Every decision in recent history, that Joe Dumars and Tom Gores have made, have led the Detroit Pistons their team to this the point where they stand today: a general manager and an owner of a team that still cannot make the playoffs despite being in an awful conference.
Dumars’ and Gores’ decisions has have led them to a 24-38 record as the team plows through the final two months of the regular season. Since the “glorious” days of Darko Milicic, in which the Pistons actually were contenders won things, fans and members of the organization have gotten antsy.
Drafting Milicic is almost universally regarded as one of the worst mistakes of Dumars’ career. What redeemed Dumars was the fact that he won an NBA championship that season. From there, things went downhill. The following season, they settled for a conference title, and for the next three years they had to settle for division titles. Since 2009, the Pistons have failed to make been silent from the postseason.
To fix this, management tried a number of things. As far as head coaches go, Flip Saunders got the axe after 2008, Michael Curry had his shot next, followed by John Kuester, Lawrence Frank, and Maurice Cheeks who got made it halfway through the 2014 this season. John Loyer, the interim head-coach his is fighting for his position still. Larry Brown, who won a ring with the team, was dismissed after 2005.
Amidst the constant personnel changes, it is a wonder that team members were able to perform cohesively at all. The lack of stability has probably contributed to why they have done so poorly.
While changing coaches, the roster of the team constantly changed too. Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, Tayshaun Prince and other members of the championship team were traded away. Meanwhile, Allen Iverson, Ben Gordon and now Josh Smith all got their shots to play in Detroit. Last year, a much older Billups returned to the team, but so far the 37-year-old has not been able to make the championship difference he once did.
Ownership of the team has also shifted with Gores’ purchase of the Pistons in 2011. Gores has appeared to help the team about as much as the Iverson trade.
As far as draft picks go, besides the Milicic debacle, Dumars has had fair luck. Brandon Knight was a helpful member of the team during his two seasons. Dumars ultimately decided to trade Knight to Milwaukee for Bucks guard Brandon Jennings. Jennings has done his fair part in Detroit as well. Andre Drummond is clearly a rising star in the NBA and is invaluable to the team.
With all of these decisions compiled, one thing is hinted. Examining all these decisions, one thing is clear: youth is Detroit’s best option. Maybe the secret to success does not lie in constant staff changes after all. Maybe the secret lies in allowing the team’s young players to grow and develop.
Colin Jackson is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.