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Monday, September 08, 2008

William Davidson Should Have Said More About Isiah Thomas--Or Less

Shortly before William Davidson was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame, Mitch Albom conducted a lengthy interview with the only owner who has won championships in three professional sports leagues (three NBA titles with the Pistons, two WNBA titles with the Shock and one NHL title with the Lightning). Davidson offered interesting, intelligent and insightful takes on a wide range of subjects but his comments about Isiah Thomas made me wish that he had either said a lot more--or a little less:

"I was very, very close to Isiah, and there were times he was almost like a son. But, because of his background, um...I told him he had to change--you know, coming from where he came from. I said, 'You've got it made now. Don't keep doing those things that you've been doing.' I won't tell you what they are. But he couldn't change...We just come from different backgrounds. He had to fight his way up, and I didn't have the problems he had growing up. There's a lot of good things about Isiah, but when we had our parting, it was over something pretty substantial."

The "parting" Davidson mentioned refers to the fact that after Thomas retired as a player Davidson did not offer him the position in the Pistons' front office that Thomas seemed destined to occupy; of course, that job has been very capably filled by Joe Dumars. Later in the interview, Davidson told Albom that he had reached out to Thomas about five years ago to clear the air, concluding, "We're the best of friends today." That may be true, but Davidson really did a disservice to Thomas by leveling an accusation that is at once serious-sounding but also very vague. Was Davidson referring to something as relatively innocuous as Thomas' communication style or was he talking about something darker and more sinister? Since Davidson offered no specifics, that void is sure to be filled by careless, rampant speculation. This reminds me of when the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Ron Harper for Danny Ferry because of rumors and speculation about the company Harper was keeping. Harper never got in trouble and ended up playing on six championship teams during his 15 year NBA career. Sometimes, an employer has quite valid concerns about a person's character, conduct and/or associates but it is a mistake to take drastic action based just on rumors. The questions about Harper turned out to be unfounded and trading him away proved to be a big mistake that may have cost the Cavs a chance to win a championship.

The general public does not have a very high opinion of Thomas at the moment, so the reaction to Davidson's comments by Detroit fans may be either "So what?" or "Good riddance" but that still does not make it right for Davidson to put Thomas' name in a negative light without making a specific allegation that Thomas could refute if he so desired. Davidson could have either simply said, "I had planned to hire Isiah after he retired but then I decided to go in a different direction" or he could have offered up a more precise explanation of what made him reconsider his plans. Whatever you may think of Thomas as a person or as an NBA executive, put yourself in his shoes for a moment: if you gave your heart and soul to your employer for more than a decade and twice helped your employer reach the pinnacle of the profession--in this case, a pair of NBA championships--regardless of whatever your flaws may be wouldn't you be hurt and disappointed if that employer not only reneged on a previous understanding to give you a bigger role in the organization but then publicly cast aspersions on your character?

William Davidson is a great man who has done a lot of wonderful things for Detroit, the NBA and with his numerous philanthropic endeavors but in this instance his words about Isiah Thomas could have been more carefully and thoughtfully chosen.

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posted by David Friedman @ 2:38 AM

22 comments

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22 Comments:

At Monday, September 08, 2008 4:12:00 AM, Blogger vednam said...

It's sad how much Isiah Thomas' legacy has been tarnished. Of course, part of it is his own fault, but I think the lion's share of it is due to the media and their spin (and people like Davidson who don't seem to have any problems speaking ill of him).

I remember when Joe Dumars was getting inducted into the HOF and all the guys on ESPN were trying to rewrite history saying things like Dumars was the "real MVP" of the back-to-back Pistons championship teams. It's sickening.

 
At Tuesday, September 09, 2008 3:01:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Vednam:

I agree with you completely.

Chuck Daly once said that if Isiah had been 6-6 or bigger--Isiah was very generously listed at 6-1--then he might have become the greatest player ever (it's hard to be the greatest player ever at that size, which is one reason that I just can't place CP3 ahead of Kobe and LeBron). Isiah was one of the best players ever at scoring a burst of points in a short span of time and he also was one of the greatest playmakers of all-time.

 
At Tuesday, September 09, 2008 8:24:00 AM, Blogger madnice said...

The way Isiah is will never change. He thinks he can remedy any situation and has always had that fighter mentality.

Id rather have Isiah than Bryant or LeBron though. Isiah took a team and organization that was nothing. The Pistons built around him and 2 titles were the result. Bryant will never have to do that and LeBron has to prove if he can lead a team to a ring.

 
At Tuesday, September 09, 2008 4:19:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Madnice:

As great as Isiah was, I would have trouble taking him over Kobe or LeBron simply because of the size issue that I alluded to in my previous response. When LeBron came to the Cavs they were pretty bad and in short order he led them to the Finals. Last year, Kobe led a team with no other All-Stars to the best record in the West and a berth in the Finals.

 
At Tuesday, September 09, 2008 6:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous regggie

i would take him over ai and tiny archibald in a heartbeat isiah had alot of talent around him is partly why his teams were so great points never been done before. but he still made themg he was quick had a great burst of speed could pass well and score at will.


lol if he is 6ft 6 he still not better than micheal jeffrey jordan greatest player ever or magic or bird or kobe or lebron or dr j or jerry west or the big o or bill or wilt. he was a great player i respected his tougness and life story and he was 12 time all star 8 allnba top 20 players all time number 17 in 03 by slam pippen was 41 barkley was 19 they put karl malone ahead of him crazy but zeek was special player for sure.


why does davidson not like him or refuse to acknowledge him, i remeber john salley saying he didnt love isiah as a person either clearly isiah dogged dennis rodman and others on the team he been terible gm and coach in ny and pacers but a great grreat player

 
At Wednesday, September 10, 2008 2:06:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Reggie:

Davidson didn't say that he does not like Isiah; he said that he would not hire him to run the Pistons for an allegedly serious reason that he declined to specify. If you read the entire interview, he claims to be on good terms with Isiah now.

I'm not surprised that you don't think that a 6-6 version of Isiah would have been better than MJ :)

Here is an interesting stat that Isiah likes to cite: he--meaning his teams, of course--had a winning head to head record versus Bird, Magic and MJ. Isiah claims that he is the only player who can say that.

What do you mean by saying that Isiah "dogged" Dennis Rodman?

 
At Wednesday, September 10, 2008 8:16:00 AM, Blogger madnice said...

The point I was making is that the Pistons were a franchise of nothing until Isiah. Yeah they made the playoffs and had Bing, Lanier, DeBusschere and past NBA greats but they werent the Lakers.
LeBron still hasnt won the title. Bryant hasnt taken a franchise of no legacy to the top like Isiah did. I realize the Pistons are one of the first NBA teams but they never won anything.

Size has nothing to do with what Im talking about.
Isiah proved that. The first year Isiah won the title he had no allstars either. I realize the next year two of the players would become future HOF.

 
At Wednesday, September 10, 2008 11:59:00 AM, Blogger Big E said...

Hello,

I agree with the consensus that Isiah Thomas was a tremendous player, had great intensity and was a tremendous competitor. However, I disagree with madnice when he indicates that Isiah was more of a difference maker than Kobe or LeBron (after LeBron has a few more years in the Association).

Firstly, Kobe is a better defender than Isiah ever was. Although Isiah was a good scorer and was dominant at times (especially in big moments and the playoffs), I would still take Kobe as a scorer. Isiah was a great playermaker (of course he was a point guard not a shooting guard) but Kobe is a very effective playmaker in his own right. I give the edge to Kobe.

As for the comparison with LeBron, LeBron has not had a full body of work yet. Yet his body of work is considerable. His scoring is superior to Isiah's. LeBron's playmaking ability rivals Isiah's. LeBron is also improving defensively and may be on his way to All-NBA in the area of defense. I would currently give the edge to Isiah over LeBron only because Lebron is still fairly early into his NBA career (just wait!). In fact, (I hate to admit this since I am a big-time Kobe fan) I feel that he will go down as a better player than Kobe when it is all said and done.

 
At Wednesday, September 10, 2008 10:43:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Madnice:

While Isiah was the only Pistons All-Star in 1989, the year that the Pistons won their first title, it is a little bit deceptive to compare that squad to the unit that Kobe carried to the Finals this year. Gasol is a one-time All-Star. I don't expect that he will be a Hall of Famer and no other Laker has made the All-Star team in any season. In contrast, by 1989, Laimbeer was a four-time All-Star and recent rebounding champion and Aguirre was a three-time All-Star. In addition, Dumars was a future HoFer who won the 1989 Finals MVP, while Rodman was a tremendous defender and rebounder who would be a HoF candidate if not for his antics. So Isiah had a lot more help than Kobe does, though it would be quite fair to say that Isiah had less help than Bird, Magic and MJ did: each of those three players had at least one Top 50 player alongside him during their championship runs.

Kobe and Isiah cannot control what the previous histories of their franchises were. Isiah deserves great credit for leading the Pistons to the top and Kobe deserves great credit for his accomplishments as a Laker.

Size does matter when evaluating NBA players. For Isiah to be considered better than guys like Kobe and LeBron his skill set would have to be even more otherworldly than it was. That is what Daly was talking about: if Isiah had been bigger with the same skill set, he would have possibly been one of the ten greatest players ever. With his skill set and size, Isiah still ranks in the top 25-30 all-time and he is on the short list (no pun intended) of greatest players in the 6-0 and under range (calling him 6-1 is really stretching things).

 
At Wednesday, September 10, 2008 10:48:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Big E:

It is difficult for Isiah to have an edge over Kobe in any category because of the tremendous size difference--we are talking at least six inches and 30-40 pounds. I'd give Isiah the edge as a playmaker/distributor but Kobe was a better scorer, rebounder and defender, even taking into account the differences in their positions/responsibilities.

I also would give LeBron an edge over Isiah as a scorer, rebounder and defender. Isiah gets the nod over LeBron in terms of shooting and I would give Isiah an edge as a playmaker, as well--but not by much.

 
At Wednesday, September 10, 2008 10:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

thats becasue he had better teams than mike bird and magic was going down when he was comeing up in celtics peak was 84 85 86 87 the pistons came in 88 lakers peak was 80-88 they beat the pistons in 88 pistons beat them in 89 mike teams were great in 91-98 1990 1989 1988 bulls werent as good okay 90 bulls counts and beating 89 lakers count lakers were 11-0 in playoffs 88 and 89 bulls were mike and not much around him pippen became great in 89-90 and so did grant.

but i may be wrong are you talking regular season head to head or playoffs head to head because i never knew that he had a great record aginst them like that.

he used to kill rodman becasue of the colored hair and the tattos etc when he worked for nbc in mid to late 90's rodamn was former teamate ithoght he would ave his back.

 
At Wednesday, September 10, 2008 11:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

totally disagree jordan had one top 50 player on team and a bunch of role players where he had 3 multiple all stars 2 hall off famers dantley dumars and a third possibly rodman rodman was beter in early 90's than with bulls all of rodman accomplishments came with pistons and spurs other than all defensive 95-96 he won both dpoy and both all stars 5 all defensive one all nba team wit pistons joe dumars 6 all star 3 all nba laimbeer 4 all stars aquirre 3 time all star. jordan just had pippen he never played wit multiple players with those credientials harper was a role player cartwright past his peak with bulls grant one time all star so was armstrong thats it steve kerr paxson made nuthing get real i know you like isiah i do toobird and magic had more not mj you totally overate mj supporting cast to undermine his greatness, you would never do that to kobe.

 
At Wednesday, September 10, 2008 11:17:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Reggie:

Isiah has often repeated the line about having a winning record vs. Bird, Magic and MJ but I have never heard him specify if he meant simply a winning record overall or a winning record against each player. I also have never heard him clarify if he was talking about regular season or playoffs. My assumption has always been that he meant a winning record against each player in playoff games. He is the tale of the tape (playoffs only):

Detroit versus Chicago (1988-91): Detroit won three of four series and held a 12-10 edge in games.

Detroit versus Boston (1985, 87-88, 91): Detroit won two of four series and held a 13-12 edge in games. Note: this does not include Detroit's 3-0 sweep in 1990 when Bird was injured and did not play.

Detroit versus Lakers (1988, 1989):
Detroit won one of two series and held a 7-4 edge in games. Of course, Magic was hurt for part of the 1989 Finals.

Overall, Detroit won 6 of 10 series and held a 32-26 edge in games. Considering that those matchups involved a 6-1 (if that) Isiah versus superstars who were 6-6, 6-9 and 6-9 respectively--and who each had at least one Top 50 teammate--Isiah is justifiably proud of this record. He can truly and honestly say that he took on the giants of the game, in every sense of the word.

Obviously, one could go back and forth regarding which teams were rising and falling and so forth. The reality is that it is very rare for two teams to meet when they are at the exact same stage of development. Therefore, Isiah's record in these playoff battles against three of the greatest players ever is most impressive.

 
At Wednesday, September 10, 2008 11:31:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Reggie:

The debate of the value of having two great players versus the value of having a tremendous ensemble cast is an ageless one. When the Shaq-Kobe Lakers battled the Blazers in the early 2000s we saw the value of having two superstars compared to having a bunch of really good players (Pip was no longer a great player at that point, while the other Blazers were All-Star quality, not all-time greats).

MJ and Pip are two top 50 players. MJ is easily top 10, would be in almost everyone's top five and is number one in many people's eyes. Pip is easily top 30. Having two guys of that caliber elevates everyone else because they not only drew attention on offense but they also covered up for everyone on defense. Pip took heavy defensive responsibilities and when he became the point forward that freed up MJ to move down court early in the offense and establish his position; Pip also would lead four reserves on the court late in the third and early in the fourth, which is part of the reason that MJ could be such a great closer.

You will surely interpret the above comments as a slight against MJ but people who watched those teams with understanding--GMs, coaches, players, scouts--know that what I am saying is correct and that it takes nothing away from MJ to discuss such things.

The Bulls would not have won those titles without first Grant and later Rodman at PF. You have also underrated the contributions of some of the other members of the supporting cast, notably Harper during the second three-peat.

If you are going to talk in the previous comment about which teams were on the rise and which were falling then you have to take those same things into account when talking about the Pistons and Bulls. When the Bulls finally beat the Pistons MJ and Pip were at their absolute athletic peaks, while the Pistons were somewhat worn down after battling deep into the playoffs for so many years.

 
At Friday, September 12, 2008 6:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

mj is number 1 and it's not close pip might be top 30 probably so. mj had one guy isiah had 4 rodamn was hofamer and dumars and dantley plus 2 multiple all stars blazers didnt have 3 hofamer and 2 mulitple all stars what are you talking about.

mj played with role players and pippen no comparison isiah had more overall talent no gm or scout or player will tell you that foolishness jordan haveing pippen is not more than isiah haveing what he had only you believe that show me someone else who does. like you believe kobe carried a bunch of nobody to the finals you write for the players you like like there god but underate a true one in mike kobe lebron none of them would have same sucess with pippen and those players on bulls i bet my life on it. put jordan on pistons more than two rings isiah and pippen couldnt get 6.

 
At Saturday, September 13, 2008 6:07:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Reggie:

We've been over this so many times that it is really tiresome at this point. Yes, you can make a good case for MJ being the greatest player of all-time but there are other players for whom a very good case can also be made, so to say "mj is number 1 and it's not close" is just silly. Even if MJ is number one, it certainly is "close" among him, Wilt, Russell and other Pantheon members.

How can you call Rodman a HoFer with Isiah but not with MJ? Technically, Rodman isn't even in the HoF but we both agree he is worthy; however, Rodman did not have his best rebounding years on the Det. teams that won titles. His two best rebounding years were with Det. but after the Pistons declined. He won three straight rebounding titles with the Bulls, made the All-Def. First Team twice and earned an All-NBA Third Team selection--and he should have been an All-Star and made more All-NBA Teams during his time with the Bulls. You cannot make him an HoFer for Isiah but not MJ--so either count him both times or not at all when you are comparing supporting casts.

It is silly to say MJ "had one guy." Pip is a top 30 all-time player. We agree that Rodman is HoF quality. Grant was an All-Star level player (he went to as many All-Star games as Gasol has so far). Kukoc was a high quality, versatile player who hit a lot of clutch shots.

I've actually talked to GMs, coaches and scouts, so I don't need you to tell me what they would or might say. Let me assure you that you are underrating Pip and you are underrating the other Bulls' players.

Let me get this straight: Kobe carried a team to the Finals that lost its starting center to injury in midseason, added a one-time All-Star and seamlessly involved him in the Triangle and had no other All-Stars but you don't think that Kobe plus Pip and a reasonable supporting cast would win multiple titles? If Kobe had had the 35 year old Pip from Portland this year the Lakers would have beaten Boston, because Pip could have checked Pierce, enabling Kobe to stay on Allen, lessening the defensive load on Vujacic and Walton.

Anyway, all of this is far afield from the point of the post: Davidson should have either specified what Isiah did wrong or Davidson should have not brought it up at all. The secondary point brought up by Vednam is also worth emphasizing: Isiah is very underrated now as a player.

Somehow you took a Daly quote (that Isiah might have been the greatest player ever if he had been 6-6) that did not even mention MJ by name and then you highjacked this thread into a monologue about MJ--and you accuse me of being a biased fan!

It's wonderful that you are such a big fan of MJ's. I rooted for those teams in the 90s as well--but there is a difference between rooting for players/teams and objectively analyzing the game.

 
At Monday, September 15, 2008 3:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

mj is best ever just ask wait jerry west who said magic said theres mj and then the rest of us bill russell right john havlicek bob cousy and sam jones all played with russell aginst wilt all said jordan best ever bob knight also said jordan was best ever not close like myself i like the company im in david you have right to your opion most eduacted basketball fans say mj best ever like myself he did more with less was great on both ends and accomplished more any other player.

this is too easy david rodman played with detriot seven years 2 all star 1 all nba 5 all defensive teams 2 defensive player of years he played with chicago 3 and made one all defensive i think he was a better player with pistons? woulda coulda shoulda he made one all defensive team in chiacgo if he was a all nba player he would of made it.

mj had one great player whats so silly about that most educated basketball fans know this isiah played with more players who had more credeintials than mj played with e had rodman dumars and dantley plus aquire and laimbeer both 4 and 3 time all stars and vinnie johnson was better than anyone that came off chicago bench, let me get this straight grant 11 and 8 career is a all star level player pau gasol 19 and 9 career is some one time all star why isnt grant some one time all star? oh he doesnt play with kobe right you overate grant but underate gasol one plays with kobe the other mj your a fan of kobe oh it all make sense now.

kobe couldnt win 6 in 8 years with pippen i believe i said isiah couldnt either 35 year old pip guarding paul pierce advantage pierce and boston wins, pip in his prime does a good job but pip in portland gets toasted by paul pierce your livving fantasy i know your a big kobe and pippen fan but that is ridicoulous to say.

i am a mj fan and a reasonable mj fan i rooted for them as well my point was isiah played with better players than mj played with in total now pippen was better than anyone isiah had singualr but put roster to roster advantage pistons anyone could see that.

 
At Monday, September 15, 2008 4:11:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Reggie:

When did all of these people allegedly say that MJ is by far the best ever? Remember, your contention is that MJ is not merely the best ever but that he is the best ever "by far." I'd love to see you try to find a quote of Russell saying that, because I'm fairly certain that none exists. Russell has often made it quite clear why he thinks that he was greater than Wilt and I've never heard him suggest that MJ was better, let alone "by far."

Oscar Robertson certainly does not believe that MJ is the best ever, let alone "by far," and I have talked to many NBA insiders who consider the Big O to be the greatest all-around player of all-time.

The bottom line is that MJ is a good candidate for the title of "best ever" but he is not the best ever "by far." Furthermore, as I indicated in my Pantheon series, I am disinclined to select one single player as the best ever.

As for Rodman, all that matters in this context is what level Rodman played at when Det. won titles and what level he played at when the Bulls won titles. Dennis Rodman from 1995-98 was a better player than Dennis Rodman from 1989-90. If you are evaluating Isiah's championship supporting cast compared to MJ's championship supporting cast, MJ had the better version of Rodman.

You have shown quite a "skill" for selectively citing stats; for some players you cite their career numbers but for others you only cite their numbers during certain periods. Of course, which approach is valid depends on what is being discussed. In other words, Grant's career numbers versus Gasol's are not relevant. We are talking about what each player did on championship teams/teams that made it to the Finals. Grant made one All-Star team and not during a season when his team made it to the Finals; the same is true of Gasol. Grant was a better rebounder and defender, while Gasol is a better scorer and passer.

You fail to appreciate the skill sets and contributions of MJ's teammates. You also refuse to acknowledge that you have completely hijacked a thread about William Davidson and Isiah to once again ramble on about MJ being the "best ever by far." You brought up MJ in this thread when no one else mentioned him.

One last thought before I close this line of discussion: Pip in Portland was still an All-Defensive Team player. If the current Lakers had him instead of Luke Walton, you better believe that Pierce would not have won the Finals MVP. Furthermore, in that scenario Kobe would either guard Allen or would be able to spend the whole game checking Rondo while actually roaming around as a help defender; in either case, the Lakers would have had a much better chance to win the series.

 
At Wednesday, September 17, 2008 1:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

he averaged 19 and 9 with lakers gasol did my thing is gasol is a little one time all star and grant is a all star level player but gasol numbers are better than grant grant was 12 and 9 with bulls his highest 15ppg never a great player you act like he great but underate gasol and what he gave to lakers because you want to make it like kobe does more with less than anybody when lebron has less around him then you make it like jordan played with more than what he did name me one gm who think paxson kerr grant was anywhere near great pippen was they were role players.

no no no you said to owen that isiah had less around him than mj which was false. "though it would be fair to say isiah had less help around him than bird magic and mj each of them had one top 50 player alongside their run." thats what you said i said it was false jordan had one top 50 guy isiah had rodman made all star team in 90 and dumars made all star team in 90 made all defensive team and all nba as well and in 89 was finals mvp. rodman made all defensive team and won defensive player of year in 89-90 he had two accomplished guys jordan had one first playoff run pippen made all defensive thats it and he never had multiple guys in first 3 peat grant made all star team in 93-94 rodman made one all defensive 96 he never played with 2 players who made all star team in same year he only played with one where magic bird and isiah did they had more and played with more than mj did undisputed isiah rodman and dumars made it in 92 as well.

pip in 01 was not on all defensive team he made it in 2000 he was 35 in 01 anyway 2000 or 2001 he couldnt guard paul pierce in finals he would get torched like walton did a young pippen does a great job but that pippen does not do a great job celts still win.

 
At Wednesday, September 17, 2008 2:55:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Reggie:

Gasol and Grant have different skill sets. Gasol is better offensively, Grant is better defensively. You are only comparing offensive stats because it suits the case that you are trying to make.

If you read Tex Winter's comments in my recent post then you know that he praised the mental toughness of MJ's supporting cast, including the players you are criticizing, and he contrasted their toughness with the toughness of Kobe's current supporting cast. Since Winter sat on (or this year, near) the bench for both teams, I think that he knows more about this than you do.

Owen never posted in this thread; I think that you are getting delirious.

You are right that I got Pip's age wrong by one year but the larger point is that if the Lakers had had even "old" Pip this year they would have had an excellent chance to beat the Lakers. Nobody was "torching" Pip in 2000; he had obviously slowed down but he was still a top defender and he certainly was a better defender than Walton or Vujacic will ever be.

Basically, now you are just repeating what you said previously and what I refuted in my responses. That is why I am now closing this thread to any MJ discussions. You are the one who brought MJ up here, but this post is about Isiah and Davidson.

MJ is great but we need an MJ-free zone :)

 
At Monday, September 22, 2008 4:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Detroit we still love Isiah - not uncritically, as so many fans do with Jordan, but with a mature acknowledgment of his faults. We know he broke his hand on Bill Laimbeer's head in practice, was often graceless in defeat and had rumored off-the-court issues (many of which were echoed by Armen Keteyian in "Money Players Inside the New NBA").

Oh, but he still has our hearts... because we saw his so often. I would say that, unlike LeBron or Kobe, he had a gift for infecting teammates with his individual will to win. The rest is up to your taste in players.

Davidson's remarks are not all that cryptic to older fans, so I wouldn't fault him too much. One thing he did disavow was a longstanding rumor that Isiah lost the GM job because he leaked a secret agreement with Davidson, so I'm not sure there was any damage done given the average fan's lack of interest in anything older than last year.

 
At Monday, September 22, 2008 8:39:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Anonymous:

As an "older" fan--in terms of how many years I've followed the league, not age--I have some idea what Davidson was referring to and you are probably right that many fans are not much concerned about anything older than this year but I still think that on general principles Davidson should have either said more or (preferably) less on the subject of not hiring Isiah to run the team.

I think that Isiah's role in transforming the Pistons from doormats to repeat champions when the level of competition in the league was very high is too often overlooked now.

 

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