Mason Plumlee, Jahlil Okafor Sign With Detroit Pistons (www.espn.com)

The Detroit Pistons are

a pair of former Duke Blue Devils in Mason Plumlee and Jahlil Okafor in free agency. Both players provide the Pistons with frontcourt depth that was lacking after Andre Drummond was traded last season.

Plumlee is reportedly signing a three-year, $25 million deal to join the Pistons. He played a key role with the Denver Nuggets last season. He averaged 7.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 61 games with the Nuggets.

He offers durability and potential starting experience. Plumlee has played in 60 or more games every season he has been in the league. One area to view Plumlee is his per-36 minutes stat line.

He thrived with efficient play with the Nuggets. He averaged 14.9 points per-36 minutes. He is also a strong finisher around the rim as he shot 61% from the field. The Pistons could opt to utilize him in a rotational role or to make starts next season.

Okafor also offers some starting experience. He signed with the Pistons for a reported two-year deal. The former Duke star has a well-rounded game as he holds career averages of 11.0 points per game.

The question with Okafor is if he can stay healthy. He only played in 30 games for the New Orleans Pelicans last season. Both frontcourt players will pair newly acquired rookies Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart and point guard Killian Hayes.

According to ESPN reporter Eric Woodyard, the Pistons were expected to be aggressive in the draft and free agency. The moves have helped the team get young talent to flesh out the roster that still has Blake Griffin at the center.

“We’re going to attack free agency. We’re going to attack everything,” new Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said. “I said coming in this was going to be a restoring the two iterations of the great Pistons teams that was their mentality. They were aggressive, they were on the attack and we want to follow suit. So, that’s the mantra we’ll hopefully continue to be aggressive but we wanted to set the tone.”

Plumlee is on his fourth NBA team. He entered the league after a successful career with the Blue Devils. He entered college as a four-star recruit and developed into a valuable star for Duke.

He noted that he still regularly speaks with Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski on the daily basis. The duo could have more to talk about as Plumlee signed a new NBA deal.

“We talk [regularly]. We spoke before the playoffs and talk each summer — we have a great relationship,” Plumlee explained. “He’s just somebody who is in your corner once you go to the University. I had a great four years with him and we still talk.”

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Okafor also had top collegiate ranks with Duke. He was the top prospect in the 2014 recruiting class and still has a lot of talent that could be unlocked with the Pistons this season.

Both players will get their opportunity in a new environment as the NBA returns this December.



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