Winning doesn't come easy. Winning takes strategy as much as talent. The will to win I think comes about with desire, working a plan that you believe in, and having passion and commitment to that plan.
I really have given up on the Pistons for the past five years or more. I simply didn't see a plan, have a plan, or have any real vision of how they could piece things together with their rosters to win. Maybe that's changed this year for a few reasons:
1. I think their new head coach might have the desire and know-how to build a winner;
2. I think the roster has developed considerably over the past year;
3. I think I can see a way the team could win, if they follow a plan similar to what I believe could work.
I know it sounds really egotistical to say I have a plan, but it's how I think this team's construction could prove to be unique in the league, and unique is what can ultimately win. Will my suggestion carry any weight? Maybe I'm just opening myself to ridicule. Anyway I'll take a chance and share my thoughts.
What makes Detroit unique, or at least what makes them just one of two or three teams with some similarities? What after their starters could make the Pistons really stand out? I think that's how I started to think about how they could prove to become winners. What style or type of play would make a difference, and how does their roster stand out as being stronger than anyone elses?
Youth, quickness, and endurance because of all of that youth could make our starting five special. Cunningham, Ivey, Thompson, Stewart, and Duren could prove to be a very, very fast transition team. Sasser fits into this group too, so they even have a spare part for the unit. I don't know if there are any other players available for this mix, but maybe six is enough. What I'd look for is to have this unit wear out the competition, with the objective to come out with extreme energy and pace to keep the score tight, at least, if not getting a head start. Run, run, run, run! Push the ball, pass the ball up court, and simply go hard and fast. Tire the other team's starters out so much so that substitutions are needed.
In itself speed isn't enough, but if the Pistons just might have the roster to finish off other teams with what comes next. If they can force the other teams liberally substitute to stay fresh, or ideally go entirely to a second unit, this would play right into the second part of my plan.
Part two of my plan I think works not just because it's a plan, but because of the uniqueness of our roster. The Pistons have an excellent group of shooters for their second unit. Perhaps one or more could prove to be the best 6th man in the league on their own, but more importantly, the Pistons could put a group with multiple players that could be the best 6th man.
Perhaps Hayes is the point and distributor, or maybe Sasser it the better shooter and has to step immediately into the QB role. Burks would be the off guard, Harris the small forward, Bogdanovic the 4, and whomever is the best fit for whom they face in a game. Perhaps its Livers. Or, it could be Wiseman, Bagley, or even Diallo. Our second unit's job would be lights out the best shooting unit imaginable as a whole.
Wear the competition out, wear em down, and grind em up, then shoot their lights out. Other teams can put a young talented squad initially on the court, but they don't have the shooters to back the first unit up across the board. I think dictating the style of play also gives you an advantage, and playing fast and furious is hard to stop.
I think several on the second unit could compete for the League's Best 6th Man Award, but the goal would be to field a full second unit that is extremely good at what they do: shoot.
My vision would be for the team to push to be the highest scoring team in the league. Defense would be achieved by wearing down the opponents' first unit starters, and forcing their second unit to keep up with our uniquely capable sharp shooting squad. When the starters are back on the court, push them to wear em out as fast as possible. I would hope our team would have the skill, and become accustomed to the hyper pace to take advantage of this match up too.