People think nobody can beat the Golden State Warriors, and even though the Houston Rockets currently own the best record in the league, everybody still believes the Dubs are the team to beat come crunch time.
Obviously, this Golden State Warriors squad has been constantly compared with other teams that left a blueprint on the league and built a huge legacy due to their dominance, such as the Showtime Lakers or the Jordan Bulls.
Some people believe the Warriors have a strong case to be the greatest team in basketball history, while others think this kind of team wouldn’t have thrived under the old rules and hard-nosed physical basketball.
So, what we’re going to do today is pretend these Warriors are set to face one of the most physical teams in NBA history: the World Champions 2003-04 Detroit Pistons, a team that made history as huge underdogs and paved their way to stardom built on their strong defense.
2003-04 Detroit Pistons
PG: Chauncey Billups
Chauncey BillupsChauncey Billups is by far one of the most underrated players of the 2000’s, and he didn’t even make the All-Star team the very same year he would go on to win the Finals MVP with a lot of clutch performances along the way.
Mr big shot was a standout backcourt defender and a very smart playmaker as well, posting career averages of 15.2 points, 5.4 dimes and 1 steal per game, even making it to 2 All-Defensive teams over his career.
SG: Rip Hamilton
The 2003-04 Detroit Pistons wouldn’t have gotten so far if it wasn’t for Richard “Rip” Hamilton and his sweet scoring touch from all over the hardwood, leading the team in scoring with his almost 18 points per game.
RIP Hollywood, AKA The Man in the Mask also played for the Wizards and Bulls, but his 9-year Pistons’ tenure was by far the pinnacle of his career. Over a 14 season span, he averaged 17.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.4 dimes on 44% from the floor.
SF: Tayshaun Prince
Tayshaun Prince wasn’t known for his offensive explosiveness, but he was by far one of the best wing stoppers in the league during his prime and throughout his career, even making it to 4 All-Defensive teams.
Prince spent some time with the Grizzlies, Celtics and Timberwolves following an 11 season tenure at The Palace, recording career averages of 11.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 0.6 steals per game.
PF: Rasheed Wallace
Rasheed Wallace was the missing piece this team so desperately needed to make a splash in the postseason, and even though he only played 22 games with the Pistons that season, his huge impact in both ends of the floor would be the cornerstone for their playoff success.
Wallace would go on to form a top-notch hard-nosed frontcourt alongside Ben Wallace, averaging over 2 blocks per game in his first season as a member of the Pistons. Over his career, he would go on to make it to 4 All-Stars and average 14.4 points and almost 7 rebounds with 1.3 blocks per game.
C: Ben Wallace
Talking about underdogs, Ben Wallace was this team’s ultimate representative, a guy nobody trusted enough early on, but that beat every odd and obstacle thrown against him en route to becoming one of the best defenders in the history of the game.
Ben Wallace was this team’s defensive anchor, and perhaps the most dominant undersized rebounder in the history of the game. You just wouldn’t be able to outhustle him or get an easy layup against him. Over his career, he averaged 9.6 rebounds and 2 blocks per game, led the league in blocks once, twice in boards, and won 4 Defensive Player of the Year awards (tied 1st).
Bench: Mehmet Okur, Corliss Williamson, Elden Campbell, Bob Sura, Lindsey Hunter
The Detroit Pistons didn’t feature much firepower during the 2003-04 campaign, with this team making a living out of their hard-nosed defensive efforts rather than their big-name scorers as much teams did.
Okur and Hunter carried much of the offensive load, but truth to be told, neither of these players had a truly big impact throughout the regular season despite featuring the 1st overall pick Darko Milicic.
Still, Larry Brown did such a great job locking down his defensive system, that even though this team had no All-Stars or top-tier talents, they would still go on to win it all against the Los Angeles Lakers and their Fab Four.
2017-18 Golden State Warriors
PG: Stephen Curry
To get things going, coach Steve Kerr relies on the greatest shooter in the history of the game to run the point for his sharpshooting Golden State Warriors, a two time MVP and Champion that’s a lock to make it to the Hall of Fame.
Curry’s handles are elite and he’s just unstoppable off the dribble. Heck, he doesn’t even need a screen, just a bounce of the rock and he’s ready to shoot from everywhere on the floor with the quickest release you’ll ever see on an NBA hardwood.
SG: Klay Thompson
If you need backcourt defenders, you can always trust in Klay Thompson’s ability to force All-Star players to shoot with their weak hands and try tough shots with his great lateral quickness.
But, what makes Klay stand out from the pack is his pure shooting ability, his beautiful stroke and skillset as one of the ultimate catch and shooter scorers the league has seen over the past couple of decades.
SF: Kevin Durant
This team features not one, but two MVPs on their ranks, with Kevin Durant being arguably the most completed offensive player in the league right now, and one of the main reasons why they were able to destroy the Cavs in the Finals with such great ease.
Also, Durant has grown to become a top-notch rim protector and his wingspan and shooting skills provide the Dubs with such versatility to just experiment with hundreds of different lineups with KD being able to successfully play all spots.
PF: Draymond Green
But even though Durant’s extremely versatile, the most versatile player in this team (and maybe even on the league) has to be Draymond Green due to his ability to guard the perimeter and even stop bigger men below the rim.
Green is a hard-nosed defender that’s not going to let you have an easy bucket, an underrated playmaker and even a player that’s capable of hitting from beyond the arc, although most defenses don’t respect his shooting skills.
C: Zaza Pachulia
Zaza Pachulia doesn’t have much to do in this lineup considering he’s by far the less talented player on the squad, and he’s pretty much thrown out there to set picks and pile up personal fouls.
Pachulia is slow, unathletic and maybe the dirtiest player in the league by a long shot, but he’s lucky enough to be playing alongside 4 of the most talented players in the league and under a terrific coach.
Bench: Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala, Nick Young, David West, JaVale McGee
This team features a lot of balance in the second unit, mostly because of their substitute’s outstanding defensive skill sets, obviously let by Andre Iguodala and his top-notch ability to lockdown rival wings.
Shaun Livingston’s wingspan makes him able to guard guards and even small forwards, while David West’s feet game and mid-range shots have been money ever since he entered the league over a decade ago.
Furthermore, Kerr’s system is so flawless that he’s even made Nick Young and JaVale McGee quite valuable assets despite spending most of their careers as everybody else’s laughing stocks.
This one’s a tough one, as the Detroit Pistons have a clear upper hand when it comes to their top-notch defense, but simply lack the firepower to try and outshoot these Golden State Warriors squad.
Obviously, Larry Brown would try and slow down the pace of this game and make the most of live ball turnovers, with the Dubs being one of the most careless teams with the rock on their hands.
The Pistons are long enough to thrive on defensive switches against this Golden State team, but under this new set of rules and considering how the referees make their calls nowadays, it would be tough not to see both Rasheed and Ben Wallace rack up 6 quick fouls.
Naturally, that would make Draymond get into quick foul trouble as well, trying to go against bigger, stronger and tougher men than he did use to do it in this really soft league we have nowadays.
We actually believe this Pistons squad is good enough to jump to an early lead against the Dubs led by their top-tier defense, but we already know Golden State’s ability to get back in games in the third quarter.
So, we’d expect this game to go to a double overtime, but after both Wallaces foul out, the Dubs would make a complete mess out of this short-handed squad with their sharp shooting and deep rotation, taking home a 110-106 triumph.