Pistons Must Correct Mistakes of Last Off-Season

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By: David Kay

’09-’10 Season in Review:
When Joe Dumars made the first splash in free agency last summer by throwing $90 million at Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, I called it a massive mistake.  And well, I was right.  The revamped Pistons finished with their worst record since the 1993-94 season and failed to make the post-season for the first time in nine years.  They completely lost the once proud identity of their team as a physical, hard-nosed, defense-oriented squad.  In the process Dumars made himself out to be an even dumber general manager than the times he drafted Darko second overall and traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson.

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Detroit Pistons’ Draft Emphasized Character over Talent

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By H. Jose Bosch

Every time a professional draft comes up, my least favorite word thrown around is “character.”

Many coaches and GMs love to wax poetic about the character of potential picks.

Guess what: you’re building a professional sports team, not the St. Gloira Men’s Chorus.

That’s not to say character is completely bogus. The Pistons are exhibit A in how low a team can fall when character falls by the wayside (*cough*Allen Iverson*cough*). But for every A.I., T.O. and Chad Ocho Cinco, guys who let their lack of character sink a franchise, there are plenty of athletes who can contribute to a winning team and still be a jerk.

I say this because Detroit’s first-round pick, Gonzaga forward Austin Daye, was picked “not only for what he could do on the court, but also for what he won’t do away from the court. He won’t show up late on game days or late to the airport for flights. He won’t show up authority if he disagrees with a coaching decision.”

That’s great. And if he ends up being an NBA burnout I’m sure he’ll wear a large smile when he asks, “Would you like fries with that?”

Hey, I’m not dumb. This draft was weak and the Pistons were picking at No. 15. The chances of getting an NBA-ready talent, with minimal flaws, at that position is as good as me dunking over Shaq. But if Detroit is already in a spot where the fist pick is basically a flier, why not try and address the two biggest needs–point guard and center—rather than worry about a player’s partying habits?

Daye is a taller, skinner and younger version of Tayshaun Prince. That would be fine and dandy if A.) Prince was nearing the end of his career and on the verge of retirement or B.) He was no longer on the team. Neither is the case meaning Detroit now has a weaker version of Prince to back him up this season. Not that exciting.rasheed-wallace

I’m a risk taker myself, especially when I’m not actually in charge of a sports franchise and millions of its dollars. If I had a choice, I would’ve picked a point guard since that seemed to be the deepest end of the shallow talent pool and, in my opinion, the jury is still out on Rodney Stuckey’s ability to be a true point. Jrue Holiday (UCLA), Ty Lawson (North Carolina) and Jeff Teague (Wake Forest) were all on the board when Detroit’s name came up. To my knowledge none of them really have character issues. But instead we go for a player a girl can bring home to mom.

That’s not to say the Daye pick is a terrible one. Depth in the frontcourt doesn’t hurt. It just felt like what he could be off the court mattered more than what he can contribute on the court. That’s not winning basketball unless titles are doled out based on the NBA Sportsmanship Award.

But I take solace in the fact that the Pistons can’t build a contender through the draft. What makes or breaks this offseason will be the free agent period.

The Pistons could sign Carlos Boozer or trade for Chris Bosh. Hedo Turkoglu will be out there and there’s even Mike Bibby now that the Hawks signed Jamal Crawford and drafted Jeff Teague.

So maybe I shouldn’t be too harsh on the character guy. When Prince was drafted he didn’t really raise any eyebrows and he turned out to be a major factor in the Pistons’ recent success. And Dumars needs to help Michael Curry re-establish control in the locker room with guys that will actually listen.

This draft should probably be nothing more than a shoulder shrug for the fans. We’ll have to wait till July 8 and see before we decide if we should lose it. Until then, there are more important things to talk about today.

I heard some singer passed away yesterday.

mj