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.
Please add your responses in the comments.
1. Which player do you think the Pistons are most likely to select at pick nine?
Dan Feldman: John Henson. Henson will likely be on the board, he had a good workout in Detroit, and he immediately upgrades the Pistons’ defense. Even if he’s limited until he adds weight, Henson is too athletic, too hard working and too savvy to ride the bench next season.
Patrick Hayes: I’ve become more amenable to Meyers Leonard with the multiple reports about his strong workouts, size, athleticism and good attitude, but I still think the logical pick is John Henson. Henson has been on the radar too long, and his best skills — shot blocking and defense — are exactly what the Pistons need the most. Henson is far from a fix-all player, but I’m convinced he’d be a solid contributor.
Sean Corp: John Henson. He fits the profile of what the Pistons are looking for — shot blocker, plus defender, can handle the pick and roll. But I’m extremely concerned that Henson is only nine pounds heavier than Tayshaun Prince. I used to be an avid Henson backer but I’m on the fence more and more. Slight frame. Already 21. Shot 51 percent on free throws and only 35 percent on jumpers. His D will really need to shine to make up for those offensive shortcomings
2. Which realistic target at pick nine would make the best pick?
Dan Feldman: Andre Drummond. Drummond is a clear tier above the John Henson/Meyers Leonard/Terrence Jones/Tyler Zeller/Arnett Moultrie group, and Drummond could fill the Pistons’ biggest need. I don’t think he’ll fall to No. 9, but it’s possible – and tantalizing.
Patrick Hayes: Perry Jones III. Exactly one player likely to available at nine has superstar upside — Jones. He’s 6-foot-11, runs the floor like a guard, is one of the best finishers in the draft and he’s young enough to develop an offensive game that consists of more than just jumping really high and dunking on people when he feels like it.
Sean Corp: I’ve started to come around on Meyers Leonard. I am inherently skeptical of any player that rockets up draft boards based on either 1. the NCAA tourney or 2. the combine. With that said, Leonard seems like the real deal to me. He isn’t an awkward, bumbling 7-footer, he has athletic ability to go with his heft (250 pounds). Just looking at his age, his production last year and his measurables and you have to be intrigued. The question becomes which is more likely — Henson adds muscle or Leonard polishes his game. My money is on Leonard.
3. Which realistic target at pick nine would make the worst pick?
Dan Feldman: Austin Rivers. Before the Pitons traded Ben Gordon, I wouldn’t have bothered including a guard among the realistic targets, but I guess it’s possible they take one now. I think that would be a mistake – because I think the best player available at No. 9 will be a big – especially if that guard is Rivers. He doesn’t do anything besides score, and I’m not sure he can score efficiently enough.
Patrick Hayes: Perry Jones III. He does all of the athletic things and has all of the measurables that tantalize scouts and he has all of the so-so stats, questions about his desire to get better and how hard he plays that is a trait of almost every elite athlete who underperforms. Whether or not the Pistons take Jones depends largely on where they think they are as a franchise right now. If they think they are at a point where missing badly on the No. 9 pick wouldn’t be ruinous enough to pass on a player with Jones’ potential, I think it’s likely they’d give him more serious consideration.
Sean Corp: There are A LOT of names to choose from here. It seems like outside the top four there are question marks everywhere. I’m not as skeptical about Andre Drummond as some but I sure am wary of Perry Jones III, Harrison Barnes and Austin Rivers. Particularly Jones. He is like the college football team that starts the season ranked way too high but stays in the top 25 based on reputation and because voters don’t like to admit they are wrong. I’m not sure if PJ3 ends up being an under-performing SF or an under-performing PF but I’m pretty sure he’ll under perform.