DON'T GIVE UP 'EM, BABY
The Arizona Cardinals emerged from the NFC pack to make the Super Bowl. The Philadelphia Phillies stayed under the radar until they made the World Series, then defeated the Cinderella Tampa Bay Devil Rays to win it all.
So I'm not going to dismiss the Pistons three months before the playoffs begin. Seems like every loss these days is greeted with a 'They're done' assessment; Every win brings a 'That's what they're supposed to do' retort.
Did anyone here seriously believe the Pistons were going to win the NBA championship at this time five seasons ago? Did anyone in Miami anticipate a similar run three years ago during an injury-riddled regular season? Who gave Cleveland a chance to make the Finals two years ago, when the Pistons were rolling and Chicago was the hot new challenger?
Bottom line - don't try to judge the spring by what goes on in January.
As well as the Orlando Magic are playing, I'd be more surprised to see them in the Finals than the Pistons. From a personnel standpoint, the Pistons are better equipped to make the Finals than they were during the Flip Saunders era. The biggest concern, as I see it now, is how much Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson have left in the tank. Wallace has been horrible all month and Iverson has been shockingly unaggressive. How many times have you seen him get into the lane, only to pass up a layup in favor of a kickout or a low-percentage fadeaway?
Here's the good news: Even though Sheed and AI may be fading, the Pistons still have Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton and Antonio McDyess, plus some young post players. They're just as likely to make the Finals as they are to flameout in the first round. As the Pistons muddle through the middle of the season, it's best to remember to this battle cry: "Remember the Cards!"