In the modern age of social media, everybody has an opinion on everything. When big news breaks, your feed gets filled with takes on each side of the fence. Even the most outlandish opinion can be found somewhere on the internet.
There is nothing this applies to more than sports. Everybody knows what is best for their team and if the GM of their favorite team doesn’t do whatever they want them to do (no matter how realistic it is), they suck at their job and their team is going to be bad.
When a big trade breaks, like the Detroit Pistons trading Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers yesterday, it becomes an indictment on the skills of a GM even if that singular move is just the first of several dominos about to fall.
Even the more patient, savvy fans who talk about process more than results, see Troy’s process and feel that it is wanting. Despite that said process is in its early stages.
At the end of the day, a GM is going to be “good” or “bad” based on whether the team wins. Sports are a results-based business after all. You can seemingly do everything right, but making the moves to get you over the top is what defines your tenure as GM.
You can approve of what Troy Weaver has done so far as Pistons GM. He has completely overhauled the roster and created a ton of flexibility for the team. He has a franchise cornerstone in Cade Cunnigham and a couple of other building blocks in Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart. There is optimism from everybody in the organization, as there should be.
But this isn’t the first time the Pistons have had financial flexibility. Joe Dumars had financial flexibility that resulted in the signing of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. He had financial flexibility and a couple of solid building blocks in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, and he signed Josh Smith.
Stan Van Gundy had some financial flexibility at a time it looked like the up-and-coming Pistons, coming off a competitive first-round loss to the Cavaliers, were bound to be next in line. They made a solid move to acquire Tobias Harris at the trade deadline, and the core of Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond looked to be a solid pick-and-roll duo to build around. Marcus Morris and KCP were young complementary players, and the Pistons just needed to add some depth.
The team proceeded to sign Jon Leuer, botched multiple first-round draft picks that could have built that needed depth, or even added a young star player (cough…Donovan Mitchell), and the injury bug struck to derail that team’s promise. Just like that the Pistons were back on the mediocrity treadmill and had no flexibility to build a solid roster.
They traded for Blake Griffin as a last-ditch effort to do something with that once-promising core. It did nothing to change the team’s fortunes.
A rebuild needed to be done and Troy Weaver had the cojones to do it. This is the most optimistic this fanbase has been since the aforementioned team above. But if the right moves are not made from here on out, they can end up right back where they were just a few years ago.
That’s the tricky thing about sports. Everybody wants immediate satisfaction and immediate results, but things never work out that way. When undertaking a rebuild, you have to have patience. And for the most part, it appears the organization has the patience for it.
But this offseason could be a defining moment in the tenure of Troy Weaver. He has “his guys,” he has financial freedom, he has more success in the draft than his predecessors even if some of those picks (Killian Hayes) still need to prove more. He is armed with a high pick and future assets.
But just like the GMs before him, if he doesn’t tread carefully and make the right moves, the Pistons can hop right back onto the mediocrity treadmill. If that happens, Cade Cunningham could grow tired of having to carry the team with little help. Certain players could stagnate in their development. Big-name free agents that the team signs could flop.
All of these are risks any GMs take when they do anything. And even though some of these things they have no control over, it is going to fall on them at the end of the day. Everything they do is under a microscope after all.
It appears Troy Weaver knows what he is doing and he is different than the failure before him. But until everything he does results in wins, he is just like the people before him.