It appears Joe Dumars is finally headed out the door as Detroit Pistons General Manager, a position he has held since the 2000-2001 season. Reports surfaced yesterday that Dumars would resign as early as next week. On Saturday, I spoke to NBA analyst Chris Webber as part of his sponsorship with Burger King (you’ve undoubtedly seen his #WATCHLIKEAKING commercial). Webber spoke passionately about the Detroit Pistons, a team he grew up watching.
Question: So Joe Dumars is going to be out of a job soon. What will the Pistons do? What direction do they go in?
Chris Webber: First of all, Joe Dumars did an excellent job. That team won a championship, that team went to the playoffs a lot of years. He did his best getting free agents to come to Detroit, that’s not easy to do. Above all, that was probably the hardest thing. He’ll get another job in the NBA, I have no doubt. He’s too good at what he does.
Question: What about Isiah Thomas?
Chris Webber: For the Pistons?
Question: How about in general—should Isiah get another job in this league?
Chris Webber: Are you serious? Absolutely man. That guy can spot talent. Look what he did with the Raptors. How man guys did he draft that were rookie of the year? Two, three?
(It’s actually 1, Damon Stoudamire but I think he was referring to his drafts of Tracy McGrady and Marcus Camby. Both of whom had successful NBA careers).
I don’t know about anything else that happened (with the Knicks), but specifically from a basketball standpoint, he’s good.
Webber’s analysis is backed up with fact here. ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh recently ranked Thomas as the best draft-day GM in the NBA.
“Thomas put up an outstanding hit rate in the draft, no matter where he picked. His run of lottery picks in Toronto should be the stuff of lore. He started off by getting Damon Stoudamire with the No. 7 pick in 1995. Then with the No. 2 pick in 1996, he grabbed Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Camby. The following year in 1997, he nabbed some high schooler named Tracy McGrady at No. 9.
“… Thomas’ average pick was the 23rd slot, but the talent he found was more like picking at sixth every year. That’s an absurdly good return. The irony is that Thomas never quite grasped the value of draft picks; he couldn’t wait to get rid of them, despite his overwhelming success on draft day.”
Question: So who do the Pistons look at now?
Chris Webber: They need to find somebody who knows about Pistons tradition. About defense and teamwork. Not about running and gunning. This is the Pistons man. I’d like to see them go back to their roots, back to what worked for them. I loved the Bad Boys, I grew up watching them. That’s what I want to see.
Question: Do you have aspirations of becoming a GM?
Chris Webber: I’d like to work in the front office one day.
Question: So is GM your end goal?
Chris Webber: Not my end goal but I’d certainly like to do something like that.
Going forward, I fully believe Webber will be a GM in this league. He has the mind for it. He has the passion for it. Above all, his analysis of talent and game play is top notch. He’s probably too green for his hometown Pistons right now, but 5-10 years down the line? A possibility worth exploring.
Finally, I asked Chris Webber to take a selfie with me. Sadly, it did not come out as planned. This is what happens when a short, fat guy takes a pic with someone a foot taller than him.
Much thanks to Burger King for allowing me time with Chris Webber as part of the #WatchLikeAKing promotion. And no, I did not ask him for a Big King. And no, I did not scream Chris Webber in his face.