Thursday, August 27, 2009

Interview with Joe Dumars

KL: Let me ask you something that’s been a recurring theme from people who’ve analyzed the off-season, and I mean mostly media people now. You signed Ben Gordon, whose primary position is shooting guard. You’ve got Rip, who’s coming off the Hamilton-Iverson experiment, which didn’t go as you had expected. Why is this going to work where that one didn’t?
JD: First of all, Ben Gordon made a decision to come here knowing that Rip Hamilton is the starting two guard. Allen Iverson never made that decision – it was a trade and it happened and we went through the process of what we had to go through. So when the guy makes the decision himself, first and foremost that’s the biggest difference right there. He’s choosing, he’s saying I want to go and be in this situation. That jumps out at you first. Secondly, here’s a guy who made his name in this league coming off the bench and being a dynamic scorer. Here’s a guy who was the Sixth Man of the Year as a rookie. So there’s a fundamental difference between Ben Gordon and Iverson being here. Ben Gordon chooses to come here knowing what the situation is. Ben Gordon made his name in this league coming off the bench. So it’s fundamentally different any way you look at it.

KL: It was widely reported the deal was struck on the first day of free agency. Both he and Charlie took the first flights here and were in your office that morning and deals were struck that day. So it probably wasn’t a hard sell. But did you have to convince him this would work or was he eager to embrace that right from the get-go?
JD: He didn’t have to sell me on it – but he did. About how this can work. "I can play with Stuckey, I can play with Rip, I can play with Will Bynum. He talked about, listen, I’ve played with Larry Hughes. I’ve played with Derrick Rose. I’ve played with Kirk Hinrich." These are all different types of guards. So his thing is, "I can play with Rodney Stuckey, I can play with Rip Hamilton, I can play with Will Bynum. Joe, I’m adaptable. I can make it work, because I’ve done it. I’ve done it my whole career." And he mentioned Chris Duhon as well over in Chicago.

KL: I imagine you’ve talked to Rip about this. How is he anticipating this will work.
JD: Rip laughed when I told him that that’s the guy we were talking to. He said – after we had signed him, actually – he said, "Listen, you cannot pass up on a Ben Gordon. He’s too good to pass up." And then he said, "Now he does know I’m the starter, though, right?" I said, "He knows that, Rip. He knows that full well." We both laughed about it. He said you can’t pass on him, he’s a big-time player. There’s such a respect back and forth with these guys, guys like Stuckey and Will and Rip and Tayshaun, they respect what Ben Gordon has done because they’ve seen it, up close and personal, against us and against others. They respect what this guy brings.

See full interview