The Pistons are a train wreck

Submitted by MGoCooper on December 20th, 2011 at 9:27 PM

Usually, if you watch the NBA for long enough, you can get a sense of the direction that a team wants to go in, by the personnel moves they make. With Joe Dumars, I have no clue. This off season is a prime example of the fact that this team has no direction.

-Tayshaun Prince re signed for 5 years

-Jonas Jerebko resigned for 4 years

-Richard Hamilton bought out

-Brandon Knight drafted

-Rodney Stuckey resigned for 3 years

-Amnesty not used on Villanueva or Maxiel


While I love the drafting of Knight, the release of Rip, and the resigning of Jerebko, the coinciding moves have me scratching my head. The goal of any team in the Pistons position, is to play the young guys, and to let bad contracts expire. Stuckey and Prince returning to this roster is baffling on many levels. It's almost as if Dumars is telling the fans "we're gunning for that position just outside of the playoffs, but just good enough to not add a quality piece in the draft". In terms of NBA level talent, Stuckey and Prince are not bad players, they are two solid pieces, just not for this team. This team should be in a clearly defined rebuilding situation, but Dumars appears defiant to accept that.

Brandon Knight, Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko,, and other young players need to be playing as much as possible. But with Tayshaun, Stuckey, Maxiell, and Villanueva being kept on the roster, it limits their opportunities greatly. If you want to win more games, then the aforementioned veterans should absolutely be getting the bulk of the minutes, The problem however, is that the ceiling for where those players can take this team, is incredibly low. Dumars recent comment that if he could tweak the team, he'd only add a big man, are incredibly disturbing. It cements what we've all feared, that he believes this team is just a serviceable big man away from competing.

I always felt that Dumars should be given the chance to rebuild this team, given his incredible success during his tenure. But he has given every indication, that he either doesn't believe we need to rebuild, or he considers this rebuilding. If this were football, I'd be behind Dumars version of rebuilding, but this is not football. the NBA is a star driven league, not a collection of role players driven league. I know it worked once, but the NBA, like life, changes.

Pistons fans, we're in NBA purgatory. No where good enough to make an impact or even make the playoffs. But not bad enough to add a star by way of the draft. Equaling, Purgatory.


Edit: Feel free to down vote, I'm a disgusted Pistons fan ranting out of disgust.



December 20th, 2011 at 9:55 PM ^

I'll  watch the Pistons this year, but it will be through the gaps in my fingers as they cover my field of vision. This may not end well, this season. I am not sure what Joe Dumars is doing honestly - I hope there is some kind of long-term goal in mind, of course.


December 20th, 2011 at 9:58 PM ^

     The economy is a mess, Hollywood has run out of decent movie ideas, and thousands of years with a pronounced lack of natural selection has likely doomed our species to eventual extinction. 

     That being said, I have faith in the pistons that they might just be bad enough to land a decent draft pick anyway.  Yeah, I'm an optimist.


December 20th, 2011 at 10:02 PM ^

Monroe, Knight, and Jerebko are good pieces. Maxiell is good off the bench and Daye has some potential to be another Tayshaun.

But other than that, just trade them away for players with expiring contracts and draft picks. The roster is just goofy and I have no idea what direction we're going. 


December 20th, 2011 at 10:02 PM ^

See, I don't think the Stuckey signing was that bad - he's a reasonable price for a young player who has proven to be a good NBA player.  Jonas coming back should help, and yeah Maxiell and CV are nothing great, but I'd rather hang onto the amnesty for a year and use it for a full-season player next year.  This shortened season is going to be weird, but this is still a team with some continuity and a new coach who needs players.  And while this draft looks good, I'm not sure that bottoming out would net them a truly great prospect - it feels like a draft full of 2-time All Stars, not some transcendent player (though I'll admit to not being super-knowledgeable about some of the projected high draft picks).

I don't think Dumars has been great at GM for a couple of years, but who around the 
NBA other than Presti, Forman, and (maybe) Riley has been any good at really accumulating talent?  It tends to be draft picks plus some luck, and maybe Joe D has been on a dry spell for a bit.  But I still think he is a better GM than a bunch of other teams, and I expect this team to turn it around quicker than some expect.


December 20th, 2011 at 10:09 PM ^


I have to get this off my chest responding to someone actually saying they like how Dan Gilbert trashed Lebron. When the owner, after "the decision", comes out and talks about trying harder to win a championship because Lebron leaves means one thing to me. He obviously didn't try as hard as he could when Lebron was there. I didn't like how things went down, but when Gilbert admitted he didn't try as hard as he possibly could when Lebron was on the team, Lebron was completely off the hook. Gilbert is an idiot. How did the same team minus one player do last year?

turbo cool

December 20th, 2011 at 10:26 PM ^

There are two sides of Dan Gilbert IMO. 1) The guy who is trying to reinvigorate Detroit. If you're from Michigan, or just care about our state and our city of Detroit, you've got to respect what Gilbert is doing. I know I do. And then there's... 2) The douchebag Cav's owner. He's not a douchebag because he owns the Cavs, he's a douchebag for all of the reasons listed above. He's an awful owner and shouldn't ever have become an owner. I hated hearing the 'small town' owners bitch during the lockout because they were at a disadvantage. You bought the team knowing your team would be in Cleveland or New Orleans or wherever. If you don't understand the economics of the NBA and/or don't have enough money to finance a succesful team, then don't become an owner. Oh, and don't bitch about your star player leaving, hey Lebron, when he singlehandedly raised the value of your franchise exponentially higher than it had ever been before and actually had people from all over the world watching a Cav's game.

But then again, there are 2 sides to Dan Gilbert...


December 20th, 2011 at 10:43 PM ^

I really didn't want to post again on this thread but that second to last point is the one that really baffles me whenever I think about these owners. They're not stupid. They're all savvy businessmen. Seriously, it can't be easy to make a billion dollars. Then, they make a terrible investment (no money manager would recommend investing in the NBA) that is a total arrogance move. Who doesn't want to own a sports franchise? Look at Cuban, he wins the trophy. He can put that on his shelf and party with the players and act like one of the cool kids.

But the other side is the Dan Gilberts of the league. He wants to be Cuban but he can't put together a winner and so he claims the system is unfair and he should be able to make a profit even though thats never what it was about. Sell the team then. There's only thirty of them and there are other billionaires that would love to be part of the club.


December 20th, 2011 at 10:49 PM ^

Spot on assessment about Gilbert. But to be honest they really lost 2/3 of the roster and their coach. That team was a revolving door for the last 2 years. Ilgauskas was their starting Center and went to Miami and Varejao went down with an injury for most of last season, then Shaq left for Boston. Plus Delonte West (a key Guard for them, started the 09 season) left the same year as Lebron. Guard Mo Williams left that year for Toronto too, came back right at the end of the season. Guards Coby Carl, Cedrick Jackson, and Sebastien Telfair left, pretty much for retirement. Forwards Jamario Moon, Darnell Jackson, and Leon Powe stopped in Cleveland for maybe half the season before moving on, and Forwards Danny Green and Jawad Williams were just cut. Only players still with the team from Lebrons last season in Cleveland are Danny Gibson, JJ Hickson, Anderson Varejao, Mo Williams, and Antawn Jamison and Jamison was really only thrown in at the last minute before the decision. Plus last year was the first year under a new head coach.


December 21st, 2011 at 8:23 AM ^

Good assessment of the current state of the Cavs and why last year tanked so badly but I do feel the need to point a few things to the Gilbert-bashers:

1. His issue, and that of virtually all small market owners, is that the players have taken control of the league and basketball is dangerously close to becoming baseball where only a few teams can compete each year due to the disparity in talent distribution.  Is that what people want?  I would think everyone of the 25 small market teams would support his efforts to try and get parity back in place on some level.

2. If you side with Lebron please take a moment and read the new book "The Whore of Akron".  Not only is it funny as Hell it also points out pretty clearly what life with Lebron was like around here.  Yes he has a right to go anywhere he wants.  And yes we have a right to hate him when he does so in a manner to inflict the maximum damage on a franchise (announce last day of free agent signing) and does it in a manner designed to humiliate an entire city on national TV.  Fuck him.

3. Gilbert was willing and eager to surround Lebron with whatever players he wanted to have here.  Unfortunately for us, he refused to tell anybody who he wanted and did nothing to help "recruit" free agents here as he has so aggressively done in Miami.

4. The Cavs practice facilities are second to none and where actually built to be close to Lebron's 40,000 square foot palace.  Gilbert spares no expense when it comes to the team but that doesnt really matter cause there's no real nightlife here and it snows a lot.

Like it or not guys Cleveland =Detroit when it comes to the current state of the NBA.  Both are unattractive, rust-belt cities with little or no "cool factor" when it comes to free agent movement.  I LOVE the NBA and was a die-hard Pistons fan and Cavs season ticket holder but I hate seeing what I think the NBA is morphing into......Baseball 2.0.


December 20th, 2011 at 10:41 PM ^

It seems to me that a team can do fine in the NBA given one or two "superstars" and a solid rotation of role players going 8 deep. The problem with the Pistons is that it's all role players. No true point since Chauncey left, no go-to big since Sheed let himself go. Not that those guys were superstars necessarily, but they elevated a good team to a great status. Then for the past few years, I just keep thinking "STOP DRAFTING 2-GUARDS" and "NO MORE BIG WHITE DUDES" and I also have no idea where the team is headed. Dumars used to be a risk taker, and everything worked out for him. Now he's "just a guy" who's making the wrong reads, and the team has no identity. I'd love to see him turn it back around - remember when Lindsey Hunter and Mike James were good for 2 or 3 late-game steals in the full press? Then they'd hand it back to the starters. The Pistons need starters. A solid pass-first point guard and a big dude who can score 15+ a night shouldn't be too much to ask. There's my rant.


December 20th, 2011 at 11:20 PM ^

that there is a thread about the pissed-ons?

what about the winter meetings for baseball.  alberquerque is out till all-star break because he surgery on his elbow.

the wings are playing like the wings, again. 


December 21st, 2011 at 1:03 AM ^

It's the start of the NBA season bro.  It's midway through the NHL season and outside of a 5 game stretch the Wings have been great this season.  Just look at the stats for the Wings vs. Chicago and you'll see who the best team in the Central is.  No one is going to talk about baseball in December.  Don't read the thread if you don't like it. 


December 21st, 2011 at 3:18 AM ^

The pistons have been a train wreck for at least the last 3 years.  Pretty much since Joe traded Chauncey and resigned Rip in the same day they were toast.   That is not a plan, that is schizophrenia. 

Look Up_See Blue

December 21st, 2011 at 1:00 AM ^

I stopped paying attention to the Pistons when Joe D traded Chauncey Billups for Allen iverson and that was a few years ago.  I can only imagine the decision making of Mr. Dumars hasn't gotten any better since then.  I hope all you Pistons fans can find something positive about this season, but just don't have too high of expectations from the product on the court.


December 21st, 2011 at 2:11 AM ^

To be honest I think signing Stuckey to that 3 year deal is one of the better moves Dumars has made this off-season. That contract isn't all that expensive for a contending team willing to part ways with a draft pick or a young player. This wasn't like trying to trade RIP and his awful deal the last 2 years.

I think Monroe, Knight, and Jonas are solid pieces to build around, but I think they need another Big that can provide Monroe with help down low. Just my 2 cents but I really like Frank at the helm of this team, he provides much needed discipline and defense, should be an interesting season regardless.

His Dudeness

December 21st, 2011 at 8:27 AM ^

It's almost as if Dumars is telling the fans "we're gunning for that position just outside of the playoffs, but just good enough to not add a quality piece in the draft".


So youre saying they are going to do the very best they can with the very best they can get? Hmmmm yes that is troubling...

Just one more reason why the NBA is terrible. The incentives to do as bad as you can in a particular year are worth more than the incentives to well in every year that you can.


December 21st, 2011 at 10:13 AM ^

I'm not sure that they won't make the playoffs...

I do agree, however, that as far as immediate returns go, you want to finish as a top 4 seed (aka not first-round fodder for a higher-ranked team) or a bottom 4 team (for the best chances of acquiring a top draft pick.)

My solution would be have the entire draft lottery determined by ping pong balls, not just the top 3 draft slots.  This way the best team in lottery wouldn't just look at the picks 1, 2, 3, or 14, but rather every pick would be available to them.


December 21st, 2011 at 10:52 AM ^

Again, I downvoted you for upvoting your own thread.  And I also think you're feeding the trolls who hate on the *OT NBA* by posting so frequently about the league.

I could justify all of those listed moves (even not amnestying Maxiell, who I've been disgusted with for a while now) in isolation, but taken collectively I understand why it appears there is no direction for the team and that we have a random assembly of talent.

I am most certainly NOT a Joe apologist, but my response would be that he's keeping a few vets around to bridge the gap while the youth on this roster grows.
This is a young team.
PG Knight is 20.  FC Monroe is 21.  GF Daye is 23.  F Jerebko is 24.  G Stuckey is 25.  F Villanueva is 27.  PG Bynum is 28.  G Gordon is 28.
Tayshaun Prince is a healthy, versatile 31.  You won't find many teams in the NBA without at least one starter in their 30s.  

That under-28 eight man rotation alone could make the playoffs this season if coached properly.  Remember that Kuester was an absolute buffoon and that Curry was a complete tool of a coach  Monroe couldn't get in the game to start last season, Daye was played at PF, Jerebko was injured, Stuckey was forcing things at PG, Villanueva was allowed to chuck threes and shun rebounds, Gordon was yanked around and not given shots.  Things could be different this season.

The Pistons will be fine.  I'm at my list bits of patience regarding Joe Dumars, but this roster isn't as messed up as it looks.


December 21st, 2011 at 10:57 AM ^

Joe D.'s initial run of success came with Stackhouse, Cliff Robinson, Big Ben, Jon Barry, and Corliss Williamson.  None of those guys was real exciting when we picked him up.  Yeah, he made a big mistake by forking over a bunch of cash to Gordon and Charlie V., but I don't think Joe lacks an eye for talent.  Being an NBA GM requires a lot of luck (see Danny Ainge), and finding that useful core of guys can be a crap shoot.  I see Joe has having built two good teams (the initial run with Uncle Cliffy and Stack and the championship run with Rip, Chauncey and co.) and one bad one (Charlie V. and Ben Gordon).  I'm not totally demoralized just yet.

But if we go 30-52 this year, I'm going to start to worry.


December 21st, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

I'm not a huge basketball fan to start with. I'm sonic appreciative: the crack of football pads against each other, or the sound maplewood makes when it strikes leather covering wound cork. The echoes of skates and playcalls and hits bouncing off ice and plexiglass and boards (or even better, floating into wintry night air!!!).

Close your eyes and listen to basketball and what is it? Grunts. Sneakers squeaking.

Meanwhile the crowd noise in basketball is too flowing. It builds on itself: Ah. AH. AHH. AHHH. AHHH..Oooh. ... ... ... Oh! ... ... Oh! Ah!. AH. AHH. AHHH. etc.

Contrast with football crowd noise: eeeeeeeuuuuuuuAAHHHHHHH!HHHH!H!!!! Or hockey crowd noise: ooooh, ooohh, oooohhhhhAAAAAAOohhhhh.

But I don't hate basketball. I just need to really like the team to watch it. I loved the Bad Boys as a kid--they were briefly my top thing until I saw a thing called Desmond Howard. And the same time those guys were operating was when Michigan had the '89 run, and then it was the Fab Five. Those were some teams, man.

When the Pistons are in a playoff run (who cares about the regular season unless you've got free tickets?) I get into it because there's so few players you end up knowing each of the starters like you know your quarterback. So it's a personality-based fandom, and when I can't get behind the personalities there's not much to root for.

There's no personality -- except for being whiners -- in the Pistons anymore. However the Michigan Basketball team is filled with it. I had to come to Michigan basketball late because I got to M in '98 and I couldn't root for Ellerbe or most of his guys, and then there was no reason to bore yourself to death with the "let's throw the ball around the perimeter a lot" games of the Amaker era when there was Chauncey and Big Ben and Rip and Sheed and Tayshaun 

. Beilein, however? Novak? Burke and Hardaway and Horford and Morgan and Smotrycz and Douglass...they're a hell of a team to root for. They do things when you watch them that become great storylines.

They are why I have put my Pistons fandom into virtual hibernation. I don't even know the salary cap situation they're in anymore, and I used to always know the roster situation of any of my teams. I blame Michigan hoops; my basketball fandom is tied up into the guys, not the brand. There's nothing about Villanueva or Gordon that makes you want to particularly root for them. But you can't watch three Hardaway games without developing a mancrush. Or meet Bacari once. Forget the Pistons -- we've got Wolverines.


December 21st, 2011 at 12:37 PM ^

Funny. I've always thought of the NBA and basketball players as having the most personality of any of the major professional sports.

Let's put it this way: I've never heard an NFL, MLB, or NHL team's playoff hopes jeopardised because one player's chauffeur filled another player's Escalade with popcorn.

I also don't know of another sport where a team's owner sits in the front row and openly heckles players (Donald Sterling of the Clippers).

Not to mention angry letters written in comic sans, James Dolan, Mark Cuban, and Orlando's CEO was just fired last week for drunk dialing Dwight Howard at one in the morning and begging him to stay. Only in the NBA does that happen.


December 21st, 2011 at 11:54 AM ^

I'm not a die-hard NBA fan although I like to know what's going on with the Stones so thank you for the thread. That being said, I had downvote you for upvoting your own's an immune response.

sports fan

December 21st, 2011 at 12:15 PM ^

Invoke an old, well-known concept of achieving victory; The Team, The Team, The Team.  In basketball a team consists of 12 to 15 players, only 5 of which play at the same time.  In the business world a modern concept of group dynamics says that when you change one member of the team, you change all the relationships between all the team members.  Obviously the relationship to the new member changes the group dynamics.  However, changing one member of a team also changes the relationship of each of the remaining team members to each other.

Let's say you have a team of 5 members.  If you change member number No. 5 and keep the remaining members on the team, that changes not only the relationship the 4 remaining team members have with team member 5 (position number 5 ), but changing player No. 5 changes the relationship between players No. 1 and No. 2, the relationship between players 3 and 1, the relationship between players 2 and 4, all up and down the line.  Having really cohesive teamwork becomes more problematical.

Jumping to the basketball endgame; when you substitute, you have a different team on the floor and different relationships among all 5 players on the floor.  Each time you substitute multiple players, with different combinations, you have a different team.  The typical basketball team has many different teams on the floor during a game.

Teamwork wins, however.  If you have 5 players who stay together, work together, workout together, practice together, they become a better team.  AND you don't necessarily need a star player to  make it work.

Two annecdotal examples:  The Piston had 4 players in the NBA all star game a few years back.  None of them were starters, as I recall; and there was some speculation that they would be substituted in together.  Charles Barkley, among others, opined that they would get killed, presumably because they had no star(power) among them.  What happened.  When they (4 Pistons and one other player) went into the game together, they built what I recall was a small lead into what I recall was a 20 point lead, to the dismay of Mr. Barkley. Why?  I hypothesize it was because, unlike any other all star team. they had worked together, worked out together, practiced together, knew one another very well, and were extra "accountable" to one another.

Second anecdotal example: Winter olympics a few years ago.  The Swedish hockey team won the gold medal.  Why? Six or seven of those players were all members of the same NHL team, the Red Wings.  They worked out together, practiced . . . . . You get the picture.  They were a team, much moreso than any other national team in the olympics.

The only way the Pistons can win in the current situation, no star(s), good role players, is if every group of 5 players they put on the floor is as much of a team as can be constructed.  I would like to seem them use team substitution.  Contruct two 5-man teams and play them consistently, play them together, practice against one another, hold them accountable to one another, keep the units together as much as injuries will allow, major playing time minutes for both groups.  I think it may be the only way for them to succeed this year.