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Prepare for an onslaught of unflattering national previews of the Pistons

It should come as no surprise that the Pistons are not really on anyone’s national radar heading into the season. Young, intriguing players are either relatively quiet like Greg Monroe or still too raw (Brandon Knight, Austin Daye) to attract national buzz. The team didn’t have an eventful offseason, other than bringing back their own free agents (Jonas Jerebko, Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey) and parting ways with a player most expected would be gone in Rip Hamilton.

In short, there isn’t much that is noteworthy about the Pistons right now. I’m still excited to watch basketball again, but we should all be fairly ready for possible poor performances until the team proves otherwise. And we shouldn’t be surprised when the national previews reflect the malaise that has afflicted the franchise and fanbase over the last three years.

Here is Scott Carefoot from The Basketball Jones:

Seven years after the Pistons won their last NBA championship, I think the grace period for President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars is over. He is a terrible GM and I have to wonder how much nostalgia for that title and his playing career in Detroit is keeping him employed in his current job.

Does Joe even understand that his team needs to rebuild? And if he knows this, does he know how to do it properly? Based on the contracts he just approved while re-signing Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey, I have a hard time believing that. Even if the Pistons improve their talent level with high draft picks, the cap-clogging contracts of Prince and Stuckey will hold them back for at least the next two seasons.

Youch. Kelly Dwyer at Yahoo!’s Ball Don’t Lie is no fan of some of Dumars’ moves, but expresses faith that he can get the team moving back in the right direction:

So, with a new owner, new facilities, and a coach that won’t be terrible? Who is to say that Dumars can’t get his house in order? That he won’t find a home for Prince or possibly Ben Gordon? He’ll likely dump Charlie Villanueva next year, he can’t exactly build around Greg Monroe but he can delineate trading situations with the best of them. This is someone, in spite of a half-decade of poorly-conceived moves and rash decisions, that can turn a franchise around.

He’s done it before, and after walking into a situation in 2001 that was not unlike this one. Joe Dumars is worth giving another chance to.


  • Dec 20, 20119:08 am
    by Steve K


    Dwyer’s comments are fairly optimistic. Basically, things look bleak, but no more bleak than in 2001. Dumars turned that around, why not now?

    Perhaps it comes down to this… was Dumars lucky or shrewd in 2001? My personal opinion is both. He was no doubt super-lucky to land Ben Wallace. I can’t imagine anybody other than Big Ben’s mom felt he’d be a future All-star/HOFer. But Joe D was indeed shrewd in hiring Rick Carlisle, trading Stackhouse for Hamilton, and signing Chauncey. I especially like the Hamilton trade. It was a massive gamble at the time. But Dumars saw something he liked in Hamilton and paid dearly to get him. That trade paid off immediately… as Stack’s shortcomings became obvious in Washington while Hamilton flourished with a stronger supporting cast.

    Yet, the past few years stained Dumars’ reputation. And his current signings show a lack of vision/direction. If he’s got a plan, only he can see it. The re-signing of Jerebko seems a bit pricey. He was a fine rookie, but Achilles tendon injuries are no joke. That deal could be a Maxiell-level albatross.

    I wish I could be optimistic like Dwyer, but put me in the Scott Carefoot camp. The future is BLEAK.

    • Dec 20, 20119:18 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      Well, those were the only real flattering comments in Dwyer’s preview. The rest is a bit more on the negative side, just not as bleak sounding as Carefoot’s take for TBJ.

  • Dec 20, 201110:03 am
    by detroitpcb


    I agree with Carefoot that the Prince signing could be an albatross of a contract (like the Rip contract which Joe managed to get out of in ok fashion – Joe has a rep for taking care of his guys which doesn’t hurt when it comes to signing free agents but can backfire when your guys get up there in age) but cannot believe anyone thinks the Stuckey contract is a mistake. Stuckey is better than Conley or Thornton and Joe only gave Stuckey 3 years. I think that was a great deal for the Pistons.

    But yes, please, trade Ben Gordon and CV. Those are the two biggest mistakes of Joe’s career.

    • Dec 20, 201110:12 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      Stuckey isn’t a better point guard than Conley and he’s not a better shooting guard than Thornton. I don’t think he’s grossly overpaid or anything, but both of those guys are better at their respective positions than Stuckey is at either of the positions he plays. His versatility might increase his value some, and I’m not a big fan of Thornton’s contract, but I have serious doubts that Stuckey is an above average starter at either position. He still has the potential to turn into one, but I’m not sold yet.

    • Dec 20, 201110:32 am
      by Steve K


      No doubt BG and CV are Joe’s worst moves. They’ve crippled the team indefinitely. Those moves were even worse than the Darko pick, and that’s saying something. 

      But, I don’t hold out hope that they’re tradeable. What team would want either of those players with their bloated contracts? Joe’s only got three options:
      - Amnesty one of them
      - Waive them (and be stuck with their cap hit)
      - Stick it out and hope they improve

      To be fair, this is BG’s first season without Hamilton. It’s possible his form may return. I have less hope with CV. CV’s role is clear — Stretch 4 coming off the bench. Play him 20 minutes and hope for the best.

  • Dec 20, 201110:44 am
    by Haan


    After years of ineffectual moves, it’s, oddly, too early to tell how Joe’s doing in his current rebuilding job.  I’m hoping Monroe and Knight will prove to be genuine cornerstones, rather than just good.   Joe negotiated a reasonable contract with Prince, except for giving him a year too many.  Still, that’s the move that gives me most pause.  If Prince plays well enough for the Pistons to be mediocre, you’re losing your best shot at what you need most: a star big.  If the team goes south, you’ve got a chance for your big in the draft, but you may need to cope with a sour Prince as you struggle to emerge from the ashes.  Ideally, Prince not only plays well but demonstrates the “right way” to the youngsters.   But what are the odds?

  • Dec 20, 201111:12 am
    by lartrand


    what i think many people forget is the pistons have a NEW coach an this will truly show what we have as talent. Joe mistakes have been with his optmistic coaching hires but talent of players have been much better. many of you that agree with carefoot will eat your words just wait and see!

  • Dec 20, 201111:13 am
    by Jeremy


    Is it me, or have the Pistons always been viewed negatively in the national spotlight? I’m not saying that it isn’t justified based on the previous few seasons and the current roster, but I don’t recall them being favored by national pugnets to do much over the past decade or so.

    The fact of the matter is this, Tay and Stuckey have too much talent to just walk way without getting anything in return. You can’t live on the hope that not resigning two of your players will mean you have a shot at a big name free agent the next year. Money talks in free agency, but in today’s league so does the make up of a team’s roster.

    Yes, every armchair GM can come up with 50 different trade scenarios that work financially, but it takes two to tango. Joe has maintained since day one that he wasn’t going to trade away players just for the purpose of doing so. He wants talent in return and it is up to other GMs to give that up and agree to it.

    • Dec 20, 20114:28 pm
      by rick77


      That is the problem I have with assertions like this one. We have two opinions and we are suppose to take it as gospel. The NBA is a players league and its up to management to get right coach around to massage those egos. Chuck Daly said that, and I am more apt to belive what a Hall of Fame coach has to say rather than some columinist that falls in line with someone else’s thinking instead of their own. 

      The perfect storm happened and we have to deal with it.  Billionaire Owner dies , wife doesnt want Joe to make any moves that would hinder her sale, restricts Joe from taking on Boozer, and then we are sold(thats not including paying off Larry Brown and Flip Saunders probably Curry and Kuester as well.The thing that makes me laugh the most in here is that Joe is GM not the owner. The last time I checked my manager does not sign my checks, but the owner does. How does ownership get a pass throughout all of this,and Joe the blame?.

      • Dec 20, 20114:42 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        Ownership didn’t get a pass. Did you see Karen Davidson’s public appearances at the Palace last season? The boos for her were the loudest the fans were all season.

        And further, it was her right to sell the team. It was also her right to tell the front office not to take on more salary. I don’t blame Dumars for everything, but the fact is, if he hadn’t pushed for the expensive signings of Villanueva, Gordon and Hamilton, he would’ve had a lot more freedom to make moves the last two seasons. He couldn’t add salary because players he identified and required capped the team out and complicated matters by seriously under-performing.

  • Dec 20, 201112:35 pm
    by Sebastian


    It is no secret that OUR Pistons are extremely soft and non-threatening to opposing teams in the middle.
    Also, there is much hype, as there perhaps should be, about prospects who may be available in the 2012 Draft.
    So given these two realities, why doesn’t Joe get the Maloof brothers on the phone and present them with the following offer: Charlie V. and OUR 2012 1st Round Pick for DeMarcus Cousins.
    The Kings would get second 1st round draft pick and a player who can score on most nights.
    The Pistons would get a player in the middle, who has an attitude that would play extremely well with Monroe.

  • Dec 20, 20111:31 pm
    by apa8ren9


    If the pistons come close to winning 33 games I will consider it a successful season.  This year Joe will evaluate Gordon and if he doesnt produce under the new coach he is gone .   I think we will have suck it up on Villenueva’s contract.  And I was a big supporter of signing him.  Joe is doing this right.  Let the other teams panic and come running to us looking to offload a decent big.  Unfortunately bigs are at a PREMIUM (see Kwame Brown’s contract).  So we have to bide our time and let one shake loose

    • Dec 20, 20112:17 pm
      by tarsier


      Right, cuz when someone has a decent big to get rid of, the Pistons will be anywhere close to their only possible trade partner.

  • Dec 20, 20115:34 pm
    by DrTed


    I must be living in a parallel basketball universe to most.  JoeD did all he could this off-season…

    He got a new coach who has a better understanding of the game than the last two coaches. Coach F has a great reputation for handling men, which was a major problem with the previous three coaches.The Pistons had an outstanding draft. Brandon K is just what they needed, a non-flashy, smart guard. Macklin will give the Pistons more muscle in the paint JoeD locked up the Piston’s young core for a few years. This core is arguably among the top young group of players in the league. They have great length as well as talent.
    JoeD get rid of the Ripper who seemingly wanted the Pistons to be his team. However, Rip never meshed well with any of the Piston’s guards. He also made Ben G’s transition to Piston ball difficult…Maybe, the Ripper needs Big Shot to help him regain his touch…

    Joe D didnt’ have very much cap room to go after a top-flight big man, so he decided to wait things out…
    While JoeD didn’t hit any home runs,  he has loaded the bases with singles…

  • Dec 20, 20117:45 pm
    by Laser


    It sure must be fun to extend Joe Dumars an infinite line of credit that he can turn this mess around based on the fact that he did it once a full decade ago, paying no attention whatsoever to the fact that he made this mess all on his own. And he made it from scratch, out of an elite team with all the flexibility in the world at his disposal. It must be SO much fun! I must try it some time.

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