The Detroit Pistons tip-off the 2023-24 regular season tonight in Miami and rookies Ausar Thompson and Marcus Sasser will make their NBA debuts and Joe Harris should get his first appearance as a member of the Pistons. Detroit will be shorthanded with Bojan Bogdanovic, Monte Morris and Isaiah Livers all injured, so will need the rookies and Harris to step up and have big performances in their first games as Detroit Pistons.
Which Detroit Pistons have had the greatest debut performances?
There are endless questions that hope to be answered throughout this upcoming season, but there is one that will be answered immediately. How will the 2023 newcomers look during their first game for Detroit? With multiple Pistons slated to make their debuts for the Motor City this week, let’s take a look back at some of the best debuts for former Detroit Pistons.
Let’s begin with some honorable mentions for Detroit.
Richard Hamilton (2002) – 22 points, 1 assist, 6 rebounds
Richard ‘Rip’ Hamilton came to Detroit by way of trade with the Washington Wizards. Being a part of the trade package that saw Piston great Jerry Stackhouse shipped out, there was equal parts excitement and nervousness to bringing Rip to Detroit. Rip would respond well, however, opening his career in Detroit with a 22-point and six rebound game.
Derrick Rose (2019) – 18 points, 9 assists, 3 rebounds
The Derrick Rose that made his Detroit Pistons debut was far from the MVP caliber, Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose. Rose had since been with the Knicks, Cavaliers, and Timberwolves before finally signing with Detroit. With that being said, Rose would still provide shades of his former self during his Motor City debut. Pouring in a very respectable 18 points to go along with nine assists helped Detroit beat the Pacers 119-110. Rose used this debut and his short time with Detroit to launch a respectable second half of his career.
Kelly Tripucka (Rookie – 1981) – 15 points, 4 rebounds
Kelly Tripucka, through no fault of his own, is often forgotten about in the minds of Pistons fans. Tripucka was selected in the same draft as Isiah Thomas, at 12th overall. Even though his overall career pales in comparison, Tripucka put together a nice debut along with his fellow rookie in the season-opening victory over the Bucks, despite being lost in the shadow.
Ben Wallace (2000) – 9 points, 4 assists, 12 rebounds
Similar to his fellow champion teammate Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace was a part of a return package for a Piston legend. Wallace was included as compensation in a sign-and-trade deal that sent Grant Hill to Orlando, a deal that many thought was quite lopsided at the time. Wallace, however, would show his worth immediately in multiple different categories across the box score. Finishing second among the starters with a plus/minus of 8, Wallace provided a great all-around boost during his Detroit debut and would prove to be the heart and soul of the Goin to Work Pistons.