by: Kevin Sawyer
We all know what our guys can do. With many folks predicting the team’s demise (as usual), I thought it would be useful to explore what they will NEED to do in order for the Pistons to lock up another championship. Here’s a player-by-player rundown.
What they need: The Pistons need Billups to be Billups. His lucrative new contract was based on the premise that Billups is durable, and that his game will translate well into his thirties. It is unlikely the Chauncey will add any new elements to his game this year, and it is further unlikely that he will suddenly decide to turn the ball over. Last year’s production placed him firmly among the leagues elite point guards, and the Pistons need more of the same.
What they need: The best mid-range shooter in the game is slowly developing into a consistent longball threat, as his last two seasons each represent an improvement in this area. While there is little evidence to back up the contention that opposing defenses have "solved" Hamilton’s game (how do you solve the problem of someone running faster than you?) if he is able to shoot 37-38% form three point range, it should open up the rest of his game, even if he loses a step. Oh, and he needs to stop imitating Rasheed with the, you know...
What they need: I don’t buy the standard narrative that Sheed has been underachieving all these years. Wallace is a tremendous talent, and his numbers are unspectacular, but he has always played for teams that were stacked from top to bottom. He also possesses an inside-outside game, which tends to look less dominating than it is. Wallace possesses on of the most diverse skill-sets in the NBA, and he is the perfect fit for this club.
He does, however, take himself out of games with his notorious temper. He simply has to reign that in this year. If he can do that, it will add a couple of games to the win column, and could find himself in his 4th all-star game.
What they need: Prince, on the other hand, needs to be a bit more aggressive. He is tremendously difficult to defend, and his low turnover ratio gives him the latitude to run the offense. He is a deadly accurate shooter from the corners, which he can use to spread defenses. Webber’s arrival had an impact on Prince’s game (he was having a career year through mid January), and one hopes that Flip will remember this fact when he is fine-tuning the playbook.
What they need: The light finally went on in someone’s head, and now the 2nd best big man on the team is going to be in the starting lineup. Hopefully, this will help him shake off the (understandable) early-season cobwebs that have plagued him the last couple of seasons. McDyess played out of his mind after the all-star break, and if he can deliver that kind of production for a full season, the Pistons are going to be the extremely difficult to beat.