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Pistons stick to game plan: Get more athletic, tougher, and add shooting

Pistons draft picks and Joe Dumars greet the media together for the first time.

Andrew Fielding-US PRESSWIRE

Joe Dumars is trying to win basketball games not public opinion polls.

He knew passing up Michigan point guard Trey Burke for Georgia's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would raise some eyebrows. But he also knew it was important to stick to his plan.

"When you sit in these seats and you make these types of decisions you have to be above that type of thinking," he said.

"You can't be fair weather in this seat. You can't go by what's popular and what's going to play well for the next 24-hour news cycle."

And in reviewing his picks that plan comes into pretty sharp focus. Dumars and his front office wanted to get more athletic, get tougher and add shooting.

With the picks of Caldwell-Pope, Tony Mitchell and Peyton Siva the Pistons went three for three.

As the three freshly minted rookies and president of basketball operations Joe Dumars spoke to the media at an introductory press conference it was clear that in a wild, unpredictable draft, Detroit stuck to its gameplan.

Dumars spoke highly of their character and their ability -- particularly on the defensive end.

These three guys can get out in the open court, are athletic and can pressure the ball defensively, Dumars said.

He singled out KCP for his quality defense and scoring ability and his tenacious attitude.

"We needed that type of profile on our team," Dumars said. "And when selecting someone you need to make sure you select someone that is up to the task."

Tony Mitchell had all the talent in the world in his freshman year at North Texas but last year was a major struggle. One Mitchell admitted to.

"Joe and his staff grilled me in Chicago," Mitchell said, chuckling. The grilling was all about his mysteriously poor season and apparent lack of effort his sophomore year.

"Just about my season last year. Joe just asked me why I didn't play hard some possessions," Mitchell said. "And he taught me something, to be honest with you. That even if you're shots not falling you have to compete.

"The season was tough and it was hard to come out for some games, and Joe was just baffled. He said, 'Tony, you have to come out and play.' "

It's a lesson Mitchell took to heart.

"You just have to bring it every night and that's what I tried to do in my workouts," Mitchell said.

And Mitchell already has a fan and challenger in Andre Drummond, who got in touch with Mitchell after he was drafted and challenged him to a high-jump contest.

Siva, meanwhile, as a late second-round pick will have his work cut out for him, especially with Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey the only two "point guards" currently on the team.

But Dumars like what he saw, praising his pressure defense and saying he was "all heart and hustle."