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Joe Dumars is not the 24th worst general manager in the NBA

Mike Prada at SB Nation today unveiled his NBA GM rankings. It’s an interesting exercise — GM terribleness is one of my favorite topics.

Here’s Prada’s evaluation of Joe Dumars, whom he ranked 24th, lower than noted visionaries like Rod Higgins, Chris Wallace and Rick Sund:

It pains me to put Joe Dumars, the architect of the Pistons teams of the 2000s, this low. However, Dumars has been a disaster since the Chauncey Billups/Allen Iverson trade. Dumars made the deal to regain salary-cap flexibility to rebuild a team that has run it’s course, but ended up spending that money on Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and a re-signed, declining Rip Hamilton. He’s refused to deal any of his other big-contract players like Tayshaun Prince because he legitimately thinks his team can and should be “competitive” when rebuilding.

That’s the problem, though — you can be “competitive” without major salary obligations to declining players. Dumars, like many of the GMs behind him on this list, fundamentally misunderstands this. I’m not sure why Dumars refuses to take the long-term approach. Sure, their arena is empty, but it seems they have a core of dieharts that are willing to wait around for a long-term rebuilding project. It’s not like Dumars is in a city like Charlotte, where the team desperately needs the revenue from home playoff games.

Therefore, the only explanation for Dumars’ recent issues is that he must believe that, because he built a “star-less” core earlier, he can do it again. Newsflash Joe: you probably can’t. Lightning doesn’t strike in the same spot twice.

It should pain Prada to put him that low on the list. It’s pretty patently ridiculous to put him that low, actually.

The reality is, Dumars’ track record, despite questionable moves the last two years, still holds up really well against most GMs in the league, except for the universally recognized top few guys.

Now, in fairness, Prada isn’t basing his rankings on wins, more so on quality of moves/body of work. He gets some of the positives — Hamilton trade, ‘Sheed trade, Jerebko pick, etc. — and negatives — Darko, Iverson, White, Gordon/Villanueva, but he also leaves out some pretty key arguments in favor of Dumars. Consider the following:

- On the Pistons’ 2004 title team, the unquestioned two best players, Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups, made a combined $10.5 million. Neither of those incredibly reasonable signings are mentioned. Finding undervalued players is a pretty key part of effective GMing and the bad signings of Gordon and Villanueva don’t trump the fact that the initial Wallace and Billups signings, value-wise, are arguably as good as any signing any GM on this list has made. The Pistons are the only title team in the last decade to win a championship without having a max-contract player. Call it luck if you want, but a lot of teams had Wallace and Billups on their rosters prior to the Pistons and missed something. Dumars didn’t miss.

- This line from Prada — “Therefore, the only explanation for Dumars’ recent issues is that he must believe that, because he built a “star-less” core earlier, he can do it again. Newsflash Joe: you probably can’t. Lightning doesn’t strike in the same spot twice.” — is a pretty common argument by the “Joe Dumarz needz to go, LOLz!” crowd. It also doesn’t take into account that Dumars has actually built a 50-win core two times, not just one time.

Check the roster of his first 50-win team in 2002. Now compare that to his last 50 win team in 2008. If you’ll notice, not a single player from that first roster was still on the team in 2008. In a period of six years, not only did Dumars completely rebuild his team, he did so while maintaining a team that won 50 games each of those seasons. There is not another GM in the league who can claim that (hat-tip to Dan Feldman, who tipped me off to that point).

- Re: the list of draft picks. Prada gets a few major finds — Prince, Jerebko, Stuckey — and the busts — Rodney White, Darko — but misses a couple.

Mehmet Okur had two solid seasons in Detroit before leaving as a free agent for Utah and becoming an All-Star. I’d say that’s good value for the second round. And really, although he kind of plateaued, Jason Maxiell has been a rotation player his entire post-rookie career, which is also good value for a 26th pick. Early in his career, Detroit had a pretty talented and crowded frontcourt, so it was impressive that a late pick like Maxiell earned minutes on a contending team. It’s rare that the draft picks of championship contenders crack a rotation, and Maxiell did that.

I won’t insist that Dumars is a top-five GM in the league anymore — his recent moves, combined with a historically bad draft bust, will hurt that legacy. But a man who has overseen a team that has won a title, made the playoffs eight of his 10 years and made the conference finals in six of 10 years is certainly a better GM than, oh, I don’t know, the man who once picked Joe Forte and Kedrick Brown in the first round of the same draft.

Dumars has work to do with his mismatched roster, but unlike many of the people in front of him, Dumars has shown the ability to turn a mismatched roster into a contending team. He’s nowhere near the bottom third of the league’s GMs.

24 Comments

  • Jul 22, 20105:38 pm
    by Dirtgrain

    Reply

    Nice analysis.  I think those rankings are way off.  You point out some solid, unbiased facts to support this.

  • Jul 22, 20105:46 pm
    by brgulker

    Reply

    Yup.

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Detroit Pistons Buzz and PistonPowered Feed, Patrick Hayes. Patrick Hayes said: Sorry @MikePradaSBN but Joe Dumars is nowhere near the 24th worst GM in the league http://tinyurl.com/24s9qgt #nba #pistons [...]

  • Jul 22, 20106:28 pm
    by David

    Reply

    I agree that on total body of work Dumars should rank higher than 24th, but not much higher. I love Joe D as much as anyone and I definitely do not fall into the Fire Dumars group, but he’s done an outright awful job with this team from the moment he completed that Chauncey Billups trade.

    I didn’t hate the Billups trade because it was clearly time for this team to start over and gaining cap space made that appear possible. However, the degree to which that cap space has been squandered defies belief. Instead of potentially rolling that cap space over to procure draft picks or young player we spent that money on Charlie V, Ben Gordon and Rip. I don’t hate Charlie V. and, in the abstract, I don’t hate Ben Gordon. But Rip Hamilton has to be the least trade 0ble contract in the NBA and, more the point, an inexcusable contract to hand out knowing you were going to sign Ben Gordon. These two are utterly incompatible players. So now we have some 23 million dollars of the cap tied up each year for the next 3 years in guys who can’t play together at all.

    The next problem is our inability to use Tayshaun Prince’s expiring contract. Tayshaun is great, but Tayshaun is also best as a complimentary part on a championship team. His best assets (defense, ball handling) are not well utilized on a rebuilding squad. I can’t vouch for all the rumored parts we’ve turned down in favor of Tayshaun, but if the rumors are true and we passed on the TWolves no. 3 pick so that we could hang on to Tayshaun, well that’s absurd.

    My problem with Dumars isn’t that he hasn’t done it before, he has, but I don’t think that earns you the presumption that you can do it again based on the evidence to date. I don’t hold Darko against him, I don’t hold Rodney White against him, all that stuff seemed legit at the time. What concerns me is that all of his most recent moves don’t make us significantly better EVEN IF THEY WORK OUT.

    Maybe this can all work out. Dumars has certainly pulled a rabbit out of his hat before, but I still can’t help but be worried. Like most NBA fans I love ESPN’s trade machine, but looking at the Pistons roster I don’t see any assets. We have Tayshauns expiring deal that Dumars has shown an unwillingness to move. We have a young PG who took a big step back in Stuckey. We have 2 shooting guards that can’t play together and can’t be traded. Unless Greg Monroe turns into the 2nd coming of Brad Daugherty (he might. young people go look that up. He was good) then I think we’re kind of stuck in no mans land. You can compete when you’re rebuilding but you need assets (cap space, expiring deals, players) and we are a team bereft of assets.

    This got way long and I’m not saying Dumars should be fired, but you don’t get the presumption of quality in the face of evidence to the contrary.

  • Jul 22, 20107:19 pm
    by Dave Dial

    Reply

    You are absolutely right Patrick(congrats btw), the ranking is beyond ridiculous.  It’s absolutely absurd that Prada ranked Joe that low, just absurd.
    Also, I can tell by the ‘key trades/signings’ that he is either not that familiar with the Pistons, or didn’t do his homework before publishing.
    Dumars has his work cut out for him right now, and he may not be able to rebuild the Pistons in the manner he wants to(I think he can), but his record as GM obviously puts him into the top 10.
    Then again, someone that can put Daryl Morey at #3, even though the Rockets have never won a NBA Title, didn’t make the playoffs last year, and got past the 1st round one time the past 10 years and have been in the lottery 6 times, shows just what kind of criteria he is using.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like Morey, but to rank him so high just shows that the criteria is not about building a winning team.

  • Jul 22, 20109:42 pm
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    David, let me take your argument point-by-point.

    I love Joe D as much as anyone

    That’s obviously not true. Not saying that’s a bad thing. But you don’t.

    Instead of potentially rolling that cap space over to procure draft picks or young player we spent that money on Charlie V, Ben Gordon and Rip.

    Gordon was 26, and Villanueva was 24 when Dumars signed them. I’d consider that getting young players. Hamilton’s extension was agreed upon before the Billups trade created cap room. (It was officially signed afterward, but I credit Dumars for not reneging.)

    But Rip Hamilton has to be the least trade 0ble contract in the NBA

    Gilbert Arenas, Joe Johnson, Rashard Lewis, Elton Brand, Darko Milicic. There’s a complete lineup of players with more untradeable deals.

    an inexcusable contract to hand out knowing you were going to sign Ben Gordon. These two are utterly incompatible players. So now we have some 23 million dollars of the cap tied up each year for the next 3 years in guys who can’t play together at all.

    Again, Hamilton’s deal was agreed upon before the Billups trade. Don’t think Dumars didn’t see Gordon and Hamilton didn’t fit together. I think Dumars saw Gordon as a special player, the type of player you get if he’s available. (The jury is still out on whether that’s the case.) The Pistons weren’t contending for a title anyway last year. Don’t pass up on a potential star because you already have Hamilton.

    His best assets (defense, ball handling) are not well utilized on a rebuilding squad.

    Since when are there teams that can’t use defense and ball-handling? (Even though I think Prince’s best attributes are now ability to score with taking a lot of shots and ability to play point forward, which is admittedly similar to ball handling.)

    if the rumors are true and we passed on the TWolves no. 3 pick so that we could hang on to Tayshaun, well that’s absurd.

    I never heard that rumor, but I doubt it’s true, given how badly Dumars wanted DeMarcus Cousins. (By the way, the Timberwolves had the No. 4 pick).

    My problem with Dumars isn’t that he hasn’t done it before, he has, but I don’t think that earns you the presumption that you can do it again based on the evidence to date.

    I don’t think it means he will necessarily do it again. But he has shown, at one point, he had the talent to do it once. How many other GMs in the league do you know that about? Not many.

    Yes, Dumars has made some mistakes. But were they just isolated mistakes that happened to come packed together, or has he lost his touch? I see no evidence it’s the latter rather than the former.

    I don’t hold Darko against him, I don’t hold Rodney White against him, all that stuff seemed legit at the time.

    The Iverson trade and signing Gordon and Villanueva didn’t make sense at the time?

    What concerns me is that all of his most recent moves don’t make us significantly better EVEN IF THEY WORK OUT.

    Really? If Gordon becomes a 25-point-per game scorer and Villanueva averages 18 and 8, the Pistons won’t get significantly better?

    but looking at the Pistons roster I don’t see any assets.

    Tayshaun Prince, Greg Monroe, Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko, Rodney Stuckey

    We have a young PG who took a big step back in Stuckey.

    Stuckey didn’t take a step back. His shooting percentage went down because he was forced to take too many shots when everyone was hurt. The decision was basically it’s better to have Stuckey taking a forced shot than Jerebko taking an unforced one.

    Stuckey was a better initiator of the offense last year. He was also a better defender. And he showed he could play off guard successfully.

    We have 2 shooting guards that can’t play together and can’t be traded.

    Barring another injury, both certainly can be traded, especially after teams begin to regret the crazy deals they signed this summer.

    This got way long and I’m not saying Dumars should be fired, but you don’t get the presumption of quality in the face of evidence to the contrary.

    I don’t think Patrick is presuming Dumars is a quality GM. I think the basis comes from Dumars building a championship team from scratch and keeping it competitive for several seasons afterward. There is plenty of evidence against Dumars, which is why nobody will argue he should be No. 1, but there’s much evidence for him than against him.

    David, I disagree with most of what you wrote, but I want to thank you for commenting. Your arguments were well articulated and supported.

  • Jul 22, 20109:44 pm
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Dave, I like Morey, too. And I might have him ahead of Dumars. But you raise an excellent point. Morey benefits from being relatively new on the job. At a certain point, people will expect the Rockets to be a title contender. Maybe he’ll deliver. Maybe he won’t. For now, like many GMs who later fail, he just looks good getting them on the right track.

  • Jul 22, 201010:05 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    David:
    Just wanted to respond to a few points. I do agree that Dumars’ moves the last two years haven’t panned out as of yet, but in fairness, virtually every key player on the roster except Stuckey missed significant time last season due to injury. It’s still a flawed team, but not a 26-win team if fully healthy.
    I disagree vehemently that Hamilton is untradable, let alone the most untradable contract in the league. He’s signed for three more seasons at $12.5 million per. Off the top of my head, Gilbert Arenas (owed $80 million over the next four years), Rashard Lewis (owed $65 million over the next three years), Elton Brand ($51 million over the next three), Shawn Marion (rapidly declining and owed $32 million over the next four) and Emeka Okafor ($42 million over the next four) are all harder to trade than Hamilton’s. There’s probably a few more out there that I’m forgetting. And Joe Johnson’s 6 year, $124 million extension, which will be paying him $20ish million when he’s 36 years-old, will soon join those above as far worse than Rip’s.
    Hamilton absolutely needs to have a bounceback season to help rebuild his value, but he’s not untradable. If he’s healthy and productive, teams will be interested.
    As for Prince, I do not believe for one second that there was an offer of the three pick for Prince and the Pistons turned that down. Minnesota said all along that they wanted Wes Johnson and had no interest in trading that pick. The Pistons tried desperately to move up for Cousins, and I’m sure Prince was a centerpiece in every package they offered, but a lot of teams coveted Cousins and were making offers.
    Prince’s value only increases as the trading deadline nears. Every year, players become available via trade and large expiring deals like Prince’s are necessary to pull those trades off. Prince is still an asset. Dumars didn’t have to trade him in the offseason. Chances are, he can get more for him later.
    I also don’t think Stuckey took a step back. He became much better defensively, and that’s significant. He still has work to do offensively.

  • Jul 22, 201010:17 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    I’m partial to Morey for his love of stats, nerdiness, etc., but Dave’s right, he hasn’t put a team on the court that’s won a title or come close yet. He has had to deal with major injuries to stars (T-Mac, Yao) though, he’s found some hidden gems in the draft (Aaron Brooks, Carl Landry) and pulled of some complete heists in trades (Scola, Kevin Martin), which is a plus, but he’s yet to build a team that’s anything more than a scrappy bunch of overachievers. It’s fine and fun to watch guys who play hard, but not sure that puts him in best GM in the league territory.

  • Jul 23, 20101:45 am
    by The Rake

    Reply

    A few things I want to say.  First, great job Patrick.  Agree with most of what you said.  To Dan’s point about the ’02 50 win team…looking back on that roster how in the f*ck did that team eek out 50 wins?! I know they did, but honestly, goes to show you how really very good Stack was at the time.  Stack was a baller back then, there were a few complimentary pieces but damn.
    As for Dan’s rebuttal in the comments, I would only point out that the rumor was definitely there that JD had a chance to trade with the Wolves, but he had to give Prince and take on Jefferson.  Didn’t happen, no worries.  Also though have to call you out on Iverson, there was no way that was a good move.  Moving Billups 2 games into the year, when he was the CLEAR hart and soul of the team was the tipping point of this franchise’s demise.  No two ways about it. Still shocked he blew that one so bad, but it was rumored JD wanted AI as far back as ’01 I believe.  Shame.
    Ranking Dumars 24th is just assinine and shows that there is way too much freedom and junk on the internet that allows poor “writing/journalism” to take place.  There’s no place for nonsense like that.  Yes, this is a world of what have you done for me lately, but JD has a title, 6 ECFs, and 8 playoff years. That is in NO WAY shabby and ask league insiders how they feel about JD and he’ll get a top 10 grade.
    I will say, one knock on JD not really mentioned is his running of coaches.  Brown kinda had to go cause he was so damn flirty in ’05 (still wonder if that hurt us as much as Sheeds blown covg on Horry), but Saunders going was a bad move.  Not getting A.Johnson was the wrong play, tough to know the inside negotiations of Johnson wanting a say in personnel, but still.
    Peace…and BTW, I really enjoy this site…wish there were even more Pistons sites that had good insight, so many of the others, even “big, well known” ones really have shoddy writing and are just glorified fan sites.  I like proper perspective.  Out.

  • Jul 23, 20103:40 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    The Rake, that team won 50 games because it was full of under-the-radar players who knew how to win. Clifford Robinson, who never missed the playoffs at that point, stands out most to me. But guys like Michael Curry, Chucky Atkins, Corliss Williamson, Jon Barry, Ben Wallace, Dana Barros, Damon Jones and Zeljko Rebraca were all guys who scrapped and contributed all they could. I don’t think Dumars ever gets enough credit for picking up all those pieces on the cheap and establishing a winning environment. That 2002 team is, and always will be, one of my all-time favorites.

    I never saw a rumor that straight up Prince for No. 4. I think the common version was Prince and 7 for 4 or Prince and 7 for Jefferson and 4. I’d say the most reliable thing I saw at any point was Dumars turning down Prince and 7 for Jefferson (which I would, too). But I doubt he ever had a chance to trade Prince for 4.

    In hindsight, the Iverson-Billups trade was clearly a mistake. But in foresight, it wasn’t so bad. I think I’m going to do a series of posts on myths later this summer, and this will definitely be one. But Billups had struggled in the playoffs the previous couple year. Iverson was coming off maybe his most efficient scoring season of his career. But right after the trade, Billups took off and Iverson took a nosedive. It happened so quickly, the trade looked foolish right away. But at the time, it wasn’t so bad.

    I think you have to look at the coaching firing on an individual basis. I’m not sure any were misguided. Flip Saunders had lost the team. Either you trade a bunch of guys, including Rasheed Wallace, who is virtually impossible to trade for near market value, or you bring in a new coach. Firing Flip was the simplest solution, and that simplest solution is usually right.

    As far as Avery Johnson, it was probably more the amount of money he wanted than wanting personnel control. I’m not sure the Pistons could afford him, especially while rebuilding.

    Also, I’m really glad to see you enjoy the site. I’m sure I can speak for Patrick and Graham to say we enjoy the kind words.

  • Jul 23, 201011:44 pm
    by David

    Reply


    Ok, first of all, just because I question his job doesn’t make it fair for you to question whether or not I love Joe D. I loved him as a player and I remain forever grateful for his title, as a GM. Saying that he’s made bad decisions hardly constitutes a lack of love. It’s a basketball team; we hardly need to fall to with us or against us.
     
    My interest has been piqued and I’m enjoying the back and forth so allow me to retort to your comments item by time.
     
    Gordon was 26, and Villanueva was 24 when Dumars signed them. I’d consider that getting young players. Hamilton’s extension was agreed upon before the Billups trade created cap room. (It was officially signed afterward, but I credit Dumars for not reneging.)
     
    26 isn’t NBA young. 22 is NBA young. Charlie V might be young, but I don’t think anyone has argued that Ben Gordon still had a bunch of potential at 26. I struggle to think of a player who broke through and became something entirely different at 26. I’m not saying it’s not possible, but Ben Gordon was a 5-year vet when the Pistons acquired him. There’s only so much growth left at that point. As for Charlie V, like I said I have no problem with Charlie V except in the context of the rest of Joe D.’s moves. Charlie V, Jerebko and Daye (and Summers for that matter) all serve relatively similar functions. Doesn’t mean that I’m not fond of them, but that much replication suggests that the money might have been better spent elsewhere.
     
    Gilbert Arenas, Joe Johnson, Rashard Lewis, Elton Brand, Darko Milicic. There’s a complete lineup of players with more untradeable deals.
     
    Fair enough. All those guys may be less tradable, but 2 of those guys (Lewis and Johnson) provide significantly more value. Joe Johnson doesn’t deserve any part of a max contract, but he’s also led a team to the 2nd round of the playoffs in back to back years. And he makes only 3.5 mil more per year than Rip. Lewis isn’t a franchise player but he also provides a valuable skill set to a title contender. So his marginal value to a contender is much higher. I wouldn’t pay Lewis in a vacuum but his contribution, though limited, has increased value to a title contender. The other issue that I have is that when Arenas and Brand signed those deals they had a chance to be franchise corner stones, I don’t know who we were supposed to be bidding against for Rip, but I can’t imagine anyone else was in a rush to give him 12.5 million dollars a year.
     
    Again, Hamilton’s deal was agreed upon before the Billups trade. Don’t think Dumars didn’t see Gordon and Hamilton didn’t fit together. I think Dumars saw Gordon as a special player, the type of player you get if he’s available. (The jury is still out on whether that’s the case.) The Pistons weren’t contending for a title anyway last year. Don’t pass up on a potential star because you already have Hamilton.
     
    Oh come on. What on earth can the jury be deliberating on? If Dumars thought Ben Gordon was a special player that’s a huge strike against him. Ben Gordon was nobody’s idea of a franchise player. Again, I don’t have a problem with paying Ben Gordon 10 mil a year. I think that’s probably about right, but I do have a problem paying that money when you already have Rip Hamilton on roster. Cap space doesn’t disappear if you don’t use it. Wouldn’t we look a lot better if we had been able to chase after Carlos Boozer this summer? Instead we have 25 million tied up in 2 players that can’t play together.
     
    Since when are there teams that can’t use defense and ball-handling? (Even though I think Prince’s best attributes are now ability to score with taking a lot of shots and ability to play point forward, which is admittedly similar to ball handling.)
     
    I think I didn’t make my point clear enough here and that’s my bad. It’s not that we can’t use those things so much as I think Tayshaun is at his most valuable as the no. 4 man on a title contender. It’s not that he doesn’t have value to us; I just think that we would maximize his value by trading him and not hanging on to him. Re: my rumor point, (during which I made several mistakes, I was agitated when I first wrote) http://detroit.sbnation.com/2010/6/16/1522053/could-the-pistons-trade-tayshaun
    This is the trade rumor I was referencing between the Pistons and Sacto. I have to say I’m really excited to have Greg Monroe (seriously Brad Daugherty), but I’d be even more excited to have DeMarcus Cousins. By all accounts Dumars scuttled this trade over Tayshaun. This is what I was referencing when I talked about my frustration.
     
    The Iverson trade and signing Gordon and Villanueva didn’t make sense at the time?
     
    I had said previously that I liked the Iverson trade at the time. No, the Ben Gordon and Charlie V signings never made sense.
     
     
    Really? If Gordon becomes a 25-point-per game scorer and Villanueva averages 18 and 8, the Pistons won’t get significantly better?
     
    They’d be better but would they be a title contender? I say no, this is generally my point. We have spent our entire cap on players who can’t take us to a title. I love the ’04 team, but it is such an outlier that it can’t be assumed to be repeatable. That was a truly special collection of complimentary talents and it remains the only title team since the ’79 Sonics to win without a superstar. I’m not knocking the guys on that team, but none of them were superstars.
     
    Yes, Dumars has made some mistakes. But were they just isolated mistakes that happened to come packed together, or has he lost his touch? I see no evidence it’s the latter rather than the former.
     
    Well I suppose this is our fundamental disagreement in a nutshell. I thought he did an amazing job building that 04 title team and keeping it competitive, but I have yet to see evidence of a plan since we completed the Iverson trade. We had massive cap space, spent it, and got considerably worse and found ourselves in the lottery. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that we ended up there because I think we need to get high level talent (Monroe is a great start, Thanks GS Warriors for picking Udoh!). So what is this ridiculously long comment really about? I don’t see a plan. I see us adding pieces but in a haphazard manner. And I really really really hate the Rip Hamilton extension and did so before the Chauncey trade. He’s 32 and trending downwards. His FG% took a dive without Chauncey and I just don’t see his value at this point.
     
    I appreciate the chance to vent and I enjoy debating this issue. But don’t tell me I don’t love Dumars. I complain because I think he can do better and because, at the end of the day I want the Pistons to be better than they are.

  • Jul 24, 20103:20 am
    by steve

    Reply

    on a lighter note, isn’t everyone happy that those formerly-cocky cleveland fans are in a worse boat than us

  • Jul 24, 20101:19 pm
    by Odeh

    Reply

    Joe can redeem himself to a top 3 GM  (I see him as a top 10 right now) if the rumored 3 team trade I heard is true.  Detroit gets Jameer Nelson and Emeka Okafor, Orlando gets Chris Paul and Rip, New Orleans gets Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter, Austin Daye, and Chris Wilcox.  Have you guys heard anything?

  • Jul 24, 20101:49 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    Odeh:
    First impression, for the Pistons, is I would love that. Second impression is that It sounds really unlikely because New Orleans is getting way, way, way too little, unless Orlando and Detroit are each sending a few future first round picks as well.

  • Jul 24, 20101:59 pm
    by Tads

    Reply

    I believe that Joe Dumars must be operating with a completely different philosophy of late.   This philosophy centers on developing talent, something Dumars has had success in, not on trying to appeal to the current free agent prize of the moment.  This might be why he isn’t ever seen positioning to get the Chris Pauls of the world.  This might not have always been the strategy, with the rasheed, and AI trades he showed this.  But he was vocally angry about the attitude that these players had, and perhaps to avoid the divisive, lockerroom-poisoning attitude of outsiders, he is working only to get players that he can develop.  After seeing Rodney’s struggles, I can imagine Joe wishing he had kept Chauncey around as a mentor, and a model, and deciding to keep Rip and Tayshaun around, and getting Chucky and Ben around to help.   With the big men, there are not a lot of people out there that can serve as a good mentor for the kind of basketball that Detroit should play.  Bringing in a big who A) isn’t developable, B) doesn’t fit the philosophy, and C) isn’t interested in developing young players now, and is more interested in winning now, would be completely against this philosophy.  With the lack of effective players out there, it would be more useful for Joe D to keep his trade assets around than trade for a bad fit.
    If this philosophy is right, the evidence is in the redundancy, every player has one or two people on the roster that they can look to to help them learn.  Additionally, as we go forward the philosophy should show itself as people get developed, or run out of time.  This year should see this roster get shaken out into the players who an do it or who can’t, and we should see Joe, at least by the trade deadline, getting rid of those players who can’t, and replacing them with more young developable players while the players who can ascend into larger roles with the team.  With the exception of maybe one rasheed-like trade, I believe that Joe imagines he can put together a 50-win starting line up with most of the players we currently have now.  Now if this is not the philosophy, then we will see our starting line up essentially swapped out, like machine parts, replacing whoever we currently have with the best person on the market.

  • Jul 24, 20105:18 pm
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    David, first off, my apologies. Given the context of this post, I thought you meant you love Dumars’ GM abilities as much as anyone. I have a lot of respect for those who still think fondly of him as a person and player. Again, sorry for misinterpreting that.

    For the rest, I’ll go point by point again.

    26 isn’t NBA young.

    All-Star-level players who have gotten significantly better at 26 (or older): Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, Steve Nash, Mehmet Okur, David Lee, Tony Parker, Peja Stojakovic.

    As for Charlie V, like I said I have no problem with Charlie V except in the context of the rest of Joe D.’s moves. Charlie V, Jerebko and Daye (and Summers for that matter) all serve relatively similar functions.

    When the Pistons signed Villanueva, none of those other three had played a game. None of the three were can’t-miss prospects. You just can’t pass one a free agent you like for those three at that point. Plus, I’m not sure how redundant they are. Villanueva is a power forward. The other three are probably best at small forward.

    Doesn’t mean that I’m not fond of them, but that much replication suggests that the money might have been better spent elsewhere.

    Tads basically explains the logic behind this in the comment right above this.

    Joe Johnson doesn’t deserve any part of a max contract, but he’s also led a team to the 2nd round of the playoffs in back to back years. And he makes only 3.5 mil more per year than Rip.

    Joe Johnson will make $7.5 million more per season than Hamilton will make per year the next three seasons (if Hamilton’s option is picked up for the final year).

    Lewis isn’t a franchise player but he also provides a valuable skill set to a title contender. So his marginal value to a contender is much higher. I wouldn’t pay Lewis in a vacuum but his contribution, though limited, has increased value to a title contender.

    When Hamilton agreed to his extension — remember, this was before the Billups trade — the Pistons were still probably considered contenders, maybe on the fringe of that label, but still deserving nonetheless. So, Hamilton should get the same benefit of the doubt you’re giving Lewis.

    The other issue that I have is that when Arenas and Brand signed those deals they had a chance to be franchise corner stones, I don’t know who we were supposed to be bidding against for Rip, but I can’t imagine anyone else was in a rush to give him 12.5 million dollars a year.

    I don’t think anyone expected Hamilton to be a franchise player, and he’s certainly not paid like one. Only seven teams — the Warriors, Bobcats, Pacers, Timberwolves, Nets, Thunder and Raptors — are slated to enter next season with a player paid more than Hamilton. The Raptors and Nets desperately tried to sign someone for than Hamilton makes, and they failed. The Timberwolves and Pacers are conserving cap space for the future. The Thunder will have a player who makes more next season, when Kevin Durant’s extension kicks in. That leaves only two teams, the the Bobcats and Warriors, who you can legitimately make the case believe a franchise player in their plans should be paid like Hamilton.

    If Dumars thought Ben Gordon was a special player that’s a huge strike against him. Ben Gordon was nobody’s idea of a franchise player. Again, I don’t have a problem with paying Ben Gordon 10 mil a year.

    I think it’s completely reasonable to think Ben Gordon is a special player. He’s a special scorer, and he was the Bulls’ best player the two years before coming to Detroit. Here’s what Matt McHale of  By the Horns said before this season:

    “One last thing (or perhaps a couple things) worth noting. The biggest dig on Ben has been “He may score 20 PPG, but he gives up 25 PPG.” That’s not quite fair. According to 82games.com, the 2008-09 Bulls scored 23.8 PPG from the SG position while giving up 20.2. That’s a net production of +3.6, which ranked 6th in the league at that position. The Bulls also had a net PER of +2.6 at shooting guard, which ranked 7th in the league. Since BG played about 37 MPG, most of that was his handiwork. The point is, Ben Gordon — on average — solidly outperformed opposing shooting guards last season.”

    (And Gordon actually makes $11.6 million per year with a player option for his fifth season.)

    Cap space doesn’t disappear if you don’t use it.

    Yes, it does. Most players contracts are designed to go up year-by-year, which eats into cap space in future years. Plus, most projected the cap would go down this year, which would further decrease cap space.

    Wouldn’t we look a lot better if we had been able to chase after Carlos Boozer this summer? Instead we have 25 million tied up in 2 players that can’t play together.

    Even if the Pistons hadn’t signed Gordon, they wouldn’t have had enough money to sign Boozer.

    By all accounts Dumars scuttled this trade over Tayshaun.

    I wrote about this trade, and I was for it. But, as BrGulker, addressed in the comments, it would have been a big risk before the draft. What if someone traded up with Minnesota to get Cousins? Then, you just made that trade for Wesley Johnson, Ekpe Udoh or Greg Monroe, and it’s an abject failure.

    So, I don’t think it’s fair to say Dumars passed on the deal because of Prince. There’s a solid chance he would’ve made the deal when the Kings’ pick came up. But Sacramento found someone willing to take Nocioni before the draft and pulled the trigger.

    The holdup could have just as likely been agreeing on when to make the trade as it was a reluctance to part with Prince.

    We have spent our entire cap on players who can’t take us to a title. I love the ’04 team, but it is such an outlier that it can’t be assumed to be repeatable.

    Maybe it hasn’t be repeated because nobody else has really tried it.  Everyone else’s plan has been to get to the lottery and draft a star or clear enough cap room to sign a star. There’s a lot of competition for building that way. Maybe the quiet signings and trade route, with no competition, is more prudent.

    That was a truly special collection of complimentary talents and it remains the only title team since the ’79 Sonics to win without a superstar. I’m not knocking the guys on that team, but none of them were superstars.

    Ben Wallace was a superstar. He wasn’t recognized as one, but without a doubt, his impact on the game was that of a superstar’s.

    Monroe is a great start, Thanks GS Warriors for picking Udoh!

    I completely agree with that. What were they thinking?

    His FG% took a dive without Chauncey

    There have been a TON of variables other than Billups being gone. I’m not convinced that’s why Hamilton has fallen off.

    I just don’t see his value at this point.

    Few teams do, but I think Hamilton will rebound in a year without Iverson and injuries. That’s when his real value will emerge.

  • Jul 24, 20105:20 pm
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Odeh, I don’t think that trade is anywhere near what the Hornets would do.

  • Jul 24, 20105:21 pm
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Tads, I think you’re right on. I think there is the base — not all the pieces, mind you — of a good team on this roster. It’s just a matter of figuring out which pieces comprise that base. Hopefully, this year, the cream will rise to the top. Then, it will be time to start building around those players and ridding the team of the redundancies. The injuries of last year really put the Pistons a year behind in rebuilding.

  • Jul 26, 20105:32 pm
    by Ash

    Reply

    Funny how the Piston blogger calls his own piece about a terrible Piston’s GM “unbiased.”  High comedy right there.

  • Jul 26, 20106:12 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    Ash, I wrote the post, when did I say it was unbiased? Also, what about Dumars’ resumé screams “terrible GM” to you? The object is to win, and Dumars’ teams have won at a clip only one or two other organization’s GMs (Spurs, Lakers) can claim over the last decade.
    This is the big boy table. You want to make arguments, bring data, facts and points to the discussion.

  • Jul 29, 20105:08 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    i agree with basically everything david said. it feels really good to read some sane, rational perspective on the team.
     
    feldman, let it never be said that you’re not an optimist. i only wish i could see a glass with a thin coating of backwash on the bottom and call it “half full.”
     
    for the record, i’ll say dumars is as medocre as a GM gets, so let’s put him somewhere in the middle. he came into the job with a terrible team and tons of work to do, and he’s come full circle. thanks for the memories, joe, but it’s not 2004 anymore. as good as most of the last decade was, it just doesn’t have the same luster when you’re wallowing at the bottom of the conference and you don’t even have the flexibility to make a single personnel move after a 55 loss season. we’ll be playing the lottery until some of these bad contracts come off the books, then we’ll be good like the thunder in about five years, and joe will look like a GENIUS again! huzzah!!

  • Aug 5, 20107:45 am
    by no need

    Reply

    Who picked Joe Forte and Kedrick Brown? I think you don’t know about Celtics, It was Wallence not Ainge. Besides, it can’t be compared with Piston use the Second Pick to choose Darko, that was worst ever

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