Selling Grapes at Divine Prices

My knee-jerk reaction is to say that the Pistons are the best thing in sports right now, the last of a dying breed, in which a team of people over the age of 20 act like a bunch grown ass men. Like they've seen things that they couldn't describe to you, because you wouldn't understand it. They'll tell you a story, sure, and they might give you a nickel, but that's all you're gonna get. Antonio McDyess has lived three lifetimes. Lindsey Hunter has lived through three major depressions. Chauncey Billups has played for every team in the league. Tayshaun Prince has the physique of a Harlem Globetrotter. Whereas guys like Rick Ross and Kimbo Slice rock beards as an adornment, Rip Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace wear them simply because they are old...

Which makes it no surprise that Rodney Stuckey has come out of the womb fully formed. The clear consensus around the closed-door boardroom is that Stuckey is the most FreeDarko player in the league right now. Defying all conventional wisdom about how a player of his caliber should carry himself, bursting with potential and taking (but somehow making) the most ill-advised shots in tight situations. Guys like Stucky are not supposed to play on the road like he has. Guys like Stuckey are not supposed to play in the playoffs, period (see Allen, Tony). Although it could debunk my three-year thesis that KG's problems in Minny were a result solely of bad coaching, I have to give Flip Saunders his props for trusting every single one of his guys, rolling out the ball, and seeing what the hell they can do.

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At 5/23/2008 10:12 AM, Blogger Bret LaGree said...

I have to admit that any similarities between Stuckey and Tony Allen (size maybe?) escape me and I like Tony Allen.

At 5/23/2008 10:17 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

It's a different situation to be sure, but the only comparison I can come up with for Stucky's impact on these playoffs is Cassell with the Rockets. Stucky's swagger is way more of a quiet confidence than Sam the Alien's brash cockiness, but as far as a rookie guard stepping up on a veteran team, that's all I got.

At 5/23/2008 10:26 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

Turns out I'm kind of a genius.

Rookie year playoff averages:

Cassell: 21.7 mpg, 9.4 ppg, 4.2 apg, 2.7 rpg

Stuckey: 21.8 mpg, 7.8 ppg, 3.4 apg, 2.0 rpg

Stuckey's averages keep going up each series, so by the time this is over, his numbers could be even closer to Cassell's.

At 5/23/2008 10:28 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

I've used Stuckey as my go to scorer on the Pistons in 2K8, mainly because I like having rookies win awards on the season play. Needless to say, every player on a video game is FD, but his avatar works well within that platform. What's remarkable about this is that I see him hit shots
(especially that move in the paint in the fourth for the and one) in these series that I make him take on the PS2, shots that MJ or Kobe would take and make after making one or two jumpers. Runners in traffic whilst taking a hit after subbing in for the first time? Is this a case of the much vaunted FD potential files?

At 5/23/2008 10:51 AM, Blogger americanmidwestsamurai said...

There are two old men in the room. One rugged, the other slightly more polished. They’ve known each other, but have (with one notable exception) narrowly avoided direct showdown. Unforgiven and Chinatown, Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicholson. Detroit and San Antonio. This is the narrative, no? The Celtics-Lakers that almost happened, but due to a series of bizarre happenstance (Flip let’s LBJ score 30 straight, extremely questionable officiating at the end of the 2006 WCF, blah, blah blah…) it didn’t quite happen.

At 5/23/2008 10:53 AM, Blogger BW said...

I watched the game from a bar in Boston last night... and as the 4th quarter wound down, I couldn't keep in my Detroit loyalties any longer. No big deal, I thought.

After the game ended, the guy to my right turned to me.

"It's not that I like the Celtics... I just moved here. I've lived in Pittsburgh, I grew up in Chicago. The Bulls are my team."

I nodded.

"I hate the Pistons."

He said it with an unexpected weight. I let the silence rest a beat too long and then tried to stammer out an uncomfortable "yeah" and whatever else would follow.

He shook his head.

"No, look. I hate my father." He rolled up his sleeves and pointed. "See these - these tattoos - I got them because I hate my dad so much."

We both looked up as Rip was giving the postgame interview.

He pointed at the screen.

"But I hate the Pistons more."

We went back to our beers and I faked a phone call a few minutes later. I wish I had something glib to wrap this up with (!) but the moment was too intense. Worth sharing, though, I think.

At 5/23/2008 11:04 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Stuckey is a poor awesome man's Wade. I've been saying it for months.

Speaking of shit I've been saying forever now. . . this Pistons renaissance is just beginning. Amir rising.

At 5/23/2008 11:20 AM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...


that is the best comment i've seen in a while.

bret lagee, the tony allen mention was just to make a point about coaches putting faith in young players (which flip has seemed to do with stuckey, afflalo, amir, maxiell), but rivers has shied away from. yeah, big baby is getting some burn, but that passive/aggressive cassell/rondo rotation in the earlier series' i think has really fucked with rondo's head. plus, allen should be out there as a sizeable defender when appropriate.

At 5/23/2008 11:40 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

Not that anyone has suggested otherwise, but to clarify, I'm only comparing Stuckey's impact to rookie Cassell's, not his game.

At 5/23/2008 11:53 AM, Blogger Balcony Gal said...

bw, I wish I had overheard the whole thing. And seen those tats. No need to add more because you made it real. I wish I had a strong feeling like that to put behind my dislike of Detroit. Humbling.

At 5/23/2008 12:09 PM, Blogger Mother Father Chinese Dentist said...

does it seem strange to anyone else that big baby falls on more than half the plays he's involved in? i saw the celtics when they were in town and my friend and i were keeping a running count of the number of plays that ended with him on the floor. kind of ridiculous.

At 5/23/2008 12:35 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Whither the defensive player of the fear?

At 5/23/2008 1:23 PM, Blogger Sean C. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5/23/2008 1:24 PM, Blogger Sean C. said...

I think it was during Game 1 that JVG stated that the Detroit Pistons are incredible because they've had so much success without having a Hall of Fame talent on the roster. At this point, though, wouldn't this prolonged success equal enshrinement for at least one of the team's key players? I mean, a reasonable case could be made for Rasheed or Billups, despite the fact that they don't have fantastic numbers (but hey, neither did Joe Dumars, and he got elected to the HOF). It would be unfortunate if the players who made this 6-7 year run possible don't get honored in some fashion in the future.

At 5/23/2008 1:39 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Sean - They should just allow Deeeeeeeeeeeeeetroit Basketball to be enshrined as a unit as a special exception.

I don't really know what's happening because I'm a Bostonite, but there's a beauty about the Pistons play that makes me either coo or tear up on a regular basis.

At 5/23/2008 2:14 PM, Blogger Sean C. said...

Brian - Yeah, I am in the same boat you're in. I'm a Celtics fan, and yet I wasn't even that upset last night. It seems like a Detroit victory is all but inevitable, and any resistance is meaningless. I hate that feeling, but the Pistons just seem to be a superior team.

Of course, if the C's win tomorrow I'll be singing a completely different tune, but that seems unlikely.

At 5/23/2008 4:44 PM, Blogger rebar said...

i called stuckey getting his on my muxtape.

kid's going places. i can't wait until we see the stuckey/afflalo/tayprince/maxiell/amir lineup.

At 5/24/2008 3:14 PM, Blogger Michael said...

I'm as Detroit homer as they come but there are only 6 possible criticisms anyone can logically make of the Pistons in my view, most of which are weak:

1. Rip whines too much and can't control himself at times (examples: actually had more regular season techs than Sheed this year + recent elbow to Garnett)

Counter-argument: While Rip annoyingly whines too much, his game is stunningly consistent and he never engages in the type of wussy tomfoolery that (vis-a-vis the Celtics) Garnett does on the regular:


2. Rasheed is crazy (see: whining, Rip Hamilton), no question. Pistons fans tend to laugh with this aspect of his character, but it tends to (understandably) piss off Pistons haters to no end.

Counter-argument: While I get quite nervous when Sheed's arms get-a-flailin' and I'm not a champion of constant complaining, these examples tend to absolve Sheed in my eyes and make Sheed entirely awesome:


3. Tayshaun Prince is pretty ugly, scrawny and has an awkward shot.

Counter-argument: While I believe those contentions to be wholly valid, in spite of all that Tayshaun made it out of Compton, California unscathed. He's at worst the fifth best player from the 2002 draft (picked #23). Doesn't this cut him slack?

4. Flip Saunders sucks as a coach.

Counter-argument: This contention, inferred by Dr. Lawyer IndianChief himself may have been true in years past, but it's not true right now. Is it possible that Garnett was as much or more of the problem in Minnesota than Saunders? Not only do I think it's possible, I think it's the case. However, Saunders has absolutely improved as a coach since then, particularly through the course of this season. The Timberwolves' underachieving could never be fully ascribed to Garnett even if he has major culpability in the event.

5. The Pistons "take games off".

Counter-argument: It's hard not to "take games off" when your starters are playing the minutes the Pistons starters played for the three seasons preceding this one. When the starters and coach have a bench they can count on, the subsequent results tend to dismiss this argument.

6. Chauncey has an ego larger than The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Counter-argument: I struggle most with this, as I don't have much of a counter. "The Mr. Big Shot" moniker is (at the very least) a bit of hyperbole and Chauncey truly seems to love himself. The only thing backing him up is he is one of the twenty-four players to win Finals MVP since it was established in the 1969 NBA Finals (although Ben Wallace probably deserved it more than Chauncey that series). He's also the guy that has steered the ship on the floor for so many great seasons. That's invaluable and worthy of some praise.

Outside of these six criticisms, the Pistons play the game right; they don't jersey pop or spout off. In spite of their (see: Rip & Sheed) incessant whining on the court, you won't catch Sheed or Rip diving for foul calls (see Ginobili, Manu) or continually telling you how great they are (see: Mamba, Black). Sheed may have a lot to say about others, but he has next to nothing to say about himself. This being said, it's a rarity whenever I ever hear compliments of the Pistons' style in my daily life. It's refreshing for me to see some Pistons love from fans of other teams when all I usually hear is "boring" or "flip a switch". Thank you FD.

At 5/24/2008 6:22 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

Here at FD, we actually like a little jersey popping from time to time.

At 4/13/2009 2:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...




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