The Detroit Pistons are the second-oldest franchise in professional basketball. Founded in 1941, they were formerly called the Zollner Pistons and were based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The franchise finally moved to Detroit after the 1956-1957 season because, despite its solid following, it was difficult to be profitable in the small city of Fort Wayne.
The Pistons are one of the few teams that predates the NBA as they first played in the National Basketball League (NBL) – winning two championships in 1944 and 1945 – then joined the Basketball Association of America (BAA) for the 1948 season.
The Detroit Pistons had a horrid start in their new home, as they posted losing records for their first 13 seasons in Detroit despite the presence of heavyweights like Baily Howell, Jimmy Walker, and Dave Bing. They managed to make the playoffs a few times but this was mainly because the NBA at the time was much smaller.
Things changed for the franchise in 1981 after they drafted point guard Isiah Thomas. He was then joined by Dennis Rodman, Bill Laimbeer, and Vinnie Johnson. This core, plus role players like John Salley and Joe Dumars, helped lead Detroit to prominence. The ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons went to the NBA finals in three consecutive years, from 1988-1990.
In 1989, the Pistons also moved to a new home – The Palace of Auburn Hills – where they promptly swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA finals to win their first-ever NBA championship. They defended the title in 1990 and went ahead to win it again in 2004 against the Lakers, led by Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, and Richard Hamilton. This team is known as one of the only championship winners without a true ‘superstar’ player.
Since then, the Pistons have made it to the postseason but have been unable to clinch another championship title. They finished 13th in the Eastern Conference with a 20-46 record last season and did not make it to the playoffs. The current (as of Oct 29, 2020) Pistons includes:
Name / Position / Height (FT) / DOB
Derrick Rose / Point Guard / 6’1 / 10/4/1988
Luke Kennard / Shooting Guard / 6’5 / 06/24/1996
Sekou Doumbouya / Small Forward / 6’8 / 12/23/2000
Blake Griffin / Power Forward / 6’9 / 03/16/1989
John Henson / Power Forward / 6’9 / 12/28/1990
Justin Patton / Center / 6’11 / 06/14/1997
Langston Galloway / Shooting Guard / 6’1 / 12/9/1991
Tony Snell / Small Forward / 6’6 / 11/10/1991
Khyri Thomas / Shooting Guard / 6’3 / 05/8/1996
Christian Wood / Power Forward / 6’10 / 09/27/1995
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk / Small Forward / 6’7 / 06/10/1997
Jordan Bone / Point Guard / 6’3 / 11/5/1997
Jordan McRae / Shooting Guard / 6’5 / 03/28/1991
Brandon Knight / Point Guard / 6’2 / 12/2/1991
Loius King / Small Forward / 6’7 / 04/6/1999
Thon Maker / Center / 7’0 / 02/25/1997
Bruce Brown / Shooting Guard / 6’4 / 08/15/1996
Troy Weaver took over as general manager of the Detroit Pistons in June 2020, and has since then, has worked tremendously to put his front office in order. Recently, the Pistons announced additions to their basket operations staff. These additions include
• Britta Brown – senior director of basketball administration
• Ryan West – pro personal evaluator
• Micheal Lindo – director of player and family engagement
• Tony Leotti – senior director of strategy and systems
A few internal promotions were also made, all in a bid to build a better future for a franchise that has struggled in the last decade.
The Pistons are currently owned by Tom Gores, who acquired the franchise in 2011. He was responsible for the overhaul of the franchise’s front office and coaching staff in 2018, to help maximize the teams’ potential on the court.
Head Coach Dwayne Casey and his coaching staff are tasked with helping the team rise from the ashes to the glory they enjoyed in the past. He is assisted by Sid Lowe, Sean Sweeney, Tim Grgurich, and Micah Nori.
The Pistons have the 7th pick in the 2020 NBA draft. The number has done them some good in the past, as they were able to draft Greg Monroe in 2010 and George Yardley in 1950. Both players were great for the Pistons, and Yardley scoring at a high clip in the 50’s.