Detroit Bad Boys at Pistons Media Day: Cheeks not looking to protect Drummond

The hand holding the silver tape recorder on the far right belongs to Detroit Bad Boys' own Sean Corp. - Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

New coach Maurice Cheeks doesn't sound like someone who is looking to artificially limit the minutes of the team's best player. Cheeks also talks what kind of defensive identity he wants team to forge.

Detroit Bad Boys attended Pistons Media Day on Monday and got a chance to talk with several Pistons players. Keep an eye out in the next few days for several stories based on our media day coverage.

Sometimes basketball is not a complicated game. In fact, sometimes it is incredibly simple. Beyond the pick-and-rolls, rotations, zone coverages, screens, floor balance, strongside and weakside defense it's really quite simple.

Take, for example, Detroit Pistons new head coach Maurice Cheeks, who had this straightforward assessment of his team and his budding superstar player, Andre Drummond:

"I'll put him out on the floor, for sure. He's going to be out on the floor. I don't even know another way to say it. ... I think with him on the floor we can be pretty good."

Drummond, by virtue of playing great, made his team "pretty good" last year. And that was a squad with much less talent than what we'll be seeing on opening night this season.

But Drummond's minutes were limited -- much to the chagrin of much of the fan base. It was a deliberate decision by the coaching staff, which, for the most part, is employed elsewhere this year.  But it looks like the new regime has no such plans to limit the big man's work load.

"There is no better way to learn the game than to be on the floor," Cheeks said of Drummond at Pistons Media Day at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Monday. Cheeks acknowledged that Drummond is still a very young player with a lot to learn about playing the NBA and reaching his ultimate potential.

And much of that potential is Drummond's game-changing defensive abilities. And that defense, anchored by Drummond in the paint and flanked by Josh Smith and Greg Monroe, is obviously what this team thinks will be its calling card.

Nearly every player was quick to mention the importance of defense to the team's ultimate success. And not just the big men -- Brandon Jennings mentioned it, Chauncey Billups mentioned it, rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope mentioned it.

And coach Cheeks talked about it often.

While the day before training camp is obviously too early to say anything too definitive about the team, he did let slip a few simple concepts:

"I'd like to create turnovers and get out in that the open court," Cheeks said. "Create some steals, create some blocks. ... Not play so much half-court offense but with the ability to play half-court offense."

He also spoke about the advantages of having so much overall length in the frontcourt as well as some dynamic playmaking options in the back court.

But before long he switched back to talking defense. Why?

Because, as Chauncey Billups said later in the day, defense wins championships. And nobody knows that better than Detroit and its fans.

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