by Steve St-Pierre
Pistons Sports Writer
In Play Magazine
December 2009 Cover Story
It was already going to be a difficult season for the Pistons after bringing in several new, young players to go along with a brand new rookie head coach. Having played essentially the entire season without key veterans Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, the losses have continued to mount. Yet, the team hasn’t let it stop them from competing their hardest every night, and that has been a sight Detroit fans haven’t seen from the Pistons in years.
“You always miss players that are an integral part of what you want to get accomplished, but other players (have to) step up and play big roles…” says John Kuester, Pistons Head Coach. “…We have young players that are starting to educate themselves on what we’re trying to get accomplished.”
“It’s tough,” adds forward Charlie Villanueva. “It seems like injuries have been a part of the factor throughout this whole season for us. We can’t get a break, but no one’s going to feel sorry for us.”
“Our other guys (have to) step up, and it’s going to take a team effort,” says center Kwame Brown. “We can’t rely on our guys to be out there when they’re hurt. We’ve got guys who can step in and play hard.”
One of those guys has been Ben Wallace, whose play has been one of the top stories this season in the entire NBA. Wallace signed with the Pistons this summer for a minimum-salary contract and was expected to be the fourth or fifth big man in the rotation. However, with the reemergence of his stellar defense, rebounding, hard-work and leadership, Wallace quickly won a starting position in training camp and has been an outstanding role model for Detroit’s younger players.
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