August 27, 2012 in Professional
The Detroit Pistons have a long list of in-state college and high school players who have played for the team in recent years, including Chris Webber, Mateen Cleaves, Terry Mills, Negele Knight, Darvin Ham and Walker Russell Jr.
Long was seemingly the kind of tough, blue-collar frontcourt player the Pistons lacked, averaging 13.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in his final season with the Hawks. With the Pistons, however, his numbers and minutes plummeted. He went from 36 minutes per game in his final season as a Hawk to 17 per game in his first as a Piston.
Grand Rapids native and Michigan great Loy Vaught should’ve been destined for success as a Piston. Vaught helped Michigan win a national title, then went on to an unappreciated career with the L.A. Clippers as a perennially underrated player because, well, he played for the Clippers. He averaged double-doubles in back-to-back seasons in 1996 and 1997.
Cruelly, though, Vaught suffered a knee injury just before he was set to hit free agency and escape Clipperdom. He never got the opportunity to show that he was an underrated player post-Clippers.
Macon came into the league well-schooled defensively, obviously, playing for John Chaney at Temple. He was also a big combo guard, something that the Pistons have always had an affection for. His offense — he was a big-time scorer at Temple — never really translated to the NBA, though. It’s a shame too, because the former Mr. Basketball winner really was an elite, tough high school and college player.