Joe D has time to pull the trigger. Thereâ€™s no reason to rush into a trade or signing a free agent who doesnâ€™t fit the blueprint of this team. Now Iâ€™ve been one of the biggest advocates of trading Rip, Sheed, and the draft picks acquired from Toronto to L.A for Mr. Bryant. But then I came back down to earth and realized neither team would ever do such a thing (although it makes sense financially, could Kobe ever play team ball?). The Pistons need quite a few things as they have quite a few holes to fill. They need a young back up PG who can play 12-15 minutes a night and still produce, which they may have in Will Blalock. They need a RELIABLE swingman to come off the bench for Rip and Tayshaun Prince, which they may have in Amir Johnson. But for the long-term, they need a back-to-the-basket center that can score in the low post, block a couple shots and rebound. I love Jason Maxiell but the kidâ€™s only 6â€™7 and is a power forward at best.
I used to think Joe was the best GM in the game (anybody who can trade for Rasheed Wallace while only giving up the equivalent of a bag of hammers deserves some praise). But he has been slipping. His draft record is poor at best and his free agent signings of late havenâ€™t really panned out. Anybody remember Nazr Mohammed? Anybody? Bueller? I didnâ€™t think so. Joe needs to show patience this off-season with his cash. After resigning Chauncey Billups, he needs to draft wisely to fill the aforementioned needs and save up for next yearâ€™s stellar possible free agent class: Gilbert Arenas, Kevin Garnett, Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Chris Duhon and Antawan Jamison. The much rumored trade for Zach Randolph doesnâ€™t make any sense. No matter who you get rid of you get a guy who averaged .22 blocks per game last year in 68 games. By contrast Chauncey averaged .24 blocks in 70 games. The guy is big and slow and is a defensive liability, even if he is putting up 24 points a game with 10 boards.Â
My point is this: If Joe Dumars can successfully draft at least 2 players out of his 3 picks then the Pistons will be able to contend next year while infusing young talent. They wonâ€™t win it all, but theyâ€™ll contend. However, when the 2008 summer roles around Joe will have enough money to go out and pick-up that one, if not more than one, free agent that will make the difference. If he can do that heâ€™ll prove the saying true that great teams donâ€™t rebuild, they just reload.