Could Ben Wallace have a chance to enter 2017 Hall Of Fame?
Fresh off of the induction of one-time Piston Allen Iverson and several other basketball icons (Tom Izzo, Shaquille O'Neal and Yao Ming), some are already looking at next year's ballot to try determine who could see their careers enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. The NBA's Scott Howard-Cooper penned a piece taking an early look at potential candidates, including Ben Wallace, who would be a newcomer to the process, unlike Chris Webber or Tim Hardaway, whose names have been associated to HOF voting for several years.
Piston fans young and old should know all about the 2004 Championship winning team which shook up the NBA. Two cornerstones of that team -- Wallace and Chauncey Billups -- both had their numbers retired last season, and many expect them to have a chance at entering the HOF, but as Howard-Cooper explores, Wallace may have a chance to make it on his first go, thanks to Dikembe Mutumbo:
Wallace won Defensive Player of the Year four times, was first-team All-Defense five times and second-team once, made four All-Star games, finished in the top 10 in rebounding seven years and the top 10 in blocks seven years, and was second-team All-NBA on three occasions and third-team two others. He was an integral part of a championship team.
Dikembe Mutombo won Defensive Player of the Year four times, was first-team All-Defense three times and second-team three times, made eight All-Star games, finished in the top 10 in rebounding 11 years and the top 10 in blocks another 11, and was second-team All-NBA once and second-team on two occasions. He did not win a championship, but was a third-team All-American in college. And he was elected on the first try, in 2015.
It's not a perfect comparison because Mutombo is second in career blocks and 19th in rebounding, plus had the emotional boost of being one of the game's great ambassadors, while Wallace is 13th in blocks and 32nd on the all-time rebounding list. Mutombo was also much better on offense. But for players of a similar era, for candidacies based on being destructive on defense, with the same number of Defensive Player of the Year and All-Defense, with Wallace earning All-NBA more times -- Mutombo is writing Wallace's campaign speech for him.
A Hall of Fame spot seems only fitting for a player who broke multiple records and carved himself an impressive legacy within the NBA, whilst the Kool-Aid might be especially strong amongst Pistons fans, there is no denying that Wallace deserves to have his career enshrined.
Stanley Johnson spent his summer working on his game
Stanimal has had a busy offseason. After a strong rookie season where Johnson silenced many of his critics, the Arizona product spent most of his summer improving his game. Stan Van Gundy had earlier told the forward that he needed to learn to finish with his off-hand, and the second-year man took that to heart, with strong showings at Summer League and the Drew League helping consolidate an offseason that had already seen him partake in Team USA basketball soon after the Pistons' first round playoff exit. Basketball Insider's Alex Kennedy sat down with Stanley and several other NBA players to ask them about how they spent their summer:
"I'm practicing going left, practicing coming off of ball-screens and shooting threes, practicing catching-and-shooting and practicing team defense. Those are some of the things that I'm focused on. ... I'm a lot more confident. The work that I've done this summer has me feeling like I'll be able to score from all three levels very efficiently and defend. I'm going to build off of that. [I've grown a lot]. Last year, I felt like I was in elementary school and this year, I feel like I'm a senior in high school."
Van Gundy and the Pistons have been taking notice of Johnson's hard work, with Keith Langlois relaying that he could earn a starting nod should he continue to impress the coaching staff. Langlois expects Stanley to have a big spike in production this year, with his defense and chemistry being the two biggest factors that will affect his stock as a potential starter over Marcus Morris. That being said, starter or not, he believes that the forward will be on the floor in crunch time at the end of games to help the team close out or catch up.
It might be too soon to expect a huge spike in production from Johnson. And the Pistons will be OK without such an uptick. Everyone else on the roster is also either in the midst of or approaching their prime years, so internal improvement should be the expectation across the board. But Johnson, as Van Gundy has noted, has more potential to take a big leap than anyone on the roster besides Drummond. And if that happens, the analogy between this Pistons team and their predecessors from three decades ago will grow that much stronger.
With training camp looming, it seems as though the competition for starting spots will be a lot more fierce than previously expected. Whilst some outlets have been focusing more on the battle for third-string PG duties (when was the last time that happened?), there could be some movement higher on the depth chart.
Pistons 2004 Championship ring sells on Ebay for $3.5K
Did you have a chance at claiming a piece of franchise history? Earlier last week a 2004 Championship ring went on sale on Ebay, with a lucky fan snagging the 10KT gold and diamond ring (H/T Kirkland Crawford at the Freep). Put on sale by the Motor City Pawn Brokers, it is described as having been originally owned by "a non player/coaching staff member associated with the Detroit Pistons Organization". Bidding started at 99 cents and ended a week later at $3,550 and certainly made someone incredibly happy. Along with the ring, the winning bidder took home a certificate of appraisal, a Championship pin and the box the ring came in.
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