Will the upsets affect how the Detroit Pistons and other teams see the draft? We’ll soon see.
As of yesterday at around 9:00 pm, Oral Roberts and Northern Texas were the two biggest upsets of this year’s tournament. In the universe that I am writing in, Abilene Christian has not played, and neither has Norfolk State, so this could be subject to change.
The question being asked is simple. Did the upsets of Purdue and Ohio State affect how the Detroit Pistons will draft in 2021? Maybe, but not in the ways one would usually suspect.
If Oral Roberts or Northern Texas make improbable runs to the Final Four, it won’t really matter to the Pistons organization. The damage both potential Cinderellas have done was to their opponents and their future in NBA basketball.
Detroit Pistons: Will upsets change prospects’ draft status?
The Oral Roberts Golden Eagles may have jeopardized the basketball future of two Ohio State players. Duane Washington Jr. and EJ Liddell are the Buckeyes’ two best players, and aside from Liddell’s five turnovers, both had decent games.
But these are Big Ten players. They went up against the Summit League champion, which should have been a cakewalk. Instead, Kevin Obanor and Max Abmas scored 30 and 29, respectively, against a team that is well-known for playing strong, physical defense. On top of this, Oral Roberts only had seven players suit up, so this dominance was on very little rest.
The NCAA Tournament is college basketball’s biggest stage, so if this is how Ohio State’s best players play in big moments, their draft stock could reflect that. While neither Liddell or Washington would be good fits for the Detroit Pistons anyway, it will be interesting to see if other teams pass on the Buckeyes after their failure against mediocre competition.
The standout on the Boilermakers has been Trevion Williams, all season. The bulky power forward almost averaged a double-double in a physical conference and has played decent defense to match.
Against the Mean Green, Williams had himself a game. He scored 16, but grabbed a whopping 13 rebounds and dished five dimes. On top of that, the forwards from North Texas were total opposites. Thomas Bell and Zachary Simmons had a combined 18 points and seven rebounds.
Despite the loss, Williams proved that he can be a real factor when his teammates refuse to show up, which should be kept in mind when building a young team, as inconsistency is an unfortunate reality. If he wasn’t before, Williams should be on the Detroit Pistons’ draft radar now, especially since rebounding is a valuable comedy considering the Pistons’ plethora of guards.