As Detroit basketball fans start to get excited about the season to come, it is always good to look back to see just how far you have come. With 2022-2023 being one of the most anticipated seasons in recent Piston’s history, let’s look back a decade ago. Things were a lot different for our Pistons back in 2012. Let’s just see how different…
The GM and Head Coach
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The GM of the Detroit Pistons heading into the 2012-2013 season, was none other than Piston’s legend Joe Dumars. Dumars no doubt left an impressive legacy as the president of basketball operations, winning Executive of the Year for the 2002-2003 season and then went on to win the NBA Championship the prior season. Under Dumars, the Pistons advanced to six straight Eastern Conference Finals, but after a controversial trade with the Denver Nuggets where Dumars traded away franchise legend Chauncey Billups, the Pistons quickly became dysfunctional under the former Finals MVP.
As for the head coach, well that would be Lawrence Frank. Frank served as the Pistons head coach from 2011-2013. After the 2013 season, Frank was fired as he led Detroit to a disappointing 54-94 record as head coach.
The 2012 offseason was not the most eventful one for the Detroit Pistons but did come with some moves that gave Pistons fans hope for the season to come. The Pistons had four rookies making their way to Detroit in 2012, C Andre Drummond, F Khris Middleton, G Kim English, and F Kyle Singler who was drafted in 2011 and finally made the transition from Real Madrid. And other than a trade sending Ben Gordon’s terrible contract to the Hornets for Cory Magette, the roster looked similar to the one that finished 25-41 the season before.
The Returning Core
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Much like the present, the Pistons had a young core that they were bringing back heading into the 2012-2013 season. This included PG Brandon Knight, who was heading into his third season with Detroit after being drafted in 2011. The Piston’s other young building block was big man Greg Monroe, who was drafted in 2010 with the 7th overall pick. The roster also included longtime guard Rodney Stuckey and forward Jason Maxiell. The team also consisted of veterans like Jose Calderon, Charlie Villanueva, and Tayshaun Prince.
Expectations and Fan Morale
It was an interesting time to be a Pistons fan in 2012. The fans were torn on the drafting of Andre Drummond, as he was a raw prospect with much uncertainty. The young players the team was building around, like Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe had shown potential to develop into more, but the team lacked identity and a true strength. From what I can gauge from my research, it looked like fans were split between wanting the team to push for a low playoff seed or continue to build through the draft. It seemed that the Pistons were stuck in mediocrity of sorts, lacking an all-star level player to really make them a threat in the east.
For what’s it’s worth, the Pistons finished 29-53, a disappointment to say the least. I think if there is one takeaway from this article, it is that the Pistons are much better off than they were a decade ago. They have a potential All-NBA player in Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren who can develop into potential all-stars, plus good supporting cast players like Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart. The 2012 Detroit Pistons lacked an identity, and while the hope of Andre Drummond panning out keep some fans optimistic, it’s safe to say the Pistons are much better off than they were 10 years ago.