In a suddenly crowded small forward field, Corey Maggette offers the Pistons something nobody else can match. They have two jack-of-all-trades types in Tayshaun Prince and 2011 draft choice Kyle Singler, arriving after a year in Spain, and a pair of floor-stretching shooters in Austin Daye and incoming rookie Khris Middleton.
Joe Dumars believes in Andre Drummond’s ability to reach his enormous potential, but he’s going to be vigilant in not throwing him into the deep end before he’s ready to swim. That objective becomes a little easier to accommodate if the Pistons can find someone more prepared to step in and help achieve the organizational goal of getting bigger and more formidable defensively.
There were seasons not so long ago when the Pistons, confident in Tayshaun Prince’s ability not only to play every game but give them 35 or more minutes a night, addressed small forward depth with nothing more than an annual rotation of limited veterans. Think Jarvis Hayes or Walter Herrmann.
The position is suddenly stacked with depth, so much so that 2009 No. 1 pick Austin Daye – once seen as the heir apparent to Prince – might have to scrap for minutes at shooting guard or power forward next season.
The sum of Andre Drummond’s season is there in his middling statistics: 10 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. The way those modest numbers were reached was often spectacular. On a handful of plays in most Connecticut games last season, Drummond would come from out of the screen to snare an offensive rebound and dunk, bolt from one side of the basket to the other to swat away a shot or streak past guards to finish a fast break.