2004 feels like forever ago, doesn't it?
It's rather interesting how that team was built, and how it demonstrated to the league that Joe Dumars wasn't at all afraid of making an unconventional move that defied common knowledge.
Jerry Stackhouse for Rip Hamilton.
Grant Hill for Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins.
Taking the chance on Chauncey Billups after he had bounced around more often than Christopher Walken in a Fatboy Slim video.
Taking the chance on Rasheed Wallace after he had demonstrated he was the third most insane human being in the NBA behind Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson.
Don't let Dumars try to fool you; those were risky moves. Those don't pay off, and the Pistons are one of the worst teams in the history of the NBA.
Which is why it is so jarring six years later, to see none of the risk-taker in Joe Dumars anymore.
Maybe it was the catastrophic flop of Darko Milicic. Maybe it was the trade of Chauncey Billups blowing up in his face. But lately, it seems like the heart of the Bad Boys has gone timid.
We stand on the precipice of arguably one of the richest free agent classes in NBA history. Just one off-season ago, Dumars had set the team up to have a decent chunk of cap space, with the possibility of freeing up even more.
Instead of taking the gamble and trying to lure one of the players in this embarrassment of riches to come to Detroit (admittedly a difficult sell), the Pistons took all that cap space and garnered Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.
That's not the Joe Dumars we have come to expect. Joe Dumars isn't supposed to settle. That's not supposed to be the best he can do.
With possible assets in Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton sitting on a team going nowhere and the trade deadline coming up, Dumars's answer was... well... to do nothing.
Joe Dumars isn't supposed to sit on his hands with a team in pieces. Dumars isn't supposed to wait and see.
And now, with the NBA draft upon us, pieces moving back and forth; seemingly everyone willing to trade just about anything for the right price...
... and Dumars again sits on his hands and does nothing.
I'm sorry Joe. That doesn't cut it. Not anymore.
In case you weren't paying attention, your team went 27-55 last season.
That's like sitting at the blackjack table, getting dealt 14, and saying, "I stand." Sure the odds of you busting out are fairly high, but you're not winning with that hand anyway, so why not go for it?
You're not trying to preserve an Eastern Conference powerhouse anymore, Joe. Those days are gone .
The players that were drafted were fine... but you need to do more than that. A lot more.
Miami is in position to add two elite players in Free Agency.
So is Chicago.
New York actually looks they can even lure a top level FA pickup.
What's your plan, Joe? Do you even have one?
Standing pat with what you have is the ticket to NBA Purgatory; not quite good enough to be a playoff contender, and not quite bad enough to get the prime picks in the lottery to change your fortunes.
It's time to get aggressive again. It's time to make a move again.
It's time to get your groove back, and make some noise.
You've been quiet for far too long as it is.
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