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SB Nation - Piston Epic Collapse

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SB Nation video about the Pistons' epic collapse from 2004.  Just in case you were feeling good today...

 

 

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Jesus, between this and the upcoming special about the Galarraga stolen perfect game, the national sports is just rubbing out collective noses in it.

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48 minutes ago, holygoat said:

Jesus, between this and the upcoming special about the Galarraga stolen perfect game, the national sports is just rubbing out collective noses in it.

I was thinking the same thing.... did Detroit-ers do something wrong?

 

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Is it really an epic collapse? Seems a little dramatic. That team wasn't going to last forever. They caught lightning in a bottle. Had Dumars not traded Billups, they probably make the playoffs a couple more times but by 2009, Boston, Cleveland and Orlando had all probably passed them up. 

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It's interesting how often the general public will talk about the Billups trade as the beginning of the end, but it was really more like the end of the end.

The real beginning of the end was bringing in Flip, a low percentage jump-shot happy coach with a regular season system.  For a team that was built on their defensive prowess, he was a terrible fit and couldn't replace the hall of fame, defensive minded Larry Brown.  It was obvious to anyone paying attention - and many of us on this board had a lot to say about it at the time.

Ben leaving a year later was a direct result of Flip's poorly fit system, and it was the next major domino to fall. At that point, you had lost the heart and soul of the team.

Finally, with the Billups trade, you lost the brains. With the heart, soul, and brains of the team gone all you had left was the flair (Hamilton and Wallace). Of course, by then they were all getting too old for it to matter much anyway.

What followed was a series of mistake after mistake that has kept us mired in mediocrity until today. And the trend will only continue if we extend or re-sign Dre this season.

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Its crazy how the same person could be responsible for building a team that found itself at both extremes of success and failure.

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The only playoff series under Flip that they lost that I feel they should have won was against Cleveland. Miami took them to seven games with both Shaq and Wade injured in 2005. Wade didn't even play game six. Boston was a better team in 2008. By 2009, Cleveland, Boston and Orlando even had already passed them by.

I have to wonder what this team would have looked like if Kobe didn't nix that trade. I never realized until recently how close that was to happening.

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4 hours ago, Casimir said:

Its crazy how the same person could be responsible for building a team that found itself at both extremes of success and failure.

I think he had some good ideas that:

a. led to success -> hubris, and

b. were really hard to duplicate paired with the league gradually shifting to increasing importance to outside shooting.

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Epic collapse? They squeezed every last drop out of that roster that they could. The shelf life of a team without an elite player playing at an elite level in the NBA is very limited if not unprecedented and this group was within a whisker of back to back championships with 5 straight Eastern conference finals.

Look no further than the Darko pick for the reason why the run ended prematurely. You get a star in that draft and it changes the whole approach.

Anyway in a modern era that went from Magic, Bird and Dr.J to Isiah to Jordan to Hakeem to Jordan to Shaq and Kobe to Duncan to Kobe to LeBron to Warriors superstars, there was one little window where a group of castoffs were put together and disrupted the whole superstar glamour run.much to David Stern's chagrin I'm sure. Pretty incredible little run if you ask me.

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Yeah epic collapse is a bit hyperbolic, they didn't have much legs left with that current roster no matter what.   With better moves(like not believing in Stuckey like Joe did) we may have been able to prevent sinking into the tragic state we've been in since but more than likely our best case scenario was going to be a 2nd round team.    We weren't going to be able to compete with the Bostons and Miamis(by 2010) of the world.   

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Has an athlete's reputation who hasn't been in any kind of legal/external trouble had an epic collapse in this town like Joe Dumars?  Or am I over thinking it?  The guy could have gotten a statue with the Pistons... between his time as a player and after 2004....  Does he still have the Field House out there in the boonies?

 

 

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I think Joe is still warmly regarded, but I do agree with the premise that he went from near deity status to someone people like.

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11 hours ago, NYLion said:

Epic collapse? They squeezed every last drop out of that roster that they could. The shelf life of a team without an elite player playing at an elite level in the NBA is very limited if not unprecedented and this group was within a whisker of back to back championships with 5 straight Eastern conference finals.

Look no further than the Darko pick for the reason why the run ended prematurely. You get a star in that draft and it changes the whole approach.

Anyway in a modern era that went from Magic, Bird and Dr.J to Isiah to Jordan to Hakeem to Jordan to Shaq and Kobe to Duncan to Kobe to LeBron to Warriors superstars, there was one little window where a group of castoffs were put together and disrupted the whole superstar glamour run.much to David Stern's chagrin I'm sure. Pretty incredible little run if you ask me.

I think it was 538 that did an analysis of the Pistons, the premise of which was how were the Pistons able to sneak past the bouncer and win a title despite not having a legit superstar.  Their findings:

a. The Pistons true peak was pretty short lived relative to most other teams that win titles, because it coincided with a number of good but not great players peaking near simultaneously, whereas a team centered around a superstar typically is as good as long as the superstar is dominant and he has a reasonably competent supporting cast.

b. specific to 2004, the league was solidly good, but the league was somewhat in transition.  LeBron / Wade were cutting their teeth, Shaq was aging and fighting with Kobe, yet good enough to take the West.  Had it been a few years earlier or later, the 04 Pistons might not have been good enough to win a title.

- So the Pistons both had a shorter true talent or efficacy window to win a title and may have benefitted from a window in the competition, so to say.

c. And this was with the trade that gifted the Pistons Rasheed.  This doesn't factor into points a. and b., but rather it further illustrates how many things have to go right to win a title without a no doubt top 5 player in the league.

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Not sure how anyone can even begin to speculate how the public feels about Dumars.  His self-imposed exile hasn't given the public any chance to react to him at all.  He has made zero public appearances and done zero local interviews since being fired.  His one interview I remember was with Woj on a podcast that doesn't exist anymore.  

I have no doubt if he started hanging around the organization again he would be warmly welcomed.  Nobody was harder on him than me at the end.  But he is the #1 former Piston IMO.  Involved in all three titles the organization has won.  If they do anything at the new practice facility to honor former players, Dumars will be right there unless he declines.  And this is coming from someone who has a long running feud going with him over a parking garage incident.  

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Dumars was pulling into the spot head first and Deleterious was backing in. Rightfully, it should have been Deleterious spot but he spent too much time pontificating about his parking skills.

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11 hours ago, NYLion said:

Epic collapse? They squeezed every last drop out of that roster that they could. The shelf life of a team without an elite player playing at an elite level in the NBA is very limited if not unprecedented and this group was within a whisker of back to back championships with 5 straight Eastern conference finals.

Look no further than the Darko pick for the reason why the run ended prematurely. You get a star in that draft and it changes the whole approach.

Anyway in a modern era that went from Magic, Bird and Dr.J to Isiah to Jordan to Hakeem to Jordan to Shaq and Kobe to Duncan to Kobe to LeBron to Warriors superstars, there was one little window where a group of castoffs were put together and disrupted the whole superstar glamour run.much to David Stern's chagrin I'm sure. Pretty incredible little run if you ask me.

One has to think, would the Pistons have won with Anthony? Anthony certainly never makes that block on Miller, but are the Pistons even in that position? Are they well enough ahead? Would Anthony's non existent defense fit in with this team and Larry Brown? The de facto other option outside of Darko was Anthony. The best pick may have been Bosh. They likely don't trade for Rasheed but have the cap space to sign Okur instead of Rasheed, and possibly use the pieces for Rasheed to add more depth. Another piece of that Rasheed trade that isn't talked about much is acquiring Mike James. He played no small role off the bench.

Dumars also seemed to always chase that elusive star. He had a deal originally for Iverson that was nixed by Matt Geiger. He had an agreed upon deal for Kobe that was nixed.

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1 hour ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

I think it was 538 that did an analysis of the Pistons, the premise of which was how were the Pistons able to sneak past the bouncer and win a title despite not having a legit superstar.  Their findings:

a. The Pistons true peak was pretty short lived relative to most other teams that win titles, because it coincided with a number of good but not great players peaking near simultaneously, whereas a team centered around a superstar typically is as good as long as the superstar is dominant and he has a reasonably competent supporting cast.

b. specific to 2004, the league was solidly good, but the league was somewhat in transition.  LeBron / Wade were cutting their teeth, Shaq was aging and fighting with Kobe, yet good enough to take the West.  Had it been a few years earlier or later, the 04 Pistons might not have been good enough to win a title.

- So the Pistons both had a shorter true talent or efficacy window to win a title and may have benefitted from a window in the competition, so to say.

c. And this was with the trade that gifted the Pistons Rasheed.  This doesn't factor into points a. and b., but rather it further illustrates how many things have to go right to win a title without a no doubt top 5 player in the league.

It's an interesting study because it's unprecedented for a team without arguably a top 20 player to not only win one title but just about win another.  I actually think the '05 team was better than the '04 team and they pushed one of the best Spurs teams of the Duncan era to the brink after beating a pretty dominant Heat team with superstars so while the '04 Pistons team did catch the benefit of a league in transition, I think the '05 team competed with two teams that would have been really good in most eras.

Generally though, I agree. That period from '04-'10 from post-Kobe/Shaq dynasty to pre-LeBron super team was more wide open than it had been in decades (with all due respect to the Spurs) so the Pistons definitely benefitted from a league that was a bit down.

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19 minutes ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

I think getting Kobe would have been shot in the arm, FWIW.

I agree. I think Kobe would have been a great fit considering the rumored agreed upon trade was Hamilton and some scraps. Unlike Anthony, Kobe actually played defense and would have even been an improvement over Hamilton in that regard. He also wouldn't have a Shaq to feud with on the team. Definitely would have extended their window. Really depends on how well Dumars would have done transitioning from the aging Rasheed and Billups to keep a good supporting cast around Kobe.

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not sure where to put this but..... Isiah Thomas doesn't age.... he looks exactly like he did in 1987.

 

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