The Detroit Pistons constructed arguably the most ferocious defense in NBA history in the mid-2000s, They beat the Shaq/Kobe/Malone/Payton Lakers to win it all in ’04 and came excruciatingly close to knocking off Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, and the Spurs the next season. But it didn’t happen, and the first domino to fall was the exit of their championship-winning head coach, Larry Brown.
And ultimately the architect of that beautiful roster, president of basketball operations Joe Dumars, completely lost his touch and his patience, constantly cycling through coaches and making drastic changes just for change’s sake despite the good thing they had going. Perhaps no move signified this haphazard management like the Nov. 3, 2008 trade of Chauncey Billups, their leader and floor general, to Denver for the corpse of Allen Iverson.
It sent them falling down a pit of despair of terrible hires, trades, signings, draft picks, even a mutiny against a head coach until Dumars mercifully resigned after his teardown of a champion to unidentifiable rubble was complete.