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My conspiracy theory why the Detroit Pistons will draft Al-Farouq Aminu

I participated in The Basketball Jones’ mock draft yesterday, and I selected Al-Farouq Aminu for the Pistons (watch at the 20:35 mark). Yes, I know I predicted the day before Ekpe Udoh would be the pick.

But for a few reasons, I changed my mind. (And if you keep reading, I’ve changed it again.)

The reasonable reasons

Jonathon Givony of DraftExpress tweeted he didn’t see Aminu slipping past Detroit, and Chad Ford’s mock draft 5.0 also had the Pistons taking Aminu. Givony and Ford both base their opinions on NBA sources, not just scouting. It seemed like the Pistons had indicated they like Aminu.

Also, Aminu passed the wingspan test.

The ridiculous reason

Before I go any further, I want to admit this is pure speculation. Additionally, I don’t believe it’s true. But I think it’s possible, so let’s have a little fun.

Last season, there were rumors the Pistons had promised to take Austin Daye with the 15th pick. I have no idea whether they were true, but Detroit taking Daye means it’s at least possible.

When Daye went to the NBA Combine, he performed terribly. His tests showed him to be the worst athlete there. Daye was so bad, Ryan Feldman of The Hoops Report suspected Daye was dogging it.

Think about it. How many solid first round, maybe even lottery, prospects have ever been the worst or second worst in every single test? It’s one thing if he was only the weakest or only the slowest or only the least athletic, but all three?

We’re not talking about an out of shape big man here. We’re talking about Austin Daye.

Can a wing player who is the slowest, weakest, most unathletic player in the entire Draft class be a lottery pick? Apparently, it might be possible.

The question really isn’t whether or not a player like that could be a lottery pick. It’s whether or not the player in question is really what he made himself out to be last week in Chicago.

So what does this have to do with Aminu? One of his biggest plusses entering the draft process was supposed to be his athleticism. Although his numbers aren’t terrible, Aminu tested fairly pedestrianly compared to the other prospects in DraftExpress’ database:

  • No-step vertical: Tied for 33rd (of 91)
  • Max vertical: Tied for 39th (of 92)
  • Bench press: Tied for 16th (of 44)
  • Sprint: 24th (of 46)
  • Agility: 15th (of 46)

Maybe Aminu had an arrangement similar to Daye’s with the Pistons – tank it at the combine to ensure he won’t get picked sooner, and the they’ll draft him. Again, this is all speculation. I have no evidence this was the case for either player.

Now, since I selected Aminu, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reported Aminu cancelled his workout with the Pistons. Givony thinks that means Detroit won’t pick him, and so does Ford.

If my conspiracy theory is accurate, Aminu’s cancelled workout would fit as part of the smokescreen he and the Pistons are creating.

What now?

My crazy theories aside, I believe the Pistons lost interest in Aminu when he cancelled the workout.

Givony firmly believes that means the Pistons will take Ed Davis now. Ford also has Detroit taking Davis in his latest mock draft, but he doesn’t sound as sure:

At this point it looks like it’s down to Davis, Udoh or Cole Aldrich. Aldrich is the most NBA-ready center and Udoh is the best shot-blocker of the group. But of the players left on the board, Davis has the most upside. He may be raw, but he’s an athletic 6-foot-10 big man with bounce and the ability to crash the boards. The Pistons need to swing for the fences.

I don’t think the pick will be Davis, because his wingspan is subpar. And as Ford notes, Aldrich doesn’t have the upside Dumars’ other lottery picks have possessed.

At this minute, my guess is Udoh. Obviously, that could change quickly.

To get the most-immediate updates on the Pistons’ draft rumors, follow PistonPowered on Twitter, or check back to The Glove Compartment on the sidebar of this site. It’s sure to be a busy day.

On that same note, Charlie Villanueva picked a good time to be charged with domestic assault. The news will certainly be buried today.


  • Jun 23, 201010:21 am
    by nuetes


    Yeah I don’t think you hit the nail on the head with this one. It was reported Aminu has a promise from the Clippers to take him at #8 and that is possibly why he cancelled his Pistons workout. Also would you want to come to Detroit and be on a roster with Summers, Daye, Jerebko, and Prince? No. Then the Maggette trade happened so you have to wonder if Golden State is considering Aminu now, which I hope, because that would allow Monroe to drop to us. If Golden State takes Monroe I think its between Davis and Udoh almost exclusively at this point. Dumars is an upside sucker, but he’s expressed his desire to win now, so it could be interesting.

    • Jun 23, 201011:37 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Nuetes, I’ve heard the Clippers report, and it’s probably true. But at one point Aminu was supposed to be a Pistons lock. Reportedly, the Pistons liked Aminu as a power forward. There would be more opportunities to play there.

      I think four players — John Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors and Wesley Johnson — are locks to go in the top six. Every time someone other than them, Cousins and Monroe is picked ahead of No. 7 tomorrow, I will be happy.

      • Jun 23, 201012:36 pm
        by nuetes


        i think cousins is a top 5 lock as well. the top 5 are set in stone in some order: wall, turner, johnson, favors, cousins – that order would be my prediction. then it’s up to golden state to decide the pistons draft day fate. monroe or no monroe.

      • Jun 23, 20107:13 pm
        by Dan Feldman


        I think Cousins will probably go before Detroit’s pick. But if New Jersey takes Wesley Johnson, maybe Minnesota takes Al-Farouq Aminu. Then, the Kings would likely take Favors. And their have been reports the Warrios really like Udoh.

        It’s a ridiculous long shot, but I’m just ready to call Udoh a lock.

      • Jun 23, 20107:19 pm
        by Tom


        To add to the meme of plausible ideas that you don’t really believe. It was reported a week or two ago that Aminu made some comment about how he really only wanted to play the 3. At the time it seemed out of character particularly for a guy just trying to work his way up draftboards. But, viewed under the guise of D conspiracy it further throws people off the scent.

      • Jun 23, 20107:23 pm
        by Dan Feldman


        Hey, there you go, Tom! You truly get the spirit of the ridiculousness of pre-draft rumors. I wish these other guys would take part, too.

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  • Jun 23, 201010:38 am
    by John


    So the team that “honorably” didn’t tank at the end of last season, despite it knocking them down to pick #7, is making shady deals with draft picks and asking them to tank at the combine?  That doesn’t seem to add up.  Why not just not win the last two weeks of the season and take however you want at #2/#4?

    • Jun 23, 201011:53 am
      by Dan Feldman


      John, those are completely different situations. Fans buy tickets for late-season games, and there is organizational goal of winning. No fans paid to go to the combine and were disappointed Aminu didn’t jump a little higher or run a little faster. And having players who perform well at the combine isn’t an organizational goal, either.

  • Jun 23, 201012:40 pm
    by Tarbaby


    er, yeah. what did i just read here? this was not so much an article as, say, a random collection of thoughts that cancelled itself out in the end. and the first commenter came up with a perfect explanation. let’s cool it with the conspiracy theories, especially ones that have us pulling a bunch of strings to snag a small forward we would LOVE to be taken before 7, because if Aminu’s gone by then it means Monroe or Cousins is still on the board.

    • Jun 23, 20107:17 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Tarbaby, I had most of the post written before the Clippers’ promise surfaced. So, I figured, give this is so ridiculous already, does a reported Clippers promise really ruin the idea any more?

  • Jun 23, 20107:53 pm
    by nuetes


    my draft day excitement scale:
    Cousins – ecstatic, giddy, bordering on mania.
    Monroe – eh, not too bad. stayed at 7 and got lucky.
    Udoh/Davis – upset, not because of the players, but because it meant dumars did nothing, and that would just feed my expectations of how this offseason is going to go.
    Aldrich – livid.

    • Jun 23, 20108:32 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Nuetes, I’m with you 100 percent on Cousins.

      I’d be very happy with Monroe. I think he’s a clear step above the next tier of players.

      With you on Udoh/Davis, except I’d include Aldrich in there, too.

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