It’s been a long time since the Detroit Pistons have had a sustained run of success, in fact, it’s been over a decade since they have even won a playoff game.
They hope to end that drought soon, but for now, we are looking at a team that is still rebuilding and a long way from winning the franchise’s fourth championship.
The most successful eras of Detroit Pistons basketball are known by even the youngest fans, as the Bad Boys and the Goin’ to Work groups both won titles and featured most of the franchise’s greatest players.
The Goin’ to Work group had the most sustained run of success, making the Eastern Conference Finals six years in a row, with two Finals appearances and one title that was achingly close to being two.
Even though they were very good, one title does not a dynasty make, but what about the Bad Boys?
Were the Detroit Pistons ever a dynasty? Ask Isiah Thomas
In a previous episode of the All the Smoke podcast, Pistons’ great Isiah Thomas was asked if he considered his Bad Boy teams to be a dynasty.
Here’s some of what he had to say:
"“We’re not a dynasty because technically we didn’t win three…What I would say, who’s been the most impactful team on the NBA—it’s the Detroit Pistons. When you look at our style of play, pick-and-roll basketball, stretch 5 in Laimbeer, small guards, you know, shooting from the perimeter. We didn’t have a post-up player. The way we influenced the game, little guys like myself, we weren’t supposed to win championships…The most impactful and the most influential team that’s played is the Detroit Pistons.”"
This is an interesting take by Thomas and I agree, as the word “dynasty” should probably be reserved for a team that completely dominates an era and the Pistons came up just short in that regard.
Isiah Thomas beat Michael Jordan’s Bulls, Larry Bird’s Celtics and Magic Johnson’s Lakers, and the Pistons were a big part of dismantling their dynasties.
But they’ve yet to have one of their own, and may never, as the NBA has far more parity than ever before and even winning back-to-back championships is not going to be easy for anyone.