“With the seventh pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select…” is a phrase from Adam Silver we are all impatiently waiting to hear on November 18. Let’s admit, as tough as it was to watch this season, it has been a long six months since we have had Pistons basketball.
The Pistons are in a complete rebuild after trading away franchise centerpiece Andre Drummond, releasing veterans Reggie Jackson and Markieff Morris, and dealing with an injury-riddled Blake Griffin during the 2019-20 campaign. With a young core of Luke Kennard, Christian Wood (hopefully), Bruce Brown, Sekou Doumbouya, and Svi Mykhailiuk. Why not add one more piece to the core? Here are three guys that I could see the Pistons taking at seven.
- Killian Hayes – Guard/Ratiopharm Ulm (Euro League)
Mocked anywhere between picks four and ten, Killian Hayes checks all the boxes that the Pistons want in a point guard. Head coach Dwane Casey mentioned in August that Detroit would look to take a point guard, especially if they were the best player available.
At 6’5”, 195 pounds, the 19-year-old point guard has shown that he is comfortable in the pick and roll, can create for himself and teammates, attack the rim, and is able to shoot the three-ball. Last year, Hayes put up numbers of 12.8 points, 6.2 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals on 45.5/39/90.9 shooting splits in 26.8 minutes a night. Hayes brings a little bit of everything on the floor and should be someone the Pistons target.
Pro Comparison: Jamal Murray
- Onyeka Okongwu – Center/USC
Okongwu feels like the safe pick for Detroit. Does the fanbase want another big man to build around? No. But, Okongwu’s game is so exciting to watch that he could be a really fun player to put aside Christian Wood in the future, if Detroit chooses to re-sign him (please do Troy Weaver). At 6’9” and 245 pounds, Okongwu is considered undersized for the center position, but his 7’1” wingspan and a 36-inch wingspan helped Okongwu average 3.5 blocks per game in his one year at USC. Okongwu’s defensive game reminds me a lot of Pistons’ favorite Ben Wallace with his ability to time blocks. The 19-year-old put up full stats of 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds on 61.6/25/72 shooting split in 28 games at USC. Okongwu is mocked between picks four and seven and could potentially slide to Detroit.
Pro Comparison: Bam Adebayo
- Tyrese Haliburton – Guard/Iowa State
The oldest of the three prospects at 20 years-old, Haliburton spent two years at Iowa State, starting all but one game in his two-year college career. Haliburton is a big point guard at 6’5” with a high IQ, good passing skills, and a solid jump shot that may need to be tweaked at the NBA level. However, Haliburton put up really solid numbers in his last season at ISU, averaging 15.2 points, 6.5 assists, and 5.9 rebounds on 50.4/41.9/82.2 shooting splits. Mocked between picks eight and ten, Haliburton will most likely be available when Detroit is up to pick. If both Hayes and Okongwu are off the board, Haliburton could be a lock to go at pick seven.
Pro Comparison: Lonzo Ball
4. Lamelo Ball – Guard/Illawarra
The 6’7″ 19-year-old point guard is not slotted to fall out of the top three. However, Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman has reported that Detroit may be interested in moving up to the second pick, owned by the Golden State Warriors in his latest NBA Mock Draft.
Ball is far from the defender that Hayes and Haliburton are, however, his playmaking ability and flashiness makes him a really exciting prospect. Ball opted to play a season overseas in the NBL rather than going to college. In 12 games for the Illawarra Hawks, Ball put up averages of 17 points, 6.8 assists, and 7.6 rebounds a game on 37.5/25/72.3 shooting splits. His inefficient shooting doesn’t jump off the page, but his ability to run the floor, make plays for teammates, and his size for a guard are what makes him really exciting. I believe Ball has the mechanics to become a good to great shooter in the NBA and has star potential.
Pro Comparison: Trae Young
All four prospects fit in Detroit in one way or another. I would not be surprised if one of these three ended up in a Pistons uniform in November.