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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William Bedford, Detroit Pistons
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images /

Center. 1987-92. William Bedford. 12. player. 64.

Picking back up on the theme of twin towers in Detroit, William Bedford was a member of the frontcourt rotation for the Pistons through most of their run as contenders. Bedford stepped in as the third big man for Detroit after the departure of Rick Mahorn, and over four seasons played in 186 games for the Bad Boys.

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The 1986 NBA Draft was a crucial one for the Pistons, who drafted both John Salley and Dennis Rodman.

The Phoenix Suns took Bedford with the sixth overall pick, only to trade him to Detroit for a late pick the next season. The reason was that Bedford, like many players throughout the 1980s, was caught up in substance abuse.

The 1986 NBA Draft became known for this issue, from second overall pick Len Bias dying from an overdose, to fellow top-10 draftees Chris Washburn and Roy Tarpley seeing their careers fall apart due to drug abuse.

While Bedford missed the Pistons’ first title run due to rehab, he was able to bring himself back into the game and was a solid support player on the team’s second title.

At 7-foot-1, Bedford had the size Jack McCloskey loved, with endless limits of athleticism and a smooth jumper as well. If Bedford had ever put everything together, he could have been great. For Detroit, he was never anything more than a role player, starting just 12 games total in four seasons. However, he was able to keep his life in line enough to do something with his career.