The vast majority of DBB's post-draft coverage has focused on Brandon Knight, but as I clear my notebook from Saturday's press conference, there are a couple of tidbits about Kyle Singler and Vernon Macklin. (This may be repetitive if you actually watched the presser -- I didn't have a chance to speak with Singler or Macklin one-on-one. But since I already transcribed this stuff, I may as well toss it up.)
• Detroit's front office got a good look at Macklin during a workout in Auburn Hills last Monday, mere days before the draft. His performance against more highly-touted competition sealed his status on Detroit's draft board. "Vernon was in to workout with [Bismack] Biyombo, Tristan Thompson, Keith Benson, Markieff Morris, and he was a warrior during the workout -- just an absolute warrior," Joe Dumars said.
"Physical, strong, defended well, scored the ball in the low post. And it was a guy that fits 'Detroit Basketball,' we like tough, hard-nosed guys here. And all of these guys are tough, hard-nosed ... Thats our stamp, that's who we are, that's who we've been, that's when we've been at our best. So when he came in and showed the way he did, we looked at him and said, 'Listen, if this guy is on the board at 52, if he's still there, that'd be an excellent pick for us."
Macklin explains his mindset during the workout: "I came in here and I wanted to play hard every possession. It was some great guys I was playing up against, so I just wanted to go in there and play physical, crash the boards and try to score in the low post. And I think I did a great job in doing so, and that's what helped me out today."
• You can tell Singler played a leading role for four years at a major school: in terms of body language, he looked the most comfortable in front of a microphone -- perhaps because he's so well-versed in keeping answers short, boring and predictable.
Case in point: Singler, do you think playing at a major school like Duke helped prepare you for the NBA? "Yeah, I had a great career at Duke. Over [the] course of my career, I feel like I got better as a basketball player and I felt like I matured as a person, too. I feel like coming [in] I'm ready to play and I'm ready to help the Pistons win."
Do you regret not leaving school as a junior when you were projected to go higher in the draft? "I don't. After going through my senior year and just looking back on it, I would have regretted not experiencing the things that I experienced in my senior year. So I have no regrets."
How does it feel that fellow prospect Chris Singleton called you his toughest cover? "Chris is a great defender, just a great player, so I feel honored that he would consider my name. So it just shows the respect that I feel with Chris and he shares with me."
• Random side note: Hickory High's similarity scores for Singler might reveal why Dumars and Co. were attracted to Singler. Based solely on stats, the player whose college performance most closely resembled Singler's was ... Tayshaun Prince, followed by Wilson Chandler, Donte Green and, ahem, Terrico White. Pretty interesting.
• Greg Monroe on Singler and Macklin: "Kyle brings that toughness, the ability to play multiple positions ... When you have somebody with versatility, that's always a help. Vernon is another inside presence, he can score in the low post, he protects the rim. So all these guys can bring something to the team that can help us. "
• Joe Dumars pounded the message home time and again that all three rookies are "high character guys," beginning early in his opening remarks. "We think that these guys epitomize what we're all about. These are some high character guys. These are some very smart players. All three of them are tough guys. Brandon told me he's tough -- even though he's a little slim guy, he told me he's tough, so we believe that. There is no question about Kyle and Vernon's toughness.
"But by and large, what I'm saying is that these guys epitomize what we're about going forward. These are some good people. These guys have been raised the right way. They're families have done an incredible job with them. And we're happy to have these guys represent us on a daily basis. This is professional sports, and in professional sports you want to get the right type of people for your organization, so these guys I have no doubt will represent the Detroit Pistons in the right way."
But did Dumars focus more on character than talent? He says no.
"A lot of times you come to press conferences after a draft and you're like, 'Oh,I didn't think the guy was going to be there when we drafted,'" he said. "But truly with these guys, Brandon was not supposed to be there at 8, Kyle was supposed to be gone in the late first round and Vernon was supposed to go before 52," he said.
"So it's not like we had some guys that are more talented than those guys and we passed on them. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good; we were lucky on draft night that those guys fell and were still on the board when we picked, and it wasn't even a discussion in the room when the draft unfolded and we saw who was coming to us ... we knew, we're taking these guys, they're good basketball players, they also happen to be extremely high character guys as well."