Who is on your roster for an All Time Pistons team?

by | Jul 24, 2012 | 24 comments

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Pick a uniform era (Teal era, Bad Boys blue and white, old blue and white with thunderbolt, etc)
  4. 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:

  1. Isiah Thomas (Starting PG): Hall of Famer.  Fiery leader who left it all out on the floor each night.
  2. Chauncey Billups (PG): Quiet leader who let his game do the talking.  Value was truly unknown to this team until his was traded.
  3. 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.
  4. 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)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 1989-1990 Coaching Staff: Lead by future Toronto Head Coach Brendan Malone.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.



  1. THE GENERAL aka The Dr of Patronomics


    Here’s my all-time roster:

    Starting line-up:

    PG: Isiah Thomas – Anything we say about Zeke the player is an understatement; there’s not a PG today (with all apologies to Chris Paul, Steve Nash, et al.) who can hold a candle to Zeke’s crossovers!
    SG: Joe Dumars – As Hall of Famer and resident malcontent Michael Jordan best put it, Dumars was pretty much THE ONLY GUARD who was able to shut him down. END.OF.STORY
    SF: Dennis Rodman – “The Worm” will always have a place in our hearts… and under the paint. Scottie Pippen should be sending multiple boxes of Cohiba and Montecristo cigars to Jordan and RODMAN!
    PF: Rasheed Wallace – He thrived at PF more so than at center. Plus, you know that with ‘Sheed, BOTH TEAMS PLAYED HARD and THE BALL DON’T LIE!!!!!
    C: Bob Lanier – With apologies to Big Ben and his epic FRO, I give Lanier the edge. Lanier was a Pau Gasol type of player, all finesse, all style, all scoring… he’d be having Dwight Howard for breakfast, Amar’e Stoudamire for lunch and a nice serving of Chris Bosh for dessert. That he was actually able to thrive in a decade that gave us the murderers’ row of: Artis Gilmore, Dave Cowens, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Wes Unseld, Willis Reed, and the last days of the Wilt Chamberlain Era is a true testament of his play.

    The Bench:
    Combo guard: Dave Bing – Hard to argue there; guy’s a true legend!
    PG: Chauncey Billups – The perfect complement to Zeke from the bench: Stronger guard for the bigger guards. Plus, he is, was, and will be MR BIG SHOT!
    SG: Vinnie Johnson – Like we would pick ANYBODY but the Microwave for this spot! Sorry Manu Ginobili, you’re just a copycat… PISTONS NATION OWNS THE ORIGINAL MICROWAVE!
    SF: Tayshaun Prince – The Prince of Auburn Hills will give you lockdown defense and king-size blocks to go with.
    PF/C: James Edwards – It’s Buddha we’re talking here, the man who rocked the most badass Fu-Manchu in the history of the NBA.
    PF/C: Ben Wallace – FEAR THE FRO… need I say more?
    PF/C: John Salley – Mahorn may have been “The Baddest of the Bad Boys”, but Spider was far more athletic.

    Seriously, Natalie? Why are we even debating this? There is only ONE TRUE COACH of our DEEEEETROIT BASKETBALL… and that is Daddy Rich. I mean, can we all just agree that Chuck Daly is to Detroit what Mike Ditka is to Chicago and call it a day?
    Coaching Staff:
    I’d probably bring Flip Saunders to work with the offense and I’d bring Bill Laimbeer to work with the defense (sure, he coached the Shock, but the man can coach).

    Bad Boys uniforms every day, every time. BUT, make sure Zeke’s name says ISIAH (with the smaller font) THOMAS!!!!

    When I came of basketball age (around 13, here in my home country of Colombia), I started following the Bad Boys at the PALACE… There’s too much history at the Palace that there’s no other place.

    Well, Nat, THE GENERAL has spoken and here’s my All-Time Pistons Team…

    Thanks for the lovely stroll down Pistons memory lane!!!!!!

    • Chris

      John Salley and Edwards over Laimbeer DeBusschere or Terry Tyler? Wow!

    • Natalie Sitto

      That’s Awesome General, I love how you mentioned the old school bad boys unis. I still love them most of all.

  2. edt

    tks for the list. Sorry cant do it, only became a basketball fan in the 2000’s before that I didn’t watch much sports. Surprised that Laimbeer didn’t make the grade in any list.

  3. Paul M

    You have to start Lanier over Big Ben. Sorry. And I know this is old school, but Dave Debusschere – even though he got his rings with the Knicks – vs Rick Mahorn or Buddha isn’t even close. Hell, I think I’d take Laimbeer over Mahorn or Edwards.

  4. Jake

    Pg: Isiah Thomas, Chauncey Billups
    Sg: Joe D, Dave Bing
    Sf: Adrian Dantley, Grant Hill
    Combo: Vinnie Johnson
    Pf: Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman,
    Combo: Rick Mahorn
    C: Bob Lanier, Ben Wallace

    Coach: Chuck Daly
    Arena: Palace of Aurburn Hills
    Jersey: Bad Boys Blue and White

  5. kacecartet

    Point: Isaiah Thomas-The epitome of a winner on the hardwood, nuff said.
    Chauncey Billups-Heady floor general, with great post skill. Mr. Big Shot.
    2Guard: Joe Dumars-All around offensive game, great defender.
    Vinnie Johnson-The Microwave. For you younger folks, think Jason Terry before Jason Terry.
    3Spot-Grant Hill

  6. Zkranc

    PG: Isiah Thomas, Chauncey Billups
    SG: Joe Dumars, Rip Hamilton
    Combo: Dave Bing
    SF: Adrian Dantley, Tayshaun Prince
    PF: Dennis Rodman, Bill Laimbeer, Rasheed Wallace
    C: Ben Wallace, Bob Lanier

  7. Scott Free

    PG: Isiah Thomas, Chauncey Billups
    SG: Joe Dumars, Rip Hamilton
    Combo: Dave Bing
    SF: Grant Hill, Tayshaun Prince
    PF: Rasheed Wallace, Dennis Rodman,
    C: Bob Lanier, Ben Wallace

    Now THATS a lineup that could bring you some championships!

  8. kacecarter

    Isaiah Thomas- Great floor general, Heart of a killer on the hardwood. The epitome of a winner.
    Chauncey Billups-A great floor general in his own right. Nice post game. Mr. Big Shot.

    2 guard:
    Joe Dumars- Excellent all around guard, high basketball IQ. Heady defender.
    Dave Bing- Elite level scorer, excellent mid range, to the rack player. Can get his own shot.

    Combo Guard:
    Vinnie Johnson-The Microwave. For those too young to remember, think Jason Terry before Jason Terry, but built like a bull.

    Grant Hill-Elite athlete, high motor, high basketball IQ. Had he stayed with the team Arnie would have fixed him. Could have been a first ballot hall of famer. (his loss)
    Tayshaun Prince- The Block and his defense McGrady in the playoffs (nuff said)

    Bob Lanier-Great offensive Center, unstoppable in the post.
    Rasheed Wallace -Top tier post game, the fadeaway. Nice defensive presence, Stretch four.
    Dennis Rodman-unparalleled as a defender and rebounder.
    Bill Laimbeer-Stretch 4-5 high percentage three point shot, good rebounder, defensive agitator.
    Ben Wallace-Fear tha Fro, will be the first, undrafted first ballot hall of famer in history, mark it down.

    Coach: Chuck Daly- He would appreciate this line up because he knows that chemistry is just as important as skill. That’s why I chose these particular combinations of teamates for this roster (except for Grant Hill, whos talent and unselfishness ON THE COURT make him a perfect addition).

    Asst. Coaches:
    Larry Brown, Rick Carlisle, Rick Mahorn

    Arena: Nowhere but The Palace.

    Uni-Pistons red white and blue (current)

  9. D.E. Murphy


    I’m trying to figure out how you can leave out a four time all-star center that drove the NBA nuts. Apparently you are too young to remember the NBA finals in Portland, when they watched the Pistons team take the floor. One player scarred them to death! Bill Lambier.

    Laimbeer was selected to the NBA All-Star Game on four occasions (1983, 1984, 1985 and 1987) and finished among the league leaders in rebounding and free throw percentage several times, winning the rebound title in the 1985-86 season. Laimbeer started on the Pistons’ 1989 and 1990 NBA championship teams.
    Bill Laimbeer and his Detroit teammates are the only players to have a playoff winning record against NBA legends Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan.
    Altogether, Laimbeer spent 14 seasons in the NBA, 12 of them with Detroit. Laimbeer became the 19th player in league history to amass more than 10,000 points and 10,000 rebounds. Laimbeer was most effective off the defensive glass: from 1982 to 1990 no player in the league totaled more defensive rebounds. His streak of 685 consecutive games played (which ended due to suspension) is the fifth longest in league history. Laimbeer retired early in the 1993-94 season at age 36, and his jersey number (40) was eventually retired by the Pistons. He remains the franchise’s all-time leader in career rebounds.
    Laimbeer’s reputation as one of the Pistons’ “Bad Boys” was such that in 1991 he even came to endorse a video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System called Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball, a futuristic basketball game in which physical play is encouraged.

  10. Josh n Robert

    PG: Dana Barros, Pepe Sanchez
    SG: Jerry Stackhouse, Alan Houston
    Combo: Damon Jones
    SF: Jerome Williams, Ronald Dupree
    PF: Nazr Mohammed, Chris Webber
    C: Bison Dele, Eric Montross

    Coach: Michael Curry
    Asst. Coaches: John Kuester, George Irvine, Dick Vitale
    Arena: Cobo
    Uni: The teal alternate Red

    • Tycoon

      I think you forgot Kwame Brown and you got the all-time worst team. Peace. 🙂

  11. Bellllissimo

    PG Lindsey Hunter
    PG Brandon Knight
    SG Joe Dumars
    SG Allan Houston
    combo SG/SF Dennis Rodman
    SF Grant Hill
    SF Walter Hermann
    PF Antonio McDyess (dyess forever)
    PF Terry Mills
    PF Jonas Jerebko
    PF The Junkyard Dog Jerome Willams
    C Rasheed Wallace

    -Coach Dick Vitale

    -Whichever staff as long as Arnie Kandor and Mike Abdenour is the trainers

    -I really like the Red alternate jersey they been wearing

    -North Side High School when they were the fort wayne pistons

  12. Chris

    PG: Isiah Thomas – No greater Piston. ’nuff said.
    PG: Chauncey Billups – Were Zeke not a Piston, Chauncey would’ve held the title of greatest leader in team history.

    SG: Joe Dumars – Mad game and amazing character.
    SG: Dave Bing – Arguably the best two guard in Pistons history? (and the main reason I couldn’t put my sentimental favorite Vinnie Johnson on this list.)

    Combo: Grant Hill – Only at combo because I couldn’t leave Adrian Dantley off my list. One the most talented Pistons ever (still give Zeke the nod). Would have been interesting to see what might’ve happened if he stayed.

    SF: Adrian Dantley – Was my second favorite player growing up behind the Worm. I was (and still am) bummed that Mark Agguire won two championships with the Pistons instead of AD.
    SF: Tayshaun Prince – Love his game and love how he’s a serious teammate. Shame he never was an all-star.

    PF: Dennis Rodman – As amazing as he was when he was here, it was only after he left that I realized how absolutely amazing of a player he was. Top 10 Piston.
    PF: Dave DeBusschere – Only seen a few clips of him but if he’s on the NBA’s top 50 list, I gotta show him love. Plus, he’s a homeboy.

    C: Ben Wallace – The Pistons would have been monstrously worse in ’00 without him nor would they ever have sniffed a championship. One of my top 10 Pistons of all time.
    C: Bill Laimbeer – I forgot that he lead the league in rebounding. Had a killer instinct and a serious will to win. A top 10 Piston in my book.
    C: Bob Lanier – Dude played his heart out on a seriously crappy squad. Wanted to be in Detroit and oh, yeah, he had some serious game.

    Coach: Chuck Daly – (Rothstein, Surh, Malone)

    Arena: Silverdome – I know the Palace is the nicer of the two, but there was nothing like going to a game at the ‘dome when it was packed and rockin’. I loved how you could run into all kinds of crazies there.

    Uniforms: Bad Boys Blue – though I do like the Alt red jerseys.

    • Paul M

      We have a winner.

  13. Mike

    PG: Isiah Thomas – Obvious.
    SG: Joe Dumars – Finals MVP, HOF, dat defense
    SF: Grant Hill – In his prime he was one of the best SFs of all time. He didnt have the longevity so you dont hear his name with guys like Bird, Bron, etc. Hill would be the primary scorer on a stacked defensive team. Also a great defender.
    PF: Rasheed Wallace – Stretch the floor, defense
    C: Ben Wallace – He was just too dominant


    PG: Chauncey Billups
    SG: Rip Hamilton – Chemistry with Billups
    Combo: Dantley – Used for scoring during droughts
    PF: Dennis Rodman
    C: Bill Laimbeer
    C: Bob Lanier

    Coach: Larry Brown – Hard to pick him over Daly, but you cant go wrong with either.

    Unis – Bad Boys blue, obviously

    PA announcer – Mason

    Blogger – Nat

  14. Natalie Sitto

    I’m upset nobody had Fennis Dembo on their list.

    I’m horrible It’s had for me to pick my all time Pistons team.

    All I know is that Lanier, Dumars, Thomas and Laimbeer are on there somewhere. I have to think about it more.

  15. Muhammad

    Great post! I agree with your selections!!! that would be a great team to watch.. i think they could beat the 1996 Dream Team (please note “slight” sarcasm)…LOL!!!


  16. Ryan Magnes

    PG: Isiah Thomas (Hall of Fame)
    Dave Bing (Hall of Fame)
    SG: Joe Dumars (Hall of Fame)
    Richard Hamilton
    SF: Dennis Rodman (Hall of Fame)
    Grant Hill
    PF: Bill Laimbeer
    Rick Mahorn
    C: Bob Lanier (Hall of Fame)
    Ben Wallace
    Combo Guard and Backup Power Forward Center:
    Chauncey Billups & Rasheed Wallace
    Head Coach: Chuck Daly (with 2004 coaching staff)
    Palace of Auburn Hills
    Bad Boys era jerseys

    Honorable Mention: Jerry Stackhouse, Mark Aguire, Alvin Robertson, Otis Thorpe, and Chris Webber. Oh yeah, and Alan Houston……

  17. elshark81

    pg- Isiah Thomas
    sg- Joe Dumars
    sf- Grant Hill
    pf- Dennis Rodman
    c- Bob Lanier

    pg- Chauncey Billups
    sg- Rip Hamilton
    combo- Dave Bing
    sf- Dave DeBuscherre
    bigs- Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Bill Laimbeer

    Coach: Chuck Daly and his staff
    Unis: Piston red, white and blue playing at the Palace

    For you guys who don’t know about DeBuscherre look him up. He was considered one of the all-time great defenders, averaged a double-double for his career (16pts, 11rebs) embodies the toughness, leadership and class we love from our teams and was inducted to the HOF.

  18. Ottist

    PG- Isiah Thomas, Chauncey Billups
    SG- Joe Dumars, Rip Hamilton
    Combo- Dave Bing
    SF- Grant Hill, Tayshuan Prince
    PF- Rasheed Wallace, Dennis Rodman
    C- Bob Lanier, Ben Wallace, Bill Laimbeer

    All around Defense from every player on the floor. 8 3pt shooters. 6 shot blockers, 6 excellant rebounders.

    Coach- Dady Rich!
    Staff- Larry Brown, Flip Saunders and Lawrence Frank and gotta have Mike abdenaure & Arnie Kander in the mix.
    The Palace- of course.
    Uni’s- Old Pistons blue.
    I Win!



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  • Rasheed Wallace
  • Greg Monroe
  • Andre Drummond
  • Josh Smith
  • Brandon Jennings
  • Caron Butler
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
  • Jodie Meeks
  • D.J. Augustin
  • Gigi Datome
  • Spencer Dinwiddie
  • Jonas Jerebko
  • Kyle Singler
  • Tony Mitchell
  • Stan Van Gundy
  • Arnie Kander
  • Mike Abdenour
  • Tom Gores
  • Greg Kelser
  • George Blaha
  • John Mason

Pistons Past

  • Chauncey Billups
  • Rodney Stuckey
  • Brandon Knight
  • Tayshaun Prince
  • Richard Hamilton
  • Jason Maxiell
  • Tracy McGrady
  • Will Bynum
  • Austin Daye
  • Chris Wilcox
  • Dajuan Summers
  • Peyton Siva
  • Kim English
  • Terrico White
  • Josh Harrellson
  • Charlie Villanueva
  • Vernon Macklin
  • Viacheslav Kravtsov
  • Ben Gordon
  • Ben Wallace
  • Isiah Thomas
  • Maurice Cheeks
  • Lawrence Frank
  • John Kuester
  • Chuck Daly
  • Bill Laimbeer
  • Joe Dumars