Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Chauncey Billups, Chris Webber. These are just some of the biggest names that have made their mark on the Detroit Pistons franchise history.
If you singled out Webber on the above list, then you probably didn’t know or perhaps completely forgot that the renowned 6-foot-9 big man actually once dawned the Pistons uniform. Don’t feel too bad for yourself if you missed that tidbit, because Webber’s time in Detroit was actually forgettable, to say the least.
He’s not the only forgotten name, though, and below we have four more players whose stints in Detroit have probably been set aside in most fans’ memories.
Khris Middleton is most well known as the Robin to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Batman for the Milwaukee Bucks. Make no mistake about it, though, Middleton is a tremendous player in his own right. The fact that the Bucks signed him to a five-year max deal in 2019 is a testament to this fact.
Few might remember, however, that it was actually in Detroit where Middleton started off his career. The Pistons selected him 39th overall in the 2012 draft, which in hindsight, makes him one of the best late-round draftees in the 2010’s.
Middleton did not do much in his debut campaign in Detroit, averaging just 6.1 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 17.6 minutes per game. As a matter of fact, the 6-foot-7 swingman managed to play only 27 games throughout his rookie year. This resulted in Detroit opting to trade him the following summer in a deal centered around Brandon Jennings.
Tracy McGrady is one of those all-time greats that ended up bouncing from team to team towards the tail end of his career. For the seven-time All-Star, this translated to four different sides in his final three seasons in the league. One of his final stops happened to be Detroit.
McGrady joined the Pistons in the summer of 2010 as a free agent. At that point, he was just 31, but he was already a far cry from his former self. In 72 games played for Detroit, the two-time NBA scoring champ managed just 8.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 23.4 minutes per contest.
That summer, Detroit let McGrady walk, and he eventually signed with the Atlanta Hawks, which is where he spent the final season of his decorated career.
Throughout a lengthy 18-year career, Jerry Stackhouse played for a total of eight different teams. As such, it would be easy to confuse which team to best associate him with.
Nevertheless, there’s no denying that Stackhouse’s most successful stint came with the Pistons. He arrived in Detroit in December of 1997 following a trade deal from the Philadelphia 76ers.
Stackhouse emerged as one of the best swingmen in the league while with the Pistons, averaging 22.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per contest. This resulted in back-to-back All-Star appearances in ’00 and ’01 for the former third overall pick.
In September of 2002, Stackhouse’s time in Detroit was over. The team sent him to the Washington Wizards in a deal that brought Rip Hamilton to the Pistons. We all know how Hamilton helped the team to that memorable championship in 2004, so in that respect, Stackhouse was still able to provide a huge contribution to the franchise even upon his exit.
It wasn’t until the latter part of his career that Chris Webber joined Detroit. He was actually already 33 at that point, and as it turned out, just a year or so from finally calling time on his decorated NBA career.
Webber signed with the Pistons as a free agent in January of 2007 after being waived by the Philadelphia 76ers. The former five-time All-Star was able to suit up for the Pistons for 43 games, but his production (11.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.0 steals in 29.7 minutes per contest) left a lot to be desired — especially considering how he was such a dominant force in his heyday.
Finally, we have the one and only Allen Iverson, who undeniably made his mark in the league during his controversial stint with the Philadelphia 76ers. For those who have forgotten, Iverson actually played for Detroit for the second half of the 2008-09 campaign. He was still playing at an All-Star level then, and he was able to average 17.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.6 steals in 54 games played.
Iverson — who came to Detroit via a mid-season trade deal from the Denver Nuggets, which sent Chauncey Billups in the opposite direction — did not stay too long with the Pistons, though, with the former MVP opting to sign with the Memphis Grizzlies the following summer as a free agent. In the end, he turned out to be a very expensive half-season rental for the Pistons.