Ralph Sampson and Akeem Olajuwon. David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
NBA history is rife with two monster big men teaming up to become what is the cliche term, "twin towers."
In the NBA, it is said that the one thing you can't teach is size, and history bears that out.
Size brings the rings
There have been two things that have remained constant in the quest for NBA titles. Post dominance, and defense.
Every decade, the most dominant NBA teams have been those with a transcendent post presence, and defensive prowess.
Obviously, the 1990's Chicago Bulls are the one exception to the dominant post presence, but they just so happened to have the best player to ever lace up shoes, Michael Jordan.
Every other decade had dominance in size and defense.
George Mikan and the Minneapolis Lakers.
Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics.
Wilt Chamberlain and the Lakers.
Willis Reed and the Knicks.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Lakers.
Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets.
Shaquille O'Neal and the Lakers.
Tim Duncan and the Spurs.
Every decade, a dominant big man provides the key to championships, and defense provides the rest.
So what does this have to do with Detroit?
The Pistons are a far cry from a dominant playoff team, let alone one of the above squads.
That being said, they did well a few years ago to draft and develop Greg Monroe.
Monroe has a lot of the great traits you want in a big man. He has a strong offensive post game, a tremendous ability to grab rebounds and the desire to get better.
What he doesn't have is strong athletic prowess and the ability to finish and block shots.
Therefore, he needs to be paired with an athletic big man that can supplement those skills.
Here is where Andre Drummond comes in.
Face it critics, the Pistons need a big man that can do all of the above, and they weren't likely to find this guy anywhere else.
Free agency is tough for Detroit given their underwhelming location and overall talent.
Even when this team was a powerhouse, they didn't exactly have the top free agents knocking their door down.
Trades are also a tough ride and big men are truly difficult to procure even when you have one of your own to use as a bargaining chip.
The only chance Detroit had to grab an athletic, dominant big man was through the draft.
Obviously, Drummond does not come without risks. He had an underwhelming college career where his warts were evident.
But physically speaking, there is no greater specimen in this draft, and he was worth the risk at No. 9 overall.
Twin towers revisited
Obviously, having two dominant big men is not a guarantee for NBA dominance, but it certainly improves the odds. Of the original examples I cited, two would go on to win a total of four NBA titles.
Gasol and Bynum have the talent to win a few more titles together, but they will likely be broken up via trades.
The road to an NBA Championship is paved with luck and good breaks, not just talent.
And while it would be great if a team could just purchase two big men and punch their ticket to the Finals, it just doesn't work that way.
Teams need much more to win it all.
That being said, two dominant big men are the most difficult thing to obtain, and the rest of the roster is much easier to develop.
The Pistons were limited in the directions they could choose.
They don't have the luxury of signing or trading for a big three. They also don't have the pieces to develop a symbiotic group like the "Bad Boys" or the Bulls.
They do, however, have a very good big man in Monroe, they just needed someone that could complement him in the frontcourt.
The Pistons believe they have found that man in Drummond.
Obviously it is anyone's guess if he pans out.
But given all of the elements involved, this was the best direction that the team could take.
Revisiting the twin towers on the NBA landscape is the only chance this team has to be great again.
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