Detroit Pistons: Devin Vassell is a potential steal at 2020 NBA Draft

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - JANUARY 28: Devin Vassell #24 of the the Florida State Seminoles shoots in the first half during a game against the Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena on January 28, 2020 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - JANUARY 28: Devin Vassell #24 of the the Florida State Seminoles shoots in the first half during a game against the Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena on January 28, 2020 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons don’t need another shooting guard, but Devin Vassell has the upside to be an absolute steal at the 2020 NBA Draft.

The Detroit Pistons have a promising young player at the shooting guard position in Luke Kennard. Kennard has established himself as a proficient shooter who can also contribute as a playmaker, which greatly enhances his value to a team that lacks a traditional point guard.

As true as that may be, it would behoove the Pistons to put positions aside when they evaluate which prospects could best fit at the 2020 NBA Draft.

Devin Vassell has a somewhat thin frame, but he immediately jumps off the page as a prospect worth considering. He stands at 6’7″—a rather compelling figure for a wing—and also boasts a wingspan that’s been reported as somewhere in between 6’10” and 7’0″.

Coupled with his lights-out shooting from beyond the arc, Vassell has the potential to be the prototypical 3-and-D player—if not to evolve beyond the mold.

That may not jump off the page, as there are an abundance of 3-and-D wings finding homes in the modern NBA. Legitimate two-way players will always be of extraordinary value, however, and that means Vassell should be on the radar.

If the Pistons are wise, they’d ramp up the scouting efforts before the rest of the NBA catches on to the potential that’s been hiding in Tallahassee.

Positional Versatility

As previously stated, Vassell stands at 6’7″ with a wingspan that rests somewhere in between 6’10” and 7’0″. That’s a remarkable combination of size and length for a shooting guard, which is the primary reason he’s beginning to rise up draft boards.

What makes Vassell so appealing for the Pistons, however, is the fact that he could potentially play and defend multiple positions.

This is especially valuable to a team that already has a starting-caliber wing in Luke Kennard. Kennard is capable of both creating for others and knocking down open shots, which is a tremendous combination of skills from any player, let alone a wing.

In order to maximize Kennard’s impact on the team, however, it would behoove the Pistons to find a small forward who can thrive alongside him.

With Kennard and Vassell on the floor, the Pistons could potentially achieve that goal. Their skill sets complement one another in that Vassell thrives defensively and Kennard excels on offense. They’re also both efficient shooters who can work with the other to learn more tricks of the trade.

The question is: What exactly should Detroit expect Vassell to do at the multiple positions that he’s physically capable of playing?

Defensive Potential

The Pistons need to improve on the defensive end of the floor. Hiring Dwane Casey as head coach was a step in the right direction, but the injury-plagued Pistons finished the 2019-20 season ranked 28th in opponent field goal percentage.

When opponents are making nearly one out of every two shot attempts, it’s safe to say that defense is still an issue—and Vassell projects to be able to address that flaw.

Any 6’7″ wing with a 7’0″ wingspan has defensive potential, but Vassell brings it on a consistent basis. That includes status as a productive playmaker, as evidenced by his averages of 2.0 steals and 1.3 blocks per 40 minutes over the course of two collegiate seasons.

Beyond the numbers, Vassell is able to use his length to stay in front of slashers and his impressive standing reach to contest perimeter shots.

This helped the 20-year-old earn Second-Team All-ACC honors during the 2019-20 season. He turned defense into offense with his overwhelming physical gifts and strong instincts for a player his age, and was trusted to take on high-level scorers and playmakers on opposing teams.

If Vassell realizes his defensive potential in the NBA, the Pistons could have a player who can guard 1-through-4—a perfect fit for a positionless era.

Offensive Upside

Devin Vassell’s form is a little unorthodox, but his ability to consistently shoot the three-ball is an undeniable plus—and there’s evidence that he could outgrow that role. Vassell averaged 12.7 points per game and 17.6 points per 40 minutes in 2019-20.

He improved his field goal percentage from .437 as a freshman to .490 as a sophomore, due in large part to the increase of his two-point field goal percentage from .456 to .532.

Vassell shot 41.9 percent from beyond the arc on 62 attempts in 2018-19 and converted a nearly identical 41.5 percent of his 106 attempts in 2019-20. Vassell also increased his free throw percentage by nearly six percent, going from .679 to .738.

That suggests there’s still room for improvement to his overall shooting ability, but it also displays the work ethic that he’s been commended for.

What makes Vassell so compelling on offense, however, is that he’s relished the opportunity to drive and pull up for midrange jump shots. That may not be the most efficient play in the book, but a 6’7″ wing with long arms and a high release point shouldn’t be discouraged from attempting the midrange J.

Vassell has also proven to be a willing passer, even if not an elite-level playmaker, which suggests he’d fit well in a team-oriented system.

Related Story. It's a battle of the Best Fit vs. Best Available for the Pistons. light

The Detroit Pistons have options to consider, but as the NBA Draft draws closer, Devin Vassell will need to be given serious consideration.