Pistons Banking On Monroe

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    AUBURN HILLS — With the seventh pick in the first round of the 2010 NBA draft held last Thursday, the Detroit Pistons selected Georgetown power forward Greg Monroe and with the 36th pick also selected Mississippi guard Terrico White.

    At the press conference introducing Monroe, a 6-foot-11, 250-pounder, and White, a 6-foot-5, 213-pounder, the Pistons hierarchy was thrilled to get a big man they ranked with the top players in the draft and a very athletic scoring guard, too.

    Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said the left-handed Monroe should be ready to contribute right away.

    “I think we made it very clear from the outset that we were going to target a big,” Dumars said, “and we were going to try to get a big that could come in and help us right away. In drafting Greg Monroe, he obviously addresses both of those things.

    “He has the skill set of a very versatile big guy. (He can play) inside, outside (and he has) a high basketball IQ. He really can see the floor, and he makes the people around him better, and those are all the things that jumped out at us as we were evaluating him.”

    Piston insiders say after Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors and Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins, they had Monroe listed as the next best big man.



    “We said all along that if by any chance one of those top-three guys fell out and fell to seven, we would take them automatically,” Dumars said.

    The Monroe pick was the highest for the team and Dumars since taking Darko Milicic with the No. 2 pick in 2003. I know Dumars and I are hoping that this pick has greater success.This was an important draft for the Pistons in their quest to get back to NBA respectability. They have a long way to go after the disastrous 2009-10 NBA campaign that saw the Piston finished with a woeful 27-55 record.

    I like Monroe and combo-guard, White, but my only concern is will the coach John Kuester play them? Before last season the Pistons talked about playing the younger players, but once the season started Kuester did not develop Austin Daye or DaJuan Summers. And he forgot about Kwame Brown and Chris Wilcox, and spot played free agent Charlie Villanueva.

    I said since the team was on track to lose over 50 games, it was a great opportunity to find out what he had in all those players. What did he have to lose? Now we come into the 2010-11 season with questions about what any of these men can contribute.

    “We are pleased to draft Greg Monroe with the No. 7 pick,” Dumars said. “He’s a skilled player with a high basketball IQ and someone we feel can step in and make plays for us on the offensive and defensive end. We are also real pleased to add Terrico who will have an opportunity to come in and help our team.”

    Sounds like these picks will get a chance to play. Well, I’m a wait-and-see guy at this point. I will not have to wait too long because starting this week the NBA Summer League, which is held in Las Vegas, will start and both draft picks are scheduled to play.

    Leland Stein III can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com.


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