The Detroit Pistons are building a balanced “Goin’ to Work” style roster

Does anyone out there remember that old phrase: history always repeats itself? Well it’s not just talking about the empires we learned about in Social Studies. Almost anything with longevity will at one point or another replicate the past. We see this in Hollywood, music, fashion, gaming and of course sports. The Detroit Pistons are hoping it is true with rosters.

The 2003-04 Detroit Pistons, AKA: “Goin To Work”

For long time fans and NBA historians alike, the memories of the “BAD BOYS” Pistons are still romanticized. However, in the 2003 NBA season the Pistons had started a new mantra. They were deemed the “Goin’ to Work”. These Pistons were tough, determined and defensive minded. They showed shades of the bad boy era without all of the over the top physicality and “break your spirit” aggression, even though they too were a stifling defensive team.

Coming into the season they were a very widely talked about team, but not in the way you’d hoped. The GM at the time, Jon Dumars, made arguably the dumbest draft day blunder in history.

He picked a virtual unknown and unproven foreign player and passed on the likes of D-Wade, Melo, and Chris Bosh to name a few. This did not end up hurting the team as much as many believed it would. That year the Pistons finished third in their conference. Coach Larry Brown coached his tail off that year, and had a final record of 54-28, without any true superstar, I might add. The team didn’t have an Iverson, a Carter or a Lebron James. They instead relied on each starter and role player to contribute to the overall success of the team, and boy did it work.

Here’s a quick reminder of the stats of the starting five for the 2003-04 Pistons:

  • PG: Chauncey Billups 16.3 PPG 5.7 APG
  • SG: Richard Hamilton 17.6 PPG 4.0 APG
  • SF: Tayshaun Prince 10.3 PPG 4.8 RPG
  • PF: Rasheed Wallace 13.7 PPG 7.0 RPG 2.0 BPG
  • C: Ben Wallace 9.0 PPG 12.4 RPG 3.0 BPG

The present day Detroit Pistons: “Goin Back 2 Work”

It’s no secret that being a Detroit Pistons fan these last three years has been disappointing. We’ve suffered multiple losing seasons, having the only bright light be the hope of good lottery odds.

The Detroit Pistons have only won 63 games total in the last three seasons combined. To put that in perspective, the Suns this year alone won 64 games. However, as I wrote about previously, the Pistons could be on the verge of a big turn around similar to the Hawks in 2020.

As long as they build on top of the solid young core they have so far, there’s no limit to the possibilities. The Pistons already have one “star” (and hopefully superstar) in Cade Cunninghambut are trying to build the type of balanced roster that kept them in the Eastern Conference Finals for six straight seasons.

This roster is slowly starting to resemble that of the Goin’ To Work Pistons of 19 years ago:

  • PG: Cade Cunningham 17.4 PPG 5.6 APG
  • SG: Saddiq Bey 16.4 PPG 5.4 APG
  • SF: Jerami Grant 19.4 PPG 4.1 RPG
  • PF: Marvin Bagley III 14.6 PPG 6.8 RPG
  • C: Isaiah Stewart 8.3 PPG 8.7 RPG

This team has the potential to make the leap to greatness, especially in an Eastern Conference that’s so up and down. Next year might be the perfect time to sneak into10th place, and fight tooth and nail in the play-in for a playoff berth.

This team is a long way from having a championship roster, but they are building a balanced team that is starting to resemble the beginnings of the Goin’ to Work squad built around a high IQ two-way guard, a sharpshooter, a long defender who can shoot 3-pointers, a wildcard power forward with a high ceiling and a tough, undersized center.

They aren’t there yet, but the Detroit Pistons have a model to follow and eventually hope to emulate that success.


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