It’s now been 15 years since the Pistons traded for Rasheed Wallace. He was in a trade that involved Lindsey Hunter, Chucky Atkins, Chris Mills, Mike James, Zeljko Rebraca, Bob Sura and draft picks. Most Pistons fans remember only two names on that list, Hunter who later came back to the Pistons in 2005 and Rasheed. This trade proved to be the one that sent the Pistons to the top in 2004.
15 Years Later, Detroit Pistons Post-Rasheed
One thing that brought the Pistons into making this trade was the infamous draft of 2003. As most of us remember, the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted LeBron James with the #1 overall pick, then it was the Pistons’ turn. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony and a host of future all-stars were on the draft board waiting to join a Pistons team that aspired for a championship. Who did the Pistons pick? Darko Milicic, who turned out to be the laughing stock of the team, statistically.
Things could have turned out better for the Pistons had they drafted one of Wade, Bosh, or Melo. But the Milicic draft pick led the team to add a piece at the trade deadline, and Rasheed was it. If you watched him play, you knew that he was bound to pick up a T at some point in the game, which added up in later years that led him to serve multiple single-game suspensions. But fans really didn’t care. They cared about his attitude, swagger, and famous quote, “Ball don’t lie.”
This great run lasted until 2009, after the blockbuster trade that Joe Dumars pulled to land Allen Iverson in Detroit. While it provided the shake-up that Dumars wanted, it’s only cycled the team into a downward spiral, to which they’ve only made one playoff appearance since the 08-09 season. On Joe Dumars and that round of ownership, ‘ball didn’t lie’.
Ten years after Rasheed left Detroit, ‘ball still don’t lie’. The Pistons have since relied on new ownership, with Tom Gores taking over the reins. They’ve also moved arenas, from the Palace of Auburn Hills to Little Caesar’s Arena in downtown Detroit. And sadly, the sea of mediocrity continued, with multiple coaches trying to stop it. Michael Curry, John Kuester, Lawrence Frank, Mo Cheeks, John Loyer, and Stan Van Gundy were all given a chance, to no avail. The list could possibly end up as long as the Browns QB list since their re-inception in 1996. (But hey, if it helps, Baker Mayfield seems to be the answer there!)
To remind this team that ‘ball still don’t lie’, the Pistons just let a Milicic-like figure in Henry Ellenson sign a ten-day contract with the New York Knicks. He bounced from the Grand Rapids Drive to Detroit, and this is what the Pistons could’ve done with Darko Milicic. But hey, the #2 pick has high expectations, ya know?
Dwane Casey has his hands full, and he knew this, as he’s now in charge of this team. With the trade deadline come and gone, we’ll see if the Pistons hold on to that 8 seed. But for now, it seems as if the team needs another voice like Rasheed to put a pep in their step. Could that voice be Draymond Green within the next year or two? We shall see. But for now, ‘ball still don’t lie’.
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