How Joe Dumars’ reliance on veterans both built and crippled the Pistons

I wrote a piece for TrueHoop today on the rise and fall of the Pistons:

I’ve always seen Joe Dumars as old.

Sure, at 47, he’s older than many public faces of the NBA. But even when he played, I had that image of him.

Maybe it’s how he served as the Pistons’ elder statesman for so many years after the Bad Boys era. Maybe it’s the mustache. Maybe it’s how he played with wisdom and class, even when he was young.

The way he has managed the Pistons since taking over the team in the summer of 2000 suggests he viewed himself in a similar way — at least, if you believe general managers create their teams in their own images.

Dumars built the Pistons around veterans, rode the wave of their success and his formula shows no sign of changing.

People wonder what Dumars is doing. Obviously, in recent years, the results haven’t been the same, but many observers don’t realize he built the 2004 title team with the same model he’s using now. Dumars shows veterans tremendous respect, and they’ve reciprocated. Take a look at how the Pistons have gotten here:

Head to TrueHoop to read a themed timeline.

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