"The decision wasn't easy," Arron told the Associated Press of his choice to forego his senior year at UCLA and enter the NBA Draft. "I did this for my personal growth, my happiness and where I felt I should be as an individual, what can get me to compete and be the best basketball player I can be."
As difficult of a decision as it was for Arron — particularly because he’d come so close to achieving his goal of bringing another national title to UCLA — it’d be hard to argue it was the wrong one. As a two-time first-team Pac-10 selection, Arron felt he was ready for the challenge associated with playing at basketball’s highest level in the NBA.
Initially pegged as a second-rounder, Arron impressed teams during pre-draft workouts and his stock shot up. Detroit Pistons general manager Joe Dumars couldn’t help but fall in love with Arron’s prospects for NBA stardom after seeing the way he starred at UCLA. Dumars was particularly fond of Arron’s versatility as a defender.
“He’s a flat-out tough guy,” Dumars told the Los Angeles Daily News. “He’s a warrior. He’s a big-time scorer. I don’t think UCLA has the success they’ve had the last two years if he’s not the leading scorer, leading that team. I like the fact that Afflalo has been on that big stage, and he knows what it’s like. He’s not going to be intimidated.”
When his team came up at No. 27, Dumars made Arron a first round NBA draft choice and a Detroit Piston.
After functioning as a feature guard his final two years at UCLA, Arron admits that he had some difficulty adjusting to a new role with the Pistons. Though he averaged just 12.9 minutes per game as a rookie, his best performance of the season proved to be vital. He scored a then-career-high 15 points against Miami in late March to help seal a fourth-straight Central Division Title for the Pistons.
But in staying true to form, Arron deflected credit to his teammates.
"I'm out there with four All-Star-caliber players, so they aren't going to be paying much attention to me," he told the Associated Press. "I hit a couple shots early and that let me get comfortable."
Though Arron’s role increased in his second year in Detroit, he remained largely underutilized at 16.7 minutes per game. Still, he showed signs of a breakout as he shot over 43 percent from the floor and better than 40 percent from distance, earning the respect and praise of his teammates.
"He understands that he may not play a lot of minutes, but the minutes that he does get, he's going to come in and take advantage of them," Allen Iverson told mlive.com. "He's come in and given us a spark at both ends of the court."