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Antonio McDyess is not a butthole

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I have a good deal of respect for Antonio McDyess, for everything that he went through following multiple knee surgeries that threatened his career, and for the way he willingly settled into a sixth-man role knowing it was his best chance to get a title.

The image of him sitting on the bench after the Game 5 loss to the Cavaliers will be one of the most enduring images of the Pistons' playoff run, especially if that run comes to an sudden halt tonight. As you'd expect, he took last year's loss in the NBA Finals even harder. From today's Free Press:

After the Pistons lost Game 7 in last year's Finals to the San Antonio Spurs, McDyess couldn't talk about it for months. Not just the game, or the series, but basketball.

"For the whole summer I didn't want to hear it," he said. "I'm not a butthole like that, but at that point I was."

No, Antonio, you're not a butthole.

I'm sure there are more than a few casual Pistons fans who don't recall what type of player McDyess was before he signed with the Pistons. We know him now as a sweet-shooting big man who can consistently score from 15-18 feet out. But that's not what made him the second overall draft pick in the 1995 draft . . .

No, before he was known for his reliable jumper, McDyess was one of the most explosive players in the game:

From the 1995-96 through 2000-2001, he was one of the league's premier power forwards, twice averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. That's when multiple knee injuries sidetracked him over the next three years -- he played just 10 games in 2001-02, missed all of 2002-03 and played just 42 games in 2003-04.

But Joe Dumars took a chance before the 2005 season and gave McDyess a four-year contract, and Dyess has responded by playing in all but five games the last two seasons, including all 82 games this year. Gone are the days of his playing 35+ minutes a game, but he's reinvented himself as one of the most valuable sixth men in the league.

Ring tone faint for McDyess [Detroit Free Press]
Vintage Antonio McDyess Mix [YouTube]