In the NBA there are players that dazzle the senses with their incredible offense and then there are players that work very hard and never forget that the game is still a team oriented game. In the 2006 playoffs, players like Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, and Ben Wallace brought their game. They did what they were suppose to do and gave it their best. For me personally the emotion when the Spurs lost to Dallas was real, even if I was rooting for Dallas, I still saw that Duncan gave it everything he had. Then there was the incredible one handed block that Ben Wallace had on Shaq in the Pistons-Heat series. What Duncan and Wallace showed in the playoffs is that they had heart and they tried their best, even when the rest of their teammates were not in synch. It was heart breaking to see the Pistons lose to Miami this year. Detroit was a better team than the Heat, but the Pistons somehow lost their interest in the game and their season boredom became their downfall in the playoffs. Ben Wallace was pretty vocal about some of the relaxed playing style, but alas the Pistons never regained their sharpness and lost to the incredible Dwayne Wade.
Now Ben Wallace has signed with the Chicago Bulls to make for one of the most interesting lineup changes in a long time. For Detroit, the Pistons starting five no longer will have the determination and spirit of Ben Wallace. By all considerations, the Pistons are now a lot more weaker team, not just in defense, but also in attitude. Chicago is a young team and they have something which the Pistons have not had for a year, namely attitude and heart. The Bulls with Wallace will come out tougher, more defense oriented, and a lot more resilient on both ends of the court. What this means is that the Bulls coaching staff will have less excuses this coming season not to excel in the playoffs. They just got the defensive player of the year, which means more offensive rebounds and more fast breaks. If Chicago can’t win with Wallace, then it certainly means there is something broken with the Bulls.
As for the Pistons, exactly what kind of a team will they be without Ben, remains to be seen. Detroit can certainly play both a half court game and a fast tempo game, but let’s be honest, without Ben, they will definitely have to play quicker defense, since they won’t be able to stop some offensive players in one on one situations. Then there is the question of who exactly is the leader of this team now? Rasheed seems to have rejected the role in the past, Rip and Prince are the energy players, and Chauncey is the guard, so essentially it is his team to lead. Whatever Detroit does, they will need to make their new persona known, as the breakup of the starting five only sheds doubt on what exactly is Piston basketball now.
I’m sure the Chicago fans are smiling right now, thinking their Bulls are finally back! There’s a new man in town and he aint no rookie. He’s Ben Wallace: Defensive Player of the Year.