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Hard, fast, and under control

by Ron Marshall

Sometimes the sizzle is the steak. Sometimes the style is the substance. As we slowly uncover the identity of this Pistons team, it's undeniable; they have style.

Despite the evidence of their travails and growing pains, it's a winning style. This week, the Pistons have endured two tough losses, one to a Rockets team that seems to consistently overachieve, the other to a Hornets team that ... doesn't. But the unifying factor is the sense that Detroit was simply overwhelmed, just sunk by making small errors that compound quickly when more than half of your team salary is unable to take the court due to injury. Of course, the Yao-less Houston Rockets have no reason to weep for you, but the facts are what they are: the Pistons need all of their guys to be able to beat any given team on any given night.

But, if the Piston's have all of their guys, they can likely beat any given team on any given night. With nice wins against Orlando, Atlanta, and Denver, they've shown that this team can show up and secure a W even when a combination of Will Bynum, Ben Gordon, Tayshaun Prince, and Rip Hamilton are absent.

How? Call it grit. Call it hustle. Call it that Piston's DNA that has a habit of repeating itself:

Whatever it is, this squad has it. Whether it's JJ playing three, four, five, or six positions a night (dy-no-MITE!), Rip coming back to play his first game in a month-and-a-half before he even had a chance to practice, or Bynum definitely eating his vitamins, these Pistons just seem to want it.

Even as they sort out their various health and personnel issues, they've played hard; they're fourth in the NBA in rebound differential per game and ninth in steal differential per game, regularly outhustling their opponents (despite the difficiencies in their lineup) with general team quickness and the strength of Ben Wallace. Like any good Pistons squad, they play D; they are fifth in the Association in opponent's points per game. It's a testament to Coach Kue that they are seventh in not turning the ball over despite their loose style. Discipline and defense are qualities that harken back to the Play the Right Way days of Pound-for-Pound Larry Brown, and though that style may grate on players in the long run, the Pistons could use some LBs. Especially Austin.

Are they world beaters yet? New Orleans just called to tell us no -- then David West scored again. But, they are on the hustle. Can we at least appreciate them for that?


Ron Marshall is a freelance sports writer, blogger, entrepreneur, and fan of all things Detroit. He one day hopes to buy the Detroit Lions and guide them to their first Super Bowl. Until then, you can find him here and at fanchamp.net. You may contact him at ron@mythicgroup.com or www.facebook.com/ronmarshall.


  1. When you buy the Lions Ron let me at least be a Scout for the team.

  2. When you're the owner of the Lions, I'll work for them. In the capacity of your choice.


  3. @Lady: You are definitely on the scout team. We can use as many scouts as we can get. In fact, can you play a little cornerback while you're at it?

    @Anson: Well, every team needs a chief counsel. You can be in charge of settling with season ticket holders demanding their money back for the previous 60 years or so. That ought to keep you busy.