Last season with no playoffs for the Pistons, I instead looked at some former Pistons helping playoff teams. Many Pistons fans adopt the San Antonio Spurs this time of year, hoping to see Antonio McDyess finally get a championship. Last season, I also liked the Milwaukee Bucks both because they had a couple of former Pistons and because their tough, scrappy style of play mirrored the early 2000s pre-championship Pistons a bit.
This year? Other than McDyess, I don’t know if there is a Pistons connection strong enough to attract a rooting interest, but here’s the breakdown of this year’s teams. There’s not a guy on the list likely to make a huge impact on a playoff series, but hey, the playoffs are all about unexpected contributions, right? Stranger things have happened.
They don’t have anyone, but Malice at the Palace era Pacer Jeff Foster is still hanging around on the roster.
If you enjoy rooting for former Pistons coaches, I would wager you remember Philly head coach Doug Collins a bit more fondly than assistant coach Michael Curry.
John Kuester held onto his job for two seasons, winning 30 games or less each year. Heat assistant Ron Rothstein only got one season at the helm in Detroit, won 40 games and just barely missed the playoffs and was fired for it.
New York Knicks
I’ll always root for Chauncey Billups, but I find it very sad watching him in that abomination of a Knicks offense. This is basically what i consists of: Iso for ‘Melo, iso for Amar’e, Billups jacks up a quick three. I hope Billups ends up on a more structured, half-court team next season. He’s also injured and will miss at least game two of the Knicks series with Boston.
Remember when the Pistons acquired defensively challenged Carlos Arroyo to play backup minutes on their defensive-minded team? Another defense-first team is giving it a whirl. Arroyo isn’t playing big minuts for Boston, but he is their insurance behind Rajon Rondo and Delonte West.
Former Chuck Daly assistant and NBA lifer Brendan Malone is still coaching as an assistant to Stan Van Gundy in Orlando.
Former Pistons coach Rick Carlisle has molded the Mavs (with the help of Tyson Chandler) into one of the better defensive teams in the league and former Piston Brian Cardinal is still playing in a reserve role in Dallas. Cardinal barely played in Detroit after the Pistons took him in the second round, but he’s carved out a nice NBA career for himself since.
San Antonio Spurs
Watch the Spurs and root for McDyess. Or watch them and weep because of the memory of Detroit taking the wrong ‘DaJuan’ in the second round in 2009. The Spurs ended up with Blair, who has developed into a solid rotation player and rebounder. The Pistons’ Summers couldn’t crack the rotation of a bad team in two years.
Los Angeles Lakers
Theo Ratliff lives! He played :54 seconds against New Orleans, increasing his total minutes played over the last five months to just under five total minutes. But with as poorly as the Lakers bigs played in game one, perhaps the Rattler can still bring some of his trademark energy.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are paying the final few months left on the not so great contract Joe Dumars handed out to Nazr Mohammed a few years ago. Mohammed won’t help them much in the fast-paced Denver series, but if OKC ends up playing the Lakers again this year, he’ll be a big addition defensively against that LA frontcourt.
Arron Afflalo missed game one of Denver’s series against the Thunder, but I think it’s pretty safe to assume Pistons fans have noticed that he’s become a pretty good player for the Nuggets. Denver also has a couple of assistants with Pistons ties, NBA Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley and teal-era Piston Stacey Augmon.
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