Pistons GM Joe Dumars just resigned point guard/shooting guard Rodney Stuckey for $25 million over 3 years. Stuckey has been up and down for the Pistons since they drafted him in 2007, but basically he’s an Iverson-style ball-hog point guard that the Pistons would rather have at shooting guard, since they don’t really trust him. I’m pretty neutral on this signing, probably keeps the Pistons just outside the playoffs, just like last year.
I am NOT neutral about the following Dumars moves:
- In 2008, traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson (who quit the team after he was relegated to the bench)
- In 2009, signed Ben Gordon for 5 years, $50 million (bench guy)
- Also 2009, signed Charlie Villanueva for 5 years, $35 million (bench guy)
With these three deals, Dumars took my Pistons from 6 straight Eastern Conference finals appearances to 27 wins in two years. In 2008-09, Dumars hired Michael Curry hired to replace Flip Saunders. A young guy, Curry never got the respect of the Pistons vets and a few injuries dropped the Pistons to the 8 seed (swept in the first round). Iverson was a huge distraction the whole season. So Dumars fired Curry and hired John Kuester off the Cavaliers assistant staff. In 2009-10 and 2010-11, Gordon and Villanueva were disasters, and Kuester feuded with almost every player on the team. I pretty much stopped watching and just read a few game write ups for two years.
The worst part of the Gordon and Villanueva signings was that the Pistons could only build through the draft for the next 3 years (until Rasheed Wallace’s contract came off the books in 2009 and Richard Hamilton’s came off in 2011). You tell me what you know about the Piston’s draft picks since then:
- 2008: D.J. White, Deron Washington
- 2009: Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers, Jonas Jerebko, Chase Budinger
- 2010: Greg Monroe, Terrico White
- 2011: Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler, Vernon Macklin
I’ll give you a one line summary: none of these guys have made an impact yet (we’ll see about the 2011 guys), though Jerebko and Monroe have potential. Since Dumars started drafting, his only notable picks have been Mehmet Okur (2001), Tayshaun Prince (2002), Rodney Stuckey (2007), and Arron Afflalo (2007). That dry spell from 2002 to 2007 killed the Pistons even more than age and bad deals.
The Pistons were so strapped for cash that they traded Afflalo for another pick and cap space in 2009. That makes 9 years without an impact player in the draft except for Stuckey. Now that they finally have some cap room this year, what did Dumars do? Simmons says it well:
Detroit re-signed Tayshaun Prince and Jonas Jerebko for $46 million combined over four years. This would have been ridiculous even if they didn’t play the same position as Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye … who, by the way, both play for the Pistons. I think this was Joe Dumars’ last-ditch attempt to get fired. Next stop: robbing a liquor store.
I like Jerebko, but he missed last season with an Achilles injury — he’s hardly played! Tayshaun hit his ceiling four years ago.
Dumars’s strength was never the draft or free agency, but he has made some excellent trades (Jerry Stackhouse for Hamilton, junk for Rasheed Wallace, Grant Hill for Ben Wallace). The problem is, they were all before 2005. Six years later, he’s running the Pistons into the ground and they can’t fire him. He’s a local hero from his playing days (two championships for the Pistons as a player). And, he gets more leash for assembling the Pistons 2004 championship team. At least the Pistons are getting younger, but there’s a lesson here: don’t hire a local hero as your GM. It’s too much power for one man.