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Friday, June 14, 2013

SDH Presents the 2013 End of Season NBA's Worst to First: 24. Detroit Pistons

Overall Win/Loss Record (At Season’s End): 29-53,  fourth place Central Division

At Season’s End:

Team Statistics and League Rank (At Season’s End)

  • Points Scored: 94.9 (22nd)
  • Points Allowed: 98.8 (18th)
  • Team FG%:  .449 (14th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .459 (21st)
  • Team FT%: .699 (29th)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .356 (18th)
  • Rebounds per game: 42.1 (13th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 41.8 (14th)
  • Turnovers per game: 14.6 (23rd)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 13.1 (22nd)

Individual Statistical Leaders (At Season’s End)

  • Scoring (ppg): Greg Monroe (16.0)
  • Rebounds per game:  Greg Monroe (9.6)
  • Minutes per game: Greg Monroe (33.2)
  • Assists per game:  Jose Calderon (7.1)
  • Field Goal Percentage: Andre Drummond (.608)
  • Free Throw Percentage:   Jose Calderon (.900)
  • Three Point FG Percentage: Jose Calderon (.461)
  • Steals per game: Greg Monroe (1.3)
  • Blocked Shots per game:  Andre Drummond (1.6)

Taking a Look Back at the Season that Once Was . . .

SDH Worst to First Recap
Time Period
Change (+/-)
At Season’s End
SDH Player of the Year:
Jose Calderon

While in Toronto, he was underappreciated and often criticized for his shortcomings instead of being appreciated on what he was actually giving on the court;  however that all changed once he arrived in Detroit mid season.  On a team that was in desperate need of a point guard, Jose Calderon immediately filled that need upon arriving as he gave the team, its fans and the city Detroit what they had yearned for so long.  He was a player who actually looked to pass the ball and get his teammates involved and certainly proved, at least for a short time, that he can be considered an elite point man in the NBA.  Along with leading the team in assists, Jose also proved to be quite an offensive spark, if need be as he shot close to .500 from the field along with leading the league in three point field goal percentage.  With such an impressive performance, Joe Dumars might have to consider resigning the Spanish play maker as he will become an unrestricted free agent in July.   

With the 2013 regular season officially in the books, it has been five years since Joe Dumars took a team that was once a powerhouse in the league and turned it into complete garbage.  Most GMs on any team in any professional sport would have been sent out on their backsides for far less, but Dumars has still managed to remain holding the reins on the Detroit Pistons despite crashing the team into oblivion.  For five years, he has somehow managed to remain untouchable from any kind of criticism or sense of accountability for his actions by shielding himself with the coaches that he has hired and fired making them the scapegoats for the mess that was his fault in the first place.  Recently another victim of Dumars' arrogant and wreckless bumbling has been added in the form of recently deposed coach Lawrence Frank, who had a highly respected reputation as an NBA coach before having it ruined thanks to his dealings with Joe Dumars.  So the question remains: who will be the next patsy that will take the fall for Dumars as he continues to run the Pistons into the ground and the team along with its fans continue to suffer watching the trainwreck that he had originally created?

Dumars has remained relatively unscathed despite his part in being responsible for the disaster than hoop fans in Detroit have had to endure and it seems as if he might even earn himself a reprieve.  Despite winning just 29 games, the Pistons exhibited great improvement in not only their offensive execution, which ranked among the worst in the league, and their defensive effort making them a team to keep an eye on in coming years.  In the regular season, the Pistons seemed to have gotten back to its roots of playing tough and physical defense as they had made it difficult for teams to beat them only losing by just four points per game.  The Pistons, despite being on the wrong side of the regular season win/loss column, also managed to out rebound their opponents, albeit by a slim margin, and have managed to at least keep at par statistically will their opponents as well.  So it is safe to say that Dumars, despite all his past transgressions, may have found himself redeemed after all the damage he has caused as the same Pistons team that he had ruined have started to show signs of improvement and thus possibly lead to him taking all the credit for it--credit that he certainly does not deserve in the least.     

Dumars does deserve some credit, however, in that he was able to get rid of two of his biggest personnel errors--signing Ben Gordon to that 50$ million contract and the resigning of Tayshaun Prince two seasons ago.  Just right before the regular season, Dumars found a sucker willing enough to take Gordon's erroneous contract in the Charlotte Bobcats; however, as it with everything, he take to take garbage in order to give it away.  In order to relieve the burden of Gordon, Dumars was forced to take broken down swing man Corey Maggette, who would just play eighteen games for the entire season.  At least Maggette's contract expired at the end of this season whereas with Gordon, Dumars would have had to have waited another season to be rid of him which made the move worth enough to execute.  With the contract of another free agent bust Charlie Villanueva's contract expiring as well, Dumars can finally take a sigh of relief that he is finally rid of the two contracts that he had the folly of giving in the first place.

Dumars also managed to kill two birds with one stone as he managed to get rid of another flawed signing while at the same time acquiring the player that his team desperately needed.  He sent veteran Tayshaun Prince, the last remnant of the 2004 and 2005 Pistons teams that reached the NBA Finals twice, along with little used Austin Daye to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three team trade that also involved the Toronto Raptors and received point guard Jose Calderon.  For much of his career with the Raptors, Calderon had always been put down by the fans despite being among the elite point men in the league.  Now, in Detroit, he was now with a team that would truly appreciate what he brought to the court--playmaking, effort and leadership both vocally and by example.  As for Prince, he left a team headed nowhere to one that would go as far as the Western Conference Final so in any event it seems that everybody won in the trade, especially Dumars who got another chance to dodge scrutiny yet again.

Despite turning his team from a consistent playoff contender and one of the top teams in the East into a complete train wreck, it looks as if the Pistons have started to show signs of improvement and are starting to climb out of the hole that their GM made for them.  Instead of brooding and disenchanted veterans who kept the team down through infighting ans discontent, the roster has now been infused with fresh young talent and a new culture of cohesiveness focusing on teamwork and defensive effort--the two main ingredients that kept the Pistons a force from 2002 to 2008.  The turnaround has certainly helped Dumars to dodge a bullet as he made extremely wise draft picks along with a couple of well placed trades to help rebuild the Detroit team that he had unwittingly destroyed.  Now Detroit looks like a team on the rise and are now a couple players and a solid coach away from returning to the playoffs.  Although returning to championship  form is still a long ways away, Dumars now has the franchise going in the right direction--so remain patient and keep the faith, Motor City, for you will return to the spotlight among the NBA elite sooner than later.