That Rasheed Wallace guy… remember him? He always had something to say, whether on the court or off. Apparently, he hasn’t changed much since retirement.
We’ve heard the question for quite some time: Would (insert team name here) be able to beat the Golden State Warriors? The teams that are generally inserted in that blank are Michael Jordan‘s Chicago Bulls, or Kobe Bryant and the showtime Los Angeles Lakers. But thanks to Mr. Wallace, there’s a new team to consider.
The 2004 Detroit Pistons, who defeated the Lakers in five games for the NBA Championship, had a style of play that the NBA has rarely seen. Bruising defense, and efficient offense. Five good players in their starting rotation, but no true superstars. Those starters were Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed, and Ben Wallace.
Rasheed recently appeared on the “Timeout with Taylor Rooks” podcast, where he claimed that his 2004 Pistons would “run through” the teams in the NBA today. While he didn’t single out any particular team, it’s easy to assume that the Warriors are included.
“The things that we (did) in Detroit will never be done again on defense,” Wallace proclaimed. To his credit, the team did put up some impressive defensive stats. They only allowed a measly 84.3 points per game (best in league), while also forcing 16 turnovers per game (sixth in league). Opponents only shot 41.3% against them, as well (third best in league).
Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown compared his team’s defense to that of the Pistons’ mid-2000s teams, a point which Wallace wasn’t completely convinced as a truth.
“I could probably agree to a certain point,” he said. “But I think their – the Warriors’ – defensive strategy is ‘I’ma put up more shots than you,’ and if you try to match that, then you (expletive) out because they got exceptional shooters. So that’s their whole defensive thing.”
He continued by saying “I don’t call it good defense if the man came down, and he shot a jump shot or shot a three and missed it, and the Warriors went back down to the other end and scored it – that’s not good defense. And that’s what happens a lot in this game now. They’re not shutting nobody down, you know. It’s like, even though you can’t really shut a scorer down, you can slow them down. But now, they can’t even slow the guys down.”
To Golden State’s credit, opponents were only able to shoot 43.5% against them in the regular season this year, which was the best mark in the league. They also forced 14.8 turnovers per game, which also paced the league, but they allowed 104.3 points per game. That tally was only good enough for 11th best this season. The Warriors finished the regular season with a record of 67-15, and are currently 15-0 in the playoffs. Detroit finished the 2003-04 season 54-28 record, which was second best in the Central Division. They also lost seven games in the postseason, something which this year’s Warriors haven’t come close to doing.
Sure, it’s an interesting debate. But the question still remains: Would the 2004 Detroit Pistons be able to beat the Golden State Warriors from this season?