I think with what's happened over the past couple years, the approval rating for Joe Dumars has probably slipped considerably amongst fans.
But Yahoo's NBA blog, Ball Don't Lie, still picked Joey D as the No. 2 best GM over the past decade, second only to the Spurs GM, R.C. Buford. I'm on the boat that would definitely agree with this ranking and the following excerpt:
Dumars started by playing it smart, working with teams in cap hell, leaving things flexible, sometimes acting as if Bird Rights didn't matter and he had an NFL-styled hard cap to work with. The Pistons were in the Eastern Conference finals every year between 2003 and 2008, and it was only the players' fault they didn't win more titles...
...Could it have been better? Yes, Detroit's run could have been much, much better. Spurs-like, better. But overall, it was still pretty damn good.
There are a ton of variables that go into being a quality GM. Of course, ultimately, everything hinges on how many W's and L's the team had under the GM's control, but there is a lot more to it in my opinion. Dumars did everything he possibly could have done to put this team in a position to win a championship seven years in a row. No other team can say they had that chance. At that point, as the article says, it was only the players' fault they didn't get over that hump.
At the beginning of last season, Dumars saw an opportunity that would free up a ton of cap space and give him a chance to flip the team over in one summer, from one of the oldest teams in the NBA to one of the youngest. And with the signings of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, amongst the rest of the Pistons corps, they are one of the youngest teams in the NBA and find themselves once again just one or two moves away from being able to compete with the upper echelon for another string of years.
A lot of fans questioned Dumars' motives in 2001 when he became sole GM and they're beginning to do it again after an unfamiliar losing season. It's only natural, but trust in Dumars.
No matter the Darko draft, the Rodney White draft, or the Iverson trade, he created a winning lottery ticket dynasty the players didn't cash in on, He's learning from the minuscule mistakes he may have made over that time and revamping his prior model. He's in the process of putting a roster together that could evolve into something special. You won't convince me otherwise, he's one of the GMs in this league and we should be grateful of that as Pistons fans.