Get ready for a new Sheriff in Auburn Hills.
Dumars has been the President of the Detroit Pistons since 2000 and orchestrated a championship winning team in 2004. There were many highs and lows during Dumars’ tenure, but the lows of the last few years have been too much too ignore.
Dumars built a team that fans of the Motor City connected with. Outcasts that were overlooked by other teams were brought to Detroit to form a cohesive unit that thrived on hard work and unity.
“Going to work,” became the montrah of the Dumars era.
The championship team of 2004 featured a starting five of Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace. Those five men were never going to win a regular season Most Valuable Player award, but they sure valued one another on the court.
What followed the 2004 season was another championship appearance in 2005, but that fell short in a game seven loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The Robert Horry three-pointer in game five will forever haunt Piston fans.
Year after year, the Pistons made it to the Eastern Conference finals and were always in the mix in the NBA’s final four. However, the fall from grace was steep.
The Detroit Pistons traded their captain, Chauncey Billups, in 2008 and the team was never the same. Dumars made an attempt to reshuffle the deck but the timing couldn’t have been worse, as owner Bill Davidson would soon pass away. Years would follow of Dumars either being handcuffed (as the team was going through a change of ownership,) or making questionable free agent signings (Ben Gordon, Josh Smith, etc.)
It’ll take some time for the lure of Joe Dumars to return to some Piston fans’ minds. Dumars may go down to some as a terrible front-office Executive and evoke memories of (dare I say it…) Matt Millen. Those comparisons couldn’t be farther from the truth.
As the only living man who has a hand in all three franchise championships, his impact on the franchise cannot be matched. Dumars was part of the Bad Boys’ championships as a player in 1989 and 1990, and also built a championship roster in 2004.
Whomever Owner Tom Gores chooses to put in Dumars’ place will have a young roster that will center around phenom Andre Drummond. There is financial flexibility and trade assets for the new man in charge to utilize to bring the Pistons back to the habit of playing into May and June.
The days of sellouts may return to the Palace of Auburn Hills sooner rather than later, but it’ll be under the direction of someone other than Joe Dumars. His #4 jersey will continue to hang in the rafters and his legacy as a Piston champion should be his lasting image.