Why Detroit Had to Deal for Iverson

There has been some confusion as to why Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars would make this deal for Allen Iverson, when it goes against "the Pistons way" that resulted in an NBA title, two NBA Finals appearances and six consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference finals. Well, the whole team-before-superstar philosophy wasn't working anymore.

I wasn't feeling this powder blue anyway. (Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

It was great for the game when the Pistons recorded their five-game victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals. Detroit was the better team, but they pulled off an upset of recent NBA reasoning that stated that star power prevails in June. There is a reason that the 1979 Seattle SuperSonics (R.I.P.) had been the last team to win a title without a bonafide Hall of Famer.

The Pistons dismantled the best two-man combo of this decade -- Shaq and Kobe -- with Chauncey Billups winning the NBA Finals MVP without a previous all-star appearance. They made it back to the Finals the next season, losing to San Antonio in seven games. They could've easily won back-to-back titles if not for a Rasheed Wallace brain-freeze that left Robert Horry open for a decisive three-pointer in that critical Game 5.

But since Tim Duncan and the Spurs knocked out the Pistons, the Pistons were demolished in the Eastern Conference finals by the Dwyane Wade wrecking ball in 2006, the LeBron James bulldozer in 2007 and finally, the Garnett, Allen and Paul Pierce three-star championship train last summer. Three in a row. To paraphrase Hall and Oates, Joe can't go for that.

The message was very clear to Dumars. The Pistons had gone as far as Billups would take them. He needed a star. Although Dumars was able to turn the Darko Milicic blunder into promising second-year combo guard Rodney Stuckey, he realizes that the franchise may have been able to avoid the past three shortcomings if he had only drafted Wade, Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh with the No. 2 pick in 2003.

As an NBA front office executive told me on Monday, the Pistons succeeded in the past because all five players would consistently play at the top of the games. But after winning the championship, they got a bit complacent and could count on only two or three players bringing it at a time. And without a legitimate star, there was little margin for error -- and no superstar to cover up all of their teammates mistakes. That's tough to overcome.

This trade for Iverson is the first step toward remedying the lack of star power in Detroit. The Pistons hope they can rent a championship-starved Iverson for one season at least, and see how far he can take them. If it doesn't work out, they'll be able to have the cap space to sign a desired star, preferably in 2010 when James, Wade and Bosh could be available.

Eventually, continuity has to be replaced by a new plan.

By Michael Lee |  November 4, 2008; 8:23 AM ET
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"Eventually, continuity has to be replaced by a new plan"

Someone should tell this to EG

Posted by: beas13 | November 4, 2008 9:40 AM

In order for continuity to be replaced by a new plan, there has to be continuity. the constant flow of injuries has robbed the Wizards of that.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 4, 2008 10:27 AM

I said it before, and I'll say it again.

The Detroit Pistons is a franchise that wants to win and has proven that they are winners, while Les BouleS is content with more of the same.

Gilby could return tomorrow at full form, but that won't change the fact that Les BouleS can't play D, don't have interior scoring, and don't have interior defense.

That has become painfully obvious, and EG can't use the excuse anymore about playing these injuries out.

Once again, Gilby's return is not going to improve D, interior offense, or interior defense. You can't win anything without those 3.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 4, 2008 12:48 PM

DC_MAN88 - i have to agree with you. though I like the squad, I thought resigning Jamison was a little to hasty. I like him, but he is not the type 4 this team needs. he has nice numbers but the impact of his 20 and 10 are not that same as an interior presence 20-10.

it's no excuse to say Gilbert is Gilbert, but they got caught having to take their own poison. 1st we have to hope the dude can come back healthy and regain his form.

Oddly, if the McGee can grow and develop, in 3 years he may be the answer we are looking for.

Posted by: oknow1 | November 4, 2008 1:52 PM

"Eventually, continuity has to be replaced by a new plan."

This is the problem I have with the coverage of the Wizards in DC. They are simply not held to the same standard as other teams. If you can defend Dumars breaking up a contender, why no criticism for the Wizards bending over backwards to keep a team together that's only been past the first round once?

The fact is that Grunfeld and Jordan get a free pass because of the team's history. If this team had a history of championships, these two would be on the hot seat if not fired already. But just because of the history of losing, mediocrity is celebrated to the point that the organization is nearly untouchable.

Posted by: LyricalRico | November 4, 2008 2:32 PM

any chance A-I would sign with the Wiz once the contract in Detroit is up? would it even work. I can't see him re-signing with Detroit for any sort of huge deal at his age. And he's not going to want to go to a team for big $ that has no chance to win or at least make a playoff run. But in DC, he'd be close enough to his VA roots. I don't see too many contending teams throwing out big $ for a 30+ yr old tweener/scoring guard.

Posted by: gregskins | November 4, 2008 2:45 PM

we likely will have some cap room by that time is all i'm saying. Daniels & Thomas should be off the books by then.

Posted by: gregskins | November 4, 2008 2:49 PM

"Oddly, if the McGee can grow and develop, in 3 years he may be the answer we are looking for.

Posted by: oknow1 | November 4, 2008 1:52 PM "

I didn't know teams go on 3 year plans after doing 171 mil in contracts during the offseason.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 4, 2008 3:37 PM

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