The Detroit Pistons are one of the oldest franchises in the history of the NBA. The Pistons have been playing in the league since the 40s and have developed some great players throughout the years. In the 80s, the Pistons were one of the most hated franchises, while in the 2000s, the team was one of the most dominant teams in the Eastern Conference. What has always been consistent for the team is that their players have always played hard and played tough defense.
The last decade has seen the Pistons not play like their glory days. With a young core of Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Isaiah Stewart, and Jalen Duren, the team looks to grow back to what the team once was. Maybe one day, some of those players will see their names at the top of the all-time records and earn their spot among these great players.
Without further ado, these are the franchise awards for the Pistons.
GOAT Of The Franchise - Isiah Thomas
The Pistons selected Thomas with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1981 NBA Draft and he helped the team remain a competitive franchise during the 80s, as well as into the early 90s. Thomas spent his entire career with the Pistons and developed a reputation as a heel. While he may not have been liked by his colleagues, you cannot deny how great his play on the court was.
Thomas was a 12-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA selection, which included three appearances on the First Team. Thomas is the all-time leading scorer for the Pistons. He was also the best player on the Piston teams that made the NBA Finals in 1988, 1989, and 1990. That included winning one Finals MVP Award when the team won back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990.
Rookie Of The Franchise - Grant Hill
Three players have won Rookie of the Year while wearing a Pistons uniform. The first came in 1953 with William Melchionni. The second time came in 1967 with Dave Bing, while Hill was the last ROY in 1995. Bing gives Hill the best run for his money when he averaged 20.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists. With that said, Hill had a superior rookie season.
Hill averaged 19.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.9 blocks. Hill averaged 38.3 minutes and shot 47.7% from the field. He tied with Jason Kidd for Rookie of the Year, but in the end, this is the best rookie season that a Detroit player has ever seen. Cade Cunningham missed out on the Rookie of the Year, but gave one of the best rookie years we have seen as of late by averaging 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.7 blocks.
Offensive Player Of The Franchise - Bob Lanier
Both Thomas and Joe Dumars finished with more career points in a Pistons uniform, but the best offensively skilled player goes to Bob Lanier. In the 70s, Lanier was a one-man wrecking crew. He averaged more than 20.0 points per game for nine consecutive seasons with a career-best of 25.2 points. He also added a double-double in all but one of those seasons.
Lanier’s 22.7 points per game with the Pistons remain a record for career average. It narrowly beats out the 22.6 points per game by Dave Bing. Lanier is second in franchise history in made field goals and owns a career average of 51.4% shooting.
Defensive Player Of The Franchise - Ben Wallace
How can you go against one of the greatest defenders in the history of the NBA? Ben Wallace is tied with Dikembe Mutombo for the most Defensive Player of the Year Awards with four. Wallace won the award in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006. Had Ron Artest not won in 2004, Wallace could have made history, but instead, he finished second in the voting.
Wallace is one of two players in franchise history that owns over 1,000 blocks with the Pistons, the other being Terry Tyler. His 2.3 career blocks average also remains a record with the franchise. Wallace ended his career with 5.7 points per game but proved that he didn’t need to score to be a Hall of Famer. He just needed to protect the rim, and there was nobody better than Wallace.
Coach Of The Franchise - Chuck Daly
The Pistons didn’t let one 9-32 season with the Cavaliers scare them away from hiring him. Daly ultimately became the best thing that happened to them in the 80s. Daly quickly turned the Pistons into a tough team to beat. The Pistons never had a losing record in Daly’s tenure, including making the NBA Finals three straight seasons.
Daly was the head coach of the 1989 and 1990 championship teams. His best season came in 1988-89 when the Pistons won 63 games. In the playoffs, Daly owned a 71-42 record. While we must give a shout out to Larry Brown for guiding the 2004 team to a championship, this award easily goes to Daly.
Fan Favorite - Isiah Thomas
There are quite a few candidates for this category. Joe Dumars was a very likable player that played hard and shot well. Bill Laimbeer was one of those players that was hated by everyone else, but beloved by the Pistons because of what he brought to the table. Chauncey Billups won a Finals MVP in 2004 and was the bona fide leader of that team that featured other likable players in Ben and Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, and Richard Hamilton.
In the end, the fan-favorite has to be Isiah Thomas. When the Pistons were at the height of their “Bad Boys” era, Thomas was one of the leaders of the team’s persona. He could have gone against this image, but he took it with full force. He had no problem speaking his mind and was a very competitive player. Thomas finished his career as the greatest Piston player ever, so he also has that working for him too.