According to various published reports, the Pistons have emerged as the front-runner to sign Chris Webber. A lot of people are wondering where he'll play and if he'll steal minutes from Jason Maxiell. Fortunately, it doesn't look like he would, because according to Chris McCosky the Pistons are hoping Webber can take over Nazr Mohammed's spot in the starting lineup.
In fact, even if Webber doesn't sign, there's likely to be a change -- perhaps as soon as tonight against the Hawks. From the Detroit News:
Coach Flip Saunders has, for the past two weeks, been searching for stability in the post. Mohammed, who played 11 minutes Wednesday against the Bobcats, has seen his role shrink steadily.
"Sometimes it's not the five best players who play," Saunders said. "It's the five players who play best together. We said we would give it 30 games to see how things worked. Now, as a staff, we will get together to see if there needs to be some changes made."
There is a good chance Mohammed will be benched, starting tonight in Atlanta. The Pistons are expected to start Dale Davis and Wallace in the front court. If that's the case, you would expect Mohammed would be out of the rotation completely, because the Pistons would first use Jason Maxiell and Antonio McDyess off the bench.
McCosky goes on to echo my suspicion that if Webber signs, Davis and/or Mohammed will be placed on he trading block. I think that's a smart move -- the Pistons could probably net a pretty solid contributor by pairing one of those two along with one of their first-round picks and/or Flip Murray.
That said, let's not start counting chickens -- I can imagine the Lakers will do their best to woo him out west. If he doesn't sign with the Pistons, then the Pistons still have to deal with a pissy Rasheed and a newly-alienated Nazr.
The fan reaction, at least here on this blog, has been mixed in regards to Webber. I have a hunch a lot of that is because of the whole Fab Five/Ed Martin debacle.
Personally, and this is coming from from a U-M alum who never got to see a competitive basketball team in college in part because of Fab-Five-related sanctions, I think we should be more upset at the existence of the NCAA, an institution which generates half a billion tax-free dollars a year but gets upset if a coach buys a kid a lunch. But that's a can of worms for another day. My point is, I've long since forgiven him.
I'm not sure I completely agree with Nazr being bumped from the rotation, but I do appreciate a coaching staff not locked into maintaining the status quo just for the hell of it. Maybe Dale Davis adds a much-needed spark in the beginning of games, and maybe Nazr will carve out a niche from the bench. Who knows, but let's see what works best instead of strictly adhering to the notion that one guy is a starter and one guy is a reserve simply because that's the way it was the first game of the season. And if we're also able to add a guy like Webber for essentially nothing, well, all the better.
Webb of INTRIGUE [Detroit News]