First Overall Friday: Cade Cunningham Edition

Motor City Cade by Mrprodesign

Motor City Cade by MR Design

Last night the Detroit Pistons selected Cade Cunningham #1 overall in the NBA Draft, their first top overall pick since the selection of Pistons legend Bob Lanier in 1970. To read about Cade & how he fits, check out this article from Bryce Simon on Detroit Bad Boys.

MR Design creates fantastic digital artwork, much of it NBA focused. See more @mrprodesign on Twitter & at mrprodesign.com.

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Detroit Pistons get the #1 pick! #DetroitUp

Ben Wallace, Number 1 Pick

Ben Wallace, Number 1 Pick

Last night the Detroit Pistons secured the #1 draft pick in the NBA Lottery. As Duncan Smith writes, their 2020-21 “Fade for Cade” has paid off spectacularly with their first #1 overall pick since Bob Lanier:

The 2020-21 Detroit Pistons lost a lot of games and their 20-52 record produced the fifth-worst winning percentage (.278) in franchise history. But they did it by design, and grit, accountability and hard work were more important than anything else. For a young team building the foundations of what is hopefully meant to be a great franchise in the future, the building blocks were in place.

Now, fast-forwarding a bit, the Pistons and their hard, painful work over the past year have been rewarded. There won’t be anything easy about this, but teams don’t win anything of import without generational and transformational talents. Time will tell if Cade Cunningham is this, but we know right now he might be.

Indeed he might & if you’re a Pistons fan like me (or Big Ben) you gotta be over the moon right now!!

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Pistons Ringing the Bell for Big Ben Wallace tonight!

Rasheed Wallace to Ben Wallace Alley Oop

Alley Oop, photo by Dave Hogg

In 2016, the Detroit Pistons are retiring the jerseys for Piston greats Ben Wallace (#3) and Chauncey Billups (#1). Big Ben Wallace kicks it off tonight with Rip Hamilton and Chauncey on hand.

Wallace, acquired by Detroit from the Orlando Magic in 2000, spent nine seasons with the Pistons collecting NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors four times (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006) and was named a NBA All-Star four times (2003-06). Wallace was an All-NBA Second Team selection three times (2003, 2004, 2006), All-NBA Third Team selection twice (2002 and 2005) and an NBA All-Defensive First Team selection five times (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006). During his first stint with Detroit (2000-06), the Pistons made the playoffs in five of the seven years, winning Eastern Conference Championships in 2004 and 2005 and the NBA Championship in 2004. Wallace is the franchise’s all-time leader in regular-season and playoff blocks (1,486 and 215, respectively) and ranks first among Pistons’ all-time playoff leaders in rebounds (1,237). He holds franchise single-game records for blocks in a game (10 – twice), defensive rebounds in a quarter (10) and blocks in a quarter (6). In 655 games with the Pistons, Wallace averaged 6.6 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 1.4 steals and 1.5 assists in 32.6 minutes per game.

“We celebrated many great accomplishments during my years in Detroit and to be recognized for my contributions in this way, I’m honored,” said Wallace. “I look forward to sharing this experience with all the fans who supported me throughout my years as a Piston.”

Wallace, a 6’9″, 240-pound center went undrafted in the 1996 NBA Draft and spent time with Washington, Orlando, Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland. Wallace recorded 10,482 rebounds during his career, becoming one of only 37 players and the only undrafted player (Moses Malone was drafted in the 1974 American Basketball Association Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers in the ABA Dispersal Draft in 1976) in NBA history to record 10,000 rebounds. He is also one of only 10 players in NBA history to record 10,000 rebounds and 2,000 blocks and is the shortest player at 6’9″ to record 2,000 career blocks. Overall, in 1,088 career NBA games, Wallace averaged 5.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.3 assists in 29.5 minutes per game.

View Dave’s photo of a (Rasheed) Wallace to Wallace alley oop from Christmas Day, 2005 big as Big Ben and click for more of his Detroit Pistons photos.

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PS: Here’s a bonus photo by Dave that previously appeared on Michigan in Pictures because it’s so awesome.

Pistons_starting_5

Farewell Mr. Big Shot: Chauncey Billups announces retirement

Billups has the sweet shot

Billups has the sweet shot, photo by Andrew McFarlane

Mark Spears of Yahoo Sports broke the story that Pistons great Chauncey Billups is retiring:

Billups was best known for his first stay with the Pistons from 2002-08. He earned the nickname “Mr. Big Shot” for his clutch shooting when he led Detroit to the 2004 NBA championship and another Finals appearance in ’05. He was part of the Pistons’ star foursome that also included Ben Wallace, Rip Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace.

Billups said the “best memories” of his career were with the Pistons.

“Before that, my career was in jeopardy in a few different stages,” Billups said. “I persevered, sustained and continued to work hard, and finally got my opportunity in Detroit, and I never turned back from that point. That’s what made it so sweet to me to win a championship after what I went through. I had to scrap and fight to get through it and to reach the pinnacle made it even sweeter.

“Winning the championship was the ultimate. I never set out to win the [Finals] MVP. Winning the championship was enough.”

…Billups averaged 15 points, 5.4 assists and made 38.7 percent of his 3-point attempts during his NBA career. He made the All-NBA second team twice, the All-NBA third team once and the All-Defense team twice. He finished with 15,802 points, ranks 39th all-time with 5,636 assists and sixth with 1,830 3-pointers made. He also had 1,051 steals in his career.

Read on for more, visit his NBA player page for stats & such, have a look at his top 10 Piston highlights from the NBA and definitely read this great feature on Chauncey Billups at Grantland by Jonathan Abrams.

I’m not sure if Billups will make the Hall of Fame, but he’s one of their all-time greats in my book! It’s rare when I use one of my own photos here – this one’s from a 2006 game at the Palace where I had a great time. View it bigger and see more in my Pistons v Grizzlies slideshow.

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