Top 5 NBA teams of all time- #5: 1988-89 Detroit Pistons


The 1988-89 Detroit Pistons were one of the most despised sports teams in the history of any sport. However, this is partly what made them so great. In 1988-89, nobody wanted to play the Pistons. They prided themselves on defense and getting stops no matter the cost. This team was the definition of the saying “defense wins championships.”

In the ’80s, the NBA was traditionally dominated by two very established franchises: the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. During the 1988-89 season, this was not the case. The Pistons beat both teams on their way to winning their championship. Not to mention that apart from these teams, they also took down the Chicago Bulls, who had arguably the best player of all time: Michael Jordan.

This Pistons team was not great by accident; their roster was filled with star players and future hall-of-famers. Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas, two guards on their roster, are both hall-of-famers now and were named to the top fifty players of all time. To add to this dynamic duo, the Pistons brought in star rookie Mark Aguirre, who would go on to play fourteen NBA seasons, averaging twenty points a game. On top of this, they added Dennis Rodman; although he was crazy off the court, he was the best defensive player to ever play the game.

During this year, Vinnie Johnson (6th man for the Pistons) won the NBA Sixth Man Award. This is just another example to show the depth that this team had and why they were so good. Other notable names on the roster included Rick Mahorn, Bill Laimbeer, John Salley, and James Edwards.

More times than not when teams are stacked with star players, it doesn’t always work out. This was not the case with the Pistons. Nobody on their team cared about scoring or any personal stats in general. The team had one goal in mind as a whole, and that goal was to win. That is exactly what the Pistons did that year, going 63-19 during the regular season, but more impressively 15-2 during the playoffs. The members of the 1988-89 Pistons did not care about themselves but rather every single one of their teammates. Collectively, the only number they cared about was the number of wins.

This team had the determination and the grit to make it all the way, and that is what they did. They may not have had the prettiest wins or the flashiest plays, but they got the job done, and that is all that matters. They played incredibly selflessly, only wanting what is best for the team. That is the perfect recipe for success.

This very deep and talented basketball team was not only able to win a championship, but they were able to win that championship in one of the most competitive and toughest decades in the history of the National Basketball Association. For this reason, the 1988-89 Pistons are a top 5 team of all time.