The Five Defining Moments in Detroit Pistons Draft History
The Detroit Pistons' drafting of players has been one of hit or miss.
In the case of the Bad Boys, they selected a great combination of players along with some other pick-ups to win back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990.
They did draft Mehmet Okur in 2001 and Tayshun Prince in 2002, but it really was the trades that Joe Dumars made that truly built the Pistons during the "Going to Work" era--Even though their strategy during two of the other drafts in this era were of the miss variety.
Regardless of who they drafted and who they didn't, it still is remarkable when considering they won three NBA titles with two entirely different styles of teams.
No. 5 - Darko Milicic and the 2003 Draft
Darko Milicic was selected second overall in the 2003 Draft. Milicic soon became known as the "Human Victory Cigar," since he was never put in until the game was over. However, they could have easily selected from a host of players to build for the future. Carmelo Anthony, Dwanye Wade, and Chris Bosh were all available to be drafted..
Then, with their second pick, they chose Carlos Delfino from Argentina who was not big on the Pistons radar as a starter for Detroit either. But he did play a great deal more than Milicic did during his time with the Pistons.
Even with such a ineffective draft, the Pistons still won the NBA championship in 2004 and nearly repeated in 2005. Milicic and Delfino have since left the Pistons.
Ironically all of the players the Pistons passed on in that draft will be available in the 2010 free agency period.
No. 4 - Walter Sharpe and the 2008 Draft
The 2008 NBA Draft was supposed to start a new era in Pistons basketball. Instead, the decisions by Joe Dumars and the rest of the Pistons braintrust left everyone from radio voices to the common fan confused on what the Pistons were thinking.
The Pistons did draft a quality player in D.J. White from Indiana in the first round. Yet, they could have also easily picked up Chris Douglas-Roberts, who is better than White. Then they traded White to Seattle to avoid paying his guaranteed first round contract.
The player they got in return in the second round (No. 32) was Walter Sharpe from UAB. The move created a great rumble of "Who?" throughout the Detroit area.
Their other selection of Deron Washington from Virgina Tech with the 59th pick served little purpose, as he is currently playing with Hapoel Holon of the Ligat HaAl in Israel.
Sharpe was not a major player for the Pistons this past season. His selection signified the end of the Going to Work era, as Chauncey Billups would be traded in Sharpe's rookie season.
No. 3 - Grant Hill
In 1994 the Pistons drafted Grant Hill from Duke, who was supposed to usher in a new era of Pistons basketball.
He did win co-Rookie of the Year honors and was a regular participant in the All-Star game. He also nearly won the MVP in 1997. However, he was never able to take the Pistons past the first round in the playoffs.
In 2000 he was traded to the Magic, which would bring Ben Wallace and Chucky Adkins to the Pistons to usher in the Going to Work Era. Wallace and his 'Fro became one of the main keys to the Pistons winning the NBA title in 2004 and nearly repeating in 2005.
No. 2 - Drafting the Bad Boys
The drafting of Isiah Thomas with the second overall pick in the 1981 draft was the start of something big.
In that draft the Pistons also selected Kelly Tripuka twelfth overall. In the 1985 Draft Joe Dumars was drafted eighteenth overall. In the 1986 Draft John Salley (11th) and Dennis Rodman (27th) were selected by the Pistons.
Tripuka's role with the Bad Boys era would not be as a player. Instead, in 1986 he was traded for Adrian Dantley. Then in 1989, Dantley would be traded for Mark Aguirre to be the final piece of the back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990.
No. 1 - Dave Bing
In 1966 the Detroit Pistons drafted Dave Bing second overall from Syracuse. His career with the Pistons brought him numerous accolades.
He was the the Rookie of the Year in 1966, lead the league in scoring in 1967 and played in six All-Star games for the Pistons to name a few. His No. 21 was retired by the Pistons and he was later elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990.
In reality, the reason why the drafting of Bing is so significant to the Pistons is how he gave back to the city of Detroit.
He founded the Bing Group in 1980. His successful set of companies brought numerous jobs to the city of Detroit. In 2009 he ran against interim mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. for mayor after Kwame Kilpatrick was ousted in 2008. He won the election and will usher in a new era for the city of Detroit.