Detroit Pistons: Losing Games Is One Thing; Losing Class Is Totally Different

Ray StoneCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2011

the agony of defeat.
the agony of defeat.Elsa/Getty Images

Deeetroit basketball is way out of bounds right now!

Guard Richard Hamilton spent the duration of the game versus the Memphis Grizzlies glued to the Piston bench, finishing the game with a DNP (did not play), CD (coach’s decision).

The decision to bench Rip was no doubt related to the whirlwind of trade rumors that have been heating up lately involving Hamilton.  There is really no other explanation.

Granted Rip’s skills have eroded a bit, but he has always been professional in his approach to the game, ever since he has been on this basketball team. 

He was the one Piston who stepped up in the playoffs consistently—and an integral part of the 2004 NBA Championship team.

The fact that he showed up ready to work day after day, year after year, always in tip-top shape, warrants some measure of respect.  Doesn’t it?

If the team has decided to move him that is fine, that is just a part of the business of the NBA—we all know that.  It is certainly time to go a different direction with this roster.  I have no argument with that.

As the saying goes, it is not what you do—it is how you do it. 

Why couldn’t Joe Dumars, who should have a good relationship with Rip, sit down with his loyal employee of nine years, shake his hand and tell him what the deal is—man to man? 

"We are planning to move you before the deadline; we don’t want an injury to ruin things at this point.  We want to thank you for being a part of the success of this franchise and the years of service.  Best of luck to you and your family—and hey, it would be great to see you and Chauncey Billups together again, huh?  I hope that works out." 

What would have been so hard about that?

That way everyone knows what the deal is; your player is not upset or embarrassed due to being benched suddenly like that. 

It is disrespectful.  Why would you do a guy who has been solid for you for years like that? 

Dumars and Kuester are not handling this situation well at all.  Instead of running fast breaks, this organization is fast-breaking apart.

What message does this latest incident send to other veteran players around the league seeing the way the Pistons treat one of their long-time cornerstones?  How does that look to Prince and the other guys in that Piston locker room?  Who is going to want to join this organization?

Detroit used to be considered a first-class organization all the way around.  Hard-nosed, hard working and old-fashioned.  A player traded to or drafted by this team understood that he would have to learn to do things the Piston way.

Now it seems that the entire organization has totally lost its direction.

Of course with the ownership situation still up in the air, the confusion is rolling downhill.

Dumars had always held a great reputation as a class act since his days as a player in the league.  Now, it appears he is losing the one the one thing that he has always had going for him: respect.

It might be time for Dumars to head back to Louisiana and finish his journey towards obesity.

These Pistons need to overhaul the entire engine.