The Pistons have obviously been a perplexing team to watch this season.
After displaying a promising preseason, they were mercilessly attacked by the ghost of sprained ankles, bad backs, and broken noses. But instead of losing their next five games, they managed to WIN them.
And in exciting fashion, at that.
Next, we Piston fans were relieved to hear that Rip Hamilton was making his long-awaited return. Only to see him go down two games later. Oh, and leaving us a 13-game losing streak as a gift. Finally, everybody became healthy, right on time to display every single problem we predicted they would have.
The culprit? No, not injuries, chemistry problems, or lack of motivation.
The culprit is Joe Dumars.
Yeah, I said it. The man who turned spare parts into the second-best team of the 2000's single-handedly made a monster. You know, the one that is 50 feet tall, has steel armor; oh, and can create bad contracts out of thin air.
For the first time in a decade, things are looking bleaker than ever. And it would take a miracle for everything to fall neatly into place. No playoffs, no life, no hope. That's what many Pistons' fans are chanting this season. And who can blame 'em?
Optimism is out. We have a serious puzzle on our hands. Why did the famed GM get rid of Piston killers Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson to invest 95 million dollars into... Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson duplicates? He got so caught up in creating a better offensive team, he forgot what made the Pistons good in the first place: defense.
I can understand why he signed Charlie Villanueva, a young power forward who could develop his defensive game with the help of Big Ben Wallace. But why Ben Gordon got a $60 million contract is beyond me, especially with Rip Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey both comfortable playing the two.
It's even more beyond me why he didn't sign a center. He could have tossed money at restricted free-agents Andrew Bynum or David Lee. Bynum may have been hard to pry away from the Lakers, but Lee could have been had for a four-year contract worth $30-35 million.
Deep inside, Dumars thinks that this will play out nicely. But any basketball fan can see that the Pistons have a jumbled mess in front of them.
Next season, we could possibly be looking at the same roster, minus Will Bynum. There are many teams in the league who could use Bynum, especially contenders like the Lakers, who are relatively weak at the PG spot. If we matched any offers thrown at Bynum, we could easily be thrown into the luxury tax.
This team has all the potential in the world. But without financial flexibility, the extra parts needed to push the team over the edge of mediocrity will be hard to reach. Was Joe D intending to end up in the lottery this season? I mean, after all, he has had great success in the draft.
What, he hasn't? Oopsy.
Although John Wall is the most popular player of the draft, he can't fix the guard problem. Rather, he would add to it. What would we do with Stuckey? Trade him? Would Joe Dumars admit that Stuckey isn't good enough?
Hey, it would be a step in the right direction. I like Stuckey, but he will never blend in with both Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton.
This is a situation that has no immediate answer. Adding a center, although helpful, will only take us so far. Let's face it. Pistons fans don't want to just make the playoffs. We want to make it to the Finals. We want thrilling rivalries, intense determination, and timeless moments.
I remember when the regular season used to be an opportunity to get home-court advantage. If some of these unnecessary contracts aren't moved, home-court advantage could soon be a distant memory.