Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Andrew Nicholson

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  • Measurables: 6-foot-9, 240 pounds, senior forward from St. Bonaventure
  • Key Stats: 18.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.0 blocks per game, 57 percent shooting, 43 percent 3-point shooting
  • Projected: Late first/early second round
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

Nicholson has improved just about every facet of his game tremendously in four years at St. Bonaventure, he’s known for his work ethic and he plays defense. Those things, combined with being tall, would make him a good bet to immediately contribute to the Pistons.

Pros for the Pistons

Nicholson is a high-energy player who doesn’t mind playing defense, is a solid shot-blocker and, most importantly for Greg Monroe-related reasons, has great hands. Monroe loves to pass around the basket and Nicholson is good at catching and quickly finishing. Check out this line from ESPN’s Chad Ford:

Wants to dunk everything in the paint

Yeah, that’ll work. Also, Nicholson has extended his range as a college player out past the 3-point line, He should an amazing 43 percent out there this season. The Pistons could use another shooter in their lineup, particularly if they use the amnesty clause on Charlie Villanueva.

Cons for the Pistons

The biggest knock on Nicholson seems to be that he’s only average or slightly above as a rebounder. I’m honestly not all that concerned about that. He rebounds well enough at the college level and the fact that he’s a hard-worker and is known for playing with a lot of energy makes me confidence it’s something he could improve. Also, if you remember, scouts weren’t wowed by Monroe’s rebounding ability when he was coming out of college and that didn’t end up being an accurate assessment of what he’s capable of. Nicholson has also had occasional turnover problems, as many young big men do.

Nicholson won’t rise high enough in the draft for the Pistons to take him with their lottery selection, but he’s one of several bigs (Festus Ezeli, Fab Melo to name a couple others) pegged for the late first/early second round who the team should definitely pounce on if he lasts on the board until their second round pick.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Nicholson continues to mature as a player. Every year, those David West comparisons look just a little bit closer to the mark. While there were questions about his toughness and basketball IQ early in his career, he just keeps getting better. In a losing effort against a swarming Florida State defense, Nicholson had 20 points and seven rebounds and was 4-for-5 from the 3-point line.

The 3-point shooting is especially noteworthy for Nicholson. For the first 22 games of the season, Nicholson hit a total of four 3-pointers. In his last 10 games he hit 19. Nicholson’s age keeps him from having a high ceiling, but it’s more likely than ever that someone takes him in the 20s.


Nevertheless, standing 6’9” with excellent length and big hands, Nicholson has some intriguing aspects of his game, both in terms of his physical profile and from a skills perspective—and is almost certainly not a finished product yet.

Offensively, Nicholson relies heavily on a very refined post game that’s tough to defend at this level, particularly when paired with the improving perimeter game he showed last year. With good footwork, counter moves, and an ability to finish with either hand, Nicholson has plenty of moves in the low post. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Nicholson is shooting 54% in post-up situations, while doing a solid job of drawing contact and getting to the line.

After not getting off to the start many expected for his senior season, he ended his career on a high note, playing extremely well down the stretch and especially in the A-10 conference tournament while leading his team to their first NCAA Tourney appearance since 2000. While displaying more tenacity and an improved skill set during this time, his ceiling is very high and he still has room to grow, making him a very intriguing prospect.


Realizing that the demands of Division I college basketball and the hours of lab work required for a chemistry major wouldn’t necessarily jive, Andrew Nicholson decided he needed to change his major to something a little less demanding.

So he did.

To physics.

“It’s still very challenging, but I have the capacity to do it,” Nicholson said without a trace of arrogance. “I’m very, very, very, very good at time management. I’ve got it down to the millisecond.”

What is the best thing Andrew Nicholson does for his team?

Kyle Zamiara (follow him on Twitter) is the sports editor for The Bona Venture, St. Bonaventure’s student newspaper:

After an up and down start to his senior season, Nicholson put the team on his back the final nine games of the Bonnies’ season, eventually winning the Atlantic 10 Championship. His presence in the paint draws double teams and creates opportunity for teammates on the perimeter. Nicholson also is dangerous from long range as he hit 43 percent of his three-pointers this season. He’s a relentless workhorse that can take over games if he isn’t challenged.



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