The Beginning of the End of Joe Dumars' Reign in Detroit

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The Beginning of the End of Joe Dumars' Reign in Detroit
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

If you can't tell by now, I'm not very happy with the Detroit Pistons.

I wasn't necessarily against their decision to go out and spend $16 million right away, but when team President Joe Dumars came out today and said the team wasn't ready, I've decided to throw in the towel.

I've said before that this team has holes to fill before it can compete with the likes of Boston, Orlando, and Cleveland, and with today's decision to make long-time assistant coach John Kuester the team's head coach, the Pistons may have widened the gap that much more.

I can understand if the team was skeptical of bringing in a guy like Avery Johnson for the long term. Johnson's most notable for putting his ego ahead of the team, and for a rebuilding team, maybe a long-term contract wasn't the right move.  

Yet, why not make him convince the team otherwise and give him a little more money in the first couple seasons to make it worth his while?

If there was one thing that Johnson brought to the table that made him a better candidate, it would have been his ability to shape Rodney Stuckey into a point guard. 

I am aware of the fact that Kuester was a point guard at North Carolina and in the NBA, but Johnson was a much more successful player at the professional level.

However, I believe one man, Joe Dumars, did have something to say about the kind of coach he would choose to fill the void.

"We think it's best to move forward with a more experienced coach to get us through these times right now," said Dumars.

And with that, I don't think there was anyone who disagreed with him. Michael Curry was thrown into a rocky situation, which may have been handled better with additional time spent as an assistant.  

Dumars continued to elaborate on what kind of coach he was looking for.

"That's probably a little bit too much for a first-time head coach," Dumars said. "It's a little unfair of me to put him in that kind of situation."

Absolutely. I don't think anyone wouldn't have preferred to keep Curry as an assistant with a different candidate selected last year for the job.

Wait, did Dumars just say he didn't want someone who would be in their first year of head coaching?

Oh yeah, he did.

Good thing Kuester has been a head coach for a long time.  

Wait, he hasn't.

Kuester has been an assistant for 16 years now, which is fantastic. He has probably paid his dues and is ready to be a head coach in this league, but not for this team at this time.

I'm not necessarily against Kuester, but more against Dumars. He is slowly eroding away any credibility that this organization has by doing what he has.  

Johnson was clearly the right choice, but because Dumars wouldn't meet him half way in terms of the contract's value or length, he goes out and finds a secondary choice.

Yet, Dumars' statement when the choice was made to bring in Kuester was, "We are in the same sort of transition mode as we were at the beginning of the Rick Carlisle era."

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with that statement, but when you're in a transition mode, you don't go out and overpay for two free agents who aren't "superstars."

Great teams are built with a foundation of a superstar whois taken in the draft. For example, Dwight Howard is the centerpiece in Orlando, LeBron James is the centerpiece in Cleveland, and Kevin Durant is the centerpiece in Oklahoma City.  

These guys are great players, not Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.

I'm not taking anything away from them, though. They're solid role players and can make a big contribution, but if this team is looking to get back to the type of basketball that this city has grown accustomed to, then giving that money to those type of players isn't the most efficient way to begin.

Essentially, this team traded Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace for Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. I wouldn't make that trade now, let alone after Wallace's contract expired. Ever.

So, I leave you with this bold prediction: The Los Angeles Clippers, the same team that won 19 games last year, will win as many or more games than the Detroit Pistons next season.

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