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Pistons work on getting bigger, better

July 15, 2012
The Mining Journal

It's no secret the Detroit Pistons' lineup needs a "big" or two, a player with height who can score and rebound.

Ben Wallace, at 6-foot-9, is nearly 38 years old. He can't handle the post effectively any more after years of meritorious service.

Reserve Jason Maxiel is 6-7, and despite some energy and determination, is limited against some of the league's big centers.

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Greg Monroe, who the Pistons drafted with the No. 7 pick in the first round a couple of years ago, is an up-and-coming big man who's listed as a center, but might be just as good - or better - as a power forward.

That's why the Pistons need a presence inside.

Enter 6-10, 270-pound Andrew Drummond of the University of Connecticut.

Some projected him as the second-best player in the recent NBA draft that saw Anthony Davis of Kentucky taken No. 1.

But when he fell all the way to No. 9 - some have questioned his work ethic and noted he was the second-youngest player available in the draft - the Pistons grabbed him.

Drummond averaged 10 points and 7.6 rebounds last season at UConn as an 18-year-old freshman (he turns 19 in September). He also has a 7-6 1/4 wing span, an inch longer than Davis.

A predraft analysis on ESPN the morning of the NBA selection show suggested Drummond isn't ready for the NBA right now, but may have the best upside of any draftee down the road.

Perhaps that's why the Pistons didn't hesitate to draft him.

Team owner Tom Gores, unlike many executives in a position similar to his, says he's a patient guy.

He wants to see his team make progress toward becoming a playoff contender once again, but knows it won't likely be anytime soon.

"Patience with progress," he said. "We have to make progress."

That kind of attitude may have helped Pistons' President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars select Drummond over big men John Henson and Tyler Zeller of North Carolina and Terrence Jones of Kentucky.

The team can wait for Drummond to develop into an effective NBA player.

The Pistons went 25-41 in last season's lockout-shortened campaign, playing better at the end than at the beginning.

Dumars has made some recent moves that should help the team, if not right away, then in the future.

He traded guard Ben Gordon for veteran small forward Corey Maggette, freeing a lot of salary cap room in the process.

Dumars also signed 6-8 forward Kyle Singler, the team's No. 2 draft pick in 2011 who played in Europe last season.

And the team announced Saturday it signed 6-11 center Vyacheslav Kravtsov, who played in the Ukraine last season, to a multiyear contract.

With so many new players, including second-round draftees Khris Middleton of Texas A&M and Kim English of Missouri, the Pistons' team chemistry this coming season may be an issue.

It'll be up to second-year coach Lawrence Frank to sort it all out and keep everyone happy.

But the Pistons are building for the future. Monroe, 2011 No. 1 draftee Brandon Knight and Drummond are steps toward a better - a more competitive - team.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is cremsburg@miningjournal.net.

 
 

 

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