Pistons need to keep losing if they hope to return to 2004 championship form
One of my favorite NBA teams of all-time was the 2004 Detroit Pistons. Tayshaun Prince, in just his second season with the team, had become the starting small-forward under new head coach Larry Brown, and at the time, was one of the best former Kentucky players in the league.
With a core of Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace and Prince, the Pistons finished the season with a 54-28 record, their best record since 1997. They entered the playoffs as the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference and quickly dispatched the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round and the New Jersey Nets, the defending Eastern Conference champs, in the second round.
In the Eastern Conference finals the Pistons met the Pacers, and in Game 2, Prince introduced himself to the world in a spectacular play known simply as “The Block”.
With the Pistons up 2 in the final minute of the game, Reggie Miller stole an inbounds pass and raced down the court for what everyone thought would be a game-tying layup. But Prince would have none of it. He chased down Miller from behind and blocked Miller’s shot at the last second, keeping the ball inbounds, which was picked up by Richard Hamilton. Many consider it to be the greatest defensive play in NBA playoff history. The Pistons went on to win the game, and the series
In the NBA Finals, the Pistons met a loaded Laker team that included Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Most NBA analysts gave the Pistons little hope of winning, but that’s exactly what they did.
The core of Billups, Hamilton, Prince, R. Wallace and B. Wallace would make it to the NBA Finals the next season (losing to the Spurs) and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals the next 4 seasons.
But ever since the Detroit Pistons broke-up that core, it’s been all downhill, until now.
The Pistons have a young core in Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe that the team can build around and with the 9th worst record in the NBA, they also have a chance of winning a high lottery pick, which depending on how the lottery balls bounce, could turn into Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Terrence Jones.
With any one of those players, the Piston could easily make the playoffs next season and start building another championship contending team for years to come.
Keep losing Pistons, it will all be worth it soon.