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NBA Finals Winners, Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons have won three championships in their history. Over the past 40 years, the Detroit Pistons have been one of the most successful franchises in the NBA. Learn more about the franchise below.

Early Struggles

The Detroit Pistons were established in 1941. A lot of top tier talent, like Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing and Bob Lanier played for the Pistons during their first 30 years of being a franchise. Despite the talent, the Pistons struggled as a franchise until the 1980s.

Bad Boys

The Detroit Pistons would change their fortunes when they drafted point guard Isiah Thomas in 1981. Thomas would go down in history as one of the best players to ever play the game. He played with a fire and intensity that could be combustible. His aggressiveness and determination would help to shape the Pistons franchise. Thomas would be joined by Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, and Vinnie Johnson to form teams that made three consecutive appearances in the Finals.

Detroit is a blue collar city, and this Detroit Pistons team fitted in perfectly with its culture. The Isiah Thomas led Pistons teams were filled with players who loved dirty work. That is how they earned the name, the “Bad Boys.” The Bad Boys were coached by Chuck Daly. The Pistons would win back-to-back Championships in 1989 and 1990. The Bad Boys were the villains of the NBA. They had a lot of enemies in the league, including Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. The Bad Boys era would end rather quickly with its stars retiring and being traded.

pistons bad boys

Struggling Again

After the Bad Boys era, the Pistons would once again struggle to regain franchise success. It was believed that the Pistons were on the verge of returning to glory when they drafted Grant Hill in 1994. Grant Hill was an elite player during his time in Detroit. But the Pistons franchise experienced little team success. In 2000, Hill would leave the team to sign with the Orlando Magic. The Pistons were back to square one when it came to becoming an NBA contender.

pistons hill

Back To The Finals

By 2004, former Pistons player, Joe Dumars, was now the general manager of the team. The Pistons would slowly add pieces to their roster that would lead them back to title contention. Players like Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, and Rasheed Wallace would help the Pistons regain an identity and culture. They were a hard working group that relied on their defense. In 2004, the Pistons would face the Los Angles Lakers in the Finals. They defeated the Lakers for the NBA Championship and it was one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. The Pistons would return to the Finals the next season, 2005. But they would lose to the San Antonio Spurs. The Pistons would reach the Eastern Conference Finals in six consecutive seasons.

pistons 2004 finals

Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons are a franchise that has had tremendous highs, and tremendous lows. They have had interesting eras of basketball that are truly memorable. The Detroit Pistons are one of the most notable franchises in the league.


- Adam C. Better