What makes Isiah Thomas So Bad?

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by Slippy, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

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    Some guys get one chance to blow it as an exec...others get many. Isiah's had many. From the CBA to the NY Knicks, Zeke has turned an uphill battle into a downward spiral. My question...for those who have followed the Bad Boys' little general...is how does he manage to do this?

    What is behind all those boneheaded player acquisitions?
  2. Pwn Toney

    Pwn Toney All-Star Forum Donor

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    Fist off, the only bad situation Zeke has had as a GM came in NY. It's amazing what public opinion and media spin can do to a guy's rep. Let's take a look shall we? Zeke's major aquisitions as GM of the Raptors were: Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby, and Tracy McGrady. Does anyone alive think these were bad moves? The Raptors were well on their way to contention until the Toronto higher ups saw fit to run Zeke out of town after which the Raptors quickly became cellar dwellars within two years due to the departure of Stoudamire, Camby, and guess who....Tracy McGrady.

    Furthermore, what needs to be asked is why other individuals do NOT get repeated chances to put their imprint on teams. The answer is very simply this: Zeke really IS a good guy. People around the league KNOW this regardless of how many insults are lobbed from talking heads on ESPN or how many false articles acusing Zeke (who was making payroll out of his personal checking account for god's sake) of bankrupting an already bankrupt CBA show up in the NY Times.

    It's the very same reason you don't see guys like Michael Jordan continuing to get opportunities. The guy is a jerk and everyone knows it and no one wants the guy around. The exception to that is of course David Stern because the "commissioner" has never misplaced a meal ticket in his life. The problem with this whole concept is that people will often take their own opinions coupled with false reports/articles and assume that everything bad about a person is true (see Larry Brown) and that anything good about that person is simply the speaker's own personal love for the individual in question. People really need to do their own homework sometimes and resist the urge to believe that every article or rumor spit out over the airwaives is true.
  3. lurker

    lurker First Round Draft Pick

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    The league and their Jordan and Bird worshipping buddies in the media have been spewing hatred toward Isiah for years. If people think that Isiah might actually be a decent guy, then how can anyone possibly justify him getting screwed out of his rightful place on the original dream team?
  4. Pwn Toney

    Pwn Toney All-Star Forum Donor

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    Exactly. Unfortunately you pit a David Stern + MJ in his prime against Zeke and you know who comes out on the short end of that decision.
  5. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    Back to the question, and maybe finding a fair answer:

    You can argue without much difficulty that Zeke has demonstrated a much better eye for young talent than Joe Dumars. Even the guys he got this year for the Knicks are good players, though I have my doubts about Nate Robinson. Plus Joe's actually had more coaching turmoil than most teams, and no one can deny that Palace politics are as vicious as they come. So why is Joe considered great and Zeke considered bad?

    Part of it is ego. It's easy to make deals and get cooperation when you don't care who looks like the smartest guy in the room. Joe doesn't try to hit home runs on every trade, doesn't show anyone up and doesn't try to make everyone love him. He also doesn't shoot his mouth off or over-promise when a deal's still in progress, which Thomas has done in the past (including the CBA). So he's easy to do business with, he doesn't make a lot of enemies and he doesn't put himself in a bad light.

    Part of it is style. Joe's a facilitator, a guy who is about consistency and teamwork and sticking with the plan. Isiah's a fiery star who goes for the brilliant play when he sees it, even if it bends a rule or doesn't fit in with the overall direction. You can see something of each guy in the players he chose. Joe went after guys like Ben and Rip and Dice, while Isiah went after high-profile divas like Marbury and Crawford and Curry.

    The front office isn't a basketball court, where you can just beat guys by fighting harder or moving faster. You have to get cooperation from other people (including opposing GMs), develop capable organizations and stay on course even when you'd rather not. And it's about accepting limitations, like the salary cap. That's why it's not a game for stars--except for a guy like Jerry West, who always had to coexist with an Elgin Baylor or Wilt Chamberlain.
  6. ggazoo69

    ggazoo69 Starter Forum Donor

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    True dat, Low, on the Jordan stuff. I have no problem agreeing that Jordan is immensely talented as a b-ball player, but he is definitely underwhelming as a human being.
  7. Tyskillz

    Tyskillz First Round Draft Pick

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    WOW, you just typed/said a mouthful there my friend... People always need someone to make the scapegoat and Isiah is clearly one of thier favorites. I mean doesn't it seem sort of weird that Joe was the guy defending mj all those years while mahorn, laimbeer, rodman and company backed him up with physicality and grown man fouls in the paint but somehow Zeke is the one that drew mj's rath... Why because Zeke was the LEADER and damned good one, he didn't take ish off of anyone and some hated him for that but still had to respect. Via this hatred Isiah became the fallguy for a lot of crap he never should have really been blamed for and excluded from getting all the props he rightfully deserved.
  8. ggazoo69

    ggazoo69 Starter Forum Donor

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    In this book I'm reading about the NBA and hip-hop culture, the author argues that Isiah's world went south when he said that if Larry Bird was black, he would just be "another good black basketball player" instead of a superstar. The author argues that although Isiah was probably right, his words didn't sit well with the NBA's white establishment that seeks to keep black players in their rightful place, making millions for their white owners. The guy who wrote this book is a bit of a race-baiter in my opinion because I think Larry Bird was pretty clutch. One other thing the guy argues is that the Pistons got the "Bad Boys" tag because they were mostly black, except for Laimbeer. The Celtics were as dirty as the Pistons were but since they had more white guys on their team, their defensive play was considered "tough," rather than "dirty."
  9. Pwn Toney

    Pwn Toney All-Star Forum Donor

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    One of the most telling factors in this discussion is the fact that that author is wrong in that Zeke NEVER said that. It was actually Dennis Rodman who drew the defensive assignment of Bird who actually said it. Zeke just happened to agree with it when pressed about the comment.

    The fact that everyone believes that Zeke said this is proof that people attach the blame wherever they feel it is necessary to make their point.


    Case in point:
    "[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]After a heartbreaking loss to the Celtics in Game Seven of the 1987 Eastern Conference finals — the key play of which was Bird’s Game Five theft of a Thomas pass that turned certain defeat into victory — Thomas’s Piston teammate Dennis Rodman said that Bird, if he were black, would be regarded as nothing special, just another good player. Thomas initially supported Rodman’s absurd contention, though he soon came to his senses. Perhaps Thomas felt obliged, at first, to stand behind his teammate. But his ill-considered endorsement was in part a reaction to hearing, over many years, countless media tributes to Bird’s smarts and savvy. (Bird had both in spades. But he also had exceptional agility and coordination and a softer touch than any 6-10 dude in history.)
    Thomas himself was no slouch in the smarts-and-savvy department, but like so many other great black athletes, he rarely heard such words applied to him. He was sick and tired of a sports media that too often denied blacks their smarts-and-savvy due, and he said so."

    Source: http://hoopshype.com/columns/quickness_hans.htm
    [/FONT]
  10. ggazoo69

    ggazoo69 Starter Forum Donor

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    Is ESPN wrong and hoopshype right? I wasn't in the locker room so I don't know what really happened. I just know what was reported.

    http://espn.go.com/classic/biography/s/Thomas_Isiah.html
  11. Pwn Toney

    Pwn Toney All-Star Forum Donor

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    ESPN in this particular case is playing the semantics game. Notice how the article states that Zeke was "parroting" Rodman. Read: "Zeke didn't say it, but by agreeing with it, he might as well have said it and we will treat him as such."

    Have you ever heard ONE person ever spend time on TV or in the press bashing Rodman for having made the statement?
  12. ggazoo69

    ggazoo69 Starter Forum Donor

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    In general, I've always heard that Rodman was the one that got the ball rolling. As you said, he had the defensive assignment on Bird so he was asked about Bird's talent first. When he made a comment, the media types (smelling controversy) went over to Isiah and he agreed. Isiah gets more of the notoriety, I speculate, because Rodman was a rookie and Isiah was a veteran. In other words, the media seem to think Isiah "should have known better" than to back Rodman's statements about Bird. That's my read on it. I do think Isiah said something about it, but there's no question that The Worm started it. Either way, I think Thomas gets too much credit for what happened.
  13. Pwn Toney

    Pwn Toney All-Star Forum Donor

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    You and I are in agreement on that point.:nod:
  14. Dumars4Ever

    Dumars4Ever Bench Warmer

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    That's true, although I think the "should have known better" read by the media was justified at the time, since Dennis was a dumb rookie and Zeke was a vet, not to mention a vet who was accustomed to dealing with the media as a superstar.
  15. Dumars4Ever

    Dumars4Ever Bench Warmer

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    I agree that the Celtics were awfully dirty, but I don't agree with that guy's take on the Bad Boys tag itself. As I remember it, the Pistons were proud of that nickname and played it up for all it was worth, not angry that they were being singled out. They liked being singled out in that way.
  16. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    Until they lost Mahorn. When they met the President after winning in '89, Zeke said that the Bad Boys were no more. Distancing himself and the team from that image for the title defense. Even Rod Thorn (who was the league bogeyman at the time, and a reknowned Piston hater) praised the 1990 team for being less thuggish and just playing good ball.
  17. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

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    So what was with all those highlights where Laimbeer totally gets under Duckworth's skin. When people talk about dirty basket ball they always use that one for laimbeer.
  18. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    Lambs was a lot more thuggish early in his career. I think the loss of Mahorn took away their ability to "bully", as he was the enforcer/big brother for Laimbeer & Thomas.
  19. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

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    I had a laimbeer poster on my wall. I must have been one of 10 guys with one of those outside of the detroit area.
  20. max

    max All-Star

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    Isiah keeps swelling the knicks payroll. Did the Francis trade make any sense? Especially with the young core he was trying to push? Marbury was a mistake and he repeated it with Francis. Basically the same trade with different players involved. PHX and now Orlando have been able to rebuild far sooner than expected courtesy of Isiah Thomas.

    NY has always been the sleeping giant. Their potential for revenue can blow away all the small and mid-market teams. Especially with the lux tax rules. They have the potential to go heavy in the red and still make a profit but have been unable to capatalize due to all the dead weight. Too many bad choices and overblown contracts from Layden and now Isiah. If Isiah has simply left things alone they would be starting to recover. Now they are looking at 5 more years of the same. NY would have been better off with no GM at all than they have been with Isiah.

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