The good ol' days
Dumars was considered one of the best executives in the early 2000s as someone who was able to assemble a deep roster with a clear identity, and did so with reasonable payroll. He was able to swing low-cost, high-reward deals such as signing Chauncey Billups for six years and $35 million, and trading an aging Jerry Stackhouse for a young Rip Hamilton. All told, Detroit went to six consecutive conference finals, two NBA Finals (winning one), and was consistently one of the best defensive teams in basketball.
What went wrong?
Many will point to the drafting of Darko Milicic in 2003 over Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Others will say his undoing came by betting the farm on Rodney Stuckey (a player whom Dumars saw a strong resemblance stylistically to his own playing days) by moving Billups in 2008 to put the ball in Stuckey's hands. Truth be told, Detroit was good enough to overcome these missteps, and while they ended up as disastrous decisions, they alone didn't take Dumars from hero to goat.