March 24, 2014 at 2:14 am

Terry Foster

Vinnie Johnson, James Edwards were big shots off Bad Boys' bench

James Edwards' signature move was the fadeaway jumper. (Detroit News)

This is the seventh in a series of stories leading to the reunion of the Pistons Bad Boys team March 28 at The Palace.

Two of the best shooters on the Pistons’ Bad Boys teams came off the bench. That is how deep this team was.

James Edwards was a lanky 7-foot center who shot fadeaway jumpers. Vinnie Johnson was a 6-foot-1 guard who used muscle and brawn to get any shot he wanted.

Many knew Johnson as “The Brooklyn Bridge” because he leaned into shots and “007” after hitting a series-clinching jump shot with 0.07 remaining when the Pistons clinched the 1990 NBA title against Portland. Many knew him as “The Microwave” because he could heat up quickly. But teammates called him “The Who.”

Often Johnson was unstoppable in practice and he’d let out a loud “Heee! Wooo! after hitting a jump shot. It was sometimes comical as Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas tried to stop him. He could start on any team in the NBA but the Pistons were loaded with three All-Star-caliber guards.

Hee Wooo was shortened to “The Who.”

“What you guys saw in games Joe and I saw every single day in practice,” Thomas said. “Every day in practice Vinnie Johnson was the best guard on the floor.”

After the Pistons lost Rick Mahorn in the expansion draft following the 1989 title, Edwards became the starting power forward. The game plan was to go to him early in the first quarter and Edwards’ signature move was the fadeaway jumper. He’d often score eight to 10 points in the first quarter and the rest of the team fed off him.

“We wanted to see how the defense was going to react,” Edwards said. “If I was hot they had to make adjustments. If they were going to double down I could just kick it out to Vinnie or Isiah or whomever was out there at the time.”

The Pistons called it riding the Buddha Train.

Where did the shot come from?

Edwards weighed only 225 pounds when he came into the league and could not hold his ground when he shot. He developed the fade called the Buddha Train and it sure was effective.

Vinnie Johnson, here speaking during a 2011 ceremony at The Palace, used ... (Clarence Tabb, Jr. / Detroit News)
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