Willie Trill Cauley-Stein has logged over 2,000 minutes of college basketball, including eight NCAA tournament games. His averages have only marginally fluctuated from one year to the next with the exception of the free-throw percentage which has steadily increased to a respectable 61.7 percent. He’s consistent and experienced.
The consistency is attractive. I’m not a risk-taker by nature. If I were an NBA general manager, I’m taking Trill because I know exactly what I’m getting. There are no surprises here. Trill is going to run the floor, disrupt shots with his length and athleticism. He’s going to be resilient help defender on drives and hopefully a solid post defender if anyone in the NBA even bothers posting-up next season after the Internet has declared all big men and two-point buckets extinct.
Sidenote: Give me a Marreese Speights’ long twos over a three-pointer any day. I don’t care what the numbers say. Mo’s 8 points in Game 1 of the NBA Finals was the most exciting flurry of long twos since LaMarcus Aldridge’s obliteration of the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the First Round in the 2014 Playoffs. Incredible artisan display of shot-making.
It’s unlikely that Trill will ever get in a Speights-esque long-two zone early in his career based on his limited range. To begin, hopefully Trill can be as disruptive as DeAndre Jordan. He certainly can’t be much worse than Festus Ezeli. Maybe he lands somewhere between like a Brandan Wright or Amir Johnson. Again, the consistency over three years has solidified Trill’s context and comparisons. Select what you know. Know what you select.
Why he fits with the Pistons?
With Trill as a backup to Andre Drummond, the Pistons won’t alter what they will eventually try to do on both ends of the floor. I assume an onslaught of ball screens and dives to the hoop by bigs and aggressive switching on defense with bigs falling back daring the likes of DeMar Derozan, Tony Wroten, Jarrett Jack and Rodney Stuckey to beat them with long jumpers in the Eastern Conference The specifics of how the Pistons want to play are still difficult to determine based on the team’s dual identities with Greg Monroe or ‘Dre being focal points on both ends and the similar dichotomy at the point guard position last year. With Monroe’s departure imminent, the least fans can hope for next year is a true identity and style of play.
Trill’s skillset mimics Dre’s which allows for continuity between between the first and second teams. They will both try to finish above the rim in transition and in the half court, attack the basket for putbacks and be limited beyond the distance requiring more than brute force. Touch and finesse is an acquired taste for the future potential Dre/Trill combo.
Beyond the comedic value of playing Dre/Trill together, it would be interesting to see if there’s merit to swinging in the opposite direction of the copycat small-ball climate that’s likely to be contagious this off-season. Go big when everyone else goes small. Zigging when everyone else is zagging resulted in two years of beauty by design by Monta Ellis in Dallas. Even half the excitement of Monta-Ball would be welcomed at The Palace.
Drafting Trill is yet another endorsement of ‘Dre and the style of basketball that the Pistons want to play around their potential franchise center. Replicating ‘Dre’s talents by bringing in Trill is an affirmation and an insurance. It’s a stubborn conviction to win with ‘Dre rather than win with what complements ‘Dre. Trill is an extension of that certainty – extension of what the team already knows and holds true.