THE AFTERMATH – The Detroit Pistons $93M Blunder!!
After going 39/43 last season, Joe Dumars decided it was time to make some more changes; he’d already moved Chauncey Billups to the Denver Nuggets. With Rodney Stuckey showing so much promise, and being much younger, he was heir-apparent to the coveted Piston Point-Guard position. Rasheed Wallace was expendable; because they had Ben Wallace, and Kwame (Hand of Stone), was young, and should start playing, up to his “POTENTIAL”.
And then Joe had a VISION!! RIP Hamilton and Tayshaun Princewere getting on in years, let’s improve our bench, and we’ll bring in some more youth, along with an experienced 6th man, with "instant firepower". They had made the playoffs the last two years, and just need a few ‘tweaks”, here and there, to bring a 'champoinship' back to Detroit. Joe would be a HERO, and we would all be amazed, at his genius. With a gleam in his eye, Joe went out, with a ‘fistful of $$$’, and the organization’s blessings, to find Detroit’s ‘Holy Grail’. Unfortunately, he went no further, than the Great Lakes, stopping in Chicago, and Milwaukee, and spending $93M, for a new Dynamic Duo.
First it was the streak-shooting, high-scoring, but injury-prone Ben Gordon. Taking little. if no heed , to the ‘seriousness’ of Gordon’s injury, Joe opened up the wallet, and gave Gordon a 5-year, $58M contract. After all, Gordon had led the Bulls, in scoring for 4-straight years, including some ‘Piston Killers’, and all the NBA, knew what he was capable, of.. Youth and scoring, this was one of the missing pieces, to get the Pistons, through to the Finals. Next in his 'youth movement', was Charlie Villanueva, the up-and-coming Power Forward, of the Milwaukee Bucks. Joe opened his pockets, giving him a 5-year deal, for another $38M, for a grand total of $93M. Putting in a young NEW coach, a Joe ‘Disciple’, and the Playoffs, were going to be a given. Joe smiled, and said to everyone, “It’s All GOOD!!”
This year, the Detroit Pistons have thus far won 23 games, while losing 53, and missing the playoffs, for the first time, this decade. Ben Gordon has only appeared in 57 games, his lowest total of games played, since entering the NBA. His season totals, in every offensive catagory, are career LOWS. Last Friday, he scored 20+ points, for the first time, since February. Charlie Villanueva was benched last Friday, by his coach, his second, of the season., His conditioning and work ethic, have been seriously questioned, by both his coaches, and his peers. His season totals resemble, his rookie year, more than that of a three-year player, being paid, #6.5M annually.
So, after giving away the proverbial “Farm”, the Pistons managed to ‘Fall’ not just out of the playoff race, but “out of grace”, with its longtime fan-base. What, if anything, can Joe do to fix this. Will this be the end the end, of Joe’s reign; and what bearing will it have, on his legacy. Most importantly, where will the Pistons be next season, with all the “YOUNG GUNS” of the league, having enjoyed so much success?