Thursday, June 28, 2007

Joe Dumars' draft history: Low is high, up is down

Am I the only person who doesn't have a good feeling about the Pistons' chances in tonight's NBA draft?

The draft is supposedly the deepest in years, but just how impactful of a player will Detroit get at 15? Let alone at 27... Then again, when you harken back to past Joe Dumars drafts, it's almost assured that the 27th pick will turn out to be a better player than the 15th pick.

I have a high level of confidence in Joe Dumars' abilities in regard to most every facet of running a basketball franchise. Most every facet, that is, save one. The draft. It's Dumars' Achilles' heel, his kryptonite. The draft is the thing we don't speak of when talking about the greatness of Joe Dumars.

I'm not sure why, but the lower the pick, the better it seems to be. You just need to go back to Dumars' first draft, in 2000. Joe D found a very serviceable NBA player in Brian Cardinal with the Pistons' 2nd round pick. But the 1st round pick, the 14th overall, was an outright bust, Mateen Cleaves.

This was the highlight of his NBA career. Um...I was talking about Cleaves, not the commish...

Cardinal has lasted 7 seasons in the NBA as a respectable, if highly overpaid, energy player. On the other hand, Cleaves has bounced around every pro league on this planet, from the D-League to those in parts unknown. He's a bottom of the barrel PG of last resort, getting the occasional 10 day contract. When Cleaves has managed to stay on a NBA roster, he's the last man off the bench, and only plays in garbage time.

Unfortunately, the low is high, up is down style of drafting has been a disturbing trend with Dumars' draft picks

For every Tayshaun Prince, there is Rodney White. For every Memhet Okur, there is Darko Millicic. Low is high, up is down...

Sure, Joe D can has caught lightening in a bottle with some late 1st round and 2nd round picks, a la Jason Maxiell. The baby eater should get significant minutes in 2007. He should be a solid role player. Maxiell was a good value for so low in the 1st round.

Another example of low is high would be Amir Johnson, a 2nd rounder in '05. Johnson may be in the verge of more PT, but is still a work in progress. It remains to be seen how good he'll actually turn out to be. We honestly won't know for a couple of seasons.

When it comes to finding that "Impact" player in the draft, as the Pistons claim is their priority tonight, I can think of only 1 Dumars pick that should be considered as such. Tayshaun Prince.

As I mentioned, Dumars' has found his share of role players. But in 7 NBA drafts, he has only one starter to show for it, Prince. I could get all semanical, and also add Mehmet Okur to the list. But Okur was a Pistons contract casualty. He also was never going to get his shot in Detroit, at least not in the way Utah was able give him.

Losing players like Okur is one of the perils of having a successful, veteran team. That's also why you need to make hay in the draft.

So I'll be watching the NBA draft tonight, with much hope that Joe D will buck the trend and find himself a star player at 15. Or even at 27. It is possible in a supposedly deep draft.

But between you and me? I wouldn't bet on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment