Detroit is Where Dreams Go to Die


Nov 15, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith (6) goes to the basket against Memphis Grizzlies forward Tayshaun Prince (21) at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit’s Unemployment Rate Just Rose

Josh Smith, from “J-Smoove” to waived. It’s no secret Detroit’s unemployment rate is 14.9%, and now we add another hard working, blue-collar breadwinner to that list. Is this where we are as a nation? That’s the future awaiting top free agents who sign on to ride the rusted conveyor belt of shattered dreams, we call the Detroit Pistons. It’s not just the automobile industry that’s collapsed in the aching belly of Michigan. Detroit owns the leading murder rate in the US, and at the top of that list are Piston players’ careers.

Apparently, the Pistons frown upon manual labor these days because a man can’t even put up bricks in peace. Is it a crime to work with your hands? At the Palace of Auburn Hills it is.

In all seriousness, this isn’t the first time a franchise player or rising prospect was vilified in Detroit. Former employees seem unable to recover from their naive tour of duty. Remember Ben Gordon? He once passed Scottie Pippen as the Chicago Bulls’ career leader in three-pointers made in 2008. Gordon scored a career high 48 points against the Milwaukee Bucks in early 2007 as a Bull. On the Pistons, despite brief flashes of brilliance like his 45 point 9-9 three pointer game he never recovered. He went from rising star to fledging contract albatross. Sound familiar? It should.

Allen Iverson, one of the NBA’s greatest all-time shooting guards and superstars shared a similar fate on the Pistons. Going from 26.4 points, 7.1 assists, 2 steals, an incredible 41.8 minutes played per game and a playoff birth to a mismanaged Piston’s circuit. Charlie Villanueva set rookie records on the Raptors for scoring 48 points and grabbing 18 rebounds. After being traded to the Bucks he averaged a career high 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds, then he signed with the Pistons. You can figure out the rest.

Would Mo-Town’s Darko Milicic have fared better if he had never been treated as a prop by the team? We’ll never know. Obviously having superman music blare jokingly in your home arena when you check in for the last two minutes of every game can’t be healthy for one’s self-esteem.

Is the never ending carousel of new coaches not a sign something’s off? In 2010, according to, Joe Dumars was allegedly fined $500,000 by the league for leaking confidential memos to journalist Adrian Wojnarowski. One must wonder, what he got in return for such a hefty risk? Perhaps goodwill by the media? We’ll never truly know, could even be a good decision by Dumars considering Wojnarowski can be harsh at times.

It’s not everyday a fully healthy franchise player and cornerstone is waived by his team at age 29. Were the Pistons’ layoffs really necessary or a league-wide catastrophe? Whoever gets Smith despite internet downplay will quickly rise to favorite or contender status. If it was a tanking decision by the Pistons, the league as a whole is in trouble. Having teams that are literally unwatchable is bad for business, no matter how the draft and fabled rookie promise is spun.

Memphis: Where Dreams are Born Again

Josh Smith would be an excellent pickup for the Memphis Grizzlies. We’re talking about a player only two-years removed from being a top class NBA free agent. He is still the same Josh Smith. Let’s not forget how Zach Randolph was hastely treated after his Knicks and Clippers run. Randolph was still the amazingly talented player he had been on the Portland TrailBlazers. With guidance under Coach Dave Joerger and classy teamates and organization, Smith can return to his prime Hawks days. It’s only a matter of time, the right system and most importantly… The right environment.

Smith is currently averaging 13.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and an impressive 1.7 blocks and 1.3 steals on the Detroit Pistons. Imagine that shotblocking on the defensive powerhouse that is the Memphis Grizzlies. It’s time to leave Detroit and rehabilate. It’s time for another chance.