Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: DeAndre Liggins

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Currently, DraftExpress projects Kentucky swingman DeAndre Liggins to go with the 25th pick in the second round. The Pistons have the 22nd pick in the second round. I hope they seriously consider Liggins if he’s available. That might seem weird considering the Pistons are crowded on the perimeter, but there are several reasons I would be excited to see him in Detroit.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, junior G/F from Kentucky

Key stats: 8.6 points, 2.5 assists, 1.2 steals per game while shooting 42 percent from the field and 39 percent from three

Projected: Second round

How would he help the Pistons?

Liggins is one of the most versatile players in this draft. He played both wing spots for Kentucky and even had some ability to slide over and play the point if needed. He was always in a supporting role in college simply because Kentucky has had a parade of stars the last two seasons under John Calipari. Liggins himself was a highly rated high school prospect. But don’t let the numbers fool you: his best attribute was his ability to become a complimentary player in college.

Liggins is a potential lockdown perimeter defender in the NBA. He has a strong build and at 6-6, he has the size to bother players at any perimeter position. At Kentucky, he defended all three positions for the Wildcats. He also developed a reliable 3-point shot, knocking down 39 percent of his attempts as a junior.

With two second round picks, a looming lockout that could eliminate the Summer League and an already crowded roster, there’s a good chance whoever the Pistons take with their second second round pick will struggle to make the team. I’d much rather see them take a chance on a player like Liggins who has proven to be coachable and tough. He didn’t have as good a college career as Arron Afflalo, but his defense and versatility remind me a bit of Afflalo when the Pistons drafted him a few years ago. I don’t think Liggins will be a star in the NBA. I don’t know that he’ll even be a starting caliber player. But he seems to have the work ethic, physical tools and intelligence to carve out a very serviceable NBA career filling a variety of roles for a team off the bench. The Pistons need more smart, tough players on their roster and the handful of times I watched Liggins this season, those were the things that stuck out to me.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

The numbers game I touched on above is the main thing working against Liggins. It’s going to be hard for anyone the Pistons take with that pick to make the roster, let alone a perimeter guy. The Pistons might be better served using that pick on a project foreign player who wants to stay overseas for a season or two.

What are others saying?

From Hoops World:

If you are looking for offensive productivity, DeAndre Liggins isn’t the guy for you.  However, if you are looking a tough-as-nails defender with the ability to lock-down players at the point guard, shooting guard and small forward positions, the junior out of Kentucky is a perfect fit.

From ESPN:

Liggins may not look like much on the offensive end. As a junior he averaged just 8.6 ppg. But he’s an exceptional defender who can guard multiple positions, so some team might want him in the second round. Most likely he goes undrafted if he stays in the draft.

From USA Today:

Liggins, a 6-foot-6 junior guard from Chicago, served as the Wildcats’ defensive stopper this season, consistently drawing the assignment of guarding the opposing team’s top offensive threat.

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