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DeuceWallaces 08-03-2006 02:48 PM

Pistons shake up compared to Heat in '05
Trying to get something going here, this is from last week:


It was just about a year ago when a Heat team that had stood within one game of the NBA Finals was ripped apart by the blockbuster trade that delivered Antoine Walker, Jason Williams and James Posey.

While the move was widely questioned at the time, we now know how that turned out.

Last week, a team that stood within two victories of the just-concluded NBA Finals completed its own overhaul, with the Pistons introducing free-agent acquisitions Ronald Murray, Nazr Mohammed and Ronald Dupree.

Unlike the second-guessing with the Heat last summer, the universal sense in Detroit was that it was time for change.

"I think they all got a little bit bored with each other, is what more or less happened," owner Bill Davidson said during a radio interview. "I think we needed to shake up. ... They got used to each other for too long a period of time.

"I think we're better positioned this year than we were last year. ... The boredom, it was subtle, but it was there."

After four consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference finals, Detroit made sure its reshuffle was restrained. But it also was viewed as necessary by management.

When the Heat overhauled last summer, Pat Riley, then in a sole role as team president, insisted the moves were not as much about getting past Detroit, as about adding versatility.

Pistons President Joe Dumars offered a similar view, but the words offered at Detroit's media session last week said otherwise.

"The minute we got beat in Miami, we walked into the locker room, and Joe was there, and we said right then, `we've got to get better,'" coach Flip Saunders said. "One of the areas we needed to get better was on the perimeter, our ability to get somebody to the hole and our ability to defend on the perimeter."

Ronald Murray as a Heat killer? Don't think so. But it's a sign that Detroit recognizes the need to meet new challenges.

For example, the shift to zone defense that so annoyed departed center Ben Wallace could become more of a staple in Saunders' second season as Pistons coach.

"When we played Miami, our guys [complained] about the zone," Saunders said. "But when we played zone, that's the one time we had the ability to stop them."

And with Wallace gone, Detroit will force Shaquille O'Neal to play some defense, be it with play calls for Mohammed or more time in the middle for Rasheed Wallace or Antonio McDyess.

"We had to have a better inside presence offensively," Saunders said. "It's a proven fact that if you want to beat Miami, you have to have a center who can score against Shaq. If you don't, what happens is Shaq gets to rest so much on defense that he's that much better on offense."

I don't know if the universal feeling in Detroit is change was needed, but I agree with the points.

I think in many ways we'll be better with Dyess in there, and even though I'm not a Murray fan, we need some scoring off the bench from teh guard position in the worst way.

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