It’s draft week! In just a few days the Pistons will have made a move that could alter the course of their franchise. But what player will they add that can help them get back to the playoffs next season? That is very hard to guess at this point.
The way I see it, the draft can go one of three ways for the Pistons. They can draft a top tier talent who slides to them, the can draft a second tier talent (which is the most likely option with the 12th pick), or they can trade their pick to move up or for a “win now” player. Pretty simple when it’s put like that, but each scenario has a lot of different possibilities to it.
Top tier targets:
There are only so many top tier guys in this draft and much fewer still that the Pistons have a shot at. It seems all but certain that guys like Fultz, Ball, Fox, Jackson, Tatum and Isaac will be off the board well before the 12th pick. However, I believe there is a chance (although it is a slight chance) that guys like Monk, Smith or Ntilikina could slide to Detroit based on the needs of the teams picking ahead of them.
Each of these players are a guy the Pistons would draft in a heartbeat. With Smith and Ntilikina it would give Detroit the point guard prospect that they desperately need. Whether it be the explosive athleticism and scoring ability of Smith or the length, defense and elite potential of Ntilikina, either would be a perfect fit with the Pistons. Where as Monk could become the big time scorer the Pistons desperately need. His ability to shoot the three combined with his athleticism could give this team an element they’re lacking.
I could go on and on about how good these guys are and how they can help the Pistons, but I won’t. This isn’t a scouting report and it’s unlikely the Pistons will land one of these top tier guys. It’s much more likely that a team ahead of them drafts these guys based on their pure talent and not nessacarily on what the team’s biggest needs are. So be prepared to have the Pistons draft of of the second tier options that will likely be available.
Second tier targets:
I believe it’s most likely that either Zach Collins, Donovan Mitchell or Luke Kennard will become the newest Piston come draft night. While I don’t believe these are the ideal players for Detroit, they’re still good options who will help improve the team. Each has a specific strength and could potentially compete to be a role player next year.
Collins is a power forward with some skill and toughness. Probably not the best fit for Detroit with the team drafting Henry Ellenson last year, but still an option with how unimpressive the power forward position was. Kennard is the shooter the Pistons desperately need. He’s drawn a lot of comparisons to JJ Reddick due to his ability to catch and shoot and he can also score in a verity of other ways. Then there is Mitchell who is expected to be a day one impact defender. With his 6’10 wing span he can guard three positions at the NBA level.
Trading the Pick
Finally we have the endless possibilities of trades. This pick can be traded away in a package to move up for one of the tier one players or even one of the guys that look to be unreachable for the Pistons. They could also look to get that “win now” player they’ve said they want. Here are some options they could be looking at.
D’Angelo Russell is a 21 year old combo guard who is everything the Pistons want. But the Pistons were unable to get him. He averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists last year, so he can help the Pistons win now. He’s also a career 35% shooter from three and can play off ball as a spot shooter. With 6’5 size and a 6’10 wing span he’s also got the length to be a bothersome defender. With him still being a young player to build around and the win now player the Pistons want, it seemed like a no brainer for Detroit. The Lakers reportedly talked to lottery teams asking for their pick but did not receive any offers including those. Apparently Detroit did not want to lose the pick just for Russell.
Allen Crabbe could be the odd man out in a very crowded Blazers backcourt. He was one of the best shooters in the game last year at 44% and he’s a pretty strong defender. Crabbe is the classic D and 3 player (emphasis on the 3’s) that the Pistons need. On top of that he’s only 25 and he’s under contract for the next three seasons.
Eric Bledsoe is a guy who has shown great flashes over his career. He’s shown he can average 20+ points over the course of the season. He’s shown he can be a three point shooting threat. He’s shown he can be a floor general. What he hasn’t shown is that he can be a consistent star and consistently stay on the floor. It would be a gamble, but trading for Bledsoe would be trading for a star caliber talent in his prime. That’s worth thinking about for the 12th pick.
Featured image: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey