Palace of Pistons Roundtable: Grading the 2019 NBA Draft

The Detroit Pistons selected Sekou Doumbouya with the 15th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, a player that many analysts felt could have been selected in the top ten. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

The 2019 NBA Draft has come and gone with the Pistons selecting Sekou Doumbouya as the 15th pick, a so far polarizing decision. The 18-year-old forward has already played professionally overseas in the French league, so he has experience playing against adults and not college-level athletes. He will not turn 19 until this upcoming December, making him one of the younger players in the NBA. And many draft analysts had Doumbouya going high in the lottery, potentially top-ten, and comparing him to Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakim.

The Palace of Pistons writers are amongst the divided on drafting a young project like Doumbouya and trade out from pick number 30. So we decided to have a little roundtable to showcase some of the opinions:

Dylan Edenfield – Staff Writer

“The Pistons entered the 2019 NBA Draft with three picks at 15, 30, and 45. With those selections in tow, the front office had plenty of freedom to make moves on draft day, and they definitely took advantage. Sekou Doumbouya was unexpectedly waiting for the Pistons at 15 after not being expected to make it outside of the lottery. An excellent high-risk, high-reward pick that contrasts their more “safe” selections of the past few years.After turning pick 30 into multiple second rounders and again flipping them to move up, overseas prospect Deividas Syrvidis was selected, although he likely would’ve been available at 45. Easily the most confusing move of the night, with many more exciting prospects waiting for the Pistons at 30. Lastly, Detroit traded for athletic point guard Jordan Bone, an athletic flyer worth taking late in the draft, who could be a part of the future of the team’s backcourt with a bit more polish. Overall, I’m not ecstatic about the Pistons draft, but more than satisfied. Sekou definitely carries the load for an otherwise underwhelming draft, however.”

Overall Grade: B-

Jacob Rogers – Staff Writer

After the 2019 NBA Draft, I think that the Detroit Pistons are in a much better place for the future. Being able to take Sekou Doumbouya at 15 is an absolute steal. He doesn’t turn 19 until December and has a ridiculously high ceiling. Doumbouya is already 6’9” with a 7’ wingspan. At his pro day in Dallas, Texas, Doumbouya made 17 straight threes to finish his workout. With his combination of size, athleticism, and ability to shoot the ball, Doumbouya has all the intangibles to become a star two-way player. 

Brendan Johnson – Palace of Pistons Podcast Host

“The 2019 draft was an interesting one for the Detroit Pistons. Starting with the first pick the Pistons had, the 15th overall, they snag a top-10 talent in Sekou Doumbouya. Doumbouya is an exciting prospect with a high ceiling. He was the youngest player to be selected in the 2019 draft with reports coming out saying he may sprout up another inch or two. This means he has a significant amount of time to grow, possibly both physically and as a basketball player, before he even approaches his prime. He already is an exhilarating athlete that can guard numerous positions and can be valuable pushing the tempo and scoring in transition. If his shooting lives up to what he was able to do in France, he will be a competent kick-out shooter. The trade of the 30th pick and subsequent move of trading the 45th pick to move up to 37 was a little head scratching in the moment. Yes, we were able to use two of those second round picks to move back up to 37 and draft “Luke-Kennard-like” Lithuanian sharp-shooter Deividas Sirvydis and then use the 2024 second round pick in a move to acquire former Tennessee point guard Jordan Bone. My only issue is I still think there was some good talent on the board including former Maryland center Bruno Fernando and former Purdue guard Carsen Edwards. Deividas will be an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on as he develops, and Bone has a chance to solidify himself as a quality backup point guard option for the Pistons going forward. So, overall an interesting draft with a lot of uncertainty, but also a ton of potential for this Pistons draft class.”

Overall Grade: B

Dominic Sciturro – Staff Writer

Another year, another thrilling roller coaster ride of a night through ESPN’s NBA Draft coverage. If we were to be grading the Pistons draft on the mantra they have been selling the fan base on “build around Blake to win now”, they would be receiving an ‘F’. However, when a plan unfolds that is even better than plan A, you have to roll with it. In my opinion, the Pistons finally got the big break they deserved for these dreadful past ten years by Sekou falling to 15. Prior to the draft, I had not done any homework on him so I was certainly reluctant to drafting a European prospect at first. But, this is a kid who loves basketball, has a solid stable character, is highly competitive, and was taken at 15th rather than 2nd. In other words, there is no reason for the worries of our frightening international experiments of the past to apply here. In fact, I find it to be a safe pick that can create a stable future for our franchise. I could not be more excited about a kid with great size who is further along now than both Giannis and Pascal were at his age. Not to mention the fact that he gets to grow up behind future hall of famer Blake Griffin. I also love the additions of Jordan Bone, Bennie Boatwright, and Louis King. Detroit adds the most athletic player in this draft outside of Zion in Bone. As well as one of the best scorers in Bennie Boatwright (18ppg on 43% 3pt shooting) who only fell due to a knee injury that sidelined him for nearly two months. To top it off, the Pistons steal another young prospect in Louis King who averaged nearly 14 points per game with a 6’9” frame in his freshman campaign at Oregon. 

While I did not love the move out of 30 with a few prospects that could have made an immediate impact on the board, the Pistons certainly made smart moves throughout the night to grab high character guys with high ceilings. I personally feel that the Pistons have all of the tools to not let KPJ’s character be an issue with a father figure coach and powerful veteran like Blake. Furthermore getting into trouble in a non-limelight city like Detroit is much harder to do than in LA. When you are 18 and coming from poverty after your father was murdered, I feel you definitely deserve some leeway for mistakes that can result in growth. Especially when you have the swagger, bounce, and scoring ability of KPJ. At the end of the day, I would give Ed Stefanski & co. a B+.While they found guys with great value, we did not address needs immediately and directly. However,  I could not be more excited to see these newest Pistons in Summer League!

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