Andre Drummond, meet Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight. The three players the Pistons have plucked from the draft over the past three years have more in common than the NBA uniform they’ll wear next season. They also share this: Not one of them was supposed to be a Piston. And now they’re at the heart of the team’s future.

NBA teams began pointing to the 2012 draft as soon as the early-entry deadline for 2011 came and went with several prospects considered lottery locks deciding to return to college basketball. Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, Thomas Robinson, John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones and Perry Jones III all would have been strong lottery candidates a year ago.

If next season goes as planned, the Pistons won't have a first-round
draft pick - but no matter what happens next season, they'll have the
ability to wade into free agency or to benefit via trades involving
teams looking for financial relief.

The Pistons traded Ben Gordon and a protected future No. 1 pick - fully
lottery protected in 2013 - to Charlotte on Tuesday night for Corey
Maggette, a 32-year-old small forward who gives the Pistons a rim
attacker that complements Lawrence Frank's offensive philosophy.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that the club has acquired forward Corey Maggette from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for guard Ben Gordon and a future first-round draft choice.

Editor's note: continues its 14-part draft series with a look at second-round perimeter possibilities. Coming Wenesday: a look at the thin international crop.

If the Pistons land a big man in the first round they feel confident is ready to step into their frontcourt rotation, the focus with their two second-round picks might shift toward adding to their perimeter depth and versatility.