Detroit Pistons: 15 players who defined the Bad Boys era

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images /
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Mark Aguirre, Detroit Pistons
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images /

6. player. 64. . Small forward. 1989-93. Mark Aguirre

The Pistons with Kelly Tripucka scoring from the 3 were a good team that established itself as a playoff team. The Pistons with Adrian Dantley scoring from the 3 were a great team in the mix for the NBA Finals. The Pistons with Mark Aguirre playing the 3 were a dominant title team.

Hindsight is 20-20, so it is easy to look back at Aguirre’s acquisition as a no-brainer move. When the Pistons traded Dantley and a first-round pick for Aguirre in February of 1989, it was anything but heralded.

Dantley was well-loved by many in the organization, including multiple teammates, and was a future hall of famer. Aguirre was viewed as a bad apple, poison for a locker room needing to come together. Add in his close friendship with Isiah Thomas and many fingers were pointed in the days immediately after the trade.

Yet Aguirre turned out to be the right man for the job, accepting his role in a more balanced cast — something Dantley was never comfortable doing. Aguirre averaged 15.5 points per game for Detroit after never averaging fewer than 21 since his rookie season. The Pistons won the title in 1989, with Aguirre starting all 17 postseason games, including the sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.

In the 1989-90 season, the Pistons got off to a rocky start, and Aguirre recognized the team needed to start Rodman over him. While Rodman was reluctant, Aguirre could see the value to the team. He moved to the bench and let the young Rodman spread his wings.

The result was a breakout campaign from “The Worm” — Rodman won NBA Defensive Player of the Year — and the Pistons won a second consecutive title.

In total, Aguirre played close to five seasons with the Pistons, playing 375 total games. He played one final season with the Los Angeles Clippers before retiring as a three-time All-Star, two-time NBA Champion and a critical member of the Bad Boys dynasty.