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Greater four All-Stars: Pistons or Celtics?

When Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen suit up at the All-Star game tonight in Los Angeles, they’ll represent one of the signature moments in recent Pistons history: when Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace were all named to the 2006 All-Star Game.

Now, I don’t mean to compare the groups to suggest that, talent-wise, I think the Pistons foursome was the more talented. Three of Boston’s four are sure-bet Hall of Famers and the fourth, Rondo, could get to that level someday. The Pistons had four nice players, but other than Ben Wallace and maybe Billups, I don’t think any of them will merit serious Hall consideration.

The point is just to show how similar this version of the Celtics is to those 2000s Pistons teams. Both teams won a title. Both teams lost a hard-fought seven game series in a Finals appearance. Both teams staked their reputations on absolutely suffocating defense. Boston won’t match Detroit’s sustained success of six straight Conference Finals appearances, but the Celtics have been there three of the last four seasons and are heavily favored to get back there again this season.

And like the Pistons, they’ve done it with a veteran core that, if they don’t win a title this year, will inevitably face the same questions the Pistons did — keep the team intact because of the unprecedented chemistry and yearly success or retool before the aging process slams the window shut?

In tonight’s game, like in 2006 when Pistons coach Flip Saunders took advantage of the opportunity to put all four Pistons in the game at the same time, Celtics coach Doc Rivers also will have that option. Hopefully, it gives Pistons fans to reminisce over a truly great moment in the team’s history and reflect on the fact that it wasn’t all that long ago. The second half of this season offers little hope, but it’s still great to be a fan of one of the best franchises in the NBA.


  • Feb 20, 20114:26 pm
    by JoshB


    Good comparisons. As frustrating as this team has been very recently, it does always kinda surprise the way some fans respond to this team. Some outsiders would find it hard to believe that this was a championship caliber franchise as recently as 08. Fans of the large majority of the other teams in this league would love to have the success we’ve had, and half the time I hear people trying to explain the success we had as nothing more than luck. I enjoyed the ride, and believe we’ll get back to the top again.

  • Feb 20, 20114:40 pm
    by jgk281


    Kind of ironic too that Pierce was the 5th player in that lineup Flip put out there with the 4 Pistons.

    I remember a quote from Garnett in 2008 where he said the Celtics had patterened themselves after the Pistons.

    Individually, the Celtics are more talented, but as collective, I don’t know of any 4-5 players that had better chemistry than those Pistons, and would have to give the nod to the Pistons as a whole. 

    I know the Celtics beat them when matched up, but that was like an imposter version of the Pistons. The real Pistons were led by LB, had Ben Wallace as their starting Center.

    • Feb 20, 20115:01 pm
      by Tim


      The Pistons led by Saunders were better than those led by Brown ever were. They didn’t get the championship, but that’s just a matter of small sample size. ALmost every team that wins it all gets lucky to some extent, There are a few exception (83 sixers, 96 bulls, 01 lakers) but the 05 pistons were as close to beating the spurs as th 04 pistons were to losing to the nets. and im convinced that the pistons would have one more title if they hadnt shut out flip every year as soon as playoffs hit (dunno if it would have come in 06 or 07 or even 08–im assuming that saunders’ tenure would have lasted longer if his players still played his brand of basketball in the postseason like they did in the regular season).

  • Feb 20, 20114:57 pm
    by jgk281


    As for the HOF though, I kind of think all 5 might get in someday, and the crazy thing is Tay might be the MOST likely to get in as a member of the 2008 Team USA that won Gold. If I’m not mistaken, every other player on every other team that won Gold for USA is in the HOF as member of their team, and with that team having superstars like LeBron, Kobe, and Wade, you have to think they are going to honor that team into the Hall at some point, even if its not for 20 years. So I think Tay is almost a lock to get in for that.

    Then, you got Rip as the leading scorer on an NCAA and NBA team where he led both to championships. He is one of only a handful of players to accomplish that, and I’m not certain, but  I think all the other players on that list are in. His recent downfall is going to hurt his chances now, so he might need to add anothe chapterto his career by getting on with a contender for the last few years, but if they judged players on what they do past their prime, no one would get in. So we’ll see.

    Chauncey and Ben, as you mentioned, have a great chance given all their accolades – Chauncey’s Finals MVP and 5 All-Stars, and Ben’s 4 DPY’s, 4 All-Stars, and all the elite groups of defensive statistical categories he is part of, with guys like Robinson and Olajuwan.

    I think Rasheed deserves to get in because of his sheer unique talent, and I’m a believer that the HOF should inculde players that were truly unique and great talents, which Rasheed was.

    Add in the championship for all them as validation, all the playoff success, and the fact that they did it with old-school defense, and fundamentally sound offense, and I think the Hall will recognize some of them some day, if not all.

    • Feb 20, 20115:07 pm
      by Tim


      Rasheed would deserve to get in over everyone but Ben if it wasn’t for all Billups did for Denver the moment he showed up. As it is, Ben Wallace should be a lock to get in. Billups would get in too but is not a lock. Sheed had big time talent but didn’t tear up the league enough to get into the HOF. I mean, his stats weren’t too different than ZBo. Hamilton was a good scorer, but not great. He shouldn’t even really get serious HOF consideration. As for Prince, I don’t know how a player who has never been an all-star can really get any HOF consideration.

    • Feb 20, 20119:37 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Wow. The bar for the Hall would be at an all-time low if Prince or Hamilton are ever put in.

      I love both of those guys, but they are both easy Nos.

      Prince will retire with zero all-star appearances. He will never be a top two player on a good team. He was All-Defense second team a couple of times. He’s had a nice NBA career, but he was never even a top 10 player at his position during his career, and he might not even be top 15 most of those seasons.

      As for the Olympic thing, the only reason he was added to that team was because USA Basketball made a conscious decision to add some role players because the recent stars-only versions had imploded. Christian Laettner was on the original dream team, and he even had a much better college career than Prince on his resume, and there is no way in hell he’s getting in either.

      Hamilton is largely in the same boat. Very nice player in his era, but never top 10 at his position.

      • Feb 20, 201111:51 pm
        by jgk281


        Im not certain, but didnt the Dream Team just get inducted into the HOF last year? Was Laetner excluded for being a role player?

        If he was on the roster, I would think he would’ve gotten honored with the rest of the team, just like Tay should, even if they didnt play a big role, but idk, I didnt really pay attention to the ceremony last year.

      • Feb 21, 201112:07 am
        by jgk281


        I just looked it up and Laetner IS a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

        He was inducted this past summer as a member of the 1992 Dream Team.


        Does that mean we can start referring to Tay as “Future HOF’er” Tayshaun Prince? lol

        I bet Chauncey’s been kicking himself about pulling out of that team. That would’ve guaranteed him an induction at least as a member of the Redeem Team, but also would’ve strengthened his chances of going in as an individual.

        As for Rip, I agree I dont really think he will get in, but you never know. It is the “basketball” hall of fame, not just NBA, and it is quite an accomplishment to win both an NCAA championship and NBA championship, leading both teams in scoring. Jordan, Magic, Isiah, and Kareem are the only other players I can think of off the top that have accomplished that. Not that they got in off of that, but still good company for Rip to make his case, but ultimately I dont think he will get in.

        It would be awesome if one day they honored the whole 2004 team as the all-time greatest defensive team in basketball history.

      • Feb 21, 201112:25 am
        by Kamal


        Damn, Patrick.  You’re saying that there were 10 shooting guards better than Rip when he was in his prime?  I don’t believe that.  Hell, I don’t believe that there’s been 10 shooting guards that have had better careers than Rip since he’s been in the league.

        Joe Johnson

        After that, it’s pretty debatable.  Guys like Stackhouse, Redd, Finley, didn’t have the career Rip had and guys like Roy haven’t played long enough.

        • Feb 21, 20112:02 am
          by Kamal


          I forgot about TMac and Vince Carter.  They had better careers than Rip as well.

    • Feb 21, 20111:38 am
      by MrHappyMushroom


      As much as I loved those teams, I don’t see any of them as HoF members.  Perhaps one or two as sort of “representing the others”, at most…
      Hamilton was a good scorer for a long time.  But he’s never been elite.  Prince has been a very good all-around player, but would you ever call him one of the Top 5 small forwards in the game?  If not and he were voted in, the ranks of the Hall would swell.
      Chauncey…maybe.  I’m not quite sure that he has the stats or the championship pedegree.  But it does look increasingly like he just makes people around him better.  One more trade and a fabulous season that leads a new team to new heights and I could see it.
      Ben…you know, if Rodman gets in, Ben could as well.  Ben as a major offensive liability, however, will hamper him.  And while Ben has been  a great rebounder, Rodman is probably one of the handful of all-time greats.  Ben is pretty unique; Rodman was unlike any other player to play the game.
      ‘Sheed?  Give me a break.  “A unique talent”.  “If he put his mind to it, he could be one of the greatest players in the game.”  But he didn’t.  He helped to poison the Trailblazers.  He was the difference in “04, as he loved his role.  But then he gave up on the team in later playoff rounds, didn’t try hard for his last year in Detroit, and effed around in Boston for a year, playing way out of shape.  His career stats aren’t remarkable.  And by no means did he always make his team better.  Based on what people have always said about ‘Sheed’s potential and skillset, it’s hard to argue that he didn’t somewhat underachieve in his career.  I can’t see that being hall worthy.

  • Feb 20, 20115:50 pm
    by Ryan


    Totally forgot Ron Harper was an assistant for the Stones.

    Rasheed will eventually get in someday I think.   Just watching some of his clips from when he was in Portland and surely talent wise he’s one of the best to ever play the game.

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  • Feb 20, 20118:57 pm
    by Ryan


    its bugging the hell out of me, why was arenas annouced as a forward?

    • Feb 20, 20119:37 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Haha. I thought the same thing. Even Gil looked confused when they said ‘forward.’

  • Feb 20, 201110:13 pm
    by gmehl1977


    Out of the 5 only Big Ben & Chauncey have a chance to make the HOF and having said that there is no guarantee that either of the 2 will. I am not saying i think neither deserves to but with the way they choose players to get in the HOF it just might work against them both. Big Ben & Chauncey were my favorite pistons during their ECF reign but the HOF should be for guys like Jordon/Bird/Magic/Erving/Thomas/Chamberlain or what you would call standout stars their whole career. I don’t see any of those pistons in that way but i am kind of happy that i don’t. They were special for that very reason because they beat there opponents with less talent but with more team work and heart. This should not be seen as a blight to any of those pistons cause i think sometimes to make the HOF you have to be somewhat a little selfish which is just not the piston way.

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