A few thoughts:
Rotations must shorten in the playoffs - your top four players will play more minutes and that's how teams step it up in the playoffs. If we are playing nine or ten guys, we'll get beat again and again and again. This is the great advantage of this year's team: our three best offensive players (JO, Ron, Al) are our three best defensive players. Since Tinsley is playing better D, we're only choosing between offense and defense at SG and maybe PF (although Al and Jeff are fairly equal defensively, so you're really picking between Al's scoring and Jeff's rebounding.)
My only concern with Carlisle is the other thing he's criticized for in Detroit. The complaint I've heard: if Okur and Prince had recieved more consistent preparation during the regular season last year, the Pistons would have had a better chance to go to The Finals. I can guarantee that, based on how little he's played, Brezec won't be ready to contribute in the playoffs. I understand that today, its probably a toss-up between Primoz and Pollard, but Primoz at least has the capacity to get better. Its pretty clear that Pollard is not getting any better (although he is figuring out how to occasionally make a positive contribution
My definition of Pat Riley syndrome was that he was already playing a seven or eight man rotation before the playoffs started.
We still have the capacity to improve because we'll see less of Anthony Johnson, Fred Jones and the three-headed monster (Crosher, Bender, Pollard) playing against the other team's starters in the playoffs and more of JO, Al, Ron, Reggie and Jamaal.
I've been very impressed with Carlisle's adjustments this season. Everyone nationally or in Detroit wants to assume that just because he coached one way in Detroit means that's the only way he can coach. Since he was the primary coach during the Larry Bird era, we should have known better, although many of us got caught up in that misconception. Its much safer to assume that Larry Brown only coaches one way because he's done it one way at every stop.