Flashback Friday: The 2004 Detroit Pistons


The 2004 Detroit Pistons may be the least talked about championship team in recent history. They were the epitome of team basketball, their pass first style and smothering defense was an amazing thing to see, and is something that is rare in today’s NBA.

At the time, Team President and Pistons great Joe Dumars made tough decisions which worked out in the long run, in 2000 he made his first move which many felt was a bad one, trading Grant Hill for Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins. The move was categorized as lopsided but Ben Wallace’s rebounding and defensive presence showed up immediately for Detroit.  During his first season he was averaged 6 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks per game.

The building blocks continued as Dumars traded with the Washington Wizards in 2002, acquiring Rip Hamilton for Jerry Stackhouse while also signing Chauncey Billups and drafting lanky forward Tayshaun Prince out of Kentucky.

At the time Billups was nothing more than a serviceable Point Guard but when he got to Detroit he flourished, same for Rip, who went on to become one of the best guards in the league while being one of the most difficult to defend. The product was officially completed in 2004 after Larry Brown was hired by Dumars and they acquired NBA bad boy Rasheed Wallace at the deadline that season.

This team’s identity was to be unselfish and not allow any opponents to breathe, they would force you to play at their pace, and play to the style that they wanted. They finished 2nd in the East that year with a record of 54-28 and 2nd in team defense. They were built to compete from top to bottom and come playoff time it showed.

They breezed passed the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, fell 3-2 to Jason Kidd and the Nets in the second round but battled back and won in 7, then played the Eastern Conference powerhouse at the time, Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers.

Against Indiana their defense was on full display, the series was a battle as neither team scored more than 85 points, Tayshaun Prince showed the world that he would not be intimidated by anyone, including Hall of Famer Reggie Miller. He put a stamp on the series with a beautiful chase down block in Game 2 of which clinched the game for Detroit and they went on to win the series 4-2.

Awaiting them in the NBA Finals were the highly favored Lakers team that was loaded with Hall of Famers. The world thought that the likes of Big Shot Billups and Ben Wallace would be no match for superstars Kobe Bryan and Shaquille O’Neal, but they were proven to be severely incorrect. In the match up that was David vs Goliath, the Pistons and their team play would topple the individual star power of the Lakers.

Detroit forced LA to play the way that they wanted and they went on to shock the world. The Lakers were only able to squeeze out one victory the entire series, but for the most part had no room to breathe and struggled to score each series. Shaq and Kobe got their numbers but everyone else on the roster was a non-factor and it showed as Detroit went on to win the series 4-1.

Photo Credit: NBAHoops.com

From Finals MVP Chauncey Billups to Lindsay Hunter, from defensive anchor Ben Wallace To Corliss Williamson, top to bottom, the Pistons showed that having the best team will always trump star power. And Larry Brown said it the best “It’s about players,” this sport is about players playing the right way and showing kids that you can be a team and be successful and it’s great for our league.”

Tweet your thoughts! @TheLeftoversSPD

About Kirshner Saintil

Editor and Contributor for NBALead. FAMU Alumnus, Sports enthusiast, avid Miami sports fan. Follow me on twitter @Kirsh_TLFO.

Recommended for you

Powered by themekiller.com