Congrats to the Pistons. There is a ton we can learn from their championship. The primary lessons are as follows:
1. There is no template for winning a championship. Up to the final series, the same people who talked about how defense wins championship praised the lakers defense, in the championship series, they condemned the lack of defense? So can you get to the Conf Finals not playing defense? The same people now condemning the Lakers, couldn’t praise their Hall of Fame lineup enough from the start to completion of the season.
2. The real reason the Pistons won is that they had people who could hit open jumpshots. Rip, Chauncey, Elden Campbell, and even Ben Wallace, whenever there was a double team they seemed to hit the open shot. The Lakers couldn’t hit that shot if their life depended on it. It wasn’t great defense that left Slava, Fish, Payton, Walton and Rush wide open for jumpers that would not fall. If there was a theme throughout the playoffs, it was the team that had its first and then its 3rd or 4th option hit their open jumpers, won the game. Shaq and Kobe needed help from somewhere, they didn’t get it. Detroit was playing 5 on 2 defense. That makes their life a lot easier and makes any defense look good.
The spurs pulled Bowen for Devin Brown. The Pacers started Croshere then Harrington instead of Foster. The Lakers tried every combination possible all to get someone on the court who could hit a jumper. When the shots went down, they won. When they didn’t, they lost.
3. Will we ever know why Phil preferred having the Pistons score on 24 out of 31 possessions rather than have Ben Wallace go to the foul line? It not only would have broken the Pistons rhythm, it would have allowed Shaq to rest, and of course most likely meant Ben missing his free throws and the Lakers getting possession.
4. Will NBA announcers always talk in generalities and stereotypes? Doc Rivers was great, but my goodness, could he be any more politically correct? Could he and Al say possibly say things with less substance? I am so tired of hearing about the same 5 topics and no details, such as this team came out with more energy, that team hit the open man. Compare this to football. There isn’t a football fan who can’t name at least 5 or 6 plays that teams run. Can the casual basketball fan name a single play NBA teams run? Do they even know NBA teams call plays almost every possession?
5. The Piston roster shows just how wrong both NBA general managers and the media are in their assessment of talent. Go back and read about Rasheed Wallace and how he could never win a championship because he was soft, then read this weeks articles.
Go back and read about Chauncey before and after each of the how many times he has been traded?
And the Wizard and Magic both moved Ben Wallace? Rip, Elden, Lindsey Hunter, Corliss, is there a guy on the roster who hasn’t been 2nd guessed and traded more than a couple times?
6. What will the impact of the Pistons roster be on pricing in the free agent market? Agents won’t care, but the good news is that owners now have a model to point to and suggest that stars may not win championships. Which is a lot more fun to point to than the luxury tax as a reason not to spend money. We all can scream about how defense wins championships if only because defenders get paid less than scorers.
7. It’s time to get to work, last season is over, and it’s back to Mavs time!