The Detroit Pistons are drowning and no one seems to want to throw them a life preserver. With this weekend’s Pistons drubbing by King James’ Cavaliers, the Pistons moved to .500 basketball at 27 wins and 27 losses. Most Eastern Conference teams these days can be easily forgiven for getting blown out by the Cavaliers, as this has become common place, however the Pistons are the losers of six straight. For die hard Pistons fans this is inexcusable.
I don’t blame Pistons fans for being angry however I get upset when I hear the fans put all the blame on Allen Iverson. Just as he has been his whole career, Allen Iverson is capable of being one of the top scorers in this league. He’s still lightning fast and hardwired to score with ease. I’m sure of this. What i’m unsure of however is whether it’s the Detroit Pistons coaching staff and their system that is holding him back, or if it’s Allen Iverson himself holding back. Maybe both.
Every pre or post-game interview I see with Allen Iverson these days he says the same things. He talks about playing team ball, trying to fit into the system, sacrificing for the good of the team, increasing his passing numbers, working hard on his defense, and doing the best he can to help his team win. I look at every one of those statements and I think to myself “Does Allen Iverson believe Joe Dumars is unfamiliar with his game?” Repeat after me, “Joe Dumars does not live in a bubble.” I’m pretty sure Dumars was well aware of what he was getting when he traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson. Except for one thing……he didn’t actually get it.
Dumars along with the rest of the world knows Allen Iverson is a prime time scorer, and a surefire hall of famer for one reason only. He can light up the scoreboard. So why in the world is Allen Iverson trying to be a team guy? If the Pistons want to win, Allen Iverson needs to go back to being a volume shooter. He needs to once again cheat off his man on defense and use those lightning quick reflexes and veteran instincts to get league leading numbers in steals. He needs to slash to the lane on every second possession sacrificing his body to get league leading numbers in free throw attempts. Why? Because that’s where he can help you. He’s one of the best all time at those things. What he’s not very good at is being the team guy that shoots only 15 shots a game, and tries continually to get his teammates involved in the offense before himself.
The sooner the Pistons can accept Allen Iverson’s faults and weaknesses the sooner they will be able to reap the rewards of trading for him. Everyone in Detroit, including Allen Iverson, is trying to make Iverson play like Chauncey Billups. If Dumars wanted Chauncey Billups they wouldn’t have traded him. Why not give Allen Iverson a chance to play like Allen Iverson. It can’t hurt right? The Pistons are already on a 6 game losing streak, and slowly slipping out of playoff position in the East.
The Pistons management and coaching staff need to realize they have a golden opportunity with their current roster to get back to their winning ways. Step #1 is throw out their entire offensive system. They need to look at ways they can get Allen Iverson the ball on virtually every possession, set screens for him, and let him create. Let him be a volume shooter. Let him get to the free throw line 10-12 times a night. Let him shoot through slumps without a conscious. Then use your athletic big men, Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, and Tayshaun Prince to rebound the hell out of the ball. Considering this is Detroit, shouldn’t the fans appreciate a blue-collar work ethic and playing style from their bigs anyways?
Let Rasheed Wallace shoot threes, Let Allen Iverson be a volume shooter, Let Rip Hamilton just move to open space and take open jumpers. I think if the Pistons coaching staff just lets all of their key players play to their strengths on offense, they will be happier and probably get back to playing hard on defense and protecting the paint like they used to.
What do the Pistons have to lose?