Now that the dust has settled from the fallout of the NBA Draft Lottery, it’s time for teams to begin prepping for the draft on June 28.
When it was revealed that the New Orleans Hornets would select first overall – and not the 7-59 Charlotte Bobcats – conspiracy theorists lit up the Internet with possibilities of how the Hornets could have won the lottery. Could it have been a ‘thank-you’ to new owner Tom Benson from commissioner David Stern for buying the Hornets from the league? I personally think it was just bad luck for the Bobcats, who surely didn’t need any more after the worst season in NBA history.
The rest of the lottery stayed pretty much the same as projected, meaning the Pistons will draft in the ninth slot. They didn’t have great odds to move up in the draft anyway, so I’m sure Joe Dumars wasn’t anticipating anything crazy happening. Now comes the hard part, though.
Anthony Davis, as mentioned in previous posts, is a shoe-in for the first overall selection. After that, however, the rest of the top 10 picks are nearly interchangeable. At #9, Detroit will have to replicate the last two drafts and hope that a hidden gem falls to them.
Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight were both top 10 players coming out of college in their respective years, but both slide due to a variety of reasons (individual team needs, rising draft stocks for others, etc.) and fell until the Pistons’ draft spot.
With Monroe and Knight firmly entrenched in their roster spots, it’s pretty open in terms of who the Pistons could go after. I believe their most pressing need would be an athletic shot-blocking big man to pair with Monroe. The common denominator for any draft pick must be athleticism – this team rarely had that ‘playmaker’ who could inject energy into the team.
The uncertainty of who will be picked after Davis means that nearly every single mock draft has different players being selected by the Pistons.
North Carolina forward John Henson is a popular pick by many, and I don’t disagree. While he is pretty thin for an incoming forward (220 pounds), he averaged almost 3 blocks a game last season for the Tarheels. He’s also 6’11”, meaning the Pistons would have a tall and talented frontcourt with him and Monroe up front. Both come from extremely good backgrounds in terms of coaching, so Lawrence Frank wouldn’t have a hard time showing them both how to progress as players. He may not be ready to contribute immediately, but if he could carve a defensive niche on this team, it would endear him to the organization.
Two other big men that mock drafts have the Pistons selecting are Mississippi State’s Arnett Moultrie and UConn’s Andre Drummond. Both are raw but extremely athletic players. Their draft stocks also both rely on the next month’s workouts. Drummond must show that he can do more than just dunk and run the floor; show a bit of a finesse around the basket. Too many “high-fliers” have been grounded due to a lack of actual basketball skill, raw athleticism can only get a player so far. Moultrie needs to show scouts that he is willing to bang down low with his back to the basket. He can drive to the hole, slam down put-back attempts, and has a decent jumpshot, but without the ability to post up defenders in the NBA, his 6’11” height would be misused.
These are just three of the numerous options available to Dumars and company come draft night. It’ll be up to them to work out, test, and decide who becomes the next player to don a Pistons jersey.