Skip to main content

10 Best Scorers In Detroit Pistons History: Bob Lanier Is The Best, Grant Hill Is 4th, Isiah Thomas Is 9th

10 Best Scorers In Detroit Pistons History: Bob Lanier Is The Best, Grant Hill Is 4th, Isiah Thomas Is 9th

Even if the current team is struggling to get wins over the past few years, the Detroit Pistons are one of the most successful franchises in NBA history. They have captured the championship 3 times, 2 of them coming thanks to the “Bad Boy” Pistons. Considered “underdogs” every year because they never had a legitimate MVP candidate, Isiah Thomas and company won 2 straight titles in 1989 and 1990.

Of course, the Pistons were also considered underdogs during the 2004 season when they defeated a Los Angeles Lakers superteam led by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. This team also did not have an MVP candidate, as Chauncey Billups and a crew of two-way players were able to go against the odds to win it all. Clearly, Detroit has an identity that comes with hard work and overcoming odds. When looking throughout Detroit Pistons history, which players were considered the best scorers? With so many great players who have played for the Pistons franchise, here are the top-10 scorers in their history.

10. George Yardley - 19.1 PPG

(6 Seasons, 1954-1959)

George Yardley

A 6’5” small forward who was taken No. 8 overall in the 1950 Draft, George Yardley had 5 All-Star seasons as a member of the Fort Wayne/Detroit Pistons. A talented offensive player and Hall of Famer, Yardley is one of the best Pistons players ever considering what he did during his era.

Yardley was so talented that he also led the league in scoring during the 1958 season when he put up 27.8 PPG while also chipping in 10.7 RPG. The forward was a gunner, never averaging above 2.2 APG for a season. Considering the fact that Yardley only took 16 shots per game, he was certainly an effective scorer.

9. Isiah Thomas - 19.2 PPG

(13 Seasons, 1982-1994)

(via SI Vault - Sports Illustrated)

(via SI Vault - Sports Illustrated)

One of the greatest point guards ever, Isiah Thomas made his name by overcoming his miniature size and dominating his position through sheer will and determination. A talented scorer and passer, Thomas is also considered one of the best winners at his position, and the face of the Pistons for over a decade.

But one aspect of his game that is criminally underrated is his offensive game because he was adept at getting in the lane for good looks and also nailing mid-range shots. Thomas only shot 29.0% from three over 13 seasons with Detroit, but he was above-average in every other offensive category.

8. Adrian Dantley - 20.3 PPG

(3 Seasons, 1987-1989)

Adrian Dantley

A Hall of Fame superstar whose name is synonymous with a few great franchises, Dantley was a very solid scorer for the Detroit Pistons. Even if the Hall of Famer was mainly remembered for his scoring exploits with the Jazz, Adrian Dantley joined Utah when he was 31 years old.

The 6-time All-Star and 2-time scoring champion could not add more of those accolades to his resume with Detroit, as he was starting to slow down on a physical level. But the 6’5” forward was still an above-average offensive player, putting up 20.3 PPG over 3 seasons.

7. Blake Griffin - 20.7 PPG

(4 Seasons, 2018-2021)

Blake Griffin NBA 421421

While many people seem to ignore Blake Griffin’s 4-year stint with the Detroit Pistons, the talented power forward still showed signs of being an offensive star between 2018 and 2021. A formerly unstoppable dunker with supreme athleticism, Griffin became a different player with Detroit when he arrived.

Even if Griffin was more consistent as a member of the Clippers (21.7 PPG), he was a better shooter with the Pistons (33.9% vs. 31.6%). From the line, Griffin was also better as he shot over 75% after failing to shoot 70% over 8 seasons with Los Angeles. No longer the unstoppable athlete he used to be, Griffin was still a formidable offensive force with Detroit because of his shooting.

6. Bailey Howell - 21.1 PPG

(5 Seasons, 1960-1964)

Bailey Howell

A 4-time All-Star with the Detroit Pistons over the first 5 seasons of his career, Bailey Howell got off to a tremendous start during the 1960s. The 6’7” forward was efficient from the field, nailing 47.6% of his field goals and 77.4% of his foul shots.

Howell would end up in the Hall of Fame for being an effective scorer during the 1960s, considering he put up over 17 PPG for 10 straight seasons from the start of his rookie season. Making an All-NBA Team during the 1963 season with the Pistons, Howell averaged 22.7 PPG and 11.5 RPG in his best season.

5. Kelly Tripucka - 21.6 PPG

(5 Seasons, 1982-1986)

Kelly Tripucka

Hardcore Detroit Pistons fans will remember Kelly Tripucka, a 6’6” forward who was a very efficient scorer over 5 seasons with the franchise. A 2-time All-Star with the Pistons, Tripucka made the All-Rookie Team and also the All-Star Team in his first season by putting up 21.6 PPG and 5.4 RPG.

The following year, Tripucka put up a career-high 26.5 PPG on 48.9% shooting. He would go on to average over 19 PPG for 3 more seasons, taking his total average to 21.6 PPG. The forward would not have the same success with any other team, as his best years came as a member of the Pistons.

4. Grant Hill - 21.6 PPG

(6 Seasons, 1995-2000)

Grant-Hill-ppcorn pistons

Out of all the “what-if” stories throughout NBA history, Grant Hill was probably the most heartbreaking. The former superstar was supposed to take over from Michael Jordan as the face of the NBA because he was the full package with world-class athleticism and versatility. Even if Hill’s career was greatly sidetracked, he still had 6 great years to start his career with Detroit.

Grant Hill was taken No. 3 overall in the 1994 NBA Draft, and immediately won Rookie of the Year by posting 19.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 5.0 APG. For 5 straight years, Hill averaged over 20 PPG with his best season coming in the 2000 season after he posted 25.8 PPG. Unfortunately, injuries would take a toll on who was soon to be the best player in the league.

3. Jerry Stackhouse - 22.1 PPG

(5 Seasons, 1998-2002)

Jerry Stackhouse

Jerry Stackhouse was destined to be a great scorer, considering he was a great athlete with a smooth jump shot. The 6’6” shooting guard/small forward made a killing from the perimeter and was often tasked for creating his own shots. But he was also effective when he attacked the rim.

Stackhouse made both of his All-Star Team selections with Detroit, putting up 23.6 PPG and 29.8 PPG in both seasons. The 29.8 PPG average in 2001 was the player’s best season, especially considering he nailed 35.1% of his threes and 82.2% of his fouls shots. Even if Jerry would see slight decreases in his numbers every season after, he had a very solid run with the Pistons.

2. Dave Bing - 22.6 PPG

(9 Seasons, 1967-1975)

Dave Bing

A 6’3” guard with Hall of Fame capabilities, Dave Bing spent 9 out of his 13 seasons with the Detroit Pistons. Easily one of Detroit’s most skilled players, Bing got off to a great start in his NBA career by winning Rookie of the Year by averaging 20.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 4.1 APG.

Bing would go on to lead the league in scoring the following season, putting up 27.1 PPG on 44.1% shooting. He would have 5 more seasons averaging at least 22 PPG, and would end his Detroit Pistons career with 6 All-Star Team selections. A clear Hall of Famer, Dave Bing is one of Detroit’s greatest players and scorers.

1. Bob Lanier - 23.1 PPG

(10 Seasons, 1971-1980)


A 6’11” center with a total of 8 All-Star appearances and a Hall of Fame induction, Bob Lanier was one of the most talented big men during the 1970s. The center made All-Rookie Team in his first season, putting up 15.6 PPG and 8.1 RPG. He would average 20-10 double-double for 7 straight seasons, including his second season when he dropped 25.7 PPG and 14.2 RPG.

Bob Lanier was simply a fantastic scorer, because he put up at least 21 PPG for 9 out of his 10 seasons with the Detroit Pistons. Even if his game was not the flashiest in comparison to other players on this list, Lanier is Detroit’s greatest scorer and his track record is clear to see.

Most Points In Detroit Pistons History

Here are the ten players with the most total points in Detroit Pistons history:

1. Isiah Thomas - 18,822

2. Joe Dumars - 16,401

3. Bob Lanier - 15,488

4. Dave Bing - 15,235

5. Bill Laimbeer - 12,665

6. Richard Hamilton - 11,582

7. Vinnie Johnson - 10,146

8. Tayshaun Prince - 10,006

9. Grant Hill - 9,393

10. John Long - 9,023


10 Best Scorers In Utah Jazz History: Adrian Dantley Leads The Jazz, Karl Malone Is Surprisingly Second

10 Best Scorers In Toronto Raptors History: Vince Carter Is The King In The North

10 Best Scorers In Minnesota Timberwolves History: Karl-Anthony Towns Leads The Pack, Kevin Garnett Is Surprisingly 5th

10 Best Scorers In San Antonio Spurs History: George Gervin's Record Is Untouchable

10 Best Scorers In Sacramento Kings History: Nobody Will Ever Be Better Than Oscar Robertson