The Detroit Pistons have stumbled since trading Chauncey Billups and signing Josh Smith. Theyâve been stuck for poor drafting, and itâs a long way out.
Itâs 2008, the Pistons just reached their 6th straight conference finals. The end. Well, at least for the great Detroit Basketball that we had grown accustomed to for 6, incredible seasons.
Fast forward to Game 4 of the 2008-09 season, Joe Dumars pulls the trigger on a move that saw our beloved Chauncey Billups vaulted for an aging superstar. The whole point was to grab a âstarâ, while clearing cap space for the following summer.
This was a BAD move, but not just because it ended the six straight Conference Finals streak. This move catapultedÂ the Pistons into a decade of mediocrity that theyâre still trying to get out of.
Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva were coming off of solid seasons in Chicago and Milwaukee respectively, and the Pistons decided to throw all of their long-term money at them, and hope for the best. That went well.
During that time the Pistons didnât hit the 40-win mark, which is fine for a team rebuilding, but to properly rebuild you need to draft well. And thatâs a HUGE thing the Pistons have not done over this time frame.
They werenât bad enough for a Top 5 pick, and werenât close to competing for a playoff spot. The absolute death zone for any team. While drafting is always a crapshoot and every team passes on great players every year, the Pistons seemingly got it wrong time and time again.
2012: Drafted Andre Drummond â Nice!
Fast forward to 2014 where the Pistons new owner Tom Gores wants to make a splash. Enter Josh Smith and his 4-year, $64 million contract? Nowadays, that contract doesnât seem too wild, but this was before the salary cap spike and this was a lot of money that turned into a borderline All-Star who lost his athleticism and basketball skill the second he put on a Pistons Jersey. No one couldâve predicted that the Monstars wouldâve come for Smith, but they did, and it set the franchise back even further.