This afternoon edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponent, the new look Detroit Pistons who are the foes for game two of this much needed, four game home stand.
This one is going to be a very tight game featuring Allen Iverson’s other former team. Hey, there’s nothing like getting the drama out of the way early. Detroit much like the Sixers has been injury plagued through out the early part of the 2009-10 season. Local product Rip Hamilton has played in only one game and Tayshaun Prince has played in just three games. So the Pistons, just like the Sixers (Speights & Williams) have been missing a couple of big guns for some time now.
On paper we see this game as a very tough, but manageable W for the Sixers. Smooth strokin’ Ben Gordon may get 40 and the lightening quick Will Bynum may hit for 30 against the Sixers horrendous defense, but we still like the home team’s chances. Iguodala’s tremendous play of late will continue tonight, Thad should keep rolling as well and if Eddie Jordan gives Sammy and Brand big minutes on the floor together again, the Sixers should be able to win the battle of the boards. Those factors should be enough to end the Sixers 10 game losing streak.
For a little more insight into the Pistons team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Dan Feldman from pistonpowered.com to answer two questions on the Pistons from us here at Philadunkia, as well as provide us with two points of analysis on this DET squad from an insider’s perspective.
Philadunkia : We know the Pistons have had injury issues, but your key off-season pick ups — Gordon and Charlie V. – have been solid; Will Bynum and Stuckey have played well; and your getting unexpected help from Wallace, so from the outside it seems like the Pistons should be better then 8-12. Do you agree or disagree? And what has been behind the Pistons struggles this season?
Dan Feldman @ pistonpowered.com : I disagree. The Pistons have lost their top two players in points scored last year for nearly the season so far. Imagine the 76ers without Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young. It isn’t pretty. And Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon have missed games, too. Detroit’s record isn’t ideal. But there’s little sense in bemoaning it. The Pistons just haven’t had the players to keep up so far.
Philadunkia : We have this reoccurring dream where Ed Stefanski tricks Joe Dumars into trading Rip Hamilton to the 76ers for Sammy Dalembert. Believe it or not the money works (Actually Sam makes more cash then Rip.) and we’ve heard that neither player is thrilled with their current team. Any chance you think Dumars falls asleep at the wheel and Ed can pull this one off?
Dan Feldman @ pistonpowered.com : Hamilton says he’s happy in Detroit, and I think he mostly is. He’s definitely not whining. When he comes back, he’ll be a starter and one of the team’s top options. He clearly enjoys being around other former UConn players (Gordon and Villanueva). And I think he realizes that if he complains, last year’s saga with Allen Iverson might be re-cast as being more Hamilton’s fault.
That said, the deal does make some sense. The Pistons need a big man, Dalembert is three years younger than Hamilton — and most importantly, his contract is two years shorter than Hamilton’s.
Like with sending Chauncey Billups to his hometown of Denver, I think Dumars will do what he reasonably can to take care of his veterans. Philadelphia would be home for Hamilton, a Coatesville, Pa., native. Still, I just don’t think Dalembert is good enough to make the deal work.
Two Points of Analysis from Dan Feldman @ pistonpowered.com :
1. For most of the season, the Pistons have won when they slowed the pace and lost when the game was faster (even if Detroit’s games never got that high-paced). But they had a high number of possessions their last two games and won both. It will be interesting to see which way that trend goes tonight.
2. Ben Wallace has gotten a lot of credit for his resurgence in his return to Detroit. He’s averaging 9.7 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. His defensive rating is a team-best 103. He has certainly gotten credit for all that. But he’s also a tremendous passer. His offensive rating of 120 is also tops on the team (minimum: two games). He’s averaging 1.8 assists per game, and deserves more credit for his offensive contributions.
Our thanks to Dan Feldman for his insights.