Mercury, you skim vs. reading sometimes I responded to a post, and said I would get around to posting my own stuff about the team's problems. Here it goes. First of all, we have the best starting five in the NBA, and they won it all two seasons ago and almost repeated last year. Yes, problems can be found, but overall there is precious little wrong with our starting five. Billups is strong in pretty much every area, making him, in my opinion, the best point guard in the league. No, I am not going to even try to find any fault here. Rip is a tad bit light on defense. However, since he can guard point guards, and has enough height to also guard a lot of small forwards, his versatility on defense makes him overall a good defender. So I won't call it a weakness. But Rip is young and can still improve his defense, so I will call it an area of improvement. Otherwise, there is little about Rips game you can complain about these days. Once upon a time, he was a bit too one dimensional on offense. But he has added range. On ball handling, he can get inside and find open teammates. Still not the greatest ball handler, but its an area of improvement now, not a weakness. Tay is the best wing defender in the league. The 2nd half of last season, he averaged 18 points a game. Pretty much tied up there with Rip and CB as our leading scorers the last half of the season. He hit several threes over a stretch of two recent games. Injured somewhat at the moment, he does not look great out there. So what. Between him continuously overmatching his opponent with his height and length, combined with such excellent defense, finding fault with Tay is pretty hard. Is he perfect? No. Are there some bigger small forwards who can overpower Tay? Sure, but they are rare, and they really really have to work to get any points off Tay. I will list one area of improvement for Tay. Get more rebounds. And thats it. Ben can still improve his offense. And yes, it is still a weakness having a power forward who can't hit even short shots consistently, and can't even make his free throws. Ben is also short for his position, and this shows up when he tries to guard the more powerful bigs in the league who know how to score around the basket. Yet, by no means can you call his defense in general a weakness. Indeed, it the very best in the league, and no, Artest ain't close. Will Ben get better guarding Tim Duncan. Probably not as he ain't growing any taller. So all Ben can do is get a good free throw coach, and practice the heck out of shooting 12 feet and in. Forget anything outside that until he can hit some kind of decent percentage on the short stuff. Sheed. Forget it. About the best one on one defender in the league against big men. Only Cliff Robinson is in his league, and Cliff is getting long of tooth. Weaknesses. None. He can shoot well from anywhere. He can post up, although he does not choose to as much as some would like. But this is not a weakness, just a choice. The postup game is there if we truly need it from him. Does the starting unit have any weaknesses as a whole? No. Four solid scorers. Great defense. Each player can handle the ball. Excellent rebounding and shot blocking. You name it, and this unit is pretty strong. Areas of improvement though include Tay getting more consistent on shooting 3's, Ben learning to do the easy stuff on offense, Sheed establishing a post game more often. But no weaknesses. Now the 2nd team. I don't believe it has been established yet for sure. But its a pretty fair assumption that we will see Arrroyo, Delfino, Evans, Dyess, and Darko as our 2nd unit, at least to start the season. Of these players, only one has any glaring weakness, and that is Evan inability to handle the ball. Areas of improvement include Arroyo and Delfino on defense, the fact Evans is short for a small forward, Dyess posting up more vs. always spotting up for that jumper(which draws no fouls), Darko's rebounding, and Darko's outside shot (which needs nothing more than lots of practice in game time.) As a unit, the biggest weakness I see is nobody there to guard a really good small forward. Defino is not that great a defender, and Evans is too short. Dyess does not have the quicks to move over to guard quicker small forwards, and neither does Darko. The 2nd weakness is perimeter defense. Neither Delfino nor Arroyo is a good perimeter defender, and Evans does not have a lot of height to go out there and help. Darko helps a lot in this area though, both with good pick and roll defense and the ability to fly out to the perimeter with that 7-5 reach. But overall, as a unit, this squad does not have good defense vs. a good hot shooting wing man. Just too many gaps out there in the coverage. Still, each guy in this unit at least gives it there all. Next is dribble penetration. With 4 guys all relatively inexperienced out there, this is a weakness for the unit. Darko's ability to block or otherwise alter shots inside is a great help here. On the other hand, having a short small forward in Evans does not help. Dyess does not move fast enough to be a great help, although he does manage to block a shot here and there. Rebounding is an area of improvement, but with Delfino doing well in rebounding from the shooting guard position, the unit is acceptable right now, and will get better as Darko improves. Improvements down the line? Add in Amir Johnson in the mix along with Maxiell at small forward. Amir is 6-10, 220, and quick. He should be able to bother even the best small forwards. Maxiell is quite a good defender. Acker needs to be ready and come in to help check hot outside shooters. He has the height, length, and quicks to do quite well at this. One more area to look at for a team. Depth. Overall, the Pistons are far more like the team that won it all. Deep. Not like last year where except for special circumstances, we were down to 6 guys helping us win games. Our starters and Dyess. Sometimes, under some circumstances, Hunter was important. (Wade.) And sometimes, EC was really important. (Shaq.) But for the most part, we had exactly 6 guys contributing on any one day toward a win. This season, in contrast, we could easily see all 12 guys help in winning a single game. And I bet we see it happen soon.