Detroit Pistons

Table of Contents

Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons, an iconic American professional basketball team, have left an indelible mark on the National Basketball Association (NBA) since their inception in 1937. Originally established as the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the team transitioned to professional status in 1941 as part of the National Basketball League (NBL). Their early success was marked by winning two NBL championships in 1944 and 1945, alongside triumphs in the World Professional Basketball Tournament in consecutive years.

In 1957, the franchise made a pivotal move to Detroit Pistons , solidifying its place in the city’s sports history. Over the years, the Pistons have celebrated three NBA championships, claiming victory in 1989, 1990, and 2004. These triumphs underscore the team’s resilience and competitive spirit.

The Pistons’ roots are intertwined with the Zollner Corporation, owned by Fred Zollner, which manufactured pistons for various engines. This connection led to the formation of the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons as a semi-professional basketball team. The team’s journey from Fort Wayne to Detroit Pistons reflects its commitment to excellence and adaptability.

The 1960s and 1970s were characterized by a roster featuring talented players such as George Yardley, Bailey Howell, Dave Debusschere, Dave Bing, and Bob Lanier. However, this period also witnessed questionable trades, frequent coaching changes, and a struggle to find stability. Despite challenges, the Pistons continued to evolve, setting the stage for future successes.

A significant turning point occurred in the 1988–89 season when the Pistons relocated to Auburn Hills and secured victory in the NBA Finals. This marked the beginning of a new era, as the team assembled a formidable roster and achieved a record-breaking 63 wins. The Pistons’ triumph in the NBA Finals against the Lakers showcased their determination and skill, with Joe Dumars earning the NBA Finals MVP title.

In 2002, Joe Dumars played a key role in reshaping the team by acquiring notable players like Chauncey Billups and Richard “Rip” Hamilton. The Pistons experienced consecutive 50-win seasons, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2003. However, they faced a setback with a sweep by the New Jersey Nets.

The coaching landscape also witnessed changes, notably with the hiring of Hall of Famer Larry Brown. Despite internal challenges and a coaching transition, the Pistons remained resilient, reflecting their commitment to success.

The team’s identity has undergone visual transformations over the years, from classic block lettering to the distinctive teal, black, yellow, and red color scheme in the late ’90s. The return to traditional red, white, and blue in 2001, coupled with iconic logos, symbolized a nod to the team’s rich history.

The “Bad Boys” era from 1979 to 1996 holds a special place in Pistons history, marked by a tough and physical style of play. The team’s embrace of this identity, reflected in Al Davis’s acknowledgment through Raiders merchandise, resonated with fans and players alike. The era was immortalized in the end-of-season video yearbook titled “Bad Boys.”

While the “Bad Boys” era had its admirers, it also faced criticism from figures like Michael Jordan, who deemed them “bad for basketball.” Commissioner David Stern acknowledged the impact of their physical style on the game’s evolution.

In 2017, the Pistons unveiled a modernized logo, paying homage to the iconic “Bad Boys” era. This move reflected a commitment to preserving the team’s rich legacy while embracing a new chapter.

In conclusion, the Detroit Pistons’ journey from Fort Wayne to Detroit Pistons , their triumphs in NBA championships, and the resilience displayed through various eras illustrate a storied history. The team’s ability to adapt, overcome challenges, and embrace its identity has solidified its place in the hearts of basketball enthusiasts and the city of Detroit.

Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons

Conference

Division

Founded

Arena

Location

President

Manager

Head Coach

Ownership

Affiliation

Website

Eastern

Central

1937

Little Caesars Arena

Detroit, Michigan

Ed Stefanski

Troy Weaver

Monty Williams

Tom Gores

Motor City Cruise

Go To⇒

History

  • Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons
  • 1937–1941 (semi-professional)
  • 1941–1948 (NBL)
  • Fort Wayne Pistons
  • 1948–1957 (BAA/NBA)
  • Detroit Pistons
  • 1957–present

Team Colors

  • Royal blue, red, chrome, black, white

Main Sponsor

  • United Wholesale Mortgage

Championships

  • 5
  • NBL: 2 (1944, 1945)
  • NBA: 3 (1989, 1990, 2004)

Conference Titles

  • 5 (1988, 1989, 1990, 2004, 2005)

Division Titles

  • 15
  • NBL: 4 (1943, 1944, 1945, 1946)
  • NBA: 11 (1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)

Retired Numbers

  • 10 (1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 15, 16, 21, 32, 40)
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Team colours
Association
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Icon jersey
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Team colours
Icon

History

1937–1957

Fred Zollner, the proprietor of the Zollner Corporation, which operated a foundry specializing in the production of pistons for automobiles, trucks, and locomotives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, took a significant step in the world of basketball. In 1937, prompted by a request from his employees, Zollner sponsored a semi-professional basketball team named the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons. The team, initially rooted in a works team, transitioned to the National Basketball League (NBL) in 1941 under the name Zollner Pistons, achieving NBL championship victories in 1944 and 1945. Their success extended to triumphs in the World Professional Basketball Tournament in 1944, 1945, and 1946.

In 1948, the team underwent a name change, becoming the Fort Wayne Pistons, and made the leap to the Basketball Association of America (BAA). A pivotal moment occurred in 1949 when Fred Zollner played a key role in brokering the formation of the National Basketball Association (NBA), merging the BAA and the NBL at his own kitchen table.

However, the Pistons’ history is not without controversy. During the 1953–54 and 1954–55 seasons, there are allegations that some Pistons players collaborated with gamblers to manipulate game outcomes by deliberately losing. One notable accusation suggests that the team intentionally lost the 1955 NBA Finals to the Syracuse Nationals. The decisive Game 7 witnessed the Pistons holding a substantial lead of 41–24 early in the second quarter, only to see the Nationals rally and secure victory. The closing moments were marred by turnovers and fouls by Pistons players, ultimately costing them the championship. Despite this setback, the Pistons reached the NBA Finals again in the following season but were defeated by the Philadelphia Warriors in five games.

1957–1981

Although the Detroit Pistons had a dedicated local fan base, the small size of Fort Wayne posed challenges for profitability, especially as other NBA teams in smaller cities faced closures or relocations to larger markets. Following the 1956–57 season, Fred Zollner concluded that Fort Wayne could not adequately support an NBA team and declared the Pistons would play elsewhere in the upcoming season. Detroit Pistons , being the fifth-largest city in the United States [3] at the time, became the chosen destination, despite not having seen professional basketball for a decade. World War II had led to the loss of the Detroit Pistons Eagles, and subsequent events saw the demise of the Detroit Gems (which became the Minneapolis Lakers), the Detroit Falcons, and the Detroit Vagabond Kings. Zollner opted to retain the Pistons name, aligning it with Detroit’s prominent position in the automobile industry.

The Pistons initially played at Olympia Stadium, home of the NHL’s Detroit Pistons Red Wings, for their first four seasons before relocating to Cobo Arena in the 1961–62 season. The 1960s and 1970s were marked by talented players like George Yardley, Bailey Howell, Dave Debusschere, Dave Bing, and Bob Lanier. The team experienced questionable trades, frequent coaching changes, and a period where DeBusschere served as the youngest player-coach in NBA history. Notable trades and frustrations led to key players like Howell, Lanier, and Bing departing from the Pistons.

In 1974, Zollner sold the team to glass magnate Bill Davidson, who remained the principal owner until his passing in 2009. After spending the 1960s below .500, the Pistons had a winning season in 1971 and a brief period of success in the mid-1970s, making the playoffs for four consecutive seasons. However, the 1979–80 season marked a challenging period with a 16–66 record and a then-NBA record losing streak of 21 games. Davidson, dissatisfied with Cobo Arena, relocated the team to the suburb of Pontiac in 1978, where they played in the 82,000-capacity Silverdome, originally built for professional football. This move marked a significant shift for the Pistons as they aimed to establish themselves in a new home.

1981–1994

Initially, the Detroit Pistons faced challenges in ascending the NBA ranks. In 1984, they encountered a formidable test, losing a hard-fought five-game series to the unexpected underdogs, the New York Knicks, with a final score of 3–2. The 1985 playoffs marked a turning point as Detroit Pistons secured victory in the first round, setting the stage for a conference semifinal clash with the reigning champions, the Boston Celtics. Despite Boston ultimately prevailing in six games, Detroit’s noteworthy performance hinted at the inception of a burgeoning rivalry.

The 1985 NBA draft proved pivotal for the Pistons as they strategically selected Joe Dumars 18th overall, a decision that would prove to be exceptionally astute. Additionally, they bolstered their roster by acquiring Rick Mahorn through a trade with the Washington Bullets. However, the team experienced a setback, bowing out in the first round of the 1986 playoffs against the more athletically inclined Atlanta Hawks. This defeat prompted post-series adjustments geared towards fortifying the team’s defensive capabilities.

The franchise’s turning point materialized in 1981 with the selection of point guard Isiah Thomas from Indiana University. Further enhancing their lineup, the Pistons traded for Vinnie Johnson from the Seattle SuperSonics in November 1981 and acquired center Bill Laimbeer in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers in February 1982. A critical development was the appointment of head coach Chuck Daly in 1983, solidifying the foundation for the Pistons’ changing fortunes.

1994 - 2000

After the 1993–94 season, the Detroit Pistons secured a valuable asset by drafting Grant Hill, an emerging small forward, with the third overall pick. However, this period witnessed questionable personnel decisions, including the departure of free agent Allan Houston to the New York Knicks, the signings of free agents Loy Vaught and Bison Dele, who proved to be disappointments; and a series of head coaching changes from Ron Rothstein to Don Chaney to Doug Collins to Alvin Gentry to George Irvine within an eight-year span. Among these coaches, only Doug Collins experienced success with the Pistons, winning 54 games in the 1996–97 season. In 1996, the franchise underwent a controversial change in team colors from the traditional red and blue to teal, burgundy, gold, and black, a move that proved highly unpopular with fans. The only color that remained unchanged was white. This era is often referred to, somewhat derisively, as the “teal era”.

The Pistons endured another challenging season in 2000–01, finishing with a record of 32–50, despite Jerry Stackhouse’s impressive average of 29.8 points per game. Following the season, the Pistons parted ways with head coach George Irvine and brought in Rick Carlisle, a highly respected assistant coach who had contributed to the Celtics during the mid-1980s. Additionally, the franchise reverted to its traditional red, white, and blue colors. Under Carlisle’s guidance, the Pistons achieved their first 50-win season since 1997 and secured their first playoff series victory since 1991 by defeating the Toronto Raptors in five games. However, they were defeated by the Boston Celtics in five games.

After a playoff sweep by the Miami Heat in 2000, Joe Dumars, who had retired after the 1998–99 season, took on the role of the team’s president of basketball operations. The franchise initially faced a setback when Grant Hill opted to join the Orlando Magic. Nevertheless, Dumars orchestrated a sign-and-trade with Orlando, acquiring Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins in exchange for Hill. Both players quickly became integral parts of the Pistons’ starting lineup. Wallace, in particular, evolved into a defensive stalwart in the ensuing years. However, Hill’s playing time was limited to 47 games over the next three seasons due to a recurring ankle injury.

2000–2002: Building a contender

Following a challenging period marked by a playoff sweep by the Miami Heat in 2000, Joe Dumars, having retired after the 1998–99 season, assumed the role of president of basketball operations for the Detroit Pistons. The franchise encountered an initial setback as Grant Hill chose to depart for the Orlando Magic. Despite this, Dumars orchestrated a sign-and-trade with Orlando, acquiring Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins in exchange for Hill. Both swiftly integrated into the Pistons’ starting lineup, with Wallace emerging as a formidable defensive force in the subsequent years. Unfortunately, Hill’s playing time was limited to 47 games over the next three seasons due to a persistent ankle injury.

The 2000–01 season proved to be another challenging one for the Pistons, finishing with a 32–50 record despite Jerry Stackhouse’s impressive average of 29.8 points per game. Post-season, the Pistons made significant changes by parting ways with head coach George Irvine and appointing Rick Carlisle, a highly regarded assistant coach with a notable stint with the Celtics in the mid-1980s. Additionally, the franchise returned to its traditional red, white, and blue team colors. Under Carlisle’s guidance, the Pistons achieved their first 50-win season since 1997 and secured their first playoff series victory since 1991 by defeating the Toronto Raptors in five games. However, they ultimately fell to the Boston Celtics in five games.

2003–2008

In the 2002 offseason, Joe Dumars overhauled the Detroit Pistons’ roster. This included signing free agent Chauncey Billups, acquiring Richard “Rip” Hamilton from the Washington Wizards, and drafting Tayshaun Prince from Kentucky. The team achieved consecutive 50-win seasons and reached the 2003 Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1991 but was ultimately swept by the New Jersey Nets.

Despite the improvement, Rick Carlisle was fired in the 2003 offseason. Carlisle’s dismissal was attributed to his reluctance to play younger players during the regular season, player-coach dynamics, a perceived conservative offensive approach, the availability of Larry Brown, and rumored conflicts with owner Bill Davidson. Brown accepted the coaching position, and the Pistons’ journey to championship status continued with the addition of Rasheed Wallace in February 2004. The Pistons finished the 2003-04 season with a 54–28 record, their best since 1997. In the playoffs, they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks and the New Jersey Nets, ultimately facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. Contrary to predictions, the Pistons dominated the series, winning in five games, with Chauncey Billups earning NBA Finals MVP.

In the 2004-05 season, despite losing key bench players, the Pistons remained strong. They won 54 games in the regular season, easily defeated the Philadelphia 76ers and the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs, and faced the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. After a dramatic series, the Pistons fell short in Game 7, giving the Spurs their third championship since 1999. The season was marred by controversy, including the infamous “Malice at the Palace” incident and distractions related to coach Larry Brown’s health and job rumors. Brown left after the 2005 NBA Finals, and Flip Saunders took over. The 2005-06 season saw the Pistons record the NBA’s best overall record, finishing 64–18. Despite a strong regular season, they faced playoff challenges, losing to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

In the 2006 offseason, the Pistons made roster changes, but their performance in the 2006-07 season was overshadowed by the departure of Ben Wallace and controversies. Chris Webber’s addition mid-season improved the team, securing them the best record in the Eastern Conference. The 2007 playoffs saw the Pistons sweep the Orlando Magic and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, LeBron James’ historic performance in Game 5 led to the Pistons’ elimination in Game 6. In the 2007 NBA draft, the Pistons added Rodney Stuckey and Arron Afflalo. Despite challenges, including Chauncey Billups’ hamstring injury, they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the sixth consecutive season but fell to the Boston Celtics in a hard-fought series. The 2007-08 season saw Rasheed Wallace as the new center. The Pistons finished with the second-best league record but faced challenges in the playoffs. After a rocky start, they rallied to reach the Eastern Conference Finals but were defeated by the Boston Celtics. Following the season, Flip Saunders did not return as head coach.

2008–2011

On June 10, 2008, the Detroit Pistons appointed Michael Curry as their new head coach. On November 3, 2008, the team made a significant trade, sending key players Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Allen Iverson. McDyess was later waived on November 10 but rejoined the Pistons on December 9. This trade marked the beginning of a rebuilding process, given Iverson’s impending free agency at the season’s end. General Manager Joe Dumars emphasized that no player on the team was guaranteed a position, emphasizing the end of any guaranteed status for players.

The season was marred by numerous controversies and injuries, causing the Pistons to slip down the standings. They only secured a playoff spot on April 10, 2009, finishing the season with a 39–43 record, their first losing season in eight years. The Cleveland Cavaliers then swept the Pistons in the first round of the 2009 NBA playoffs.

On June 30, 2009, Michael Curry was relieved of his duties as head coach, and Iverson went on to sign with the Memphis Grizzlies during the off-season. In the subsequent off-season, the Pistons reached agreements with former Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon on a five-year, $55 million contract and former Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva on a five-year deal worth $35 million. This period also saw the departure of key veterans Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess. On July 8, 2009, the Pistons brought in former Cavaliers assistant coach John Kuester as the new head coach, and on August 12, 2009, they re-signed Ben Wallace.

Despite these changes, the team faced further setbacks and injuries, leading to their elimination from playoff contention on March 23, 2010, with a loss to the Indiana Pacers. The Pistons ended the season with a disappointing 27–55 record, their worst since 1994. Another challenging season followed, finishing at 30–52, resulting in the dismissal of John Kuester at the end of the 2010–11 season.

2011–2015

On April 7, 2011, Karen Davidson, the widow of the late Bill Davidson, finalized a highly anticipated agreement to sell the Detroit Pistons franchise to billionaire Tom Gores. The NBA Board of Governors approved the sale in May, encompassing not only the team but also The Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theatre. The sale price, as reported by Crain’s Detroit Pistons Business, amounted to $325 million, a figure considerably lower than initially anticipated. In the 2011 NBA draft, the Pistons made significant roster additions, selecting players such as Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler, and Vernon Macklin.

Heading into the 2011–12 season, the Pistons underwent leadership changes, with Dennis Mannion appointed as president of the franchise and Palace Sports & Entertainment. Additionally, Lawrence Frank assumed the role of head coach. While the 2011–12 season marked an improvement from previous years, the Pistons still finished with a losing record. Starting the season with a challenging 4–20 record, they rebounded by winning half of their remaining games, concluding the lockout-shortened season with a record of 25–41. The team continued to strengthen its youthful core with the addition of the talented center Andre Drummond.

Post the 2012–13 season, the Pistons parted ways with Frank, who had served as head coach for two losing seasons. Maurice Cheeks, a former player and coach, took over on June 10, 2013, but his tenure lasted only slightly more than half a season, leading to his replacement by interim coach John Loyer. In April, Joe Dumars announced his resignation as president of basketball operations, opting to stay on as an advisor to the organization and its ownership team. On May 14, 2014, Stan Van Gundy assumed the roles of head coach and president of basketball operations, signing a substantial 5-year, $35 million contract.

The 2014–15 season for the Pistons began with a challenging 5–23 record, leading to the decision to waive Josh Smith, acquired in the summer of 2013. Despite a notable winning streak, the season concluded with a final record of 32–50, influenced in part by Brandon Jennings’ Achilles injury.

2015–2017

During the 2015 off-season, Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy initiated significant roster changes, acquiring players such as Ersan İlyasova, Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes, and Steve Blake. Additionally, they strategically selected rookie Stanley Johnson with the eighth pick in the 2015 NBA draft and retained point guard Reggie Jackson. Despite losing starter Greg Monroe to the Milwaukee Bucks in free agency, the Pistons entered the 2015–16 season with a formidable roster improvement.

Andre Drummond made a strong start to the season, securing consecutive Eastern Conference Player of the Week awards for the weeks of November 1 and 8. By the All-Star break, the Pistons had a record of 27–27. On March 9, 2016, they exceeded their win totals from the 2009–10 season to the 2014–15 season with a 102–96 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. A significant milestone was reached on April 6, 2016, after a 108–104 win against the Orlando Magic, ensuring the Pistons of their first winning season since 2007–08.

Continuing their success, the Pistons, on April 8, 2016, secured a playoff berth by defeating the Washington Wizards 112–99. This marked their return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. However, their postseason journey in the 2016 NBA playoffs proved challenging as they faced the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite a highly competitive series, the eighth-seeded Pistons were ultimately swept in four games.

2017–2020

Starting from the 1978–79 season, the Detroit Pistons relocated their home games to suburban Oakland County, situated directly north of Detroit/Wayne County. Initially, they played ten seasons at the Pontiac Silverdome before moving to The Palace of Auburn Hills in the 1988–89 season.

Negotiations for a partnership between Pistons owner Tom Gores, Palace Sports & Entertainment vice chairman Arn Tellum, and Olympia Entertainment began in the summer of 2015. There were discussions about the Pistons potentially moving to the new Little Caesars Arena as early as the 2017–18 season. Talks intensified around the opening of the Pistons’ 2016–17 season, with considerations of a possible merger between Olympia and PS&E as part of the agreement. Additionally, the Pistons sought land near the arena to construct a new practice facility and team headquarters. Finalizing the leasing agreement/partnership required approval from both the city and the league.

The Pistons officially announced their move to Little Caesars Arena on November 22, 2016. The site of The Palace of Auburn Hills was slated for redevelopment and sale, with the arena likely to be demolished. This marked the end of the Pistons’ 39-year tenure in Oakland County, making them the last NBA franchise to play in a suburban location.

Detroit Pistons City Council approved the Pistons’ move to Little Caesars Arena on June 20, 2017. On August 3, 2017, the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the move, solidifying Detroit as the only U.S. city with its MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL teams playing in its downtown district. It also positioned Detroit Pistons as one of only two U.S. cities with all their teams playing in one location, the other being Philadelphia.

On January 29, 2018, the Pistons announced the acquisition of all-star forward Blake Griffin, along with Willie Reed and Brice Johnson, from the Los Angeles Clippers. In exchange, Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, a 2018 first-round draft pick, and a 2019 second-round draft pick were traded.

The 2017–18 season concluded with the Pistons having a 39–43 record, missing the playoffs for the eighth time in ten years. On May 7, 2018, it was announced that Stan Van Gundy would not return as head coach and president of basketball operations. On June 11, 2018, Dwane Casey was hired as the new head coach, agreeing to a five-year deal. The Pistons finished the 2018–19 season with a 41–41 record, securing a playoff spot as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. In the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs, the Pistons were swept in four games by the Milwaukee Bucks, setting an NBA record for the most consecutive playoff losses with 14.

The 2019–20 season was suspended on March 11, 2020, after Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. On June 4, 2020, the season concluded for the Pistons when the NBA Board of Governors approved a plan to restart the season with 22 teams returning to play in the NBA bubble on July 31, 2020. This plan was approved by the National Basketball Players Association the following day. The Pistons finished the season with a 20–46 record.

2020–present: Another rebuild

On June 18, 2020, the Detroit Pistons appointed Troy Weaver as their new general manager. Closing the 2020–21 season with a 20–52 record, the Pistons endured a second consecutive year without a playoff appearance. The 20 victories were also tied for the second-fewest in franchise history at that time. In the 2021 NBA draft, the Pistons made a significant move by selecting Cade Cunningham as the first overall pick. The subsequent 2021–22 season concluded with the Pistons posting a 23–59 record, marking their third consecutive season without a playoff berth.

In the 2022 NBA draft, holding the fifth overall pick, the Pistons drafted Jaden Ivey. Additionally, through a trade with the New York Knicks, they acquired Jalen Duren later in the first round. The 2022–23 season saw the Pistons finishing with the worst overall record in the NBA and the second-worst in franchise history at 17–65. This season marked their first 60-loss season since 1993–94. Following the last game on April 9, 2023, Dwane Casey resigned as head coach to join the front office. On June 2, 2023, Monty Williams was appointed as the new head coach for the Detroit Pistons.

List of Detroit Pistons broadcasters

Radio

The primary radio station for the Pistons is WXYT-FM, serving as their flagship broadcaster. Numerous affiliate stations are spread across Michigan. Mark Champion handles the play-by-play commentary, accompanied by color commentary provided by Rick Mahorn as the regular radio announcers.

TV

The Detroit Pistons’ local television rights are exclusively held by Bally Sports Detroit. The primary play-by-play announcer is George Blaha, accompanied by color commentary from Greg Kelser. Studio analysis is provided by Grant Long or Tim McCormick, while sideline reports come from Johnny Kane or Natalie Kerwin.

Current Announcers And Hosts

George Blaha handles television play-by-play for BSD games and radio play-by-play when the Detroit Pistons are featured on national television. Mark Champion takes on radio play-by-play duties for BSD games, and if no one else is available, he covers BSD play-by-play. Matt Dery serves as the radio pre-game and post-game host, stepping in for BSD play-by-play when George Blaha is engaged in Michigan State football games. Greg Kelser serves as the television commentator for BSD games, while Mateen Cleaves is the Television Studio Analyst specifically for BSD games. Rick Mahorn serves as the radio commentator, and Grant Long takes on the roles of television analyst and sideline reporter for BSD games.

John Long serves as a fill-in radio commentator, and John Mason serves as the public address announcer at Little Caesars Arena during home games. Chris Fillar is responsible for radio pre-game and post-game hosting duties, and Johnny Kane handles television play-by-play and sideline reporting for BSD games.

Team identity

Logos and Uniforms

After relocating from Fort Wayne to Detroit in 1957, the Detroit Pistons maintained a largely consistent uniform design for two decades, featuring the term “Pistons” in blue block lettering. In the 1978–79 season, the team introduced uniforms adorned with lightning bolts on the sides and incorporated them into the wordmark on the front of the jerseys. However, the lightning bolt theme was discontinued in 1981, and the team reverted to its classic block lettering and a straightforward side panel pattern, maintaining this aesthetic until 1996.

In 1996, a significant change occurred as the Pistons adopted teal, black, yellow, and red colors, accompanied by a new logo featuring a horse’s head with a flaming mane. This color scheme persisted until 2001 when the team returned to the traditional red, white, and blue colors, embracing a uniform design reminiscent of the 1981–96 era. The horse’s head and flaming mane logo endured until 2005 when the team transitioned to a more classic logo design. On May 16, 2017, the Pistons introduced a fresh logo, a modernized rendition of the iconic “Bad Boys” era logo used from 1979 to 1996.

Mascot

Hooper, the official mascot of the Detroit Pistons, is portrayed as a horse donning the iconic Pistons jersey. The symbolism behind this representation aligns with the team’s namesake, emphasizing their ability to generate significant horsepower, much like the pistons they are named after. Hooper joined the Pistons family on November 1, 1996, taking over the role from Sir Slam A Lot.

Originally introduced during the “teal era” to complement the Pistons’ new equestrian logo, Hooper’s enduring popularity as a mascot transcended the team’s color changes and return to their previous basketball logo just a few years later. Despite the evolving aesthetics, Hooper remains a beloved and integral part of the Detroit Pistons franchise.

Origins of the Bad Boys

At the commencement of the 1987–88 season, Al Davis, the proprietor of the then Los Angeles Raiders, dispatched Raiders merchandise to the Detroit Pistons as a gesture recognizing the shared ethos of the teams and their robust style of play. Dan Hauser, Pistons Vice-President of Marketing, remarked, “Al sent us Raiders sweaters, and when we played Golden State in Oakland, Al had Raiders warm-ups for us with our names and numbers on them. The rugged, bad-boy fighting style of the Raiders aligns with our image. That’s why, at our home games at the Palace, you see a sea of black: black caps, black T-shirts, black sweatshirts.”

The NBA-produced end-of-season video yearbook was titled “Bad Boys”. Owing to these elements, the moniker and image were enthusiastically adopted by both players and fans. Pistons guard Joe Dumars remarked, “You can’t be great in this league and have zero identity”. Hudson Soft would subsequently develop and release “Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball,” a futuristic basketball game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System characterized by a lack of rules, absence of fouls, and permission for the use of weapons.

However, not everyone viewed the team positively, with Michael Jordan stating, “The Bad Boys are bad for basketball”, later adding, “I hated them. And that hate carries even to this day”. David Stern, Commissioner of the NBA at the time, admitted, “If I had it to do over again, we would be more aggressive in regulating, shall we say, that style of play because it led to our game becoming much more physical”.

Jalen Rose, who would later shine as a member of the Fab Five at Michigan, embraced the Bad Boys brand during his teenage years in Detroit, expressing, “I loved everything about the Bad Boys. I loved how they played and how they didn’t back down. They just went out and kicked the other teams’ butts”. Pistons announcer George Blaha added, “I think the people of Detroit and all across Michigan loved the Pistons’ don’t-back-down-ever mentality. Detroit’s a working person’s town, and that’s the same type of fan that you have all across the state of Michigan, from the big cities to the small towns. Never does a day go by that somebody that I talk to doesn’t bring up the Bad Boys; they loved ’em”.

Season-by-season Record

Season GP W L W–L% Finish Playoffs
2018–19 82 41 41 .500 3rd, Central Lost in First Round, 0–4 (Bucks)
2019–20 66 20 46 .303 4th, Central Did not qualify
2020–21 72 20 52 .278 5th, Central Did not qualify
2021–22 82 23 59 .280 5th, Central Did not qualify
2022–23 82 17 65 .207 5th, Central Did not qualify

Home Ground

  • North Side High School Gym (1948–1952): The Pistons initially played at North Side High School Gym from 1948 to 1952.

  • Allen County War Memorial Coliseum (1952–1957): The team moved to Allen County War Memorial Coliseum from 1952 to 1957.

  • Olympia Stadium (1957–1961): From 1957 to 1961, the Pistons called Olympia Stadium their home.

  • Memorial Building (University of Detroit) (1957–1961): Used as an alternate venue when Olympia Stadium was occupied.

  • Cobo Arena (1961–1978): In 1961, the Pistons shifted to Cobo Arena, where they played until 1978.

  • Pontiac Silverdome (1978–1988): The team moved to the Pontiac Silverdome from 1978 to 1988.

  • The Palace of Auburn Hills (1988–2017): From 1988 to 2017, the Pistons played at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

  • Little Caesars Arena (2017–present): Since 2017, the Pistons’ current home is Little Caesars Arena.

Noteworthy Events:

  • On March 12, 1960, the Pistons hosted a playoff game against the Minneapolis Lakers at Grosse Pointe High School due to unavailability of other facilities.

  • On April 27, 1984, the Pistons played game 5 of their playoff series against the New York Knicks at Joe Louis Arena due to a scheduling conflict.

  • During the 1984–85 season, the Silverdome’s roof collapsed, leading the team to temporarily relocate to Joe Louis Arena for 14 of their remaining 15 home games. The March 11 game was played at Cobo Arena.

Players

Current Roster

PlayersCoaches
Pos.No.NameHeightWeightDOBFrom
F/C35Bagley, Marvin III6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)235 lb (107 kg)1999-03-14Duke
F44Bogdanović, Bojan6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)226 lb (103 kg)1989-04-18Croatia
G/F14Burks, Alec6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)214 lb (97 kg)1991-07-20Colorado
G20Cazalon, Malcolm (TW)6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)212 lb (96 kg)2001-08-27France
G2Cunningham, Cade6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)220 lb (100 kg)2001-09-25Oklahoma State
C0Duren, Jalen6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)250 lb (113 kg)2003-11-18Memphis
G/F31Harris, Joe6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)220 lb (100 kg)1991-09-06Virginia
G7Hayes, Killian6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)195 lb (88 kg)2001-07-27France
G23Ivey, Jaden6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)195 lb (88 kg)2002-02-13Purdue
F24Knox, Kevin II6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)215 lb (98 kg)1999-08-11Kentucky
F12Livers, Isaiah6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)232 lb (105 kg)1998-07-28Michigan
G5Morris, Monté6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)183 lb (83 kg)1995-06-27Iowa State
G/F8Rhoden, Jared (TW)6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)210 lb (95 kg)1999-08-27Seton Hall
G25Sasser, Marcus6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)195 lb (88 kg)2000-09-21Houston
F/C28Stewart, Isaiah6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)250 lb (113 kg)2001-05-22Washington
G/F9Thompson, Ausar6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)205 lb (93 kg)2003-01-30Pine Crest (FL)
G/F17Umude, Stanley (TW)6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)210 lb (95 kg)1999-04-12Arkansas
C13Wiseman, James6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)240 lb (109 kg)2001-03-31Memphis
Head coach
  • Monty Williams
Assistant coach(es)
  • Mark Bryant
  • Dan Burke
  • Jarrett Jack
  • Brian Randle
  • Spencer Rivers
  • Steve Scalzi
  • Stephen Silas

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • (GL) On assignment to G League affiliate
  • (TW) Two-way affiliate player
  • Injured

Roster
Last transaction: November 8, 2023

Retained draft rights

The Detroit Pistons currently possess the draft rights for several unsigned draft picks who are actively participating in leagues outside the NBA. If a player, whether an international or college draftee, goes undrafted by the team that initially selected him, they are free to sign with non-NBA teams. The Pistons, in such instances, maintain the player’s draft rights within the NBA until one year after the conclusion of the player’s contract with the non-NBA team. This compilation encompasses draft rights obtained through trades with other NBA teams.

Retained draft rights

No. Player Position Tenure Date
1 Chauncey Billups G 2002–2008 2013–2014 February 10, 2016
2 Chuck Daly Head coach 1983–1992 January 25, 1997
3 Ben Wallace C 2000–2006 2009–2012 January 16, 2016
4 Joe Dumars G 1985–1999 March 10, 2000
10 Dennis Rodman F 1986–1993 April 1, 2011
11 Isiah Thomas G 1981–1994 February 17, 1996
15 Vinnie Johnson G 1981–1991 February 5, 1994
16 Bob Lanier C 1970–1980 January 9, 1993
21 Dave Bing G 1966–1975 March 18, 1983
32 Richard Hamilton G/F 2002–2011 February 26, 2017
40 Bill Laimbeer C 1982–1993 February 4, 1995
Bill Davidson Team owner 1974–2009 December 28, 2011
Jack McCloskey General manager 1979–1992 March 29, 2008

Basketball Hall of Fame members

Players
No. Name Position Tenure Inducted No. Name Position Tenure Inducted
14 Andy Phillip G/F 1952–1956 1961 22 Dave DeBusschere F 1962–1968 1983
17 Bob Houbregs C/F 1954–1958 1987 20 Bobby McDermott G 1941–1946 1988
21 Dave Bing G 1966–1975 1990 11 Harry Gallatin F/C 1957–1958 1991
16 Bob Lanier C 1970–1980 1992 8 Walt Bellamy C 1968–1970 1993
15 Dick McGuire G 1957–1960 1993 26 Buddy Jeannette G 1943–1946 1994
12 George Yardley F/G 1953–1959 1996 18 Bailey Howell F 1959–1964 1997
11 Bob McAdoo F/C 1979–1981 2000 11 Isiah Thomas G 1981–1994 2000
4 Joe Dumars G 1985–1999 2006 45 Adrian Dantley F 1986–1989 2008
10 Dennis Rodman F 1986–1993 2011 24 Nathaniel Clifton C/F 1956–1957 2014
1 Allen Iverson G 2008–2009 2016 1 Tracy McGrady G/F 2010–2011 2017
33 Grant Hill F 1994–2000 2018 6 Chuck Cooper F/G 1956 2019
3 6 Ben Wallace C 2000–2006 2009–2012 2021 84 Chris Webber F 2007 2021
Coaches
Name Position Tenure Inducted Name Position Tenure Inducted
2 Chuck Daly Head coach 1983–1992 1994 Larry Brown Head coach 2003–2005 2002
Contributors
Name Position Tenure Inducted Name Position Tenure Inducted
Fred Zollner Founder/Owner 1941–1974 1999 17 Earl Lloyd F 1958–1960 2003
Bill Davidson Owner 1974–2009 2008 Dick Vitale Head coach 1978–1979 2008
10 Rod Thorn G 1964–1965 2018

FIBA Hall of Famers

Coaches
No. Name Position Tenure Inducted
2 Chuck Daly Head coach 1983–1992 2021

General Managers

GMTenure
Carl Bennett1948–1954
Fred Zollner1954–1957
Otto Adams1957
Fred Delano1957–1958
W. Nicholas Kerbawy1958–1961
Francis Smith1961–1964
Don Wattrick1964–1965
Ed Coil1965–1975
Oscar Feldman1975–1977
Bob Kauffman1977–1978
Bill Davidson1978–1979
Jack McCloskey1979–1992
Tom Wilson1992
Billy McKinney1992–1995
Doug Collins1995–1998
Rick Sund1998–2000
Joe Dumars2000–2014
Jeff Bower2014–2018
Ed Stefanski2018–2020
Troy Weaver2020–present

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