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Why the Pistons should keep Joe Dumars

In July 2009, Joe Dumars was in a race. It’s the same race in which every general manager competes – the ultra-marathon to a championship.

Dumars was running by a particularly dangerous stretch of terrain, right on the ridge of Cap Room Canyon, and getting tired. He had tried hitching a ride with Allen Iverson earlier in the race, but Iverson ran out of gas.

Dumars needed help. So, with Richard Hamilton already in tow, Dumars tied a rope around Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, hoping they could pull him further along. It proved to be a huge mistake. Hamilton, Gordon and Villanueva weren’t capable of getting Dumars closer to the finish line.

Maybe Dumars realized that. Maybe he didn’t. If he did, there still might have been time to cut the rope.

But before he could do anything Karen Davidson stumbled along and bumped into Hamilton, Gordon and Villanueva. They fell over the edge and into the canyon.

Tied to those three, Dumars went head over heels and was pulled down with them.

An isolated problem

Dumars’ recent failures crippled the Pistons. Karen Davidson’s sale paralyzed the franchise.

They’re both complicit in the Pistons’ downfall, but only Dumars deserves blame. Davidson never wanted to own the team, and her negative affects on the franchise were just a product of her trying to rectify the situation. Dumars’ errors were a product of him doing his desired job poorly.

Sale or no sale, extending Hamilton was a mistake. Sale or no sale, signing Gordon was a mistake. Sale or no sale, signing Villanueva was a mistake.

But – and this is why I’m willing to give Dumars another chance – the mistakes might have been correctable had the team not been for sale. I just don’t believe Hamilton, Gordon and Villanueva were instantly untradeable the moment Dumars signed them.

I have trouble believing Dumars wanted Gordon and Hamilton to play together in Detroit. Dumars supposedly had planned to trade Hamilton to the Jazz for Carlos Boozer, but Davidson nixed the trade. And if Hamilton had been traded sooner, maybe Gordon would have performed more in line with his contract.

And how can Dumars say this before last season:

KEITH LANGLOIS: I asked at your postseason press conference what you could do in your position to influence toughness. The coaches are in charge of making it a daily point of emphasis, but what you could do. And you said communication, making sure everyone was on the same page. And when I asked if that process had started, you said – immediately. Can you give us a sense of what type of response this communication has gotten.

JOE DUMARS: First of all, it’s been made crystal clear that if you’re not one of those guys that is exhibiting that, that it would be in your interest to start doing so immediately. So I think, first and foremost, that’s the point that’s been made. And if you don’t think that you can exhibit that, if you don’t think you can play that brand of basketball, there’s no sin in raising your hand and letting me know that I can’t play that kind of basketball. Because one way or another, it’s going to come to an end anyway.

…and keep Villanueva? Sometimes Dumars and I don’t see eye-to-eye on personnel, but can he really be the only person following this team who believes Villanueva has shown the requisite toughness? I just don’t buy that.

Dumars had never before been too stuborn to show failure and cut his losses.

  • He traded Mateen Cleaves a year after drafting him in the top half of the first round.
  • He traded Rodney White a year after drafting him at No. 9.
  • He traded Darko Milicic before the final year of his rookie contract began.
  • He traded Nazr Mohammed less than a year and a half after giving him a $30 million contract.
  • He fired Michael Curry, his hand-chosen and only internally groomed, head coach after only one season.

The pattern is clear. Dumars realized his mistakes and acted quickly. The Kings didn’t know yet Cleaves was a bust, and the Nuggets hadn’t yet figured out the same thing about White. The Magic thought Milicic could still improve drastically, and the Bobcats still saw the Mohammed who helped the Spurs win a title.

Davidson sold the team to Tom Gores last June. But by then, it was too late. Everybody knew Hamilton, Gordon and Villanueva were busts.  The trade market for those three had surely dried up.

Dumars biggest strength during the majority of his tenure – the willingness to quickly identify mistakes and the ability to correct them – had gone wasted. He’s stuck with the $133.2 million he gave those three players, minus whatever Hamilton gave back in his buyout.

Want to blame Dumars for signing Gordon and/or extending Hamilton when he wasn’t absolutely certain he could trade Hamilton? That’s fine. I do, too.

But so what? Dumars will have to deal with a situation like that again.

I don’t want Dumars to be punished for his previous mistakes. I want a general manager capable of building the Pistons into a championship contender.

Joe Dumars’ impressive track record

Joe Dumars built a championship team without help from moving up in the NBA lottery or an owner willing to pay the luxury tax. I’d argue no two forces outside a general manager’s control have greater influence on a team’s success.

  • The Mavericks, for years, spent well above the luxury tax to build a powerful and deep roster. Just the Lakers and Magic had higher payrolls than Dallas last season.
  • The Lakers were also frequent tax payers, and even when they won before the tax was instituted, their payroll ranked among the top of the league.
  • The Celtics were over the luxury tax the year they won the title.
  • The Spurs moved up to the No. 1 pick in 1997 to draft Tim Duncan and were only in the lottery because David Robinson suffered a season-ending injury.

Other than the Pistons, in the post-Jordan era,* only the Heat – who are on the verge of doing it again – won their title without benefitting from moving up in the lottery or paying the luxury tax. If the Pistons can get Pat Riley, I’d fire Dumars. They can’t.

*Yes, Michael Jordan played for the Wizards during what I’m calling the post-Jordan era. The era in which he ruled the league still had ended.

Dumars built a championship team from scratch. The only time the Pistons moved up in the lottery, he took Darko Milicic, a non-factor in Detroit’s years of contending. The luxury tax was never an option.

There are viable replacements available, likely including Kevin Pritchard and Mark Warkentien, if the Pistons want to fire Dumars. But no realistic replacement has built a championship team, and few generals managers – available or not – have been more self-reliant assembling a title team.

Building around Dumars, not over him

Firing Dumars would only punish him for his previous mistakes, which admittedly, were disastrous. But the Pistons’ horrid situation is a sunk cost. The next general manager will still have to deal with Gordon’s and Villanueva’s contracts and Hamilton’s buyout. Firing Dumars isn’t necessarily a step toward fixing the Pistons.

I don’t know exactly why Dumars gave so much money to Gordon, Villanueva and Hamilton. Maybe he overvalued offense. Maybe he undervalued statistical analysis. Maybe he feared Karen Davidson would close her wallet soon. I suspect all three factors played a part.

The game has changed – and not the way Dumars thought it would. Defense is still just as important, and statistics should inform decision more than ever before.

Dumars appears to be getting that now. The Pistons have gotten more serious about stats, with Dumars’ support. John Hammond might be gone, but new advisors, including Gores, are challenging Dumars. Dumars has spoken more about defense and toughness lately, too.

Dumars has shown – with the right voices around him, with an eye toward defense, with a committed owner – he can build a championship team. I think he has all that now.

Dumars is not a great enough general manager to go it alone. The last few years certainly proved that.

But Dumars has succeeded with the right pieces around him. A remarkable seven years of proving that should count for something, too.

#JoeDumarsWeek

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday

53 Comments

  • Feb 10, 20121:43 pm
    by neutes

    Reply

    yeah that’s pretty much my only argument for keeping Dumars – the fact that someone is going to have to deal with this mess so it might as well be him. I was all prepared to hop on board and give him another shot…and then he gave Prince that deal. I don’t think I can trust him anymore.

    • Feb 10, 20121:56 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Yep, that’s what killed any enthusiasm I had left too.

      Gores made his evaluations, had all of the info at his disposal to decide who he wanted to run his team, and determined that Dumars was that guy. I was OK with that. Then he signed Prince and, even though I largely agree with most of what Dan has written above, that signing gave me zero confidence he could fix this.

    • Feb 15, 20122:26 am
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      I didn’t like the Prince signing, but I get it. At $7 million per year, it’s not bad value. It’s nothing like paying Hamilton $12.5 million per year. Though it’s a another mark against him in my eyes, it certainly wasn’t enough to make me believe he couldn’t fix the team.

  • Feb 10, 20121:48 pm
    by Jodi Jezz

    Reply

    Dumars, you really should trade for Beasley!

    • Feb 10, 20121:51 pm
      by neutes

      Reply

      Why so he can sign him to a 5 year $40 million extension after the season?

      • Feb 10, 20123:17 pm
        by Jodi Jezz

        Reply

        That sounds like a fair contract for Beasley…Maybe a team option in the 5th year

        • Feb 10, 20123:20 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          You have to be trolling. There is no way a sane human being could believe this.

          • Feb 10, 20123:34 pm
            by Jodi Jezz

            What???

          • Feb 10, 20123:41 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            2 years after he was the second pick in the draft, he was traded for a second round pick.

            His general manager in Minnesota said publicly in an interview that Beasley smokes pot too much.

            He doesn’t get to the line much, he has a 1-to-2 assist to TO ratio for his career and he’s a really bad defensive player.

            Why on earth do the Pistons need to invest that kind of money in another player whose only skill is low efficiency scoring? It would be awesome to watch Gordon/Beasley combine to average 36 points on 40 shots per game.

          • Feb 10, 20124:12 pm
            by D_S_V

            As far fetched as it may sound, Jodi Jezz may be putting on the most elaborate Troll Job (TJ) in recent internet history. When Ben Gordon comes off the books, Jodi will reveal himself as Keyser Soze.

          • Feb 10, 20124:22 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            @D_S_V:

            I normally pride myself on being able to tell when I’m being trolled. I legitimately have no idea after months of his comments whether he is or not. Dude has posted some elaborate and passionate defenses of Gordon, Villanueva and Beasley. I want to believe that he loves those players as much as it seems, I really do. I just can’t believe that anyone who watches them would think they are good.

          • Feb 10, 20125:20 pm
            by D_S_V

            Either way, I think we all come out as winners. Or losers.

          • Feb 10, 20127:53 pm
            by Jodi Jezz

            For the record, I don’t even know what the word troll means…

    • Feb 10, 20121:58 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Yeah, because when you can trade for a worse version of Marvin Williams, you have to do it every time.

      • Feb 10, 20123:16 pm
        by Jodi Jezz

        Reply

        Beasley is way better than Marvin Williams!.. Marvin isn’t even on Beasley’s talent level

  • Feb 10, 20122:15 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    yep, the prince signing was the last straw.
    i’ve always been willing to give joe d the chance to clean up his mistake.
    but the prince signing, imho, indicates that he just doesn’t get it.  it represents a continuation of the same old stuff.
    he is not capable of making the kind of change that needs to be done, and the prince signing is clear evidence of that fact.

  • Feb 10, 20122:27 pm
    by TakMac

    Reply

    Counter argument:

    Those weren’t isolated incidents because he repeated them just this last off-season. 

    The Pistons aren’t contending for a title this year. They’re rebuidling. Everyone can see that. So why resign Tayshaun and Stuckey? You can argue for veteran support, but I can’t see extending that credit to anyone who was even remotely involved in the player strike last year. So why sign them? They don’t put the Pistons closer to a championship. Even if everything had worked out, COULD this Pistons team have won 50 games? or would they have won 39 games and gotten the 8th seed and a bad draft pick?

    In resigning those two players you remove any salary cap flexiblity for 2 more years. Gordon/Charlie V/Tayshaun/Stuckey make a combined $33 million dollars for the next 3 years and you can only amnesty one of them. So why resign them?

    The only answer I can come up with is that Dumars still doesn’t understand why this won’t work. I agree that he has moved quickly to correct his mistakes IN THE PAST. There is simply no good reason to have resigned those two players to long term contracts. The Stuckey contract is particularly galling as there was no market to bid against. Was anyone offering Stuckey 10 million dollars? absolutely not.

    So, if it’s not an isolated incident what does that mean? It means it’s time to go.

    • Feb 10, 20122:41 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Counter-counter argument:

      Over the summer, when Gores was deciding that he would keep Dumars, I would assume that Dumars told Gores and his people that signing Stuckey/Prince were his intentions.

      I agree with you, that the Prince contract was terrible and Dumars essentially bid against himself on Stuckey, but it’s possible Gores or Gores’ people agreed that bringing those two back was the right strategy.

  • Feb 10, 20122:36 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    i don’t mind the stuckey contract as much, though it is problematic, also.
    he could have easily done a couple of other things.
    he could have matched any offer.  which didn’t appear to be forthciming.
    or he could have simply gone with the one year minimum qualifying offer.  or something in that range.  
    but stepping up and dropping a 3 year contract on stuckey was not the best option, by a long shot.
    imho, it was not as bad a move as signing prince.  the 3 years is not as bad, especially for a much younger player.  and while the money does not make the contract a bargain, it is not horrible.  there is a good chance he’ll outperform the contract by the 3rd year.
    stuckey probably has some trade value, also.
    again, not the best move, but not as bad as signing prince.

    • Feb 10, 20122:53 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I thought Stuckey would ultimately take the qualifying offer, as that seemed like the best bet for him, but that wasn’t necessarily good for the Pistons.

      If Stuckey played great in a contract year and got a huge deal somewhere else, the Pistons wouldn’t have the ability to match, so they’d lose him for nothing. If Stuckey took it and played poorly or was injured (as he has been this season), it would’ve hurt or killed his trade value and he still would’ve had the opportunity to leave after the season anyway.

      I thought they should’ve re-signed him, I just think they could’ve negotiated a better price.

      • Feb 10, 20123:20 pm
        by frankie d

        Reply

        i basically agree.  
        i am not really all that bothered by the stuckey contract.  is it a bit more than i’d hoped he’d pay?  sure.  but it’s not a horrible number.
        and unlike others, i think he’s a valuable player for the team.
        the stuckey signing looks worse than it is because it is usually thought about in conjunction with prince’s signing and if you look at it that way, it does stink.
        people usually think:  tay/stuckey signings….bad moves…bad direction for the team!
        imho, if joe d had signed stuckey – to the same contract – and let tay walk, there’d be no uproar over stuckey’s contract. 
        in fact, joe d might get kudos for only giving him 3 years, even though the money is a bit high. 
        tay simply represents a tie to the old mistakes, the old team, and most fans want a new direction and a clean break.
        i was really surprised when i realized that joe d just didn’t understand how important that was for fans.  he’s been tone-deaf in that respect.

        • Feb 10, 20123:27 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          “imho, if joe d had signed stuckey – to the same contract – and let tay walk, there’d be no uproar over stuckey’s contract. “

          Agreed. Letting Prince walk and bringing back Stuckey would’ve still represented a break with the past, which is what was needed.

          And yeah, minus the Prince deal, $25ish million over the life of Stuckey’s contract isn’t good, but it’s not horrible either. It’s still pretty easy to make a case that Stuckey’s best years are ahead of him, even if I’m not convinced that he’ll ever be much different a player than he is right now. Can’t make that case with Prince at all.

  • Feb 10, 20123:01 pm
    by Mike Payne

    Reply

    “Firing Dumars would only punish him for his previous mistakes, which admittedly, were disastrous. But the Pistons’ horrid situation is a sunk cost. The next general manager will still have to deal with Gordon’s and Villanueva’s contracts and Hamilton’s buyout. Firing Dumars isn’t necessarily a step toward fixing the Pistons.”
     
    I don’t understand this logic at all.  Since Joe created this horrible mess, we shouldn’t hire someone else to fix it because it’s a mess no matter who the GM is?
     
    Even if Dumars has an owner that will challenge him, a statistician at his side and says nice things about defense to the press, he’s still the wrong guy to fix this mess and there’s already evidence to show it.  If the Pistons had a new GM with a fresh perspective on this roster and the available talent pool, would Detroit have extended Tayshaun Prince and given Stuckey a dime more than the qualifying offer or an offer sheet?
     
    This team finally had the chance to change, to begin to turn the tide and finally rebuild– but instead of change, we cut Rip to pay Tay and Stuckey?  We re-invest in talent that has gotten us nowhere to begin with?  There were so many opportunities for the Pistons to explore as soon as last season ended, and now we’re staring at a franchise-worst season and the same cast of clowns on the court.  This is one of the absolutely glaring reasons that we should have let Joe go– the lack of a fresh perspective has made this team worse than it already was.

    • Feb 11, 201210:27 pm
      by Birdman84

      Reply

      Well said, Mr. Payne. Dumars is responsible for this mess, but there’s no sign that he can fix it, because he keeps making the same sorts of decisions.

    • Feb 15, 20122:32 am
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      “If the Pistons had a new GM with a fresh perspective on this roster and the available talent pool, would Detroit have extended Tayshaun Prince and given Stuckey a dime more than the qualifying offer or an offer sheet?”

      Probably not, but every GM in the league has guys on their team because they like them. That’s why there aren’t as many trade as fans want to see. If you randomly assigned every GM to a new team, trades would happen at a crazy pace.

      Whoever the next GM is will have his guys, and in time, they’ll fill the roster.

      Are we convinced Prince at $7 million per year is a bad value? Same with Stuckey at $8 million per? The biggest concern with signing them is that they’ll hurt the Pistons lottery odds. But if Dumars trades Prince and/or Stuckey, the Pistons could come out ahead. I believe those two still have value around the league, and letting them walk would have been shortsighted. The Pistons have few good players, and dumping two of them simply because they had been on the team during its down years wouldn’t have been prudent.

  • Feb 10, 20123:28 pm
    by apa8ren9

    Reply

    I understand that you guys didnt like the Prince signing. But I think you are way overvaluing the impact it has on the team down the road.  Somebody has to get paid.  Remember there is a floor to the cap.  Two years down the line if he hasnt fixed this he will be gone anyway.  If he hasnt procured a viable nucleus by then, there is no way he will be here. We all believe that at some point in the next 2 yrs BG and CV are going to be gone.  Prince and Stuckey will be the only ones left, counting as 16 million on a 56 million dollar cap in 2 years.  That is by no means out of line or outrageous.  He will have the space to bump up Monroe and if worthy Knight as well.

    • Feb 10, 20123:34 pm
      by neutes

      Reply

      When you have a giant laundry list of things to fix, and each one that you do fix mitigates the risk of the others, and each on you add compounds this risk, the worst idea is to add to this list.

      • Feb 10, 20123:36 pm
        by neutes

        Reply

        e

      • Feb 10, 20124:00 pm
        by apa8ren9

        Reply

        I dont think the Prince signing does that at all.  I have heard time and time again. Prince is best as a 3rd or 4th option (I agree with this by the way).  Well shouldnt a young player we have on our roster that rhymes with Bay have the ability to move that guy out of the way and replace him in the lineup?  That is the bar set to overcome if we are to become contenders again, at least at the SF position.  Same applies to Singler if he comes back from Europe next year.  Beat him out.  Earn your spot.

        • Feb 10, 20124:22 pm
          by neutes

          Reply

          Earn your spot? So what, we can have Prince sitting on the bench making $8 mil per year? Because there isn’t already enough money being obviously wasted on this team we need to find more creative ways to do it? What’s the purpose of this bar? You either play good enough to start in this league or you get replaced. On this side of the bar you get to keep your job, on this other side you don’t. That’s the bar. Why do we need to pay $8 mil per season to set the bar at average?

          • Feb 10, 20124:41 pm
            by apa8ren9

            Are we worried about 8 million or are we trying to win?  Its bigger than one roster spot.  Its about getting a building block to become a champion.  I know for certain that anyone who replaces Prince and has him sitting on the bench without question will have the skills needed for that.  He is going to be here we have all acknowledged that. Yes, I want him on the bench because if that happens I know for certain that there will be someone BETTER replacing him

    • Feb 10, 20123:34 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      My problem isn’t necessarily just the money. Signing Prince and to a lesser extent Stuckey represent an investment in limited veterans who will lead you to just enough wins to miss out on picking at the top of the lottery, which is where the Pistons need to be.

      I think Austin Daye is not very good and I have no faith that he’s a starting caliber player. But I certainly think starting him this season with a cheap Wilkins-like backup and no Prince was the right move. At best, Daye exceeds expectations and you have another young asset. At worst, Daye is what I think he is and the team is really bad and has a shot at one of the true difference-making talents in the top three of this draft.

      If Prince/Stuckey for their combined price tag nets you, what, four or five more wins and you pick in the 6th-9th range instead of 1-4 range, their signings are much more damaging long-term than the financial aspect of tying up money in limited veteran players.

      • Feb 10, 20123:46 pm
        by apa8ren9

        Reply

        Wait a minute, every one here was crying about how terrible we looked losing games with the veterans.  Isnt everyone complaining how we are the laughing stock of the league? It wasnt the goal at the start of the season to win 8 games and guarantee the worst record.  I cant believe for a second they would have given Dumars credit for having all young guys including Daye looking like a lost child on the court and losing games by 40 every night.  Your test case Austin Daye (as much as I pulled for him when he was drafted, I actually liked the pick) has faultered at every chance.  This coach clearly will start the young player if warranted.  He cant do it.  The other young players have shown some flashes.  Maybe he knew that and that is why he decided that Prince should stick around.

        • Feb 10, 20123:50 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Don’t start him. Start Damien Wilkins if Daye sucks.

          Is Prince better than Wilkins? Sure. On this team, going nowhere, would I one million times yes rather have Wilkins at his price playing big minutes instead of Prince at his price? Absolutely.

          I’ve made this point before, but if Prince was re-signed mainly because he’s a responsible, veteran leader, I’m sorry, but you can find that for a hell of a lot cheaper. Wilkins is a perfect example. Not all that good, but he’s a long-time pro who is well-respected in locker rooms, a good teammate and works hard. The Prince signing is a failure by any standard you want to apply to it.

          • Feb 10, 20124:11 pm
            by apa8ren9

            I understand what you are saying, but you got my dander up a bit. The prince signing by no means is a failure if he is able to find a SF that can play better. On this team as a SF if you want to make 8mil + when your contract is up you’ve got to be better than Prince. How does that impact the team overall? If your skills are better than that standard you have the skills to be a building block for a playoff/contending team. Arent we trying to win going forward?

          • Feb 10, 20124:45 pm
            by Anthony

            I dont agree at all that re-signing Tay was a bad idea. Who would of you signed to replace him??? Im not sure it was Dumar,s first choice was to re-sign him but i do think it was his best option at the time. Which player do you think wanted to come to detroit (not an attractive place to live but dont get me wrong because I call it home) who at the time was going through coaching and ownership changes, not to mention coming off its worst season in a decade and a far cry from contender status. Not even the players on the team wanted to be here (i.e. stuckey, and Hamillton). All in all is that we’re not an attractive ball club to play for unless you want to come here to help the team rebuild like Vanden bosch did for the lions. Tay was an allstar, gold medalist, and a NBA champion who spent his entire career here in detroit so this is his home now too, and he was prolly given the choice to to come back to a team that needed him and apreciates him, not only for the imfamous block on Miller, or become a free agent and i’m thankfull that he was willing to stay here and help us “re-build”. Pistons fans just need to realize that we’ve hit the bottom and are no longer at the top and because of that we have to re-build with new and old tallent and remember that it wanst Tay’s fault that we are where we are but he still has a lot to offer this team. 

          • Feb 10, 20124:55 pm
            by neutes

            He’s doing the opposite of helping us rebuild. He’s making it harder to rebuild. I’d love it if he wanted to help. If he wanted to play for the league minimum and dribble the ball off his foot 30 times a game. That would be great. We could find plenty of better (err, worse) players to help us rebuild.

            As for your Lions reference – KVB came to a team on the uptick. They went 0-16! You can’t get much more rock bottom than that. You know what happened after that? The Lions cleaned house. They got rid of everyone. They had the #1 pick in the draft followed by the #2 pick the next season. The Pistons haven’t even hit rock bottom yet. They haven’t had the holy shit we fucking suck epiphony yet. Dumars may soon get his Millenesque day of reckoning though. Problem is Tay isn’t doing his part to help get us there. We’re paying him to help us rebuild and he doesn’t want to cooperate. What a dick.

          • Feb 10, 20125:05 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            @Anthony:

            “Who would of you signed to replace him?”

            Damien Wilkins is fine with me. Prince is better, but he’s not going to be decent enough long enough to be a valuable player by the time the team is ready to be competitive again. Save the money, spend it on a minimum vet, see if Daye or Jerebko are good enough to start. If they aren’t, keep looking for your permanent SF next season without the long-term salary commitment to an aging, declining player.

            “Tay was an allstar”

            Despite what Terry Foster says, Prince has never actually made an All-Star team.

            “it wanst Tay’s fault that we are where we are but he still has a lot to offer this team.”

            It absolutely wasn’t Prince’s fault. It also wasn’t Prince’s fault Dumars signed him to this ridiculous contract that was probably for more than he would’ve received elsewhere. I don’t blame Prince for the contract or for the team’s decline. But it’s still a bad contract for a rebuilding team. It has been almost universally called a bad contract by everyone covering the NBA, a few local writers excluded.

        • Feb 10, 20124:27 pm
          by D_S_V

          Reply

          ” If your skills are better than that standard you have the skills to be a building block for a playoff/contending team. Arent we trying to win going forward?”

          We don’t have anyone to beat out Tayshaun. And the people upset with the signing generally realize this and don’t argue it. The problem with the signing is that Tayshaun isn’t an answer to our current shitty situation. Paying Tayshaun to stay and add a few wins isn’t worth it. Yes, we are trying to win going forward, but from the start of this season, next season, and likely the one after, we simply cannot contend for a championship. We can’t. We don’t have the talent. So paying Tayshaun to stay for that long term does absolutely nothing but reduce our lottery odds.

          • Feb 10, 20124:48 pm
            by apa8ren9

            Well let me add this in. I want to say this correctly.  I dont think Joe necessarily subscribes to the tank and get a superstar method.  He didnt build the championship team in 04 that way.  I dont think he will be tied 100% that way of building it this time.  We will be in the lottery cause we suck, but its not a guarantee we get the #1 pick.  No matter what pick you have to get the right guy.  I havent paid attention to college but i dont think there is a Griffin or Rose this year.  So you just have to target the guy that has the skills to compliment Monroe or is better than Monroe and you will be alright.  Tayshaun, Daye and Stuckey are the daily soap/drama to get us through the season. We have to keep our eyes on the big picture.

          • Feb 10, 20125:06 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            “I havent paid attention to college but i dont think there is a Griffin or Rose this year.”

            Most common comparison for consensus No. 1 pick Anthony Davis: Kevin Garnett.

          • Feb 15, 20122:39 am
            by Dan Feldman

            Signing Prince potentially reduces the Pistons’ lottery odds, but it potentially increases the trade value of their other players.

    • Feb 15, 20122:34 am
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      “Somebody has to get paid.  Remember there is a floor to the cap.”

      The floor is essentially irrelevant here. Take either player off the roster, and the Pistons are still above the floor.

  • Feb 10, 20123:42 pm
    by Nwdavis1

    Reply

    I have been wondering how things may have been different if John Hammond had stayed with the Pistons.
    Maybe we have given Dumars too much of the credit for building the championship team?
     
    Also, I am not convinced that Tom Gores knows much about basketball. He may not be capable of judging Dumars’ actions in real-time.

    • Feb 10, 20123:46 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “I have been wondering how things may have been different if John Hammond had stayed with the Pistons.”

      Maybe the Pistons would’ve drafted Joe Alexander, traded for Corey Maggette and gave Drew Gooden way too much money.

    • Feb 10, 20124:01 pm
      by rick77

      Reply

      Have you seen the Bucks make it to the playoffs since old Hammond seems to be the mastermind behind all the moves of the past. give me a break i am tired of all the bitching amd moaning and the artciles stating this and that when in fact hindsight is 20/20. You can say he should have done this and he should have done that but he didnt and it is what it is constantly complaining baout his position is not going to change anything. When anyone in here decides to go and apply for his job I want you to remember everything you said about him once you start walking in their shoes. Iam floored by this CAP talk  because you can have all teh space in the world and if the players dont like management or the team then you can take your space and shove it. I respect many of you alls opinion but it just seems many are butthurt over time and change. It was evident when we were beating everyone the party wouldnt last but to hear some talk the last 10 years never happened and that bothers me as a fan. I by no means am a apologist but I do get tired of rehashing teh same argument over and over again. When the Stones were running around screaming ” If it aint ruff it aint right” people could not stand it and wanted them broken up. Now we get a taste of rebuilding and and ” Joe” is a bum. We did win a title right? Back to regulary scheduled programming………..

      • Feb 10, 20124:02 pm
        by rick77

        Reply

        sorry for the grammatical errors was in a hurry

  • Feb 10, 20123:58 pm
    by Nwdavis1

    Reply

    I know that John Hammond has not done well on his own. I was implying that Joe and John may have worked well together.

  • Feb 10, 20125:12 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    the other side of the tay issue is that SFs are the easiest position in the league to fill.
    you can go out and get a really cheap small forward somewhere – free agency, d-league, europe – who will come in and give you almost about what you’ll get with tay over the long haul.
    oh, tay may have 15 games a year when he’ll step up and score 25 plus and look like a guy who would have justified NOT drafting melo cause you had him, but after all these years, we know those games only happen so often.  and only against certain opposing SFs and teams.  against the better and elite SFs, tay is a liability.  
    damien wilkins at 1 million or tay at 8 million?
    no contest.  i’d take wilkins everytime, though i cannot stand him.
    i’d bet that if you looked at a list of available free agents, even now, there are probably 3 or 4 competent SF’s out there with nba experience or potential who could come in and not embarrass themselves.  some might be scorers or they might be defenders, but i’d bet there are wing players out there looking for work and willing to work for cheap.
    they could have done a number of things, including SF by committee with JJ and daye and wilkins and bringing in a free agent like reggie williams and they still would not have been that much worse, and would have saved a heckuva lot of money.  
    heck, i’d take ime udoka and his defense at the vet minimum, as opposed to paying tay 8 million.
    maybe singler would have signed here if he was assured that tay was not coming back.  i’m sure singler’s agent understood what was happening with joe and tay, as joe had been very public about his desire to bring tay back.  lots of fans chose not to believe or listen to him because it really didn’t make much sense.
    if tay was a center or a point guard and had been tough to replace then i could see bringing him back, even though it would not have been optimal.  but bringing him back when he was so easy to replace – either as a leader or as a SF – is what was so maddening.
    but, to this fan, it was just another one of those things that joe d has done that make you scratch your head in wonder.

  • Feb 10, 201210:16 pm
    by brgulker

    Reply

    But – and this is why I’m willing to give Dumars another chance – the mistakes might have been correctable had the team not been for sale. I just don’t believe Hamilton, Gordon and Villanueva were instantly untradeable the moment Dumars signed them.

    Besides a report that may or may not be reliable from Drew Sharp, there’s precisely zero evidence of this.

    No one has inquired into Charlie Villanueva or Ben Gordon since we acquired them. No one.
    If they were mistakes, then the remedy is trading them. Yet, there has been precisely zero movement around trading them.

    We all have hunches, and if yours is that Dumars could have traded them sans ownership transition, that’s fine. But there’s nothing to support that factually. Nada.

    Sale or no sale, extending Hamilton was a mistake. Sale or no sale, signing Gordon was a mistake. Sale or no sale, signing Villanueva was a mistake.
    Dan, when Gordon was signed, you gave it a B: http://www.pistonpowered.com/2009/07/signing-review-ben-gordon/

    Now, with the benefit of hindsight, you’re calling it a mistake.

    Everyone makes mistakes in evaluating players. Lord knows I have. I was dead wrong about Greg Monroe, and in hindsight, I should have been much more optimistic. A very young big guy who puts up slightly better than average numbers has a chance to be good. I failed to recognize this. We all deserve mulligans.

    Gordon, however,  was a massive mistake since Day One, and everyone who’s ever known me knows I’ve thought this since Day One.

    This isn’t a “I’m right you were wrong comment.” I’ve been wrong as much if not more than anyone.

    I just find your argument puzzling. You were in support of signing Gordon when it happened, for the most part. You’ve written that Wins Produced misses important things about Gordon’s value:  http://www.pistonpowered.com/2011/01/why-wins-produced-undervalues-both-ben-gordons-past-and-upside/
    Now, you’re arguing it was a mistake, and in a tone that implies this should have been an obvious one.
    I give Dumars credit for building the Going to Work Pistons. He got a lot right.
    But was there method to the maddness, or was it some smarts with lots of luck?

    I think there’s evidence to the contrary, and it lies squarely in the way Dumars evaluates players.

    His eyeballs are just as likely to produce a Ben Gordon as they are a Chauncey Billups. Smart statistical analysis would have showed that Billups was good and getting better. Good statistical analysis would have showed that Gordon was useful, but very one-dimensional. He was a role player at his best.

    He is vocally against the use of any type of statistical analysis. That’s why he’d draft Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler, and Vernon Macklin just one year after picking Monroe and two after picking Jerebko. All three of this year’s players had absolutely terrible statistical profiles at their position. But they all looked good to Joe.
    I think we’re just lucky that Monroe and Jerebko are actually good and good looking to Dumars eyes.

    Honestly, I think the evidence supports that Dumars’ success is as much luck as skill. Dumars knows basketball just enough that sometimes his eyeballs are right. But he’s overconfident to the point that he refuses any information and/or evidence that contradicts his eyeballs.

    There’s no other field I’m aware of where that flies. It doesn’t work in finances. It doesn’t work with nonprofits. It doesn’t work in the public sector. It doesn’t work in real estate.

    Why should we accept it in basketball personnel management?

    Keep Dumars as a figurehead. Let him represent the franchise, manage player personalities, etc. He’s really good at all those things.

    But strip him or at least limit his ability to manage personnel. He’s proven since the fall of 2008 that he is incompetent and incapable. 

    • Feb 10, 201210:22 pm
      by brgulker

      Reply

      sorry for the confusing wording and formatting. wrote it from my tablet. I think this post has inspired me to sit down and write something, though, probably tomorrow.

    • Feb 15, 20123:01 am
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      “Besides a report that may or may not be reliable from Drew Sharp, there’s precisely zero evidence of this.”

      I believe it. I get why you don’t. If Drew Sharp’s column was the only place I’d heard it, I wouldn’t either. I’m certainly not 100 percent, but between believing it and not, I believe it.  

      “No one has inquired into Charlie Villanueva or Ben Gordon since we acquired them. No one.”

      The Cavs offered Villanueva nearly as much as the Pistons did. Gordon was ranked as the No. 2 free agent by Sports Illustrated andYahoo. The year before, the Bulls offered him about $50 million, and that was before his series against the Celtics. 

      Teams rarely trade free agents they just signed. By the time the honeymoon period ended and Gordon and Villanueva would have hit the market in normal circumstances, it’s pretty clear Karen Davidson shut things down.

      “Dan, when Gordon was signed, you gave it a B:http://www.pistonpowered.com/2009/07/signing-review-ben-gordon/

      Now, with the benefit of hindsight, you’re calling it a mistake.”

      I had to hold down pg dn for a while in Google Reader to get this one, but the post you linked is based on an uncorrectly reported salary figure for Gordon. Here’s what I wrote when I learned his real salary:

      Gordon seemed like a good value at $52.2 million. I don’t think he’s worth $58.8 million.

      The Pistons haven’t had a single unmovable contract under Joe Dumars. If Thonus is right, Ben Gordon has a shot to become the first.

      “He is vocally against the use of any type of statistical analysis.”

      That seems to be changing.

      “That’s why he’d draft Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler, and Vernon Macklin just one year after picking Monroe and two after picking Jerebko. All three of this year’s players had absolutely terrible statistical profiles at their position.”

      I think it’s a big leap to say with such certainty that he drafted Knight because he’s against statistical analysis. Maybe he weighed both the stats and his qualitative assessment and, after careful consideration. determined that what he saw in those players outweighed their lackluster stats.

      I know that’s what I did with Knight. I get that his numbers are poor, and it worries me. I still think he was the right pick.* I had enough questions about the other players with more favorable stats I would have chanced the pick on Knight and all his tools.

      *I basically had him and Kawhi Leonard tied on my draft board.

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