Joe Dumars once had the Midas touch during his playing days as a sidekick to Isaiah Thomas in the engine for the Detroit Pistons back in the 80s and 90s. With Dumars and Thomas in the backcourt, the Pistons won back-to-back titles during the ‘88-‘89 and ’89-‘90 seasons. They were a dynasty in the making for sure. Three players from those teams are now Hall-of-Famers: Dumars and Thomas and most recent selectee, Dennis Rodman. Dumars, no doubt playing with Thomas and playing for the late Chuck Daly, learned plenty.
That education during his playing days allowed Dumars to show a Jerry West-ish type of touch when he reconstructed a new Pistons championship contending team in the 2000s. The Pistons won the 2004 NBA Championship with a five-game massacre of the Los Angeles Lakers and returned to the championship round against the San Antonio Spurs the following year, which they lost in seven games.
He brought in players that no one else wanted and gave them new leases on basketball life. Chauncey Billups had bounced around the league, having been on four teams in as many seasons. Richard “Rip” Hamilton, although Michael Jordan (then of the Washington Wizards general manager position) liked and even admired him as a player didn’t hesitate to trade him when he got the chance, for Jerry Stackhouse. The crafty drafting of Tayshaun Prince late in the first round of the 2002 NBA Draft proved to be a steal. Then there was Ben Wallace, all of 6-feet-9 inches of him with virtuously no offense to speak of trying to make the NBA as a center. This crew did well for a few years but no titles or even an Eastern Conference title; that went to the Jason Kidd led New Jersey Nets. A huge bargain of a trade in Rasheed Wallace from the Atlanta Hawks was presented in midseason of 2004 and a championship team was born.
But the pristine stroke that made Joe so dynamic took a turn towards the negative. First, the blown assignment of not selecting Carmelo Anthony in the 2003 NBA Draft and instead selected a then-17-year-old Darko Milicic. Needless to say, that experiment failed miserably. Larry Brown, then the coach at the time who’s never been known to play rookies anyway really didn’t take too kindly to Milicic with a veteran roster on his hands. And the Pistons had a dearth of big men.
There’s hope for the Pistons yet, however, if Dumars plays his cards right. Right now he has a team with offensive firepower led by Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to name a few. He signed both to free agent contracts in July 2009. But there’s no real locomotive engineer (proven point guard) to drive the train. And aside from being able to get the first or second pick in this year’s draft to be in position to draft a Kyrie Irving the next, the best thing to do is trade Rip Hamilton to Cleveland for Baron Davis. They aren’t too far apart in money and a few other pieces may have to be included to make the deal work.
Let’s not forget…when Davis is fit and motivated he can be one of the top five in talent of the point guards in the NBA. If Davis were to go to Detroit and he’s ready to play, this would help Gordon’s game tremendously. Dumars didn’t bring Gordon over from Chicago only to have him shoot the ball five or six times a game and not have an impact on the game. Gordon is an offensive juggernaut who is feared most by the opposing teams in the 4th quarter when the game is on the line. Everyone knows if Gordon gets on a roll, it’s a wrap.
The problem with that is if there’s no one creating space (shots) for themselves or for his teammates, opposing defenses can stay home on defense. That will stagnate the offense to a virtual halt. Point guards in this era of the NBA help their teams most when the opposing guard is playing back on their heels on defense.
Detroit needs big-man help also but having firepower in the backcourt negates the need for a Wilt Chamberlain type. A beefy and serviceable big man is all that’s needed thus the BD and BG Show could be in full effect. And if Rodney Stuckey is still around, he could serve as the 3rd guard off the bench to provide relief at both spots.
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