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More on Rip Hamilton/Joe Dumars

Not to run this topic into the ground (I think we did that long ago), but I thought this bit from TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott was worth highlighting:

Rip Hamilton was famously disgruntled in Detroit, but with whom? This video suggests Joe Dumars is the leading candidate. I’ll offer an informed theory as to why: Look at the amazing lengths Dumars went to reorient that team around Rodney Stuckey. It simply hasn’t worked, and the price was the breakup of a powerhouse.

This, to me, seems exactly right. It wasn’t just that Dumars broke up a contending team — notably, shipping out Hamilton’s close friend, Chauncey Billups. Hamilton’s not a dumb guy. I’m sure he and the others knew that the end of their run was coming as fans/media increasingly grew critical of the playoff flameouts and the heat on the organization to break things up became more pointed each offseason.

It was that Dumars essentially inserted a raw, untested Stuckey as the team’s savior/future cornerstone into a veteran locker room well known to be filled with strong personalities who won a championship. I think that understandably caused veterans to bristle, but more notably, I think it was an incredibly unfair and difficult position to put Stuckey in. Stuckey, based on where he was picked, has been an unequivocal success as a NBA player, yet because of those early expectations, his modest successes are not enough to satisfy the enormous pressure placed on him.


  • Jan 6, 20126:01 pm
    by Max


    How about the theory that RIP rapidly declined and he just couldn’t face it.
    When that trade went down, they tried every starting guard configuration of AI, RIP and Stuck and the fact is that Stuck was the most consistent of the three that year.
    The year after, RIP played great in the first game in a win over Memphis but he got hurt and went down for half the season and by the time he got back, the season was over.  Stuck was better than him last year.
    Last season, RIP just didn’t shoot the ball very well and Stuck was a much better player.
    Why exactly should RIP be angry if Stuck was emphasized over him even as he was making 2-3 times as much money?
    To me, he saw the worst example of a high ego star who couldn’t face father time gracefully to become a good veteran in AI and basically followed the bad example.  It’s disgraceful and I hope to one day banish RIP’s latter Pistons years to focus on the all the years he led the team in scoring and all those great playoff battles too.

    • Jan 6, 20128:04 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      “Why exactly should RIP be angry if Stuck was emphasized over him even as he was making 2-3 times as much money?”

      That’s not what I think was upsetting. I think it was upsetting to a veteran locker room that Billups, still an All-Star caliber player, was traded to clear minutes for Stuckey. Chad Ford after the trade:

      “Second, the emergence of Stuckey made Billups expendable. Dumars believes Stuckey is the point guard of the future in Detroit. Billups has four more years on his contract, and Dumars didn’t want Stuckey playing a sixth man role that long.”

      To have a core of veterans with one title and who came close a few other times lose Billups only to be told that Stuckey was the future of the team, well, I would guess that just didn’t go over big with any of the guys in the locker room who were a part of the old guard.

      Dumars wasn’t necessarily wrong in his assessment that the team needed a makeover and needed youth. He just banked on the wrong player being their transitional star. If Stuckey was as legit as Dumars believed he was and the team continued winning, the veterans would’ve got over it. But it backfired, so obviously the veteran players will look back on that and feel like things would’ve been different if that trade wasn’t made.

    • Jan 6, 20128:11 pm
      by Murph


      Rapid decline?  Rip’s playing pretty well this year, isn’t he?

      Unfortuneately, Stuckey can put up points, but he has yet to prove he can win.  Rip has been a proven winner throughout his career, hasn’t he?  And that includes this year.

      Stuckey might have put up better numbers than Rip last year, but the team was terrible.  Stuckey needs to learn how to win.  And in fact, Dumars is clearly giving up on Stuckey as a PG, as demonstrated by the fact that he drafted a PG with his 1st pick last year.

      I hope one day Rip’s jersey will be hanging proudly in the Palace, where it belongs.

  • Jan 6, 20126:03 pm
    by Max


    And btw: The Celtics reoriented their veteran group of HOFs around Rondo for the same simple reason–he’s younger.

    • Jan 6, 20126:31 pm
      by leonelreo


      another simple reason: RONDO is one of the (3-4) best point guards in the league (world). So much better than Stuckey. I don’t think Stuckey is a cornerstone. In fact, IMO he must be the 6th man.

    • Jan 6, 20128:06 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Not only is Rondo way more talented than Stuckey, but he also wasn’t marched into the locker room and presented as the franchise savior. Rondo and Perkins started off as supporting role players. Rondo’s role expanded because he got really good. That is absolutely not how Stuckey’s transition was handled.

      And honestly, keeping Billups with Stuckey, Afflalo and Amir Johnson coming off the bench would’ve probably helped that core have another title run or two, had those players been developed properly.

  • Jan 6, 20127:21 pm
    by Haan


    I agree that Joe planned around Stuckey, casting him for the role of cornerstone for which he wasn’t suited.  Also agree that Stuckey’s been a perfectly good #15 pick and that Joe’s maneuvering created unfair pressure on him.

    Joe was right to begin the dismantling when he did.  Don’t even disagree with the Billups trade, although surely there were better moves to be made.  Even the Gordon signing isn’t looking so terrible now that two guards are gone and one is buried on the bench (but CV was an indefensible mistake).   Had the rumored Rip for Boozer trade (said to be blocked by the owner) gone through, Joe’s recent record would look better.   Somewhere it all went horribly wrong, but move by move it didn’t seem so bad.  The Afflalo trade did seem quite misguided at the time, but I was subsequently naive enough to think that signing Wilcox might make up for it.

  • Jan 6, 20127:23 pm
    by ryan


    leonelreo is right about Rajon Rondo and Rodney Stuckey which makes the two situations totally different.
    I often wonder what would’ve happened had we simply kept Chauncey Billups and worked Rodney Stuckey in as the sixth man. My feeling is that he and Arron Afflalo could’ve been integrated into the Billups-Hamilton backcourt pretty smoothly over the course of a couple of years.
    Then instead of drafting Austin Daye Joe Dumars could’ve taken Jrue Holiday and we would’ve had a strong three guard rotation with size. I guess the point is that it could’ve been handled much more smoothly and intelligently and I think that Richard Hamilton resents/resented that. At the same time he made an ass of himself many times over and he probably feels embarrassed about that.

  • Jan 6, 20127:24 pm
    by mcfadden


    this is unfair. You know Dumars thought he would get WAY more out of Iverson. Stuckey was more like insurance.
    Nobody seems to remember how shitty Chauncey was those last few years. Everybody regressed. They became self-entitled.

  • Jan 6, 20129:43 pm
    by Max


    If Stuckey was as good as Rondo, then the Pistons would have gotten to the first round the last couple of years and they would not have Monroe or Knight.  Stuckey was the right transitional star since you guys are casting him that way but the truth is that Stuckey wasn’t the big ego in the room post Billups as it was between AI and RIP for that distinction.
    The idea that Stuckey was looked at as the future doesn’t mean that the team was centered on him the day after that trade and most of the media attention certainly squared on AI.
    Also……………RIP is posting worse numbers than he ever did in Detroit and has been little better than useless in fantasy terms for years now.

  • Jan 6, 20129:51 pm
    by Max


    I think it is right to say that when Dumars traded Billups that he considered Stuckey a core piece moving forward but that does not mean to say that he thought Stuckey was going to be a top ten player or something.   At the time of the trade, it was just one very good young piece,   When you look at a lot of elite teams, they don’t even have one great prospect if they decided to tear it down but the Pistons did.   It’s not Dumars or Stuckey’s fault that people want to create so much hype,
    Dunno know why I keep thinking of the Celtics but I think the Perkins Green deal was of this sort even though Perkins isn’t really old and Ainge was envisioning a young Rondo-Green core becoming veterans together and bridging the gap after the veterans retired, but that was obviously a very controversial move that has not worked out so well.

  • Jan 6, 201211:32 pm
    by rick77


    Man I have defended Joe Dumars til the death and it is always in the back of my mind how in hell did he trade Billups and why. I thought he knew what he was doing but now I am real about the situation and must say that sentiment must be tossed out the window and some real moves need to be made before Joe loses all his luster around here. I always ahve argued he should have kept Johnson, Affalo, along with Maxiel and even Delfino but these players had some enormous pressure put on them to be more than young role players. I feel that was our youth right there but for some reason we gave up on Johnson for Maxiel ,who cannot even get off the bench regularly. Affalo for peanuts. Defino I cannot even remeber but we may have just let him walk. These guys are all contributing players on teams and could be our starters/or role players still playing witha few of those core vets trying at a Ship. For some reason I really belive the local media dogged him out for his sacred cow comment and eventually he felt he had to make a move. I thought Stuckey was great when we had the team together and he played for Chauncey against Orlando and ate up Jameer Nelson. I felt like we had a great guard situation and that it wouldhelp get us back to where we wanted to be. I know everyone around here so eloquently forgets how much they hated our playoff exits as I felt the same,but in the end I think everyone(talking heads) around here had as much to do with him dumping his team as anything. He knew he had to make a move and it was a move to get people in the seats. In some circles they call moves like this job killers, but Joe is like a cat in that he has nine lives and has been given a chance to rectify the situation if he can…..So we will see what happens. At this point I really dont know what will happen it feels like 2001 all over again.

  • Jan 7, 20121:17 am
    by J


    Detroit was getting old, Iverson was just pure cancer for the team. It’s neither Rip’s nor Stuckey’s fault, it’s Iverson.

  • Jan 7, 20122:45 am
    by kamal


    My whole beef with the Chauncey trade was that it was the wrong move.  Our backcourt was fine.  In fact, our staring 5 was fine.  Improve the bench.  Joe was giving our core guys like Juan Dixon, Tony Delk, Nazr Mohammed, Walter Hermann, Dale Davis, Flip Murray, Maurice Evans, Jarvis Hayes, and other bums to try and win a title.

    When the Cs won their title, they got great help from their bench (House, Davis, P.J, Cassell, etc.)  It wasn’t just their starters.  

    Our starters were great.  They just weren’t good enough to beat contending teams by themselves anymore.  And when Joe traded Chauncey for Iverson, the guys knew what kind of player he was.  They’d been beating him for years.  They knew what kind of player Stuckey was.  They practiced against him and saw what he brought to the table.

    We were only a key bench player away from the title.  No reason to brea up the squad. 

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