How the Pistons went from the brink of a dynasty to over 10 years without a playoff win | Collapse

How the Pistons went from the brink of a dynasty to over 10 years without a playoff win | Collapse


– [Narrator] On June 15th,
2004, the Detroit Pistons rode their suffocating relentless defense to a championship for the third
time in franchise history. Capping a winding journey
back to the NBA mountaintop. After they’d gone 10 straight seasons failing to win a single playoff series, president of basketball
operations Joe Dumars hired Rick Carlisle as coach in 2001. In his first year, they
got off the schneid with a playoff series
win over the Raptors, then traded Jerry Stackhouse for Wizards sharpshooter Richard Hamilton, and signed free agent point
guard Chauncey Billups. The next season, they won two series, earning a berth in the 2003
Eastern Conference Finals. But they were swept by the Nets and with Larry Brown available, Dumars fired Carlisle to bring
in the former 76ers coach. Brown would elevate second year
string bean Tayshaun Prince to the starting lineup
to replace Michael Curry and he proved to be an
immediate defensive stopper. Then down low was the ‘fro. Ben Wallace, the two-time defending Defensive Player of the Year, who terrorized anyone who
dare to enter his paint. – [Announcer] Feels, forces. Blocked by Ben! – [Narrator] At the trade
deadline they acquired fellow Wallace, Rasheed, fortifying a smothering,
ferocious starting lineup. With Billups locking down point guards, Prince eliminating the
opponent’s top scoring wing, and big Ben anchoring everything inside, the ’04 Pistons defense
was off the charts. They held their opponent under 100 points in 78 of their 82 games. The most of all time. They’d survived the Jermaine O’Neal Ron Artest Pacers in a six game slug fest to reach the 2004 NBA Finals, where the heavily favored Shaq, Kobe, Payton, Malone Lakers awaited them. The Pistons weren’t intimidated and took that star-studded
team behind the woodshed. And they did it by
adopting the personality of the city where they played, with a roster of blue collar
selfless very good players that lacked a true superstar
who’d get all the credit. This team worked together
and shared the glory together with each piece perfectly
complementing one another. The next year they returned
mostly the same core, though they replaced
backup big Mehmet Okur with Antonio McDyess. But just eight games into
their championship defense in the first Pistons Pacers matchup since their heavyweight
bout of a playoff clash less than six months earlier, Ben Wallace and Ron
Artest got into a scuffle with Detroit down big late in the game, and a massive brouhaha
ensued when a fan tossed a drink on Artest. – [Announcer] He’s
absolutely out of his mind! This is the ugliest scene you’ll ever see. – [Narrator] Wallace
was suspended six games for his role in the Malice at the Palace A key reason for their slow
12 and 12 start to the season. But they rebounded, and again
returned to the NBA Finals to face Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, and the San Antonio Spurs. They each held serve at
home through four games and with under 10 seconds to
play in overtime of game five, the Pistons were primed
to take a three-two lead. But then Rasheed Wallace helped
off of Big Shot Bob Horry and they don’t call him
big shot Bob for nothing. – [Announcer] Oh my! – [Announcer] Unbelievable,
this guy is off the charts. – That one flubbed rotation turned what was looking like a potential dynasty into a team that in a
few years wouldn’t even be able to tread water. Upon losing that heartbreaking
seven game NBA Finals in 2005 Pistons management had grown weary of Brown’s wandering eye for other gigs as well as his ever
present health concerns, and the two sides parted
ways after two seasons and 31 playoff wins. In stepped Flip Saunders, who
won 37 of his first 42 games as their head coach en route
to a franchise record 64 wins. While 80% of their starting
lineup were all-stars. Sorry Tayshaun. Their fourth straight trip to
the Eastern Conference Finals failed to yield a third straight trip to the NBA Finals however as the Heat exacted some revenge from the prior year with Dwyane Wade and new pal
Shaq just too much to handle. The 2006 off season would
deal them a tough blow as Ben Wallace, who’d monopolized the Defensive Player of the Year Award, with four trophies in the
previous five seasons, signed with the Bulls in free agency. They replaced him by signing Nazr Mohammed before scooping up
Michigan man Chris Webber after he was bought out in Philly. They made yet another Conference Finals which they kicked off
with a couple 79-76 wins before finding themselves knotted up at two games a piece against Lebron James and a bunch of flotsam
riding his coattails known as the Cavaliers. But in game five from the
comfort of their own Palace, the Pistons’ attempts at resistance against the 22 year old
James, in what would have been his senior year of college, proved futile. James scored his team’s final 25 points including a couple dunks
in the final 30 seconds of regulation to will
his team to overtime. It also included all nine
of his team’s points in OT, followed by all nine of his
team’s points in double OT. A crushing blow in a devastating loss that the Pistons couldn’t
recover from two days later, as baby Bron was off to
his first NBA Finals. And in that summer of 2007, a new super team was forming
in the eastern conference, with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen each traded to Boston to
team up with Paul Pierce. The Pistons were still chugging along with the same core, though
they didn’t bring back Chris Webber, leading to increased roles for third year youngsters
Jason Maxiell and Amir Johnson. But despite making their sixth consecutive Eastern Finals, nothing
mattered against that powerhouse in Eastern Massachusetts. Sure a game four Pistons
win tied up the series, but that would be their
last playoff victory for a long time. The Celtics took the last
two games and the series, causing Dumars to fire Saunders
for his team’s complacency while putting his whole team on notice that everyone was on the trade block, and that no one was a sacred cow because you lose that status when you lose for three straight years. Dumars hired his old
teammate Michael Curry to coach the team, and
Dumars wasn’t playing about a drastic shakeup. November 3rd, 2008 became
a day that represented a monumental fork in the
road for the organization. Just two games into the season, both wins by the way, he
traded 2004 Finals MVP, franchise legend and fan favorite
Chauncey Billups to Denver for the expiring contrast
of Allen Iverson, while simultaneously signing Rip Hamilton to a big money three year extension. Piston players were extremely shocked and disappointed by Billups’ departure. And their first game
after the stunning trade was against the Bobcats, coached
by old friend Larry Brown. Brown knew the two point
guars traded for one another quite well, and eloquently equated it to trading Marilyn
Monroe for Jane Russell. But Iverson quickly proved
out to be an awful comparison as he’d firmly entered
the twilight of his career and had a miserable year. Without their longtime leader
and floor general in Billups, Detroit started falling apart
around the all-star break, and it only got worse after Iverson aggravated a back injury,
knocking him out for over a month. During this time, team
owner Bill Davidson died, making an already tenuous
time that much more unstable. When Iverson returned,
it was to a reserve role, which he hated, remarking
that he could perform his diminished role while
carrying on his back some sort of truck for ants. Following their April 1st loss in Jersey, the third game with this new arrangement, Iverson reached a boiling point saying that he’d rather retire than keep coming off the bench. So that would be the last
time he’d ever put on a Pistons jersey, with
Dumars pulling the plug on the Iverson era. But this is the east, the land
where mediocrity is rewarded. Their 39 and 43 record
was still good enough to crash the postseason
party as the eighth seed. But they just became a
fly on LeBron’s shoulder that he swatted away with four straight double digit blowouts. So out went Curry and
in came John Kuester, an assistant on their
’04 championship squad. Surely that would do
the trick to turn around the team’s fortunes. Though any attempt to
do so would have to come without the services of their top two bigs in Rasheed Wallace, who
signed with the rival Celtics, and Antonio McDyess, who
signed with the Spurs. But hey, they still
had that copious amount of cap space which their fans
had been salivating over, and was the one silver
lining to the Billups trade. Dumars in turn chose to
use it to sign Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to huge deals that soaked up a third
of their entire cap. Along with Hamilton, they were drowning in outrageous deals given
to a bunch of UConn Huskies. And with Rasheed now gone,
you can’t just give the fans zero Wallaces after years of
giving them two great ones. So to meet their Wallace quota, they brought back Ben
for a second go around in the motor city ahead
of the ’09-’10 season. Their roster was this weird mishmash of aging banged up, over the hill vets from their title run,
youngsters like Rodney Stuckey and rookie second round pick Jonas Jerebko just trying to keep
their head above water. And of course the underwhelming but overpriced free agent
acquisitions coming off the bench. The result was a miserable
joyless 55 loss season. But at least it set them
up with a great pick in the 2010 draft. It was their highest pick since burning the second overall selection
on Serbian teenager Darko Milicic seven years earlier, instead of Dwyane Wade, Chris
Bosh, or Carmelo Anthony. One of whom might be
nice to have right now. This time they burned the seventh pick on Georgetown center Greg Monroe, a couple spots before Paul
George and Gordon Hayward came off the board. Later that summer they
continued their fascination with washed up has-beens
and brought Tracy McGrady on board the sinking ship. They again hemorrhaged losses
in Kuester’s second season, and things reached a tipping point when Kuester and Hamilton,
a couple weeks after getting yanked from the starting lineup, got into a heated altercation
at practice in early 2011. Shortly thereafter,
following a January 10th loss in Chicago, Kuester
removed him from the rotation entirely for a couple months, which really pissed the team
off, especially Wallace, who thought it was crazy
for his shorthanded squad to deactivate an all-star. Attempts to trade Hamilton
failed to come together and before a February 25th game in Philly, most of the team skipped
pregame shoot around in a mutiny against their head coach, who then only played the
six guys that did show up. And when Kuester got ejected
in the second quarter of that game, the Pistons
bench had a jolly old time laughing at him. When they wrapped up
another 50 loss season, big changes swept through
the entire organization in a weird extended off season thanks to the 2011 NBA lockout. First, Tom Gores bought the team from Davidson’s widow on June 1st, 2011, with Kuester receiving his
pink slip four days later. They’d landed the eighth
overall pick in the draft, where now Dumars decided to shy away from UConn products and
chose Brandon Knight, a man best known for
having his soul ripped straight from his body by DeAndre Jordan in the middle of a basketball game. – [Announcer] Oh, what a
monster jam by Deandre Jordan! – [Narrator] One spot
ahead of March Madness hero Kemba Walker. Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard
also went a few picks later. In July, they settled on former Nets coach Lawrence Frank to replace Kuester. Fast forward to December
12th, still the off season, the Pistons reached an agreement to pay Rip Hamilton 11
million dollars to go away. The season finally kicked
off at the end of the month where Frank’s squad was
beaten like a crash test dummy by the rest of the league, dropping 20 of their first 24 games. The worst start in franchise history. At the end of another
disappointing season, 37 year old Ben Wallace
called it a career. And as the 2012 draft approached, they attached what turned out
to be a future top 10 pick to dump Ben Gordon’s
contract on Charlotte. Two days later at the draft,
they actually did well, replacing Wallace with
UConn center Andre Drummond, before scooping up Khris
Middleton in the second round. But they were yet again doomed
by another terrible start, losing their first eight games and digging themselves into a
hole they couldn’t get out of. With the team reeling in late January, Dumars traded away the
final remaining player from their NBA Finals
run, Tayshaun Prince, to Memphis in a three team deal that brought back Jose
Calderon from Toronto. Another wasted season,
another coaching change. In what would be Dumars’ final off season running the show, he
canned Lawrence Frank, replacing him with former
Sixers coach, Mo Cheeks. In free agency, Dumars’ last big deal was a 54 million dollar
contract given to Josh Smith, forming one of the wackiest
lineups you’ll ever see with not one, not two, but
three complete non-shooters all-starting and sharing
the floor together for heavy minutes. It was a quest to destroy the very concept and essence of spacing a basketball court that set hoops back for decades. And while Dumars threw fans a bone by bringing back Chauncey Billups to let him play out the final year of his career in Detroit,
the final trade Dumars ever executed was a disaster, when he tossed in future
all-star Khris Middleton in a deal with the Bucks
for Brandon Jennings. Midway through that ’13-’14 season, just 50 games into his tenure, Cheeks became the eighth
coach fired by Dumars in his 14 year presidency. On April 14th, 2014,
with one game remaining in their fifth straight
season losing over 60% of their games, Dumars stepped down as Pistons president of
basketball operations. The Pistons under Joe Dumars had built a wonderful roster of
selfless hardworking players who knew their roles, did their job, and worked in harmony with one another. They were blue collar through and through, developing an ethos in
which their time together became known as the Goin’ to Work Era. They became champions without a superstar, an unbelievable feat that
we may never see again in an era of super teams. But then Dumars completely lost his touch. Ultimately, the glaring mismanagement of the draft and free agency, a polarizing trade of the
heartbeat of their team, and constant coaching turnover
which sparked disfunction and inner turmoil were all
a perfect storm of forces to ruin the marvelous
thing they had going. They were turned into a laughing stock that’s gone over a decade without winning a single playoff game,
thanks to their devastating yet spectacular collapse. Don’t worry, Piston fans. If you need a lasting Dumars remnant to hold near and dear to your heart you’ll always have that
Josh Smith contract taking up a chunk of your salary cap until I think the sun burns out. Anyway, thanks for
watching and don’t forget to like, subscribe, and click
to watch more of our stuff.

37 Replies to “How the Pistons went from the brink of a dynasty to over 10 years without a playoff win | Collapse”

  1. I fondly remember those Detroit Pistons teams. They were a ferocious, competitive, team and now they're shadows of themselves. All because they imploded from the inside out. What a shame.

  2. Even though I am supposed to hate everything Michigan, I guess, I liked that Pistons team just because of what it was – blue-collar, hard-working, defense-oriented, no stars, beating bought dream teams like the Lakers.

    It didn't last, and that's why I don't watch the NBA anymore. Sure it was fun watching the power dynamic change over to the young Lebrons/Cavs, but that too turned into an absolute joke. The NBA has a fatal problem. Too bad the fans go along with it.

  3. I miss Chauncey Billups for making the Detroit Pistons to win its 3rd championship, like the legendary Pistons players from the 80s: Isaih Thomas, Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman

  4. Bro this guy be talking so spicy LMFAO. One of these NBA guys gonna find you and make you answer to all of the descriptions you give about them

  5. What never gets talked about is how this changed the NBA and its tolerance for defense. They put in the new rules after this because they thought people were bored with defense. Suddenly scoring went way up and it became much harder to win with a team that just played harder and defended you. The NBA wants the stars to win. If they truly want parity, they would allow defense again; as its one of the only ways teams with less talent can actually win a 7 game series.

  6. Crazy how GM build up there team to win and break them down then quit.
    Just quit and let someone else have nice start

  7. I don’t know why we complain about the warriors super team there was the pistons spurs and remember the 2015 hawks 4 all star line up

  8. The 04 pistons were a great team don’t get me wrong. But they beat a stacked lakers team with insane chemistry issues. After Lebron they were never able to make it to the finals again… the sad part is those Cleveland teams lebron was on was garbage. The pistons were successful during the weakest era of already a consistently weaker conference. Again nothing to take away from Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace who I feel are HOFers but maybe the pistons just ran into good timing.

  9. It always like that teams up teams down nothing new . I hope Zion be great cause when kd retire .. all these new player dnt have a indentity or style

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