Friday, September 26, 2008

Winning teams have guys like this on the roster

Thanks to Ken Davis at Lake Forest for the heads-up on this terrific article about Pistons guard Aaron Afflalo, a UCLA product who played about 13 mpg last season for DET.

As you might expect, his minutes decreased significantly in the postseason as the bench shortened and Rip Hamilton was on the floor more.

But Afflalo is one of those players who is able to see the big picture.

Says Joe Dumars:

"[Afflalo is] one of those players that you don't have to talk to about trying to get better. If you watch him play and watch how he prepares himself on a day-in, day-out basis, his work ethic is exactly what you want and need on your team. Arron's best quality isn't in his scoring, defense or anything like that. He's a competitor; he does whatever has to be done to help his team win. Guys like that find a way to get it done, and that's what you want when you're a team like us that every year is seriously talking about winning a championship."

Piston's head coach Michael Curry, a Detroit assistant last season, has "stressed an important message to Detroit's backups: always be ready to play, because there's no telling when an opportunity to get on the floor will come."

Afflalo contends it's not about minutes, but about winning:

"I think I'll be playing more this year, but there's no guarantee of that. That's why you have to stay on top of your game, keep trying to get better so that when you do get an opportunity to play, you'll make the most of it. My whole thing last year, and it's the same way this year, is winning. That's the only thing I care about -- just helping this team win a championship."

What a great role model for young players.