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The Myth of the 2004 Detroit Pistons


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 The Myth of the 2004 Detroit Pistons
topic by Hovi Bryant - 01-04-2013, 06:54 PM




The 2004 Detroit Pistons literally shocked the professional basketball world when they won the NBA championship by dominating the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. It was so shocking, in fact, that the NBA literally rewrote pieces of the rulebook in response to the Pistons smothering on-the-ball defense (at least, that's how we Pistons fans remember it).

On top of that, the media struggled to fit those Pistons into the common narratives. On the one side, the Lakers were loaded with superstar players: Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Gary Payton, Karl Malone. On the other side...wait, who are these guys again?

As a team, the Pistons only scored a piddly 90.1 points per game and held opponents to 84.3. Not exactly great TV material. Their leading scorer, Richard Hamilton, averaged 17.6. Seven players averaged between 9 points per game and Rip's team-leading 17.6.

Even as someone who watched the Pistons night in and night out, it's easy to buy into the narrative that was spun to make sense of this surprise: The Pistons were greater than the sum of the respective parts. They didn't have a superstar.

Certainly, there's some truth here. As a unit, the Pistons were a joy to watch, and they were team rather than individual-oriented. Their offense - while not pretty - was predicated on people and ball movement, as opposed to being driven by one or two great individual offensive players. The "zoo crew" wreaked havoc with a full-court press that hasn't been matched in effectiveness since. And so on, and so forth.

But that narrative while true is only halfway so. Or at least according to Andre Alvarez who writes at the Wages of Wins Journal.

By the numbers, Ben Wallace was a true superstar, and he dominated two-thirds of the game: defense and rebounding. He just didn't score enough points to be labeled the star that he was.

The money quote:

In 2004 Ben Wallace had been the Wins Produced MVP in back to back seasons. He lost his crown to Garnett but was still second in the league. Let's also look at conventional wisdom. Ben Wallace made the All-Star game in 2003 and 2004. He was a two time Defensive Player of the Year winner. And guess what the Pistons were really good at? The answer is defense for those that missed the rhetorical nature of my question. How can anyone claim that Ben Wallace wasn't the star of the Pistons? How can anyone that pulls out the mantra "Defense Wins Championships" say that with a straight face? And I argue how Ben Wallace was a star mattered a lot too.

Make sure to click through to read the rest of the post here.

My only critique of Dre's post - or perhaps it's more an addition - is this: What Ben Wallace was to the Pistons' defense, Chauncey Billups was to the Pistons' offense. I would argue that together, those two players were the Pistons' superstar that propelled them to their championship and subsequent success.

And now, your thoughts?
The Myth of the 2004 Pistons
The myth of the 2004 Pistons - Detroit Bad Boys

In hindsight, this article and the original source has made me realize Joe Dumars' mistakes ever so clearly. I hit the author up and he was just hitting me with that #### that makes your soul burn slow as a Pistons fan.

His first mistake was not drafting Chris Bosh.
Second mistake was not paying Ben Wallace $60M.
Third mistake was trading Chauncey Billups and extending Richard Hamilton.

In reality, Chauncey and Ben were late blossom guys entering their primes and could have made the Pistons contenders well into 2009, with young pieces like Chris Bosh (or Rodney Stuckey however you spin it in later years) growing with some sort of championship level pedigree.

Wallace and Billups were cheap as #### compared to other stars, but played at the same level.

The only glimmer of light in this rebuilding phase is that Andre Drummond looks to be a stud on defense like Wallace. However, I'm still waiting for that stud point guard to come along. Brandon Knight aint it.


53 comments for "The Myth of the 2004 Detroit Pistons"


 01-04-2013, 07:00 PMaway - #2
Bea5T 97 heat pts97

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The key to that team was Chauncey Billups. They need someone who can control the ball and not make stupid mistakes while being a leader in the locker room.
 01-04-2013, 07:01 PMaway - #3
timdog 355 heat pts355

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Originally Posted by Hovi Bryant







In hindsight, this article and the original source has made me realize Joe Dumars' mistakes ever so clearly. I hit the author up and he was just hitting me with that #### that makes your soul burn slow as a Pistons fan.

His first mistake was not drafting Chris Bosh.
Second mistake was not paying Ben Wallace $60M.
Third mistake was trading Chauncey Billups and extending Richard Hamilton.

In reality, Chauncey and Ben were late blossom guys entering their primes and could have made the Pistons contenders well into 2009, with young pieces like Chris Bosh (or Rodney Stuckey however you spin it in later years) growing with some sort of championship level pedigree.

Wallace and Billups were cheap as #### compared to other stars, but played at the same level.


The only glimmer of light in this rebuilding phase is that Andre Drummond looks to be a stud on defense like Wallace. However, I'm still waiting for that stud point guard to come along. Brandon Knight aint it.
this...

joe got by on getting quality players but he got them cheap

his best draft pick in that era was tayshaun prince
 01-04-2013, 07:06 PMonline - #4
INFAMOUS 13 heat pts13

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Could've had wade melo or bosh
 01-04-2013, 07:20 PMaway - #5
A.G 27 heat pts27

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That defense was ####ing ridiculous..

5 straight teams under 70 points allowed


#### those mother####ers
 01-04-2013, 07:40 PMaway - #6
Bkjj11 388 heat pts388

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i remember dude was being called a great gm....hows that looking?
 01-04-2013, 07:53 PMonline - #7
iggyemu 

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Originally Posted by Bea5T
The key to that team was Chauncey Billups. They need someone who can control the ball and not make stupid mistakes while being a leader in the locker room.
Yep Billup's ability to control the pace of a game IMO is unrivaled by probably anyone in history.
 01-04-2013, 08:02 PMonline - #8
rawchester 5 heat pts

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That team really got over the hump when they got Sheed. They were solid before but once Sheed arrived he took them to that elite level. Sheed brought elite level talent on both ends of the floor. So yes, I agree, Chauncey was their leader on offense and Ben on D but Sheed really tied it all together because he could do everything. His versatility , IMO, took them over the top.
 01-04-2013, 08:14 PMonline - #9
dadon85 85 heat pts85

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Long time stone fan. That title was gift wrapped to us that year


But still


Hate we had to go back to the bottom
 01-04-2013, 08:38 PMaway - #10
Hovi Bryant 240 heat pts240

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Originally Posted by Bkjj11
i remember dude was being called a great gm....hows that looking?
Everyone isn't perfect. Also what he had was just a perfect storm. Everyone is a critic in hindsight. Like you for example.
 01-04-2013, 08:39 PMaway - #11
Hovi Bryant 240 heat pts240

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Originally Posted by rawchester
That team really got over the hump when they got Sheed. They were solid before but once Sheed arrived he took them to that elite level. Sheed brought elite level talent on both ends of the floor. So yes, I agree, Chauncey was their leader on offense and Ben on D but Sheed really tied it all together because he could do everything. His versatility , IMO, took them over the top.
Could have drafted Bosh and not need to even trade for Sheed.
 01-04-2013, 08:39 PMaway - #12
micseles 1 heat pts

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Dont think we'll ever see a point guard who controls the overall pace of game like chauncey did in those years. The game moved as fast or as slow as he and only he allowed it to back then. Ran the offense to a tee and then reduced opposing PG's to stumbling messes on the other side. Sheeds low post D and ability to stretch the floor on O was the icing on the cake for that squad.


was a beautiful thing to watch
 01-04-2013, 08:39 PMaway - #13
Hovi Bryant 240 heat pts240

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Originally Posted by dadon85
Long time stone fan. That title was gift wrapped to us that year


But still


Hate we had to go back to the bottom
Gift wrapped? The Pistons defense was stifling.
 01-04-2013, 08:54 PMonline - #14
dadon85 85 heat pts85

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Originally Posted by Hovi Bryant
Gift wrapped? The Pistons defense was stifling.
So we would've won without getting sheed. Who did we trade for sheed anyway
 01-04-2013, 09:07 PMaway - #15
timdog 355 heat pts355

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Originally Posted by dadon85
So we would've won without getting sheed. Who did we trade for sheed anyway
In a deal put together shortly before the NBA trading deadline, the Pistons sent center Zeljko Rebraca, guard Bob Sura and a first-round draft pick to the Hawks. That pick will come from Milwaukee this year if the Bucks make the playoffs.

Detroit also sent guards Lindsey Hunter, Chucky Atkins, its first round pick this year and cash to Boston, while the Celtics shipped forward Chris Mills to the Hawks and guard Mike James to the Pistons.

wish lindsay could have gotten a ring

i remba when the pistons got fined 200 g's for playing rasheed and mike james joe didnt know they paperwork was done

The Detroit Pistons were fined $200,000 by the NBA on Monday for using Rasheed Wallace and Mike James before the deal that brought them to the team was finalized.
 01-04-2013, 09:10 PMaway - #16
timdog 355 heat pts355

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Originally Posted by Bkjj11
i remember dude was being called a great gm....hows that looking?
joe for a while was on a roll

caught chauncey while he was still finding his way

got ben out the grant hill trade who woulda knew

traded for for rip

drafted tayshaun

got rasheed

found quality bench players mcdyess,okur,hunter
 01-04-2013, 09:21 PMonline - #17
dadon85 85 heat pts85

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Originally Posted by timdog
wish lindsay could have gotten a ring.
Instead of with the lakers.

04 pistons. Greatest season of my lifetime
 01-04-2013, 09:43 PMonline - #18
walterroan 1 heat pts

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i remember that #### like yesterday . i had just turned 21 that june. got to watch the playoffs at the bar.

we should have paid ben.

chauncey quit on flip. also, he he asked to be traded to denver because his ma was sick.

great ####ing team.

as far as bosh, wade, melo...we thought darko was the next dirk but could also play center . tayshon was coming off a spectacular rookie year . in hindsight wade should have been the pick. coming off the bench for rip.
 01-04-2013, 11:03 PMaway - #19
GarfieldBond007 41 heat pts41

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I'll say Larry Brown's impact was underrated as well. Rick Carlisle brought that tough mentality on defense, then when Larry Brown came in took it to the next level. What made Detroit's defense so dominant was them being able to full court press and able to recover in the half-court, a staple of Brown's defenses.

It's a shame Dumars got rid of Brown so early when he won the NBA Finals in his first season, next season back in the finals losing a down to the wire Game 7 against the Spurs. A series they might have won if Rasheed Wallace didn't leave Robert Horry open for a 3 in Game 5.

All because of a rumor about him wanting to coach the Knicks.
 01-04-2013, 11:14 PMaway - #20
GREAT1NE 

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That Pistons team only won cause Kobe tried to play hero ball and push Shaq off the team.
 

 



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