Once upon a time, Joe Dumars was among the most heralded managers in the league. He had constructed a contender from the ground up based on teamwork and defense, provided the fire that birthed Ben Wallace’s career, took a chance on an inconsistent, journeyman point guard named Chauncey Billups, and had made stockpiling role players into a fine art. He swooped in from the sky to pick up guys like Rasheed Wallace for pennies on the dollar, and the Pistons were essentially a perennial lock for the Eastern Conference Finals.
But these days, Dumars is better known for the guy that blew his cap space on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. He just couldn’t leave the 2009 free agent toy store without some fun new playthings, and instead of biding his time and trying to lure in a more substantial player in 2010, the Pistons are now the proud owners of two talented but limited players that are hopelessly inconsistent. Detroit will have no cap space at all if they re-sign Will Bynum, Ben Wallace, and/or Kwame Brown in the off-season (and really, what choice do they have?), and things look to be depressing for quite awhile before they get any better.
In accordance with Chris Iott of MLive’s Pistons blog, I’m not questioning Joe Dumars for failing to make a move at the deadline. Sometimes there’s a good deal available and sometimes there’s not, and at least Joe had the good sense not to make matters worse. But there should be plenty of blaming and questioning headed Dumars’ way not for what he’s done in the last 24 hours, but what’s he done over the last two seasons. Joe D was on an unbelievable hot streak, but now that he’s come back down to Earth? He has all the prestige of a top-notch GM, but none of the game.