I’m not a big proponent of guys changing their minds on retirement. Brett Favre’s retirement soap opera turned him into football’s biggest diva and should have been a model on how not to leave the game to the rest of professional athletes. However, a unique situation in Detroit might cause me to rethink my view for one circumstance.
Joe Dumars might have got a gift in this year’s draft when Andre Drummond fell to him. 7-footers who are athletic don’t normally slip to the #9 pick. Ask Kwame Brown or former Piston Darko Milicic. The two big men worked their way into the first two picks in their respective drafts simply due to size. They were overhyped and didn’t ever pan out, but Andre Drummond is more of a sure thing than those guys. He’s more athletic and physically gifted yet somehow slipped much further than two of the biggest busts in recent draft history did. Even if he doesn’t make it, the 9th pick is worth the risk for what Drummond could become.
Drummond’s slide likely was due to several factors: the performance of the already mentioned duo; his rumored lack of focus and poor work ethic; and an early run on guards by the teams directly in front of the Pistons. The experts say Drummond is a menacing defender who needs to work on his offensive game which sounds eerily familiar to a recently retired Piston — Ben Wallace. However, unlike Drummond, Wallace’s work ethic has never come into question. During his prime, Wallace was among the hardest working players in basketball which is how an undrafted, undersized sometime center, sometime power forward, went on to win four NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards.
If the Pistons are serious about taking it slow with Drummond, they’ll need to provide him with a mentor — Ben Wallace would be among the best that Drummond could learn from. In his prime, Ben Wallace was up there with the greatest defenders in the history of basketball. Instilling his tenacious instincs into a 7-foot athletic freak of nature would be site to see. Wallace won’t provide much on the basketball court as he inches closer to 40, but in the locker room he could be a father figure and role model for the Pistons’ young draft pick who is key to a return to glory for the dormant franchise. A final one-year contract for the backbone of the Pistons faded championship team might help their future immensely. I’m good with it as long as this is the only time he changes his mind.