Good health, depth helped Pistons prevail

Updated: June 18, 2004, 9:40 AM ET
By Terry Brown | NBA Insider
It's been three days since the Detroit Pistons won the 2004 NBA title and no one has mentioned his name, his job title or his contribution to a franchise that has come to epitomize the team concept.

But without Mike Abdenour, it is arguable that Chauncey Billups doesn't win the MVP Finals award, Rip Hamilton doesn't lead the Pistons in scoring, Ben Wallace doesn't make his fourth All-Defensive team in a row, Tayshaun Prince doesn't make the play of the postseason and Larry Brown doesn't become the first coach in history to win both an NCAA and NBA title.

That's right . . . Mike Abdenour.

Just ask Jermaine O'Neal or Jamaal Tinsley, who went through the Eastern Conference Finals in triage. Or you can ask Minnesota's Sam Cassell, who couldn't finish the Western Conference Finals because of wrenched hip and back, or Troy Hudson, who couldn't even start them because of a busted ankle.

And if that isn't enough, then you can get Karl Malone's opinion if he isn't already in surgery for both of his knees.