When Michael Jordan emerged in the National Basketball Association as an executive, it was proven early on that his talents on the court meant absolutely nothing about his perception of an athlete’s ability during recruitment. While we would love to praise Jordan for being every and anything to basketball, as an owner, the mogul has fallen short of glory, as has Joe Dumars.
Joe Dumars will always be a staple in the Detroit Piston’s history. As a player, Dumars had one of the greatest individual careers in the history of the league and was also one of the best defenders in the league when he was active. He was a part of both the ’89 and ’90 championship teams as a Detroit Pistons’ player and was the ’89 Finals MVP. His early career as a Piston’s executive has not been too shabby either.
His recruitment of Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince (in the draft), Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace primed Detroit for one of the best teams the town has ever laid eyes own. He was primarily responsible for bringing in the men to bring a championship to Motown and no one has forgotten his contributions to the city. But, maybe that is the problem.
Darko Milicic was drafted in the 2003 draft as the second overall pick directly behind LeBron James, who had been drafted to the Cleveland Cavaliers. There were players such as Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh sitting in the crowd waiting for their names to be called, but unfortunately the Pistons’ front office saw more potential in Milicic, because of his size, than they did in the present-day, coming-of-age superstars in the league.
That is only one in a long laundry list of miscues that Dumars has subjected this organization to.
- Chauncey Billups Traded to Denver for Allen Iverson
Dumars put the entire Pistons’ roster on notice after they lost to Boston in the East finals, saying that there “are no sacred cows” on his team and vowing to consider trading anyone in addition to firing coach Flip Saunders and replacing Saunders with the untested Michael Curry.
But, the biggest fraction of the Detroit Pistons that was disintegrated by Dumars need to blow up the roster was the trade that landed Chauncey Billups with the Denver Nuggets and Allen Iverson with the Detroit Pistons.
Billups told the Associated Press. “I never wanted to leave here. Everyone knows that. I wanted to retire here.”
Now that we have firmly disengaged the argument that Billups some way, somehow demanded his way out of the Piston’s lockerroom to return to his native town of Colorado, the blame rests solely on the shoulders of Joe Dumars.
In one swift move, the player-turned-executive turned the Pistons from contenders with a commander firmly planted on the front line, to a franchise plagued with the antics of a cancerous player like Allen Iverson, who turned out to be nothing like what Dumars probably expected. What glitters is not always gold and Dumars relished the thought of what Iverson was supposed to be individually. Not how his rhinestone-personality would translate with the team and with the men drawing up plays courtside.
The Pistons began their downward spiral and still have yet to recover.
- Drafting Darko Milicic ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh
There is usually no place in the league for would-have, should-have, and could-have. But, there is an exception to every rule. Carmelo Anthony is one of the purest scorers in the league. Dwyane Wade led the Miami Heat, with the help of Shaquille O’Neal, to an NBA championship and will retire as one of the best players of the game.
Chris Bosh is extending a helping hand alongside two of the top five best players in the game right now and putting up 30-plus points on any given night. If and when the Miami Heat when a championship, two of the men the Pistons passed up on in the 2003 NBA Draft will be firm pieces of the puzzle that ultimately led them there.
There needs to be nothing else said about the decision made by the Pistons’ front office regarding Milicic’s recruitment.
Where is he now?
- The Million Guard Man March in Motown
Ben Gordon. Rodney Stuckey. Brandon Knight. Will Bynum. There is no shortage of guards, backup or starting within the Pistons’ organization and the drafting of Knight and the Pistons’ refusal to let go of Ben Gordon shows that Dumars has yet to learn his lesson.
Ben Gordon is doing nothing that the Pistons need and Dumars’ quick-trigger finger on the players that he thinks are unreliable and have nothing left as far as potential for the franchise would be of use as the trade deadline approaches. Gordon is a catch-and-shoot player just as Richard Hamilton was for the Pistons. That is barely what the Pistons need at this moment in their season of rebuilding.
If there is going to be a bench-shooting option, it should be a sharp-shooter, like a Kyle Korver type of talent. Not to mention that Gordon has barely lived up to his end of the bargain after signing a massive contract where he is slated to make just under $12 million dollars this season, $12.4 million next season and a player option for more than $13 million in the 2013-2014 season.
The Pistons need to unload his contract fast before they find themselves paying for a player whose production is of greater dissension than success.
Rodney Stuckey still has a lot to prove to the people of Detroit. Winning cures all, but since the Pistons have not been introduced to that feeling too much early in the season, fans are starting to wonder if the melee caused by Stuckey’s holdout will turn out to be worth it in the long run. With Brandon Knight playing heavy minutes, Stuckey seems to complement his style of play more than people may have expected.
But, the young guard has a ceiling of potential that has yet to be reached. There has not been a true sign of whether or not it ever will. Stuckey has missed five games this season due to injury and he still is not in complete basketball shape. Whether or not he is blaming his lack of progression on a lack of time learning Coach Lawrence Frank’s system, he needs to show the city a lot more before everyone is on board.
So, there you have it. The Detroit Pistons have been exposed to a group of mistakes and all that have come at the hands of a common denominator. The new owners need to take a look at the fact that it may not always be the coach put in charge. It may not always be the personnel busting their butt night in and out on the hardwood. The blame may ultimately lie with the man in charge of putting the proper pieces together and judging the chemistry of a squad before they even play together.
Joe Dumars is responsible for bringing men in that can better the team, not just contribute and compound upon what the Pistons already have. Until he changes that tune, his seat may become hotter than most.