Top 8 Most Embarrassing Players in Detroit Pistons History
The Detroit Pistons are no where near an elite team in the NBA. In fact, if they make the playoffs this year it will be a major accomplishment. However, the team is made up of 15 quality players. Stars and role players, there isn't a bust among them.
That can't always be said for prior Pistons teams though. Throughout their history they've had their share of embarrassing players on their roster.
One player you won't find on this list is Dennis Rodman. Some people might consider him an embarrassment for his antics in San Antonio, Chicago and Los Angeles. However, when he was with Detroit he was classy and the best defender in the NBA.
Besides, Rodman is an all-time great. Regardless of his behaviors, his skill on the court could never be denied.
This list is made up of players who were embarrassments for their actions on the court, not off it.
Here are eight Pistons who, for one reason or another, were not worthy to wear the uniform. The most embarrassing players in Pistons' history.
8. Chuck Nevitt
This one might seem out of left field, but all I can see is, it's personal.
When I was 10 years old I was in the beginning stages of my Pistons fandom and I desperately wanted them to win. The Pistons were a good team during that time, but not quite championship caliber.
He was 7'5" and I reckoned that he'd block everything that came his way and tomahawk dunk his way to the Finals.
That was a tad bit optimistic. Nevitt was an embarrassment to short-shorts and cheesy moustaches.
During his tenure with Detroit he shot a dismal .383 from the field, averaged 1.6 points a game and blocked .5 shots a night.
That's enough to make a kid cry himself to sleep at night.
Nevitt never helped the Pistons win a championship. He left the team prior to the 1988-1989 season. Coincidentally—or not—the Pistons won their first NBA Championship that year.
Now that's embarrassing.
7. Korleone Young
The second round of the NBA draft is a crap shoot. It's possible to find a diamond in the rough, but the majority of those taken aren't in the league after two years.
So the fact the Korleone Young didn't become a superstar should not surprise anyone. The surprise was that the Pistons drafted him in the first place. It should have never happened.
One has to wonder if the Pistons researched Young at all. If they did they would have found out that he wasn't ready for the NBA. In fact his high school coach was as surprised as anyone that Young was skipping college for the pros.
Maybe the Pistons thought every high schooler with an NBA dream would turn into Kevin Garnett, who was drafted three years earlier. Garnett was 7-feet tall and ran like a gazelle. Young was a moderately-athletic 6'7" small forward. Guess which one was more NBA ready?
Young played in only three games for Detroit and they cut him after his rookie season. He never made another NBA roster.
Needless to say, his failure was a big factor in David Stern deciding to raise the minimum draft age.
6. William Bedford
The Pistons didn't draft William Bedford, the Phoenix Suns did, in Round 1, sixth overall. He was a seven-foot center who possessed athleticism not seen in players his size during that time (the mid-80's).
However, the Suns eventually realized they made a huge error in judgment and cut their losses. They shipped him off to the Pistons, who kept him around for four seasons despite on going drug issues.
In fact, in 1988 he missed a large part of the season because he entered rehab for "cocaine addiction and marijuana use".
His performance in Detroit was uninspired, probably in large part to his drug use, and he never realized his true potential. He was around for the Bad Boys and the back-to-back championships but wasn't a contributor.
I'm not making light of his drug issues. Addiction is a disease and he continued to struggle with it after his playing days were over. He's currently in prison on drug related charges.
The fact that the Pistons gave a roster spot to him four years is the embarrassing part. I know, it was a different time then, but they should have cut him and told him to come back when he was sober.
5. Allen Iverson
The Answer provided anything but answers during his one-year tenure with the Pistons in 2008-2009. His performance was subpar and he was no where close to the All-Star fans envisioned.
The Pistons were in the midst of dismantling their 2004 championship team and wanted to move in a new direction. They offered Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess to Denver for Allen Iverson and surprisingly the Nuggets bit.
They must have been ecstatic to unload Iverson on Detroit and get a player like Billups in return. At that time Iverson couldn't even lace up Billups sneakers much replace him.
His abilities were deteriorating, while his attitude and sense of entitlement were as strong as ever.
He only played in 54 games for Detroit and posted a .416 shooting percentage and the worst scoring average of his career (17.4). He also sulked when the Pistons dared to suggest he come off the bench.
The Pistons tried to replace their heart and soul with a lump of coal. Go figure, it didn't work.
Iverson has much to be proud of during his career in the NBA. He was a warrior, an unparalleled scorer and he is a sure-fire hall of famer. However, his days with the Pistons were an utter embarrassment.
To Iverson's credit, he admits it was the "worst" year of his career.
4. Bill Curley
In 1993, Dennis Rodman, frustrated with end of the Pistons Championship era, demanded a trade. Detroit obliged and sent him to the San Antonio Spurs for Sean Eliot.
That trade was embarrassing enough. Eliot didn't fit in with Detroit and his numbers suffered because of it. At least he was a decent player though.
Detroit made matters much worse when they traded Eliot back to the Spurs a year later, in exchange for Bill Curley and a draft pick.
Essentially they traded Denis Rodman for Bill Curley.
Curley averaged two points, two rebounds and two fouls in 11 minutes per game for the Pistons that year.
In essence that trade was a death knell for the Pistons. Competitive basketball would not return to the Palace for some time after that and the infamous "teal era" was right around the corner.
3. The 2000 Draft Class
The Pistons have had some memorably bad draft classes throughout their history. Sure, the last three have been great, but it hasn't always been that way.
There is no Pistons draft as disastrous as the year 2000 though. It was a complete waste. In fact, Joe Dumars would have been better trading both his picks away for cash because neither player contributed anything. Yet they cost the Pistons a lot of money.
Mateen Cleaves, riding a wave of popularity after his heroics in the NCAA tournament, was drafted in Round 1, No. 14 overall. In Round 2 the Pistons targeted Brian Cardinal, a gritty do-it-all type out of Purdue.
Dumars must have focused on the Big 10 that year. Unfortunately his hours of research resulted in zip. Cleaves played in 78 games for the Pistons as a rookie but it was clear they had overestimated his abilities.
He wasn't athletic or quick enough to be an NBA point guard and he was off the Pistons roster the next season. Various teams took a chance on him over the next five years, but he only played in 89 more games.
Cardinal didn't have first-round expectations like Cleaves did. To his credit, he's gone on to have a long NBA career. Still, he's the kind of player that sees minutes when the other guys are hurt, or when his team needs to foul. He's not the kind of player you want your team wasting a draft pick on.
The 2000 draft was a complete loss for Detroit and for that it will always be a huge embarrassment.
2. Rodney White
In 2001, Joe Dumars had just finished his first year as Piston's GM and wanted to grab an impact player in the draft. He was also looking to make up for his draft mistakes the year before (Cleaves and Cardinal).
Unfortunately he swung and missed badly.
He drafted Rodney White with the ninth overall pick and must have loved his potential to develop into a scoring machine. Jerry West reportedly thought White was the best player in the draft and many thought he would win the Rookie of the Year award.
So Dumars wasn't the only one that over-valued him. He was the only one that actually drafted him though.
White couldn't crack head coach Rick Carlisle's rotation because playing defense wasn't his strong suit. Then again, when he got his chance offense didn't appear to be his strong suit either.
The Pistons were also quickly becoming a very good team. They didn't have time to sit back and wait for White to develop. So after only one year, they traded him to Denver.
You can't blame the Pistons for trading him, but you can blame them for picking him to begin with. He went on to do great things in the NBA, such as vomit on the court at MSG and get arrested for growing marijuana.
Now that's embarrassing.
1. Darko Milicic
There is one name that is the definition of embarrassment for the Pistons franchise. The mere mention of this player's name sends shudders up Joe Dumars spine and causes fans to break out in cold sweats.
His name is synonymous with draft failure and over-valued potential and he ranks right up there with Michael Olowokandi, Nikoloz Tskitishvili and Frederic Weis in the bust department.
In the dictionary next to "seven foot stiffs", there is a picture of him.
During his three years in Detroit he did nothing. In a working man's town that values grit and determination, Darko was a cream puff. He appeared disinterested and unmotivated and it didn't take long for fans to turn against him.
His response to criticism was to appear even more disinterested.
Eventually the Pistons cut their losses and let him go, essentially admitting failure. For many it was two years too late.
Darko is by far the Pistons biggest embarrassment. Not only because the player he turned out to be, but because who they missed out on when they drafted him.
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