A week removed from the draft and a little less than 24 hours into the NBA's free agency period and the Detroit Pistons have made some serious statements about where they plan to go as a team from this point forward. So, where are we now, in terms of the organization and what does this mean for the future..i.e this season.???? I'm gonna tell you, plain and simple, raw and uncut - They're walking on very thin ice and the wrong move, either already made or soon to be made, could be the difference between the return to championship champagne baths or a return the NBA Lottery and/or an NBA also-ran, which in my opinion is almost worst.
Going against what I suggested in my previous pre-draft blog entry - I guess Joe D doesn't cyber-surf over in my direction....lol - the team didn't put much stock in the draft, in terms of trying to get a true cornerstone or even someone who might start contributing anytime in the near future. As I said before, championship teams are rooted in good drafts and the drafting of centerpiece players. The plucking of quality free agents and trades should be secondary and only used to fill in remaining spots not filled by homegrown talent or for acquiring "take us over the hump" players, i.e. KG in Boston, Clyde the Glyde in Houston, Rasheed in Detroit, Gasol in L.A., etc..
alright, so Joe D decided to go with another "Project" pick with Gonzaga's 6-11, rail-thin Austin Daye, a true post player who i doubt will spend much time in the post. Make no mistake about it, skills wise, Daye is a talented hoopster. However, I, as well as many of the national analysts, question is mental toughness and willingness to mix it up inside the 3 point line, where he notoriously likes to float out to in order to avoid setting up on the block. Straight up, the guy is soft as a satin and i don't really see how he's going to fit in here. Mistake No. 1.
I will give Joe D some props for snaring DeJuan Summers out of Georgetown in the second round. I think he could be a sleeper and end up a quality complimentary player in this league, possibly better.
Then on Tuesday, Joe D axes his coach, Michael Curry after parading the guy out in front of the media the previous day to talk about the upcoming season. Anyway you cut it, it was a bush league move by Dumars. He knew he was going to rub him out on Tuesday, he just wanted some stall time. Curry should have never been hired in the first place, so i have a hard time putting a majority of the blame for last season on him. He def had some issues, but that really wasn't the issue.
This issue is the brew is stale and u need to switch some things up before things are going to get any better. Well, Joe D is trying is hardest, I'll give him that. On Wed, he agreed to contracts with free agents Ben Gordon of Chicago and Charlie Villenueva of Milwaukee. I like both guys, but for what Dumars intends to use them for, Im not certain what I think. Gordon is undersized and a defensive liability. and he plays a lot like AI, who didn't fit into the teams system last year - granted '09 AI isn't what he used to be. Charlie V is a good fourth option on off, but I don't if I can play on a good team - not the Bucks - and put up the kind of numbers he did last year - 17 pts and 7 reb a night - and be a bona-fide third option either.
So, where are we now? I dont really know. But I'll have a better idea and report back after the team decides what to do with Rip, Tay, and Rasheed. either way, things are more fragile over at the Palace than they've been in close to a decade. And the burden of the world is falling on Joe D's shoulders as we speak. I hope he can handle it and come out a winner again. Nonetheless, if I had to bet on it right now, I'd bet against him. We can only live on the laurels of the '04 title so long. Joe's been riding the coattails of that title for five years. I dont care how many eastern conference championships in a row they played in, the team hasn't truly been championship-caliber since '05. Right or wrong, we live in a "what have you done for me" world. Its time to put up or shut up.