Friday, April 3, 2009
A.I.: Another Joe Dumars Mistake
Apparently Allen Iverson doesn't want to come off the bench anymore. He tried it for a second and didn't like it. Now he is saying that he would rather retire than do this anymore (you just have a couple of weeks left, A.I.). Today, the Pistons decided to shut down The Answer for the rest of the season ... essentially ending his time in Detroit.
What a great trade the Pistons made, huh? GM Joe Dumars sent the heart and soul of the team (Chauncey Billups) to the Nuggets for Iverson. We all had doubts that this was a smart move and now we've seen those doubts realized.
One thing I've been saying for years is that Joe Dumars is a bit overrated. He has been given this pedastal of a Jerry West-like personnel guy. Yeah, he has made a few nice moves and did deliver a championship to Detroit. But there is a reason this team is in a huge funk.
You can trace much of it to 2003. In that draft, the already good Pistons had the No. 2 pick in the draft due to a trade. After LeBron James was selected, Detroit could have had any of the number of great players on the board. Guys like Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh (by the way, Mo Williams, Josh Howard and David West were also in that draft). So the Pistons decided to take Darko Milicic. Of those top five picks, he is the only one that hasn't been to an All Star game.
Okay, it is easy to rip Dumars for that and one bad move shouldn't tarnish the man's career ... even if it set his franchise back a decade.
This wasn't his first draft screw-up. In 2001, he used the No. 9 pick in the draft on Rodney White. He did get a good kid in the second round -- Mehmet Okur -- but watched him walk out the door before he came into his own. Tayshawn Prince and Rodney Stuckey are great picks but they aren't D-Wade or Melo.
I also don't like the way the coaches have been moved around in Detroit during the last decade.
While the Billups-for-Iverson trade was more forward thinking, it really looks like a mistake. It's not just because Iverson is done for the year. Iverson has an expiring contract and probably wasn't going to be with Detroit beyond this season anyway. But it completely disorganized this franchise. Billups was the leader of that team and when he left, the soul of the team left with him.
We will all get to see how great a GM Dumars really is. With Iverson and Rasheed Wallace's contracts expiring, this franchise is back in a rebuilding mode. Rip Hamilton will be in his final contracted season next year. All this will open up a ton of money to maybe make a splash in the Great Free Agency Summer Of 2010.
How Dumars handles the transition will say a lot about his legacy.