The last 20 years of draft history for the Detroit Pistons leaves a lot to be desired.
If you’re looking for 2019 NBA draft analysis, there are many other writers on PistonPowered who are committed to giving you good info on this year’s draft. To me, the draft is such an utter crapshoot and college basketball is generally horrific to watch. Even the tournament.
But, if you’re like me and couldn’t care less about the draft other than whether or not Anthony Davis gets traded, then this article is for you. Or maybe you’ve gotten over the thousands of mock drafts that are put out this time of year and are looking for something different.
Either way, I’m going to analyze the last 20 drafts for the Detroit Pistons and going to make up the All-Pistons Draft team and unfortunately, it’s not very pretty.
Since 1999, only one rookie made it to a 1st team All-Rookie (Brandon Knight), a few all 2nd team selections, but otherwise the Detroit Pistons haven’t had a dynamic rookie since Grant Hill debuted in 94-95. Which, maybe is what leads into Detroit Pistons fans being upset with the Luke Kennard pick when Donovan Mitchell becomes a star.
The Pistons in the last 10 years have picked in the top 10 five times. Andre Drummond was an obvious hit, especially at the ninth pick. But, the other selections; Stanley Johnson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brandon Knight, and Greg Monroe didn’t exactly live up to expectations and have all been shipped out. The only other two times in the last 20 years the Pistons picked in the top 10 includes one of the most panned drafts picks of all time with Darko Milicic in 2003, while Rodney White in 2001 was quickly traded to the Nuggets.
For criteria purposes, anyone who was drafted by the team in the last 20 seasons counts for this list, even if they never played for Detroit. Now, without further ado, here’s the 13 man roster made up of Detroit Pistons draft picks from the last 20 drafts.
Point Guard: Brandon Knight – The most famous moment in his career was being dunked on by DeAndre Jordan. He averaged 19 points per game with the Suns one year, but otherwise is a journeyman point guard who finished last year with the Cavaliers.
Shooting Guard: Khris Middleton – For some reason, the Pistons have had amazing luck drafting NBA caliber players in the 2nd round. The 39th pick in the 2012 draft has turned into an all-star, albeit after the Pistons traded him and others to Milwaukee for Brandon Jennings. What could have been with Middleton and the Pistons is obviously unknown, but imagining this team with an all-star level shooting guard makes it all the more bitter they got rid of him.
Small Forward: Tayshaun Prince – May 24, 2004. The last seconds of Game two of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Indiana. Pistons lead 69-67 (The NBA was a LOT different even then). Reggie Miller is racing down the court to tie the game. Then, The Block happens. Need I say more? Well, I will because Tayshaun deserves it. He and Ben Wallace were the defensive anchors during the Pistons 00’s run of relevance, Prince himself made it to 4 All NBA defensive 2nd teams. An all-around solid player and a 10 year run with Detroit made him a fan favorite for life.
Power Forward: Mehmet Okur – I’ll be honest, I forgot Okur was as good at his peak as he was. He only played for Detroit for two seasons, but his time in Utah was certainly notable, averaging 18 points per game in 05-06 and 17.6 points per game in 06-07, Okur was a knock down three point shooter (37.5% for his career) and in 08-09 he shot 44.6% from three.
Center: Andre Drummond – No surprise here that Andre made the starting unit, especially when you consider his other fellow draftees at the position. He’s led the league in rebounding three times and averaged a career-high 17.3 points per game this past season. He’s often criticized for what he can’t do, but he’s become a willing and able passer and has improved his woes at the free throw line the last few seasons.
So, who rounds out the 13 man roster for All Pistons Draftees? Unfortunately, the pool to choose from is not very deep.
I had to put Kennard in although his resume is short because I wasn’t about to put Rodney Stuckey in here. I choose not to put Dinwiddie in the starters because he’s only been playing a significant role for Brooklyn for about three years and hasn’t put up the resume that Brandon Knight has purely by longevity. KCP hasn’t been that good in his short career, but he’s still no Rodney Stuckey.
One word to describe this bench unit.
Greg Monroe was the rare 1st round pick that took the qualifying offer after his rookie deal, hoping to ball out and land somewhere on a team that wanted him. It never really worked out for him.
Jerebko is still playing for the Warriors, although his best years are behind him he’s been a reliable three-point shooter (36.3% for his career).
Maxiell was a solid backup for eight seasons with Detroit and Johnson filled a similar role for four seasons, although he eventually became a starter for the Raptors.
For a team like the Detroit Pistons that isn’t a free agent destination spot, if you can’t draft well you’re going to be in big trouble. Looking at this All Draft roster, it makes sense this team has been in the bottom of the league for so long.
Even when they do find diamonds in the rough, they end up giving up on them too early to see out that potential. Although maybe the times are changing with Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown, both second-round picks who are making solid contributions.
But, if this team wants to rise up, it’s going to take some better luck with their picks earlier in the draft.