2011-12 Record: 25-41, 4th place in Central Division, 10th in Eastern Conference
2012 NBA Draft: C Andre Drummond (UConn, 9th overall pick), F Khris Middleton (Texas A&M, 39th overall pick), G Kim English (Missouri, 44th overall pick)
Offseason Losses: G Ben Gordon (traded to Charlotte Bobcats)
Projected Starting Line-up: PG Brandon Knight, SG Rodney Stuckey, SF Tayshaun Prince, PF Jason Maxiell, C Greg Monroe
OFFSEASON GRADE: C + (potential to be higher)
The Detroit Pistons offseason can be summed up in 2 words…
With the 9th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, General Manager Joe Dumars selected 7 foot, 279 pound center Andre Drummond out of the University of Connecticut.
In his only season with the Huskies, Drummond averaged 10.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks while shooting nearly 54% from the field. Many draft analysts were very much surprised to see Drummond fall all the way to Detroit at pick #9.
I certainly wasn’t.
Call me a pessimist, a debbie-downer or just plain old wrong, but I am not nearly as confident about this selection as the next guy.
Andre Drummond is an enigma wrapped in a mystery which was then wrapped in Pistons colours. There is no middle-ground with this guy, at least in my opinion. He’s either going to be the greatest, most dominant player (Dwight Howard clone?) to come out of this draft, or he’s going to be a complete and utter bust who sets this franchise back another 4-5 years.
If you look up the word “RAW” in the english dictionary, you will find a picture of Drummond standing in the paint with a glazed, confused look on his face. He’s a project, plain and simple. This isn’t a player who is going to come in year one and have a Rookie of the Year type impact. At only 18 years of age, it’s going to be another 3-4 years before the Pistons find out if they’ve failed or succeeded with this selection.
I completely understand why Detroit made this pick though. If you have a player who many believed had top-5 potential heading in to the draft fall all the way to you at #9, you’re going to be hard-pressed to pass on an opportunity to snatch him up. Dumars more than likely had visions of Drummond forming a “Twin Towers-esque” duo with Greg Monroe that would eventually take this franchise back to the promise land, or last make them credible once again in the Eastern Conference.
I do wonder though if the Pistons are the best situation for Drummond long-term. One of the biggest critiques of Andre’s personality has been his lack of motivation and overall lazy behaviour at times. Will playing for a struggling, rebuilding team alter his attitude in any way?
Ben Wallace is still playing for the Motor City and will certainly be a huge factor in helping Andre continue to develop his already profound defensive game and take it to the next level in the NBA. I’m also somewhat positive that having his draft stock fall as much as it did has humbled him in a way, possibly giving him the motivation he needs to succeed.
Still, I’m going to hold out hope that Drummond does turn out to be a “diamond in the rough” for this Pistons squad. Lord knows this franchise needs some good fortune.
In the only trade the Pistons made this offseason, the team dealt seldom used and disgruntled shooting guard Ben Gordon to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for Corey Maggette.
Kudos to Joe Dumars for finding a suitor for Gordon’s horrible over-priced contract. Ben still has 2 years and $25.6 million dollars left in his deal while Maggette is entering the final year of his contract (expiring) that owes him $10.9 million dollars. That’s a saving of $14 million dollars for the Pistons.
As far as what the team gets basketball-wise, it’s not a heck of a lot. Corey isn’t that much of an upgrade over what Gordon was already giving them. It’s apparent that Maggette loves to shoot the basketball (career 16.2 points a game, 11 shots attempted per game), but other than that, he doesn’t offer much else. Frankly, he’s just a taller, slightly more athletic version of Ben Gordon, Essentially, this move was about dollars and cents and little about improving the on-the-court product.
In the end, this summer for Detroit shall be known as the “Summer of Drummond”. I fully expect flack from some readers over my low grade for the Pistons. There are clearly those out there who are infatuated with Andre and believe that he will grow into one of the elite centers of the NBA.
I’m not saying he won’t, but the chances that he turns out to be a nothing more than a work-in-progress for the rest of his career are just as high.
I could be wrong. Call me paranoid then.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports