brought in Charlie V, who has put up solid numbers in all his other stops, but also had a reputation as a soft defender playing a position where being soft is kind of a big deal.  Further knock on Charlie V, he just oozes the “good stats on a bad team” feeling when you watch him play.
    But the big picture is really that I think Kuester has what it takes to be an above average head coach, given the right situation.  Part of that situation is letting him groom “his own guys,” which I think he’s done with Jerebko and Daye and even Stuckey.  I think his positive nature really makes a difference with those younger guys.  When you look at these players, you can tell which have bought in and which haven’t, and I think it is time to move the guys that haven’t:  Prince, Charlie V and Kwame Brown.  We know Ben Wallace has, along with Jerebko, Daye and Stuckey.  It’s pretty obvious that Rip would go with it if the bad seeds were gone.  I think Gordon is who he is and will be fine coming off the bench if he’s also getting his 18-22 points.  Bynum has proven to me that he’s a fine shoot first, penetrating PG and we should ride that wave till it’s gone.  Wilcox seems to have shown some glimpses of buying into Kuester.
    I guess I just don’t understand why Dumars can’t accept the addition by subtraction rule and move some of these players for either expiring deals or team guys that need a chance, and maybe some draft picks.  He created the great core of the 90s by going and getting guys that were going to buy into the team, he needs to do THAT again.

  • Feb 4, 201010:22 am
    by xerowattbulb

    Reply

    oops. I said that great core of the 90s when I meant the core he built this past decade.
    my bad.

  • Feb 4, 20107:05 pm
    by Ryan

    Reply

    There is truth to the idea that Hamilton never would have extended his contract had he known Billups was leaving. Tom Friend’s article, The Disposable Superstar, states, “Hamilton is the most affected of all. He has just signed an extension, and he tells Chauncey he wants to be traded now, that if he’d known they were going to trade Chauncey, he never would’ve re-upped in Detroit.” Doesn’t matter that he signed it afterwards, he was under the impression Billups was staying and was most likely actively negotiating a deal with Dumars under the belief that Chauncey would be here in Detroit.

  • [...] in a tough spot. Does he encourage Prince more, possibly given the forward the feeling he can walk all over the coach? Or does he let Prince continue to wallow in self-pity, which obviously make him less [...]

  • Feb 5, 201010:56 am
    by T-rav

    Reply

    then if Q isn’t working for the long run, he might be setting the table for Bill Laimbeer.  That would be sweet, he’d demand respect from everyone.

  • Feb 5, 201011:56 am
    by xerowattbulb

    Reply

    Laimbeer won’t work as a head coach.  He’d think he could intimidate and bully reaction from players, and in this day and age, that would be a disaster.  Look, coaching in the WNBA and the NBA are totally different.  Maybe if he spends the next five or six years as an assistant coach, but even then he would be more of the “bad cop” character.

  • Feb 5, 20106:13 pm
    by james

    Reply

    I agree with xerowattbulb. That was well put and on point. Its impossible to move in a positive direction when you have players with bad attitudes in the locker room. Its not hard to tell that Tayshaun and Kwame are not giving 100%. Charlie V. basically plays like a small forward. We have too many of those. Lets get a real Big Man and get rid of some of  these soft lazy wimps. What happened to the killer instinct? Eye of the tiger? Pistons need to take some pride in their team. They are letting alot of people down.

  • Feb 5, 20106:26 pm
    by james

    Reply

    I do think Laimbeer would be a good coach here though. There would definitely be accountability. Some of the pistons need to be bullied and intimidated! Who’s gonna give Laimbeer a bad attitude? The only Piston who could beat up Laimbeer is Ben Wallace. I am sick of watching Tayshaun Prince mope around on the court. If a player on my team jogged up the court with his head down I would peg him in the head with the ball.

    Hey Dumars! Get rid of the selfish lazy players! This team has enough talent to be much better than their record shows. The bad attitudes are bringing the team way down!

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