FEELING ALMOST WHOLE AGAIN
The news that Antonio McDyess will be back in a Pistons uniform next month brought joy to their practice facility Monday, even though head coach Michael Curry conducted a hard, 3-hour practice following the team's 26-point loss to woebegone Minnesota Sunday.
McDyess' agent, Andy Miller, told several news outlets that McDyess had made up his mind to come back to the team that traded him earlier this month to Denver. McDyess gave up a substantial amount of money in his buyout and offers from other contenders to become the Pistons' sixth man once again. He's eligible to re-sign on Dec. 7, 30 days after the deal became official.
"I'm definitely relieved that we'll have him back," Curry said. "Some of our guys that are being asked right now to play outside of their roles, they're going to be really excited to have Dice back."
McDyess' return will help in all areas - offensively with his post presence and defensively as a stopper on par with Rasheed Wallace. He's also a rebounding force.
He'll allow Curry to keep Wallace's minutes down to reasonable levels while giving the point guards another pick-and-roll partner.
"We knew coming in we didn't want to play Rasheed 38 or 40 minutes and we've had to do that," Curry said. "It will help Sheed and it will also help Max (Jason Maxiell) and Kwame Brown and Amir (Johnson). They can just be complimentary role men and they'll have another scorer on the court with them when Sheed is not in the game."
Wallace has been averaging 36 minutes and has exceeded that figure six times.
"You've definitely got to play differently," Wallace said. "I can't be as aggressive because I've got to watch my fouls because I know I'm needed on the floor."
The loss of McDyess and Chauncey Billups has also taken a toll on the club emotionally. They may have been the most popular players in the locker room. McDyess' smile, laughter and easy-going nature was sorely missed.
"The fact of getting Dice back, not just from a basketball standpoint but from having him around, you saw guys had a little more pep to their step today, they were a little more talkative," Curry said. "I told them that we've been walking around for a week or so like a cloud was over us."