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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John Long, Detroit Pistons
(Original Caption) Denver: Piston player (#25) John Long attempts to drive for the lane on Nugget player Richard Anderson (#35). /

64. . Shooting guard. 1978-86, 1990-91. John Long. 11. player

John Long pre-dated any of the Bad Boys on the Pistons, joining the team in 1978 as a second-round draft selection. He played eight straight seasons with Detroit to start his career as a two-way shooting guard, who averaged as many as 21.9 points per game in Isiah Thomas’ rookie season. Long was a key part of the highest-scoring game in NBA history, dropping 41 points in Detroit’s 186-184 win in 1983.

In September of 1986, the Pistons moved Long, trading him to the Indiana Pacers for a pair of second-round picks. He missed the next two years of Pistons basketball where the fires of the Eastern Conference forged a strong corps and birthed the Bad Boys.

Then Long was back, signing with Detroit after being waived in February of 1989 by the Pacers. While he did not have a prominent role on the title team, he did play in 28 games down the stretch, earning a ring with the team upon their sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Long was not present for much of the Bad Boys’ biggest moments, but he deserves his place on the list due to his significant production for the team, as it was righting itself after a tough decade. He still ranks in the top-10 in franchise history in points and steals.

Long’s connection with the Pistons went deep. He returned on a 10-day contract in 1991 before he was signed to a full contract and finished the last great Pistons run with the team. In 2016, he was inducted into the Michigan Sport Hall of Fame.