Detroit Pistons: Joe Dumars was a bridge to three eras

Detroit Pistons guard Joe Dumars (4) is defended by Chicago Bulls guard Sam Vincent Credit: MPS-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Joe Dumars (4) is defended by Chicago Bulls guard Sam Vincent Credit: MPS-USA TODAY Sports /

However you want to look at it, Joe Dumars is one of the greatest Detroit Pistons of all time.

He played his entire 14-year career with the Pistons, something that is pretty rare, even for a guy who made six All-Star teams. Players were much more likely to stick with their original teams in those days, but even Michael Jordan didn’t play his entire career with one team.

Joe Dumars was one of the best two-ways guards in NBA history, as he could get you 25 points on one end and guard the other team’s best perimeter player on the other. The passing of time has actually made Dumars underrated as a player, but those of us who saw him play know that he is arguably the second-best Piston of all time after Isiah Thomas.

But he wasn’t just great as a player, he acted as a bridge between three different eras of Detroit Pistons’ basketball and helped bring success to all of them.

Detroit Pistons: Joe Dumars connected three eras

Dumars won two titles with the Detroit Pistons as part of the Bad Boys, the era that really defined the franchise and put them on the NBA map.

I would argue that the 1988-89 Pistons were a top-5 team of all-time, a deep and talented group that had one of the best defenses in the NBA but also boasted an underrated offense as well.

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That era came to a fairly abrupt end and the team started to break apart, but Dumars didn’t go anywhere. He was still on the team when they drafted Grant Hill, and was part of the 1996-97 squad that might have been the Pistons most overachieving team in franchise history.

Dumars finally retired after the1998-99 season as one of the greatest Pistons of all time and the lone holdout from those Bad Boys’ teams, the guy who ushered in a new era.

But he wasn’t done there.

Dumars was hired as President of Basketball operations just a season later, and would once again be tasked with being the bridge between eras.

He was one of the best executives in the NBA in his 14 seasons, winning a title, two Eastern Conference championships and six trips to the conference finals, again acting as the bridge between the Grant Hill era and the Goin’ to Work crew.

It’s hilarious and criminal that some fans think of Dumars’ time as an executive a failure because he hired some bad coaches and made a few bad free-agent signings in the latter stages of his career with the Pistons, as few executives in the history of the sport have put together a run of sustained success like Dumars had.

I think when you factor in his many roles and longevity with the team, as well as his success as star player, role player and executive, Joe Dumars has an argument as the greatest Piston of all time.

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