Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My All-Time Detroit Pistons Starting Five

I've been following the Pistons since 1989 (yes, when they were champions, get off your high horse Bulls fans), and in that time there's been a number of players I've had a fondness for.* But who would I pick on my 'all-time' Pistons starting five over those 23 years? To get in my final five you had to be good, but being a bit of a cult figure didn't hurt as well. Let's roll:

My first pick (at power forward) is my all-time favourite Piston, "Big" Ben Wallace.** Not only did he wear my favourite number (#3), and have an awesome Afro, he showed you can be a formidable force simply through rebounding and defence, giving credence to non-scorers everywhere. Plus, the Pistons have built their championships on defence, so it seems appropriate to have the four-team Defensive Player of the Year in the line-up.

At shooting guard, there are only three players worth considering: Joe Dumars, Rip Hamilton, and Vinnie Johnson (that traitor Allan Houston doesn't count). I'm going for Joe D, who was always classy, spent his whole career with the team, and has spent his whole post-career with the team as well. At small forward, I'm picking my teenage idol Grant Hill*** over Tayshaun Prince, given that Hill is probably the best 'all-round' player (and perhaps most intelligent player) ever to pull on a Pistons jersey.

At point guard, I'm going for Mr. Big Shot, Chauncey Billups, over the leader of the 'Bad Boys' championship teams Isiah Thomas. Say what? Yes, Isiah is generally rated as the better player, mainly because he was a high scorer, but Chauncey scored quite a bit himself, and he seems like he was just an all-round nicer teammate and opponent. It's hard not to root for a guy who got bounced around five different teams in his first seven seasons, and still came up smiling.

Which brings up to the final position. I did consider Dennis Rodman (with Wallace playing at center), but since he pretty much replicates Wallace's skills that might make the team a bit unbalanced. Rasheed Wallace was considered too, as was new star Greg Monroe. But, at the risk of upping the 'bastard' quotient in the team I'm going for Bill Laimbeer at center - the team can afford to have a little bit of nasty in it, and Laimbeer was a decent scorer and proficient rebounder. But I'm going for Dumars as captain, just to be safe.   

* Even Olden Polynice.
** I forgive him now for leaving for Chicago, because he had already delivered us a championship and he came back, even though we were rubbish again.
*** I forgive him now for leaving for Orlando - six years of crippling foot injuries is punishment enough.

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