Joe Dumars and reclamation projects

Consensus opinion seems to be that if Joe Dumars didn’t get his latest coaching hire right, it will be his last as Pistons President of Basketball Operations. I don’t think anyone but the most rose-colored-glasses-wearing homers are excited about the move. I’m included among the pessimistic. But I’m also intrigued by the hire. If we’ve seen any consistent pattern from the incredibly erratic Dumars — he’s one more bad season from having the same number of poor seasons as good seasons during his tenure as team president — it’s that he loves to gamble on retreads, unwanteds, you name its. Maurice Cheeks certainly fits that description, and in today’s Detroit Free Press column, I wrote about my admiration for the fact that for better or worse, Dumars is rolling with a guy who fits his trend:

While his moves prior to 2004 were good, sound gambles, his moves since have just simply been a collection of mystifying misidentifications of talent, both among players and coaches. Cheeks could prove everyone wrong, but his selection as the new coach mirrors Dumars’ recent moves far more than his moves earlier in his career.

It seems unthinkable considering the reputation he had league-wide in the mid 2000s, but Dumars has a long enough track record now that he’s approaching a point in his career where he’s had nearly as many bad teams (six) as good ones (seven). There were certainly circumstances in that stretch that were Dumars’ fault and others that weren’t, but it’s pretty clear that Dumars’ future as team president is tied to one more curious acquisition significantly outperforming expectations. Whether Cheeks leads to the demise of Dumars in Detroit or his resurgence, he’s a fitting choice for Dumars to either sink or swim with.

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