By H. Jose Bosch
I’m going to be the first one to admit it: the signings of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva are working well for the Pistons so far.
But in Detroit’s 98-75 win over Charlotte last night, with Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince still out with injuries, Villanueva and Gordon put the Pistons on their backs.
Villanueva: 30 points on 17 shots, four rebounds, two steals and a block.
Gordon: 22 points on 16 shots, eight assists, a steal and no turnovers.
I never expected them to carry the team, but it’s nice to know they can at times. When Prince and Hamilton return, this game is even more evidence the newcomers can play at a high level.
He finished by saying as the season progresses, maybe people will start to realize that these two moves were actually solid.
That’s where my agreement with him ends.
Yes, both players are doing very well for Detroit, especially with Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton out with injury. And since both players won’t be back for awhile, it’s comforting to know that the Pistons’ season won’t devolve into a traveling circus.
But if last night’s loss against the Lakers proved anything, and Feldman admits this in his excellent write up of the game, Detroit doesn’t have a solid big man to battle in the paint.
This is a problem when you look at some of the best team’s in the East.
Orlando (Dwight Howard), Boston (Kevin Garnett), Cleveland (Shaq, even if he’s a bit past his prime), Atlanta (Al Horford), and Miami (Udonis Haslem).
When Prince returns he’ll bother shooters in the paint with his long reach but he’s still no banger down low.
So when I see the absence of a reliable big man I think: did Dumars have to sign Gordon and Villanueva? With the money he’d save by not signing one of those contracts could he have signed a free agent or worked a trade for someone to play down low?
Dumars deserves a lot of credit for making Detroit a perennial contender in the East and revitalizing a team that had been mired in mediocrity for several years. But I still believe these moves will come back and bite him when the season is complete.
His only saving grace is that the East is still weak and with the return of Prince and Hamilton, Detroit will still compete for the seven or eight seed in the conference.
But lest I sound too negative, check out Jason Maxiell violent block of Shannon Brown. It gave me the chills. Fortunately it happened in L.A., where anything goes. Try and pull that off in Middle America and you’re charged with assault.Follow paulmbanks