Detroit Pistons Greatest Point Guards of all time. Last week, I broke down all of the top point guards to play for the Milwaukee Bucks. Seeing as it’s a new week, it’s time to take a look at another team in the central division. The lucky winner is the Detroit Pistons.
From Chauncey Billups, to Dave Bing and Kevin Porter, there were some talented point guards to don the Pistons uniform. But there is absolutely no debate about the man at the top of the list.
It is the one and only, Isiah Thomas.
Detroit Pistons Greatest Point Guards: He Led the Team for 13 Years
Isiah Thomas’ career with the Pistons was eventful from his early days, up until his later ones and his unfortunate career-altering injury. Thomas was a dominant defensive player, who could also light up the scoreboard on any given night. He was never very well-liked outside of the Motor City, but he was a leader of some unbelievable teams.
Thomas was the starting point guard for the first two championships in Pistons history, going back to the team’s rivalry with MJ and the Bulls. The tactics Detroit used weren’t always “legal”, but there were loopholes in the NBA rulebook back in the 80’s and early 90’s. He was a 12X All Star and a 5X All-NBA selection.
Entering the league as a 20-year-old out of Indiana, Thomas wasted no time becoming a force on the floor. He was the Pistons #2 pick, and he proceeded to average 17 points, eight assists and two steals per game, playing 34 minutes per contest. He’s part of a rare group of all-time greats to make the All-Star game as a rookie. It was the first of 12 consecutive selections for Isiah.
From 1983-1987, he averaged better than 20 points and 10 assists per game. That’s a rare feat if you look through the history books. Averaging those numbers once is impressive enough, but Thomas did it four years in a row.
Detroit Pistons Greatest Point Guards: Success in the Playoffs
The Pistons never missed the playoffs from 1983-1992. Thomas was the starting point guard on all of those teams, helping them to three appearances in the NBA Finals. His career per-game averages in the postseason were impressive to say the least. He averaged 20 points, five rebounds, nine assists and two steals per game over 38 minutes in 111 appearances (109 starts).
Detroit was able to rally past the Celtics during the 1987-88 year in the conference finals, but fell short going against the mighty Lakers in the next round. Revenge was on their minds for the entirety of the next year, as the Pistons were able to quite literally push their way past Chicago, and set up a rematch.
The Pistons would sweep the Lakers to claim the 1989 NBA title, before coming back the next year and repeating as champs. They defeated the TrailBlazers in five games, with Thomas taking home the Finals MVP award.
It was a fantastic career for Isiah Thomas. Nine trips to the playoffs. A pair of titles. And the leader of perhaps the best era of Detroit basketball. He is the clear-cut top point guard in Pistons history.
Detroit Pistons Greatest Point Guards: Don’t Forget About Chauncey Billups
Chauncey “Mr. Big Shot” Billups spent parts of eight seasons as a Detroit Piston. He made the All-Star game five times. He was a 3X All-NBA selection and a 2X All-Defense selection. He made a number of clutch shots to help lead a talented Pistons team to the 2004 NBA championship. This happened after the team opted to infamously draft Darko MIlicic at #2 in the loaded 2003 NBA class.
Billups took home the Finals MVP award for his efforts. They would get back there the very next year, losing to the San Antonio Spurs in an exciting series. In all, Billups averaged 17 points, three rebounds and six assists per game as a Piston. He also came back to the franchise to finish his career in 2013-14.
The statistics don’t do him justice, as he was far more impactful than just being a 17-point scorer. He was a hound on defense, and was the leader.
Detroit Pistons Greatest Point Guards: Some of the Other Names
A name that won’t get the recognition here is Reggie Jackson. Despite averaging 16 points and six assists over six seasons, Reggie was not an efficient player. The team had 0 playoff wins while he was the starter, and there was plenty of off-the-floor drama.
The most impressive passer they ever had was Kevin Porter. He averaged 12 points and 10 assists per night over 190 appearances in the Pistons jersey. He was a 4X NBA assist champ, though he would appear in just three playoff games there.
When he was a Piston, few guards in the NBA were as talented as Dave Bing. The #2 pick in the 1966 NBA Draft was sensational. He averaged 23 points, four rebounds, and nearly seven assists per game over 675 appearances in Detroit. Bing played in seven All-Star games, and led the Pistons to the playoffs three times.
OTHER HONORABLE MENTIONS: Brandon Jennings, Allen Iverson (lol, jk)