Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Throwback Thursday: 2003-2004 Detroit Pistons

The National Basketball association is a star driven league which at times is a good thing or not so good thing depending on what perspective you look at it from. The other day I was looking through teams that have won an NBA Championship in last decade or so and I noticed that all but 1 team won a championship team won with 1 or 2 superstars on they’re team. The only team that won a ring with out a superstar was the 2003-2004 Detroit Pistons who defeated Kobe, Shaq and the star studded Lakers in 5 games.  That is today’s Throwback Thursday subject.

The Detroit Pistons had No Lebron’s, Jordan’s or Larry Bird’s on they’re Championship basketball team but what they did have was a starting five capable of competeting with any team in the league. In the back court you had “Mr. Big shot” Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton. The Small forward was Tayshaun Prince a guy who was responsible for guarding Kobe Bryant in the Finals and did a good hob on him. Then in the Frontcourt you had 2 guys who represented perfectly what “Detroit Basketball” is Rasheed and Ben Wallace were 2 fearless junkyard dogs and would never back down to anybody. Couple that starting 5 with Coach Larry Brown’s attention to detail on defense and you have yourself a championship team.

If you look at the stats Rip Hamilton was the teams leading scorer at 17.6 points. What made them so good was the balance in scoring through out the lineup 4 of the 5 starters were averaging double figure scoring except Ben Wallace who averaged 9.5 points a game but averaged 12 rebounds and 3 Blocks and was one of the NBA’s elite defenders. They were balanced, well coached and defensively efficient ranking 2nd in the league but if I told you they would beat the most dominant team in basketball that has won 3 championships in the last 4 years in five games? Would you have believed me? Odds are you would have probably said no Shaq was the most dominant player of his era and Kobe was for lack of a better word “Da Truth”.

The Pistons were underdogs against the powerhouse Lakers. Very few people outside of Detroit had given them any chance of beating LA but what people failed to realize was the Balance of the Pistons was going to be the Lakers Achilles heal. With Shaq and Kobe having to do all the heavy lifting scoring and an ineffective bench the Lakers had to play damn near perfect if they wanted to beat Detroit. That didn’t happen Kobe shot below 40% in 4 of the 5 games and the Lakers didn’t get one player beside Kobe or Shaq in double figures until game 5. This meant that the Detroit Pistons for the 3rd time in franchise history the Detroit Pistons were Champions of the Basketball world!!!

They had proven one of basketball’s theory’s wrong. “you need a superstar to win a championship” They proved that all you need is 5 guys who are willing to compete for 48 minutes night in and night out who back down to anyone and will play some of the best defense in the league. If you are a GM in a small market that can’t attract stars such as a Charlotte, Milwaukee or Minnesota then modeling your team after the 03-04 pistons is not a bad idea. That team was the last team to win a ring with no superstars and honestly in today’s NBA and all these super teams forming I don’t know when or if it will ever happen again. So SALUTE to the 2003-2004 Detroit Pistons!!


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