Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.
1. Are there any positives that come with Drummond being out?
Patrick Hayes: No, none at all. I could grasp at straws and say something like Drummond being out will help the Pistons get better position in the lottery or that I guess it’s good that the medical staff was thorough and checked Drummond out despite his repeated assertions that his back issue was no big deal. But there is no silver lining to this news.
Jameson Draper: Well, he’s only been out for two and a half games, so we are yet to see things that will come out of it, but I guess the positives are the fact that we get to see other players find their way into the rotation and we get to see what they have to offer. Hopefully in the coming weeks, we get to see Viacheslav Kravtsov more and see what he brings to the table.
Brady Fredericksen: Zero. It appeared Drummond was starting to gain a little bit of trust from Lawrence Frank and was about to be introduced to the concept of competent NBA point guard play with Jose Calderon coming in. Now, the only positive that could come out of it is Drummond, who gets a de-facto vacation of, say, 12ish games during the month of February, has enough energy come back in March and April to get some bigger minutes and potentially make a Rookie of the Year push.
2. What’s the biggest negative with Drummond’s injury?
Patrick Hayes: The fact that, finally, it looked like Lawrence Frank was ready to stretch out Drummond’s minutes. He’d averaged 23 minutes per game in the four games prior to his injury, four minutes per game more than his season average. There were subtle signs that Drummond’s workload was going to increase soon. Now, due to the injury, when he returns, the Pistons will rightfully be back to square one as far as being cautious with his minutes.
Jameson Draper: The Pistons don’t have Andre Drummond, who not only is super talented and one of the best players on the team, he was kind of the mental revitalization piece to the Pistons playoffs hopes, if that makes any sense. He seemed to be kind of the piece that gave fans and the team hope for the playoffs, and now that’s gone.
Brady Fredericksen: That we’re not going to get to see any Calderon-to-Drummond alley-oops until March. But seriously, the team’s most exciting and athletic player, arguably its top rebounder and its lone shot altering, interior defender is going to miss a month. This upcoming stretch of games would have given him a real taste of the real grind in an NBA season, one that saw the Pistons kind-of-sort-of in the hunt. Now, that’s gone.
3. Where does the team go in this next month without him?
Patrick Hayes: Ben Wallace. The team already had a roster spot since the Pistons gave up two players to get Jose Calderon. Now with a rotation big man out, they have a need too. Give Wallace one last mini-retirement tour while Drummond heals.
Jameson Draper: Try to get a better draft pick, I guess. The team’s not going to make the playoffs now, and if they do, they’ll be knocked out in the first round. There’s really no point in trying to win now, although it’s what the fans want to see.
Brady Fredericksen: Ben Wallace. The idea of letting Kravtsov get some playing time makes sense, but he was signed as a big body for the end of the bench. Wallace is going to be in shape, he’s going to help with some defense/rebounding and he gives you the potential flexibilty of floating Jason Maxiell and his expiring contract around the trade deadline. Plus, once Drummond comes back, he’s got a veteran like Wallace around for the rest of the season. If there’s any way for Wallace to retire and pass the proverbial torch, this would be it.