Sekou Smith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution talked to an unnamed NBA scout who attended Tuesday's Pistons-Hawks game in Atlanta. If you're as intrigued by Atlanta's core as I am, the whole thing is worth a read, but here's what he had to say about Detroit:
"You have to understand, what they’ve done in Detroit is beyond comprehension. To be able to build a team that has a first and second unit that complement each other that well nowadays … Joe Dumars is the best in the business, bar none. People can continue their love affair with guys like Brian Colangelo [sic] and some of these other hot shot GMs. But what have any of those guys won? For my money, what Dumars has done here and what the guys in San Antonio have done, it just doesn’t get any better. Look at Detroit’s second unit. Rodney Stuckey is a young monster. He’s like a younger version of Chauncey. Aaron Afflalo has been better than anyone expected. Jason Maxiell and Amir Johnson are fantastic young talents. And the beauty of it all is that they’re nasty guys. They play with an edge, a swagger and a physical style that they could only have learned from those first line guys in a championship organization.
BZ: You don’t see that same nastiness in the Hawks young cats?
MG: Not in all of them. Josh Smith and Al Horford have. I don’t know that these other young guys are cut from that same mold. Josh Smith is a beast. And if he was on a team like Detroit, he’d be flat out ridiculous. Because as good as he is, he’s never played with the kind of veterans that could teach him the tricks of the trade and provide him with the kind of insights and examples to take full advantage of the physical gifts he’s already tapped into.
I included that last part about Smith for two reasons: 1) I've always admired his game; and 2) he should have been a Piston. Okay, that last reason is kind of a stretch, but he's the guy Atlanta took with the 17th overall first-round pick that Detroit sent over in the Rasheed Wallace trade (a trade I'd do again in a heartbeat, mind you, considering it resulted in a title). Granted, it wasn't Detroit's original pick -- they got it from the Nuggets, who in turn got it from the Bucks -- but still, I wouldn't mind seeing him in a Pistons uniform right about now.