The 5 most disappointing seasons in Detroit Pistons’ history
#3: 1999-2000 Detroit Pistons
This is an odd duckling given the other teams on this list, but it represents the culmination of an era. Specifically – The Grant Hill Era. When Hill was drafted 3rd overall in 1994, some were of the opinion that the 22-year-old Duke grad should have been taken with the 1st pick by Milwaukee. Instead, the Bucks took Glenn Robinson, the Dallas Mavericks formed the “J-Team” upon adding Jason Kidd with the 2nd pick, leaving Hill to fall into the lap of the Detroit Pistons.
While all three players would go on to have good if not great careers, Hill immediately turned heads with his athleticism and began to draw the inevitable “Next Jordan” refrain from both fans and pundits alike. Hill won Co-Rookie of the Year with Kidd, and from there would rack up eye-popping stats and other various accolades that would seem to indicate that he was on a Jordan-like trajectory.
In time, other comparisons would be made, with many arguing that Hill’s game resembled Magic Johnson’s or Larry Bird’s more than it did MJ’s. The question was whether or not he had the same killer instinct that the greats he was compared to were known for. Doubters questioned his toughness, competitiveness, and whether or not he had the proverbial “clutch” gene that set His Airness apart from so many others.
Sadly for Pistons fans Hill was so competitive that he played on an ankle so badly damaged he was never able to recover from the injury. His career was effectively ruined. But watching Hill hobble through the first game and a half of the postseason, before sitting out the rest of a first-round sweep at the hands of the Miami Heat was soul-crushing.
Those with a clue realized that for the past six years we were privileged with a front-row seat as one of the most talented basketball players ever to lace them up represented our franchise with great poise, yet failed to win a single playoff series during his time with the Pistons – and that his time in Detroit had come to a mind-bogglingly disappointing and sudden end.