Two Champions Must Lead Young Detroit Pistons To New Heights

Curtis FinchumCorrespondent IAugust 16, 2009

AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 26:  (L-R) Tayshaun Prince #22 and Richard Hamilton #32 of the Detroit Pistons sit on the bench in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 26, 2009 in Auburn Hills, Michigan.  The Cavaliers won 99-78.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Before the 2008-2009 season began, the Detroit Pistons were one of the most dominant teams in the Eastern Conference. Since 2002 they had been to six straight eastern conference finals and appeared in two NBA Finals. 

But just as they had made the jump so easily to power, they fell, hard. Joe Dumars traded away the pillar of the teams success, all-star guard Chauncey Billups, to the Denver Nuggets less than ten games into the season for Allen Iverson. 

From that point on, the thrown that the Pistons had built for themselves, quickly began to crumble.

As the Cleveland Cavaliers rise to power became apparent as they swept the Pistons in the first round of the playoffs, ending there reign at the top of the East. 

Entering the offseason, a majority of the remaining players from the historic six year run on top of the east hit the free agent market. Starting center Rasheed Wallace signed with the Boston Celtics and reserve forward Antonio McDyess signed with the San Antonio Spurs

Dumars drafted three young players in hopes that they could be the future of the franchise. Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers, and Jonas Jerebko all showed their combined potential in the NBA's summer league. 

Dumars then continued his reconstruction of his team, by signing two former college teammates: Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordan and Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva.

Dumars also signed erratic forward Chris Wilcox and former Piston and four-time defensive player of the year Ben Wallace. Also, Dumars fired head coach Michael Curry and hired John Kuester, a former assistant coach when Larry Brown coached the Pistons. 

Only two players remain that were apart of the six-year run, forward Tayshaun Prince and guard Richard "Rip" Hamilton. 

Kuester will also inherit young guards Rodney Stuck and Will Bynum as well as athletic forwards, Jason Maxiell and Kwame Brown. 

Now a team filled with offensive fire power, Hamilton, Prince, and Wallace must find a way to raise the teams desire to play defense as they will no longer struggle to score ninety points. 

As the leaders of a team filled with a large amount of young talent, Prince and Hamilton have to find a way to lead this team back to where they and Dumars wants it to be. The top of the Eastern Conference and hopefully the NBA.