The Detroit Pistons franchise hasn’t been its usual self during the 2010s era of NBA basketball, but Detroit remains one of the top franchises in the league historically.
The Pistons still rank number seven all-time for most wins in league history, behind the Celtics, Lakers, 76ers, Knicks and Hawks.
Historically, the Pistons are known for having top flight guards like Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Chauncey Billups and Dave Bing, but the team also has had quite a few talented big men over its storied 81 year history that began with the Fort Wayne Pistons.
Recently, a website called BallisLife2 ranked the top ten power forwards in Detroit Pistons history.
The list is as follows, and drew nearly 300 comments with commenters discussing favorite players and the merits of the list.
It is as follows:
1. Dave DeBusschere-
Born in Detroit on October 16, 1940, DeBusschere is a relative unknown among today’s fans but turned in a Hall-of-Fame career.
He started his career with the Pistons, averaging 17.7 points in 1966-1967, his highest total with the team. He also averaged double-digit rebounds each year with Detroit.
DeBusschere also served as a player-coach during his time in Detroit.
2. Bailey Howell-
Howell’s name is rarely mentioned among old school Pistons greats like DeBusschere, Bing and Bob Lanier, but he was a stat sheet stuffer at the power forward position.
From 1959-1964, Howell averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds or more each season with the Pistons.
At 6-foot-7, 210 pounds, he was undersized by today’s standards but still turned in a Hall-of-Fame career.
3. Dennis Rodman-
The man known as ‘The Worm’ was a defensive pest for Detroit who became a Hall-of-Famer and NBA legend.
From 1986 through 1993 Rodman starred in Motown, helping the team to two championships while energizing the crowd with his no-holds-barred defense and rebounding minded play.
Rodman averaged a career-best 18.7 rebounds per game with Detroit in 1991-1992.
4. Rasheed Wallace-
A controversial and mercurial personality along the lines of Rodman, ‘Sheed’ comes in at number four on this list.
In terms of sheer talent, few if any Pistons big men could match Wallace, who helped lead Detroit to its third league title in 2004.
The Philadelphia native played six seasons with Detroit, averaging 15.1 ppg in 2005-2006.
But anyone who saw him dominate from the post to the three point line, and on defense for that matter, knows his impact went well beyond the stat sheet.
5. Curtis Rowe-
The 11th overall pick in the 1971 NBA Draft, Rowe is a relative unknown among even diehard NBA fans.
He turned in a solid stint with the Pistons until 1976, however, averaging 16.1 points to go along with 9.4 rebounds in 1972-73.
6. Blake Griffin-
When the former Oklahoma Sooners high flier Griffin’s career is over, it’s likely that his time with Detroit will be mere footnote.
That being said, he still put in three quality seasons with Detroit, leading the team to a playoffs appearance and averaging 24.5 points per game in 2018-2019.
Griffin attempted more threes in Detroit on average than at any other time in his career, which led many to wonder what happened to the high flying Griffin the league saw in Los Angeles with the Clippers, especially when he seemed to bring that version of himself back in Brooklyn with the Nets.
Griffin addressed the issue in a recent talk show appearance.
7. Ray Scott-
A former number four overall pick, the 6-foot-9 Scott played five seasons with Detroit, averaging 17.6 points and 13.5 rebounds in 1963-1964.
He played two seasons with the ABA’s Virginia Squires and four with the NBA’s Baltimore Bullets and also coached the Pistons to a then-franchise best 52-30 record in 1973-1974, during which he won NBA Coach of the Year honors.
8. Terry Mills-
Also known as ‘Three Mills,’ the Romulus, Michigan native played five seasons with the Pistons averaging a career-best 17.3 points per game in 1993-1994.
Mills, 6’10, shot 38.4% from beyond the three-point line over the course of his career.
9. Antonio McDyess-
Also known by his nickname ‘Dice,’ Antonio came to the Pistons after their 2004 championship season and help lead the team to additional Eastern Conference Finals trips.
He shot over 50% from the field in four of five seasons with Detroit and was a high value playoff contributor and role player.
10. John Salley-
John ‘Spider’ Salley was one of the best athletes and most disruptive role players on the original Bad Boys’ back-to-back title teams, averaging over a block per game in limited minutes over the course of all six seasons in Motown.
At 6-foot-11, Salley gave the Pistons plenty of size and athleticism down low while becoming a household name in Detroit and across the league because of his effervescent personality.
As shown in the highlight reel below, Salley’s skills and athleticism go far beyond the stat sheet, however, as he played a key role in those two championship runs.
Thanks as always for reading. The original list and reader comments from BallisLife2 can be seen here.
Who do you think deserves to be higher and/or lower on this list? Let us known on our Facebook page here!