(21) 1996 Detroit Pistons (46-36) vs. (40) 1952 Fort Wayne Pistons (29-37)
Incredible year by Grant Hill, averaging 20-10-7 this season. Allan Houston added 20 points of his own to the mix, and Otis Thorpe had 14-8. Joe Dumars stumbled to only 12-2-4 in 1996…not very good considering he played 33 minutes a game….
Our earliest version of Detroit/Fort Wayne…Not much happened before now, and this team isn’t anything either. With some teams, you miss something kinda worthwhile (not much is really worth it back here though…), but the only thing we didn’t get here is Boston’s early Bob Cousy years….significant, but not enough to fret over. Here’s some stats: Frankie Brian: 16-4-4, Larry Foust: 16-13. Not really anything going on here. They’ll get blown out of the water here.
(22) 1954 Fort Wayne Pistons (40-32) vs. (39) 1998 Detroit Pistons (37-45)
This team had lots of relevant guys who didn’t play well this year (George Yardley, Frankie Brian), but some good playing, good players too, like Larry Foust (15-13), and Mel Hutchins (10-10). Andy Phillip had 11-4-6, and they had Jack Molinas for 12-7 before he was kicked out for gambling. (You don’t know him? He was also involved in the 1961 point shaving scandal, that got Connie Hawkins banned from the NBA…we can’t only thank him for taking his talents out of the NBA ((he was promising)), but he also took away Connie’s prime years….thanks Jack!).
Hill averaged a 21-8-7 this season, while secondary scoring duties went to Bison Dele (16-9). Jerry Stackhouse was traded here from Philly, and finished out the year with 16-3-3, while Joe Dumars still struggled, averaging 13-1-4.
(23) 1971 Detroit Pistons (45-37) vs. (38) 1983 Detroit Pistons (37-45)
Enter Bob Lanier. His debut may have not been great (16-8), but it was sure to get better. Dave Bing had a spectacular 27-4-5, while Jimmy Walker had 18-3-3. Not a spectacular year, but it’s not bad either.
Isiah had a wonderful sophomore year, averaging 23-4-8. You know you have a future great when that’s someone’s year two figures. Tripuka had 27-5-4 this season, and Bill Laimbeer added 14-12. Vinnie Johnson had 16-4-4.
(24) 1977 Detroit Pistons (44-38) vs. (37) 1958 Detroit Pistons (33-39)
Great year from Bob Lanier (25-12), but they didn’t get much else, other than 9-1-7 from Kevin Porter.
Year one in Detroit, and a good year for them as well. I guarantee that they will beat 1977, this team is pretty good (maybe I’m just too used to bland teams at this point). George Yardley led the league in scoring, averaging 28-11. Harry Gallatin came over from New York, and played his final season, which was 15-10, great for a retiree (he was 30, but 30 is the 36 of today…). Gene Shue had 16-5-3, and Walter Dukes had 11-13.
(25) 1953 Fort Wayne Pistons (36-33) vs. (36) 1978 Detroit Pistons (38-44)
Nothing special, Larry Foust had 14-12, but nobody else really relevant (Andy Phillip came over, but stats for separate teams weren’t recorded). (Though they were probably relevant then…)
Another great season from Bob Lanier. He had 25-11, while he got 19-3-5 from Eric Money. John Shumate had 16-9, and ML Carr had 12-7.
(26) 1956 Fort Wayne Pistons (37-35) vs. (35) 1962 Detroit Pistons (37-43)
A worse version of 1955, losing some key players to age. But this is the other Finals team from now. Foust had 16-9-2, while Yardley had 17-10-2. Hutchins had 12-8-3. Frankie Brian wasn’t worth much now, Max Zaslofsky played only 9 games and retired, and Phillip was slipping towards retirement, even with 6 assists.
Decent team here, they had Howell for 20-13, Shue for 19-5-6, and Ohl for 17 points. Ray Scott had 12 boards, and Dukes had 10 boards. Not really great, but average.
(27) 2000 Detroit Pistons (42-40) vs. (34) 1957 Fort Wayne Pistons (34-48)
Basically a two man team, with not much else. Grant Hill was one of them, going for 26-7-5, and the other was Jerry Stackhouse, averaging 24-4-5. Others include 13-3-4 from Lindsey Hunter, and 8-10 from Jerome Williams….not great….
This is the final Fort Wayne year. And this is one year after the finals! George Yardley was great, averaging 22-11, Larry Foust had 12-9, and Gene Shue is lurking on the horizon…
(28) 1968 Detroit Pistons (40-42) vs. (33) 2009 Detroit Pistons (39-43)
With that, the average Pistons team is below .500. This season featured Dave Bing dazzling for 27-5-6, DeBusschere averaging 18-14, plus 19-4-3 from Eddie Miles. I find it hard to believe that they only won 40 games…
Not really pretty. Billups was traded for AI (17-3-5), and Rip Hamilton led scoring (18-3-4). Prince had 14-6-3, and Rodney Stuckey had a pretty good second year, averaging 13-4-5. Sheed and McDyess played only around 60 games, but contributed 12-7, and 10-10 in them, respectively. They’ll get blown out of the water by 1968. Looking back, it seems amazing they made the playoffs…where they got swept by the Cavs…
(29) 1973 Detroit Pistons (40-42) vs. (32) 1982 Detroit Pistons (39-43)
Another year of the Lanier-Bing pairing. Lanier had an exceptional 24-15-3 year, and Bing was big for 22-4-8. Curtis Rowe had 16-9. Well, the front line IS incredibly strong…but can they beat….
Isiah in his rookie season? He had 17-3-8 in his debut season, while John Long (oddly enough), led scoring with 22 a game. But Tripuka wasn’t far behind, averaging a little less than him, but it was still about 22 a night. Bill Laimbeer was traded to Detroit this season, where he had only 30 games played, but a massive 13-11 in them. Kent Benson had 13-9.
(30) 1975 Detroit Pistons (40-42) vs. (31) 1993 Detroit Pistons (40-42)
This is the final matchup…it was a fun ride. This team had Lanier with 24-12-5, Bing with 19-4-8, and Curtis Rowe with 12-7. Not much, but it is a really strong front two.
Joe Dumars was the high scorer, with 24-2-4, and Isiah was going pretty strong, with 18-3-9. Dennis Rodman amassed a mind-boggling 8-18. Bill Laimbeer and Mark Aguirre were essentially irrelevant. It would hurt to see this team if you loved the Bad Boy champs…but you loved it if you loved Boston (or even LA…or Chicago…hell, everyone hated them).
That sentence summed up Detroit. At least the late 80s ones. Everyone hated them. But you have to admit….it damn worked…not that we liked it. You have to respect Isiah, the little warrior…while you have zero respect for Laimbeer, and his whining crap. If you haven’t ever seen it…you need to see Laimbeer get taken down by Parish. I love that moment (I think I mentioned it already…). Through the Pistons years, there were so many good players: Foust, Yardley, Howell, Bing, Lanier, Isiah, Laimbeer (to some extent), Hill, Billups, the Wallaces, ect…They were pretty good through history, every decade they had at least one relevant player, maybe more. This, my friends, is one of the best teams of all time (like it or not).
Ladies and Gentlemen, your Fort Wayne/Detroit Pistons! Next up, Rick Barry, Paul Arizin, Wilt, and 3 champs from the Philly/San Fran/Golden State Warriors!