The Detroit Pistons had the chips fall their way last night, and they took advantage by selecting C Andre Drummond out of Connecticut. It had been rumored that the Sacramento Kings would select Drummond with the 5th pick, but they selected PF Thomas Robinson instead when he unexpectedly fell to them. The next three teams (Portland, Golden State, and Toronto) were not as interested in selecting a big man as filling needs at other positions. Things couldn’t have worked out better for the Pistons as they were looking for an athletic big man to play opposite C/PF Greg Monroe. With the selection of Drummond (7’0”, 279-pounds), the Pistons will be able to move Monroe to the power forward position although maybe not right away. Drummond should bring a much-needed defensive presence to Detroit as he is a terrific shot blocker and rebounder, but he is still a project. The Pistons need to be patient with Drummond- he is still very young (turns 19 in August) and very raw offensively. Many classified him as a high risk, high reward player- the comparisons go as good as Dwight Howard and as bad as Kwame Brown. He is very athletic and has as much upside as just about any player in the draft, but he also needs to be developed properly to reach his full potential. In his first season with Connecticut, Drummond put up respectable numbers averaging 10 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game. One area he will really need to work on is his free throw shooting- averaging 29.5% from the charity stripe. Another area he will need work on is his work ethic. He reportedly took plays off and hasn’t exactly worked all that hard off the court to help improve his game. Being around and pushed by Monroe, who had a great work ethic mentor in C/PF Ben Wallace, should help Drummond continue to work on and improve his skills. All these things are important to help the Pistons work their way back to the playoffs and eventually to NBA Finals. A big key will be whether Detroit just drafted a Kwame Brown or a Dwight Howard. (Picture from ripcityproject.com)
With their first pick of the 2nd Round, the Pistons selected SF Khris Middleton out of Texas A&M. Middleton (6’8”, 215-pounds) would have been a 1st Round pick had he declared for the draft after his strong sophomore season a year ago, but he decided to return to the Aggies and had his numbers dip due to some nagging injuries. Middleton is a good mid-range shooter and a solid rebounder. He will need to add some strength to guard the more physical small forwards in the NBA, but that shouldn’t be a problem if he continues the good work ethic he showed during his time in college. Middleton has also been classified as a late-bloomer meaning that he is still growing and could end up being 6’10”. Middleton is a good athlete and should eventually be at least a nice contributor off the bench for the Pistons. (Picture from mysanantonio.com)
With their second pick of the 2nd Round, the Pistons selected SG Kim English out of Missouri. English (6’6”, 192-pounds) can flat out shoot the ball and has great range (he shot 45.9% from 3-point range last season). He’s is more of a catch-and-shoot player and doesn’t do a great job of creating his own shot off the dribble. English is a good athlete, but he also has his limitations. He will however give you 100% every time. He also does a pretty good job on defense. When it comes right down to it though, English will more than likely be a guy that comes off the bench to shoot some three-point shots for the Pistons. (Picture from columbiatribune.com)
All in all, the Pistons did a very nice job in the draft. They found the athletic, shot-blocking big man they’ve been looking for to opposite Monroe, they found a scorer that slipped in the draft due to injuries that caused his numbers to drop a little, and they found a scorer that shoots well from deep to help replace Ben Gordon, who they traded to the Bobcats. The Pistons should definitely improve with the players they have brought in as long as they are patient with them and let them fully develop. Detroit has begun to develop a nice, young nucleus of players (Drummond, Monroe, PG Brandon Knight, and G Rodney Stuckey), and the playoffs are easily within their sights again.