My conspiracy theory why the Detroit Pistons will draft Al-Farouq Aminu

I participated in The Basketball Jones’ mock draft yesterday, and I selected Al-Farouq Aminu for the Pistons (watch at the 20:35 mark). Yes, I know I predicted the day before Ekpe Udoh would be the pick.

But for a few reasons, I changed my mind. (And if you keep reading, I’ve changed it again.)

The reasonable reasons

Jonathon Givony of DraftExpress tweeted he didn’t see Aminu slipping past Detroit, and Chad Ford’s mock draft 5.0 also had the Pistons taking Aminu. Givony and Ford both base their opinions on NBA sources, not just scouting. It seemed like the Pistons had indicated they like Aminu.

Also, Aminu passed the wingspan test.

The ridiculous reason

Before I go any further, I want to admit this is pure speculation. Additionally, I don’t believe it’s true. But I think it’s possible, so let’s have a little fun.

Last season, there were rumors the Pistons had promised to take Austin Daye with the 15th pick. I have no idea whether they were true, but Detroit taking Daye means it’s at least possible.

When Daye went to the NBA Combine, he performed terribly. His tests showed him to be the worst athlete there. Daye was so bad, Ryan Feldman of The Hoops Report suspected Daye was dogging it.

Think about it. How many solid first round, maybe even lottery, prospects have ever been the worst or second worst in every single test? It’s one thing if he was only the weakest or only the slowest or only the least athletic, but all three?

We’re not talking about an out of shape big man here. We’re talking about Austin Daye.

Can a wing player who is the slowest, weakest, most unathletic player in the entire Draft class be a lottery pick? Apparently, it might be possible.

The question really isn’t whether or not a player like that could be a lottery pick. It’s whether or not the player in question is really what he made himself out to be last week in Chicago.

So what does this have to do with Aminu? One of his biggest plusses entering the draft process was supposed to be his athleticism. Although his numbers aren’t terrible, Aminu tested fairly pedestrianly compared to the other prospects in DraftExpress’ database:

  • No-step vertical: Tied for 33rd (of 91)
  • Max vertical: Tied for 39th (of 92)
  • Bench press: Tied for 16th (of 44)
  • Sprint: 24th (of 46)
  • Agility: 15th (of 46)

Maybe Aminu had an arrangement similar to Daye’s with the Pistons – tank it at the combine to ensure he won’t get picked sooner, and the they’ll draft him. Again, this is all speculation. I have no evidence this was the case for either player.

Now, since I selected Aminu, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reported Aminu cancelled his workout with the Pistons. Givony thinks that means Detroit won’t pick him, and so does Ford.

If my conspiracy theory is accurate, Aminu’s cancelled workout would fit as part of the smokescreen he and the Pistons are creating.

What now?

My crazy theories aside, I believe the Pistons lost interest in Aminu when he cancelled the workout.

Givony firmly believes that means the Pistons will take Ed Davis now. Ford also has Detroit taking Davis in his latest mock draft, but he doesn’t sound as sure:

At this point it looks like it’s down to Davis, Udoh or Cole Aldrich. Aldrich is the most NBA-ready center and Udoh is the best shot-blocker of the group. But of the players left on the board, Davis has the most upside. He may be raw, but he’s an athletic 6-foot-10 big man with bounce and the ability to crash the boards. The Pistons need to swing for the fences.

I don’t think the pick will be Davis, because his wingspan is subpar. And as Ford notes, Aldrich doesn’t have the upside Dumars’ other lottery picks have possessed.

At this minute, my guess is Udoh. Obviously, that could change quickly.

To get the most-immediate updates on the Pistons’ draft rumors, follow PistonPowered on Twitter, or check back to The Glove Compartment on the sidebar of this site. It’s sure to be a busy day.

On that same note, Charlie Villanueva picked a good time to be charged with domestic assault. The news will certainly be buried today.

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