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Jamal's weekly blog is a little light on love for Joe D!

Joe D has time to pull the trigger. There’s no reason to rush into a trade or signing a free agent who doesn’t fit the blueprint of this team. Now I’ve been one of the biggest advocates of trading Rip, Sheed, and the draft picks acquired from Toronto to L.A for Mr. Bryant. But then I came back down to earth and realized neither team would ever do such a thing (although it makes sense financially, could Kobe ever play team ball?). The Pistons need quite a few things as they have quite a few holes to fill. They need a young back up PG who can play 12-15 minutes a night and still produce, which they may have in Will Blalock. They need a RELIABLE swingman to come off the bench for Rip and Tayshaun Prince, which they may have in Amir Johnson. But for the long-term, they need a back-to-the-basket center that can score in the low post, block a couple shots and rebound. I love Jason Maxiell but the kid’s only 6’7 and is a power forward at best.

I used to think Joe was the best GM in the game (anybody who can trade for Rasheed Wallace while only giving up the equivalent of a bag of hammers deserves some praise). But he has been slipping. His draft record is poor at best and his free agent signings of late haven’t really panned out. Anybody remember Nazr Mohammed? Anybody? Bueller? I didn’t think so. Joe needs to show patience this off-season with his cash. After resigning Chauncey Billups, he needs to draft wisely to fill the aforementioned needs and save up for next year’s stellar possible free agent class: Gilbert Arenas, Kevin Garnett, Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Chris Duhon and Antawan Jamison. The much rumored trade for Zach Randolph doesn’t make any sense. No matter who you get rid of you get a guy who averaged .22 blocks per game last year in 68 games. By contrast Chauncey averaged .24 blocks in 70 games. The guy is big and slow and is a defensive liability, even if he is putting up 24 points a game with 10 boards.Â

My point is this: If Joe Dumars can successfully draft at least 2 players out of his 3 picks then the Pistons will be able to contend next year while infusing young talent. They won’t win it all, but they’ll contend. However, when the 2008 summer roles around Joe will have enough money to go out and pick-up that one, if not more than one, free agent that will make the difference. If he can do that he’ll prove the saying true that great teams don’t rebuild, they just reload.

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