With the 2012 NBA Draft just weeks away (35 days, 7 hours at time this was written), Detroit Pistons fan are foaming at the mouth, champing at the bit, sitting on the edge of their seats — and carrying out other cliches — in anticipation of one thing: Who will the Pistons select with their projected Lottery Pick?
If you’re like me, you’d like to see the Pistons take a center to complement Greg Monroe, who played center at times this season, but is really a bonafide four. There are options, obviously. One player in particular that I like is UConn’s Andre Drummond, a near 7-footer with an enormous wingspan, incredible athleticism and excellent strength. He’s only a baby, too — fresh off his first year of college. He could develop into a reliable post presence for the Pistons, or whichever team drafts him.
The Pistons have pieces in place, players to build around. If anything lacks in Detroit, it’s toughness. Getting back to the rough-and-tough mode of operation would benefit the Pistons. Other than Monroe, and maybe Jason Maxiell, not many players were willing to mix it up in the paint. Drafting a center like Drummond could fix that problem.
Detroit is trying to return to its roots, forget the losing seasons and give fans a reason to pack The Palace.
“The last couple of years, I think, are the toughest years that we should see,” said Pistons GM Joe Dumars, one of the greatest Pistons players in the history of the franchise. “I think you’ll see us turn the corner going forward now. We stand for something.”
If Dumars wants to sell the fans on the new mantra, he has to erase a questionable draft history. Of course, that won’t be done in a year, or even done with a couple drafts. However, there is no better time to start than now.
The deficiencies in Detroit are evident. But so are the positives. With All-Rookie star guard Brandon Knight sure to set the world on fire, the Pistons have a solid contributor in the backcourt. Knight, a former Kentucky Wildcats sensation, has the skills to make others around him better. He’s well liked and respected by teammates. That’s important, and quite reassuring, considering he’s had just one season with Detroit.
“Well, I don’t like Brandon (Knight), actually,” Monroe said. “Nah, I’m just joking. Like I said before, everybody on the team is good friends. I think we’re definitely building a great chemistry together.”
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If Monroe likes one former Kentucky star, perhaps he’ll like another. If Michael Kidd-Gilcrhist is available when the Pistons pick, assuming Drummond is gone, then taking him would be the next best thing in my eyes. Kidd-Gilchrist’s game is one that I can describe in one word: explosive. During the 2012 NCAA Tournament, I watched him take two strides — literally, two strides — from the 3-point line, maneuver through a crowd in mid-air, and throw down a well-executed dunk.
Kidd-Gilchrist’s athleticism is beyond comprehension. I know some Pistons fans don’t want another small forward-type player. But considering the fact that Tayshaun Prince, also of Kentucky, is aging, it would make sense for the Pistons to at least entertain taking one this year — even if it isn’t Kidd-Gilchrist, who could also play shooting guard. Sure, there are other small forwards on the roster. But do any of them have the potential to be the star that Prince once was? No. Not even close. Kidd-Gilchrist, with his versatility, could essentially fill two roles. What a bonus.
There are over four weeks until the draft. And although the NBA still hasn’t decided its champion, if you’re a Pistons fan, the 2012-13 season started, oh, say, about a month or so ago.
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