So we’ve got some down time between now and the end of Summer when it comes to Pistons basketball. What better to do than discuss who would be on your 12 man roster of All Time Detroit Pistons. Some of the readers here are only old enough to know the young(er) guys like Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince, or Grant Hill, while some of the old(er) readers remember Dave Bing, Bob Lanier and even Dave DeBusschere.
Let’s set some ground rules:
- 2 point guards, 2 shooting guards, 1 combo guard/forward, 2 small forwards, and 5 power forward/center types. Although the Miami Heat showed they can win without a true big man, there are enough good Pistons big men from the past that could get the job done.
- Pick a Coach, and coaching staff. Your coaching staff can be a complete staff from a particular coach, if you’re not aware of the individuals who have coached over the years.
- Pick a uniform era (Teal era, Bad Boys blue and white, old blue and white with thunderbolt, etc)
- Pick an arena (likely all will pick The Palace, since The Silverdome was awful)
Ok, with all of that said, here is my team and an explanation as to why for each:
- Isiah Thomas (Starting PG): Hall of Famer. Fiery leader who left it all out on the floor each night.
- Chauncey Billups (PG): Quiet leader who let his game do the talking. Value was truly unknown to this team until his was traded.
- Joe Dumars (Starting SG): More of a combo guard than anything, because of his ball handling skills. There is not a better guard tandem to have ever played this game than the backcourt of Thomas and Dumars. Plus, he was my favorite player growing up.
- Vinnie Johnson (SG): Instant offense off the bench – may not be more talented than Richard Hamilton, but if I need a guy off the bench I want the Microwave. (Note: my omission of Rip Hamilton is not meant to be a slight against him)
- Dave Bing (Combo SG/PG): Hall of Famer. Bing was a player who was way ahead of his time. Averaged 22 points a night in an era where the 3 point shot wasn’t available.
- Adrian Dantley (Starting SF): A lot of people will say that Mark Aguirre put the team over the top, because Dantley was only good at one end of the floor (offense). Dantley made his impression on me as a youth with his scoring ability and high socks which made it look like he was faster than he actually is.
- Tayshaun Prince (SF): “The Block” is what should put him on every All Time Pistons team for the rest of his life. That block was what helped propel the Pistons into the 2004 Finals for their franchise’s 3rd NBA Title.
- Dennis Rodman (Starting PF): “The Worm” is there to get under your skin. A lock down defender against guys twice his size and weight. Awful on offense, but with all the shots being hoisted up by my backcourt, I need solid rebounding down low.
- Ben Wallace (Starting C): Having Big Ben start alongside Rodman leaves me short up front, but who scores on these guys when both are in their prime? This front court could average 24 rebounds a night.
- Bob Lanier (Backup PF/C): Averaged 23 and 12 a night for the majority of his career. Left handed big men always get bonus points with me.
- Rasheed Wallace (Backup PF/C): Is the best stretch Power Forward from an era when the stretch power forward became a fad. Known for his constant trash talking, Rasheed has been called the best teammate that his teammates ever had.
- Rick Mahorn (PF/C – 12th man/head benchmob cheerleader): Mahorn was a load in the paint. Would smile in your face if he knew you didn’t like it.
- Chuck Daly (Head Coach): The implementer of the “Jordan Rules” would relish the chance to design defenses to guard some of today’s young “me first” basketball players.
- 1989-1990 Coaching Staff: Lead by future Toronto Head Coach Brendan Malone.
- The Palace of Auburn Hills (Arena): The Palace still looks new to me. In an era where things have to be “bigger and better”, the Palace has been able to thrive for over 20 years now. Sure, there have been several facelifts and modifications. But like with fine wine, the Palace seems to get better with age.
- Bad Boys era blue and white Pistons uniforms: Something about these unis signified toughness for me. If it wasn’t the plain block lettering with the big red and white stripes, it was the plain blue shorts with the stripes around your waist and down your thighs (like boxing trunks). Plain and simple, until they were screwed up by the teal era.
Honorable mention: Grant Hill, Bill Laimbeer, Richard Hamilton, James Edwards, and John Salley. Larry Brown and Flip Saunders.
I couldn’t nominate Grant Hill to be a starter, because although he was one of the best players to ever wear the Pistons red blue and white, he wanted to get out of Detroit. He wanted to escape the teal era. I couldn’t do Rip either – too many guys who were the epitome of Pistons basketball for me growing up as a child of the late 80s and early 90s. These are guys who I emulated on the basketball court myself. Buddha and Salley were tough casualties, but I could only keep 12. Same with Laimbeer.
So let’s hear it Pistons fans, who is your All Time team? I can admit I wasn’t around to see Bob Lanier or Dave Bing play, but their stats don’t lie. It would be fun watching the combination of Ben and Rasheed Wallace match up against the big men from the Bad Boys era, like Laimbeer and Salley had to.