Vyacheslav Kravtsov: 2012-13 Detroit Pistons Player Preview

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It's been a long time since the words Pistons and Defense belonged in the same sentence. Detroit's newest Ukranian import will look to change that.

Detroit Bad Boys has officially reached phase 2 of its roster previews. So far, we've covered nine veterans on the Detroit Pistons' roster. Now comes the first of five rookie profiles -- Vyacheslav Kravtsov. Why start with the undrafted rookie affectionately known as Ctrl-V? Why start with a player who doesn't even have a photo in our database and I had to resort to picking someone with the name Vyacheslav?

Blocks and rebounds. Blocks and Rebounds. Blocks and Rebounds.

I don't care about scoring. I don't care about the form on his shot. The Pistons needed to upgrade on defense and if Slava can provide even a modicum of size, strength and the ability to alter shots from inside the paint for 10 minutes per game it will have been money well spent.

2011-12 Year in Review

10.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 67% shooting, 62.4% free-throw shooting

Sadly, despite days of effort in learning how to parse stats from overseas I didn't make much progress. Ctrl-V certainly has the size and build that says he could be a defensive-minded big that comes off the bench and gives you nothing but Bs and Ds. His production, however, seems somewhat pedestrian, especially considering the level of his competition.

He is already 25 so I imagine he won't get too much better. Last year for BC Donetsk in the Superleague, Kravtsov ended with respectable numbers -- averaging 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 22.6 minutes per game, but looking through his game logs he seemed inconsistent. I'm not sure if that has to do with lack of focus or just an increased level in competition from opponent to opponent.

In the 2011-12 Eurocup, BC Donetsk more than held its own against the superior competition, going all the way to the quarterfinals. In 14 games, Kravtsov's averages dipped only slightly to 8.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 22 minutes.

2012-13 Projected Production

It will be interesting to see who gets more of the initial minutes as the reserve center -- Kravtsov or Andre Drummond. Every indication is that the team has no plans to throw Drummond to the wolves like they did with Brandon Knight. And both will have to make their living on their defense due to ... offensive limitations.

I anticipate that Kravtsov will actually win the battle to start the year and slowly lose time (barring a trade) to Drummond as the year goes on.

Still, I expect to see plenty of blocks, rebounds, hard screens and general dirty-work play that will get him on the court and have fans everywhere loving him. I would consider it a major success if Kravtsov could be considered a poor man's Omer Asik. In his rookie year, Asik played just over 12 minutes per game and snared 3.7 rebounds, 0.7 blocks and 2.8 points. He also played terrific defense, of course, and if Kravtsov can help this team's dreadful defense that's really all Pistons fans can ask for.

11 minutes, 3.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 54% shooting

Summary

If Kravtsov only shoots when directly under the basket, limits his fouls and can finish the year with a defensive rating in the mid-90s it will be a great rookie year and he will have carved a role for himself on the team going forward. He isn't the long-term solution at the center position but that doesn't mean he couldn't be a successful contributor beyond this year. On a team starved for defensive a defensive specialist with a big body, long arms and a bad-ass foreign accent is just what this team needs.

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