By: Will Burchfield
There’s no denying Grant Hill had a terrific run on the Detroit Pistons, the team who drafted him third overall in the 1994 NBA Draft.
From 1994-2000, he averaged over 20 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists per game. He was an All-League selection every year. He played in five All-Star Games. He finished in the top ten in win shares on three occasions. His scoring average is the fourth highest in team history.
But does that warrant the Pistons retiring his number 33, immortalizing him in The Palace rafters alongside the likes of Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer?
Hill certainly hopes so.
“That was always something that you would look up there during the national anthem and think ‘Man, one day I would love to be up there,'” Hill told mlive.com. “Obviously, things change and what not by leaving and so on. But I’ll put my six years up there up against anybody else’s six years.
Hill’s departure from the Pistons via a sign-and-trade in the 2000 offseason left some fans disgruntled. But the main knock against his resume is the lack of team success that accompanied his own. The Pistons never advanced past the first round of the playoffs during Hill’s six-year tenure with the team.
Of the 12 former Pistons who currently have banners raised at the Palace, all of them won an NBA championship.
In addition to Thomas and Laimbeer, that list includes Dave Bing, Bob Lanier, Dennis Rodman, Vinnie Johnson, Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, former coach Chuck Daly, former owner William Davidson and former general manager Jack McCloskey.
Does Hill belong in their company?
The personal stats suggest he does. The team stats suggest otherwise.
“So if it’s meant to be, it happens. But if not, it doesn’t change how I feel about the place not one bit,” he said.
“When I go to Detroit, it conjures up a lot of great memories. I think the thing that I enjoyed and maybe fully didn’t appreciate is there is a sense of pride up there in Michigan, particularly in Detroit. The city obviously has been through a lot, but when I was there it was a pride about Detroit and anything from Detroit.
“To be a public figure, to be a celebrity, and to be a part of that pride, I could feel it, and it was genuine love and appreciation.”