Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons
Detroit Pistons
2011–12 Detroit Pistons season
Detroit Pistons logo
Conference Eastern Conference
Division Central Division
Founded 1941 in the NBL (joined the NBA in 1948)
History Fort Wayne (Zollner) Pistons
Detroit Pistons
Arena The Palace of Auburn Hills
City Auburn Hills, Michigan
Team colors      Royal blue
     Crimson red
Owner(s) Tom Gores
General manager Joe Dumars
Head coach Lawrence Frank
D-League affiliate Fort Wayne Mad Ants
Championships 5 NBL: 2 (1944, 1945)
NBA: 3 (1989, 1990, 2004)
Conference titles 7 (Western: (2) 1955, 1956, Eastern: (5) 1988, 1989, 1990, 2004, 2005)
Division titles 13 NBL: 4 (1943, 1944, 1945, 1946)

NBA: 9 (1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)

Official website
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Home jersey
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Team colours
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Away jersey
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Team colours

The Detroit Pistons are a franchise of the National Basketball Association based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The team's home arena is the Palace of Auburn Hills. It was originally founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne (Zollner) Pistons as a member of the National Basketball League in 1941, where they won two championships. The club joined the NBA in 1948, moved to Detroit in 1957, and has since won three championships, most recently in 2004.


Franchise history

From Fort Wayne to Detroit

Fort Wayne Pistons logo.

The franchise was founded as the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, a National Basketball League (NBL) team, playing in the gym of North Side High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Owners Fred Zollner and his sister Janet's Zollner Corporation was a foundry, manufacturing pistons, primarily for car, truck and locomotive engines. In 1948, the team became the Fort Wayne Pistons, competing in the Basketball Association of America (BAA). In 1949, Fred Zollner brokered the formation of the National Basketball Association from the BAA and the NBL at his kitchen table.

There are suggestions that Pistons players conspired with gamblers to shave points and throw various games during the 1953–54 and 1954–55 seasons. In particular, there are accusations that the team may have intentionally lost the 1955 NBA Finals to the Syracuse Nationals.[1] In the decisive Game 7, the Pistons led Syracuse 41–24 early in the second quarter, then the Nationals rallied to win the game.[2] Syracuse won on a free throw by George King with twelve seconds left in the game. The closing moments included a palming turnover by the Pistons' George Yardley with 18 seconds left, a foul by Frankie Brian with 12 seconds left that enabled King's winning free throw, and a turnover by the Pistons' Andy Phillip with three seconds left which cost Fort Wayne a chance to attempt the game-winning shot.[3]

Though the Pistons enjoyed a solid local following, their city's small size made it difficult for them to be profitable. In 1957, Zollner moved the team to Detroit, a much larger city which had not seen professional basketball in a decade. In 1947, they had lost the Detroit Gems of the NBL, who moved to become the Minneapolis Lakers (now the Los Angeles Lakers), and the Detroit Falcons of the BAA, which folded.

Detroit Pistons logo 1957–1971.

Due to Detroit's economy being extremely reliant on the manufacturing of cars, they decided to keep the Pistons name. The new Detroit Pistons played in Olympia Stadium (home of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings at the time) for their first four seasons, then moved to Cobo Arena. The franchise was a consistent disappointment, struggling both on the court and at the box office.

1960s and 1970s

Detroit Pistons logo 1971–1979.

During the '60s and '70s, the Pistons were characterized by very strong individuals and weak teams. Some of the superstars who played for the team included Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, Jimmy Walker, and Bob Lanier. At one point DeBusschere was the youngest player-coach in the history of the NBA. Unfortunately, an ill timed trade was made during the 1968 season which sent the popular home grown DeBusschere to the New York Knicks for Howard Komives and Walt Bellamy both who were in the later stages of their career. DeBusschere became the key player that then led the Knicks to two NBA titles. The Dave Bing and Bob Lanier era did have some solid and exciting years but they were handicapped by being in the same division as the Milwaukee Bucks which had a young Lew Alcindor and the Chicago Bulls which had some very strong players.

In 1974, Zollner sold the team to Bill Davidson, who remained the team's principal owner until his death on March 14, 2009. Displeased with the team's location in downtown Detroit, Davidson moved them to the suburb of Pontiac in 1978, where they played in the mammoth Silverdome, a structure built for professional football (and the home of the Detroit Lions at the time).

1980s: The Bad Boys era

Detroit Pistons famous "Bad Boys era" logo 1979–1996.

The Pistons stumbled their way out of the 1970s and into the 1980s, beginning with a 16–66 record in 1979–80 and following up with a 21–61 record in 1980–81. The 1979–80 team lost its last 14 games of the season which, when coupled with the seven losses at the start of the 1980–81 season, comprised a then-NBA record losing streak of 21 games (since broken).

The franchise's fortunes finally began to turn in 1981, when it drafted point guard Isiah Thomas from Indiana University. In early 1982, the Pistons acquired center Bill Laimbeer in a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers and guard Vinnie Johnson from the Seattle SuperSonics. The three would remain together for a decade, forming much of the core of a team that would rise to the top of the league.

Initially the Pistons had a tough time moving up the NBA ladder. In 1984, the Pistons lost a tough five-game series to the underdog New York Knicks, three games to two. In the 1985 playoffs, Detroit won its first-round series and faced the defending champion Boston Celtics in the conference semifinals. Though Boston would prevail in six games, Detroit's surprise performance promised that a rivalry had begun. In the 1985 NBA Draft, the team selected Joe Dumars 18th overall, a selection that would prove very wise. They also acquired Rick Mahorn in a trade with the Washington Bullets. However, the team initially took a step backward, losing in the first round of the 1986 playoffs to the more athletic Atlanta Hawks. After the series, Coach Chuck Daly and team captain Thomas decided that their best chance to seize control of the Eastern Conference would be through a more aggressive style of play.

Prior to the 1986–87 season, the Pistons acquired more key players: John Salley (drafted 11th overall), Dennis Rodman (drafted 27th) and Adrian Dantley (acquired in a trade with the Utah Jazz). The team adopted a physical, defense-oriented style of play, which eventually earned them the nickname "Bad Boys." In 1987, the team reached the Eastern Conference Finals, the farthest it had advanced since moving from Fort Wayne, against the Celtics. After pushing the defending champions to a 2–2 tie, the Pistons were on the verge of winning Game 5 at the Boston Garden with seconds remaining. After a Celtics' turnover, Isiah Thomas attempted to quickly inbound the ball and missed Daly's timeout signal from the bench (the NBA had not yet instituted the rule that allowed coaches to call timeout themselves). Larry Bird stole the inbound pass and passed it to Dennis Johnson for the game-winning layup. While the Pistons would win Game 6 in Detroit, they would lose the series in a tough Game 7 back in Boston.

Motivated by their loss to the Celtics, the 1988 Pistons, aided by midseason acquisition James Edwards, improved to a then-franchise-record 54 victories and the franchise's first Central Division title. In the postseason, the Pistons avenged their two previous playoff losses to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, defeating them in six games and advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since the franchise moved to Detroit.

The Pistons' first trip to the Finals saw them face the Los Angeles Lakers, who were led by Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. After taking a 3–2 series lead back to Los Angeles, Detroit appeared poised to win their first NBA title in Game 6. In that game, Isiah Thomas scored an NBA Finals record 25 points in the third quarter while playing on a severely sprained ankle. However, the Lakers won the game, 103–102, on a pair of last-minute free throws by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar following a controversial foul called on Bill Laimbeer, referred to by many Piston supporters, and Laimbeer himself, as a "phantom foul." With Isiah Thomas unable to compete at full strength, the Pistons narrowly fell in Game 7, 108–105.

Prior to the 1988–89 season, the Pistons moved to Auburn Hills to play at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The 1989 Pistons completed the building of their roster by trading Dantley for Mark Aguirre, a trade that Piston fans would criticize heavily initially, but later praise. The team won 63 games, shattering the old franchise record, and steamrolled through the playoffs and into a NBA Finals rematch with the Lakers. This time the Pistons came out victorious in a four-game sweep to win their first NBA championship. Joe Dumars was named NBA Finals MVP. Game 4 of the series marked the final game of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's career.


The Pistons successfully defended their title in 1990. After winning 59 games and a third straight division title, the Pistons cruised through the first two rounds of the playoffs and advanced to the eastern conference finals for the 4th straight year, before playing a tough Eastern Conference Finals series against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Facing each other for the third straight season, the Pistons and Bulls split the first six games before the Pistons finished the series with a decisive 93–74 victory in Game 7.[4] Advancing to their third consecutive NBA Finals, the Pistons faced the Portland Trail Blazers. After splitting the first two games at The Palace, the Pistons went to Portland, where they had not won a game since 1974, to play Games 3, 4 and 5. The Pistons summarily won all three games in Portland, becoming the first NBA team to sweep the middle three games on the road. The decisive game came down to the final second. Trailing 90–83 with two minutes remaining, the Pistons rallied to tie the game, then took a 92–90 lead when Vinnie Johnson sank an 18 foot jumper with 00.7 seconds left in the game; this shot earned Johnson a new nickname in Detroit, "007", to go with his original, "The Microwave". Isiah Thomas was named NBA Finals MVP.

The Pistons' championship run came to an end in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals, where the battered and bruised Pistons were swept by the eventual NBA champion Chicago Bulls, 4 games to 0. The most critical Piston injury belonged to Isiah Thomas who had surgery on his wrist just prior to the NBA Playoffs. The Conference Finals were best remembered for the Pistons walking off court in the last game just before it ended, unwilling to shake hands with the Bulls. After the series, Jordan said he was "shocked that Isiah didn't play as hard." Following this, the franchise went through a lengthy transitional period, as key players either retired (Laimbeer in 1993 and Thomas in 1994) or were traded (Edwards, Johnson, Salley and Rodman among others). The team quickly declined, bottoming out in the 1993–94 season when they finished 20–62.

1994–99: Grant Hill era

Detroit Pistons infamous "teal era" logo 1996–2001.

The team's fortunes improved after that season, but the rebuilding process soon sputtered. As a result of the poor finish in the 1994 season, the Pistons were able to draft Grant Hill, a promising small forward. However, this period also saw the team make numerous questionable personnel decisions, such as the loss of free agent Allan Houston to the New York Knicks,[5] the signing of free agent wash-outs Christian Laettner, Loy Vaught, Cedric Ceballos, and the late Bison Dele; and head coaching changes from Ron Rothstein to Don Chaney to Doug Collins to Alvin Gentry to George Irvine in an eight-year span. Of those coaches, only Collins had any sort of success with the Pistons, winning 54 games in the 1996–97 season. The franchise even changed its team colors in 1996 from its traditional red, white, and blue to teal, burgundy, gold and black in what proved to be a highly unpopular move with fans. This period has become known, derisively, as the "teal era."

2000–2008: Return to championship contention

After being swept by the Miami Heat in the 2000 playoffs, Joe Dumars (who had retired following the 1999 season) was hired as the team's president of basketball operations. He quickly faced what appeared to be a setback for the franchise, as Grant Hill elected to leave the team for the Orlando Magic. However, Dumars managed to work a sign and trade with Orlando that brought the Pistons Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins in exchange for Hill. Both quickly entered the Pistons' starting lineup, and Wallace would develop into an All-Star in the coming years. Conversely, Hill would play only 47 games in the following four seasons due to a recurring ankle injury.

The Pistons suffered through another tough season in 2000–01, going 32–50. After the season, Dumars fired head coach George Irvine and hired Rick Carlisle, a widely respected assistant coach who had been a tough substitute contributor for the Celtics during the mid-1980s. In the fall of 2001, the franchise also returned to its red, white and blue uniforms.

Detroit Pistons logo 2001–2005. The return of the traditional colors.
Detroit Pistons alternate logo 2001-05. Modern version of 'Bad Boys' logo.

Carlisle helped lead the Pistons to their first 50-win season since 1997, and their first playoff series victory since 1991. In the summer of 2002, Dumars revamped the Pistons' roster by signing free agent Chauncey Billups, acquiring Richard "Rip" Hamilton from the Washington Wizards, and by drafting Tayshaun Prince from Kentucky. The Pistons posted consecutive 50-win seasons and advanced to the 2003 Eastern Conference Finals, for the first time since 1991. There, however, they were swept in four games by the New Jersey Nets.

Despite the team's improvement, Carlisle was fired in the 2003 offseason. There were believed to be five reasons for the firing: first, that Carlisle had appeared reluctant to play some of the team's younger players, such as Prince and Mehmet Okur, during the regular season, which had upset Dumars; second, that some of the players (notably Wallace) had not gotten along with Carlisle; third, that Carlisle employed an offensive system that was too conservative; fourth, that Hall of Famer Larry Brown had become available; and finally fifth, that Carlisle was rumored to be interested in the Pacers head coaching job during the Pistons' 2003 playoff run. Brown accepted the job that summer and Carlisle landed the job in Indiana as expected.

Larry Brown coached the Pistons to the 2004 NBA title and the Eastern Conference championship the following season.

The Pistons' transformation into a championship team was completed with the February 2004 acquisition of Rasheed Wallace. The Pistons now had another big man to pose a threat from all parts of the court. The Pistons finished the season 54–28, recording their best record since 1997. In the 2004 playoffs, after defeating the Milwaukee Bucks in five games, they defeated the defending Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets in seven games after coming back from a 3–2 deficit. Detroit then defeated the Indiana Pacers, coached by Rick Carlisle, in six tough games to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1990. Many analysts gave the Pistons little chance to win against their opponents, the Los Angeles Lakers, who had won three out of the previous four NBA championships, and who fielded a star-studded lineup that included Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton and Karl Malone. However, the Pistons won the series in dominating fashion, defeating Los Angeles in five games for the team's third NBA Championship. The Pistons posted double-digit wins in three of their four victories, and held the Lakers to a franchise-low 68 points in Game 3. Chauncey Billups was named NBA Finals MVP. With the win, Pistons owner William Davidson became the first (and to this date, the only) owner to win both NBA and NHL championships in the same year, having won the Stanley Cup as owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Despite losing key members of their bench during the offseason (including Okur, Mike James and Corliss Williamson), the Pistons were considered a strong contender to win a second consecutive title in 2005. They won 54 games during the regular season, their fourth consecutive season of 50 or more wins. During the 2005 playoffs, they easily defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 4–1 and then rallied from a 2–1 deficit to finish off the Indiana Pacers, 4–2. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pistons faced the Miami Heat. Once again Detroit fell behind, but won Eastern Conference Championship in seven games. In the NBA Finals the Pistons faced the San Antonio Spurs. In the first NBA Finals Game 7 since 1994, the Pistons lost a hard-fought game with the Spurs, who won their third NBA championship since 1999.

The Pistons' 2004–05 season was marked by a major controversy, as well as distracting issues involving Larry Brown. In the first month of the season, a Pacers–Pistons brawl erupted, one of the largest fan-player incidents in the history of American sports. It resulted in heavy fines and suspensions for several players, and a great deal of NBA and media scrutiny. Meanwhile, Brown was forced to leave the team on two occasions due to health concerns, and also became involved in a series of rumors linking him to other job openings. Concerned about Brown's health, and angered over his alleged pursuit of other jobs during the season, the Pistons bought out his contract soon after the 2005 NBA Finals. Brown was promptly named head coach of the New York Knicks, and the Pistons hired Flip Saunders, formerly of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

2005–06 season

Detroit Pistons logo 2005-present. The logo merged the original 'Bad Boys' logo with the secondary Pistons logo of 2001-05.
Chauncey Billups Tayshaun Prince Richard Hamilton Rasheed Wallace Ben Wallace
The starting five of the Pistons' 2004 championship team. (left-to right: Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince).

During the 2005–06 season, the Pistons recorded the NBA's best overall record. Their 37–5 start exceeded the best start for any Detroit sports franchise in history[6] and tied for the second-best 42-game start in NBA history. Four of the five Piston starters, Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, and Ben Wallace, were named to the All-Star team, and Flip Saunders served as the Eastern Conference All-Star team coach. The Pistons finished the regular season with a record of 64–18, setting new franchise records for both overall and road victories (27). In addition, the team set an NBA record by starting the same lineup in 73 consecutive games from the start of the season.

The top-seeded Pistons defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 4–1 in the first round of the 2006 NBA Playoffs, but struggled in the second round against the Cleveland Cavaliers, falling behind 3–2 before winning in seven games. Things did not improve against second-seeded Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami defeated the Pistons in six games en route to the 2006 NBA championship.

Current alternate logo, 2005-present.

2006–07 season

During the 2006 offseason, the Pistons offered Ben Wallace a four-year, $48 million contract which would have made him the highest-paid Piston ever. However, Wallace agreed to a 4-year, $60 million contract with the Chicago Bulls.[7]

To replace Ben Wallace, the Pistons signed Nazr Mohammed as a center. He struggled to fill the team's void at center, however, and the team began looking for additional help. On January 17, the Pistons signed Chris Webber, who had become a free agent. The Pistons quickly began playing better basketball and, according to Newsday, started "to get their swagger back."[8] The Pistons were only 21–15 before Webber was acquired; with him, the team went 32–14. On April 11, the Pistons clinched the best record in the Eastern Conference, which guaranteed them home-court advantage for first three rounds of the playoffs.

The Pistons opened the 2007 NBA Playoffs with a 4–0 victory over the Orlando Magic, their first playoff series sweep since 1990. The team advanced to face the Chicago Bulls, marking the first time that the Central Division rivals had met in the postseason since 1991. After winning the first two games by 26 and 21 points, the Pistons overcame a 19-point deficit to win Game 3, 81–74. Chicago avoided elimination by winning Games 4 and 5, but the Pistons closed out the series, 95–85, in Game 6. They advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the fifth consecutive time (equaling their streak from 1987–1991)— three short of the NBA record set by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pistons won games 1 and 2, but lost 4 in a row to the Cavaliers.

2007–08 season

Following the 2007 season, the Pistons traded Carlos Delfino to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for 2009 and 2011 second-round draft picks. In the 2007 NBA Draft the Pistons selected Rodney Stuckey as the 15th overall pick and Arron Afflalo as the 27th overall pick.[9] They also re-signed Chauncey Billups to a long-term contract, as well as re-signing top prospect Amir Johnson and key reserve Antonio McDyess. This season marked the 50th anniversary of the franchise in Detroit, so The Palace of Auburn Hills floor was given a retouch, as the 50th anniversary logo was encased on center court, and blue replaced red on the sideline, retaining red on the baseline surrounding the basket with the words "Detroit Pistons." The remainder of the court remained unchanged. This marked the first time since their first season at the Pontiac Silverdome (1978–79) that the sideline of the Pistons floor will be painted blue, as opposed to their traditional red.

At the start of the 2008 season, Rasheed Wallace became the Pistons' new center. Upon entering his third season as Pistons coach, Saunders became the longest-tenured Pistons coach since Chuck Daly's nine-year tenure (1983–92). Detroit finished the season 59–23, with the second-best record in the league. The Boston Celtics held the first seed, and many speculated that Boston was their main competition in the Eastern Conference. In the 2008 NBA Playoffs, Detroit started out poorly with a Game 1 loss to the seventh-seeded Philadelphia 76ers and found themselves in a 2-games-to-1 deficit. But the Pistons rallied to defeat the Sixers in six games.

Meanwhile in the 2008 NBA Playoffs, Detroit rolled out to a Game 1 romp of the Orlando Magic, and won a tight Game 2 amid mild controversy. At the very end of the third quarter, Chauncey Billups hit a three-point field goal that gave the Pistons a three-point lead. However, the clock had stopped shortly into the play. League rules currently prohibit officials from using both instant replay and a timing device to measure how much time has elapsed when a clock malfunctions, nor is a replay from the time of the malfunction onward allowed. The officials estimated that the play took 4.6 seconds, and since there were 5.1 seconds remaining when it began, the field goal was counted. The NBA later admitted that the play actually took 5.7 seconds and the basket should not have counted.[10]

In addition to losing Game 3 badly, 111–86, the Pistons also lost all-star point guard and team leader Chauncey Billups to a hamstring injury. Despite his absence, the Pistons rallied from 15 down in the third quarter to win Game 4 90–89, on a field goal by Tayshaun Prince with just 8.9 seconds to play, taking a 3–1 series lead. Again with Billups sitting on the sideline, they then proceeded to win Game 5 in Detroit, winning the series 4 games to 1.

Detroit advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the sixth straight season, squaring off against the Boston Celtics. This put the Detroit Pistons second on the all-time list of most consecutive conference final appearances, only behind the Los Angeles Lakers who appeared in 8 straight conference finals from the 1981-82 to 1988-89 seasons.[11] They lost Game 1 88-79, but won in game two on the road, 103–97 (marking Boston's first home court loss in the 2008 postseason). Immediately following that, the Celtics won their first road playoff game of the post-season, 94–80, in game three. Game four saw the Pistons win 94–75. In the pivotal fifth game, they lost 106–102, despite rallying from 18 points down late in the game. In Game 6, the Pistons entered the fourth quarter leading 70–60, but a lack of focus, a poor game from Rasheed Wallace, and a rally-killing turnover by Tayshaun Prince ultimately led to their demise; the Pistons ended their season with an 89–81 loss. After that, the Celtics went on to win the 2008 NBA Finals. On June 3, 2008, the Pistons announced that head coach Flip Saunders would not return as head coach for the 2008–09 regular season.[12]

2008–09: The end of an era and a start of rebuilding

On June 10, 2008 the Pistons named first-year assistant coach and former players' union representative Michael Curry as their new head coach for the 2008–09 season.[13] In July, the Pistons signed guard Will Bynum and center Kwame Brown. On November 3, 2008, the Pistons traded Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson.[14] McDyess was later waived on November 10 and rejoined the Pistons on December 9, 2008.

Detroit's sellout streak at The Palace of Auburn Hills ended on February 4, 2009 in a 93–90 win over the Miami Heat. The streak began on January 19, 2004, the year the Pistons won their third NBA title, and was the franchise's longest sellout streak at 259.[15]

Despite the trade for Iverson, the Pistons regressed during the season, partly due to Curry's controversial moves and disrupted team chemistry, including playing Iverson and Richard Hamilton as sixth men. Many speculate that because Iverson could not be a starter, he refused to play entirely; Iverson would later end up on the injured reserved list for the rest of the season citing back problems. The Pistons were also plagued with injuries to several key starters, namely Rasheed Wallace and Richard Hamilton, who suffered lengthy absences. As a result, the Pistons dropped further down the standings, only clinching a playoff berth on April 10, 2009, good for the #8 seed. The season marked the first time since the 2000–01 season that the Pistons failed to reach 50 wins and had a losing season, finishing with a 39–43 record. The Pistons were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games in the first round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs. It was the first time the Pistons had been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs since 2000.


In the 2009 NBA Draft, the Pistons selected Austin Daye of Gonzaga University with the 15th pick. The Pistons also took DaJuan Summers and Jonas Jerebko in the second round.

On June 30, 2009, Joe Dumars fired Michael Curry as the head coach after only one season. Avery Johnson, a former head coach for the Dallas Mavericks, and Doug Collins, a former head coach for the Bulls, Pistons, and Wizards, were both considered candidates. On July 1, 2009, the Pistons reached an agreement with the former Bulls guard Ben Gordon on a 5 year/$55 million contract, as well as an agreement with former Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva on a 5 year contract worth $35 million. That same month, Pistons lost one of their key starters, Rasheed Wallace, to free agency. Wallace signed a two year, $5.58 million contract with the Boston Celtics. Following the departure of Wallace, forward Antonio McDyess signed a one-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs for the mid-level exception. On July 8, 2009 Dumars hired former Cavaliers assistant coach John Kuester to be the Pistons new head coach.[16] The next front court move was the signing of former New York Knicks power forward Chris Wilcox to a multi-year contract, hoping he can regain his form as displayed with his Seattle tenure. Per team policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.[17]

In the offseason, the Pistons added two veterans to the roster, both former Pistons players. Center Ben Wallace to a one year $1.3 million contract[18] and a point guard Chucky Atkins to a non guaranteed contract.

Despite these changes, the Pistons regressed even further, hampered by injuries to key players including Hamilton, Prince and Gordon. On March 23, 2010, the Pistons were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the Indiana Pacers, assuring their first Draft Lottery appearance and their first 50-loss season since 2001. The Pistons finished with a 27-55 record, and were last in the Central Division. It was their worst record since 1994.


In the 2010 NBA Draft, the Pistons selected Greg Monroe of Georgetown University with the 7th pick. The Pistons also took Terrico White of the University of Mississippi in the second round.

During the offseason, the Pistons signed veteran Tracy McGrady to a one-year contract,[19] and re-signed Ben Wallace and Will Bynum to 2 and 3-year contracts, respectively.[20][21] Chris Wilcox also exercised his player option, from the 2-year contract he signed in 2009,[17] so he could stay with the Pistons.[22]

On February 11, 2011, the Pistons announced that they will retire the #10 jersey of Dennis Rodman on April 1, 2011, during halftime of a game against the Chicago Bulls.[23] Greg Monroe, who currently wears Rodman's #10, may continue to wear the number until either his departure or decision to change numbers, after which it may never be worn again.

The Pistons managed to improve by three games but were hampered by various on-court issues, including the reported feud between Richard Hamilton and head coach John Kuester and finished 30-52 missing the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Pistons however did manage to beat the Utah Jazz for the first time in 13 regular season meetings.

New Ownership

During April, the Detroit Pistons reached an agreement to sell the NBA franchise to billionaire Tom Gores. The deal was granted by NBA in June and also includes The Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theatre.[24]

On June 5, the Pistons made their first move with new ownership and parted with coach John Kuester.


In the 2011 NBA Draft, the Pistons selected Brandon Knight of the University of Kentucky with the 8th pick. The Pistons also took Kyle Singler of Duke University and Vernon Macklin of the University of Florida in the second round.

The second move in the 2011/2012 offseason was hiring a new coach, Lawrence Frank, former head coach of the New Jersey Nets and an assistant coach of the Boston Celtics.

Media coverage


The Pistons flagship radio station is WXYT-FM 97.1 FM. WWJ 950 AM flagships Pistons games which conflict with WXYT-FM's coverage of Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers or Detroit Red Wings games. There are several affiliate stations throughout Michigan.[25] The regular radio announcers are Mark Champion with play-by-play and Rick Mahorn with color commentary.


The Pistons' current exclusive local television rights holder is Fox Sports Detroit.[26] The regular TV announcers are George Blaha with play-by-play, Greg Kelser with color commentary, Mateen Cleaves with studio analysis and Eli Zaret with sideline reports.



Season-by-season records

Home arenas

The Pistons playing in The Palace of Auburn Hills.

When based in Fort Wayne, Indiana:

In the Detroit area:


Home attendance at The Palace of Auburn Hills

Home Attendance at The Palace of Auburn Hills
Year Total Attendance
2001–2002 760,807
2002–2003 839,278
2003-2004 872,902
2004-2005 905,116
2005-2006 905,116
2006-2007 905,116
2007-2008 905,116
2008-2009 896,971
2009-2010 768,826
2010-2011 683,080



Basketball Hall of Fame members

Bing, Daly, Davidson, DeBusschere, Dumars, Lanier, Thomas, Yardley and Zollner have also been inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

Retired numbers

All of the Pistons retired numbers are currently hanging in the rafters of The Palace of Auburn Hills, and are also encased on the Pistons floor (on the sidelines).

Recent NBA Draft selections

  • 2011: Brandon Knight (Round 1, pick 8); Kyle Singler (Round 2, pick 33); Vernon Macklin (Round 2, pick 52)
  • 2010: Greg Monroe (Round 1, pick 7); Terrico White (Round 2, pick 36)
  • 2009: Austin Daye (Round 1, pick 15); DaJuan Summers (Round 2, pick 35); Jonas Jerebko (Round 2, pick 39); Chase Budinger (Round 2, pick 44)
Note: The rights to Budinger were traded to the Houston Rockets in exchange for the rights to future second round draft pick and cash considerations
Note: The rights to White were traded to the Seattle SuperSonics in exchange for the rights to Seattle's draft picks Walter Sharpe (round 2, pick 32) and Trent Plaisted (round 2, pick 46)

Current roster

Detroit Pistons rosterv · d · e
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Height Weight DOB (Y–M–D) From
G 12 Bynum, Will 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1983–01–04 Georgia Tech
G/F 5 Daye, Austin 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1988–06–05 Gonzaga
G 7 Gordon, Ben 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1983–04–04 Connecticut
G/F 32 Hamilton, Richard (C) 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 193 lb (88 kg) 1978–02–14 Connecticut
F 33 Jerebko, Jonas (FA) 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 231 lb (105 kg) 1987–03–02 Sweden
G 7 Knight, Brandon (DP) 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1991–12–02 Kentucky
F/C 20 Macklin, Vernon (DP) 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 240 lb (109 kg) 1986–09–20 Florida
F/C 54 Maxiell, Jason 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 260 lb (118 kg) 1983–02–18 Cincinnati
G/F 1 McGrady, Tracy (FA) 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 223 lb (101 kg) 1979–05–24 Mt. Zion Christian Academy
F/C 10 Monroe, Greg 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 250 lb (113 kg) 1990–06–04 Georgetown
F 22 Prince, Tayshaun (C, FA) 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1980–02–28 Kentucky
F 25 Singler, Kyle (DP) 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1988–05–04 Duke
F 35 Summers, DaJuan (FA) 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 240 lb (109 kg) 1988–01–24 Georgetown
G 3 Stuckey, Rodney (FA) 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1986–04–21 Eastern Washington
F 31 Villanueva, Charlie (S) 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 232 lb (105 kg) 1984–08–24 Connecticut
C 6 Wallace, Ben (C) 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 240 lb (109 kg) 1974–10–10 Virginia Union
G 23 White, Terrico 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 213 lb (97 kg) 1990–03–07 Mississippi
F/C 9 Wilcox, Chris (FA) 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 1982–10–03 Maryland
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Athletic trainer(s)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (IN) Inactive
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured
  • * High school

Last transaction: August 23, 2011


Head coaches

General managers

  • Fred Delano (1957–1958)
  • W. Nicholas Kerbawy (1958–1961)
  • Fran Smith (1961–1964)
  • Don Wattrick (1964–1966)
  • Edwin Coil (1966–1975)
  • Oscar Feldman (1975–1979)
  • Jack McCloskey (1979–1994)
  • Billy McKinney (1994–1995)
  • Rick Sund (1995–2000)
  • Joe Dumars (2000–Present)


Franchise leaders

  • Per-game averages

Individual awards

NBA Finals MVP

NBA Defensive Player of the Year

NBA Rookie of the Year

NBA Sixth Man of the Year

NBA Coach of the Year

NBA Executive of the Year

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

NBA All-Defensive First Team

NBA All-Defensive Second Team

NBA All-Rookie First Team

NBA All-Rookie Second Team




  1. ^ The Wizard of Odds: How Jack Molinas Almost Destroyed the Game of Basketball. By Charley Rosen. p. 154. 2001 Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1-58322-268-5
  2. ^ "Syracuse Five Defeats Pistons in N.B.A. Play-Off Final, 92–91," The New York Times, April 11, 1955, p. 31.
  3. ^ "City Hails Nats' World Title Triumph," Syracuse Herald-Journal, April 11, 1955, pp. 1, 45.
  4. ^ 1990 NBA Playoff Summary |
  5. ^ [1] after the 46-win 1996 season PISTONS: Detroit Pistons 1990′s
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ Ben Wallace makes it official, signs with Bulls - NBA - ESPN
  8. ^ [3][dead link]
  9. ^ 2010 NBA Draft - Yahoo! Sports
  10. ^ ESPN - After review, NBA says Billups' 3-pointer should not have counted - NBA
  11. ^ - Reaching Five Consecutive Conference Finals
  12. ^ McCosky, Chris (2008-06-03). "Pistons Fire Saunders". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  13. ^ C. Gerstner, Joanne (2008-06-10). "Curry: We're playing to put up another banner". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  14. ^ Pistons acquire Iverson for Billups, McDyess, Samb
  15. ^ Palace sellout streak ends after five years, 259 games
  16. ^ Pistons hire John Kuester as coach
  17. ^ a b PISTONS: Pistons Sign Free Agent Forward Chris Wilcox
  18. ^ McCosky, Chris (August 7, 2009). "Pistons re-sign Ben Wallace for 1 year". The Detroit News. 
  19. ^ Pistons Sign Free Agent Guard/Forward Tracy McGrady
  20. ^ NBA Free Agents: Ben Wallace re-signs with Detroit Pistons for two years, $3.8 million - ESPN
  21. ^ Ben Wallace signs with Pistons for two years. - Detroit Bad Boys
  22. ^ Pistons forward Chris Wilcox exercises $3 million player option for next season |
  23. ^ "Pistons to retire Dennis Rodman's No. 10 jersey"
  24. ^ Detroit Pistons Sold To Billionaire Tom Gores
  25. ^ Detroit Pistons Radio Network affiliates
  26. ^ FSN Detroit Nets Pro Sports 3 pointer
  27. ^ [4] ESPN NBA Attendance Report


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