Joe's not without blame, either, but I'll take Joe D every time over John Paxson.
Joe D lowlights - The Darko thing was waiting to happen to anyone without the first pick . . . right through the 10th pick. They really built that guy up, and Detroit was the only one looking for best available in a sea of needs. So they got screwed, and Joe D never saw it coming. His loss.
Side note on Darko . . . to come.
But Darko isn't the first head-scratcher Joe's done. Mateen Cleaves was a Joe D draft pick (his first transaction as GM), and that was bad from the start.
On the 2000 draft tip
, though . . . that was Joe's first year . . . man, to think how Detroit was literally Philadelphia, 06-07, after Hill decided to sign with Orlando and take the legitimacy with him . . . that was one hell of a bad crop of kids. Kenyon Martin at first overall? Mateen Cleaves, mid-round? The very next pick . . . Jason Collier . . . he's dead
What Joe D does better than most GMs is fixing mistakes. Mateen was dealt to Kings for Jon Barry - who got his best burn as a player during Jon's twilight in the Detroit days. Joe also got a first round pick from Kings in a future draft, sometime after 03-04? season, which was probably re-dealt in his frequent deals.
The Pistons used Jon the right way, perimeter, jack the threes, and pass-around plus inside-out for that to happen with a lot of success. Jon Barry still doesn't make up for Mateen, not when locals felt Morris Peterson was better - and that was backyard info - but getting anything in return, let alone a first round selection and
a useful player - that's usually not the case with other teams.
Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Rip Hamilton, and Chauncey Billups were brought to Detroit in trades. Every one of those guys was worth every penny, and of those four, Rasheed was an essential point-scorer from his first day in '04 . . . and Detroit doesn't succeed nearly as much if Billups wasn't running the game. Both those guys are top-tier players that don't get burn like they should. I want to spit in Chris Sheridan's drink. That ill-timed article on Billups was cheap and dumb. Pure hack writing . . . his chats are balanced, so it must be ESPN calling for that crap to fill clicks on the Daily Dime.
Joe D's best pick of many non-factor choices, so far: Tayshaun Prince. People regarded Mike Dunleavy to be the best and only option that year. Score one for Joe. Maxiell may be another gem from PF sub level. Rest of Detroit's draft picks aren't nearly as great under Joe D.
As for Joe's wheeling and dealing, he doesn't always make the best bench fits. That's his problem, along with overall drafting record, and that's still better than what Paxson's doing
because Paxson has the opposite problem - nice drafts, has no idea how to put together a team, poor decision in Scott Skiles as a rather mediocre coach in his own right . . . at least Joe's had Carlisle and
Larry Brown to provide clearly better floor management, for comparison.
Plus, Paxson hoards these youngsters that don't all fit together and keeps swapping used up vets for used up vets.
And while Chicago did slightly hurt Detroit by signing Ben Wallace, they did it at an enormous
cost to their franchise. Instead of being patient this year, they blew their entire cap on Ben . . . and now they cannot partake in the free agent free-for-all that may take place this summer. Last year's crop was pretty damn weak, for comparison.
Between the Skiles decision, the Rose for Antonio Davis for garbage deals, plus the dealing of JR Smith for nobody after getting JR and PJ Brown (who wasn't dealt at deadline like he should have been for that big point-earner), I mean Jesus, Chicago's never going to win with Paxson doing this crap. He hoarded that NY draft pick after dealing Curry, too, and that amounted to not a top 2 pick, so now it's not nearly as useful as it was back in February.