Too often than not we end up talking about terrible GMs and ex players making decisions that tank the organizations they’re meant to help. Today, we’re not going down that road. We’re going to talk about one of the few certified supergeniues in the GM office. Detroit legend Joe Dumars.
It’s not that uncommon to see players become involved in teams close to their hometowns. Larry Bird stepped comfortably into his position at the Indiana Pacers, and Michael Jordan is so in love with his Charlotte Bobcats, that his $21 million supermansion in Chicago is up for sale.
However, the Louisiana-born and raised Dumars has become part of the fabric of Detroit, and a Pistons legend in his own right. Spending his whole career with the Pistons, he was a critical part of the Bad Boys team, and a two-time NBA Champion.
But we’re here to focus on what he did after retiring in ‘99. Some players decide to step away and take some time off from the game. Dumars returned as President of Basketball Operations in 2000, and set about building a team like you do you in your office fantasy league – using undervalued players who he knew he could wrench talent out of.
His first monster deal sent Grant Hill to Orlando, and brought in Chucky Atkins and Big Ben Wallace. Atkins would play a limited role in Detroit, but Ben Wallace was part of Detroit’s core for the next few years. Hill would be hampered in Orlando due to ankle injury. How Dumars knew, we have no idea. Then he flipped Jerome Williams for future Sixth Man of the Year Corliss Williamson, and two nobodies. Perhaps best of all, Dumars traded a creaking Jerry Stackhouse to Washington for a pre-mask wearing Rip Hamilton. Then picked up Chauncey Billups at the peak of his career.
Just before 2004’s finals run, he’d flip Chucky Atkins, Lindsey Hunter and a first round pick for Rasheed Wallace.
So all he’s done is make a championship winning team, giving up aging stars, role players, and one draft pick in return. No big deal. Oh, and he’s also been a beast in the draft, picking Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Brandon Knight.
It’s not like Dumars hasn’t made his share of missteps (Darko Milicic), but he was even able to flip that. He somehow got Orlando to give up a draft pick and Kelvin Cato for Darko and Carlos Arroyo. No part of that doesn’t sound like a straight up robbery.
Dumars has been a critical part of three Pistons championships, and his current rebuilding process has brought in promising youngsters like Brandon Knight, Andre Drummond, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The man has done more for the city of Detroit than most mayors.
A legend on the court and in the GM’s office, for all the right reasons, Joe Dumars is an exec that any organizations would love to have. Too bad for them his heart is in Auburn Hills.