The Detroit Pistons' 10 Biggest Draft Misses
As someone once said, "you don't know where you're going until you know where you've been."
On the eve of the NBA Draft Lottery, nothing seems more fitting for team President Joe Dumars and the Detroit Pistons.
Over the past decade, Dumars has been known for two things: building one of the most unlikely NBA Champs in league history, and having a disastrous track record in the NBA Lottery.
In the past decade, he has had the opportunity to draft in the Lottery three times. In 2000, he drafted Mateen Cleaves. In 2001, he drafted Rodney White. In 2003, he drafted the infamous Darko Milicic.
While there were arguments to be made for each of these players, the bottom line is that every one of them failed miserably.
However, plenty of people were drafted behind these players that easily could still be sporting the Pistons red, white and blue. Here is a look at some of those players (warning, this is not for the faint of heart. If you have a pacemaker or high blood pressure, please consult your doctor before reading further.).
One of the only other big shots to emerge from the 2000 Draft, Hedo Turkoglu has had a very productive NBA career, culminating in a coming out party in last year's NBA Playoffs in which his Orlando Magic moved into the Finals before ultimately being dispatched by eventual champs the Los Angeles Lakers.
Turkoglu is a nice shooter that can create his own shot and causes a nightmarish mismatch for most small forwards.
However, if Detroit had drafted the Turkish import, would they have had the need to draft Tayshaun Prince a few years later?
Gerald Wallace is more of an obscure player by most people's standards. If you are a casual fan, chances are you might think Gerald is one of Dominique's kids.
For the rest of the NBA world, Wallace is one of the cherished jewels of the league. Wallace is a 6'7" swingman that makes Shawn Marion look unathletic. Wallace is capable of big numbers in all stats and is just now scratching the surface of his amazing skill set.
In fairness to Dumars, the 2000 Draft was horrible any way you slice it. The Lottery was abysmal, and only two or three players were even solid players.
However, one of those players was Michael Redd. The Milwaukee shooting guard is generally considered one of the top shooters of the past decade and could have easily supplied Detroit with a hefty shooting stroke off the bench.
Had Detroit drafted Redd, perhaps we wouldn't have traded Jerry Stackhouse for Rip Hamilton and maybe we wouldn't have won the title in 2004.
However, maybe we would have and maybe we would have had the firepower needed to push past Cleveland and Miami.
Though it took a while for the Central Michigan Chippewa to make an impact, Chris Kaman is now a legitimate big man, capable of 20 points and 10 rebounds per night.
Obviously there were injury concerns regarding Kaman, concerns that appeared to be warranted. However if you ask Dumars whether he would be up for having the Grand Rapids native, chances are you could read the look on his face. A nice player that would have fit well in Detroit.
Say what you will about the former Michigan State Spartan (chances are they have been said before), but the guy is a bona fide low post stud, capable of averaging 20 points and 10 boards per game. How would those numbers look given Detroit's current mess in the front court?
The sweet scoring, solid rebounding David West was selected 18th overall in the 2003 NBA Draft-just 16 spots behind Darko (I didn't say this trip down memory lane would be easy).
What has he done during his career? Despite scuffling in his first two years, he has not averaged fewer than 17 points and 7.4 rebounds per game since 2006. A very good post player, West could easily have helped transform Detroit from bottom feeder to contender.
Easily one of the top point guards in the league over the past decade, Tony Parker has helped Tim Duncan win a handful of NBA Titles and continues to play at a high level.
Of course, had Detroit drafted the Frenchman, they likely would have passed on Chauncey Billups. However, Parker was one of the biggest culprits behind the Pistons other appearance in the Finals...you know, the one where we lost.
Easily the player that most Pistons fans wanted the team to draft, Carmelo Anthony has been easily one of the most recognizable NBA stars over the past decade.
Known for a scary scoring ability and matador defense, Anthony could have easily pushed Detroit over the top in their quest to maintain their NBA supremacy in the 2000's.
Sadly, Dumars felt that Anthony was not needed given his love for Tayshaun Prince, who currently is on the trading block.
Joe Johnson was drafted one spot behind Rodney White in the 2001 Draft.
I'm gonna let that just sink in for a second. One of the most coveted free agents of this summer was drafted one spot behind one of the biggest busts in team history.
Obviously Johnson would have been a nice bench player to have over the past decade and could have potentially pushed Detroit basketball into the next decade.
The good news is that Detroit still won a title without Johnson. The bad news is that he isn't the last of this year's coveted free agents that could have sported Pistons blue.
Perhaps the second or third biggest prize in this year's free agent blitz, Chris Bosh easily would have changed the Pistons fate this decade.
When Detroit drafted second overall in 2003, the team had very few holes to fill. Their back court was sterling, their small forward was an up and comer, and they had the makings of a very solid bench. They did, however, have a need in the front court. Ben Wallace was a stud, but Clifford Robinson was aging and the Pistons needed some youth.
Enter Chris Bosh. Obviously every draft guru and their mama rated Darko Milicic as the more athletic and possibly more talented player. However, Bosh would turn into one of only a handful of players to average over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game this decade.
Furthermore, he is generally considered to be one of the best big men in the game. Could you imagine Bosh coming off the bench for Detroit in 05-09? Not only would he have made Rasheed Wallace expendable after the 04 title, but he also would have allowed Detroit to keep Memo Okur. Ouch!
Quite possibly one of the top five players on the planet, Detroit got a first hand look at the amazing Dwyane Wade in 2006 when his Miami Heat eliminated the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Obviously Detroit had Rip Hamilton and was set at guard, but Wade easily could have been the spark off the bench that helped Detroit claim more than just one title. Could you imagine Detroit having one of their legendary scoring droughts with Wade coming off the bench?