After years of Chris Wilcox, Kwame Brown and Nazr Mohammed, Pistons fans can finally be excited about the center position once again. While the current crop of centers might not be Bill Laimbeer or Bob Lanier just yet, they offer much more promise than the last half decade’s worth of big men.
Detroit’s future begins and ends with Monroe. The team’s top 10 pick in 2010 is arguably the Pistons’ most talented post player since Rasheed Wallace and has drawn deserved comparisons to Chris Webber. Coming from a long line of passing big men from Georgetown, Monroe is extremely skilled at setting up teammates off the dribble and orchestrating the team’s half-court offense. He could use more work defensively, as his block totals are low for a 6’11”, 250 pound player; luckily for him, however, athleticism can be improved upon. After averaging 9.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in his rookie year, he greatly improved those numbers in his second season: 15.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. With even more talent around him in 2012, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Monroe averages closer to 18 and 10 this season.
With projections ranging from Amare Stoudemire to Kwame Brown, Drummond is the ultimate feast- or famine-type of player. At just 19 years old, he obviously has growing and learning to do, but the entire Pistons organization has preached patience with the one-and-done Connecticut player. At 7’0” and 279 pounds, Drummond should provide the athleticism and shot-blocking ability that Monroe has yet to develop in his time with the Pistons. With a wingspan of 7’6.25” and a standing reach of 9’1.5”, he has the physical tools necessary to become a fixture in the Pistons post game. Having just one season of college under his belt, though, he will need to learn plenty: free throw shooting (29.5% in his lone season at UConn) and offensive moves beyond put-backs and alley-oops. If the team can nurture his talents and keep his confidence high, Drummond is easily the steal of the 2012 draft.
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After going undrafted in 2009, Kravtsov continued his career overseas with BC Kyiv, a Ukrainian-based franchise. In his last three seasons with Kyiv, he averaged 1.5 blocks and 4.3 rebounds while displaying plenty of athleticism. That athleticism, paired with a 7’0” and 260 pound frame and a 9’3” standing reach, should allow him to get playing time in 2012 with the Pistons. He has no real offensive moves besides low-post dunks and put-backs, but considering he won’t be a top option on offense anyway, that’s not a major problem. The team has lacked shot-blocking for several years now (just 4.2 last season), but with Drummond and Kravtsov now on the roster, Detroit should be a little more talented in that aspect.