The Detroit Pistons are slowly becoming the laughingstock of the NBA. Well, maybe not slowly- perhaps they already are.
First year head coach Maurice Cheeks was fired on Sunday after 50 games (21-29) with the franchise. The Pistons are in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference, but let’s be honest. No one outside of team owner Tom Gores wants to see this team make the playoffs. Like most fans, I want this team to just tank down the stretch in order to rack up as many ping pong balls as possible for the NBA Draft. Plus, the Eastern Conference is just full of terrible teams. Do you want to the Pistons get into the playoffs as the #8 seed and get destroyed in four games by Miami or Indiana? I didn’t think so.
With Cheeks getting canned on Sunday, I am still really surprised that Pistons still have Joe Dumars in charge of this team. The Pistons President of Basketball Operations has had some success during his now 14-year tenure. But, the Pistons 2003-04 championship run seems like a lifetime ago.
Dumars has been through eight, yes EIGHT HEAD COACHES in his 14 years in charge. To me, that is unacceptable.
Coaches during Dumars’ tenure in Detroit
- George Irvine (2000-01): fired
- Rick Carlisle (2001-03): fired
- Larry Brown (2003-05): bought out
- Flip Saunders (2005-08): fired
- Michael Curry (2008-09): fired
- John Kuester (2009-11): fired
- Lawrence Frank (2011-13): fired
- Maurice Cheeks (2013-14): fired
Seven coaches were hired and seven coaches were fired. Larry Brown was bought out. That’s eight changes. Eight failures. How many more chances should Dumars get? If you failed EIGHT TIMES at your own job, would you still have your job?
To look at a few positives, the Pistons do have a future all-star in Andre Drummond. I really like Greg Monroe too, but will the Pistons keep him when the trade deadline comes around? Monroe is a restricted free agent after the season and its unknown at this time if the team will be willing to match a contract from another franchise.
I do respect the work that Dumars has done I Detroit. He brought the Pistons back from the cellar to a legitimate contender. Then, he tried to rebuild the franchise again. The guys he brought in- Rip Hamilton, Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince- were all eventually traded, released, or not brought back.
Dumars signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva in 2009- both to fairly large contracts. Neither player panned out. Gordon was traded to Charlotte and Villanueva currently rides the Pistons bench.
Draft Picks such as Austin Daye (first round ’09) and Brandon Knight (first round ’11) have both been traded. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the Pistons first round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. So far, Caldwell-Pope has struggled to find his rhythm in the NBA, averaging just 6.8 points per game. Many Pistons fans wanted Dumars to draft Michigan point guard Trey Burke. The Pistons passed on Burke, who was taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves one pick later, only to be traded to Utah. In his first season with the Jazz, Burke is scoring 12.7 ppg.
Looking at Dumars’ tenure, he has had a very mixed bag of results. The team hasn’t made the playoffs the last four seasons. They haven’t won a playoff game since 2008. But they did win a championship in 2004. Dumars drafted Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe in the first round. Dumars also drafted D.J. White and Darko Milicic in the first round. No coach Dumars has lasted more than a couple of seasons. But somehow, Dumars has managed to stick around, even through an ownership change.
In my opinion, Dumars has had more failures than successes. He was able to take a team from the bottom to the top, only to watch them fall right back to the bottom, the same spot the franchise was at when he was hired 14 years ago.
Much like the much revolving door of the Pistons head coaching position, I believe it’s time for a new, fresh perspective to run the Pistons.