The Detroit Pistons reached the Eastern Conference Finals ever year from 2002 to 2008. In 2004, the team shocked the basketball world by dominating a star-studded Lakers team to win the NBA championship.
However, since then a questionable salary dump that brought in Allen Iverson, poor head coach hirings, and big-time misses in free agency on the likes of Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon have plagued the Pistons.
The lone bright spot has been the organization’s ability to draft. That bright spot is beginning to shine.
In 2010, the team drafted Georgetown big man, Greg Monroe. In 2011, Detroit used the eighth pick in the draft to take Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight and later nabbed Kyle Singler in the second round. This past draft, the Pistons added another potential franchise big man, Andre Drummond.
Three of those four picks have blossomed into starters. Drummond, the only one who is not, remains a key part of the rotation. In a forty-point blowout of the Phoenix Suns last night, the rookie played twenty-five minutes, registering six points and nine rebounds.
Knight is averaging 13.1 points and 5.8 assists in his sophomore season and Monroe has developed into one of the better big men in the Eastern Conference, putting up 16.5 points per game and 9.4 rebounds per game through the first month of the season.
Meanwhile, Singler has cracked the starting line up, providing the team with a three-point threat, shooting a tick under 46 percent. Jason Maxiell is also off to a strong start, averaging 8.9 points and 6 rebounds.
Detroit even has valuable trade chips, as veteran Tayshaun Prince likely does not factor into the team’s future and could certainly help a contender. If the team opts for a more traditional shooting guard, then Rodney Stuckey could return something of worth. Even Villanueva has played well in the six games that he’s played in, including a game high, nineteen points in the win against Phoenix.
There have been many bumps in the road for the Pistons in recent seasons, but with an abundance of developing young talent and the necessary assets to improve this team through a trade, the future seems bright.