Detroit Pistons Top Five Greatest Players

As the NBA season approaches, we are counting down the top five players for every franchise. Today we will be looking at the top five players for the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons were founded in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana where they were called the Fort Wayne (Zollner) Pistons as a member of the National Basketball League. They won two championships in the NBL before joining the Basketball Association of America in 1948. Then in 1949 the NBL and BAA would merge into the National Basketball Association where the Pistons would move to Detroit in 1957 and become the Detroit Pistons. Detroit has won three NBA Championships in 1989, 1990, and 2004 which is their most recent championship. I will be breaking down the top 5 players in the Detroit Pistons franchise history.

Detroit Pistons Top Five Greatest Players

5: Chauncey Billups (2002-2008)

Chauncey Billups was drafted with the third overall pick in the 1997 draft by the Boston Celtics. Billups would sign with the Detroit Pistons as a free agent in 2002 but this would be his fifth team since he was drafted. Many people thought Billups would never reach his potential as the third overall pick due to injuries which cost him most of the 1998-1999 season as well as 1999-2000 season. One Billups landed with the Pistons everything changed for him, he would play in at least 70 games in all six of his seasons in Detroit. In his first season with the Pistons, he would lead them to the Eastern Conference Finals and in all six of his seasons in Detroit they would make it to the conference finals. Billup’s career was highlighted by his 2004 championship win with the Pistons which he also collected the Finals MVP award.

Accolades with the Pistons:
-3x All-Star
-2x All NBA Team
-Second Most 3 pointers made in Pistons history
-NBA Champion and Finals MVP
-Number 1 retired by the Pistons

4: Bill Laimbeer (1982-1993)

Bill Laimbeer was drafted with the 65th overall pick in the third round in the 1979 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Laimbeer was one of the best big men in Pistons history and he was known as being one of the greatest enforcers in NBA history. Laimbeer was known for his hard fouls and opposing teams were reluctant about going at him. Laimbeer was the key to the Detroit Pistons and the “Bad Boys” era. Bill Laimbeer was also an elite rebounder which was an underrated part of his game and he led the Pistons in rebounding from 1983-1989. While Laimbeer didn’t jump off the charts as a huge name he made a difference on the floor each and every night. Laimbeer is the franchise leader in rebounds and places in the top 10 in games played, blocks, and points for the franchise.

Accolades with the Pistons:
-2x NBA Champion
-4x NBA All-Star
-NBA Rebounding Leader (1986)
-Number 40 retired by the Pistons

3: Ben Wallace (2000-2006,2009-2012)

Ben Wallace went undrafted in the 1996 draft but he didn’t play at a big college to get recognized. The Pistons acquired Wallace in 2000 from the Orlando Magic but didn’t know what to expect from him. During his first six seasons with Detroit, Wallace became one of the best interior defenders in the league. Wallace’s interior defense carried the Pistons to their championship in 2004 where he averaged 14 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, and 2 steals a game in those playoffs. After leaving the Pistons in 2006, Wallace would return in 2009 to finish his career but he wasn’t the same player. Ben Wallace was Detroit Pistons basketball with his strength, hustle, and toughness on the defensive end.

Accolades with the Pistons:
-4x Defensive Player of the Year
-5x All-NBA Defensive First Team
-4x NBA All-Star
-NBA Champion
-2x NBA Rebounding Leader
-NBA Blocks Leader (2002)
-Detroit Pistons All-Time Leader in Blocks
-Number 3 retired by the Pistons

2: Joe Dumars (1985-1999)

Joe Dumars was drafted with the 18th overall pick in the first round of the 1985 draft by the Detroit Pistons. Joe Dumars was part of one of the best backcourts in NBA history. Dumars played his whole career in Detroit and is the franchise leader in games played with 1,018. Dumars was fantastic during their two title runs with his 17 points per game and 4 assists per game in each of those postseasons. Dumars played in 112 career playoff games while posting 16 ppg and 5 apg which is remarkable. When Dumars played in Detroit, the Pistons were known as the “Bad Boys” of the NBA but Dumars was the only exception to that with his quiet play and his outstanding behavior.

Accolades with the Pistons:
-2x NBA Champion (One Finals MVP)
-6x NBA All-Star
-4x NBA All-Defensive First Team
-NBA All-Rookie First Team
-J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award
-NBA Sportsmanship Award
-Number 4 retired by the Pistons

1: Isiah Thomas (1981-1994)

Isiah Thomas was drafted with the second overall pick in the first round of the 1981 draft by the Detroit Pistons. Thomas carried the Pistons to two championships which will cement his legacy as the greatest player in Detroit Pistons history. Isiah Thomas is one of the greatest point guards to ever play in the NBA and his game changed the way the point guard position was looked at. Thomas brought hard-nosed defense to that position and didn’t shy away from anybody which made him who he is today. Thomas played all 13 seasons with the Pistons and his name is all over the franchise book for the Pistons. During the two championship runs Thomas would average 18 ppg, 8 apg, 4 rpg, and 2 spg in their first run and then during the second run Thomas was even better with 21 ppg, 8 apg, 6 rpg, and 2 spg. Thomas has his name in the all-time record book with being first in points, assists, and steals while being in the top 10 in scoring average, games played, three-pointers made, and rebounds.

Accolades with the Pistons:
-2x NBA Champion (One Finals MVP)
-12x NBA All-Star (2x All-Star Game MVP)
-5x All NBA Team (3x First Team)
-NBA All-Rookie First Team
-NBA Assists Leader (1985)
-NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
-Number 11 retired by the Pistons

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