Okay, so I had been one for the Pistons grabbing the 8th seed. The future draft pick protection for the Pistons giving their first rounder to the Bobcats goes like this:
(top 14 protected in the 2013 draft, top 8 in 2014, top 1 in 2015, and unprotected in 2016)
I had the theory that if we are giving up a pick, it might as well be this year. Instead of keeping the 9-14 pick, which the Pistons are now in the 9 slot, they might as well find a way to just give it up. Here are the guys who are going at the 9-14 picks: Michael Carter-Williams, Willie Cauley-Stein, Archie Goodwin, James McAdoo, CJ McCollum, and Mason Plumlee. That group of prospects is quite frankly underwhelming, and I would rather not see the Pistons get anyone of them. Alex Len is also another player that I do not have that much confidence in, so naturally I would rather have the pick be forfeited this year. Going for the 8 seed is getting to a point where it seems fruitless though, so what is the move?
I felt that way all the way up to the Pistons 19 point loss to New Orleans, which has prompted me to flip the script. It is quite frankly time for some good old fashion tanking, as it seems like the only way. If the Pistons go for the 8 seed and just miss, they are in worse position than they are currently. If they shut it down though, the Pistons could potentially get another solid player on the roster.
Here are the top 7 pieces, what they could mean to the Pistons, and their rank in fit and team contribution.
7.Cody Zeller: By far the worst fit out of the top 7, and in fact is probably the worst talent out of all these guys. Where would Zeller play? The 4 with Drummond and the 5 with Monroe. What would he bring to the table that is different, and even worse, what would he bring to the table that is better than either of the Pistons big men. Zeller is sort of like Greg Monroe in the fact he is skilled in the post with a high basketball IQ. So, I just don’t see why they would pick him, and even an Archie Goodwin would be a better pick for Detroit.
6. Nerlens Noel: Noel was the number one prospect, then wasn’t, then was again. Personally I think the Anthony Davis comparisons were a little unfair, but Noel has really stepped up. Noel may be more raw than Davis at both ends, but I do feel he has quicker defensive hands than Davis. Davis has better shot blocking, it’s closer than some think, but Noel strips the ball more often. Talent wise Noel is up there, but the fit isn’t perfect. In fact Monroe would probably eventually have to be moved for Noel to fit. I don’t think that is the worse case scenario, but why trade a known NBA commodity when you can pick a different prospect.
5. Anthony Bennett: Bennett is a guy with many differing opinions. I at first wasn’t on board with him, but in terms of the Pistons I honestly might be. Bennett probably isn’t a guy who starts right away, or maybe ever a starter. He doesn’t consistently play top level competition, an so he might not ever be a starter. Here is the thing though, Bennett could be a great fit as the 3rd Detroit big man. Having Monroe or Drummond playing Center whenever he is on the floor. Is Bennett isn’t the best fit, but he could have a solid role on this squad.
4. Ben McLemore: McLemore is one of the most sought after players in the draft. As a smooth 6’5″ Shooting Guard, I wrote that before reading the scouting report that said the same. Smooth is quite frankly a universal word for McLemore, and honestly he reminds me of a taller version of Bradley Beal. I like McLemore’s game a ton, and I think he could start for the Pistons right away. If the Pistons resign Calderon, I could see Knight moving to the bench in a 6th man scoring combo guard role. I think it could honestly be a good fit, not the best fit out of all the prospects, but a solid one. Will he be available for the Pistons is a strong question.
3. Marcus Smart: At first I didn’t think Smart would fit with Knight, and then I looked at the back court in Houston. Lin is technically the “Point Guard” and Harden is technically the “Shooting Guard.” Smart is similar to Harden in game and stature, and Knight has some similarities to Lin. In a way, Knight could be a better version of Lin’s role by featuring a three ball. Knight and Lin are both small, skilled scorers, and turnover prone. So, Knight could fulfill that role smoothly. Can Smart really be like Harden? We may find out.
2. Otto Porter: For the Pistons, Porter could be a more athletic Kyle Singler. There is nothing wrong with that on this team. Singler is on a cheap contract, and if moving him to the bench didn’t work he could be expendable. In a way, I feel that Singler starting is more on the lack of talent on the Pistons. I feel like if there was even an average amount of talent at the wing positions in Detroit, Singler would be on the bench. Playing, but definitely on the bench.
1. Shabazz Muhammed: Shabazz is a combo 2/3 type guy. Which is perfect, as he could be used in a multitude of lineups on a Detroit team that needs help in both spots. The Pistons also lack wing athleticism, and Shabazz could seemingly be the best athlete out of the wing prospects. He is 6’6″, which seems short for a Small Forward, but has a 6’11” reach. His strength at finishing at the rim is also something the Pistons could use. I also feel that with his athleticism and reach, Shabazz could potentially turn into a great wing defender. Currently, Singler is the best wing defender on the team, which isn’t ideal. In fact, I could almost see Shabazz coming in and being a better defender than Singler right away. Adding on top of that the argument Shabazz could be the best wing talent in this draft, and I see the best potential fit for the team.
Any other player, and I view it as a complete failure.