I really, really, really want the Pistons to do better this year. I've been thinking about the team obsessively the past few weeks considering its strengths and weaknesses and simply trying to figure out how I might engineer a trade to bolster any weaknesses that I feel it has. All in all, I like the team that's taking shape. I've gone on record supporting Joe Dumars' recent decisions from trading Ben Gordon, not trading Charlie Villanueva, and drafting Andre Drummond.
I do wish we had a player that could be a scoring point guard option from off the bench, but perhaps Will Bynum can still fill this role as well as any that might be available at a reasonable cost. I have mentioned Josh Selby, and have wondered if Sheldon Mack of the Wizards might be another option, or if Thomas Satoransky, a recent draft pick of the Wizards might be still be another candidate. Yet the theme in my thinking has been - developmental, bench strength, and try to make such a change non-disruptive to the core of players the Pistons are building with.
As I've been obsessing, a thought keeps running through my mind, isn't it really the bigs that really make a winning team? And, they aren't usually, if ever, the prettiest of players. I mean that they have to do all the heavy lifting, the dirty work, and have those special skills that offer a team power options to force things to happen that the team's pretty stars - the slick smooth shooting high scorers, smooth passers, or otherwise pretty players can't do.
When you consider my definition of not pretty players, players like Jason Maxiell, Tayshaun Prince, Corey Maggette, and Ben Wallace immediately come to mind from players currently on the team. They are epitomized by their hard work, defensive effort, energy, grittiness, toughness, and perhaps by other qualities that aren't the first to be mentioned in a stat line, such as their ability to draw fouls, get to the basket, take a charge, keep a player from backing into the low post to gain scoring position, determination to get an offensive rebound, get second chance put back points, hustle to defend on a pick and roll, make a diving save, or simply get in the way to block a lane, do whatever is necessary to block a shot.
What my point is in writing this article is that I hope that Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, Vyaschelav Kravtsov, Kyle Singler, Jonas Jarebko, Khris Middleton, and (perhaps there's still a chance for) Austin Daye, will come to embrace the fact that they can't be pretty. They've got to tougher, stronger, grittier, and get down right ugly at times to become the stalwarts of the franchise.
Charlie Villanueva, are you listening? I remember Terry Mills, and CV I hoped you would be the same type of player he was. But, he could be this tougher, stronger, grittier player too.
It seems we have so many front court players this year. Whether Big Ben returns or not, the future is based on some of these players becoming the toughest players in the league. I'm rooting that that second group of players I mention above, will watch, learn, and figure out how to out play the former group quickly, and then, I believe, the team's record can and will improve!