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The McDyess decision has already been made

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So far we've heard about the possibility that Antonio McDyess will return to the bench, but from the sounds of things, that may already be a foregone conclusion. From Keith Langlois at True Blue Pistons:

Among the other subjects he touched on, he confirmed what we’ve been suggesting for the past month – that Antonio McDyess will go back to the bench to give more scoring punch to the second unit and better utilize McDyess’ talents.

"With Dice starting last year, he averaged the same number of shots in eight more minutes a game as the did the two years before that," he said. "We think he can be more efficient when he’s not out there with the starting unit. We have so many guys who are capable scorers and who want to score the basketball. What we have on our second unit – and I know you don’t always play first and second unit at the same time – we have Rodney Stuckey, who, like Dice, could very well be a starter, and when you have both of those guys anchoring your second unit, you allow your role players to play their roles and not play outside of themselves.

"You’re not asking Amir Johnson to become a primary scorer or Jason Maxiell or Kwame Brown. Same with Arron Afflalo. Those four guys are key and their success is about having the right combinations and having a really good post scorer and a really good perimeter scorer out there with them. That will help with their development."

So who has a leg up on the starting job entering camp? I figured it'd be Maxiell, but that's apparently not the case. From Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

He hopes to use a five-man frontcourt rotation. Amir Johnson, it appears, is going to get every opportunity to win the starting spot alongside Wallace. McDyess will be the first big man off the bench, with Brown and Jason Maxiell getting regular minutes -- Brown getting more minutes against bigger teams and Maxiell against smaller, more athletic teams.

It makes sense to me, although I admit I'm a little surprised. Maxiell has always been ahead of Amir in the pecking order, but it's worth remembering that the order was established by the old regime. I'd always taken for granted that Maxiell would see more time than Amir this year, but that's apparently not written in stone.

I'm a huge Maxiell fan, but Amir has been one of the most productive players in the entire league regardless what metric you use. Can he keep it up with more PT? Historically speaking, the numbers suggest he can. Anecdotally speaking, Johnson always seemed to play better when paired with Wallace, who's always been vocal in terms of telling young players where they need to be on the court.

I know a lot of fans are bummed that Joe Dumars didn't make a big trade, but can you imagine an opening night starting lineup featuring Amir Johnson? If that's not a reminder that the Flip Saunders Era has passed, I don't know what is.