DETROIT – Twenty-five years before Detroit started grabbing national attention for a comeback before the ink on its bankruptcy filing had dried, a cast of characters that would have done an Elmore Leonard novel proud foreshadowed its city’s fighting spirit.

The Bad Boys got back together Thursday night to raise money for charity and, for those who remember their heyday, you’ll be pleased to know that not much has changed. Isiah Thomas’ smile is still blinding. John Salley remains as big a cutup as ever. And time hasn’t done a thing to smooth Bill Laimbeer’s blunt edge.

If Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hasn’t put up eye-popping numbers this year, blame the guys the Pistons took in the lottery ahead of him. The Georgia rookie came to a far different roster than Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight and Andre Drummond before him did.

The Pistons never anticipated that Caldwell-Pope would play a role as significant as their other recent lottery picks when they drafted him, in part because those other young players had established their value but also because the cap space they took into last summer gave the Pistons the opportunity to further stock the roster.