In case Pistons fans needed more proof that the organization is in full rebuilding mode, the team has finalized its roster for the 2012-13 NBA season that includes five rookies. It's not going to be easy, but Detroit is hoping that its young guns can jell together early and help this team compete for a playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The following is a look at the entire lineup to date:
Greg Monroe - With Ben Wallace no longer on the team, Monroe is now officially the face of the franchise. He has high hopes of becoming an All-Star and leading his team to the postseason. For now, he will continue as the Pistons' starting center, but it's only a matter of time before he moves to the "4" spot with rookie Andre Drummond taking over in the middle. Regardless of which position he plays, Monroe is poised for an immense year as he continues his development as one of the NBA's best big men.
Brandon Knight - Hoping to avoid a sophomore slump, Knight is anxious to direct what should be a more up-tempo offense for the Pistons. As Detroit's starting point guard, Knight will continue to push the ball offensively before setting up in the half-court and targeting Monroe and Drummond down low. Defensively, Drummond's presence should allow Knight the opportunity to pressure the ball tighter knowing that there will be plenty of help behind the guards. More than anything else at this point, Knight must focus on the mental aspect of his game as his confidence and leadership skills continue to grow.
Rodney Stuckey - No more excuses. Stuckey is now at his natural position as the Pistons' starting shooting guard and playing alongside a promising talent in Knight. With a full training camp under head coach Lawrence Frank, Stuckey should be able to establish a comfort level in the team's offense. This, in turn, should allow him to improve statistically and emerge - along with Monroe - as Detroit's go-to scorer.
Tayshaun Prince - The lone holdover from the 2004 Championship team, Prince remains the Pistons' starting small forward. That said, he has more competition for the spot than ever before. Now more than ever, Prince must emerge as the veteran leader in the locker room. His season, and perhaps his legacy, depends on it.
Jason Maxiell - The incumbent starting power forward, Maxiell will likely see his role changed back to what it's been almost his entire career - as a reserve. J-Max has always provided the energy and toughness it takes for an undersized post player to stick around in the NBA and contribute to a team's rotation. In order for the Pistons to start winning again, however, they will need to insert Drummond into the lineup to play alongside Monroe. It appears only a matter of time before that move occurs.
Jonas Jerebko - A versatile combo forward, Jerebko remains a staple to the Pistons' second unit. He'll see time at both forward positions, and if the team ever trades Prince, Jerebko would likely be first in line for the starting "3" spot. He's the ultimate team player and does whatever is asked of him. Here's to hoping his role only increases moving forward.
Corey Maggette - Acquired in the deal that sent Ben Gordon to the Bobcats, Maggette moves back to the bench after being a starter for one season in Charlotte. He's entering the last year of his contract, and he's not sure if he wants to continue playing beyond this season. For the time being, Maggette will look to be instant offense off the bench, attacking the rim and getting to the foul line. It's a role he's become accustomed to in the NBA, and it suits him just fine.
Will Bynum - The number one guard off the Pistons' bench, Bynum finally has a shot at consistent playing time as a reserve. Though undersized, Bynum is a tremendous scorer with amazing athleticism and underrated playmaking skills. He deserves this opportunity and hopefully will take full advantage of it.
Charlie Villanueva - One last chance for Charlie V. A candidate for the Pistons' amnesty clause, Villanueva will likely be waived after this season. If he's smart, he will work hard to show other NBA teams that he's worth trading for so he can continue his career. If he continues to struggle with injuries and inconsistency, he'll be out of the league before we know it.
Austin Daye - Like Villanueva, Daye is walking a fine line when it comes to proving his worth not only to the Pistons but to the entire league. In three seasons, Daye has failed to live up to expectations as a former lottery pick. If he has any shot at rejuvenating his career, he'll likely need to do so by going to another team. It's in the best interest of all parties to find a trade involving Daye and make it happen.
Andre Drummond - An absolute steal with the ninth pick this past summer, Drummond has looked exactly as advertised in preseason. He's incredibly agile for his size and produces consistently on the defensive end. He's an easy target on offense as he runs the floor and looks for lobs inside the paint. This isn't to say he's the next Dwight Howard, but you can certainly see the similarities in their skill sets. The Pistons are hoping it will translate to the games that truly count.
Kyle Singler - A four-year collegiate star who spent last season playing in Spain, Singler enters his official rookie season with a chance to become a regular in the Pistons' rotation. He's a lot like Jerebko in that he's versatile enough to contribute from multiple positions on both ends of the floor. Maggette will likely begin the season as the primary backup to Prince, but don't be surprised if Singler ends up playing more minutes when the season's said and done.
Khris Middleton - One of two second-round picks for the Pistons this year, Middleton likely won't see a lot of minutes anytime soon. It would surprise little if Middleton ends up playing at least one stint in the D-League this season. It could be the only way Detroit can evaluate him during game situations.
Kim English - Detroit's other second-rounder, English has a better shot at a role in the rotation. He's the only true backup shooting guard on the roster, and he brings a perimeter game that compares to former Piston Arron Afflalo. Whether or not the team is willing to make a commitment to playing him remains to be seen.
Vyacheslav Kravtsov - Yet another Pistons rookie, Slava Kravtsov gives the team another defensive-minded center who could earn some minutes backing up Monroe and Drummond. Kravtsov's demonstrated a knack for blocking shots with his preseason play, and that's something the Pistons can always use. Until Drummond becomes a starter, however, it's unlikely that both rookies will see consistent minutes in the team's rotation.
The leftovers - Joe Dumars, Pistons President of Basketball Operations, usually tends to invite a couple of free agents to training camp. However, he usually doesn't invite two of the top free agents available and sign them to nonguaranteed contracts, but that's exactly what he did with guards Terrence Williams and Jonny Flynn. It's unfortunate the roster was already at its 15-player limit because both free agents could help this team. Either of them would be better fits than Daye or Villanueva at this point. Both players will likely catch on elsewhere, either in the NBA or possibly overseas.