Reporting Ashley Dunkak
By Ashley Dunkak
AUBURN HILLS (CBS DETROIT) – For the future of the Detroit Pistons, president of basketball operations Joe Dumars envisions versatility.
That is why Dumars made former Atlanta forward Josh Smith – who signed a four-year, $54 million deal, according to Yahoo – the team’s No. 1 target in free agency.
“The NBA is becoming less and less about specific positions,” Dumars said. “Most of the time, what you see right now is teams put their best players on the floor, and you figure out, as you get out there, how to match up.
“You see LeBron play anywhere from one to two to three to four – at times he was guarding Duncan,” Dumars added. “We see Josh in that same vein, as someone that can play multiple positions and match up with whoever.”
Smith bought into that vision, and he said he was particularly excited to be part of an organization that – with the exception of recent years, he allowed – has a winning tradition.
“[Dumars] had me sold from the word ‘go,’” Smith said. “When I set down and looked at this roster, I felt like we were going to be a playoff team this year with just the growth of the young guys and the leadership I can bring to the table.”
If Smith considered other teams, he was not admitting it.
“This was my option,” Smith said. “That’s it. I didn’t have any other options. This is the team who I wanted to play for, so everything else was – I wasn’t worried about it.”
Along with Smith, the frontcourt includes second-year forward Andre Drummond and fourth-year forward Greg Monroe. Smith said he like the combination of their youth and his leadership.
“There’s nothing like having young guys that are willing to listen, that want to get better, that want to take that next step,” Smith said, “and that’s what the most intriguing thing was to me.
“We’re definitely a playoff team,” Smith said, “but we can be a contender if we work hard at it.”
Dumars is hoping that happens as a result of other solid players being drawn to Detroit because of Smith’s presence.
“Once guys see that a talent like this decides to go to a team, normally it attracts other guys to come as well,” Dumars said. “We certainly hope it has the same effect.”