I know you’re frustrated. I know your expectations were higher. I know you can’t take the losing. Despite the disappointment that has become the 2008-09 season; I think we as Pistons fans should be more proud and thankful.
We should be thankful to have had the joys of watching a team make a run of six straight trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, which included 2 Finals appearances and one NBA Championship. We should also be proud to have witnessed our team succeed with “unselfish” players, who worked well off of and with one another and did it with a true tough-minded defensive identity.
But with the ravishes of time come change and one that is first met with resistance, so much so that fans and media people alike have not been thrilled about this season.
Aiding in this disappointment was the trade of the popular Chauncey Billups, the unenviable task of trying to integrate the talents of Allen Iverson, the hiring a rookie head coach in Michael Curry, seemingly uninspired play, and now a rash of injuries a month before the season concludes.
I’d like to think we as committed residence of PistonNation are smart enough to recognize that the team we had come to love and identify with had seen its best days. With three straight years of losing in the conference finals, other contenders starting to pass by like the new sports car fresh off the assembly line and players getting old, one would think that change had to happen. Moreover, if the team was kept together and went on to lose in the 2nd round or conference finals again then everyone would be screaming for something new any so what’s the difference?
I also believe we should be thankful to have a team president in Joe Dumars, who has the presence of mind to see decline and recognize a need for such change. Besides, who’s better at determining such thing than a former player who has experienced the highs of winning in the NBA and the lows of the lottery?
In case you didn’t know (or forgot), Dumars played on a championship team where during his hall-of-fame career, he was not only an integral part, by winning a Finals MVP, he also was lauded for his cerebral sense and for being a multi-dimensional talent. Unfortunately, he was also apart of a franchise that had fallen on hard times after the glory days, only to try to spray over the stink of mediocrity with bad personnel decisions and the dreaded horses head teal uniforms.
My point is that, all great teams have a point where they are off for at least a season but, stability and sound decision-making (which the Pistons have) will be the determining factor to how long the frustration will last.
None of us can predict the future but, I’m confident that we won’t see too many more seasons like this because, of the track record. Think of this as the 2001 season reincarnated (one that included: Mateen Cleaves, Joe Smith, and John Wallace) which was a season of salary cap clearing and developing youth. Just that team didn’t make the playoffs. Also the team was loaded with cap space, a new coach, and a budding star on the rise…. Sound familiar?
So let’s be appreciative of what we’ve enjoyed and also take our lumps from all the other so-called fans of the “popular” teams. It will make it that much sweater when we’re right back on top…. Right?