Pistons wisely used tier system to draft Brandon Knight

If I were running an NBA team, I would use a tier system for the draft. Rather than trying to differentiate prospects with similar value (ability times potential times likelihood of reaching potential), I would group all similar prospects into tiers. Then, within each tier, I would rank players based on how they fit with my team. It’s just too difficult to separate certain players, and at that point, fit is more important.

Apparently, the Pistons used the same or a similar strategy to draft Brandon Knight last year. Chad Ford of ESPN:

This system protects teams from overreaching based on team need. The Pistons won’t pass on a clearly superior player like Waiters to fill a need with Perry Jones. However, the system also protects a team from passing on a player who fits a need just because he might be ranked one or two spots lower overall.

The Pistons actually followed this model last year at the draft. While the consensus was they needed a big, when Brandon Knight, who they had ranked in a higher tier fell, they took him anyway.

This is how I’d group players if the draft were today. Players within each tier are sorted by how I view their fit with the Pistons.

Tier 1

1. Anthony Davis

Tier 2

2. Thomas Robinson

3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Tier 3

4. Andre Drummond

5. Harrison Barnes

Tier 4

6. Bradley Beal

Tier 5

7. John Henson

8. Myers Leonard

9. Terrence Jones

10. Damian Lillard

Tier 6

11. Tyler Zeller

12. Arnett Moultrie

13. Perry Jones

14. Kendall Marshall

15. Jeremy Lamb

16. Dion Waiters (probably should have been on my initial list, but I’m on the fence about him)

(I didn’t include Jared Sullinger, because I don’t have nearly enough info about his medical issues.)

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