I was lucky enough to get selected to participate in Joe Dumars state of the Pistons address to season ticket holders. It was basically a conference call with Joe Dumars, who made a brief statement about where the team is at this point and what he was expecting from the team for the rest of the season, followed by a question and answer segment. For me it was even more special because Joe Dumars is my all-time favorite NBA player (sorry Sheed).
I will break it down to you.
Joe gave a quick overview of the first 20 games. He thought the Pistons where right where he thought they would be at this point in the season, although he thought there were a couple of close game that they should have won. He said he would rather be 13 and 7 then 17 and 3 playing 10 or 11 guys, extending the bench and not wearing out the starters. It’s really not important for the Pistons to have the best record in November and December, what is important is to be healthy, deep and have everybody focused and ready to play come April and June. They like where they are right now and they feel the team has been their best the past three years. They feel like they are prime to get right back to the finals this year and everyone is ready and excited to do that.
Questions submitted by season ticket holders, asked by Pistons Keith Langlois.
Q: Any truth to the rumor that the Pistons are in the mix for AI?
A: No, the Sixers are looking out West first and if they can’t get something done out there then they will look to the east. But as of right now the Pistons aren’t in any of those talks.The Next 2 questions were actually submitted by me, so I am going to give you the audio for them. The second one was announced as someone else’s question but they must have made a mistake when they announced it because it was the question I asked word for word, so sorry Cory Ward from Oxford if you didn’t get your question answered. Q: Do you have any plans on getting Ben Wallace back?
A: “It would probably be tough to do with the number that Chicago signed him at. Once Ben decided to take that deal with Chicago it put the Pistons financially out of reach as far as what the team was willing to do. So I don’t foresee that happening.”
Q: What would it take to get Kevin Garnett in a Pistons Uniform?
A: “It would probably take three or four of our starters to do that, but we wouldn’t do that. Those deals are not easy, the deal we made to get Rasheed here was not easy. We where very fortunate, we were in the right place at the right time.” It takes core players to make a deal for a guy like that and you usually have to break up a team to do that and Dumars is not willing to do that.
Q: Will Amir Johnson be playing more?
A: “Yes, it’s a long season and they are going to try to find minutes for Amir.” They think Amir has an incredible upside and they want to get him on the floor more this year.Q: Do you believe Chauncey is a max salary player?
A: “What a guys number is, is whatever you negotiate. Whether he’s a max or not it’s irrelevant.”” We are committed to keeping Chauncey here.”
Q: What’s wrong with Rasheed, why won’t they give him the ball in the post?
A: “That’s a two way street. Sometimes he has to get there and call for it. Sometimes Rasheed doesn’t get there and demand the ball in the post. So sometimes that is the issue as much as the guys not getting him the ball in the post. Rasheed is not a guy that you’re are going to get the ball and throw it in the post for 48 minutes. He’s not that type of guy, he is going to float out to the three point line, he’s going to pick and roll, he’s going to pick and pop he’s going to do all those things. He is going to move around a lot on the floor. Me personally, I would love to see him down on the block a whole lot more, but I also understand that you have to allow a player to play and feel comfortable on the floor. Usually what you see is when the game gets tight in the fourth quarter or when it’s tight and we really need a basket you can rest assured that he goes down there then. He understands how good he is in the post, he just doesn’t want to have to play that position the entire 48 minutes. He usually gets down there when things are really tight though.”
Q: What criteria besides win loss record do you review in determining whether a coach is effective and the timing in which you need to make a change of the head coach.
A: “Win loss record is a huge part of it, but also connecting with the players. Are they helping guys get better, do you have the team interests first and foremost.” Make sure the connection between coach and player is still there because when it’s not, that is when you run into major problems.
Q: How soon do you expect contributions between Cheick Samb and Alex Acker?
A: “Cheick Samb is going to be in Barcelona this season and next season, It’s going to be a couple years before he gets here. Alex Acker has the ability to opt out of his European contract after this year and could come back next year. We could see Alex back next year.”
I basically covered everything except when Joe D was asked what his biggest accomplishment was. His answer, his two children. Class act, very humble and one of my favorite people.