The Detroit Pistons held their open practice on Saturday at Oakland University. While it is dangerous to draw any final conclusions from one practice, it is good to get an initial read on the team and several of the new players.
Here are some observations from the practice.
Jonas Jerebko looked strong and energetic. He seems to be taking on a leadership role.
It also appears that he has taken Slava Kravtsov under his wing as he was seen pointing out things to him several times. This also seems to have led to good chemistry between them on the court.
Speaking of Kravtsov, he will be a big body in the middle.
There was no opportunity to see what type of range he had. But a dunk, a few rebounds, and just his mass provided a glimpse of a potential power front court. With Jerebko, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond, they could go 6'10" or taller across the front court if they wanted.
While it does not show what type of a rookie player Andre Drummond will be, his actions do show the type of person and teammate he will be. During a scrimmage, Drummond was sitting on the bench when a player went down. Once back up, the ball and players headed to the opposite end of the court. The towel boy was busy and missed the fall. Drummond noticed this, ran out, and started drying the floor himself.
Once the towel guy got out there, Drummond stayed to help finish. It was a quick couple of seconds, but the attention to such detail and the care to look out for his teammates should not go unnoticed.
The former first-round pick, Jonny Flynn, is trying to earn a spot on the team. He has seen several stops in his short career. He showed some hustle and a lot of flash, but still needs to finish better. He could be an offensive spark off the bench, but the team already has Will Bynum to fill that role.
Charlie Villanueva made news this summer when he was cut http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/john-calipari-cuts-charlie-villanueva-dominican-republic-team-235413262--nba.html from the Dominican Republic National Team. Weather it was due to his lack of conditioning or if he just did not fit into the running system that the National team uses, it looked bad for Villanueva.
He looked much slimmer during the practice and showed a lot of hustle. I did not expect to see anyone diving for loose balls in such a practice, but there he was sliding across the floor. Of course he still couldn't play defense, but just seeing some hustle was a positive step for a player coming off such a rough season.
Kyle Singler looks to make the team after spending a successful year in Europe. As I said before, it is dangerous to draw any final conclusions from one practice, but for a player that was most expected to make the team, he had a rough practice. He looked slow and out matched during drills and the scrimmage. He air balled on all three of the shots that he had during the game.
Austin Daye is still tall, skinny, and much too easy to be pushed around.
Jason Maxiell looked much slimmer. In a quick interview to the crowd, he mentioned doing a lot of track work this off season, and it shows.
The team really needs to work on free throw shooting. Again it was just once practice, but they were scary bad at the line.
This is a young and developing team that could cause some problems for teams this year. They are not ready for a championship run yet, but you can see the building blocks being formed.
PJ Sapienza is a featured columnist covering the Detroit Red Wings as well as many other sports.
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