Spotlight: Antonio McDyess

Every Pistons fan knows how important Antonio McDyess is for his team. He is a vital part of the rotation and we are just lucky to have him on our roster. Maybe is sounds strange, but McDyess deserves something better than going through this season’s mess/struggle.

If heart, effort and energy could be pressed into a human shape, this shape would look exactly like Antonio McDyess. Besides being the great player he is, McDyess is also a class act off the court. What can a fan wish more for than a player who cares about the team as much as he does?

Our spotlight is on Antonio McDyess – to understand how he became who he is, we have to go way back.

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Antonio Keithflen McDyess was born on the 7th of September, 1974, in Quitmain, Mississippi – population of ~ 2.750.

He played basketball for the University of Alabama where he earned All-SEC Third Team Honors in his freshman year. Antonio led the Crimson Tide in scoring and rebounds in his sophomore season, earned All-SEC Second Team Honors and led his team to the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament.

In 1995, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers with the 2nd overall pick and got traded to the Denver Nuggets before the seaosn began for Rodney Rogers and a 1st round pick (-> Brent Barry). After his first year, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Antonio averaged 15.8 points and 7.4 rebounds over his first two seasons before he got traded to the Phoenix Suns. In his third NBA year (and 1st for Phoenix) he delivered about the same stats.

As a free agent, he decided to return to Denver – actually, he had a verbal agreement in place, but he wasn’t sure and wanted to talk to Phoenix again. McDyess invited some of his Phoenix teammates to Denver to talk everything over, but Dan Issel didn’t let them enter the building. Not very nice, but it is what it is. That way Antonio became a Nugget again.

Over the next three years, Antonio averaged 20.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game for Denver which led to him being voted into the All-Star game in 2001. He also was part of the gold medal winning US team in 2000 (Sydney).

What can stop an up-and-coming all-star in his tracks?

An injury – a knee injury to be more precise – a patellar tendon rupture to be exact. To sum it up quick: This injury hinders the leg’s ability to bend. Those affected can’t stand, because their knee gives way when they attempt to. Antonio was out with this injury for two seasons and was traded to the Knicks in 2002. (To understand how valued McDyess was, here is what Denver got for him: Marcus Camby, Mark Jackson and Nene Hilario.)

In 2002-2003 he was supposed to start his comeback in a New York Knicks jersey, but he re-injured his knee in an exhibition game. Another surgery later, Antonio was traded to the Phoenix Suns for Stephon Marbury. He only played 24 games for Phoenix in 2003-04, where he averaged 5.8 points and 5.8 boards in 21 minutes of action/game. His explosiveness was gone.

Antonio McDyess had to change his style, the way he plays the game – that is one of the hardest things to do. Just imagine someones takes your biggest skill away and you have to change everything. Tough…

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But McDyess silenced his critics. The Pistons signed him for their full MLE and Antonio averaged  8.6 points and 6.5 boards per game from 2004 to 2008.

He was a part of the trade that sent Chauncey to Denver, but McDyess decided to leave some mony on the table and return to Detroit. Denver let him go 30 days later he was a part of the Pistons again.

In the current season (2008-09), Antonio is averaging 9.8 points and 9.9 rebounds a game in ~ 30 minutes/game. He is getting better and better every day. His mid-range jumpshot is among the best you will ever see by a big man and the way he goes up for rebounds is just crazy.

He went for 20 or more rebounds twice in the last 3 weeks. The 22 boards he grabbed in New York are also his career high. After everything he went through, Antonio is still improving at the age of 34. There is only one explanation: heart. He wants it more than the other guys.

Through March he is averaging 13.8 points and 12.5 rebounds per game and he is on the court when the games are close. Antonio is a vital part of the Detroit Pistons – actually, he is their heart. If somebody deserves to win a title on this squad, it is this guy. They signed him after they won the Championship back in 2003 and they went to the Finals once and to the Confernce Finals three times since then.

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2 Responses to “Spotlight: Antonio McDyess”

  1. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

  2. Great post.
    Sometimes it seems unbelieveable that I had been at the same high school as Mr. DunkonU.
    Keep up the good work. 😉

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