NBA, Pat's Sixers Blog / Dec 2, 2008 / 3:15 pm

3 Ways to Fix the Pistons

Allen IversonA.I. (Photo: G.Land)

I’ve watched every Pistons game since the Allen Iverson trade a few weeks ago and what I’ve seen most of time hasn’t been pretty. They’re obviously struggling mightily as they work through major on-court adjustments as well as A.I.’s practice issues and other related drama.

The changes in their makeup shouldn’t be taken lightly – the on-court adjustment is going to take real time. Think about it. They’ve had to learn how to play without a true point guard. They’ve had to adjust to A.I.’s “defense” compared to Chauncey‘s. Rip Hamilton now has to spend a lot of time checking the other team’s best guard, a task that used to fall on Chauncey. Then, after chasing scorers through series of screens and cuts, Rip has had to learn how to get himself into position to score without Billups on the floor.

But after watching a bunch of Pistons games, it looks like they have one glaring need that needs to be addressed quickly if they’re going to make any kind of run this season: they need a low post player who score on the block. They don’t necessarily need Tim Duncan; they just need a guy who can be some kind of threat near the hoop. As it stands right now, Tayshaun Prince might be their most effective offensive post player (Please don’t throw Rasheed‘s name in the mix – he’s more than happy to spend the vast majority of his time just hanging out three feet behind the arc at the top of the key to fire away from deep). What you’re left with is a team of mostly erratic jump shooters, unable to manufacture any kind of easy offense. And they’re not a young, athletic team by any stretch, so buckets in transition don’t come easily either.

So what’s the answer? It’s not this guy. He helps, but is mostly just a pick-and-pop big these days.

The way I see it, they have three options:

1. Trade Tayshaun. His deal is up in the 2010-11 season, and a contending team looking for his unique blend of skills could take the bait. And aside from Rodney Stuckey and Iverson’s contract, Prince is probably their most attractive trading chip. According to the trade checker, a Prince/Chris Kaman straight up deal would work. I doubt that it would be that simple, but you never know.

2. Trade Allen Iverson. It’s probably way too early to give up on this experiment, and a major reason why Joe Dumars made the Iverson trade in the first place was to have the option at the end of the season to re-sign Allen or just let him go, clearing a ton of cap space. Allen’s expiring deal is probably very attractive to a lot of teams for the very same reason it was attractive to Joe D. If a team looking to rebuild throws a can’t-miss offer at Dumars, he’d probably listen.

3. Do nothing. And trust that the ship rights itself. Believe that the trio of Iverson, Hamilton and ‘Sheed will get it together and playing up to their potential. If not, you let A.I. walk at the end of the season and start gearing up to make a run at LeBron, Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade.

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  • Sweet English

    Joe Dumars

    ‘I’m going to go with C Pat, Do nothing’


    ‘Okay Joe has gone with C lets see if you have won that alle expenses paid trip to the playoffs…… OOOHHHHH sooooorrrryyyy Joe that was the wrong answer’


    ‘oooooohhhh Thats okay Pat i’v had a great day’



    Pistons era is over… until 2010

  • Big V

    The problem with scenario #2 is that you don’t know what you’re going to get in return. To be sure, trading Iverson is very different than letting him walk.

    At this point, the only thing that makes sense to me is to give this team a chance to make it work, and Stuckey is going to be critical to any real chance of success that this team has. Bringing Rip off the bench to anchor the second team has got to be part of the equation as well, at least in part.

  • PL

    Kwame Brown, please report to the low post for duty.

    I think I know how that will work out.

  • Heckler

    here is what the pistons should do:

    trade allen iverson, rip hamilton and rodney stuckey to the charlotte bobcats for raymond felton and jason richardson
    …and if you really want chris kaman, trade rasheed and kwame brown to get kaman and zach randolph.

    now…the pistons will look like:

    raymond felton, jason richardson, tayshaun prince, zach randolph and chris kaman

    side note: bobcats would like:
    allen iverson, rip hamilton, adam morrison, gerald wallace and emeka okafor
    …and if larry brown dont wanna re-sig his boy iverson, he’d still have dj augustin and rodney stuckey for the point next year

  • Reed Ewing Frazier

    Option 3 is the best because they will make the playoffs the east is wide open after the top two teams(Boston and Cleveland) plus Sheed and AI will come off the books at the end of the season. Unlike my team’s GM Joe D actually knows what he is doing.

    KNICKS UP!! all the rest down!!!

  • http://www.ballersnetwork.com QUeSt???

    @ Heckler u just cant trade half of a team in the middle of a season, even if it makes sense money wise. They need time to learn how to play together, know each other’s strengh and weaknesses and customs. I say do nothing and try to work it out. The pistons have looked great against the lakers and Cavs, if they find a way to play like that consistantly they will be in the championship hunt. Also, remember they are in the east, so they will make the playoffs and by that time i believe they will be running on all cylinders.

  • Brown

    Give it time, at least for this season. There’s no way I trade Tayshaun. See how the season plays out and let AI and Sheed walk in the offseason. Carlos Boozer would look nice in a Pistons uni. Add another free agent to that mix (Andre Miller maybe) and they’ll be back in the championship hunt.

  • jmg

    wheres option #4… hire a real coach! Curry is in over his head

  • Detroit Dave

    Let Sheed and AI walk…… Sign Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson.

  • one66soul

    3 is the best option with a slight change but it would be a major change for the player. The only change I would make is Allen Iverson coming off the bench as a 6th man. At this point in his career his game is designed for a 6th man. Iverson will never win a championship until he accepts this role. A.I. see Manu

  • N-Truh-Kit

    This same argument could be made for like half of the teams in the L that they need a legit threat around the hoop so Detroit isn’t alone. and with having AI instead of Chauncy, Sheed is gonna play away from the hoop more to draw defensive bigs away from the hoop in order to create more lane space for Iverson’s drives. Sheed has the tools and the talent to be a good low post scorer, let’s not forget/overlook that

  • Promoman

    They’d better keep Tayshaun. Nobody on that squad works as hard on defense than him. The only way I’d let him go is if I’m getting an all-around type player in the same mold (AK-47 or The Matrix) or better yet, a Kobe or LeBron.

  • Big V


    I’m curious to know why you think AI is better suited to be a 6th man right now.

    I think the guy can still get major buckets and I don’t think that any of his skills (outside of losing a step in the speed department) have eroded to the point where he can’t be a starter.

  • http://BigTmusic.com Balla

    I am a huge Iverson fan and always will be. But I am an even larger fan of the game of basketball. With this being said, if AI were to have a more successful career Championship wise, he would have had to been a sixth man on a team with a quality point guard.

    If AI were coming off the bench with the green light like Ginobli, on a decent squad, that team would have been hard to stop…..only thing is, his whole career, people have trying to build teams around him instead of building a team where he was atleast the third option.

  • Ansonious

    I’d say it all depends who is on the trading block, there could be no real exchange that they would benefit from out there, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a Prince for Josh Howard trade I think both teams would gain from the trade more than they would lose from it. Right about now I bet the Mavs feel pretty stupid for giving up Harris for Kidd they got the sour end of that deal but oh well not like it matters everyone gets paid in the end.

  • top_gun

    Detroit sucks now…

  • IGP

    Yeah I’m with Promoman, trade Tay for Kobe or Lebron…

  • karizmatic

    I actually like option 1 it is too early to give up on the AI experiment, but moving Tayshaun is probably better. I think the Clippers would be very interested in this trade because they have three bigs who should be getting starters minutes. Get Kaman out of there and you have a dangerous front line of Randolph, Camby and Prince with Baron Davis manning the point. It also elminates the problem of having two post players clogging the lane on offense. Randolph gets the post to himself.

    On the Detroit side that gives them a bonified post player in Kaman, which lets Wallace do his 3 point thing and hopefully play with a little more effort on D it also lets you bring Mcdyess who is coming back and Brown off the bench. you probably have to run a small perimeter game with AI Stuckey and Hamilton. But you can get alot of penetration with Stuckey and AI and allow hamilton to try being more of a spot up shooter with kick outs and the opportunities in the post when Rasheed (rarely) and Kaman attract double teams) it also gives you a good screen roll game with Rasheed picking and popping or with Kaman rolling to the basket. Curry also most definitely needs to give Larry Brown a call to understand what he’s run in the past with AI and Hamilton, because he should be drawing up more screens and double screens and even triple screens for Hamilton and AI to weave through to wear opposing teams down. They have two of the most tireless players in the league on their teams and they can’t wear teams out? I don’t buy that. As you can see that gives them several options on the offensive end of the ball, and hopefully with Kaman’s shot blocking gives them a little more presence on defense, they can still get abused by larger perimeter players but at least this gives them a fighting chance.

    Otherwise stick with what you have and run AI at the point and go back to running Hamilton through screens and hope AI can adapt. Good luck with that.

  • karizmatic

    @ Big V

    AI should come off the bench he’s a once in a lifetime talent a 6’0 shooting guard, he can’t run an offense the way a point guard should and isn’t big enough to guard shooting guards effectively at all. The best position for him at this point in his career is coming of the bench and lighting teams up for major points. Same as Ben Gordon should be coming of the bench and Jason Terry should be coming off the bench.


    How about option #4: Struggle while waiting for Antonio McDyess to resign. The current offense is structured to flow with McDyess serving as a low post or pick and pop shooter from 17 feet. Joe D seems content on allowing a 2nd offensive style to develop, until the return of Dice.

    I didn’t like the trade, because AI doesnt fit in the Pistons offensive flow. Yet, even I have to give this trade time to bear positive results. Joe D made a gamble early in the season, hoping that come May/June the “AI experiment” will bring better results

  • DRR

    Piston fanatic here and I’ve watched pretty well all of their games too. Let’s face it, Joe D knows more about hoops management than anybody reading this column. They weren’t going to win with CB1, since the last 3 playoffs, Chauncey’s not even shown up and when it’s playoff time, the Pistons play a boring, slow offensive game and typically go deep into the shot clock. They slow down in the playoffs.

    Right now, with Amir, Stuckey and A.I. (mason’s calling him allen the “i”, rather than “the answer”) they’re running and trying to generate some speed transition, as was evident on Sun afternoon. Only problem is that they created a few too many turnovers in the process. They’re not in sync, Rips playing awful, Tayshaun shouldn’t be running the point, Stuckey’s gotta start and A.I. has to come off the bench. Yes, McDyess will help this team with an immediate spark to the low post defense and pop offense. Kwame is sporadic at best and has “no hands” as the scouting reports suggested. Amir is still a deer in the headlights- all said, they need a big wide bodied defender first and foremost. “Protect the Paint” is what’s missing. What about Chris Wilcox and expiring contracts for Rip? Kaman would be great, since he’s a Central Michigan guy and might love the chance to perform in Detroit. Keep Tay, trade Rip and let ‘em play.

  • LakeShow84

    Dumars is too smart.. This is an experiment.. if it doesnt work they wont resign Iverson and that money will be sat on for the year.. Then..

    Free agency with superstar money available and a sure chip if its Joe Johnson, Dwade or Lebron??

    Man.. i dont get to say it often but he makes me proud to be a brotha..

  • DJ Go Go Gomez

    Make Iverson the 6th man. Where he can freestyle like he does offensivly against 2nd units. He’d kill.

  • tim

    for sure….Notice how easy the took care of business when Iverosn was benched the first 10 minutes…

  • Jim

    Fire Mike Curry and get a real coach.

  • Big V

    @ Karizmatic:

    I understand people’s concerns that AI’s not a real PG and that he’s undersized at the 2, but would you have said that he should have come off the bench 6-7 years ago?

    My point is that not a whole lot has changed in his game since then.

  • rena the great

    Last year, every body was talking about how well the big 3 would gel in Boston, knowing it would take a minute. It has been how long since this trade? Lighten up. Rip will find his role, Tay will always be defender, and Antonio will bring the spark back. AI is learning that he is not the only choice for offense on this team. Life will be good in the spring, when it matters most.

  • Mikey F Baby

    How about stop running Tayshaun at the point!? Let AI and Stuckey handle the ball like they should and things will work just fine, i.e. vs. the Spurs last night. (which BTW I’m seein no love for the big win by Dime)

  • kevin k

    yea the pistons ahve had their struggles and will need time for adjustments… BUT they were also the first team to beat the Lakers with AI, the Cavs, and the Spurs with Duncan, G, and TP. It’s just they are not consistant… hopefully they will get their shit straigt

  • Obama said to McCain “How my @ss taste”

    I agree with “Big V”

    I dont want to see Iverson come off the bench. There is no reason why Curry can’t start Iverson at the point. He can divide the minutes between Stucky and AI and allow Ai to play the SG position when RIP goes to the bench or the other dude whos last name starts with an “A” (LOL), to play the SG and Iverson at point. The only person that Iverson doesn’t seem to have chemistry with out on the floor is RIP.

    But I think DIME is blowing this way out of proportion, like someone has mentioned..the Pistons have played really well amoung fellow elite teams, they just need to get more consistant. If they can get their line ups set, there should be no reason why they wont compete come playoff time, the people that are saying they wont compete are people that just dont want them to simply because the team has changed and Iverson is on it now. I hope they can get their sh*t together.

  • Obama said to McCain “How my @ss taste”

    Oh yeah and ya’ll crazy as hell for suggesting that Detroit trades Tay Prince. SMH