The Detroit Pistons are finally trending in the right direction.
For years, this team seemed to be either heading nowhere or they were sliding further down the NBA totem pole.
But after drafting two of the better big men in the league and trading for a pure point guard, they finally appear to be moving forward.
This is a team that certainly could challenge for a playoff spot. But in order to do so, they will need to make one major adjustment.
They will need to insert Andre Drummond into the starting lineup.
The most effective Piston this year has also been their youngest player.
Andre Drummond has been a revelation this year. He has infused a boring team with excitement with thunderous dunks and devastating blocks.
He is capable of changing the outcome of a game on his own and has already improved the interior defense of this team.
However, coach Lawrence Frank has been slow with his minutes, doling out only about 20 per game.
In those 20 minutes, however, Drummond is averaging nearly eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Imagine if he were playing 30-35 minutes. The Pistons could be looking at their newest version of Ben Wallace.
Instead, Jason Maxiell has been the starter since day one this year and is putting up solid, if unspectacular numbers.
So why isn't Drummond starting?
Reporters have been trying to uncover this nugget all season to no avail.
Frank has repeatedly stated that the best players will start and minutes will be determined by their effectiveness. Yet Drummond has outplayed Maxiell all season.
And it isn't about saving the pride of a franchise star, as Maxiell has only been a bench player for mostly sub-par Detroit teams and is likely heading elsewhere after this year.
The only explanation is that Frank is trying to develop Drummond slowly as not to overwhelm the big guy.
If that is the case, it is certainly admirable and understandable. He could be the most important player for the future of this team, so development should be crucial.
But Drummond has outgrown that logic as well.
There are two major reasons that Drummond must start after the All-Star break.
First, the future is now for this team. The Pistons need to know if the pairing of Drummond and Greg Monroe works up front. The league has been trending towards small ball and some people believe that a twin towers approach won't work.
If that is the case, the Pistons need to know now so they can figure out what to do with Monroe.
Secondly, Drummond gives this team their best shot at winning.
If someone is arguably your best player, why wouldn't you play him?
What makes this move so crucial right now is that they have a chance to audition a point guard with the big man.
Since trading for Jose Calderon, Drummond has had limited time with the point guard.
Most believe that the Pistons are interested in re-signing the Spaniard. Wouldn't it make sense to figure out if he fits with the franchise's cornerstone?
The fact of the matter is that Drummond's time has come. He has shown that the game isn't too big for him, and now he needs to be unleashed on the world.
When Drummond comes off of his injury, he needs to be inserted into the starting lineup.
That is the Pistons' best shot at making the playoffs and their best shot at planning for the future.
Drummond must start.
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