Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By DAVE HOGG  |  Last updated 10/10/13
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Maurice Cheeks doesn't care how old Andre Drummond or how many years he's been in the NBA. All Cheeks cares about is that Drummond is one of his best players. On Pistons Media Day, Cheeks made it clear that he intends to have Drummond, just 20, on the floor as much as possible, and that didn't change in Detroit's first exhibition game against an NBA team. Drummond played 28 minutes against Miami -- most of them against a group that included LeBron James, Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh -- and finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. "You see what he can do out there, playing against a pretty good team, and we don't run a single play for him," Cheeks said. "I didn't have any idea he had the double-double until I just looked at the stat sheet. "He does that just on talent, and that's why we want him on the floor. That's a great advantage." Cheeks wasn't about to get carried away -- he repeatedly pointed out that James played only 23 minutes and Wade only 21 -- but Cheeks was still pleased with the performance. Drummond and Greg Monroe combined for 24 points in the third quarter, even though Miami's starters were still in the game. "We know that they can spread the floor and they've got a lot of great players, so we wanted to focus on getting the ball inside to Andre and Greg," Cheeks said. "They did what they do, and they made a lot of shots, but our guys kept battling." In the end, the Pistons lost the game. With both teams playing backups, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed a tying 3-pointer in the dying seconds and Miami ended with a 112-107 win. That isn't the point in October, however, especially with a team that's starting over yet again. "We've got a new group of players, we've got a new rotation, and we've got a new coach," Drummond said. "We don't have time to take it easy in preseason games. "We've got to go out there and play hard so that we know what works and what doesn't." Drummond said that he's not thinking about Cheeks' promise to play him a lot of minutes, even after Lawrence Frank spent most of last season keeping him around 20 per game. "My job is to help us win when I'm on the floor," Drummond said. "If I play five minutes, I have to do everything I can in those five minutes to make us better. If I play 20 minutes or I play 40, it doesn't matter. "I just have to play hard when I'm out there. I'm here to help us win games, no matter what that takes." Drummond is enjoying playing alongside Monroe and Josh Smith. Although it remains to be seen how well Detroit's lineup works on the offensive end of the floor, it's certainly a formidable group on defense. Not too many teams have a shot-blocker like Drummond at center and a small forward who can play James as well as Josh Smith. "Look at the front line we've got on the floor with me, Greg and Smooth," Drummond said. "We're going to be able to do a lot of good things." The only negative for the Pistons was the news that Rodney Stuckey will need surgery after slamming his right thumb in a car door. Stuckey broke a bone in the tip of his thumb, and the team won't know how long he will be out until after Friday's operation. "It's disappointing because he's had a great camp, and I was really looking to having him out on the floor with the rest of this group," Cheeks said. "Injuries are part of this sport, though, and we just have to adjust."
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