DETROIT (97.1 THE TICKET) – There have been many things written and said about the 14 year reign of Joe Dumars as Detroit Pistons president.
Some have refused to blame him for the disintegration of the franchise,using every excuse in the book to let him off the hook. Conversely there are others who refuse to remember how he restored this franchise to its previous glory, using luck and good fortune as the reason for the success. As in any story there are two sides.
It is true that Dumars was hampered by the lame ownership after William Davidson passed away. He was basically forbidden to make any moves to improve the team.
However, it is also true that Dumars wanted to make some moves that would have been failures if not for the intervention of Mr.D.
How do you think the Pistons would have fared if Dumars was allowed to pay Jerry Stackhouse the max contract he wanted to reward him with?
If you rightfully believe that bad fortune influenced his bad move than you equally must believe that good fortune influenced his good moves. Lets judge Dumars on four significant areas. The Draft, Trades, Free Agent Moves, and Coaching hires.
DRAFT (first round only) D (BAD)
Tayshaun Prince,Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond were very good picks. Rodney Stuckey, Arron Afflalo, Jason Maxiell and Brandon Knight were ok for where they were selected. Austin Daye, Mateen Cleaves, D.J.White, Kentavious Caldwell Pope, Rodney White and Darko Milicic were bad with the last two being horrendous
TRADES B+ (VERY GOOD)
This is where Joe shined for most of his tenure.Even in supposed minor trades he scored big time. He managed to get Corliss Williamson for Jerome Williams and Eric Montross.
He was also able to spin the Grant Hill fiasco into a sign and trade bringing Ben Wallace to Detroit. Rectify the Cleaves trade by getting Jon Barry for him. Acquiring Cliff Robinson for John Wallace and Judd Buechler was an unappreciated deal. And then he really got good. Rip Hamilton for Jerry Stackhouse.
And, of course, the big one, getting Rasheed Wallace from Atlanta in the three-way with Boston. His awful franchise altering trade of Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess for Allen Iverson can not be minimized. The trading of the Brandon’s (Knight for Jennings) was not exactly stellar either.
FREE AGENCY C+ (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Chauncey Billups was a brilliant signing. Antonio McDyess was very good. Dale Davis,Maurice Evans,Chris Webber,Eldon Campbell, Nazr Muhammed and Jarvis Hayes were non factors.
Ben Gordon,Charlie Villanaueva,and Josh Smith were horrific especially for the money and in my opinion almost negate the Billups and McDyess signings.
COACHES C (AVERAGE)
I will give him a pass on George Irvine. Rick Carlisle was a brilliant hire.He was perfect at the time, He ticked too many people off in the front office so he was sent packing for Larry Brown. If Joe gets the credit for hiring Brown he should also get the blame for not bringing him back.
I honestly think that if it was Joe’s call Carlisle would never have been fired after his second year. Flip Saunders was a good coach, but the players were too entitled and that is on Joe. If there was accountability they might have gone to at least one more final. After the Saunders era came the musical coaches era.
Michael Curry, John Keuster, Lawrence Frank and Maurice Cheeks were all mistakes. If ownership gets blame for these than they also get the credit for some of the good ones as well.
So how do you rate Dumars? The first half of his tenure was great, the second half awful. We can argue forever on how much other influences were responsible for both the good and bad. The bottom line is under his watch a rag tag team became a powerhouse for six years.
Unfortunately, under his watch a perennial Eastern Conference Finals team was transformed to a perennial lottery team. My overall grade is a C+ and that is ONLY because I value a championship more than anything else.