Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
How soon can Andre Drummond contribute to the Detroit Pistons?
The Detroit Pistons had a pretty quiet offseason, choosing instead to build slowly around their young talent. They had been burned in the past by overspending on middling free agents, so the slow approach is a sound one. Their success in 2012-13 will be determined by the development of their young players, not their newcomers.
That said, there is one newcomer in particular that could provide a shot in the arm. Let's analyze the Pistons' offseason.
The ninth pick in the draft is probably an appropriate time to gamble on the upside of someone like Drummond. It will probably take a while for Drummond to contribute at a meaningful level, but the 10-percent chance that he turns into a superstar was worth the price of the draft pick, especially for a team like the Pistons that needs game-changing talent to escape NBA purgatory.
All that said, it would be really helpful if Drummond could contribute sooner rather than later. As great as Greg Monroe was last year, he demonstrated pretty clearly that he won't be a defensive anchor. That's very problematic if Monroe will have to carry out that role for the next 10 years. It's much less problematic, though, if Drummond can quickly grow into that role, allowing Monroe to focus more on his considerable offensive talents. In theory, a Monroe/Drummond frontcourt provides a lot of balance and will be one of the best in the Eastern Conference for some time.
For that to happen, though, Drummond needs to achieve his potential. There are a lot of reasons he had a disappointing season at Connecticut last year, but the main problem is that he didn't play like a big man. Too often, he shied away from contact, especially on the offensive end. He was a decent enough rebounder (10.8 per 40 minutes), but given his physical gifts, he should have been one of the best in the country, and he wasn't. He can work to improve his lack of production offensively and his free throw shooting, but overcoming an aversion to contact is much more difficult. There were also several questions about his maturity leading up to draft time, and while youth can explain some of those away, they are concerning when combined with his lack of aggression.
None of this changes the reality that the Pistons had to pick Drummond when he kept sliding. However, there's also a good chance that Drummond teases the Pistons enough with his potential over the next four years and forces them to give him a $10 million per year contract that he may not deserve. If Drummond can show the Pistons some flashes of brilliance this year, it will make them feel better about eventually taking that plunge.
Maggette is well beyond his best days, but the Pistons had to take him on in return for getting out of Ben Gordon's contract. If Maggette is playing significant minutes for the Pistons, this season will have been a failure.
The trade itself was understandable on both ends. The Pistons had to surrender a first-round pick to get out of Gordon's contract, but they were able to attach reasonable protections to it that will mitigate the risk of it being a high lottery selection. The pick is lottery-protected this year and top-eight protected in 2014, and given how the Pistons are building their team, they shouldn't be one of the NBA's eight worst clubs by 2014. Worse comes to worse, the Pistons likely give up the No. 9 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. That's not ideal, but it's not the worst thing in the world.
After starring in Spain, Singler signed a three-year, $3.1 million contract to come over and play in Detroit. The Pistons have a lot of bodies at small forward, but this is a good low-risk move. Singler's an excellent perimeter shooter and is also pretty good at driving to the basket when defenders run out on him in spot-up situations. He should probably play ahead of Austin Daye at the very least.
OFFSEASON GRADE: B