I've been asking myself lately why does NBA basketball suck so much (c'mon the Lakers and the Celtics in the Finals again?) and how did the Pistons go from a perennial top team to hopeless losers so quickly.
I am a fair weather fan and now that the Pistons are clearly in the bottom third of pathetic NBA teams, I immediately drop them and the whole sport in general. My theory is that a team on the rise generates more interest than a team on the decline (Lions) or even a team that has been on top so long people begin to take it for granted (Red Wings.)
In the past two years, Joe Dumars has blown his reputation as one of the smarter and more savvy NBA GMs (which is not saying much). This Pistons team has a lot in common with the teams his back court mate Isaiah Thomas built with the New York Knicks. Stupid long term contracts with one-dimensional over the hill players that are like an albatross around the future of the franchise.
Dumars does (or at one time did) know how to swing trades and sign free agent cast offs who had something to prove. In this specific way, he was a savvy judge of talent. Why this blinded him to the aptitude and upside of people on his own roster and when their inevitable decline would come and any player in the NBA entry draft continues to baffle me (but not a lot, as I am pretty apathetic at this point.)
I can forgive the Darko pick even though by drafting him he passed on at least three franchise players for the long term. But the dual move that still baffles is trading Chauncey for pretty much nothing (Iverson was a long shot to play well) while at the same time locking up Richard Hamilton to a long term deal (with still three more seasons to go at $12.5 million) I know he did this to clear cap space but he then took that money and signed another shooting guard ($25M to $30M tied up at the #2 position) and a big albiet soft guy (though Villanueva clearly has upside.)
But as far as where the roads converged, why did he not do it the other way around? Trade Hamilton and surround Chauncey with young talent. I guess in his mind he thought Rodney Stuckey was a point guard.
Now the Pistons get the 7th pick so we'll get somebody good but not franchise like. And they'll need to trade all the over the hill dudes before they even have a chance to begin to rise again.
As far as the Pistons go, wake me up in a few years.