Well I was hoping to see the Pistons get lucky and move up in the draft from their originally slotted 7th spot, but instead it was the Cavaliers that got the lucky draw and the Pistons went the opposite direction and moved down one spot. With this draft lacking alot of potential huge stars, it's likely the Pistons won't be getting any player that is going to be able to be a future leading star for them. So the most important thing will be to draft a guy that not only has talent, but also can impact their team and be a great role player right off the bat. There are a few options, but I think it clearly comes down to two guys: Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo.
When Chauncey Billups was at the PG helm for the Pistons leading their offense, they were contending for the East title each year and always at least in the ECFs. The won a title and went to back to back Finals appearances in the Billups era, but since trading him to the Nuggets they have dropped off significantly and that's really an understatement. Allen Iverson was one of my favorite players of all time, but that experiment failed miserably. They had picked Rodney Stuckey in the 2007 draft and had hoped he was going to be able to step up and be Billups understudy and eventually take the starting job once Billups got too old and had to step down. He showed flashes of amazing talent and ability to get to the lane and create offense; even in the 2008 NBA playoffs where he was penetrating the Celtics defense very well at time (and I remind you this was the #1 defense at the time that went on to win the title).
This is what gave Dumars the thought that he could trade Billups now, get Iverson and use his expiring contract to free up cap space in the 2010 super FA market to get players to go along with Stuckey and the other younger Pistons players to start the transition from the older 2004 championship players to a new Pistons team. Well as we have seen since, Stuckey hasn't stepped up and Joe D decided to use his extra money on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, which has also proven to be disappointing. Stuckey has still shown those flashes, but has to be consistent enough to be that PG they need to lead the offense. Now he has shown horrible attitude problems and refuses to play for the team at the end of the year because of arguments with the coach. Well I say good riddance to him as he has obviously failed to live up to expectations and is now being a whiney baby that has no business being our point guard.
So now the question will be who will fill that spot? I love Will Bynum as he is a tenacious defender with quickness and lots of athletic ability (dude can throw down for a little guy), and I like how unselfish he is on offense always looking to pass first and creating open players by being able to penetrate the lane well. But I know he is never a guy that is going to be able to lead their team, so they will need to get someone he can. A guy that could do that is Kemba Walker. He has proven to be a strong leader and able to take a team on his shoulders and win them games. He has amazing scoring ability as well as some good passing skills (didn't use it a whole lot in college but he does have it when I watched him play games at UConn). He has the ability to get into the lane, stop-n-pop for jumpers, and get them big shots. Sound familiar? The next Mr. Big Shot maybe? Of course if they do this they need to try and trade Stuckey, and he still has talent and with some teams needing PGs I'm sure someone would bite. They would have a good two-man, inside-outside tandem with Kemba and Greg Monroe that could be the future of the new Pistons squad and possible start turning things around back to at least making the playoffs.
The other option is to look down low, which is most likely the bigger concern at the time. They got Greg Monroe last year and I really liked what I seen from him. He should be the main big for the Pistons for years to come. He's got size, good rebounding, good passing, and a developing offensive game that will get better each year. He can anchor them in the post on offense for sure, but while he's a solid post defender he's not the best help defender and is not great and helping on driving players. Ben Wallace was the doing this for the Pistons in his prime years (being the best defensive player in the league) and is doing it now at the twilight stage of his career. But he's not the young athlete he once was and is close to hanging it up and focusing on becoming a defense attorney upon his retirement (fitting isn't it?), and the question is now who is going to do that? The Pistons have turn things around on defense because that had been their identity for years and always what was the backbone of their success. A guy that could fill that role is Bismack Biyombo.
The young (or old depending whether you think he's 18 or 30) kid from Congo is not someone that was a big time draft prospect all year. He hasn't been playing in any big time college basketball, and has only recently been playing big time professional Euro basketball for Spain. However, what he lacks in experience at high levels, he makes up for freakish talent and athleticism. He can jump out of the jump, has energy galore, and a monstrous 7 foot 7 inch wing span. When I looked at his size, 6'9" 240 lbs, I thought to myself: "That looks familiar; I think that was Big Ben's size." Then I watched tape on him and I got a chill up my spine as Big Ben flashbacks went through my mind.
He is a very strong defender, with strong rebounding, great leaping ability, a long wing span, and lots of energy and hustle that just makes him a carbon copy of a young Ben Wallace in terms of physical attributes and abilities. I even watched a few highlights where he was playing up and pressing the ball handler after the ball was in-bounded, and the only other big man I ever seen do that was Big Ben. I'd love to put Bismack alongside Monroe and give them an excellent post duo for their future. Monroe can lead them on offense while focusing on man defense and Biyombo can do the dirty work, clean up the boards, swat shots left and right, and just straight out hustle. While I'm tired of watching the Pistons drafting European players and them failing to pan out (Darko ruined Euro players for me to be honest), the potential ability Bismack has to be the next "Big B" just has me hoping they get him at the 8th spot.
Either way it's time to end the transition phase and move onto to the new generation of players. Tayshaun Prince's contract is up and while I wish they would have been smart enough to get something out of him (someone would have wanted an expiring contract), it's time to cut ties with him and move on. Richard Hamilton will always be remembered and loved for what he did with the Pistons and is probably their best pure shooter in history and I think one of the best shooters running off screens of all time, his time has passed as well and they need to trade him along with Stuckey. Guys like Monroe, Bynum, Jonas Jerebko, Gordon, and Austin Daye are their future now and they can add another young gun to that group in a couple months with their 8th overall pick. Whether they choose to get a guy that can lead their offense in Kemba or a guy that can impact and improve immensely their post defense in Bismack, it's time to get the new era of Pistons basketball started. We finally have a new owner, Flint's own Tom Gores, and we can finally move past this phase of unbearable to watch basketball.
I want to be proud again to say............