The ‘03-’04 Detroit Pistons are the team that all mid to small market teams look at when trying to build a team to win without a true superstar. I’m not going to go all crazy into the stats of this team, but they didn’t even have a 20 ppg scorer. That. Is. Crazy.
The team was comprised of Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Teyshaun Prince, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, and Mehmet Okur. They beat what some might consider the NBA’s first “super team”, the Karl Malone Lakers.
Ben Wallace was a 6’9’’ behemoth that averaged 13 boards, 3 blocks and 2 steals. He only shot 47% from the free throw line. Did people ever do hack-a-Big-Benny-Wallace?
Rip was a nightmare to guard. He was running relentlessly throughout the whole game off and through screens set by large men. He was an efficient scorer and underrated defensively. He got a lot out of his seemingly small, lanky frame.
Teyshaun might be the most awkward “good” player of all time. He was a perfect fit for this tough, grind-you-down type of team.
They had two very good and skilled big men in Rasheed Wallace and Memo. Memo garnered the attention of many teams that season. After winning his title he was purged by the Utah Jazz to become part of the good teams in the post Stockton-Malone era.
Rudy Gobert is our Big Benny Wallace. If you were to compare the numbers, they are pretty similar. I’d say Rudy may even have the edge. Rudy scores better and more efficiently. Ben racked up more steals and blocks, but Rudy was better at actually protecting the rim.
George Hill is our Chauncey Billups. That team wouldn’t have succeeded without Chauney and this won’t succeed without Hill.
Gordon Hayward is our Rip Hamilton. His scoring prowess and consistency is starting to become elite, like that of Hamilton. G is averaging more points than Rip did in their championship season.
Joe Ingles is our Teyshaun Prince. He’s not so much the tough as nails type, but I think he has become our indisputable “glue guy”.
Derrick Favors and Trey Lyles would be our Sheed and Memo. What made Sheed and Memo so good was their ability to stretch the floor on offense, yet play as a traditional big man on the defensive end. I don’t think that these two get enough credit for how good they were and how vital they were for this team’s success. Can Derrick stretch the floor like these two? No, not at this moment. His range is stretching, but I don’t think he’ll ever become as prolific shooting from deep. Trey can shoot it, not as consistently at the moment (although it’s been better the last 5 games or so), but doesn’t defend or rebound like these two.
Some might argue that this Jazz team is actually better than the ‘03-’04 Pistons. It’s definitely deeper. However, this is a different era of basketball filled with multiple “super teams” and many more “superstars”. The brand of basketball is much different as well. Time will tell if this Jazz squad can compare to the NBA Champion Detroit Pistons.