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Detroit Bad BoysOver the past 2 decades, the NBA has slightly modified their rules from year to year to all but remove any type of physical play from the game.  In these 2 decades we have seen the league go from teams that are playoff contenders due to limited player movement, to more recently “superstars” ganging up on teams to create “super teams”.  All of these changes were made in large part because of the league wanting to lift its superstars up, to get the fans more interested in purchasing player apparel and for more fans to become interested in the game because of higher scores and more up and down play…. ESPN is planning to take us all back to the end of the days where a team could be a team, and together they would be strong enough to overtake a team with a superstar, by running a 30 for 30 special about the ‘Bad Boys’ era Detroit Pistons.

These Bad Boys are not the main reason why I began watching basketball, but I came to love them because all of my friends hated them.  I grew up a fan of Joe Dumars, who was a main member of the Bad Boys teams of the late 80s and early 90s.

So… tune your televisions to ESPN on April 17 at 8pm to see the Bad Boys honored in a 2 hour documentary in which many old players, coaches, and opponents are interviewed as a part of the show.  So, even though it’s “April in the D” and the Tigers are back… get a little warmth back in your soul by watching Laimbeer, Mahorn, Rodman, Salley, etc all smack down Jordan and Pippen’s candya$$e$ while their former teammates and coaches whine about it and we all laugh about it and wish Greg Monroe or Andre Drummond had a mean streak in them like the former Bad Boys big men.

Today was the first day that players could officially re-sign with their teams after ratifying the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) agreed to a little over a week ago to end the NBA Lockout.  Today was also really the first day that new Pistons owner Tom Gores’ staff could get to work evaluating the talent that is already on the roster, and evaluating the available talent in the free agent market.

Yesterday, in a bit of a surprise move, Tayshaun Prince and the Pistons agreed in principle to a 4 year, $27 million dollar deal.  The Pistons, who drafted 3 small forwards inRip Hamilton the 2009 NBA Draft and 1 small forward in the 2011 NBA Draft, brought back an aging Prince who has seen his statistics drastically decline in recent years to compete with Austin Daye and Jonas Jerebko for playing time (DaJuan Summers was not brought back, and Kyle Singler has decided to stay overseas this season and is playing well).

Today started off rather dull, the Pistons announced the signings of 1st round pick Brandon Knight and 2nd round pick Vernon Macklin.  Signing draft picks is merely a formality, since 1st round pick salaries are slotted and 2nd round picks are often signed to non-guaranteed 1 or 2 year deals.

About 5:30pm today, the Detroit Free Press tweeted that Pistons guard Richard Hamilton had been bought out.  No, the Pistons didn’t use their amnesty clause from the recent CBA, they bought Hamilton out of his contract for the purpose of giving him outright release which will give him the opportunity to sign with the team of his choosing just as any other free agent can.  The Pistons would’ve been on the hook for approximately $20 million dollars had Hamilton not accepted the buyout, and remained in a Pistons uniform this season and next.

Richard Hamilton

Photo Getty Images Editing Need4Sheed.com

Hamilton was bought out of the contract extension that he agreed to on November 3, 2008, at the same time his backcourt mate Chauncey Billups was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson.  The contract extension was for 3 years, $34 million dollars and was seen as something given to Rip to prove his worth to the franchise while they traded his friend Billups out from behind his back.  This move was immediately questioned by the fanbase who saw that this extension would cripple the franchise every year that Hamilton remained on the roster, and it was only made worse by the fact Iverson came in pouted his way off the team while Chauncey Billups helped lead the Denver Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals.

I’ll admit, I never really have respected Rip’s game.  All of the talk about how he was well conditioned and modeled his game after Reggie Miller couldn’t make up for his poor ballhandling ability and penchant for getting technical fouls when the team needed them least.

But I’m not here to kick dirt on his time with the Pistons, he is an accomplished Piston.  He will go down as the all-time leading playoff scorer for a Pistons franchise that has had several great guard tandems, most recently being Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars.  He was a member of a team that made an improbable championship run to beat the Lakers in 2004 and that took the Spurs to 7 games in 2005.

Hamilton will go down as one of the best all around players in Pistons franchise history.  Hamilton was one of the first players Joe Dumars acquired at the beginning of the early 2000s playoffs and championships run.  He was the centerpiece of the trade before the 2002-2003 season with the Washington Wizards that saw Dumars swindle Michael Jordan out of Hamilton, Hubert Davis and Bobby Simmons while giving up Jerry Stackhouse, Brian Cardinal and Ratko Varda.  In his 2nd year with the team, the team won the NBA Finals for the first time since the 1990-1991 season.  Hamilton was the leading scorer for the team as they beat the Lakers in 5 games, in an emotional series that ended perfectly on the Pistons home floor.

Rip Hamilton with 35 off the bench

Photo/Getty Images editing Need4Sheed.com

That same season in which they won the championship against the Lakers, Hamilton broke out his now famous protective mask that protects his nose from being broken.  His nose had been broken twice that season, and once before in the 2002 season.  He wore the mask as a recommendation from his doctor who warned he would need complete nasal reconstructive surgery if he were to break his nose again.

Hamilton leaves the Pistons having earned $79,744,283 in salary in his 9 years on the team (not including the buyout amount, which is still yet to be announced).  Hamilton leaves the team having played 631 games, and 21,679 minutes in a Pistons uniform.  He is a 3 time All Star as a Piston, from 2006-2008 (as a reserve).

Let’s not forget while we celebrate Rip and his albatross of a contract are gone, how important of a member of those playoff teams he was.  Rip had a great mid range game, he was a pesky defender and could often get in the head of the man defending him by talking trash to him all game.  He stepped up in some of the games the Pistons needed him the most, which made him one of the most clutch players in the NBA from 2004-2007.  Rip is already missed, but the old Rip has been gone since 2008.

It is not Rip’s fault that Dumars signed Ben Gordon and that Rodney Stuckey hasn’t panned out as the team’s point guard of the future.  It’s not Rip’s fault the Allen Iverson experiment didn’t work.  It’s not Rip’s fault that when Chauncey Billups left, his game went with him.  It’s also not Rip’s fault Dumars offered him that 3 year extension that most of us fans hated.

Rip Hamilton

Photo Getty Images Editing Need4Sheed.com

Rip is going to be remembered for his time in a Pistons uniform as being one of the best complimentary players of all time.  Rip is arguably a top 10 Piston of all time, and during the recent success of the organization, he was one of the biggest team players for an organization that built around team and not superstars.

Thank you Rip.  Thank you for playing your heart out, and for going to work night in and night out, no matter how screwy the situation has been in recent years.  You will always be one of our favorite Pistons.

The 10-20 Pistons are on a second game of a back-to-back in Charlotte to take on the 9-19 Bobcats.

This could be an easy steal for Detroit considering all the changes going on in the Bobcats organization. Charlotte’s biggest losing streak was stretched to four with Tuesday’s 99-81 loss to Oklahoma City, getting outscored 31-12 in the fourth quarter. The skid is part of a 1-6 stretch that includes three losses by more than 30 points.

Within the five days between games coach Larry Brown stepped down and was replaced by Paul Silas on an interim basis.

There is also talk that the Bobcats are looking to move Gerald Wallace, though it seems like we hear those rumors every season.

Injuries:

Gerald Wallace out for the Bobcats (ankle)

The Scouting Report via Pistons.com

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Tip off is at 7:00 pm and will be broadcast on FS Detroit PLUS. If you can’t catch the game on TV, follow it live over at NBA.com or on the radio over at WWJ 950 AM.

Follow MeMake sure you Follow Me and Danny on Twitter.   I will be announcing what I’m giving away during the Bobcats game and how to win it!

Leave your thoughts in the comments or Chat Live with your fellow Pistons fans during the game.

Lastly…I had an unbelievable once in a lifetime experience (for me). Something I have been waiting to happen for about 23 years. If you Follow me on Twitter you would know what it was.  More on that later, but in the meantime FOLLOW me and Retweet this for another prize (you must follow me to find out what it is) I will be giving away next week.

Message to ReTweet (you can copy and paste):

If you are a Pistons fan you must Follow @need4sheed_com – Repping the “D” regardless of Sheed! #Need4Sheed #Sheedburgler

In an effort to get myself through the NBA offseason I always tend to revert back to old videos I have collected or watch the old games I have on DVR or DVD.  While scouring my computer today I found this clip and all the sudden I was taken back to the 1990 Pistons Bulls playoff series.  I remember both the 1989 and 90 battles like they were yesterday but watching this clipped sparked a little memory I had from game 7 at the Palace in 1990.

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Video Courtesy of The Detroit Pistons

I Remember the game vividly because I was at the Palace that night. I remember Johns Salley’s performance and I distinctly remember the celebration of being the eastern conference champs getting ready to head off to the NBA Championship for the second season in a row. (Back2Back I still have that t-shirt)

I also had a memory of two player that you may or may not remember. William Bedford and the Bulls B.J. Armstrong.

Bedford turned out to be of the biggest disappointments, a 7 footer with much potential and two NBA championship rings (thanks to Detroit) who sadly squandered his talents because of a drug problem.

B.J. Armstrong was Michigan bred and went the Birmingham Brother Rice high school.  I will always remember how small he seemed to me (6″2)  on court and always amazed in the fact that he was right across the way while I attended school.

Any special moments you remember distinctly?

The Pistons and their fans had a difficult year so many respects. We as fans watched a special team of our favorite players fall short for the past few season and when things got shook up, it turned out far worse than we could have ever imagined.

As we watch the Playoffs from a different angle this post season we can only hope that our old friend Mr. Big Shot keeps doing what he’s doing.

We said goodbye to two great men in Pistons owner Bill Davidson and Bad Boy legend Coach Chuck Daly. Which is not just sad for everyone who knew and loved these great men, but it reminds us of their legacy.

I started on the Pistons bandwagon at a very young age (pre Bad Boys). Now I didn’t follow the team the way I do know in the early stages, come the time Trader Jack drafted Joe Dumars I was completely hooked. Isiah and Tripuka may have sparked my basketball love, but The Bad Boys birthed my addiction.

So when I was thinking of the loss of Davidson and Daly instead of mourning, I looked back at the good times they gave us. Two true innovators that cemented what we know now as Detroit Basketball. I was looking though old Pistons specials I had taped (since it’s May and I not used to not seeing the Pistons play) and I came across some good times.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZcqM294c7E

Good Times, and more to come.