Is it finally time to bid adieu to the mastermind behind the Detroit Pistons millennial glory years, president Joe Dumars? After sending forward Tayshaun Prince to the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline this season, the team has virtually no ties to the successful run that had them in the Eastern Conference Championship six straight seasons other than Dumars and maybe its time for owner Tom Gores to clean out the front office in order to get a brand new start for a once proud franchise.
While Dumars was integral in assembling the hodgepodge of talented cast offs that eventually became the franchise third champions in 2004, he was also responsible for some head scratching personnel moves that include drafting Darko Milicic & Austin Daye, trading Chauncey Billups to Denver for the enigmatic Allan Iverson and signing free agency bust Charlie Villenueva & Ben Gordon, which some fans feel are the reasons why the Pistons have missed the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year. Attendance also has continued to decline over the past seasons under his leadership and prompted the organization to market other team’s superstars more and bring in “blast from the past” musical artists as halftime entertainment to entice fans to take in a game at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Even with those incentives, the number of fans watching the game live hit a major low this season, averaging only 14,782 fans per home game.
With the selling of the franchise to businessman Tom Gores last season, many wondered how long he would be satisfied with the current direction of the team on the court and in the front office. And after being non-committal during a recent interview on the future of head coach Lawrence Frank (who has since been fired) as well as Dumars, many have taken the lack of a vote of confidence for Joe D to mean that he too could be on his way out. With the firing of Frank, the carousel of Pistons head coaches is adding a new member and will have grown to seven over twelve seasons, but until the organization addresses the lack of talent, which Dumars is directly responsible for, fans will be regulated to reminiscing the glory days of the Bad Boy teams of the 80s/90s and “Going to work” teams of the 2000’s if they want to talk about good Pistons teams. While the current roster has budding talent in Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight, the team still has a long ways to go before its good enough to be in playoff contention, let alone be a contender for the Eastern Conference title again.
While Gores will probably give Dumars one last opportunity to right the ship, it is imperative that he finds success in two key upcoming decisions for the team: hiring a new coach and finding a consistent go-to scorer, via the draft or free agency, that the team has missed since “Mr. Big Shot” Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton left the Palace years ago. If he misses badly on either of these moves it could be the end for the one guy who helped bring all three NBA championships to the city of Detroit and as harsh as it sounds, it maybe time for the organization to stop living in the past and move in a new direction that will give the Pistons a brighter future, because fans deserve it.