Dan Feldman (a very underrated NBA writer), makes the claim that Gores backed his team into a corner with his statement that the Pistons "better make the playoffs.”
I rarely ever present a thread with comment, but for this one I have to add a few thoughts.
One: When the Pistons signed Josh Smith, I said right away that it was a very large mistake for a rebuilding team to make. I am of the school of thought that says unless that guy makes you a title contender, don't sign him. While the Pistons signed Smith to a decently cap friendly deal, it was clear to anyone who bothered to look, that Smith simply didn't fit the Pistons lineup as currently constructed. He provides great athleticism and defense, but when you are starting two centers in your lineup, you need someone who stretches the floor, and provides a more consistent, and applicable scoring option. Not a guy who consistently proves that he has no idea what a quality possession looks like.
Two: Why trade Ben Gordon when rebuilding? This, by far, is the dumbest thing Joe Dumars has ever done. Was Ben Gordon a part of the big picture for the Pistons? Of course not, but it made far more sense to just let his contract run out. Especially when one considers the price to get out of that contract was to mortage your 1st round pick in what is widely considered to be the best draft in a decade. Essenetially, Dumars got out of a contract that was slightly more than the mid level in exchange for a chance to land a difference maker. Because truth be told, there are 8-10 difference makers in the upcoming draft. I don't just blame Dumars for this, I blame Gores. Placing a playoffs mandate for this franchise was largely ignorant, and showed just how inexperienced he is at owning a professional franchise.
Three: You can't rebuild and compete at the same time, you just can't. This is the single biggest issue that NBA GM's get wrong year in and year out. If you're going to rebuild, FUCKING rebuild, the fans will understand. You have two great pieces in Drummond, and Monroe. Granted they don't fit together all that well, but finding out they couldn't coexist could've been accomplished by just letting the process play out. At that point, you could then likely trade Monroe for a piece that better fits with Drummond, and been much further along. Now, you've got 4 more years of Josh Smith, and are committed to Brandon Jennings, and neither player are great pieces to pair with Drummond. Just rebuild, commit to it and fucking rebuild the correct way. Instead you've created a cluster fuck roster with no discernable direction, and pieces that don't fit together.
Lastly, Maurice Cheeks is a TERRIBLE NBA level coach. He was a terrible hire then, and he's an even worse hire now. He can't handle line up changes, and he has no idea how to handle late game situations. As Phil Jackson is fond of saying, the first indicator of a bad team, is one that makes the same mistakes over and over, and shows no sign that they even understand what those mistakes are. All this being said, It's time for Dumars to go, he has no idea how to compete in today's NBA.
Sorry for my long winded rant.