ORLANDO – It was midway through the fourth Pistons practice in less than 48 hours, with both legs and minds fighting off fatigue, when Kyle Singler snapped everyone to full attention.
ORLANDO – For much of last season, Charlie Villanueva was sidelined with a lingering ankle injury that cropped up in training camp. For virtually all of it, he was on the outside looking in at Lawrence Frank’s playing rotation. Most of that time, he had company in Austin Daye, who never really recovered from a paralyzing shooting slump that took away the one basketball skill that had never betrayed him.
ORLANDO – Brandon Knight hardly registers as a seasoned veteran, but he’ll hold a measure of seniority when his second season starts over a number of teammates, including four rookies who will flank him when the Pistons open Orlando Pro Summer League play next week.
ORLANDO – Greg Monroe stands as the shining example for Pistons fans that first impressions show no more than snapshots of a motion picture under production. The Monroe who didn’t get off the bench for the first two games of his NBA career and then had difficulty getting shots off without them being blocked bears little resemblance to the double-double machine on the verge of stardom today.
But you have to start somewhere, right?
ORLANDO – About two hours short of a full week since the Pistons called Andre Drummond’s name with the ninth pick in the 2012 NBA draft, he will be wearing their uniform – well, Pistons-logoed practice gear, at least – and participating in his first practice as a professional basketball player.
By the time the 18-year-old leaves central Florida eight days from now, the first chapter in a very thick instruction book will have been written for him – and by him.
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Joe Dumars felt comfortable drafting 18-year-old Andre Drummond in large part because he believes in the environment the Pistons have established and the mettle of young leaders Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight. By the time draft night was over, he felt even better about that environment, thanks to spending the 44th pick on Missouri’s Kim English.