Detroit Pistons: 10 Best Moves by Joe Dumars
Earlier this week, I put together an article highlighting Detroit Pistons team president Joe Dumars' 10 worst moves since he began running the team.
It was suggested to me that I should put together a list of his 10 best moves as well, so here goes.
As I stated before, Dumars has had some rousing successes to go along with some clunkers. Overall, I always break him down into two semesters: the first five or so years and the last five or so years.
In the first semester, he was amazing. In the last semester, anything but.
However, it looks as though we need to change it to a trimester approach, and this third trimester is far from over.
Here is a look at Dumars' top 10 moves he has made since taking over the Pistons.
10(tie) Trading Darko Milicic for the Rodney Stuckey
Anyone that follows my articles knows my feelings about Rodney Stuckey.
I feel he has underachieved and is consistently inconsistent with his production.
That being said, he represented a very strong move by Dumars.
He realized he had blown the Darko pick, and so instead of clinging to hope that the big Serbian would figure out his potential, he shipped him off for a mid first round pick.
He then had the foresight to see the talent in Stuckey despite the fact that he played for a tiny school in Washington.
Now, Stuckey has been far from the savior we thought he would be (remember when we used to compare him to Dwyane Wade?), but he has been picking up his game this year and has become the team's best perimeter defender.
Add to that his ability to get to the hoop and the fact that that draft was very weak and you come away impressed that Dumars got this kid.
10.Drafted Jason Maxiell
Okay, so Jason Maxiell's numbers won't blow you out of the water.
He is a career six points, four rebounds per game player.
However, he is a valuable member of the Pistons interior defense, and someone that nobody was looking at in 2005.
Dumars selected him with a late first round pick, and he certainly would be a top 15 pick had that draft been conducted again.
9.Drafted Jonas Jerebko
What I really like about the Jonas pick was that he represented a break from the Neo-Dumars focus of bringing in finesse guys that can't play defense and went back to the old school, dyed in the wool bread and butter of hustle Pistons basketball.
Jerebko was a second round pick in a fairly deep draft.
That being said, the players drafted behind Jerebko make him such an astonishing pick for Dumars.
Jerebko will never be a star caliber player, but he is the perfect glue player that should help this team for years to come.
8.Signing Antonio McDyess
When Antonio McDyess came into the league in 1995, he was an explosive player, capable of 20 points and 10 rebounds every night.
Tim Duncan was one of many players that were frustrated by McDyess' athleticism. He quickly became one of the elite power forwards in the game.
But nasty injuries curtailed his career and threatened to end it permanently.
That's when Dumars decided to take a chance on McDyess and the rest is history.
McDyess didn't win a title with Detroit, but he did help them to four straight deep runs, including game seven of the Finals in 2005.
McDyess was the perfect fit in Detroit, a big man that could take some pressure off of Rasheed Wallace on offense, and some of the load from Ben Wallace on defense.
And when Ben bolted for Chicago, McDyess took on an even bigger role.
While his numbers might not pop out at you, make no mistake about it, this team would not have won nearly as many games without McDyess.
7.Hired Coaches Rick Carlisle and Larry Brown
When Dumars brought in Rick Carlisle in 2001, the Pistons were a middle-of-the-road team at best.
When Carlisle was unceremoniously sacked in 2003, the team was coming off of a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Dumars was responsible for bringing in the relatively unknown Carlisle, but it wasn't his fault that the team had to part ways.
There are tons of rumors swirling over why Carlisle was fired, but most seem to believe it had to do with a rift between Carlisle and ownership, and it was out of Dumars' hands.
Next, he brought in Larry Brown.
This move put the Pistons over the top, as all they did was go to two straight Finals, winning one and losing the other in 7 games.
Brown was sacked as well, but again it was an ownership call. Brown was flirting with other franchises and it ticked off the owner.
But Dumars deserves credit for finding the unknown Carlisle, and turning that bad situation into the legendary Larry Brown.
6.Drafting Tayshaun Prince
Tayshaun Prince was the 23rd overall player taken in the 2002 draft.
If that draft were to be held today, there is no way he slips out of the top five.
At the time, there were concerns about his strength, and whether or not his body could take the pounding.
After 9 years, I think it is safe to say he passed the test.
Prince became one of the league's top defenders during the last decade, and helped keep LeBron James, Paul Pierce, and a host of other talented small forwards at bay for the better part of that decade.
5.Trading Jerry Stackhouse for Rip Hamilton
Following the 2002 season, it appeared as though the Pistons were a team without a clear path forward.
Sure, they had a good direction with some talented players that were just coming off of a playoff run.
But their star, Jerry Stackhouse, had struggled mightily in the playoffs and the team appeared to be missing something.
They got a big piece of that missing puzzle in Richard Hamilton.
Fans were initially unimpressed with Hamilton.
Sure, he had a fine college resume and had been solid in the pros, but fans saw a scrawny player that lacked a consistent three point shot.
Obviously, Hamilton proved them wrong.
He went on to become the Pistons leading scorer over the decade, and was a key piece in helping them win it all in 2004.
4.Drafting Greg Monroe
Scouting talent is an interesting and difficult thing.
For example, when I scouted Greg Monroe, I saw a big man that lacked top-notch athleticism. He also appeared to vanish from time to time, and I thought his game had too much finesse.
I also didn't like the fact that he was not a good shot-blocker.
Personally, I thought the Pistons would be better served going with Ed Davis from North Carolina.
Boy was I wrong!
Monroe has become arguably the best player in that draft, and is improving daily. In fact, he is one of the top centers in the league already, and he is still only in his very early 20's!
Meanwhile, Davis is a solid, although unspectacular big man that just so happens to not block many shots himself these days.
You won this round Dumars!
3.Trading Bob Sura and Others for Rasheed Wallace
I still have no idea how Dumars was able to pull this off.
He essentially got Danny Ainge and the Celtics to help them to their title.
Not only did they get Wallace, who himself was a transcendant talent that put them over the top. But he also managed to pry Mike James away from them, an incredibly underrated point guard that helped transform the second unit into a force.
The Wallace trade represented perhaps the most exciting move in my own fandom; it was a move that almost guaranteed a title in my eyes. And Wallace sure didn't disappoint!
2.Signing Chauncey Billups
Now this move was a great one on all levels.
First off, it really was kind of a gamble. Billups had become a journeyman that couldn't find a home or a real feel for the game.
He came into the league as the number three overall pick, but was traded by Boston before his first season was even over.
After that he bounced around a bit before landing in Minnesota.
While with the Wolves, Billups mainly backed up point guard Terrell Brandon before Brandon got hurt.
Billups stepped up and played very well for Minnesota, scoring over 20 points per game in a limited run in the playoffs.
Dumars had seen enough to get excited about Billups, and offered him the mid-level exception.
That roughly translated into about $5 or $6 million per season. Dumars could not have asked for a better value.
Billups became an All-Star and led the Pistons to the title, earning NBA Finals MVP honors to boot.
1.Trading Grant Hill for Ben Wallace
This truly is Dumars' defining move as president.
He traded a superstar that wanted out, for a backup big man and a backup point guard.
Well, Grant Hill never became what he was in Detroit due to injuries, and Wallace became the face of the Pistons franchise and helped lead them back to the promised land.
Little was known about Wallace when he signed, but he quickly became a fan favorite.
Four Defensive Player of the Year awards paired with four straight All-Star appeances, and yeah, Dumars got the better of that one!