With only a few more days until the 2019 NBA Draft, all eyes are on the top picks in the draft and who will go where. However, something rarely talked about is the second round picks who could help improve the team they are drafted to. The Detroit Pistons currently hold the 45th pick (15th pick of the second round) and could use it to draft someone who could add depth or be a potential rotational piece in the future.
In the 2018 NBA draft, the Pistons owned the 42nd pick and traded for the 38th pick held by Philadelphia. With their two second-round picks, the Pistons elected to take guard Khyri Thomas from Creighton University and guard Bruce Brown from the University of Miami (FL).
Although Thomas only saw 195 minutes on the floor in his rookie campaign, he has been talked about as a key rotational piece for Detroit in the future. Brown, on the other hand, saw a lot of playing time in his rookie campaign. Brown would log 74 games for Detroit, starting in 56 of them.
With it being shown that Pistons head coach Dwane Casey has no problem playing his young, second rounders, let’s take a look at five prospects Detroit could target in the second round.
Shamorie Ponds is a 6’1” point guard out of St. John’s University. Ponds is ranked 47th on ESPN’s top 100 prospects big board heading into draft night. Over his three-year college career, Ponds appeared in 96 games, all of which he started. Over those 96 career games, Ponds averaged 19.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game, all while shooting at 44-33-84 splits.
The 20-year-old St. John’s product recently worked out with the Pistons, stating he brought a little bit extra juice to the workout knowing he could go in the second round.
“I feel like I’m always an underdog,” Ponds said to the Detroit Free Press’ Vince Ellis. “I’m always looking to take on the best whoever it is, (first round or second round), I’m going right at your head.”
Ponds has the intangibles to become an elite ball-handler and has shown that he can create his own shots. With Ish Smith being an unrestricted free agent, I expect the Pistons to give Ponds a look at the 45th pick if he’s available.
Darius Bazley is a 6’9” 218-pound wing from Cincinnati, OH. After being a five-star recruit out of high school Bazley decided to forgo his freshman year of college to work on his body and skills. The 27th ranked player on ESPN’s big board has no college experience, making the 18-year-old considered a high risk, high reward player.
Being 6’9” and having a 7-foot wingspan and 8’11” standing reach, Bazley could become a defensive force in the NBA.
“Defensively, I think I can step out and guard one through four, be able to switch out on guards and defend the ball screen and then be able to defend down low and the high post,” Bazley said to MLive’s Ansar Khan. “Offensively, just my versatility, being able to be in the pick and roll, make the right reads and then knock down shots.”
With the Pistons’ need for wings, Bazley could be a great pick if he is available.
Jontay Porter is a 6’11” 280 pound center from the University of Missouri. Porter appeared in 33 games for the Tigers in 2017-18, averaging 9.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game, leading him to SEC Co-Sixth Man of the Year in 2017-18. However, Porter tore his ACL in October 2018 during a closed scrimmage, forcing him to miss the entire 2018-19 campaign. While rehabbing his injury in March 2019, Porter re-tore the same ACL. Due to this injury, Porter has slipped tremendously in a lot of mock drafts.
Porter met with the Pistons in May during the NBA combine, stating that his interview with the Pistons was “one of his favorites for sure.”
After having Zaza Pachulia as a backup center for a year, I would not be surprised if Detroit elected to draft Porter to backup Andre Drummond.
Luguentz Dort is a 6’4” combo guard out of Arizona State University. Ranked 26th on ESPN’s big board, Dort could slide down to the early to mid-second round in this year’s draft. Known for his defensive capabilities, Dort averaged 16 points per game this past season but only shot at a 40/30/70 split.
Although Dort does not have the great touch on his jump shot right now, he could find success in the NBA due to his downhill, attacking style of play.
Eric Paschall is a 6’8” 225 pound forward out of Villanova University. Paschall is coming off the best season of his college career where he averaged 16.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 45-35-75 shooting split. Paschall is currently ranked 31st on ESPN’s big board and is drawing comparisons to Paul Millsap. Although Paschall has not yet worked out with Detroit, he could be somebody that the Pistons would be interested in trading up to get due to his athleticism and versatility.
The Pistons will have a tough decision next week, with only two picks in the draft. However, I would not be surprised if Detroit were to grab one of these guys in the second round.
*All stats from sports-reference.com