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The two steps for building a contender, and how Joe Dumars does it backward

Every NBA championship team needs two things:

  • Supreme talent
  • A winning attitude

Most are built with the former, then the latter comes in time.

But Joe Dumars built the Pistons in the opposite order.

In 2000-01, to nobody’s surprise, the Pistons won 32 games. They had lost their superstar, Grant Hill, and three other starters – Lindsey Hunter, Christian Laettner and Terry Mills – during the offseason. None of their eight most common starters were younger than 25. Their first-round pick, Mateen Cleaves, had struggled. If any team needed to rebuild, these Pistons did.

Dumars actually began the rebuild just before the 2001 trade deadline, when he sent Jerome Williams to the Raptors for the slightly older Corliss Williamson. In the offseason he made three key moves:

  • Traded a second-round pick for Zeljko Rebraca, who would turn 30 before the season ended.
  • Traded John Wallace and Jud Buechler for Clifford Robinson, who would turn 35 early in the season.
  • Trade Mateen Cleaves for a first-round pick and Jon Barry, who was already 32.

Of Dumars’ four big acquisitions, the 28-year-old Williamson was the youngest. Detroit’s only high-upside pickup, No. 9 pick Rodney White, wouldn’t amount to much in the NBA.

With their new veterans, the Piston went from the league’ 17th-oldest team to its fourth-oldest, adjusted for minutes played. No team’s adjusted age increased more between those seasons than the Pistons’ did – not the rebuild many had in mind.

But with Rebraca and Williamson scoring inside, Robinson defending and Barry providing energy and outside shooting, a funny thing happened. The Piston won 50 games, earning the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. All of a sudden, they were good.

Good, but not great. The Piston clearly didn’t have a championship-caliber team. Their older players struggled in a first-round win over the No. 7 seed Raptors and were out of gas in a second-round loss to the Celtics. There was no way they could compete into June.

Those who believe in the “mediocrity treadmill” saw the Piston as stuck – too good to land the high draft picks necessary to add talent, too old to compete for a title.

Another force outweighed the mediocrity treadmill, though. The halo effect. Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, via Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus:

"The tendency to like (or dislike) everything about a person–including things you have not observed–is known as the halo effect. … [T]he halo effect is a good name for a common bias that plays a large role in shaping our view of people and situations."

The halo effect allowed Dumars to sign Chauncey Billups, who saw a team on the rise. The halo effect allowed Dumars to trade Jerry Stackhouse, coming off the first playoff-series victory of his career, for a young, talented Richard Hamilton. The halo effect allowed Dumars to safely trade for Rasheed Wallace, who played the most disciplined basketball of his career upon joining the already-established Pistons.

Essentially, playing well allowed the Pistons to add the talented pieces necessary to win a championship. Dumars added the skilled Billups, Hamilton and Wallace to a team with a winning attitude, and everything snowballed up.

The Pistons won 50 games every season between 2001-02 and 2007-08. From the first year to the last year of that streak, their roster completely turned over.

Winning didn’t get in the way of progress. It enabled progress.

And that’s just on the court. The peripheral advantages are immense, too.

Winning sells more ticket. Winning masks off-court squabbles. Winning makes coming to work more fun for everyone in the organization.

Trying again

It’s difficult for me to blame Dumars for trying again to build a playoff team before adding championship-caliber talent.

More focused on offense this time, Dumars traded for Allen Iverson and signed Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon, not necessarily because those players could take the Pistons to a championship. He added those veterans because, in theory, they could help keep the Pistons good, help sustain Detroit’s winning attitude and help preserve the Pistons’ halo-effect advantage.

It’s the same reason Dumars signed Damien Wilkins and Walker Russell, rather than pursuing higher-upside younger players. The better the Pistons play, the more value all their players have.

Plus, competition for minutes breeds the winning environment necessary for a championship, even if the system hurts the development of individual players. That’s why Arron Afflalo, Amir Johnson and Carlos Delfino are thriving elsewhere – because they weren’t immediately better than the players in front of them in Detroit. It’s also why Austin Daye has struggled to find minutes this season. They’re the casualties of a plan focused on winning immediately.

Obviously, Dumars’ second go-around at the plan has been a colossal failure. I certainly blame him for that. He overrated Iverson, Gordon and Villanueva, and they weren’t capable of delivering even Dumars’ modest goal of remaining competitive.

But the theory behind his plan had already proven workable.

The exceptions

As much as Dumars has forgone talent development in favor of attitude development, there have been exceptions.

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com to Dumars, October 2008:

When we talked just before camp, you hinted that Amir would get first crack at that starting job.

Amir Johnson began the 2008-09 season as Detroit’s starting power forward, despite being fairly unproven.

Joe Dumars, February 2009:

I would say that what’s not lost on me is feeling like what we’ve done in previous years – how we did it, the personnel we did it with – had run its course. We could squeeze out 50 wins and try to get back deep in the playoffs – or you could start the transition process now. And that’s what we’ve chosen to do, start the transition process now. And that transition process is, one, putting the ball in the hands of a young Rodney Stuckey and letting that development take place now and not prolonging it or delaying it.

Rodney Stuckey averaged 35 minutes per game in his final 62 contests, all starts, of the 2008-09 season, despite being fairly unproven.

Dumars didn’t say much about Daye, but Daye beginning the 2009-10 season as Detroit’s starting power forward, despite being fairly unproven, certainly fits the pattern of Dumars pushing for a young player to receive more minutes.

Although Dumars’ philosophy has apparently centered on adding and playing the best players regardless of age, he hasn’t done that at all costs. There have been more exceptions lately.

A new plan?

Dumars said he wouldn’t make a trade if it’s only advantage was helping the Pistons this season. Brandon Knight is playing more than any Pistons rookie since Grant Hill, and Greg Monroe’s minutes are tops by any second-year Piston since Hill. Detroit is in line for a top draft pick, another player who could warrant big minutes immediately.

It appears, out of necessity, Dumars changed his plan on the fly. Despite his attempts to continuously remain competitive, the Pistons are bottoming out. Bottoming out brings lottery picks like Monroe, Knight and someone else in 2012.

Maybe this time, talent will arrive before attitude.

In 2001, acquiring productive veterans like Williamson, Robinson, Barry and Rebraca came at little cost, because most other rebuilding team were focused on getting younger. There was no competition for the players Dumars coveted for his unconventional plan, so they were easy to obtain.

Now, with Knight, Monroe and a 6-20 record, Detroit has a head-start on getting young talent. The Pistons’ most cost-effective road to competitiveness now appears to be through the lottery.

Dumars proved acquiring a winning attitude before acquiring supreme talent can work. Nearly every other NBA champion has proven the opposite route can work, too.

It’s time for Dumars to try adding supreme talent before creating a winning environment, not because his philosophy was wrong – the 2004 championship proved it wasn’t – but because he failed to execute it in his second try.





  • Feb 8, 20122:09 pm
    by Todd


    Great article Dan! I think one of the interesting things that Joe has done with the drafts of the past two year is get players with high basketball IQs and good character. Now, I admit it may have been more a product on who was available than intended plan, but rebuilding a team around what appears to be two young, hardworking, and intelligent players should help them transition to playing with a winning attitude as the team improves (hopefully) soon!

  • Feb 8, 20122:22 pm
    by brgulker


    I would argue that BEn Wallace was a supreme talent. We just didn’t know it at The time

    • Feb 15, 20123:09 am
      by Dan Feldman


      I certainly agree that Wallace was a supreme talent, but the Pistons didn’t learn to win as he grew into his role. They added a bunch of players already capable of winning.

  • Feb 8, 20122:54 pm
    by Jon Young


    Good Article, but I don’t think it’s fair to say Amir Johnson has thrived. He’s averaging 6 and 6 for a below average team.

    • Feb 15, 20123:09 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Johnson is an excellent pick-and-roll defender, which doesn’t necessarily show up in his own stats.

  • Feb 8, 20122:54 pm
    by Max


    I liked this article but Stackhouse, playing his best all around ball ever, should have gotten some credit for those 50 wins and Big Ben wasn’t clearly given credit either.
    Also, I have kind of said it before, but I think Dumars decided to swing for the fence when he traded for Iverson but knew it might not work out and so that while that move and his next few were about trying to hold on, he knew if it didn’t work he was simply accelerating the process of rebuilding anyway.
    Also, I’m less sure that BG and CV were as much  targeted favorites or indications of Dumars’ philosophy shifting as I am that they were the perceived best talent available during a very weak free agent class.
    For instance, when Dumars talks about teams needing a stretch four, his emphasis is that you need one if you CANT get the traditional rugged four.

    • Feb 8, 20124:04 pm
      by frankie d


      explain this: why would you strive and sacrifice very good players to attain cap space in order to bid on a free agent class you describe as very weak?

      • Feb 8, 20124:09 pm
        by Sean Corp


        When he traded for Iverson the draft class was supposed to be stronger than it ended up being, particularly with Carlos Boozer who many assumed would exercise his early termination option. The real head-scratcher to me, though, is why he felt SO COMPELLED to spend the money at all. Bill Davidson had just died and his widow was quick to close the check book, but not until after the signings. It’s an odd situation that i’m not sure we’ll ever be fully clued in on.

        • Feb 8, 20124:22 pm
          by frankie d


          making potentially franchise-changing personnel moves based on presumptions about what players may or may not ultimately do regarding their contract situations is just dumb.  so dumb it defies description.  especially when you are not involved in the contractual issues for that player and have no control, whatsoever, in how it may or may not turn out.
          it’s like buying a lottery ticket and planning on being able to live on winning the lottery and living on those proceeds for the next decade.

          • Feb 8, 20125:13 pm
            by tarsier

            If you’re relying on a particular player, sure. But that free agency was not nearly as weak as people make it out to be. Again, Millsap and Lee were available–two very good bigs that Dumars didn’t even pursue. If you are going to overpay a guy, make it a big guy so he is tradeable. Especially when that is your biggest need.

        • Feb 8, 20125:15 pm
          by frankie d


          he spent the money because he wanted to spend the money and no one stopped him.
          and if, mrs. davidson closed the checkbook after the signings, i don’t blame her.  it quickly became clear they were horrible moves. as a fan, i couldn’t believe either signing.  when the rumors swirled around gordon and the pistons – sam smith reported it fairly early – i could not believe the rumors were serious. and when he threw all of that money at CV, it was even more astounding.
          i, for one, have never believed that mrs. davidson prevented him from making moves.  it flies in the face of everything i’ve ever seen regarding impending business sales.  while i’ve never been involved with a sale as large as the pistons’ sale, by a long shot, i have been involved in businesses that were being sold, and no one ever freezes transactions.
          you are much more careful about doing anything that might compromise the value of the business, but no one ever simply stops doing things to try to improve the value of the business.  not making those kinds of moves only decreases the value of the business that is being sold, and no one wants that to happen. 
          so the whole “joe d’s hands were tied” nonsense was just so much propaganda floated to excuse joe’s screw ups, imho.

          • Feb 8, 20128:19 pm
            by apa8ren9

            He did spend the money and he spent it wrong.  We just discussed this.  This was when he changed his philsophy about how to change on the fly and he was wrong.  I dont get your point how you cant believe he couldnt make moves.  It was obvious he couldnt.  You just said it was hubris that sent Delfino packing.  Why did he not use that same hubris ( I like this word, lol) to send any one of the knuckleheads packing when they staged that crap with Kuester in Philly?  Because he couldnt.  It was that obvious.  One of the things that made Joe pretty good the first go round was that when he made mistakes he got rid of them so that the problem could be fixed.  If he did it then, now when he admitted that he was wrong as is going back to his original philosophy why would he not fix the mistakes? You guys are cherry picking all the bad (there is plenty) and not looking at how you dig yourself out of trouble.  Its obvious to everyone BG and CV arent working out.  So, you get young guys, bottom out, give them playing time and get lottery picks. Like Chicago, like the darling Thunder, like the flavor of the year freaking Clippers and get the franchise talent.

          • Feb 8, 20128:29 pm
            by apa8ren9

            Also Frankie you are making it sound as if Mrs. Davidson was an engaged owner.  She wasnt.  The only thing she cared about was getting it off of her shoulders because she didnt want the responsibility to run the organization.  There was no leadership/ownership.  It was on hold.  Why is that ignored?  The players were acting like idiots and nothing came of it? What organization that has employees in a public forum tolerates that?  One without competent ownership that.

    • Feb 8, 20125:10 pm
      by tarsier


      Dumars didn’t even make a bid for Millsap or Lee, two players with more upside who clearly better fit the Pistons’ weaknesses (since they lost McDyess and Sheed). Now granted, both were RFAs, but they were unusual RFAs in that the Jazz weren’t looking to go into luxury tax range and the Knicks did not want more long term salary on their books. Now, there is the issue that a bid on either would ttie up his money for a week. But given that it was a market with very few buyers, as long as he had made his interest known to the agents of Gordon and Villanueva, odds are they wouldn’t have signed with another team during that week unless it was for more money than Dumars would’ve offered anyway. Finally, especially in the case of Gordon, he bid against himself, offering way more than the tiny market that summer would’ve dictated as Gordon’s value.

      • Feb 8, 20125:28 pm
        by frankie d


        dumars can be excused for not going after millsap.
        portland had targeted him and actually signed him to an extremely tough offer sheet that utah eventually matched.
        the contract had a large percentage of the money up front – i think millsap got a huge signing bonus – as the contract was structured with the hope that utah would not want to spend that kind of money up front.  
        they did, but they have been PO’ed at portland ever since, because the contract was very, very expensive to match, as it demanded a very quick, very large payment immediately.
        no way detroit was going to get into a bidding match with paul allen.
        david lee is another story.

      • Feb 8, 20127:57 pm
        by Max


        David Lee got a ton of money and you can’t go into a bidding war with the Knicks either.

        • Feb 9, 20122:03 pm
          by Murph


          The Knicks never wanted Lee long term.  The Knicks were all about bidding for Lebron in the 2010 off season, and so they didn’t want to tie up a lot of cap space on Lee, long term in the 2009 off season.   (Ultimately the Knicks missed out on Lebron and had to settle for Amare.)  But the point is, David Lee could have been signed in 2009 by anyone who was willing of offer Lee a reasonable long term contract.

          Now, a valid question is whether or not Lee is worth what he eventually recieved from Golden State.  It appears the Warriors badly over-paid for Lee when he was given $80 million over 6 years in a sign and trade…for a guy who’s a defensive liability.

          Nevertheless, Lee was definitely attainable, in the 2009 off season, had the Pistons persued him.  In the end, it’s probably best the Pistons missed out on Lee.  Lee would have made the Pistons just good enough to miss out on drafting Monroe, but not good enough to contend.

          • Feb 9, 20128:23 pm
            by Max

            He was only obtainable in a sign and trade though so the Pistons would have had to send back 10 million in contracts and possible draft picks and there would have had to be something attractive to the Knicks included.

        • Feb 10, 20126:47 am
          by Murph


          @Max…why do you say that?  In 2009, Lee signed with the Knicks for 1 year at $8 million.  The Knicks didn’t want Lee long term.  He was Isiah’s pick.  The Knicks wanted to move on. 

          If the Pistons wanted him, they could have gotten him.  But it’s probably best they did not sign Lee.

  • Feb 8, 20122:58 pm
    by Max


    Also, Austin Daye has started a lot of opening nights because he plays so well during the summer league and preseason.

  • Feb 8, 20123:17 pm
    by frankie d


    don’t really see the logic behind the premise.
    also curious is the fact that you fail to mention the most important change of all: the hiring of someone i consider to be one of the elite coaches of the decade: the coach. carlisle.
    without carlisle, none of the stuff you mention happens.  the winning attitude and success on court stems from the first rate coach who took a bunch of retreads and ovreracheivers to levels no one thought they would achieve.  
    how you could write about that period and the transition from the 32 win season to the start of their run,  without mentioning the most important factor…i cannot fathom.

    • Feb 8, 20127:59 pm
      by Max


      Which premise?…..I’m not sure whether you referring article or a part of the thread?.

  • Feb 8, 20123:21 pm
    by neutes


    I love Dumars week.

    This is another great post. The thing is I don’t think Dumars was necessarily trying to recreate the same process he followed the first time. The first go around the players clearly weren’t going to be here for the long haul. When he brought in Gordon and CV he committed both time and money to them. He believed they were going to be centerpieces for a long time. The vets he brought in the first time were never meant to be any sort of core.

    Making the playoffs is not that hard of a thing to do. If you set out at the end of the season with the goal of making the playoffs the following season you could do it. I’m confident I could do it. I’m confident it can be done. In sports ideally you build up toward some sort of sustained success. If immediate and capped success is the goal with no concern for the future it can be accomplished. Dumars had a different plan. He actually thought those players (Stuckey, Gordon, CV) we’re part of a core that was going to have a successful future.

    Anyways again Dumars week is great. I’m liking the different perspectives and theories being thrown out there.

  • Feb 8, 20123:52 pm
    by tarsier


    Nice article. I don’t know how accurately it describes Joe’s mindset, but it is a possible explanation that makes it look like there may have been some plan behind many moves that just seemed boneheaded. I’m not on the Dumars’ bandwagon (if such a thing still exists), but I can have a lot more respect for a GM’s moves if I have some idea where he’s coming from.

    • Feb 8, 20123:56 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      I think one of our goals with these posts has been not necessarily to defend Dumars’ job performance, but just offer context that he does and has actually had a plan. Too often, i think his detractors portray him as some sort of bumbler who got lucky once and is just slapping a roster together.

      He’s a smart guy who had a bad strategy this time around. I’m in total agreement with your last line … I hate what this franchise has become and I do think Dumars is mostly responsible for that, but I can feel that way and still respect that he has had a plan and approach that he believed in and that at the very least had some reason behind it, even if it ultimately failed.

      • Feb 8, 201210:26 pm
        by apa8ren9


        @Patrick, I agree with you.  I fall in the Dumars camp because I believe he can do it again.  That doesnt mean that I will blindly follow everything he does.  He did fail and the moves didnt work.  But I mean really there has been a long string of success.  An ownership change and a rebuilding phase.  People are acting like these are things that have only happened to the Pistons and no other team in the league.  Forgetting that we are the ONLY team that has pulled off the anti-superstar method and won 3 championships IN THE LAST 30+ years.  He got it done and that is worth something.  He has messed it up the last 3 years, but you have to tell the whole story not just the parts that justify your rage towards him.  This is a great topic and I love hearing all of the viewpoints of the posters.  Its interesting to see how others interpret the exact things that we all viewed over the last 10 years of Dumars’ tenure

    • Feb 8, 20124:00 pm
      by frankie d


      there may have been a plan, but that does not make them any less boneheaded.
      no matter how many times someone tries to explain that the AI made sense, if only for the cap space he would get, my response is simple: please name one other trade where a GM has traded an all-star player – especially an all-star point guard – for cap space. 
      it doesn’t happen.  and no one has ever been able to point to such a trade.
      because it would be incredibly stupid to trade an all-star caliber player for cap space.
      cap space is nice, but it is always incidental, supplemental to a trade where your own player has real value independent of his salary cap number.
      the fact that “cap space” might become the best asset gained in such a trade speaks to how bad a move it was.  from the very beginning.

      • Feb 8, 20124:30 pm
        by Dynamizer


        Dude seriously, you are willfully ignoring that Iverson existed at all in your argument. It’s pretty much like all your arguments, you cherry pick the data that fits the narrative you are promoting.

        Billups wasn’t just a salary dump. Many people have talked about this. Plan A was that Iverson would help the offense that stagnated in the playoffs. If that didn’t work Plan B was to let him walk and get cap space to really start to rebuild. As it turns out both Plan A and B backfired.

        So in essence Billups was traded for another All-star with the hopes he would take us over the top one more time, not just cap space.

        If you are just going to continue to cherry pick data then you are just wasting energy typing because everyone can see how clueless you are.

        • Feb 8, 20125:21 pm
          by frankie d


          iverson was washed up.
          history has proven that to be true and anyone who watched him play would have known that when the trade was made.
          i saw plenty of denver games with iverson and he was not an elite player anymore, no matter what the numbers may have said.
          so anyone who traded billups for a washed up undersized shooting guard made a historically bad move.  which is what i thought at the time.
          and i’ve been proven right. 
          and all the “theories” about what iverson coulda, mighta, usta do matter not.
          what matters is what he was when they traded for him and as time has shown, he had little left in his tank. certainly not enough to take the team to the title so many AI slappies were dreaming about when the trade was made. 
          the argument that says that the trade was worthy because of how it was supposed to turn out is ridiculous.
          it did not turn out that way.

          • Feb 8, 20125:41 pm
            by Dynamizer

            You are illogical. Every deal is made on the basis on how you want the situation to turn out. Were the odds in favor of Iverson succeeding here? That’s debatable. What is not debatable is your faulty argument that Billups was a salary dump.

            Iverson was putting up very good stats (close to his best if not his best). To ignore that is again CHERRY PICKING! Honestly, how many times do you have to be called out on this.

            I’m not a fan of Iverson and wasn’t entirely thrilled with the move but your argument wasn’t that Iverson for Billups was bad it was that Billups was a salary dump.

            Which is NOT true. Period.

          • Feb 8, 20128:08 pm
            by Max

            You could apply the same logic about not regarding how things could have worked out to every player whose career took a turn due to injury or even the Len Bias pick.

          • Feb 15, 20123:12 am
            by Dan Feldman

            “iverson was washed up.

            history has proven that to be true and anyone who watched him play would have known that when the trade was made.
            i saw plenty of denver games with iverson and he was not an elite player anymore, no matter what the numbers may have said.”

            Why do you supposed Iverson posted such strong numbers his last year in Denver if he was so clearly washed up?

        • Feb 8, 20125:58 pm
          by frankie d


          you need to learn how to read.
          i never claimed it was a salary dump.
          if you understand english, you should be able to determine that i said nothing of the sort.   maybe you need to take a few remedial reading courses.  i certainly don’t feel like walking you through my post, word for word, to help you understand why and how you got it wrong.  
          i would suggest, “a writer’s reference” by diane hacker.  it might help you understand what i wrote.  
          i most certainly did not say that the trade was a salary dump.  i don’t believe that.  others have argued that it was, but i’ve never believed that it was done as a salary dump.
          i’ll give you a clue, in my post….”if…” is a key word….

          • Feb 8, 20126:12 pm
            by Dynamizer

            Well I’ll concede I did misinterpreted the point you were trying to make. Apologies.

            You still cherry picked your evidence to support the argument you did try to make. Which you do in almost every argument you make.

            But hey, thanks for the condescending tone. There’s plenty of helpful books on how to format writing for the internet you may want to check those out as well. Or maybe a book on how to capitalize letters.

            As a bonus, every time you want to mention how “right” you were it should be qualified with how wrong you were to. *cough* Dajuan Summers *cough*

          • Feb 8, 20126:34 pm
            by frankie d

            i’m a fan of ee cummings.
            everyone “cherrypicks” evidence in order to make a point or present an argument.  no one is entirely objective or totally comprehensive in presenting information.  
            for instance, to write comprehensively about AI, you’d need to go back to his high school days, when i was a huge fan.  i’m certainly not about to do that.
            i’m more than happy to admit when i’m wrong about a player.  when the book is written on summers’ career, i’ll be more than happy to assess it and compare it to what i thought it might be.  fact is, i’ve been more right than wrong about him, so far.  most on this forum stated that he would never play again in the league once he left detroit.  what i heard repeatedly was that he’d better get his passport ready, because europe was the only place he was going to be able to play.  he has already proven those folks to be incorrect.  what happens in the future remains to be seen.
            you are more than welcome to comment on whatever i do post.  that is one of the things that this forum is about and i certainly take no offense.  i will be more than happy to defend myself and my opinions.

          • Feb 8, 20127:06 pm
            by Dynamizer

            Ummm no, you need to take a debate class. Cherry picking is not a valid debating technique. Your example of needing to go back to Iverson’s high school career is pretty much rediculous.

          • Feb 8, 20127:15 pm
            by Dynamizer

            Sigh, not sure why it didn’t finish my post. 

            The reason the high school example is ridiculous is because those stats are irrelevant to the situation discussed. Factors like age, development, physical and mental maturity, ect are valid reasons to disregard that info. Saying that is justification for cherry picking is not valid.

            Disregarding information that is relevant to the debate is cherry picking and is done to minimize dissenting views. It is almost always a tool of propaganda. Sometimes cherry picking can be used to make a point but a good debater will acknowledge the slant to the piece and do so in a way to make sure dissenting views are not minimized. You did not do this.

          • Feb 8, 20128:12 pm
            by Max

            You should realize that you can’t wait Summers whole career to say “You see I was right” if he puts it together three to five years from now because it would indicate more strongly that he was not ready when he was here.  That said, I agree with you on Summers and think he had a perfect SF body for playing anyone, including LBJ and his outside jumper looks decent enough that he should find a place in the league.

          • Feb 8, 20128:37 pm
            by frankie d

            debating technique?
            are you serious?
            i post here because i like to chat about sports and the pistons, specifically.
            i’m not here to “debate” anyone.  let alone, pay attention to so-called techniques.
            if i happen to engage in a back-and-forth with someone, i’ll certainly be respectful and honest about what the other person may have written, but i’m certainly not thinking about or worrying about techniques. 
            this is fun. no one pays me to write what i write.    i’ll start worrying about “techniques” when someone pays me to post here.
            i spent more than a decade standing in front of judges, making arguments.
            i’ve been writing briefs and other legal documents for over 20 years. 
            i’ve taught paralegals and lawyers and  others how to write arguments.
            i’ll pass on the “debate” lessons.
            debating techniques?  puh-leeezze!!!!

          • Feb 8, 20129:00 pm
            by Dynamizer

            @Frankie D

            You miss the point entirely (maybe on purpose). You become less credible when your argument is full of holes because you cherry pick data. Sure this is fun, but I’m also sure you have at least some desire to have people listen to what you are saying. Otherwise what’s the point? Just to type?

            If you look like a biased fool people won’t listen to you. Kinda like Laser.

            If you’ve been arguing in front of a judge so long it shouldn’t be that hard to actually put forth an argument that looks at all the relevant data.

          • Feb 8, 20129:15 pm
            by Max

            Lawyers do not argue fairly and are probably not even supposed to but I think Dynamizer’s point is more about intellectual honesty as in not omitting the points that would hurt your case since we should all be more about going for the truth than we should be trying to win debates.

          • Feb 8, 20129:19 pm
            by Dynamizer

            @Frankie D

            Also you are the one who asserted that cherry picking was a legitimate way to present an argument. I was correcting you. Puh-leeeze indeed.

          • Feb 8, 201210:17 pm
            by frankie d

            please read what i write.  
            i never said cherry picking was a legitmate – whatever that means – way of presenting an argument.  i simply said that everyone does it.  
            to one degree or another.
            and again, i do this for fun.
            i’m always going to attempt to maintain a base level of integrity, certainly, but i’m not making money on this.  no one is paying me to write this stuff.  this is fun stuff, so i treat it that way.  
            we’re talking about nba basketball, not whether someone is going to get the electric chair.

          • Feb 8, 201210:53 pm
            by Dynamizer

            @Frankie D

            And I quote “everyone “cherrypicks” evidence in order to make a point or present an argument.” 

            Have a good night.

      • Feb 8, 20125:16 pm
        by tarsier


        Yeah, it was an all-star for an all-star. Very fair deal. And for Dumars, there was even an easy back up plan. I don’t love that trade because I think DUmars should have been looking to deal Stuckey, Johnson, Maxiell and other young guys with value for another good veteran to make yet another contention run, but assuming he wanted to retool, that was the single smartest of the moves he made in the process. It just happened not to work. On either count.

        • Feb 8, 20125:23 pm
          by frankie d


          what i said above.
          a smart move…it just didn’t work out.
          how stupid does that sound?

          • Feb 8, 20125:34 pm
            by frankie d

            this is that that argument sounds like.
            student to professor:
            see, sir, in theory, the experiment i conducted should have turned out in a certain way.  i had a really smart plan.  everything looked so good on paper.  i thought it was going to work perfectly.  and if it didn’t work the first time, i was going to try it another way.  and i was sure that second attempt was going to work, if the first one didn’t.
            and even though i just blew up the chemistry building because my experiment didn’t work out the way i planned, it was still a very good plan!!!!   it was still a smart plan.  it just didn’t work!!!!

          • Feb 8, 20128:17 pm
            by Max

            The Celtics were once building around Reggie Lewis and he had a heart attack……smart move but it didn’t work out.
            The Nets once signed Drazen Petrovic to be their SG but he died in a car crash……smart move but it didn’t work out.
            The Lakers once signed Karl Malone for like veteran’s minimum but he got hurt and they lost to the 2004 Pistons in the finals and Malone’s career was over…….smart move but it didn’t work out.
            The Orlando Magic once traded Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins for Grant Hill who had been annually making all nba teams but he got hurt…………………smart move but it didn’t work out.

      • Feb 8, 20128:06 pm
        by Max


        Would there not be a shred of logic in the Suns trading Steve Nash this year for an expiring all star and cap space?    Would that be crazy?

  • Feb 8, 20123:52 pm
    by Dynamizer


    Awesome post DF! Like neutes, I am also really enjoying Dumars week.

  • Feb 8, 20129:18 pm
    by Max


    @frankie   e e cummings is awesome.

  • Feb 8, 201210:29 pm
    by Patrick Ryan


    Don’t ever change, Frankie!

  • Feb 8, 201210:40 pm
    by Patrick Ryan


    Great post, Feldman!  I’ve been trying to encapsulate many of these points in various Pistons discussions with people for the past several years.  Dumars definitely has a plan, it’s just not a plan that I’ve agreed with for the most part.  The hardest part of being a Detroit sports fan over the past 15 years for me has been that even when the teams (primarily Pistons and Tigers) have success, they’re still usually built on philosophies that drive me nuts.  

    With that said, this post was a great reminder of what I enjoyed so much about the 01-02 and 02-03 Pistons, which were probably my most favorite Pistons teams to watch in my adult life.  I remember getting excited over all of those little moves and watched as Trader Joe kept moving pieces until he had finally built a championship team.

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