Dumars the real problem in Detroit

Pistons' problems don't fall entirely on fired coach Maurice Cheeks

Updated: February 9, 2014, 5:59 PM ET
By Amin Elhassan | ESPN Insider

The Detroit Pistons fired coach Maurice Cheeks after a lackluster start to his tenure, even though he had been on the job for a mere 50 games. The Pistons have lacked a clear identity, sporting a below-average offensive efficiency rating (102.3), with little production besides shots at the rim.

Despite having several long athletes along the front line, Detroit was shockingly mediocre on defense, allowing almost 105 points per 100 possessions and giving up the second-worst opponent effective field goal percentage in the league (51.6 percent).

It became abundantly clear that Cheeks did not have the creativity to maximize the output of an unorthodox roster. With his firing, the Pistons have gone through four coaches in the six seasons since their most recent appearance in the Eastern Conference finals.

To focus on the coaching shortcomings as the reason for Detroit's struggles would be like not bathing for six years then running through different deodorants and blaming them for not removing the stench. There is one common denominator to the issues that afflict this franchise, and it resides not on the sideline but in the front office: general manager Joe Dumars.

I named Dumars to my hot seat GMs list before the season, and today's news does little more than increase the temperature. Dumars has found a way to repeatedly blame his deodorant choices for the pungent odor emanating from the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Let's look at some of the missteps: