Before the draft, Pistons president Joe Dumars issued a statement on what he was looking for as the Pistons moved forward as a team.
"We didn't play with the same grit and toughness that we played with over the past 10 years," Dumars said. "That's the whole focus right now for us is to get back to the grit and toughness that's identified us for the past decade."
"What I didn't like was the way that we played this year," he said. "What I didn't like was the lack of toughness we had. What I didn't like was the grit that we didn't show this year. All those things bothered me just as much as the losses themselves, just the way we lost."
Given this criteria, the selection of Greg Monroe seems like a strange one. Obviously, Dumars' first choice was DeMarcus Cousins, but he was unable to pull the trigger on a move that would bring the talented yet enigmatic power forward to Detroit (I still wouldn't rule out a trade in the coming days, since Sacramento was high on Monroe as well).
Who knows, maybe the teams that Dumars talked with wanted too much, perhaps Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko. Regardless, Dumars missed out on Cousins and that is probably just as well. Cousins has the potential to be a star, but he also has the potential to be a train wreck.
What seems very curious, however, is the fact that Dumars had plenty of other options at number seven that would more obviously fit his rationale of toughness. Ed Davis is a tough player with plenty of upside. Same goes for Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich, and even Kevin Seraphin.
Now this is not to say that Monroe is not a talented player. He absolutely is. But when you look at his scouting reports, the same things come up. "Lack of toughness", "passive", "disappears", "rebounding a concern". These are not magic words for Pistons fans.
What Pistons fans are looking for is a beast that will assert his presence, take the ball and play with a chip on his shoulder. The Pistons do not want a big man with finesse and a feathery left-handed shooting touch. We had one of those the last time we drafted in the lottery and we all know how well that turned out.
Overall, Monroe does supply the Pistons with a strong big man that will amaze with his passing ability and a solid back-to-the-basket offensive skill set. He won't, however, make fans forget about Ben Wallace in his prime, let alone Bill Laimbeer on the defensive glass.
Monroe will be able to step right in and start right away if he puts his head down and gets to work. The Pistons would also be wise to re-sign Ben Wallace to act as a Crash Davis-like mentor to the big man, and make the kid follow him to the weight room on a daily basis.
There are a few things that you can not teach. One of them is size, which the young man has. However, one of the other things is toughness, and only time will tell if all the scouts were wrong about him. Here's hoping they were.
As for how the rest of the draft went for Detroit, the second-round pick of Terrico White is an interesting pick to say the least. To the outside eye, one would be tempted to blast Dumars for selecting yet another shooting guard with limited experience running the point. Heading into the draft, point guard was the second most glaring position of need for Detroit.
However, a few things make this pick a good one. First, the draft was exceptionally thin at point guard. Dumars likely had his eye on Greivis Vazquez from Maryland, but when he went in the first round, it was likely on to plan B.
Plan B was probably Armon Johnson, but when Portland took him, it was on to plan C. This brought us to White.
The second thing that makes him a good pick is the fact that while Detroit is very deep at shooting guard today, they likely will not have the same roster when the season begins in October. Dumars has plenty of options at his disposal between free agency and trades, and I would be shocked if at least one of the swing players was not dealt.
Therefore, he can use these other routes to secure a pure point guard, and then utilize White for what he brings to the table.
White is a dazzling scorer, someone capable of coming off the bench and providing an immediate lift. He also has the athleticism that could make him a stellar defender as well as fast break finisher. If coach John Kuester allows his offense to open up a little bit, which will be a lot easier given Monroe's ability to run the court and supply excellent outlet passes, White could be the recipient of some air-bending alley-oops.
Detroit had a good, not great draft. They drafted for talent as well as need as Monroe and White were probably the best players available at the time they were selected.
Were each of these players somewhat curious picks considering what Dumars is looking for? Maybe.
Were there players available that may have fit Detroit a little bit better? Probably.
But at the end of the day, Dumars had a solid if unspectacular draft, and each of these players should help the Pistons. They are still a few players away from playoff contention so look for Detroit to become active players as the summer winds down.