The big news on Tuesday was the Pistons firing coach Flip Saunders. Unlike the shock when they fired Rick Carlisle, I would classify this move as a mild surprise. Think about it — the Pistons had peaked at the Conference Finals once again; there’s only so long you can be pleased with that type of performance before changes are made. And that’s how Joe Dumars thinks. Hearing him speak at the press conference made me think: Gee, now there’s a guy who wants to win — that’s the type of guy I want running my franchise. Some of the things Dumars said that stood out to me (link is to video of press conference):
“There are 25, 26 teams that would love to be where we are, but good has not been good enough,” Dumars said.
“I’ve sat here for three straight years now and felt like we should have been in the finals. When you get to the Conference Finals, you feel like you’re good enough. You don’t feel like ‘we’re not good enough.’ I’ve been equally disappointed for three straight years now because I expected us to get there … I’m not going to listen to any excuses this year.
We’ve given this group under Flip’s leadership three straight years to get it done. If you’re not right there knocking at the door, then maybe you have to say ‘we’re not good enough.’ But when you’re right there in the Conference Finals, Game 6, Game 7, three straight years, it’s hard to sit there and say ‘maybe we’re not good enough.’ That’s when you say ‘maybe I do need to change some things.’ That’s how you come to that decision.”
Dumars also added that his mind was made up when the team blew a 10-point lead in the 4th quarter against the Celtics and said that he didn’t see the urgency. I’m not out to trash Flip Saunders because he did accomplish a lot as the leader of the team, but he didn’t get them to the point where Dumars wants to be. I really appreciate Dumars’ mentality and if you’re a fan, that’s exactly how you should want your GM to think and act. If he gets the feeling something isn’t right, regardless of how good the performance is, you have to make the change. He did it once before with Carlisle, went to LB, and reached the Finals. Looks like he thinks the same thing could happen again.