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Another day, another largely positive national look at the Detroit Pistons, who have Andre Drummond to thank for this change in perception

Perhaps the most impressive achievement for the Pistons this offseason is how they’ve managed to do great work shifting the national perception of the team. The last two seasons, they were in the worst possible place — nowhere near good enough to get national attention for positive things and nowhere near bad enough to be a legitimate contender for a top of the lottery pick. They were bad, just not interestingly or historically bad. They were the type of bad that is really easy for national media to ignore.

Things seem to be working out OK, though. The perception of the team has rapidly changed simply be shedding two onerous contracts (Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon) in the last two seasons and adding an abundance of young players, including five rookies this season. Yahoo!’s Ball Don’t Lie is the latest national site to see the Pistons as a potential surprise team, or at the very least a team headed in the right direction. From Kelly Dwyer:

There is Greg Monroe, though. Greg Monroe, potential All-Star. Greg Monroe, Scoring Big Man Who Doesn’t Make You Cringe Every Time He Lands Hard On His Feet.

Monroe’s defensive issues have been well-established by this point, and though we’d be foolish to completely write off his abilities on that end at such an early age, NBA big men don’t tend to improve on that end in ways that resemble, say, Albert Pujols turning into a Gold Glove-level first basemen. Little of this currently matters, though, because of Monroe’s ability to carry a team at times with his efficient scoring and impressive passing. On a team still stuck in a holding pattern, that work with the ball is desperately needed, and the eventual pairing with Drummond could be a franchise-changer.

Nothing’s changed, though. All of this movement is still a while away, while Frank and Dumars figure out who sticks, and before all that 2013 cap space hits. Frank’s abilities and Monroe’s ascension could have our guess at the won/loss total looking foolish by February; but this still feels like a team that is going to lose far more than it wins in 2012-13.

The corner has been turned, though. Now it’s up to Dumars to not replicate 2009 some four frustrating years later, next offseason.

Monroe is obviously great. But let’s be honest … the reason the perception of the Pistons is changing is all because of Drummond. Their future is dependent on his success, but the exciting way he plays is paying dividends as far as generating interest in the team right now. From Eric Freeman in BDL’s preview:

Drummond is incredibly talented, an athletic dynamo with impressive skills and the chance to be a true game-changing player at both ends. He’s shown considerable flashes of that ability in the preseason, wowing fans and generally standing out as one of the rookies most worth watching. That’s not to say that he’s anything close to a finished product. But Drummond clearly has something, an ineffable star quality that helps him prove fascinating even when he’s not playing his best.

Also, all of the ‘start Drummond now’ supporters should definitely click through and read all of Freeman’s words. He’s definitely on the bandwagon and seems baffled that Lawrence Frank hasn’t committed to playing Drummond in a big role immediately.


  • Oct 22, 201211:19 am
    by vic


    as I hinted at on my last comment a couple posts down, this positive perception stemming from Drummond and a team with good young pieces will be the key to landing the bonafide STAR free agent they need.

    Getting Drummond was the best thing for the Pistons this year, on the court and for the overall team marketing. Now to get to chip contention, they need to push for the playoffs this year, get rid of as much contract as possible, and get the free agent they want in 2013. 

    Either get a star or keep all your money till 2014. 

    • Oct 22, 201212:01 pm
      by Keith


      Honest question though, what honest to goodness stars are even available in 2013? Bynum is set to hit the market, but plays the same position as Drummond. Josh Smith is out there, but is still in love with his broken jump shot (though he’s still a star given his defense, passing, and scoring near the basket). Iguodala could hit the market, and is by far better than Prince or Stuckey.
      Honestly I would take any of those guys, but that’s still 3 players headlining the whole class (I don’t count RFAs because if they are any good they can’t change teams). I’m not sure we would have the draw to grab any of them over other suitors. I think it may be in our best interest to pull a Charlotte/OKC/San Antonio and rent out that cap space for draft picks. From a pure projection standpoint, I expect the Pistons to be in the lottery again. It would be great to get an established star, but the more likely scenario is that we give Dumars enough picks and he finds someone later who works out well above expectations.

      • Oct 22, 201212:06 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        CP3 and Dwight are unrestricted, not that Detroit has a shot at either guy, but they are headlining the class.

        Also, I think Paul Pierce has a player option. He’ll probably exercise it, and he might be too old to be a ‘star’ but I think he still has ‘star power’ at least.  

        • Oct 22, 201212:19 pm
          by Keith


          I totally forgot about Paul and Howard. I suppose they were so far off my radar (0% chance they would come here) it didn’t even occur to me. Pierce only reinforces the problems we have. Young team with too many old guys. Signing Pierce would be counterproductive, in my opinion. He can’t stay at his current level long, and we would have to significantly overpay him to make him leave Boston.

          • Oct 22, 201212:44 pm
            by sop

            2013: Al Jefferson is a bonafide star as are Josh Smith, James Harden and Iguodala. Others like Tyreke, Curry, Jrue, and Jennings all have potential to be stars.

          • Oct 22, 20124:51 pm
            by Keith

            Al Jefferson is not a star. He’s actually pretty inefficient because he doesn’t pass or draw fouls. And his defense is worse than Monroe’s. Like a Carlos Boozer, his overall impact is generally negative – many NBA players are wildly overrated because they score a lot, but do not truly impact the game at the level their reputation suggests (think Carmelo, a true second banana always hyped as a superstar).
            Smith is a star, but loves bad shots. The major thing with him is how much his immense defensive impact is overlooked. He’s essentially a 6-9 Andre Iguodala – great passer, great rebounder, great defender, shaky outside shot and too many jumpers per game.
            Harden is an elite scorer, no doubt about it, but there’s no way OKC lets him walk for nothing. They’ll match just to trade him if it even comes to that, same most likely with Curry. Evans is more of a wildcard as he’s not a PG, not a shooter, and hasn’t really developed much since his rookie year. Maybe we could steal him away because of that, but his current game isn’t much different/better than Stuckey’s. Jrue has been spectacularly average so far. He’s more of a true PG than anyone we have now, but I don’t see his upside any greater than Knight’s. Jennings is kind of the same. He had an incredible start to his career, but has wholly unremarkable since. He doesn’t shoot or finish well, and he loves to shoot more than pass. He’s too small to be a great defender, and in fact has been pretty terrible one in Milwaukee. Jennings is a pretty average starting PG with well above average hype all from one good month at the start of his career.

        • Oct 22, 20126:06 pm
          by tarsier


          Why does nobody ever mention Millsap when talking about the best of the 2013 FA class?

          • Oct 22, 201211:54 pm
            by Keith

            He can’t play SF for the season, and I don’t like him better than Monroe or Drummond.

          • Oct 23, 20124:49 pm
            by tarsier

            He doesn’t need to be. You need at least 3 big guys in your PF/C rotation. Besides, he can play spot minutes at SF. But it’s true that I wouldn’t put him there full-time. Positionally, he is exactly the same as Smith. Obviously he isn’t in terms of playing style. He is more like Monroe where Smith is more like Drummond.

      • Oct 22, 201212:51 pm
        by vic


        I’d take Josh Smith or Iquodala or CP3. I doubt J Harden would move. 
        I’d also take Tyreke Evans.
        No thanks to anyone else.

        Keep the money, or like you said, get a top 5 draft pick if that’s posssible.
        They would do well with either Tony Mitchell or Shabazz Muhammad in the draft. 

        Once you’ve got a solid core its time to be more precise in team building. 

        • Oct 22, 20121:24 pm
          by sop


          I’m not a fan of Tony Mitchell. He’s an undersized PF not a SF and has no perimeter game. Great athlete but the Pistons need perimeter shooters. His high ranking is reflective of how week this draft class is. It’s particularly bad in terms of wings who can shoot, which is what the Pistons need.

          • Oct 22, 20121:34 pm
            by vic

            Tony Mitchell was 44% from 3 on 2 attempts a game. And that’s playing big. The main bigs that shot better than him on a good number of attempts are John Shurna and Doug McDermott.

            He’ll end up a less passing but higher percentage scoring Josh Smith. 

          • Oct 22, 20123:44 pm
            by sop

            That’s possible but I think all this stats are overrated due to the weak competition he’s getting.

      • Oct 22, 20123:53 pm
        by Desolation Row


        If we land Josh Smith, despite his broken shot, it would mark a major turn for the franchise. We would be back. Harden is also having some contract negotiation issues with OKC right now… but from what I read of him, he’s very happy being the third option. 

        Stephen Curry though… could be available and at a discount, given his injury woes. Adding him and another non-max guy could stack our PG/SG lineup. I doubt Dumars takes that kind of a risk though.

        I think Josh Smith is our guy.  

        • Oct 22, 20123:59 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          Agree 100 percent. They’ve been pining for Smith for about five years now, and there were even rumors a few years back that Smith wanted to play for the Pistons. Whether those were true or not I don’t know, but I can’t see Dumars not making Smith their top target.

          • Oct 22, 20128:08 pm
            by sop

            So if Drummond proves to be a starter then what do you do? Still bring him off the bench or have J-Smoov come off the bench or play at SF? I like him a lot less at SF.

          • Oct 22, 20129:23 pm
            by domnick

            by seeing the free agents below, i will not focus much on Josh Smith… i’d rather target Paul Millsap…

            i wanna try some trade and steal cp3 :D i mean… give it a shot and this team will go to the conference finals right away!

          • Oct 22, 201211:58 pm
            by Keith

            If we land Smith, we would play him at SF. His penchant for jumpers is the same whether he’s at SF or PF. Slide him into PF alongside Monroe for a few minutes as well when Drummond sits. He’s quick enough to guard wings, and big enough to abuse them on offense. I can’t think of a more ideal Lebron-stopper than an equally large and athletic defender.

      • Oct 22, 20128:29 pm
        by sop


        Here’s the full free agency outlook for 2013
        (players ranked by how valuable I see them being to the Pistons and with the % of them leaving current team)

        1. Chris Paul  (UFA) (2%)
        2. Dwight Howard (UFA) (1%)
        3. James Harden (RFA) (8%)
        4. Andre Iguodala (ETO) (5%)
        5. Josh Smith (UFA) (35%)
        6. Al Jefferson (UFA) (45%)
        7. Jrue Holiday (RFA) (25%)
        8. Monta Ellis (ETO)(10%)
        9. Tyreke Evans  (RFA)(25%)
        10. Brandon Jennings (RFA)(20%)
        11. DeMar DeRozan (RFA)(55%)
        12. Stephen Curry (RFA)(15%)
        13. OJ Mayo (PO) (5%)
        14. Paul Milsap (UFA) (65%)
        15. David West (RFA) (30%)
        16. Nick Young (UFA) (70%)
        17. Kevin Martin (UFA)(85%)
        18. J.J. Redick (UFA) (25%)
        19. Chauncey Billups (UFA) (10%)
        20. Anthony Morrow (UFA) (50%)
        21. Kyle Korver (UFA)(65%)
        22. J.R. Smith (PO)(20%)
        23. Gerald Henderson (RFA) (30%)
        24. Marco Belinelli (UFA) (60%)
        25. Brando Rush (PO) (5%)

        • Oct 22, 20128:49 pm
          by tarsier


          Switch Curry and Ellis. Switch Jrue and Millsap. Then it’s about right.

          • Oct 22, 20129:17 pm
            by sop

            Curry’s too injury prone. When Milsap loses a step in a year or two he will be nearly useless as an undersized big, plus playing him next to Monroe would put ZERO shot-blocking on the court.

    • Oct 23, 20129:55 am
      by tarsier


      2014? Really? You do realize that FA class doesn’t look nearly as good. And Detroit will have to eat a lot fo cap space on Monroe’s re-signing. And there is a minimum salary cap for teams as well. So carrying cap space from year to year is tricky and suboptimal. Finally, such a plan would totally defeat the point of the BG trade. If Detroit just saves cap space for 2014, they essentially threw away a first round pick for zero return.

      • Oct 23, 20126:34 pm
        by sop


        2014? Who @#*% are you talking to? nobody said anything about 2014.

  • Oct 22, 201212:08 pm
    by Ray



    He is easily the most exciting player, we have drafted or had in Detroit since Grant Hill. Starting Drummond excites fans, it starts to fill an arena , that hasnt even come close to being filled in around 4-5 years…other than when Lebron James comes to town….Its a desevred hype…because he has performed….NBAtv even said its like he has a Highlight Everyone Night…

    This is Marketing 101 … Give the people what they want, plus HE IS THE BEST OPTION AT CENTERon the team….

    Sidenote: I hope the 2k13 programmers, who are responsbile for updates are paying attention Drummond 59 rating is totally disrespectful 

  • Oct 22, 201212:40 pm
    by sop


    Maxiell would be really pissed if he doesn’t start and get lots of minutes in his contract year, but does that really matter? To Joe D it does. He thinks if you show players loyalty then vets will want to come and play for you because you’ll have that rep of being a players first franchise.
    On another note, looking at all the PG options available next year in free agency, it needs to be a big year for Knight if he wants to provide he is the future of the team at the point.

    • Oct 22, 20125:13 pm
      by jerrific


      Dumars has never been a gm that micro manages coaching decisions like playing time. He prefers to set up a team he thinks can win with a coach he believes in and let it work itself out. Whether Drummond starts or plays heavy minutes will be completely ob Frank.

  • Oct 22, 201212:44 pm
    by Ray


    There were 3 players I thought we could draft that would change the perception about the team, and get people excited and talking about the Pistons

    1. Austin Rivers – We would have had to move Stuckey, but Rivers would have been great for this City as for as excitement

    2. Kidd-gilchrist – VERY,VERY,VERY OVERRATED as a player, but the excitement around him would have been really high in Detroit…BTW..did I say he was VERY OVERRATED?

    3. Drummond – Folks this is a 6’10 270 dude that can almost dunk from the FT line…He can do the Vince Carter Elbow on the rim dunk and also do the between the legs dunks….

    Those we the 3 players I thought to raise the bar as for as excitement….

    Drummond i believe can become that likeable Dominate Big Man sort of like Dwight was before last year, and how Shaq was his whole career…. everytime he steps on the floor, im waiting to see something happen, just like when Blake Griffin attacks the basket, you want someone to challege his dunk attempt…. I can see him busting up a rim, like Shaq did in his youth…. anyway…He is VERY GOOD for the franchise

  • Oct 22, 201212:56 pm
    by frankie d


    don’t start drummond.
    do what chuck daly used to do with james edwards and aguire and dennis rodman and salley.
    start max, play him for 7 or 8 minutes, get what you can from him, and then bring drummond off the bench.  
    there will be less pressure on  him, it will probably help keep him out of foul trouble and he can probably learn to relish the role of impact big guy dramatically coming into the game and causing trouble for the other team.
    do that till maybe january or so…or whenever it is obvious that he has to start.
    imho, it probably will help his development if he doesn’t start, as long as he gets regular minutes.  even if he has a few poor games in a row.
    and as long as he is playing about 20-25 minutes per game from the beginning.

  • Oct 22, 20122:05 pm
    by Jack


    What position would Josh Smith Play?  Also David West is a free agent I think.

    • Oct 22, 20126:11 pm
      by tarsier


      Smith would get most of his minutes at PF when either Monroe or Drummond is on the bench and the other is playing C. When putting the best lineup on the floor, he would be at SF with both Monroe and Drummond in.

  • Oct 22, 20122:20 pm
    by Nick


    I say let Drummond come off the bench for the first 2 wks. Let him get comfortable with playing in regular season games. Then you let Drummond start from that point on. Everyone need to just calm down Drummond will be starting after 2 wks. It’s gonna be hard for Frank to keep him on the bench. I also gotta add that if he develop any type of post move I feel very sorry for the other NBA teams lol. Man it feels good to be a Piston fan right now.

  • Oct 22, 20122:26 pm
    by Scotty P


    as a wizards fan, I really wanted to see them take Drummond at third overall. He does things that are very special, sort of like Javale McGee but with a lot more strength.  He even has a knack for making 10 footers falling away, turning around. Nice touch for a youngin.  I fell in love with him when he stole a pass on the wing last year, left everyone in the dust , 2-3 dribbles and hammer dunk.

    You should take a possible franchise center over a SG (Beal) anyday. Many teams will regret not toking Big Dre. I hope he’s a monster.  Lets hope he just gets that confidence and can make 6/10 freebies.

  • Oct 22, 20124:08 pm
    by assistman


    Let Drummond and Monroe share center duty this year, and while also giving them court time together to develop chemistry. Drummond’s D will come along over time. BUT… DON’T look to landing a superstar in free agency. Monore is in for a Pau Gasol-like career and can help anchor this team’s offense for 15 years.  Drummond can be even better.  What the Pistons need is Shabazz Mohammad and time, and they’ll be set to rise to contender status and stay there for a decade.  If they miss out on the UCLA guard, they can get a defensive wing and still be looking great going forward. With Washington, Toronto, Brooklyn, Cleveland, the Bucks, the Wolves, and the Warriors all gunning for a playoff spot, and the Magic possessing an abundance of average talent, one more high pick can be gold for this team. 

  • Oct 22, 20124:14 pm
    by assistman


    Both Cleveland and Golden State are really, really, really going to regret drafting Big ‘Dre… and they probably already know this.

  • Oct 23, 201211:50 am
    by jonathan


    I “want” Drummond to start too, but with little thought recognize his need to be “hungry for the role” could be flushed away. Believe it or not Drummond starting right away and being fantastic could wreak havoc on his long term career

    This can be seen with other Dud centers like Kwame or look at that Darko situation – Darko may not have played right away but he got the title and money right away and by the time he tried to get motivated (on another team) it was to far removed to matter.

    A too young player with everything handed to him means no motivation with improvement and Drummond NEEDS TO IMPROVE to reach that ceiling only a few NBA centers have actually reached in their “careers”

    Make him want it.
    Let him earn it.

    Then he will appreciate it the more so.

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