New Public Enemy: Why Karen Davidson Is the Real Villain of Detroit Pistons Mess
I have to admit, it is a very tough time to be Detroit Pistons fan.
It could be argued that this is the most lost this team has ever been—at least in the last 30 years.
If this team was simply just losing, that would be one thing. The problem is that it not only loses on a regular basis, but its coaching, management and players seem lost and apathetic.
First: It's the coaching. If John Kuester isn't trying to get fired, he sure has a weird way of showing it. He shows up his players to the media, he benches players regardless of their productivity and he obviously is not being respected by the guys in the locker room.
When Kuester first showed up in Detroit, we were promised a smart teacher from the Larry Brown coaching tree. He didn't have a good record as a head coach, but fans were optimistic nonetheless.
After nearly two full seasons, it is safe to say that this experiment did not work. Kuester has frustrated fans all season with his schizophrenic substitution patterns, initially at the detriment to the young players, but now there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason behind who plays and who doesn't.
It is possible that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than we know, but that just goes to the lack of respect that the players have for their coach.
The case of Tracy McGrady seems to be the most obvious mystery. After the reportedly Rip Hamilton-led player boycott, Kuester not only worked things out with Hamilton, but decided to bench McGrady, the only player who had shown real leadership on the court.
Then, after Rodney Stuckey had arguably his best stretch of games as a Piston, he was pulled in favor of McGrady.
It truly appears that Kuester is throwing darts at his lineup card and hoping for the best.
However, the real blame lies with the situation created by those above him. Sure, Kuester is overmatched and likely on his way out, but the team is currently in such a state of disaster and upheaval that few coaches would likely succeed with it.
Team president Joe Dumars has seen his team come full circle on his watch. He inherited a mess, returned it to form, and now it's a mess again.
Instead of going into yet again all of the myriad moves that have turned this team into a laughingstock, it is simply important to take a step back and look at his tenure as two semesters.
The first semester, Dumars had the Midas touch and created a champion out of castoffs and late draft picks. For this, he should be deified.
In the second semester, he attempted to shift gears on the fly (no pun intended), and rebuild while still contending. For this, he should be vilified.
Regardless, he will have his moment of judgement in front of whomever his boss is next, and it is whether or not the former or latter semester is graded as more indicative of his job performance.
But this brings us to the real problem, the true villain of Detroit: Karen Davidson.
To be fair, she didn't ask for any of this. She lost her husband and should be given all the sympathy in the world for her loss.
But her actions since that tragedy have destroyed a once-proud franchise.
She has dawdled and wasted time since she put the team up for sale, initially turning off the most serious bidder, Mike Illitch, when it was discussed that her people were pumping up the numbers to jack up the price of the franchise. This led to Illitch walking away (although a report last week in a Detroit paper claimed that he is back in the mix).
Next came a number of other bidders, and again the issue came back that Davidson was asking too much.
The most recent serious bidder, Tom Gores, is also rumored to be growing tired of Davidson's high asking price.
Personally, this grates on me to no end. This is all profit to Davidson. She didn't buy this team and build it up with her blood, sweat and tears. That was her husband.
Make no mistake about it, Davidson will never run out of money. Whether she sells the team for $360 million or $400 million, she still has plenty of other interests that will no doubt make up the difference.
But as Michael Douglas said in the newest Wall Street when asked what his number was—more.
This is a plain and simple example of the greedy being greedier, and holding an entire city and state hostage.
The saddest thing about this whole situation is that there are a ton of fans that will walk away from this team as a result of this dysfunctional mess, and there is no guarantee that they all will come back.
Because at the end of the day, that is who pays for those stadiums and those salaries and the perks they carry with them: the fans.
Here's hoping that Davidson remembers the fans before she kills what they and her late husband loved.
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