Posted Jun 29 2009 5:18PM
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Austin Daye and DaJuan Summers grew up watching Detroit Pistons stars Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas on television.
At the same time, Jonas Jerebko was in Sweden watching two other Detroit stars -- Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom of the NHL's Red Wings.
The trio are now teammates, the first players in what is expected to be a wave of new Detroit Pistons. Detroit took Daye with the 15th pick in the draft's first round, then added Summers and Jerebko in the second.
"We originally thought we'd have two picks here and leave two overseas, but our plans changed when we were able to get DaJuan and Jonas in the second round," Dumars, now the team president, said Monday at a press conference introducing the players.
The Pistons traded their third second-round choice, which was fine with Dumars.
"We've got three guys here that we think can step in and contribute right now," he said. "We also think they've all got a lot of upside, so we're going to see improvement from that first level."
The Pistons are likely to make some moves this offseason after already sending Amir Johnson to Milwaukee for Fabrico Oberto as part of a three-team deal with San Antonio. Detroit has money to spend this summer because they dealt point guard Chauncey Billups to Denver for Allen Iverson and his expiring contract. Detroit also had unrestricted free agents Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess on its roster last season.
The Pistons might try to lure free agent Ben Gordon away from the Chicago Bulls, go after restricted free agents or try to take advantage of cash-strapped teams by acquiring their highly paid players.
For Daye, the son of an NBA player, the question isn't talent but size. At 6-foot-11 and just 192 pounds, the Gonzaga forward has been compared to Detroit's current gangly star, Tayshaun Prince.
"I know that if I'm going to play in the NBA, I'm going to have to get stronger," Daye said. "I've been in the 210-pound range before, and that's my goal for this year. I'm going to be working hard with the people here to get there."
Summers was projected to be taken late in the first round, but several teams decided to save money by taking players that could stay overseas for at least a year. That let Detroit grab the Georgetown forward with the 35th overall pick.
"I was surprised that I didn't go in the first round, but when I had come to Detroit for a workout, I knew this is where I wanted to play," Summers said. "So in some ways, I'm looking at this is a blessing in disguise."
While Jerebko -- another Prince-type forward -- doesn't have many Swedish predecessors in the NBA, he isn't as much of a mystery as his background suggests. His father was an American college player before moving to Sweden, and Jerebko played against Summers in a 2008 summer league.
"I didn't see a lot of NBA games growing up -- we get a lot of hockey and soccer in Sweden," he said. "But I know that I'll bring defense and a lot of energy to the team."
Jerebko and Dumars actually have a long-term history, although Dumars didn't realize it until the end of Jerebko's pre-draft workout.
"When we finished, I told him that it was a pleasure to meet him, and he asked if I remembered a kid getting him stat sheets and popcorn at the 2001 European Championships in Sweden," Dumars said. "I asked him if he knew the kid, and he said he was the kid. He was like 12 years old -- that made me feel old."
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