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Carlisle vs. Brown vs. Saunders

I've always appreicated Charley Rosen's columns over at FOX Sports -- the guy obviously knows his basketball, and you can count on him always being brutally honest. He was asked about the Pistons twice in his mailbag today -- here's the first question:

In my opinion, Dumars gathered the materials, Larry Brown forged them into a sword, and now Flip Saunders is simply using the weapon. As much as I dislike Brown, do you believe that if Brown never coached Detroit, they would be as good as they are now? I would also like to point out that Brown inherited a pretty good team after Rick Carlisle's departure. — Steven

It's interesting how Brown suddenly became a genius when Dumars brought in Rasheed Wallace.

Rasheed had more to do with the Pistons being champs than did Brown.

One of the reasons why Carlisle was canned was that Dumars wanted the rookie Tayshaun Prince to play more and the veteran Corliss Williamson less, and Carlisle stubbornly insisted on the reverse. Had Carlisle survived until the addition of Rasheed, the disagreement would have been moot, and Detroit would have likely won the championship anyway. For sure, Brown instilled a certain degree of strait-jacketed discipline, but while LB was more media-friendly, Carlisle had a more honest relationship with most of the players. I happen to believe that both Carlisle and Saunders are better coaches than Brown. And that, while giving Brown his due, he was also the right guy in the right place at precisely the right time.

The real question is whether or not the Pistons would have been as good as they are now with Brown still at the helm. And the answer is a resounding NO

He was also asked if anyone can beat the Pistons in the NBA Finals. His answer is long, but he summed it up with his first sentence:

Only San Antonio, but only if Duncan is 100 percent healthy and the Spurs can hit their perimeter shots.

Of course, the Pistons have to get to the Finals, but it's nice to see they're getting the respect of the national media.

What does it really take to be the MVP? [FOX Sports]