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Pistons GM Search: Scott Perry’s Experience a Strength and Weakness


October 31, 2012; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores claps in the second half against the Houston Rockets at The Palace. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to potential names to fill the General Manager void in the front office, not many make as much sense as Scott Perry. The former Pistons scout, Director of Player Personnel and Vice President has an understanding of what it takes to have success in the Motor City.

He was part of the brains behind the 2004 championship squad. He was a major reason why the team was able to battle through bad selections in the draft.  In 2002, he helped build a winning vision that started with the signing of Chauncey Billups, when nearly every other team in the league thought the Colorado product was not good enough to lead their team at the point. Six years later, Billups had led his squad to six straight Eastern Conference Finals.

He believed that a scrawny kid with 7’3″wingspan out of Kentucky could translate his game to the NBA level when Joe Dumars and company drafted Tayshaun Prince in the first round of that year’s draft. Just two years prior, the group watched the Grant Hill era crumble in front of them. Little did they know that the undersized center named Ben Wallace that they acquired from Orlando in the sign and trade would become the best defensive big man in the game.

Later that summer, Perry and Dumars went to work on adding the final piece to creating a winning tradition. Just two years after losing the franchise keystone, the front office gambled by dealing Jerry Stackhouse to the Wizards for youngster Richard Hamilton. At that point, Stackhouse had back to back seasons of averaging 25 points per game.

But the Pistons had a team. And just two years later, the Pistons had their championship pawn. A technical foul happy forward named Rasheed Wallace, that could spread the floor.

Now the Pistons are back to square one, looking for the right tools to build a championship again. The question now is, “Where does Scott Perry fit in the Mold?”

There is no hiding that Scott Perry is a Motor City man.  The Wayne State graduate and all conference senior spent time as an assistant coach at Detroit-Mercy. He was a major recruiting catalyst of the Fab Five, as an assistant coach at Michigan.

Perry spent 11 years in the Pistons organization. First as a college scout, before being promoted to director of player personnel in 2002. After five years at the helm, he was promoted to vice president in 2008, after a brief stint as VP in Seattle under Sam Presti.  Before being hired by Orlando GM Rob Hennigan as the Magic Vice President of Basketball Operations, He and Dumars went all in on Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe in the draft. It looked like they were building the right pieces for an eventual return to a perennial playoff team.

Not only has he done it as a scout and front office suit, but Perry understands what it means to coach at a high level. The former head coach at Eastern Kentucky has been on the bench for some very good coaches as an assistant.  One of the major issues in the front office over the last several years has been a failure of judging coaching candidates.

Now the Pistons are back to square one, looking for the right tools to build a championship again. The question now is, “Where does Scott Perry fit in the Mold?”

The only problem is what makes him the best candidate for the job might also be his biggest detriment. Perry spent four seasons as vice president and Joe Dumars’ right hand man. Out of respect, he would never lobby for the job. Yet, he still fits the mold that Owner Tom Gores and search firm Korn Ferry might be looking for.

Could he be the voice of the franchise? Many seem to believe so. He is often considered one of the top up and coming general managers in the game. He has found a niche in his role of second in command.

Perry also leaves a taste of what’s been wrong with this franchise in fan’s mouths. He is part of the same regime that made move after move that tore this franchise apart. He was there for the Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva signings.  His first two drafts as Vice President were major failures.

Yet, the same person helped build part of the foundation that is the Oklahoma City Thunder. He admits that he pushed for the organization to draft Carmelo Anthony over Darko Milicic.

He understands how analytics can play a factor into today’s game. He also knows how important it is to have a diverse staff — including former players that have zero front office experience. He has gone from the up and comer to a desired hire.

History in the Draft:

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Final Thoughts:

The answer for Tom Gores and company is a broad search to replace and rebuild this franchise. As much as Scott Perry fits the mold and deserves to be a general manager, his hiring might send the wrong message to fans that want to see a major overhaul.

Executives shouldn’t be worrying about messages though. The day the stop worrying about what people think and trust the people they hire, the faster the Detroit Pistons return to prominence.