For our second glimpse into the mind of a Pistons fan as we prepare for the first round of the playoffs tonight, Matt from Detroit Bad Boys was kind enough to answer a few questions from yours truly. The transcript is below...
1. This is the 11th team Flip Saunders has taken to the playoffs. He's never taken a team to the finals. Is he done in Detroit if the Pistons don't get there this year?
I don't think it's automatic. If the Pistons lose in the Conference Finals looking no better than they did the last two years (that is: tired and completely discombobulated), than yes, I can see Saunders getting the axe. But if they play their style of game and still lose a hard-fought series to the Celtics, then there's no shame in watching the Finals from home. It'd be incredibly frustrating, but not grounds for dismissal. (But if they lose *before* the Conference Finals? I'd expect changes, and I'm not just talking about the coaching staff.)
2. Keeping question number 1 in mind, does part of you wish Larry Brown had stuck around for another year or two? Would the Pistons have another ring if he had? Do you wish he was coaching this team, this year?
Part of me wishes that Larry Brown hadn't worn out his welcome, but I've never regretted his departure. He betrayed the team by entertaining job offers while still coaching in the playoffs, and his refusal to even try developing Darko Milicic probably ruined the kid's confidence for good. As I'm sure you can remember, having LB around means the story is always about LB. Saunders does an excellent job letting his players enjoy the spotlight.
3. If the Sixers go with a big starting lineup (Miller, Iguodala, Thad Young, Evans, Dalembert) who do you want Prince to guard? If the Sixers do go with that lineup, and it's effective, any chance Flip pulls Hamilton from the starting lineup?
I'd probably put Prince on Iggy and let Rip try his luck with Young, but in reality I'd imagine they'd be switching up an awful lot. Plus, whoever is guarding Young would get plenty of help from Antonio McDyess and Rasheed Wallace considering Evans and Dalembert don't have the range to draw them out of the post.
As for making Rip a sixth man, there's no chance that'll happen. I've wondered myself if Rip might be suited for a Manu Ginobili type role as a super-sixth man, but there's too much pride on this team for them to make such drastic changes in the middle of a playoff series, especially (no offense) to a seventh seed.
4. Who is the Piston's Willie Green? (The guy who makes you cringe whenever he's put into the game, takes a bad shot, turns the ball over, etc.)
This is going to sound arrogant, but there's really nobody on the roster that makes me nervous. The bench has been critical to the team's success this year, and guys like Jason Maxiell, Rodney Stuckey and Amir Johnson are just plain fun to watch. There are some guys I don't want holding the ball in certain situations -- ie, Lindsey Hunter on a fast break, Arron Afflalo behind the three-point line -- but each of those guys do other things well and play within their role that I rarely begrudge their time on the court. (That said, I do know exactly the type of player you're talking about: Flip Murray could be painful to watch during his season and a half in Detroit. I don't think anyone regrets losing him.)
Again, a big thanks to Matt for participating, and check out Detroit Bad Boys for all your Pistons' needs (should you have any).