What a bad product at The Palace…

The 2002-2003 Pistons made the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and thanks to Otis Thorpe c. 1996, they received the #2 pick in the 2003 draft. I was listening to the draft lottery during one of my sister’s high school soccer games, knew that LeBron James would go #1, and jumped up and yelled “CARMELLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” for all the crowd to hear. Unfortunately, my hopes and dreams were crushed as GM Joe Dumars (my all-time favorite player) decided to spend the pick on Darko Milicic.

CNNSI’s Britt Robson handed out mid-season grades today which prompted my thought for the day. Watching Kobe and LeBron battle it out in Cleveland on national television confirmed my fury for what I get to see down the street from me.

The Pistons received a D. That might be generous.

Since picking Carmelo, Joe D. did secure Rasheed Wallace in a trade which led to the 2003-2004 NBA Championship, but since then, he has faltered with bad move after bad move.

Joe D. sold Detroit on having a bad 2008-2009 after trading fan favorite Chauncey Billups (and Arron Afflolo who is now starting on occassion in Denver). Trading Chauncey was supposed to be for cap space. The whole league has eyed the summer of 2010 for at least 3 years as LeBron, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and others will be on the market. Even the second tier players could help teams build playoff contending nuclei. So after watching Allen Iverson join the Pistons and put in an atrocious performance in 2008-2009, the Pistons finished 39-43, finished 8th in the East and got swept by Cleveland in the playoffs. Well, we fans were hopeful of what could come in 2010. What did Joe D. do? He went out and spent all the cap space in 2009!! No one of any significance was on the market, but Joe was like a 9-year-old who just got his allowance. Rather than save up for a big, special purchase, Joe went and bought a box of Almond Joys (I hate Almond Joys) and passed them out to whoever sat by him at the lunchtable.

Ben Gordon is not horrible. But he is going to make over $50mil. He is a one-dimensional player and the Pistons already had Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum and Richard Hamilton…AT THE SAME POSITION!!!

Charlie Villanueva is close to horrible. He is going to make over $35mil. $35mil for a guy who averaged 16 points and 6 rebounds on an awful Bucks team in 2009. On a team that bad, SOMEBODY has to score 16 and can catch 6 clankers off his teammates bad shots.

Where does this leave the Pistons? With no cap space for 2010. With aging Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, both of whom have been hurt too much to even elevate their trade value, getting paid too much. With little semblance of a front-court other than a rejuvenated Ben Wallace who is on close to his last leg. With too many shooters who do not play shutdown defense. And with little hope in the way of prospects.

What has Joe D drafted?

2009 – Austin Daye – won’t be as good as Tayshaun was at his peak and too thin to play in such a physical conference
2009 – DaJuan Summers – might be a nice 8th man
2009 – Jonas Jerebko – great 2nd round find, but a solid 7th man on a good team
2008 – D.J. White and Deron Washington – WHO?
2007 – Rodney Stuckey – Is he a 2? Is he a 1? Even the Pistons can’t figure it out. He plays confused.
2007 – Arron Afflolo – a solid defender and could be a nice 2 man on a team with other stars – oops, we threw him in to get Allen Iverson’s expiring contracts. Congrats to Denver for winning that one.
2007 – Sammy Mejia – gone.
2006 – Will Blalock – seriously? That’s all to show for all of 2006?
2005 – Jason Maxiell – undersized and has not developed since a promising rookie year. Baby Charles he is not.
2005 – Amir Johnson – gone.
2005 – Alex Acker – gone.
2004 – Rickey Paulding – gone.
and back in 2003 – Darko.

So yeah, the Pistons had a winning core. The pieces were not moved at the right times and the team got old in a hurry. They got terrible even faster. And they are not going to get better for quite awhile.

Let’s see, you’re a free agent in 2010, you know the Pistons had some talent and they were supposed to have loads of cash, so maybe you would consider going there. Wait! All of that money is getting direct debited to Gordon and Villanueva. You might have the mid-level exception. SORRY Detroit!

My girlfriend offered to get me Pistons tickets for my birthday. I considered it, and had I gone on Wednesday, I would have been pleasantly surprised as they upset the Celtics. That’s a fun game. A nice win. Did I want to bet my birthday present on a team that is 15-26? Uhhhh, no. This is going to be an ugly year, a very ugly year. Sit back and enjoy watching a mismatched team thrown together in a rush with a GM with a hole in his pocket.

I guess I can keep my fingers crossed the team wins the John Wall lottery. Or maybe there’s some European teenager that will intrigue Joe D. a little more.

Goodnight and God Bless,