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Detroit Pistons Media Day

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Rodney McGruder’s impact will be felt behind the scenes

On a team full of young, rising players, McGruder is in Detroit to show them what it means to be professional

Photo by Rick Osentoski/Getty Images

What can you say about Rodney McGruder? No, seriously, help me out. What is there to say? It’s tough to preview McGruder because in an ideal scenario, he has almost no impact in Detroit’s 82-game season.

He was re-signed by Troy Weaver in a surprise offseason move because Weaver and the Pistons organization was seeking continuity, professionalism and players with Pistons DNA (or Weaver DNA, which he is trying to graft onto the Pistons).

McGruder showed in a part-time role he had all of those qualities so he is back. And truthfully, in the roughly 200 minutes that McGruder found himself on the floor last season, he acquitted himself quite well.

The reality is, a team’s depth is always tested. Whether by injuries, ineffectual play or trades involving those above them in the rotation, he’ll find himself on the floor. As they say in Jurassic Park, “Life .... (insert patented Jeff Goldblum stilted line delivery) ... finds a way.”

Know Your Role

McGruder could have an impact for the Pistons this season, but it’s not likely we’ll see much evidence of it on the court. Instead, his job is to set the tone in the weight room, in team meetings and on the practice court for the young players on the team.

After going undrafted in 2013, McGruder spent years overseas and in the G League before getting his shot in the NBA with the Miami Heat. He’s turned that into a solid career, and those are the exact kind of players who you want in a locker room, and whose voice should carry weight.

If anyone knows what it takes to put the work in and be successful, it’s Rodney McGruder. He’s also an accomplished defender who should help instill good habits into Detroit’s backcourt trio, which already seems so promising on the defensive end — Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Saben Lee and Hamidou Diallo.

When you’re talking about a veteran at the end of the bench, it really is that simple.

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