With the NBA Draft just a few days away, it’s time to take a look at whom the Cleveland Cavaliers’ divisional rivals will be selecting in the upcoming NBA Draft. In this post — the first of four — Right Down Euclid senior writer Chris Manning takes a look at the Detroit Pistons.
Draft Picks: Nos. 8, 37 and 56
The Pistons, although they finished above the Cavaliers in the divisional standings, have a little less going for them than their rivals down I-75 South. Outside of their twin towers, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, there is little to suggest that any other player on their roster is a long-term starter at the NBA level. Brandon Knight, for example, is a solid player, but he doesn’t have a definite position. This makes this draft both intriguing and important for the Pistons.
Biggest Need: Scoring
When you think of this Pistons team, it’s hard to come up with a player who can consistently put up big scoring numbers for them. Monroe led the team with an even 16 points per game, and Knight came in second at 13.3 points per game. Historically, the Pistons have never had a dominant scorer when they were successful (see the 80s “Bad Boy” teams and the early 2000s teams), but it’s hard to replicate that formula time and time again. Pieces like Monroe and Drummond are good starts, but it’s hard to see either one of them develop into a go-to scorer on this Pistons team. When the Pistons are on the clock with the eighth pick, it’ll be hard to pass on a score-first player like Shabazz Muhammad, C.J. McCollum or Trey Burke – despite their limitations. And luckily for the Pistons, they have flexibility. At this point, they haven’t committed long term to a player on the outside that commands a salary that guarantees them a starting spot. So if they want scoring, they can take the player at the top of their board, regardless of what position they play.
Biggest Strength: The Post
As mentioned above, Monroe and Drummond are fantastic building blocks down on the block. And luckily for the Pistons, the two compliment each other very well. Monroe, a much more polished player, can run the floor without giving up his presence on the boards. Drummond, last year’s biggest risk, has massive athletic upside and played much better than anyone could have expected in his rookie campaign. He showed real potential both as a rebounder, on-the-block scorer and on the offensive boards. The one concern is that neither player is a very good shot blocker (average 0.7 blocks and 1.6 blocks respectively), and that’s key in making an interior defense strong. Still, the Pistons’ twin towers are by far the strongest part of their team. Ideally, they would build from the inside out and place shooters around those two. If Joe Dumars wants to build the way they have previously, that’s the way to do it.
Site Editor Zak Kolesar On Hodgepodge Pistons:
Chris mentioned that the Pistons were in a worse situation than the Cavaliers despite having a stronger finish to the season and making mince meat of them in their final regular matchup – in which Andre Drummond went off against the seemingly confused Tyler Zeller and showed why he might have the biggest upside among members of the 2012 NBA Draft class. Even though the Cavaliers’ dismal finish to the 2012-13 season had many fans pessimistic about their rank among their Central Division foes, I would hands down prefer to be riding with the Wine and Gold in the now and beyond. Chris mentioned the Brandon Knight problem stating that he doesn’t really fit into this team. I’m more concerned about if he will even be around to help lead this young team that has a hodgepodge of talent that I don’t really see becoming a glue in the future. Having a player like Knight leave, which I think will happen, is just another wasted attempt for the Pistons trying to bring in someone to command this fleet of misfits. Shabazz definitely fills a void at the SF position that became hard to fix after Tayshaun Prince left, but many think that Trey Burke should be the man to chase after due to the reasons I mentioned above even though Detroit could realistically have four returning point guards moving forward. Yes, it’s a mess, and I don’t even think the Pistons know what they should do at this point. SF is the position, just like the Cavaliers, that makes the most sense to fill first and foremost. Will they? I don’t think so, but I do think that even with the possibility of returning a plethora of point guards that Detroit needs to pick a one and a two up with their later picks to solidify this team for the future.
Right Down Euclid Predicts:
At No. 8 overall, we have the Pistons selecting Muhammad, the UCLA freshman two-guard. At 37, we have the Pistons taking Jackie Carmichael, a developmental power forward from Illinois State. And lastly, we predict the Pistons will select Phil Pressey, a 5-11 point guard from Missouri.