Joe-D's Top-10 Mistakes (warning - painful)

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by blueadams, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. blueadams

    blueadams Team Captain

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    #1) '03-Drafting D. Milicic(#2) over C. Anthony(#3).....D. Wade(#5), C. Bosh(#4)

    ...No question about this one. 'Melo's been a top-10-ish NBA'er for the last decade. There's no telling how many championships we missed out on by making this enormous mistake.


    #2) '01-Drafting R. White(#9) over J. Johnson(#10).....Z. Randolph(#19)

    ...Johnson and Randolph, after over a decade, are still All-Star level players. Not making this mistake would've changed the make-up of our squad - - - and helped us cope with mistake #1.


    #3) '09-Drafting A. Daye(#15) over J. Holliday(#17)

    ...J. Holliday is an All-Star and one of the best young guards in the game. This was a big mistake.


    #4) '05-Drafting J. Maxiel(#26) over D. Lee(#30)

    ...D. Lee has been playing at an All-Star level for almost a decade now. This was a big mistake as well.


    #5) Firing L. Brown.

    ...Joe-D thought he was king of the world. Had a championship-level team and the league's best or second best coach. Firing him - instead of at least attempting to work things out - was a big mistake that might've cost us a championship.


    #6) Signing B. Gordon.

    ...Big mistake that helped end an era and set-us back big-time.


    #7) Signing C. Villanueva.

    ...Ditto.


    #8) Trading C. Billups (and others) for A. Iverson.

    ...Horrible, horrible trade. Prematurely destroyed a team that still had life.


    #9) Trading A. Afflalo for a 2nd round pick.

    ...Not the biggest of deals, but still, a terrible, terrible trade that hurt us big-time.


    #10) Wildcard.

    ...There were about half-a-dozen questionable moves Joe-D made that I couldn't pick between. And I feel like I'm forgetting something too. So, I'm going to leave this one up to the board.
  2. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    Hindsight is 20/20.
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  3. BillLaimbeer

    BillLaimbeer All-Star 4x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    I agree. Darko, Gordon, and Villenueva are the three that one might actually question.
  4. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    Joe is generally at his best when trading. He's also been decent when he's signing a free agent who isn't a "player" in free agency.

    Joe has always been lousy at drafting, player development and some other stuff. They may not be personal weaknesses as much as organizational weaknesses.

    If you think of it like archetypes of businessmen, Joe is not very good at speculating on future values, but he is a shrewd deal maker in the present.
  5. Laimbrane

    Laimbrane All-Star Forum Donor

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    Because I can, I'm going to argue with a few of your assumptions.

    First off, I love talking about the Darko pick, because while it was bad, if your ultimate goal is to win a championship, then it worked; the Pistons drafted Darko and proceeded to go to five consecutive ECFs, including two NBA finals. Adding Darko to the Pistons was a zero-sum effect that didn't have any impact on the team, either negative or positive. We all lament the loss of Anthony, Paul, and/or Bosh, but can you say with absolute certainty that the team would have been better with Anthony instead of Darko? I mean, It's not like Anthony has won anyone anything. He's not a great defender and has always had a me-first attitude. If he replaced Prince in the starting lineup (not likely, since Brown favors veterans that play the team way), the team would have replaced Prince's 9.4 win shares with Melo's 6.1. We would never have had "the block." Melo would likely have clashed heavily with Larry Brown over minutes and style; I honestly don't think they would have reached the finals in either of his two years, and he may well have moved on to New York earlier, leaving the team without its dominating run. Built around a single, flawed and ill-fitting player, the team would have been Stuckeyed in the mud, lacking the cohesion that drove it to so much success for so long.

    Now, if we're talking hopes and dreams, then imagine if the Pistons got the FIRST pick in that draft and gotten Lebron instead - there's a guy that would have been a Larry Brown guy to his very core. He never would have left for Miami, and the Pistons would still be at the top of the food chain.

    The rest of 2-4 are the types of draft regrets that most teams have, but the reality is that - based on the logic above - it's really hard to nit-pick the actions of a GM that put together a championsihp squad. Overall, Joe has actually drafted pretty well (is it his fault that nobody's been able to make anything out of Daye - who is one of the best three-point shooters in the league?). I'd say his bigger mistakes are these:

    1) Getting rid of Rick Carlisle
    - Yes, this goes against my logic from above, but Carlisle has shown that he's a championship-level coach that was successful at the time and not the vagabond that Larry Brown always proves to be. LB had the benefit of working with Sheed; Carlisle's 2003 squad lost in the ECF without him. Since LB, Joe hasn't hired a coach nearly as successful, while Carlisle is looking like a lifer in Dallas. He was allegedly a jerk, but the dude clearly knows basketball, and Detroit has been floundering with its coaching personnel ever since.

    2) Riding the Stuckey train
    - Joe has "Stuck" with this dude for far too long. To be fair, it was the media that anointed him the savior, and he's been an above average player, but Stuckey plateaued early and has never developed into the guy everyone hoped he would be. Trading Chauncey was a direct result of trying to get Billups out of the way while he still had value, and led to the disaster that was A.I. I admit; I was wrong about Stuckey, and that was my mistake, too.

    I think these two have set the team back far more than anything on your list, honestly.
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  6. TaS

    TaS All-Star Forum Donor

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    It's a batting average situation. I don't blame Cabrera for all his many mistakes last year (strike outs, hitting into double plays, etc) because you gotta play to win. Batting .300 is great in baseball and batting .667 is probably pretty good in GMing.

    Many other GM's passed up the guys that you're mentioning, like Lee, Holiday, Johnson, Randolph and wish that they could take a mulligan. It would be really eerie if you could find a GM out there with a 10 year track record where their picks were perfect.

    I surely don't blame JD for firing Brown. Brown is notoriously unsatisfied and after winning it all, he was on the move and was a distraction. I also don't blame JD for hiring him, because I'm not 100% sure that Carlisle could have got it done at that stage of his career even with Sheed (although he very well could have).


    The 2008-2009 Dumars was the one that tipped me from being a big fan to a skeptic. I just felt like he had a bad philosophical change that resulted in a series of obvious blunders. His quotes were troubling as he expressed concepts like the "new NBA", needing players who can create their own offense, combo guard theory, small ball acceptance, and on and on. He picked horrible coaches with no coaching experience and traded good young assets away prematurely IMO. He jammed the roster with unnecessary logjams at certain position with coaches that couldn't handle the conflicts. The Afflalo trade in particular was very painful to me purely because of the concept. Young defensive first player with good attitude and potential to shoot 40% from deep. He was cheap and homegrown. Amir was painful to me too, but I may be in a minority on that (we traded Amir for Oberto and then waived Oberto to save about $1M). And the AA and AJ trades weren't ones where I hated them in hindsight after seeing how they progressed... I hated them for just dumping good young players to save money. Who could possibly be a fan of penny pinching by one of the most successful franchises in basketball history?

    I REALLY liked the original Dumars who sought out defensive players and undervalued players in order to challenge the league's biggest payrolls. I have some hope that the original Dumars still exists and just went through some kind of bad mid life crisis before realizing that his original instincts are correct. The progress over the last 2 years is intriguing to me. I can see the foundation now and the flexibility to build the fortress on top of it. I can't think of anyone that I would rather have as the GC than the 2003-2007, and 2011-2013 Dumars.
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  7. round

    round All-Star 1x Fantasy Champion

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    TaS pretty summed up what I'd say except for the moves that were made while the team ownership issues were in flux. I really want to know what the whole plan was, but I doubt we'll ever know. I just can't see him planning on having both Rip and Ben Gordon on the team at the same time. Were there other plans in mind. For that reason I'm giving him a mulligan on those series of events... but it did buy up most if not all of my good will he built up with the string of Conference finals, we have to get it right and in short order back to making conference finals in the next 2 years (not counting this year) for me to be a Joe backer.
  8. KGREG

    KGREG All-Star

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    It's not like people were screaming NOOOOOOOO! When Joe drafted everybody. In terms of Darko, we should have had the 3rd pick in the draft because the league consensus was Darko @ #2. Afflalo and Chauncey were, BIG mistakes that Joe continued to screw up even more. He turned Chauncey into AI, turned AI into Capp Spayce, turned Capp Spayce into Chaz and Gordon. But in all fairess most of us were just as sick of Chauncey as we were of Tayshaun and felt like Stuckey was ready to take the reigns. Joe traded our PG and never recovered; Pistons who stunk at PG since the Chauncey trade: AI, Ben Gordon (Remember Joe envisioned a 3 guard rotation of Stuckey, Rip and Gordon-with Gordon playing the role of combo guard off the bench), Stuckey and now Brandon Knight.
  9. blueadams

    blueadams Team Captain

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    #2 pick was as high as we could've gotten (it was #1 protected).

    LB wanted Melo, and feuded with Joe-D over the pick. Adding a top 10-player to a championship team without taking anything makes a better team. Don't be ridiculous.

    Hiring LB wasn't the problem. Losing him was.

    Daye was an extension of Joe-D's false belief in the game becoming something where Villanueva's would be of value. Defense still mattered, it turns out.

  10. Walter

    Walter All-Star Forum Donor

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    I don't believe in "draft mistakes", and certainly would not list them as a GM's worst mistakes ever. Draft is almost always a crapshoot; even if you've got the #1 pick. I really dislike this sentiment that whenever Joe's draft pick is a bad one it means "he's a bumbling buffoon", and whenever it's a good one it was a no-brainer because player X landed on his lap and there was no though process involved. If Joe had picked Melo instead of Darko that year, we still would not give him credit because that pick was a "no-brainer".

    Firing Brown wasn't really his mistake either. Brown was distracted mentally even before the finals started and it wasn't gonna last. We got the most out of LB that we could.

    Signing Gordon & CV: yeah, I agree that was a huge mistake.

    AI-Billups trade: no, this was not a mistake. That core had run its course and it needed to be broken up. What he did before that trade (extending Rip) and after the trade (Gordon/CV) were horrible mistakes. The "rebuilding-on-the-fly" was utter nonsense. Once you make the AI-Billups trade, you have to hit the reset button hard, and he didn't.

    I would say that signing Flip Saunders was a bad mistake. He was not the right coach for that team.

    Tablecloth and Kuester were also huge mistakes.
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  11. Walter

    Walter All-Star Forum Donor

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    And yes, giving away Spellcheck and the man-crush on Stuckey are other bad mistakes.
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  12. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    I think Joe's biggest failing of the last 4 or 5 years, is drafting guys based on physical talent, and not on bball IQ.

    Year in, year out, the best players in this game are *usually* the smartest, not the most physically gifted.
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  13. Laimbrane

    Laimbrane All-Star Forum Donor

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    Now you're getting to a personal little peeve of mine; Daye is exceedingly underrated. Of guys that have shot more than 3 3-pointers this year, he has the best 3 point shooting percentage in the league, and he's shown that he's a clutch shooter. Now, he hasn't done that over a long stretch of a career, but he's still shooting over 50% on this season and has always had a beautiful shot. He's not a starter, but let's give this a couple years before you declare that he was a huge draft mistake.

    LB pretty much left on his own. I read the Grantland piece, too, and maybe he has been the victim of bad luck everywhere, but where there's smoke, there's fire; all indications were that the Pistons didn't intend to push him out until he started contacting Cleveland, and because Davidson was so... Davidson... he had to go.

    Lastly, it's not as simple as "adding a top-10 player to a championship team without taking anything makes a better team," or else the Jailblazers and the current Lakers would be multi-year champions. Basketball is a sport of team unity and chemistry, and that Pistons team was undeniably built upon that same concept of chemistry and unity; they may not have had any superstars, but they played well together. There's no way to know how Anthony would have fit into that group; if he was a 25 ppg player a couple years into the league but Hamilton and Sheed weren't as effective or he kept getting burned defensively, then it wouldn't have mattered.
  14. Laimbrane

    Laimbrane All-Star Forum Donor

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    I would argue (and this is semantics), that the best players in the game are a combination of both.
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  15. coynejeremy

    coynejeremy All-Star Administrator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    I think you're both right. The best players in the league are the smartest ones out of the group of the most physically gifted players in the league. But you need both.
  16. KGREG

    KGREG All-Star

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    Brandon Knight is very intelligent.
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  17. The Panda

    The Panda All-Star Forum Donor

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    The worst thing JD did was trade Billups for AI. All the draft stuff, the bad contracts, I can personally overlook most of that. Billups was the heart and soul of an extremely successful team. When he left, so did Detroit Basketball.

    T-Mac & AI? Horrific.

    Larry Brown would have moved on eventually anyway. I would hazard a guess that there was other stuff going on there too.

    Its more than that - Darko was a lock for the 2nd pick after LBJ. At the time, it was the right pick to make. If we have picked anyone else, Darko would have fallen to the very next pick.

    And honestly, I would rather take a crack at Juwan Howard having another productive year in the NBA over Carmelo being on my team. There is very little evidence to support the idea that Melo is an all-NBA player. Very little. We already have a scoring forward who plays no defense and passes rarely. His name is Charlie Villenueva and he was complained about for #7.

    1) Trading Billups
    2) Poor coaching staff decisions
    3) Not trading Stuckey when he began to plateau
    4) Not trading Stuckey at all
    5) Supposedly passing up on a trade for Rondo

    4 & 5 are just speculation. But those are the 3 mistake that JD has made.

    Now hold on just a second. Daye is actually a servicable defender. Charlie is not. Daye also tries very hard. Secondly, John Hollinger traded for the guy. In my mind, this actually means something!
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  18. Ernie the Slow Adult

    Ernie the Slow Adult All-Star Forum Donor

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    I think one of Joe's biggest mistakes was how conservative he was adding talent around the core of the '04 team after LB "left". There didn't seem to be any shortage of bad contracts once that team dispersed. They could have rolled the dice taking on some talent with contracts.
  19. Nemo

    Nemo Hall of Fame Forum Donor

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    I see a combination blunder as his biggest mistake...............

    Letting Afflalo go for a Snickers bar........then hanging on to Stuckey like he was LeBron OOps, he got away Isiah Thomas.
  20. BillLaimbeer

    BillLaimbeer All-Star 4x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    Some would argue "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." The team went to the NBA Finals in 2005. It went to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Adding talent might have disrupted the success the team was having...

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