Pistons-Nuggets: Biblical Test Awaits Joe Dumars!

Sherman L. McCleskyCorrespondent IJanuary 7, 2009

I consider myself to be a very religious person.

At times when I read the Bible, I feel as if I need to apply its warnings to the things I see in life, versus the things that were to happen to me upon death.

For example, Matthew 26:52, the King James version:

"Then said Jesus unto him, put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword"

At the time, Jesus was literally telling Peter to not draw his sword. But as time had passed, the symbolism of this warning had grown to become more philosophical. Now, it means, "The way you carry yourself about, shall determine your own destiny".

For Joe Dumars, Friday night should serve as a warning to him.

When Dumars became the GM for the Detroit Pistons, his mission was obvious—to recreate the "Bad Boys" style of basketball, but without the brutality. Tough defense, emphasis on rebounds, putbacks, and great guard play.

It worked to near perfection; six straight Eastern Conference Finals appearances, two NBA Finals appearances and one NBA Championship. But for all of his greatness, Joe Dumars had an Achilles heel in his role as a GM—he lives by the guards.

When the news that AI was coming to Detroit, I was ecstatic—until I found out that it came with a price. Chauncey Billups. I knew right then and there that the Pistons were doomed this season.

I don't know why he did it, but apparently Joe Dumars probably made the biggest mistake of his career as a GM—he traded away a leader for a scorer.

Chauncey Billups is arguably the best leader in the NBA. Throw all of his stats aside, and listen to the post-game interviews from his teammates. All I keep hearing are stories of how he manages the game so well, how he spreads the wealth to his teammates, and how he can take over the game when the situation calls for it.

Chauncey Billups was the goose that laid the golden eggs—we all know how that story ended.

Joe Dumars is so obsessed with having "great" guards, that he can't see the forest from the trees. The problem is not within his guards. Jeez, he has more guards than the Secret Service. And apparently, he has no reverse gear in his car because he keeps going "forward" in the draft.

Ahhh, now you get it...


Rasheed Wallace is an aging power forward trying to be a center. I admire his courage, but father time is catching up with him. His best plays are on offense when he's shooting from the perimeter—that's because the center he's up against is too slow to keep up with him.

However, on defense, the taller, younger, and stronger center will pound Wallace under rim for an easy layup, if not a dunk.

In last year's playoffs, I'd heard something coming from Rasheed Wallace that chilled me to the bone. He was asking the coaches to give the reserves more playing time. In short, he was tired and he was asking for help in the middle. You would think that Dumars would have picked up on that, but he didn't—he still loves those guards.

So here's where I stand on Friday's game between the Pistons and the Nuggets. The Pistons will win this battle because of the absence of Carmelo Anthony (broken hand), but the Nuggets will win the war, in terms of playoff life, because of the leadership of Chauncey Billups.

As for Joe Dumars...

You live by the guards, you die by the guards. Think about that before you decide to trade away the best guard you ever had on your team.