Joe Dumars wanted to make one thing clear on Friday afternoon.
The Detroit Pistons love their new rookies, as every team does today, but they won't be putting a 2013 playoff run on the backs of Andre Drummond, Khris Middleton and Kim English.
"The expectations of what we do as a team this season will not land on the shoulders of these three rookies," Dumars said as the players were introduced at the team's practice facility. "We're going to push them, just like we push everyone on our roster, but we're not going to throw them out there with unrealistic expectations."
Lawrence Frank agreed, saying that he wouldn't even know what he had to work with until he saw the trio practicing, but was happy to share the podium with those three specific players.
"If you read what the draft experts have to say about a player, they always focus on what the guy can't do," he said. "Joe and his team always look for what a player can do, and how he can help our team. These are three men that we felt had talents that would help this team, and we managed to get all three of them. That doesn't happen very often."
With Drummond, the positives are simple. He's a seven-footer who is ready to block shots at the NBA level. The rest of his game is something that Frank will get a chance to build.
"This is a young man who athletic ability is off the charts," Frank said. "It's going to be a process with him, because you have to remember that he's only 18 years old and he only played one year of college basketball. Still, he can protect the rim, block shots, rebound, run the floor and finish strong at the other end. That's a pretty good start."
Middleton and English both bring 3-point shooting -- something the Pistons lost when they traded Ben Gordon to Charlotte. Middleton can play both small forward and guard, and gives the Pistons a more athletic look, while English adds defense and energy to his shooting ability.
"Khris is all about helping his team -- he probably came back too soon from an ankle injury to help -- and he can provide us more on the offensive end than just a shooter," Frank said. "Kim is a guard that, because of a coaching change, ended up playing power forward and handling it well. He'll help us on the defensive end, and he's got a great motor and can knock down 3-pointers."
Middleton and English played against each other in the Big 12, and Middleton came away impressed with his new teammate.
"Kim was taking on our big guys and doing everything he could to stop us," he said. "He pretty much carried that team on his back at times. He's really a great player, and I'm looking forward to being on his side."
For English, his joy on Friday was all about tradition.
"When you think Pistons, everyone knows about the Bad Boys," he said. "But for me, it is the 2004 'Play The Right Way' team. That was one of my favorite teams to watch growing up, and I can't wait to put on that same uniform."