We asked our ESPN Forecast panel to rate every owner, basketball decision-maker and coach from 0 to 10, and we asked the panel to tell us how important each role is. In particular, we asked the voters to rate each team’s front-office management on its guidance and leadership in terms of how it affects overall on-court success, both in the short and long term.
These ESPN rankings haven’t treated the Pistons well, but owner Tom Gores walked away with the most flattering ranking as the No. 24 owner in the NBA.
Say what you will about Gores, but he hasn’t done anything terribly good nor bad in his early tenure. It appears he’s willing to spend money to make the team better, and that’s good. It’s also abundantly clear that if a guy — say, Maurice Cheeks — isn’t performing up to Gores’ standard, he’s not going to be given a pass.
There are some who think that it’s Gores’ fault the Pistons are in their current predicament, but I don’t necessarily think that’s the case. It wasn’t unreasonable for him to demand that the team make the playoffs this season, but blame Gores for the Pistons acquiring Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings is a little extreme.
Honestly, I’m not totally convinced Gores knew who either player was prior to their arrivals in Detroit. Gores simply demanded the playoffs, and Joe Dumars decided the easiest route was to throw bags of Monopoly money at both Smith and Jennings.
They’ll eventually make the playoffs under Gores, and a big part of that logic is that Gores has shown that he cares. Think about it this way, at least he doesn’t operate the last-place owner on the list: Knicks boss James Dolan.