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The Big Answer?: Joe Dumars

DF then: How limited is he by the ownership situation?

As constructed, the Pistons obviously aren’t going to win a title. Moves must be made. Can Joe Dumars make them now? Does he have to wait until a new owner takes over? Is he forbidden to take on payroll for the sake of Karen Davidson’s wallet? Will he have to shed payroll for the sake of Karen Davidson’s wallet?

It’s impossible to fairly criticize Dumars for his moves, or lack there of, without this information.

DF now: Very

The Pistons haven’t made a trade since July 13, 2009, when Dumars sent Arron Afflalo, Walter Sharpe and cash to the Nuggets for a second-round pick. Flash forward seven months from that date, and every other NBA team has made a trade since then.

Say what you want about his moves prior to Karen Davidson deciding to sell the team, but Dumars clearly couldn’t do much to improve the team once she decided to move on.

PH then: Is he a tortured genius?

Often, people who have great success early on in their profession get a a genius complex. They think they’ve figured out “The Secret” as Bill Simmons would say and begin taking advice less or trying crazier ideas because their past success has them foolishly convinced that all of their goofy ideas will pan out.

Dumars constructed a title team, a year-in, year-out contender and did so in a way that no one has replicated: without a superstar. His two best players on his title team, Billups and Wallace, combined to make less money per season than Antoine Walker.

Now, Dumars has made a series of moves that can be described as reaches: believing that guys who have never been tough or physical or interested defenders in Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva can suddenly be taught, drafting guys who weren’t well known (Austin Daye might work out, but he passed on guys like Ty Lawson and Darren Collison for him, and they are already good players in this league), taking flyers on aging vets with major questions (Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady).

Could Dumars be supremely confident his moves will work simply because they’ve worked out in the past?

PH now: No

I underestimated how limited Dumars’ resources were before the season. He signed McGrady, because signing a guy for the minimum was basically all he could do to fill the roster. He stuck with a roster he knows is flawed, because he could do little to upgrade the product on the floor until the sale of the team.

None of this absolves him from blame for the poor moves he made prior – particularly the Gordon and Villanueva signings – but it buys him some time to complete whatever his vision was when he set out to rebuild.


  • May 9, 20113:14 pm
    by Tim


    I would give Dumars some time to try to turn things around. But my biggest concern with him isn’t his track record. Like most GMs, it’s pretty mixed and just happens to have more negatives recently and more positives further back. It’s his approach. I don’t know what’s really going on his head, but according to all his interviews with Langlois, he always seems committed to improving the team both for the present and the future and not sacrificing one for the other. That approach can work if you get really lucky in the form of either getting a superstar or two or making deals with another GM of Isaiah Thomas’ caliber. But with 29 other GMs also trying to improve, you usually have to pick one: now or later. If he will just choose one of those and go for broke, I will be happy. But if he keeps on trying to do both, the Pistons will just continue doing their best Charlotte Bobcats impression. And that’s a crappy place for any franchise to be.

  • [...] press conference. PG: TBJ. Holly MacKenzie celebrates the ascension of Jose Juan Barea. 6th: Piston Powered. Very cool back and forth on Joe Dumars. 7th: Truth About It. Other upcoming Andray Blatche Nights. [...]

  • May 11, 20118:54 am
    by Tyrone


    If Tom Gore and his ownership group will step back and allow Joe D to do the job they are paying him to do then this team will become a winner again with in two seasons.  Because of the lack of movement with coach Q I’m beging to wonder if Joe D is still handcuffed to ownerships check book?

  • May 12, 20113:49 am
    by Jay


    The Villanueva signing was not a bad one. He basically got a rotation big man that score from all over the floor for 7 mil a year. I think that’s reasonable. Ben Gordon is a stud score but wasn’t worth 11 a year. i had problem with that signing. especially when we needed bigs way more than we needed guards back then. The billups trade was a bad one. the non trade back then would have been a better move. sheed, dice and another player would have came off the books the next year clearing about 17 mil that summer. which would have got us Cv and maybe tyson chandler and maybe brandon bass. Thats a playoff calibre set of young bigs if not a championshp calibre one

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