Detroit Pistons 2021 NBA Draft: 5 Isolation scorers the Pistons could target

James Bouknight #2 of the Connecticut Huskies (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
James Bouknight #2 of the Connecticut Huskies (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons
TEMPE, ARIZONA – JANUARY 21: Azuolas Tubelis #10 of the Arizona Wildcats controls a rebound against Josh Christopher #13 of the Arizona State Sun Devils (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons draft picks: NBA Draft prospect Josh Christopher

Christopher’s per game stats for last season were:

14.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks

He shot 49.6 percent from two-point range, 30.5 percent from three, and 80.0 percent from the charity stripe.

As Jonah Kubicek wrote about him, Christopher only played in 15 games due to injury, but when he did play he flashed a game similar to that of Bouknight. A guard who likes to take it to the hole and finish whose jumper is still a work in progress. Although Christopher actually has two distinct advantages over Bouknight.

Number one, Christopher is more stout than Bouknight weighing in at 214.8 pounds as opposed to Bouknight’s 190 at the NBA combine (they both measured just a hair under 6’5” in shoes).  Number two, Christopher takes care of the ball better. Bouknight played the same amount of games as Christopher this past season and as mentioned in the last slide posted 47 turnovers, while Christopher managed just 26.

Christopher’s build is more NBA ready and is built for game that is predicated on getting to the hoop. Personally, I also think Christopher has the better handle between the two and this is partly why Christopher had less turnovers. This also shows up in his superior finishing percentage as he shot 72.7 percent on shots at the rim.

Yet, context is key of course and Christopher’s role was MUCH different than Bouknight’s. Christopher was in a bad situation at Arizona State in my opinion. He is a shot creator and attacker with the ball in his hands, yet he came into a team with two lead guards head coach Bobby Hurley trusted immensely in Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge.

So he was already not going to supplant either guy at the 2 guard spot, but now he is having to start at small forward and do more complementary things in addition to playing to his strengths when his number is called.

The offense at Arizona State was not pretty as a result of this three-ball-dominant-guard configuration and at times it did become a “let’s take turns” letting each guy run plays for their skills only rather than a unit made to complement each other.

So when watching film it is tough at times to see what Christopher can do when he is just asked to camp out in the corners at times. Yet, he did flash improved ability as a shooter later in the year during these times. In the eight games against Pac 12 opponents he played to finish out his career he shot 36.4 percent.

And really if you take out the one bad game against UCLA where he was 0 for 6 from downtown, then he posted 44.4 percent in his final seven games. He also is a steady free throw shooter at 80.0 percent on the year so there are positive indicators he is improving there and can perhaps be in a complementary role the more reps he gets in it.

He is very much a work in progress though as it is unclear if a team will want him to continuing being the guy scoring with the ball in his hands, or if he will follow in fellow ASU alum Luguentz Dort and become a supporting player. I would say if you want the player with the most varied potential then Christopher should be your choice.