With the pending sweep of the Pistons at the hands of the Cavaliers, we are witnessing the final nails being placed in the proverbial coffin. With that being said, I would like to take a look back and reflect on the run of this group of Pistons. Obviously, the title they won over the Lakers in the 5 game sweep series will be what they go down in history for, but after fond memories of that title, we will think about what could have been. Titles are the only thing that matters in sports. Nobody remembers who got beat in the finals, nor do they care. While the runs to the conference finals that the Pistons made were very impressive, and should not be belittled, in the end they don't amount to much. So when I think about the Pistons there are a few things I wonder...What if Rasheed had not left Horry wide open in the finals? What if we had somehow stopped LeBron from scoring infinity billion points in a row to avoid elimination? What if we were the team that got to play the Mavs instead of the Heat? And the most controversial of all, What if we had drafted Carmelo instead of Darko.
The reason this last one is controversial is because we won a title with Darko on the bench and there is no guarantee we win one with Carmelo there. This is valid in that I believe we would not have traded for Sheed if we had Carmelo on our roster. I do not think this would have cost us a title inn the long run. We have gotten a glimpse of how Carmelo and Chauncey work together this year in Denver albeit with Carmelo being much more matured. This does not take away from the fact that they managed to grab the number 2 seed in a Western Conference that puts the Eastern Conference of past memory to shame. There is no doubt in my mind that the Pistons with a superior supporting cast for Melo and Chauncey would have won MULTIPLE titles with RIP, Chauncey, Carmelo, Ben, and Tay. Instead of going to the Eastern Conference Finals every year they would have been going to the NBA finals. Even with the apparent lack of any semblance of effort that the Pistons showed after they won their first title, they wouldn't have needed it until the finals and no matter what a basketball player will turn it on in the finals and that would have been enough to net at least one more title.
With this scenario the Pistons would not be in nearly as bad a situation as they currently are either. With a few titles under his belt, Carmelo would be unlikely to leave in free agency, the Billups trade would not have been necessary, and we would not be waiting until the big free agents hit the market in the hopes of luring one to Detroit (hah). Joe D did a great job making basketball relevant in Detroit again, but this was an inexcusable move that cost our great city titles. Wouldn't it have been great to see both of these guys in Pistons uniforms together?