Monday , Jun , 14 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Detroit Pistons 2004 Draft Preview

(Sports Network) – With the 54th overall selection in this year’s draft,
Detroit will simply try and pick the best player available that could possibly
make its roster.

The Pistons’ biggest concern in the offseason will be to try and re-sign
forward Rasheed Wallace, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free
agent. Wallace, who was acquired from the Atlanta Hawks at the trade deadline,
has fit in well in Detroit and would benefit by staying with the Pistons.
The 29-year-old Wallace averaged 13.7 points and seven rebounds in 22 games
for the Pistons during the regular season.

If the Pistons can keep Wallace in the fold, than their starting lineup could
be set for the next several years. Detroit has All-Star Ben Wallace, a
defensive specialist and intimidating rebounder, at center, Tayshaun Prince at
small forward, and a steady backcourt that consists of Chauncey Billups and
Richard Hamilton.

Hamilton, who averaged a team-high 17.6 points per game during the regular
season, is on the verge of becoming one of the top shooting guards in the
league, while Billups is a solid point guard who plays good defense and is a
threat from beyond the arc.

Prince and Ben Wallace, who averaged 9.5 points and 12.4 boards, are the
perfect complements to Rasheed Wallace, as both players understand their job
offensively and play great defense.

Detroit does have one other issue to deal with, as forward Mehmet Okur is
scheduled to become a free agent. The 6-11 Okur is a valuable reserve and
could start on a lot of teams in the league.

Darko Milicic, who spent most of his rookie campaign on the bench, should see
his playing time increase. The 7-0 forward appeared in just 34 games and
played a total of 159 minutes.

Head coach Larry Brown is the right coach for this team. Brown preaches
defense and to “play the right way.” The Pistons have bought into his
philosophy and the results showed.

Key Player(s): Chauncey Billups (guard), Richard Hamilton (guard), Darko
Milicic (forward), Mehmet Okur (forward), Tayshaun Prince (forward), Ben
Wallace (center), Rasheed Wallace (forward), Corliss Williamson (forward).

Team Needs: A backup shooting guard.

Draft picks: 2nd round (54th overall).