Despite the open roster spot created from trading Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye, Ben Wallace or any of the other un-retired 2004 Pistons aren’t walking through that door. In fact, to spin the classic Rick Pitino sound bite further, the Bad Boys also are not walking through that door. This 2012-2013 Pistons team has it’s own identity, no matter how frustratingly inconsistent and confusing it may be. The championship swagger of past Pistons teams is floating in the NBA air like a wandering spirit, but sometimes reincarnation happens.
“When I watch the Pacers, all I keep thinking is the Bad Boys, the Bad Boys, the Bad Boys. I don’t think Detroit’s teams that were so good, and of course won a couple championships with Isaiah Thomas and (Bill) Laimbeer and those guys, I don’t think they were the best team on paper. I think their style of play kind of dragged everyone down, and got into just a fight with them. That’s what Detroit wanted, and that’s how they were successful. I see some of that with Indiana…It’s not about just being dirty, although I think that they (Indiana) skirt with that line between really tough play and dirty play, which is fine. Their job is to win games. The way they play is maddening to their opponents.”
Any Pistons fan who watched last year’s Indiana Pacers irritate, elbow, press and push the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals would be lying if they told you they weren’t smiling at the familiar looking “dirty” play. Okay, Indiana wasn’t playing as dirty as the real Bad Boys, nor are they playing as dirty now. Heck, if any one played in the exact same way as Rockin’ Rick Mahorn or Bill Laimbeer, they’d be vilified and placed either above or tied with Metta World Peace for the unofficial “scum of the league” title. Still, it’s always nice to hear the Pistons greats being brought up in the debate of modern comparison.
The Pistons are falling further and further away from the eighth and final playoff spot. With Andre Drummond now out 4-6 weeks, it’s more than likely that they’ll be out of the playoff race by the All-Star break. If you take David Thorpe’s comments as compliment, as this writer does, then the Indiana Pacers have just become your favorite team in the Eastern Conference next to the Pistons. Hey, if the Pistons don’t have a shot then you might as well stay invested come playoff time by rooting for Piston-imitators.
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