3-on-3: With the 44th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select ...

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, Patrick and I will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. In the days leading up to the draft, we’re going to discuss what the Pistons could/should/might/should not do with each of their three picks.

For each 3-on-3, we’ll be joined by a guest contributor. Today as we discuss the 9th pick, that’s J.M. Poulard, who writes for Warriors World, Forum Blue and Gold and various other TrueHoop Network sites. Follow him on Twitter.

Please add your responses in the comments.

1. Which player do you think the Pistons are most likely to select at pick 44?

Dan Feldman: Kevin Murphy. The Pistons probably want to upgrade their outside shooting, and as predicted by Chad Ford, the Tennessee Tech sharp-shooter might be a nice fit. I could also see Detroit opting for a European player who won’t come to the NBA immediately. Joe Dumars has previously stated a desire not to overrun his team with rookies.

Patrick Hayes: Tornike Shengalia. It’s not that I know all that much about him, but he’s young, possibly could be a player the Pistons stash overseas for a year or so and let develop and with two second round picks and a full roster, it does make some sense for the Pistons to take a project player who they don’t have to worry about using a roster spot on for another season or two.

J.M. Poulard: Hollis Thompson out of Georgetown seems like a good bet to be selected by the Pistons given his ability to stretch the court with his 3-point shooting. Also, is size will make it easy for him to look over defenders running at him to contest his shots. Given that the Pistons averaged only 13.9 attempts from downtown last season, getting someone to camp out there, makes shots and force opponents to defend the 3-point line is a must.

2. Which realistic target at pick 44 would make the best pick?

Dan Feldman: William Buford. I would love for the Pistons to get three big men in this draft. Detroit’s lack of promise up front – beyond Greg Monroe, a third of Jonas Jerebko (who’s two-thirds small forward) and the blind hope that Vernon Macklin’s small sample size is sustainable – is that influential. Quality bigs are difficult to acquire outside the draft, but other teams know this, and that’s why so many teams risk picks on bigs who have any potential at all. So, I think there’s a decent chance no quality big-man prospects will remain on the board at this point.

In that event, Buford would represent great value. At Ohio State, he looked like a late first-round pick. He has ideal size, shoots well from outside and possesses defensive smarts. He might not have the athleticism to get to the rim or be a defensive terror. But he knows how to play, and that’s important. I can’t figure out why he’s fallen so far, other than that he played four years for the Buckeyes and gave scouts too long to dissect his flaws – and that’s not a good reason to drop.

Patrick Hayes: Darius Johnson-Odom. I know, I know … I already begged for a Marquette player at pick 39 yesterday. But with Ben Gordon traded, the Pistons suddenly need guard depth and DJO is arguably the most athletic guard in this draft, he’s tough, he has a great work ethic, he’s fun to watch and he made 39 percent of his threes last season.

J.M. Poulard: Alabama’s JaMychal Green might actually be the best bet for the Detroit Pistons at this spot. The power forward is somewhat undersized, but nonetheless comes with athleticism as well as the ability to finish around the rim. Considering that the Pistons had some issues converting shots in the lane against opposing defenses, getting a back up big man capable of capitalizing on opportunities around the rim certainly seems like a necessity given the Pistons scoring woes last season.

3. Which realistic target at 44 nine would make the worst pick?

Dan Feldman: Selling the pick. I’m fine with trading for a future pick if the Pistons don’t like anyone when their turn comes up, but in that event, just selling the pick outright would be a tremendous disappointment. A bigger possible disappointment: the Pistons liking a player when their turn comes up but sell the pick either because they need the money or are afraid to add too many rookies at once. Another, albeit smaller downer: reaching for a player because he agreed to spend a year or two overseas (and off Detroit’s payroll).

Patrick Hayes: Henry Sims. Nothing against Sims, he just seems too much like last year’s second rounder, Vernon Macklin. Sims isn’t as old and probably has a bit more upside, but he is a limited big man and as we saw last year with Macklin, limited big men, even ones who were fairly productive in the spot minutes they were given, probably have a hard time cracking Lawrence Frank‘s rotation.

J.M. Poulard: William Buford out of Ohio State might be the worst selection Detroit could potentially make with the 44th pick. It’s not so much that he is a bad player, but more so that he is a bad fit. He’s a subpar finisher in traffic and will probably stay camped out on the perimeter for midrange jumpers. Once again, not necessarily a bad skill, but on a team possessing many players who already fit that mold, he would be awfully redundant and quite frankly useless.

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