Book your Detroit Pistons luxury suite at Little Caesars Arena here!
A staple franchise in the NBA, the Detroit Pistons personify hard-nosed basketball in the Eastern Conference. Coming into existence as the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons of the NBL, they took their two championships to the NBA merger, first as the Fort Wayne Pistons before moving to the larger Michigan city of Detroit and adopting the more regional name of the Detroit Pistons in 1957.
Though the Pistons had gained a following in the Detroit area, the roaring fans could not propel them to winning seasons. Despite strong individuals, the Pistons found themselves weak when it came to their teams. After a rough go of it in the 1960s and 70s, the team finally began to turn in the early 80s with the arrival of Isiah Thomas. Pieces of the puzzle slowly began to come together throughout the decade with the acquisitions of Vinnie Johnson, Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumar, Rick Mahorn, and finally John Salley and Dennis Rodman. Their physical dominance on the court and defensive play earned them the nickname the “Bad Boys”.
Becoming a force to be reckoned with throughout the 1980s, the Detroit Pistons Bad Boys era culminated with an NBA Championship in 1989. A crushing playoff performance brought the team to the Finals where they swept the LA Lakers. They would successfully defend their title the next season, going for back to back championships. Their hard road included a stop in Chicago where they outlasted the Bulls in a tough seven game series before defeating the Portland Trail Blazers in five games.
The team would need to rebuild as their star players left Detroit either by being waived, traded, or through retirement. Luckily for Pistons fans, the losses that piled up in the rebuilding phase brought them Grant Hill via the NBA Draft. However, despite his great play, there was never enough of a cast around him to make a playoff run.
However, around the time Hill left Detroit, the franchise began making strides towards another championship caliber build. Ben Wallace was acquired as part of the Grant Hill trade. Chauncey Billups was acquired via free agency and Richard Hamilton was brought in through a trade with Washington. Tayshaun Prince was drafted in 2002 and the final piece of the puzzle was when Ben Wallace signed on in 2004. Cruising through the 2004 playoffs, Detroit knocked off Milwaukee in five games before sending the New Jersey Nets home in seven. A tough six game series against the Indiana Pacers set the stage for Detroit to match up for the LA Lakers in the NBA Finals. Despite the loaded LA roster with Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, and Karl Malone, the Pistons took home the trophy after five games. Nearly repeating the next season, the Pistons came within one game of another title. They would earn a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals six straight times.
A rebuilding period would follow with players and despite names like Allen Iverson, Charlie Villanueva, and Ben Gordon the Pistons could not put anything together that would bring them closer to another title. Today’s squad featuring Reggie Jackson, Andre Drummond, and Blake Griffin hope to end this drought. Solid numbers have them looking like a team that can make some noise come playoff time. Expect that Detroit will not go down without a fight.
Click here for additional information about the Detroit Pistons. This great franchise has been the home to many unforgettable players including Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Dennis Rodman, Grant Hill.