2017 NBA Draft: The Detroit Pistons chose Luke Kennard over Donovan Mitchell
This one still hurts because it didn’t make any sense at the time and is a prime reason why you don’t let your coach do your drafting. The Pistons were fresh off a 38-win season and Stan Van Gundy was trying to get them to the next level of mediocrity, so took Luke Kennard, a safe, “need” pick to help the Pistons’ shooting instead of going for the higher upside player in Donovan Mitchell, who went just one pick later.
Kennard fulfilled his destiny as a decent role player (albeit for a team other than the Pistons), while Mitchell went on to be a 4-time All-Star (and counting) who has made the playoffs every season of his career. It’s easy to draft in hindsight, but this one was obvious at the time. Kennard never had a chance to be much more than he currently is, but SVG went with the guy he thought would help him in the short term, rather than the guy who would satisfy more of the franchise’s long-term needs. When your team’s best players are Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, you need a star, but the Pistons elected to go with a safe pick instead and are still paying for it as they have to watch Mitchell scoring 29 points per game for a division rival.
Like Booker, Mitchell wanted to come to Detroit, worked out for the team and thought they were going to draft him. Two colossal misses and why you never draft for need over talent.