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Jeremiah
09-23-2003, 03:56 PM
Big Ben's Detroit days are numbered
By Terry Brown
NBA Insider
Tuesday, September 23
Updated: September 23
1:13 PM ET


Eventually, the fat lady does sing, Jo-Jo the dog-faced boy runs away and the undersized center for the Detroit Pistons -- the one with the big biceps and even bigger afro who led the league in rebounding for the past two seasons -- gets replaced.

Don't get me wrong. Ben Wallace will still be the Detroit Pistons' starting power forward when the season opens, but with the additions of Elden Campbell at center and Darko Milicic at forward, as well as the continued progress of Mehmet Okur and Zeljko Rebraca, Big Ben's days in Detroit are numbered.

Ben Wallace
Forward-Center
Detroit Pistons
Profile


2002-2003 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
73 6.9 15.4 1.6 .481 .450


But before we bid him a fond farewell, let's try to remember what he has done for this team after being thrown in alongside Chucky Atkins in the infamous sign-and-trade deal that sent Grant Hill to the Orlando Magic.

Last year in the playoffs, Wallace averaged an amazing 16.3 rebounds per game while no other Piston averaged more than 4.1. As a result, Detroit was outrebounded 43.2 to 39.1 and, despite having the best regular season record in the Eastern Conference, did not advance to the NBA Finals.

During that regular season, in which they won 50 games, Wallace averaged a league-best 15.4 rebounds per game. No other Piston could muster more than 4.7. As you can probably guess, Detroit was outrebounded 41.3 to 40.6.

Even the year before, when Wallace won his first rebounding title at 13.0 per game, not one of his teammates could grab more than 4.8 per game. Then, the team was being outrebounded 42.7 to 38.7.

The tradeoff, of course, was having one of the most anemic offenses in the league. The Pistons had to have Wallace in the middle as much as possible, because his rebounding and defense would keep them in the game. But over his seven- year career, he made it very clear that scoring was not high on his list of priorities. In 461 games, he never scored more than 20 points in a single game and averaged only 5.5.

And it was getting worse.

While his rebounding went up from 13 to 15.4 over the last two seasons, his scoring went down from 7.6 to 6.9.

But he was blocking so many shots and grabbing so many rebounds that we often couldn't see beyond all the awards he was earning as a two-time Defensive Player fo the Year and rebounding king. In fact, he was so good at those two things, he was named to the All-NBA Second Team and received five first-team votes.

Elden Campbell
Forward-Center
Detroit Pistons
Profile


2002-2003 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
56 6.1 3.2 0.9 .397 .801


But that didn't stop the Pistons from acquiring Campbell as a free agent over the summer. The 7-footer averaged 6.9 rebounds per game in his last full season in New Orleans and once averaged 9.4 per game when the Hornets were in Charlotte in 1999. Over his career, he's averaged 6.2 while spending some time at power forward with the Lakers. Also playing center for the Pistons will be the rapidly improving Okur, another 7-footer who went from averaging 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds in 9.1 minutes during November to averaging 8.9 points and 7.2 rebounds in 30.3 minutes during April.

Backing them up will be yet another 7-footer in Rebraca who, despite being injured much of last season, has averaged 6.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game in only 16 minutes of action. And we haven't even gotten to the 7-foot Milicic, who already has been anointed the franchise savior after being the second pick of the NBA Draft this year. Put him in at small forward or power forward. Just put him in.

So where does this all leave the 6-foot-9 Wallace?

Well, the Pistons averaged only 91.4 points per game last season. The only teams worse were the non-playoff Raptors, non-playoff Heat and non-playoff Nuggets. In fact, the non-playoff Cavs, Wizards and Sonics also scored more than Detroit. Their 3.7-point margin of victory was nice, but nowhere near Dallas' 7.8 or New Jersey's 5.3.

If the Pistons are going to get better, they're going to have to get bigger.

A frontline of three 7-footers would give Detroit better scoring, perhaps better team defense and certainly better overall rebounding numbers, even if it means taking down the tents and shutting down the circus.

ItalianMobbstah187
09-23-2003, 04:00 PM
There will be a riot if this team ever lets Big Ben go in his prime...and there'd be 28 other teams waiting in line for his services.

harsh euro barge
09-23-2003, 06:11 PM
Why do people hound people like Dirk for "not playing d" or others for not improving their game, but give Ben Wallace a free pass for being a terrible offensive player? Where's the outcry from the media to tell him to go to the gym and improve his post moves and jump shot?

Fah Q
09-23-2003, 06:17 PM
Originally posted by: harsh euro barge
Why do people hound people like Dirk for "not playing d" or others for not improving their game, but give Ben Wallace a free pass for being a terrible offensive player? Where's the outcry from the media to tell him to go to the gym and improve his post moves and jump shot?

Because Wallace isn't exactly a Superstar.

I do agree that he does get too much credit considering his horrible offensive game.

one long blue sock
09-23-2003, 07:08 PM
This article is crap, they arn't going to let go of the second best center in the league for a spare, and a rookie.

mavsfanforever
09-23-2003, 09:03 PM
Yeah sure, Elden Campbell will take away Ben's minutes.

Edit: sarcasm.

kg_veteran
09-24-2003, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by: one long blue sock
This article is crap, they arn't going to let go of the second best center in the league for a spare, and a rookie.

The truth.

I pointed this out in the General Mavs section, but there's just no way I can see Ben Wallace being displaced from the starting lineup by Okur, Rebraca or Campbell. Not to mention the fact that Milicic hasn't proven a thing in the NBA.

OutletPass
09-24-2003, 12:51 PM
Quote
Originally posted by: one long blue sock
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This article is crap, they aren't going to let go of the second best center in the league for a spare, and a rookie.
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Think we could get him for Mills and Daniels.....yeah, right.

LRB
09-24-2003, 02:47 PM
Originally posted by: OutletPass
Quote
Originally posted by: one long blue sock
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This article is crap, they aren't going to let go of the second best center in the league for a spare, and a rookie.
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Think we could get him for Mills and Daniels.....yeah, right.

Maybe we could get him for Mills and Daniels if we threw in Jimmy King, er I mean Mavs man.

i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif

jayC
09-24-2003, 04:29 PM
Big Ben is so overrated. Hes just dennis rodman without the baggage and plus the afro. Whos that great in the east exactly. All the meats out west and the pistons didn't come close to beating the mavs, kings, lakers or spurs.

MavsFanatik33
09-24-2003, 10:54 PM
When you think of the Pistons, Ben Wallace is what comes to mind. He is the main man of Detroit, I'm thinking if they do wanna trade him some sub-par teams are gonna have to put 3/5 of their starting lineup for this guy.