Alright, please allow me to be a newspaper geek for a second. Some of my first memories as a Pistons fan are reading Pistons stories and looking up stats in the newspaper with my dad. And not just any newspaper. It was always the Detroit Free Press. When it became clear at a pretty young age that I was not going to be the Pistons starting power forward some day, I took another path and tried something I was slightly better at, sports writing. It might sound nerdy, but ever since I’ve been writing as an adult, I’ve still always dreamed about seeing my byline in the Free Press.
Anyway, long story short, the Free Press has allowed Dan and I to write a weekly Pistons column for Freep.com. My first one is posted now. I wrote about Joe Dumars, namely how difficult it has become to figure out his end-game:
For the past two seasons, the organization has stressed the importance of patience with the young nucleus of Rodney Stuckey, Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight, Jonas Jerebko and now Andre Drummond, hoping that group can mature into the core players on a contending team.
That’s a striking difference to the Dumars of the past, who was aggressive on the trade market, who preferred established veterans to young players who needed time to reach their primes.
Whether you’re convinced of the organizational assessment that those players are destined to be a formidable playoff team soon or not, it’s at least easy to buy the logic behind it.
The Pistons needed to get younger, they have needed to take development of their young players more seriously so they quit watching productive players like Carlos Delfino, Arron Afflalo and Amir Johnson rot on their own bench only to be serviceable or better rotation players elsewhere. This new-found patience is a good thing. That is, if it is the actual strategy.
This week is the perfect example of the roller coaster that is Dumars — and, just to be clear, I don’t mean that as a derogatory description of him. He made his first trade in three years, giving up a first round draft pick to get out of the cumbersome Ben Gordon contract. Some people loved that move. Some people detested it. Then he drafted Andre Drummond with the ninth pick. Some people loved that move. Some people detested it. Then, with his first pick in the second round, people collectively scratched their heads a bit.
Dumars has a complex legacy as team president. His best moves make him look as brilliant as the league’s best GMs. His bad moves make him look among the league’s worst. There has never really been a middle ground with Dumars, and that has me both really excited about what he might do next and, to be honest, a little scared. You never know when his next great move is coming, but you also never know when he’s going to take a big gamble that doesn’t pay off. All just part of being a Pistons fan these days.