Gotta Love 'Sheed

Drove up to Philadelphia yesterday to rap with a few of the Detroit Pistons for a couple of stories I'm working on and I thought I had just stepped into a major controversy. During the pre-game introductions, Jason Maxiell was announced as the starter instead of Rasheed Wallace, who got benched for skipping practice the day before.

The Pistons may have the best record in the Eastern Conference, but the environment appears to have gotten a bit more lax in Detroit since Flip Saunders replaced Larry Brown - and it has nothing to do with their less intense commitment on the defensive end. The blue-collar, chip-on-the-shoulder era officially ended last February when four Pistons were named the all-star team. Since then, Pistons have been a team of entitlement, almost. But I digress.

After Wallace's insubordination - arriving an hour late for practice without supplying much of an explanation - Saunders finally put his foot down and told Wallace that he wasn't going to start. When Wallace finally hit the floor, he spent most of his time chucking up wild three-pointers and cruising through the night, although he did have some pretty exciting dunks. Expecting to go into the locker room after and hear Wallace revert to his Trail Blazer days and rip Saunders, I was sort of surprised to that he accepted his punishment as some sort of present. I say somewhat, because apathy was second on my list of possible reactions.

"Oh, no, it was cool for me," Wallace said. "I ain't got no problem with it. I might even ask him to do it again, you know, just to try to give us a spark off the bench and some consistency off the bench. So, no, I didn't have no problem at all. . .I have been around too long to sit up here like, 'Aw man, I ain't starting, that's some (bull).' Nah, I am too old for that. I got no time for that."
"I'm straight. Like I said, I might even ask him for the next game, what, [today against Charlotte]? Maybe that's one of the things that we need, just try something different."

Gotta love 'Sheed. He gets benched and asks for more. Then for comic relief, Wallace -- perhaps inspired by Cal Ripken getting voted into the Hall of Fame - offered this: "Nah, I'm straight," he said. "It's not like I'm going for some record starts or something."

Saunders said the benching was a one-time punishment. When I asked him if he expected Wallace to be a problem again, Saunders turned and said, "No."

The Pistons might be able to laugh off this incident, but it will be interesting to keep an eye on Detroit. Saunders has done an excellent job keeping that team together, especially with Chauncey Billups out with a calf strain, but his team has been acting quite funny toward him in the past year. This latest incident might be symptomatic of some potential problems with that squad. Of course, I could be jumping the gun, but I happen to remember last season, when former Piston and current Chicago Bull Ben Wallace disrespected Saunders by refusing to enter a game against Orlando.

The Pistons brushed it under the rug, made it seem as if it were no big deal, that it was "Ben being Ben." But we know how that story ended. All the issues that had been brewing under the surface boiled over in the conference finals when Piston after Piston questioned Saunders, the same man who led them to 64 wins in the regular season, and Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat commenced to dismantling them. Two months later, Ben Wallace was a Bull. I'm not trying to make something out of nothing here, I'm just saying. . .

By Michael Lee |  January 10, 2007; 12:51 PM ET
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The wiz and EG should sign C-WEBB for the minimun...he worked in the princeton offense so no learning curve, he is still a great passer at his age so he could fill in for D-SONG and he rebounds...

Posted by: GREVEY | January 10, 2007 1:45 PM

It was a mistake to let Webber go - it was Abe's vanity that did that - and it will be a mistake to bring him back. Too much controversy, too little ability (for what we need, which is defense) and too much ego on both sides.

Posted by: Bridgewater, VA | January 10, 2007 2:01 PM

Sheed bores me. Except for the urinal in his bathroom on MTV cribs.

Posted by: Joe | January 10, 2007 2:19 PM

Sheed bores me.

Posted by: Joe | January 10, 2007 2:19 PM

Sheed is great. He's one of the toughest matchups in the game. plus he's non stop comic relief. GO PISTONS

Posted by: tony | January 10, 2007 3:13 PM

Sheed is great. He's one of the toughest matchups in the game. plus he's non stop comic relief. GO PISTONS

Posted by: tony | January 10, 2007 3:15 PM

I love C-Webb and have stated that on a past blog here many moons ago and was sad when Wes traded him.

Saying that, he only has one good leg and can't play any defense. It's time for him to retire. Too bad, he was such a good player at one time. Injuries have taken thier toll on him.

'Sheed is a turd in sheeps clothing. I never liked him when he was here and hope he stays in Detroit.

Don't give him any love Mike, he doesn't deserve it.

Please go vote for all the Wizards for the 2007 NBA All Star game NOW at:

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 10, 2007 3:41 PM

Re: The Trade Rumor pertaining the Three Team trade involving Hayes & Haywood & Magloire is in and New York Post. Also article on Steve Francis asks Knicks to buy-out his contract." He wants to go to Philly w/ Larry Brown? Willing to take less money.

Posted by: Pete | January 10, 2007 3:57 PM

I was glad to see Webber go. Sad to see what the Wizards got for him, however. I remember hearing about that deal on the radio and hearing, "Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe." And I was waiting to hear what else the Wizards got. If Wes had just held out for the Kings first round pick that year, the deal would have been a good one. The Kings had the #7 pick that draft, which they used to pick Jason Williams. Larry Hughes went #8 in that draft and Paul Pierce #10. What a difference that would have made.

Posted by: Sean | January 10, 2007 4:09 PM

As much as I like the Agent Zero and Captain Quirk nicknames, how come "The Wonderful Wizard of Odd" has never been pushed?

Posted by: Henry | January 10, 2007 4:29 PM

Screw Rasheed Wallace in the ear with a sandpaper covered stick. I went to games when he was here and while everyone else was working on stuff before the game, he was shooting half court hook shots.

He could have been part of something great here but he didn't care until he left. I will never forgive him. You can put him on Team Andres nocioni of my most hated NBA players.

How about those Luscious Harris All-Stars agains the Wiz:

Keeyon Dooling
Anthony Parker
making strong cases for inclusion.

Posted by: Bernard King | January 10, 2007 4:36 PM

"Wizard of Odd"

That's great. C-webb shoulda been traded, we just shoulda gotten something for him. Anything. Otis Thorpe? I don't think it was vanity, sometimes you just recognize that the best thing to do is let people start over. The media in washington had gotten a hold of Webber, and things weren't going to get better for him here.

I mean on a human level I like Wes, but part of me thinks someone should knock on his door once a year, say "Otis Thorpe" and kick him in the shin. That trade was a crime.

Posted by: greg | January 10, 2007 4:43 PM

Agreed on the sheed.
That guy was a tool if there ever was one. He has skill and athleticism no doubt, but the trade off is a head full of marbles. He's one of those 'great' players that has a 'great attitude for a great team.'


Posted by: greg | January 10, 2007 4:46 PM

re. the three way trade rumours:
Wizards, please don't do it. Magloire can't match what Haywood is or can be, look at his numbers they are terrible! If we traded away Haywood and Hayes, watch what that will do to team chemistry and morale. No doubt about it, everyone will be affected. Right now, it's an "us against the world" mood in this team, wanting to prove something. After the trade it will be "us against management", wanting to just go through the motions of a game.

Posted by: rgz | January 10, 2007 5:29 PM

rgz - I agree completely - past history would suggest we would have learned by now that there is no magic bullet. Build the team (as Ernie has done for the last few years), making incremental changes and targeting weak spots. Otherwise, unless they think they can buy a championship, making stupid trades just backfires (especially on the wiz, not exactly the *luckiest* of teams...)

Posted by: me too | January 10, 2007 6:09 PM

read the article on Penny Haraway trying to get back in the L. sounds like he's healthy and just wants to contribute to a winning team. something for ernie to chew on. penny is bound to give something more than taylor or mason off the bench. plus lil' penny was always funny.

Posted by: TOM | January 10, 2007 6:10 PM

Tom, I would throw Taylor under the Bus to get Penny.
Taylor is trying to make it in the league & everytime he goes out there, he jacks it up.
He's definitely trying to impress every1 but the Wiz.

Posted by: Victor | January 10, 2007 8:58 PM

I like picking Penny up for the minimum. Webber is a team killer and an a$$. Never did like him and those pining for him, I don't know what to tell you.

Where is Arenas tonight? Might I say that if we win EJ has coached his best game of the year. I saw Blatche and Haywood together. I saw Mason get some burn and hustled. Jarvis was decent. Nice to see! Even Etan gave some decent minutes coming back from injury.

Posted by: Rob P | January 10, 2007 9:19 PM

Hinrich and Hughes play Gil the best.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 10, 2007 9:20 PM

I liked that line-up with Haywood and Blanche together. Hinrich even gives Wade fits.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 10, 2007 9:23 PM

Like or hate him, when the Pistons picked up Sheed in the middle of the year, it put them over the top and even Rip Hamilton stated he was the missing piece to them winning it all.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 10, 2007 9:27 PM

Hinrich plays Gilbert the best bar none, but he seemed to have little energy tonight like he was sick. I think EJ knew it and he finally coached the team like GA is not going to score 40 every night. FINALLY!!!

Nice coaching EJ. I really like the Blatche/Haywood tandem (been calling for it for over a month now). Tough to handle on the offensive boards especially.

Get Penny if he is as healthy as he claims and get some solid play from him for 12-15 minutes a game. Hmmm...Penny or Taylor? Is that really a debate?

Webber is being toasted on the Hibachi right now. His career is over!!! Sheed was in his prime. Big difference! HUGE DIFFERENCE! Webber might play worse defense than Jamison at this point. We need that like we need a hole in the head.

Posted by: Rob P | January 10, 2007 9:43 PM

"To me it's this simple: when your two best players -- Gilbert and Antawn -- are not good defenders or even close to being good defenders, you are not going to be a good defensive team."

This is a quote from Ivan in a chat today.

Ivan, ummm...Antawn is the third best player on this team and that's a good thing bc he would be 2nd on a lot of teams.

With all the love going Gilbert's way this year, I will say it's only laziness that prevents him from being a good defender. Hinrich stuck him like a glove and still scored 33. He completely outplayed Mr. MVP tonight! Just a little humble pie for Gilbert and an example of how he should play D. He is too quick, fast, and strong to get toasted consistently. Hell, I'll take getting in a defensive crouch on occasion.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2007 10:28 PM

How do you not Love Sheed just check this out and you will be a life long fan. Make sure you go to the Video section, classic Sheed!

Posted by: Jeff | January 12, 2007 6:03 PM

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