Vernon Macklin‘s name was farm from the most well-known one called on draft night, but it turns out that Macklin attracted the attention of the Pistons by performing well against first round talents the team allegedly coveted. From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:
Macklin got a chance to work out for the Pistons and go against touted big men Bismack Biyombo, Tristan Thompson, Markieff Morris and others.
The Pistons were still doing their due diligence for the eighth pick and Biyombo and Thompson were in the mix.
But Macklin impressed.
“He was a warrior during the workout — just an absolute warrior,” Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said two days after the draft. “He was physical, strong, defended well, scored the ball in the low post, and he’s a guy that fits Detroit basketball.
“When he came in and showed the way he did, we looked at him and said if he’s on the board at 52, if he’s still there he would be an excellent pick for us.”
Workouts, rather than on-court college production, seemed to be the biggest factor in how the Pistons evaluated upside in players they drafted this year. It will be interesting to watch this group of rookies next season for that reason. The team believes they can succeed based on what were reportedly impressive workouts or evaluations of individual skills. The advanced stats community has been very underwhelmed by the Pistons draft based on the levels of production of Macklin, Kyle Singler and Brandon Knight in college. Whether the draft picks are successful or not, either upside proponents or stats proponents are going to give the other side a big ‘I told you your evaluation methods don’t work!’ at some point.