The Detroit Pistons. A team with a pretty damn big history. Those “Bad Boys”, huh?
And amazing to see the different fortunes of them post-playing-careers. Joe Dumars success staying in Detroit through to Isiah Thomas’s well-documented insanity at New York… and of course Bill Laimbeer’s successes coaching in the WNBA – and now joining the Timberwolves as an Assistant Coach.
There are a helluva lot of players who could make this list – and it will be interesting to see who each Bloguin NBA site comes up with (you’ll be able to see the voting in the top ten in a day or so at Hoops Manifesto).
Anyway… as players, Detroit’s Top 5 – with malice-style:
5. Grant Henry Hill – If it’s hard to remember the player Grant Hill was prior to career-threatening injuries, it’s a little understandable. But Hill was one of the most exciting players in the NBA when first he joined the Pistons and won the 1995 Rookie of the Year. He then went on to make 5 straight All NBA teams.
Immensely popular, Hill even beat out Michael Jordan on the fan balloting for the 95/96 All Star game. From 2000, Hill suffered injuries that would stop his rising star. Imagine what could have been if … well, let’s not go there.
4. Joe Dumars III - If post playing-career were counted, Dumars would be #1 or 2 for Detroit. But we’re looking solely at playing days – Dumars gets #4.
14 years a Piston, Michael Jordan declared him to be the best defender he ever faced. Winning back-to-back NBA titles in ’89/90 (and the Finals MVP for ’89), Dumars was an NBA All-Star 6 times, and All-D 4 times. Even tho’ he was one of the “Bad Boys”, famed for his sportsmanship.
3. Robert Jerry Lanier, Jr – 1991 NBA Hall of Famer. Eight-time NBA All-Star. Career he averaged 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Averaging a 20/10 double for a decade is indicative of a great player. Had the biggest feet of any player in his era (size 22).
2. David Bing - The Pistons weren’t so hot whilst Bing was there, but Dave Bing was – 22+ ppg over 6 seasons stands testament to that.
Still top ten all time in eight categories for the Pistons, Bing won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1967 with the Pistons and was an All-Star seven times, winning the All-Star MVP award in 1976. He also was an All-NBA First Teamer twice, also one of the 50 greatest players of all time.
1. Isiah Lord Thomas III – Forget about the nut-baggery that’s gone on in the past few years with him, “Zeke” is the best player to have ever worn a Pistons uniform. Leader of the Detroit Bad Boys, he was no angel.
Hall of famer, #11 retired by the Pistons, he remains Detroit’s all time leader in points, assists and steals. Named one of the 50 greatest players of all time.