5 Players Crucial to Detroit Pistons' Success in 2013
The Detroit Pistons finally started to show some signs of life last year.
During the second half of the season, the Pistons were a fringe playoff team.
Now, they come to the table re-loaded with some new weapons (Corey Maggette, Kyle Singler, Andre Drummond) and without the shackles of Ben Gordon.
But the Pistons will need to see some serious contributions from this year's squad in order for the team to reach the playoffs.
Here are the five players that need to come alive next year.
Brandon Knight, PG
Brandon Knight fell into Detroit's lap a little over a year ago in the NBA Draft.
Most thought he was a sure top-three pick, but Detroit lucked out.
Knight showed flashes of brilliance as a rookie, but unforced errors and a lack of physical maturity essentially doomed him.
Now, he's back.
Knight had a strenuous offseason workout regiment that netted him an additional 10 pounds of muscle.
In order for Detroit to take the next step, Knight needs to develop into at least a solid point guard. The Pistons would love to see Knight get into the 15 points, 7 assists per game stratosphere this year.
Andre Drummond, C
For the third straight year, a top prospect fell to Detroit in the Draft Lottery.
The first two turned out to be excellent selections.
The fate of the franchise could fall into the lap of the third.
Drummond has the physical tools to step in right away and make a contribution.
He already is bigger than anyone on the roster, and could grow into the franchise center that the Pistons have lacked for years.
Offensively, anything above eight points per game would be a blessing.
Look for Drummond to become a defensive stopper and big body in the middle in his first year.
I am hoping for a 10 and 10 campaign, but anything close to this would greatly benefit the squad.
Kim English, SG
Kim English surprised quite a few people this offseason.
This year's second-round pick, English proved to be the team's best shooting guard in this year's Summer League, and even showed glimpses of an underrated athlete.
Alright, so English is not going to be the next Allan Houston.
But he could be the next Aron Afflalo, which would suite Detroit just fine.
Slava Kravtsov, C
This is a name that Pistons fans are going to have to start getting used to.
The Pistons have had uneven luck when it comes to Euro big men.
Zeljko Rebraca showed some talent, but ultimately flamed out in Detroit.
Mehmet Okur saw his best days outside of a Pistons uniform, but helped Detroit win a title.
And obviously, Darko Milicic is a tough subject to broach.
Slava could develop into a fan favorite in Detroit.
He is cheap, big and athletic and loves to play defense.
He is raw as an offensive player, but that matters little with this year's squad.
Slava could become a super sub.
Greg Monroe, PF
Right now, Greg Monroe is the brightest star in a Pistons uniform.
He is big, strong and can score in a variety of ways.
The Pistons have not known a power forward this talented since Rasheed Wallace left town.
But Monroe has the desire to be an even better player.
Sure, he doesn't have the talent of Wallace, but he does have the need to improve.
If Monroe can upgrade his scoring to somewhere in the range of 18 points per game, the Pistons should be a playoff contender.