A Happy Return

Macklin rejoins Pistons after successful run in D-League

Vernon Macklin made a strong impact in this D-League during his stint there.
Otto Kitsinger/NBAE/Getty Images
Vernon Macklin is happy to be back in the NBA with his Pistons teammates, but he was also happy for the opportunity to spend the last month in the D-League. Fort Wayne’s season ended Saturday night with a win and Macklin came directly to American Airlines Arena from the airport in time for Sunday’s Pistons-Heat game.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “I’m glad the guys let me go down there and I’m also glad my teammates actually helped me out and talked to me a lot. All of these guys encouraged me while I was down there so I wouldn’t be down.”

In 10 games, Macklin averaged 14.5 points and 14.3 rebounds, shooting 53 percent and even amassing 25 assists.

“It’s good to have Vernon back,” Lawrence Frank said. “It was a very good experience for him. I saw improvement throughout – his ability to rebound the ball, score around the basket, be a presence and a paint protector, just his competitiveness. Sometimes guys get sent to the D-League and they look at it as a punishment or demotion. I thought he had a great attitude.”

Macklin said his primary focus was to rebound the basketball. Never a dominant rebounder in college, Macklin was in double figures in every game for Fort Wayne until the finale, grabbing 20 in one game.

“I just took a part of a lot of our frontcourt guys like (Jason Maxiell), (Ben Wallace) and Greg (Monroe),” he said. “I just chased the ball. Every time I saw it come off the rim, I would locate the ball and just go and get it.”

With just 10 Pistons games left after Sunday’s game in Miami and four more practices for the season, Frank isn’t sure if Macklin will get a chance to play again. He was inactive for Sunday’s game.

“The guys in front (of him) are playing well,” he said. “If there’s an opportunity, great. But we’re still in the right habits and whoever’s playing the hardest should play.”