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Wizards have chance with woeful Detroit

Pistons already looking to next year

- The Washington Times - Monday, April 4, 2011

During the 1980s the Detroit Pistons were known as "The Bad Boys." Now, they're just bad.

"We all know things need to change around here. For next year, I hope things do," guard Rodney Stuckey told the Detroit News. "I'm not just speaking for myself, but for my teammates as well. Hopefully, changes come."

The disconnect between Stuckey and coach John Kuester is just the latest example of a pattern that has plagued the Pistons all season long. During Friday's game against the Chicago Bulls, Stuckey refused to re-enter the game in the fourth quarter after being replaced earlier by Tayshaun Prince. Stuckey was benched in the following game on Sunday, a 101-90 loss to the Boston Celtics.

Speaking of benching, it was Kuester's decision to bench beloved star Rip Hamilton that seemed to start the team's downward spiral.

Hamilton has seen limited playing time this season in Kuester's system.

In February, there was the "shootaround boycott" in which several players did not show up for practice before a game against the Philadelphia 76ers, and all were benched for the game.

The Pistons have all the signs of a team that can't communicate.

The Pistons (26-50) play the Washington Wizards (20-56) on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center, and until Friday night's loss to the conference-leading Bulls, the Pistons still held out a razor-thin hope of vaulting into the eighth and final playoff spot. But they were mathematically eliminated with that loss and for the second straight year will be a lottery team.

It's been a long, hard fall for a team that won the NBA championship in 2004 and went to the conference finals six straight years.

It's no wonder that the team decided to promote a little good news recently by waxing nostalgic about the past and holding a ceremony to retire Dennis Rodman's jersey.

The ceremony took place Friday and for a moment even Rodman said he wondered whether the whole thing was an April fool's joke.

It wasn't.

Rodman's No. 10 jersey now hangs in the rafters at the Palace of Auburn Hills alongside several other Detroit legends, including Chuck Daly, Joe Dumars, Isiah Thomas, Dave Bing, Bob Lanier and Bill Laimbeer. In August, Rodman will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Rodman helped the Pistons win two championships, but those days are in the past.

Fast-forward to the present and today's Pistons continue to make more bad news than good, which gives the Wizards a golden opportunity to pick up their third straight win if they can take advantage of the dysfunction from Detroit.

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