Joe Dumars Q&A - February 18, 2011

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Pistons president Joe Dumars sat down with editor Keith Langlois earlier this week to discuss a variety of issues. Here’s the final part of their conversation:

KEITH LANGLOIS: Greg Monroe, especially since Jan. 1, has been putting up big numbers – double-doubles frequently – and doing it without plays being run for him yet. I know you felt on draft night that you got your guy. Do you feel even stronger about his future than you did then?

JOE DUMARS: Extremely pleased with Greg Monroe. He has not only proven to us that we drafted the right kid as a player, but he is the epitome of what we want in Pistons players, on and off the court. This kid shows up, he works as hard or harder than anyone on our team. He is routinely the first guy out there on the court. He stays afterwards, he comes in on off days, he’s a very humble kid, a very professional kid, he handles himself the right way at all times. He epitomizes going forward what we want a Detroit Piston to be.

KL: One thing that’s struck me about him is it seems like every few weeks we see something else added. At first, it was a great nose for hunting down rebounds. Then it was holding his own on defense. Then it was really quick hands on defense. Lately, it’s been a knack for making himself available for layups, finding openings. What do you think we’ll be talking about next with him?

JD: I think the next thing that he has to add to his game is a 15-foot jump shot.. I think he has an uncanny ability to find the ball. I think he, as you said, he knows how to position himself when guys are driving. He has great hands, shown he can really rebound the ball, and I think the next thing that he has to add is to consistently knock down a 15-foot jump shot.

KL: Given what you know about him, is there any question that it’s something he will be able to attack in an off-season?

JD: He is such a responsible young professional, and he knows that that’s what he has to add, and so there’s no question in my mind that he’s going to put the work in to add that to his game. He’s just that kind of kid. You tell him what he has to do. You tell him what’s expected of him. And you can count on him following through on that. I would expect he would definitely add that to his game.

KL: The one thing we haven’t seen a lot out of him is the one thing we heard the most coming out of college – the passing ability. We’ve seen it in flashes, but I think it’s a function of the fact he hasn’t been the focal point of the offense. Have you seen enough of that to think there’s a possibility for the future to run a high-post offense through him?

JD: Sometimes we forget he’s a rookie. And all those things will come. He’s played about 50 games. The 15-foot jump shot will come. Running more things through him will come. There’s no question about the passing ability. I think walking through the door we all were comfortable from day one that he could do that. Ironically, it’s probably the least thing that we’ve seen of him. But that’s OK. Because it means other parts of his game are growing. I’m pleased with his development and how each month, each week, you see him getting better and better. You want to see a young guy get better and better every week, and he’s done that.

KL: The other guy you drafted last June, Terrico White, is just now returning to practice after breaking his foot in that first preseason game. Is the plan for Terrico, once he gets up to speed and is fully participating in practice, to go to Fort Wayne for a while?

JD: Yes. Because we need to see him play. He hasn’t played all year. We’re so deep into the season I don’t know how many good practices we’ll get to see him, so the only way you can get to see a young guy play is through the D-League, so that’s the plan once he gets healthy.

KL: Last year at this time, when we were talking about the draft and the off-season and what you needed to add, you said it was clear you needed to get bigger and better in the frontcourt. Monroe is a huge piece of that. Does the fact you’ve added Monroe and you’ll get Jonas back at some point, do you go into this off-season with a little more flexibility or is the frontcourt still the priority?

JD: It would be hard for us to pass on a really good frontcourt player. Just having two young guys up front in Jonas and Greg won’t be enough going forward. If you can add another frontcourt player, great. Obviously, he’d have to be the right guy. But we are in a position now to be a little more flexible about who that guy is. I think last year, we had to come away with a frontcourt guy, no matter what. Now you have a couple. It would be great to add a third, but it’s not as much of a sense of urgency as it was last year. So this year, yeah, we have a little bit more flexibility, but if there’s another young big out there we can add to this team, that would be great.

KL: Speaking of flexibility, I know everyone is always looking for a 7-foot athletic shot-blocker who maybe can score some points for you, too, but the fact that Greg has displayed such a variety of skills, does that give you maybe some flexibility in looking for a big man to pair with him?

JD: When you have a big guy that has flexibility on the court – he’s versatile on the court – it gives you flexibility as a team. I honestly believe that if you can have three that can be versatile up front, it helps you. I don’t like to reference the past too much, but we did have Sheed, Ben and Okur. And then we went from that to Sheed, Ben and Dice, so when you have three that you can rotate in a flexible way, it’s tremendous for you, what you can do with that. That’s why I say having two is great but I don’t think you can say you have enough. You have to be able to rotate those guys and they have to be able to be flexible. There are so many times, you may have one big that’s standing back, pressing in the backcourt, and the other big is going to have to take whoever comes down. You have to be versatile enough to do that. So we’d still like to add another one and we’d still like to have that versatility up front.