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Marc Stein visits Pistons camp

I'm a little late on this one, but since it was behind the ESPN Insider wall, maybe you missed it. ESPN's Marc Stein posted a report on Oct. 14 regarding his visit to the Pistons' training camp.

He boils it down to five points: 1) Darko's ready to contribute; 2) watch rebounding rookie Jason Maxiell; 3) in fact, watch all the young players; 4) Rip Hamilton should excel in Flip Saunders' screen-happy offense; and 5) no Larry Brown doesn't mean no defense.

Anyone that knows me knows that defending Darko has been a hobby of mine ever since he was drafted, so needless to say I was most interested in Stein's first point. Excerpt:

Saunders has Darko facing the basket and playing out on the floor more, whereas Brown saw the long lefty as a post prospect only. The difference is noticeable already.

"His greatest asset is his feet -- he's got great quickness and athletic ability for a guy his size," Saunders said. "Why take a guy that has speed like that and just put him down there [in the post] where he can't use it? I look at it like boxing -- don't take a guy that's a boxer and try to make him a puncher. We want to try to make other people guard him.

"I was not anywhere close to aware of how talented Darko is. I had no idea that he could do a lot of things he can do. That's probably been my biggest surprise so far."

Said Billups: "He's able to be himself now. He's able to be who he is. He's not a five. He's a four man who can put it on the ground, who's a great passer, who can shoot that shot and make decisions out there."

. . . snip . . .

"I feel much better," Milicic said. "I feel very comfortable with Flip. He saw I'm a better player facing the basket. I think that's what my game is."

I agree with Stein in that Darko could easily get 10-15 minutes a night this year as the fourth man in the Wallace/Wallace/McDyess rotation.

In Detroit, D still comes first; youth coming up fast [ESPN]