Dumars and the Draft: Luck or Skill?

Earlier in the season we had a few conversations regarding Dumars' draft record and whether the Pistons were good at drafting talent, slowly but surely, the conversation drifted to Dumars' seeming inability to keep said talent although he recognized it in the draft. So are the Pistons a good drafting team?

I have looked at every draft the Pistons have been in since Dumars was the GM of the team, and have compiled a list of every player he has drafted between 2000 and 2012 and what has become of them. I have not included undrafted Free-Agents that the Pistons signed in this time period, although they speak to Dumars’ ability of finding talent outside of the draft, I am specifically looking at the draft itself. That being said, Joe drafted 30 players in that time period, the list is extensive and I’m not going to post every player’s resume – unless you ask me to in the comments, in which case I’ll respond to your query with a summary of that player’s career.

For this post, I’ve split players into several groups according to a certain criteria:

Had a successful career: Became a role player or starter, has played for more than four seasons, or has the skill to play in the NBA for more than four years.

Did not have a successful career: Played sparsely or never actually made an NBA roster

Drifters: Players who I don’t consider had a successful career, but have stuck around the NBA.

So, out of the 30 players drafted by Dumars in the span of 12 years, four have won Championships (Prince, Milicic and Okur in 2004 with the Pistons and Cardinal in 2011 with the Mavericks), sixteen have had/are having successful NBA careers (Drummond, Middleton, Singler, Knight, Monroe, Budinger, Jerebko, Afflalo, Stuckey, Johnson, Maxiell, Delfino, Milicic, Prince, Okur, Cardinal), ten never saw a meaningful stint in the Association (Glyniadakis, Paulding, Acker, Blalock, Meija, Washington, Summers, T. White, Macklin, English)and four have drifted around the League (Daye, DJ White, R. White, Cleaves).

This means that about 20 players out of the 30 have played some solid minutes in the NBA, and that within those 20, there are two All-Stars (Prince, Okur), three potential All-Stars (Drummond, Monroe, Afflalo) and some very serviceable players (Middleton, Singler, Knight, Budinger, Jerebko, Stuckey, Johnson and Delfino). These numbers suggest that in any given draft, Dumars has a 66.7% chance of drafting a useful player.

A 66.7% success rate in the draft seems pretty good, but how does that match up with other GMs? Larry Bird (Pacers: 2003-2012): 58.8% ; Sam Presti (OKC 2007-2012): 52.9% ; Danny Ainge (BOS 2003-2012): 52.1% ; R.C. Buford (SAS 2002-2012): 47.8%

Dumars certainly looks like a GM who knows how to draft, but, that being said, it doesn’t mean that he knows how to develop talent. Of the 20 who were/are in the League, five realized their potential after they had left Detroit (Johnson, Afflalo, Delfino, Okur and Middleton) whilst other players like Milicic, Budinger, Cardinal and Knight carved themselves a niche on other teams. The Pistons did keep some home-grown products (Stuckey, Jerebko, Singler, Prince and Maxiell), but compared to some of the names above, they don’t stack up.

Pistons fans already know that Dumars has a penchant for trading away talent, and we can now say that out of the 20 players drafted, 45% of them played their best career years outside of Detroit, and that number could increase when you consider the upcoming free-agency status of Jonas Jerebko, Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey. That’s slightly depressing if you ask me.

Dumars gets a lot of credit for putting together the 2004 Championship team, and he certainly deserves that praise and I think he should also get some for his underrated draft record. Although he has a history of not being able to develop prospects, he has shown that he knows how to draft, which in itself is a pretty good ability to have. Would I have preferred for him to keep certain players or drafted others? Sure, but hindsight is 20/20. Has he mishandled the development of certain rookies? I think its fair to say that he has. Do I think he has done a good job as a GM recently? Not necessarily, he has made a lot of mistakes, but do I think he is a good GM? Definitely.

What's your take on Dumars and the Draft?

FanPosts are user-created posts from the Detroit Bad Boys community and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all fans or the staff at DBB. The DBB staff reserves the right at any time to edit the contents of FanPosts as they reasonably see fit.

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