The Detroit Pistons are looking to fill a couple of positions in their front office. Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince need to be seriously considered for numerous reasons.
It was recently announced that the Detroit Pistons opened up a search to hire a new general manager to work with senior advisor Ed Stefanksi. Then, just days later, it was reported by multiple sources that assistant GM Malik Rose was leaving the organization to take a front office job with the NBA.
It is clear that the team is looking at up to two hires — a GM and an assistant GM. Many names have been thrown around for these positions including former Suns GM Ryan McDonough, current Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes, and even Shane Battier.
Among the names mentioned, two Detroit legends have been made their way into the conversation: Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince. Both have no experience as a lead GM, although Prince has recently enjoyed success as special assistant to the general manager in Memphis.
Billups, currently an ESPN analyst, has little to no experience with the NBA front office life. He has been rumored to be interested in multiple GM jobs over the years, but nothing has come of it. He even reportedly turned down a 5-year contact offer to run the Cleveland Cavaliers front office in 2017 because the “timing wasn’t right”.
Both Billups and Prince are well respected in NBA circles and beloved in Detroit. The Pistons need to make the right move and get both players back with the franchise.
With these guys, the Pistons know what they are getting
Billups and Prince would need no introduction for fans in Detroit. Both members of the 2004 championship team, these guys would bring a much needed winning tradition back to the Pistons.
Chauncey Billups played for the Pistons for 8 seasons from 2002-2009, before going elsewhere until 2014. He returned to the team in 2014 to retire in Detroit. As a member of the Pistons, Billups was a three time all-star, averaged 16.5 points per game, and was named the 2004 NBA Finals MVP. His jersey number was retired by the team in 2016.
Tayshaun Prince logged 26,166 minutes (4th in franchise history) in Detroit during his 12 seasons with the team. He is also 5th all-time in games played for the Pistons. Prince was known as quiet defensive leader during his time with the team and was the most underrated player on the aforementioned 2004 team.
The Pistons teams in the early 2000’s had an identity. You don’t have team success in the NBA without an identity. This franchise is in desperate need to get back to their roots with a tough, gritty, “win at all costs” attitude.
Both players could bring the quiet strength that the Pistons need in their front office. Billups or Prince would immediately look to the change the culture around the franchise and usher in another golden era in Detroit.
This same move has worked before
The “Detroit Pistons” way actually began in the late 1980’s. The “Bad Boys” brought that tough, blue-collar attitude to the court night in and night out. It was the perfect culture, matching the city of Detroit.
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A member of the “Bad Boys”, Joe Dumars, eventually became the GM that would acquire players like Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince for the 2000’s teams.
Dumars took over basketball operations in at the start of the 2000 season and would hold his position with the team for 14 seasons. During his time with the Pistons, Dumars created a championship team backed by culture.
Under Dumars’ leadership, the Pistons won 73 playoff games, appeared in the Eastern Conference Finals 6 times, and went to the NBA Finals twice (winning once).
Dumars did make some controversial moves during his time with the franchise (the Billups/Iverson deal, drafting Darko, etc). However, you will not find a Pistons fan that wouldn’t want to repeat that era over again.
Repeating that era is possible with Billups or Prince leading this team.
Everything in the league can be passed on. As the GM, Dumars crafted teams using the culture he had developed during his playing career. Billups, Prince, or some combination of the two, would inject that same attitude into the next era of Pistons teams.
It would be quite the story — we just have to hope it comes full circle.