The season ended much earlier than I thought it would, so I'm going to let this marinate a little bit and try to enjoy the rest of the weekend before posting some kind of grand finale. But first, some brief reactions:
- Congratulations to the Celtics, who convinced me they're the better team. Even when Detroit got going on all cylinders, the Celtics always found a way to hang around until the very end (Game 4), keep the Pistons at bay (Game 5) or weather the storm and seal the deal (Game 6). There's no quit on that team from top to bottom. I don't appreciate the way the team came together in just one summer, but you can't argue with the results.
- Antonio McDyess is taking this hard. Really hard. I implore you to read this.
- This was easily Flip Saunders' best year on the sidelines, and Tayshaun Prince did his best to deflect criticism from Flip after the game, but I think he's probably gone -- even if for no other reason than the fact that he'll be entering the last year of his contract next season. I don't think Dumars/Davidson wants to can him before his contract is up, but I don't think they want to extend him, either, and bringing back a lame duck coach who's allegedly struggled to earn the respect of everybody in the locker room doesn't make sense.
- Who do I think will replace him? Michael Curry or Avery Johnson are my guesses. Plus, Curry would be dirt cheap as a first-time coach, which would offset the expense of paying Flip to leave.
- Did Rasheed Wallace play his last game as a Piston? I'm leaning toward yes. He can still produce and is an underrated defender, but he's not consistent and (most importantly) will be entering the final year of his contract. That said, I don't think Dumars will give him away -- it'd have to be the right package, and it's difficult to get full value on one of the most misunderstood players in the league.
- Another guy who might be moved: Rip Hamilton. Not because he doesn't fit this team, but because his trade value is still sky-high and the Pistons could probably enter next year with Rodney Stuckey playing next to Chauncey Billups and still expect to compete for a title.
- If the Pistons do start making trades, they better not block Amir Johnson. I know it's easy to scoff at the hype (though even I laugh at the "Amir LeKobe" nickname one of you came up with), but he's absolutely the team's best rebounder and shot-blocker. Even if that's all he ever will be -- and there's no reason to think it is -- that's worth 25-30 minutes a game.
- I'll weigh in more on all of this later this weekend and throughout the summer, I just wanted to get some quick thoughts up lest you think I've abandoned ship.
Last but not least, thank you.
This site exists because you guys read it, and I never expected in my wildest expectations that it would draw such an intelligent, loyal and respectful community of readers. It's extremely humbling to see so many of you guys to claim this little corner of the internet as your preferred destination to talk hoops and watch games. I hope you all stick around this summer -- things should get really interesting.