clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Could an all-time Pistons super team beat these Warriors?

New, comments

The Pistons have three NBA titles, decades of success and several Hall of Famers. But basketball is different now

Billups graphic

The Golden State Warriors just demolished the Cleveland Cavaliers in game 1 of the NBA Finals. The combination of Steph Curry and Kevin Durant on offense and Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on defense made mincemeat of LeBron James and the Cavs.

The Warriors, simply put, might be the best team ever assembled. Two MVP candidates, a Swiss Army knife defensive player of the year, a two-way glue guy who can be lethal from the perimeter, a sixth man who can run the offense and guard wings. They have it all.

This level of dominance begs the question — could any combination of Detroit Pistons greats actually beat these Warriors? Playing by 2017 rules and needing to adapt to a 2017 style of basketball?

It’s not as easy a question to answer as it sounds. What combination of offense and defensive versatility could counteract everything these Warriors throw at you? How many Pistons big men and non-3-point shooters from the Bad Boy era actually make the transition into 2017?

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s lock the rotation in at eight players. Here are the top eight Warriors by minutes played this season:

Warriors Lineup

Klay Thompson — SG
Steph Curry — PG
Draymond Green — PF/C
Kevin Durant —SF/PF
Andre Iguodala -- SF
Zaza Pachulia — C
Ian Clark -- SG

Washington Wizards v Detroit Pistons Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Now let’s throw out some Pistons greats from franchise history. Here are the top 20 Pistons sorted by career Win Shares:

Possible Pistons Players

Bill Laimbeer -- C
Bob Lanier — C
Joe Dumars — SG
Isiah Thomas — PG
Chauncey Billups — PG
Ben Wallace — PF/C
Grant Hill — SF
Tayshaun Prince — SF
Larry Foust — C
Dave Bing — PG
Richard Hamilton — SG
Bailey Howell -- SF/PF
Dennis Rodman — SF/PF
George Yardley — SG
Vinnie Johnson — SG
Rasheed Wallace — PF/C
Gene Shue — PG/SG
Andre Drummond — C
Terry Dischinger — SF
Terry Tyler - SF/PF

Detroit Pistons v Golden State Warriors Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Of course, we know that we live in the era of the 3-point shot, and that is something the Pistons historically do not have in plentiful supply. Of players who played more than 5,000 minutes with the Pistons, only nine have a 3-point attempt rate better than 30 percent. Again, this is rate and not shot conversion:

Perimeter shooters

Kentavious Caldwell Pope — .432
Chucky Atkins — .431
Chauncey Billups — .401
Kyle Singler — .397
Lindsey Hunter -- .368
Rasheed Wallace — .345
Allan Houston — .338
Marcus Morris — .336
Ben Gordon — .324

Only seven Pistons in history who have played more than 5,000 minutes with the team have a career 3-point percentage of greater than 37 percent:

Players who actually made 3s

Allan Houston — .410
Chauncey Billups — .397
Terry Mills — .393
Joe Dumars — .382
Kyle Singler — .379
Ben Gordon — .379
Tayshaun Prince — .371

Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics, Game 1 Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

So what does Detroit’s ultimate Warriors-killer look like? That is certainly up for debate, but here would be my eight players:

My Pistons Super Team

Chauncey Billups — PG
Joe Dumars — SG
Rasheed Wallace — PF/C
Grant Hill — SF
Isiah Thomas — PG
Dennis Rodman — SF/PF
Ben Wallace — PF/C
Tayshaun Prince — SF

Some of these picks were super easy -- I knew instantly that Billups, Dumars and Rasheed Wallace were going to form my core. Billups is the best Piston built for today’s game with the longest track record of success. He could also play off the ball if needed and still be effective.

Dumars was a great scorer and defender. Rasheed, meanwhile, was a stretch four when it was just becoming clear how valuable that was, and he was an elite defender and very good rebounder.

Then I knew I wanted Hill on the wing and Isiah as my first player off the bench. Then things got much harder. How much more size did I need on my team? Could I add offensive liabilities to the floor if they brought elite defense and rebounding. What about additional 3-point shooting?

In the end, the battle of Ben Wallace, Lanier and Laimbeer was won by Big Ben. The trump card was his defensive versatility and ability to switch and play help side defense while shutting down the paint.

I then decided to add Dennis Rodman to further solidify a rebounding advantage while also adding an elite wing defender. Finally, I wanted to add some perimeter shooting with the last bench spot. I struggled between longtime Piston Prince and short-time Piston Allan Houston. I decided to add more long-armed defense in Prince even though he is only a so-so shooter.

Who’s on your squad?

Think you could do better?

Build your own super team in a Fan Post and explain how it would take down the Golden State Warriors. Or explain why these Warriors could beat any combination in Pistons history.