As constructed, the Pistons obviously aren’t going to win a title. Moves must be made. Can Joe Dumars make them now? Does he have to wait until a new owner takes over? Is he forbidden to take on payroll for the sake of Karen Davidson’s wallet? Will he have to shed payroll for the sake of Karen Davidson’s wallet?
It’s impossible to fairly criticize Dumars for his moves, or lack there of, without this information.
DF now: Very
The Pistons haven’t made a trade since July 13, 2009, when Dumars sent Arron Afflalo, Walter Sharpe and cash to the Nuggets for a second-round pick. Flash forward seven months from that date, and every other NBA team has made a trade since then.
Say what you want about his moves prior to Karen Davidson deciding to sell the team, but Dumars clearly couldn’t do much to improve the team once she decided to move on.
Often, people who have great success early on in their profession get a a genius complex. They think they’ve figured out “The Secret” as Bill Simmons would say and begin taking advice less or trying crazier ideas because their past success has them foolishly convinced that all of their goofy ideas will pan out.
Dumars constructed a title team, a year-in, year-out contender and did so in a way that no one has replicated: without a superstar. His two best players on his title team, Billups and Wallace, combined to make less money per season than Antoine Walker.
Now, Dumars has made a series of moves that can be described as reaches: believing that guys who have never been tough or physical or interested defenders in Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva can suddenly be taught, drafting guys who weren’t well known (Austin Daye might work out, but he passed on guys like Ty Lawson and Darren Collison for him, and they are already good players in this league), taking flyers on aging vets with major questions (Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady).
Could Dumars be supremely confident his moves will work simply because they’ve worked out in the past?
PH now: No
I underestimated how limited Dumars’ resources were before the season. He signed McGrady, because signing a guy for the minimum was basically all he could do to fill the roster. He stuck with a roster he knows is flawed, because he could do little to upgrade the product on the floor until the sale of the team.
None of this absolves him from blame for the poor moves he made prior – particularly the Gordon and Villanueva signings – but it buys him some time to complete whatever his vision was when he set out to rebuild.