It’s not always easy to keep perspective. Like when the 410 lb. orca whale purchasing $30-worth of Burger King for himself double-checks with the cashier that the soda he was served is Diet. But we here at Razzball know how difficult maintaining perspective can be, especially when you’re drunk and trying to sketch moving objects. So from now until the start of the season, we’re bringing you the 2010 Fantasy Team Previews, which will focus on each NBA team in hopes of painting a clearer fantasy picture. Who’s starting over who? Who might surprise you and who might make you want to hurl yourself off a bridge in a few months. Enjoy! Next up - The Detroit Pistons.
Gained – Greg Monroe and … oh my God, is that Tracy McGrady!?!
Lost – Kwame Brown, Chucky Atkins, that lovin’ feelin’
Probable position depth –
PG – Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum
SG – Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon , Terrico White
SF – Tayshaun Prince, Tracy McGrady, Jonas Jerebko, Austin Daye
PF – Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell, DaJuan Summers
C – Ben Wallace, Greg Monroe, Chris Wilcox
3 Concerns Heading Into the Season -
1. Is there any classic McGrady left?
Yes. But also no. Physically, I tend to believe that McGrady is capable of playing at a high level. But nothing about his attitude in the past or statements to the press make me think he’s willing to drop all the T-Mac junk and play within a team’s system. The problem is compounded when you look at the current state of this Pistons team and the fact that they don’t really have a system. Perhaps if McGrady played for an organization that had a defined need for him he’d feel more compelled to shape up, but this team’s a mess. And when everyone else is looting the store and setting fire to it, who’s going to notice one more guy with a stereo in one hand and a firebomb in the other?
2. Will Ben Wallace start more than 30 games this season?
I sure hope not. I’m setting the over/under on minutes spent on the bench between Wallace and McGrady reminiscing about 2002 at 740, which is about nine minutes per game. Big Ben will be 36 this season, he was snatched from the jaws of retirement which doesn’t bode well for huge input on the floor, his DRtg slipped to a career-high 106 (which is actually a career-low), and the career .417 free throw shooter shot his worst FT% in nine seasons. All that came in a season widely considered a comeback from his dalliances in Chicago and Cleveland. Oh, and Greg Monroe is considered one of the more NBA-ready rookies drafted this season. That said, this is the Pistons. I say Wallace starts, 45 games.
3. As this is virtually the same squad as that 27-55 monstrosity from last year, how does this team expect to improve?
Easy. They hope Hamilton, Gordon and Villanueva all suck less than last year, while youngsters Jerebko, Daye and Monroe all develop into helpful contributors. Oh, and Tracy McGrady will be hanging around like impending danger. Much like watching two drunks throwing punches, you can only sit back and hope that at least one of them sticks.
Fantasy Disappointment in ’10 – Charlie Villanueva. Over and over last year I heard what a disappointment ol’ Carlos Newhouse was and how he’d have a bounce-back year in 2010. And it’s true that his 2009 season was worse than his 2008 season, but not worse than his first three seasons in the league. He averaged 1.5 fewer boards and a half assist less than he should have in ’09, but everything else was aligned with his first three years in the league. Points? 13 ppg in’05, 12 in ’06, 11.5 in ’07, 16 in ’08, 12 in ’09. Which season doesn’t fit? His defense? He had a 111 DRtg as a rookie, followed by 110, 112, 106, 110. Again, any outliers? Expect a small improvement over last year, but not a full bounce all the way back to 2008.
Biggest Fantasy Contributor in ’10 – Ben Gordon. Speaking of outliers, forget last season. People always tend to freak out when they first arrive in Detroit.
Deep Sleeper – Jonas Jerebko. The Pistons don’t have a clear leader, but there are a dozen players who could feasibly be of some fantasy usefulness. Jerebko is, at this point in the preseason, a man with no country despite showing a ton of promise in place of the various injured pieces on the club last season. Sadly, those pieces have either healed or been replaced in the offseason and it looks like it’s going to take more injuries and failure for Jerebko to be fantasy-relevant again.