Trajan Langdon hopes to join legendary Detroit Pistons duo

Cleveland Cavaliers v Detroit Pistons
Cleveland Cavaliers v Detroit Pistons / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

The excitement over the Detroit Pistons' recent hiring of President of Basketball Operations Trajan Langdon reminds me of the fever that used to come over Detroit each April in the lead up to the NFL Draft.

For Lions fans, the draft represented hope, and gave us a reason to forget about the woes we had experienced during the prior season. Pistons fans can’t help but to hope the arrival of Langdon will signal better days.

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If that proves to the case he will be mentioned in the same breath as two famously successful Pistons executives that came before him. Anything less will mean he failed to restore the franchise to glory.

Detroit Pistons executive legends: Jack McCloskey

There is only one architect of back-to-back championships in the history of the Detroit Pistons franchise, and that is Jack McCloskey. “Trader Jack,” began his 13-year tenure as Detroit’s general manager in 1979. Prior to his arrival in the Motor City, McCloskey had been an assistant coach for the Lakers, only leaving Los Angeles upon being passed over for a promotion to the head coaching gig. Ten seasons later he would have his revenge as the Pistons swept the Lakers in the 1989 NBA Finals.

As evidenced by his nickname, Trader Jack came out on the winning end of many deals.  One of the first and important pieces of the Bad Boy era team was Bill Laimbeer, acquired in a deal with Cavaliers in 1982. Arguably the finishing touch of McCoskey’s championship masterpiece was the trade for Mark Aguirre, who arrived just in time for the Pistons first of back-to-back championships in 1989. McCloskey also earned high marks for drafting Joe Dumars with a mid-first rounder in 1985, and Dennis Rodman with a second-rounder in1986.

Joe Dumars

That’s right. The very same Joe Dumars who would earn Finals MVP for his on-court excellence in 1989 would move into the front office and steer the organization to a third championship in 2004. In the annals of NBA history, few individuals have had both the on-and-off court contributions that Dumars did with the Pistons.

Focusing on his career as President of Basketball Operations, Dumars’ impact was historic. He took the reins in 2000, was voted the Executive of the Year in 2003, and in ’04 he became the first African American executive to lead a team to an NBA championship.

The second player personnel decision Dumars ever made was to send Grant Hill to the Orlando Magic in a sign-and-trade deal that brought Ben Wallace to the Pistons. Over the next few years, Dumars also acquired Rasheed Wallace and Richard Hamilton in brilliant trades, signed Chauncey Billups, and drafted Tayshaun Prince with a late-first round pick.

With that unassailable track record one can’t help but to wonder what Dumars might have been able to do with a top draft pick!

If Trajan Langdon wants to join these two his task is simple: Bring sustained winning back to Detroit. If he does, he'll be a fellow legend. If he does not, he'll be one of many who tried and failed in the Motor City.