2012 NBA Offseason: Pistons start youth movement


I’ve chronicled some major and minor free agency moves the past two posts, but what kind of Pistons blog would this be if I didn’t mention the moves that Joe Dumars and company have made thus far?

With the Ben Gordon trade happening just two days before the draft, it opened room on the roster for another shooting guard. That spot ended up being filled by former Missouri guard Kim English. The 23-year old guard has likely earned a roster spot in the upcoming season after showing a deft shooting touch from 3-point range in the Orlando Summer League games. I suspect the 6’6” English will play significant minutes this season backing up Rodney Stuckey at the two, or even spending some time at the small forward spot if the team goes with a smaller lineup.

Last season’s much-criticized second-round pick Kyle Singler also signed a deal with the team this past week. The former Duke Blue Devil played in Spain last season after getting drafted, a move that rubbed some people the wrong way. While I didn’t necessarily like the pick when it happened, it looks like the time overseas helped. A guy who didn’t really seem to have a pro position or skillset after leaving college came back from Spain with a better shooting touch and even better defensive skills. Tayshaun Prince and Singler will likely share time at the three, and like English, he could possibly play another position if a good matchup comes along.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Dumars’ signing of Ukrainian center Vyacheslav (Slava) Kravtsov, mainly because I had never heard of him and had never seen game footage of him. From every account I’ve read of the 25-year old big man, though, it appears that he will be an athletic shot-blocker who can throw down an occasional thunderous dunk. I’ve heard people screaming, “Darko all over again!” but I think that’s extremely unfair to do. Not only is Kravtsov older than Milicic, he also is more athletic, has played longer overseas, and has a completely different set of skills. If he can play solid minutes and give Detroit a good defensive presence in the post, the investment made should be well worth it.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be a Pistons offseason without a talented draft pick somehow falling to them in the draft. For the third year in a row, someone that was projected to go (and probably should have gone) earlier in the draft ended up in the team’s lap. This season it was Connecticut big man Andre Drummond. I profiled him earlier this month, but he has shown a pretty good shooting touch down low after the Summer League games. He’s still just 18 and obviously there will be bumps in the road, but if the Pistons can nurture his talents – which they’ve given every indication they will – he could easily be the best or second-best player of this draft in a few years. Pairing with Greg Monroe could form the Pistons frontcourt for many years to come.

What do you make of the team’s moves this offseason? Have they done enough or should they keep making moves?