Commentary

Pistons finally misfiring

Updated: April 28, 2009, 4:27 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

I think we have seen an era come to an end in the NBA. Think about how proud the Detroit Pistons franchise was, posting incredible numbers. Think about seven straight seasons with at least 50 wins ...that came to an end this year as Detroit finished 39-43. There were six consecutive years reaching the Eastern Conference finals or better, snapped with the first round loss to Cleveland.

This is a franchise that won the title under Larry Brown in 2004. It won back-to-back championships under Chuck Daly for whom we should all say a prayer for. He is battling pancreatic cancer.

The Pistons were swept, averaging just 78 points per game against LeBron James and company. It was humiliating and embarrassing for a team that had so much pride.

It has been a tough year for the Detroit organization. Owner Bill Davidson passed away. Will Robinson, a great Pistons scout and the first African-American head basketball coach in Division I (at Illinois State, where he had Doug Collins), also died. Then there is Daly fighting pancreatic cancer.

For veterans like Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince, this ride may be over.

Meanwhile, who do you think will get blamed for the team's demise? Michael Curry, the team's coach! He will take the hit, but these guys got older quickly and have lost it.

It is going to take some time to rebuild this franchise to come close to its glory years. There are some young pieces of the puzzle in place, like Rodney Stuckey and Arron Afflalo. There is a lot of work to be done and Joe Dumars will have to work hard to get this franchise back into contention in the Eastern Conference.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.