Deep dive into the most popular draft prospects for the Pistons

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With the 2024 NBA draft less than two weeks away, there is still a major question mark around who the Detroit Pistons will select with the fifth overall pick.

Popular names for the Pistons are UConn stars Donovan Clingan and Stephon Castle, Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard, G-League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis, and Tennessee standout Dalton Knecht. The question to ask is what exactly is there to expect out of these options?

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Detroit Pistons draft: Strengths and weaknesses of popular picks

1. Donovan Clingan - University of Connecticut

Strengths: Rim Protection & Defensive Awareness Weaknesses: Offensive Upside & Shooting

Standing at 7-foot2, 280lbs with a 7-foot-7 wingspan, Donovan Clingan's game has been highlighted by his defense, but he is a threat on both ends of the floor. The Connecticut native averaged 13 points per game alongisde 7.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists and added 2.5 blocks on the defensive side. He shot 63 perce t from the field, 58.3 percent from the charity stripe, and 25 percent from the three point line. Clingan may not have the counting stats on offense or the splits that stand out for a top-five pick, but what he adds is most notable on defense.

Clingan was an absolute eraser during his time at Uconn, and if the Pistons can grab him wit their pick, he would add a much needed defensive presence to a team that lacked that all season. Specifically, his strength lies in his rim protection.

With 2.5 blocks per game, Clingan is not someone that ball handlers or post-scorers look to attack. According to Hoop-Explorer, teams shot only 43 percent at the rim when Clingan was on the floor and only 25 percent on post-up opportunities, and that number only gets better when you take away Zach Edey, dropping it to 15 percent. With the rim being the easiest place to score from on the floor, those splits will undeniably help a team that ranked at the bottom of the league in defense.

Outside of the paint, Clingan has the off-ball defensive awareness of a pro. He is always looking at what the opposing team is doing, reading the pick-and-roll well and providing great drop defense. He is not the quickest, but has the mechanics and footwork that allow him to adjust well and read what is and will happen with the ball when he's on the floor.

The biggest room for improvement in Clingan's game comes in his shooting and offensive upside. He is not bad offensively by any means, and is a good playmaker for a center, but he isn't the ideal scorer that you would expect at this high of a pick.

He averaged 13 ppg on 63 percent shooting which is relatively efficient for a big, but the concern comes from his ability to finish the easy close-up shots you would want him to make, such as rim two's or hooks. Clingan was heavily reliant on using his size to create space, and isn't necessarily explosive as a big, rather is more back-to-the-basket post scorer on passes and handoffs.

His shooting is not really there either, only shooting 58 percet from the free throw line and taking only eight three's on the season. You aren't going to be able to count on three point shooting from him, but we saw from Isaiah Stewart's development that anything can change. Luckily for Clingan, shooting isn't what you are expecting from a player of his size.