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PistonPowered Mock Draft: The case for Kemba Walker as a Piston

Patrick Hayes is not an accredited NBA Draft expert, nor does he have an advanced degree in scouting. He’s simply an enthusiastic young man with a sixth grade education and an abiding love for all NBA Draft prospects … join him for his first-ever mock draft.

I’ve spent the past two springs and summers compiling the ‘Draft Dreams‘ series, looking at potential Pistons targets in the draft. Although I like reading about prospects and know enough about the game to understand what makes someone a first round prospect vs. a second round prospect, I’ve avoided doing mock drafts simply because every Tom, Dick and Disco Stu feels qualified to compile one. But Dan Feldman asked me to reconsider my no mock drafts policy and actually put the piles of Draft Dreams sitting on shelves around here to use, and no one says ‘no’ to Dan Feldman.

This will be the first of two mocks that I’ll do. This one will basically be own personal beliefs — if I were running every front office in the league, who would I take? Next week, prior to the draft, I’ll have a revised one where I’ll make more of an effort to actually, you know, use reason and sources to make better predictions of who will end up where.

Feel free to post your own versions in the comments.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving

This pick essentially boils down to Irving or Derrick Williams. Both could end up being good, dynamic players. But my reasoning for Irving over Williams is simple: if you hit on an elite PG in the draft, you have a franchise cornerstone at a position that is both vital and one of the hardest to fill in the league. If you hit on an elite wing, you could end up with a very good player who isn’t even a lock to be an All-Star (think Andre Iguodala, Danny Granger, etc.). There’s a chance Williams could end up being the better player, but the potential reward of getting an all-world PG is too much to pass up.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams

Yes, I think there is a chance that David Kahn passes on legitimately the second best prospect in the draft here, probably using the reasoning that the T-Wolves already have Michael Beasley (even though Williams is going to be a better player than Beasley). But remember, this mock is all about what I would do. If Minnesota decides it doesn’t want Williams, I hope they at least trade the pick, because there are probably a dozen or so teams that would love to be in a position to draft him.

3. Utah Jazz – Jonas Valuncianas

Most mocks have the Jazz taking Brandon Knight here. I have no problems with Knight. But the Jazz have two lottery picks, third and 12th. If they take Knight early, they lose out on their choice of the top bigs in the draft, then have to pick from one of the more limited bigs (Tristan Thompson, Morris twins) at the bottom of the lottery. They could take Valuncianas third, get a promising big, and then look at a guard like Alec Burks lower in the lottery. The team might not view Devin Harris as a long-term solution at PG, but he’s under contract for another season and there is better value at other positions in the lottery.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Enes Kanter

There have been some questions arise about Kanter’s lack of athleticism and lack of experience that may have him slipping some in the draft. The Cavs would probably prefer Valuncianas, but they also have active, athletic bigs in J.J. Hickson and Anderson Varejao. Getting a prospect like Kanter, who is strong and could develop into a good presence offensively in the paint, could be a nice compliment to their other frontcourt pieces.

5. Toronto Raptors – Brandon Knight

The Raptors reportedly really like Kemba Walker. I assume that is because most are predicting Knight will be off the board. I think Walker is an exciting player who can potentially be really good if he can go from alpha-dog, ball-dominating college scorer to NBA distributor. For the Raptors’ purposes, I like Knight next to DeMar DeRozan in the backcourt much more than I like a Walker-DeRozan backcourt.

6. Washington Wizards – Kawhi Leonard

The Wizards, even if they don’t win much, have the makings of one of the more entertaining teams in the league. John Wall is a legitimate star in the making, Jordan Crawford showed towards the end of last season that he can be a lights out scorer and active bigs like JaVale McGee and Kevin Seraphin are capable of running with the Wizards fast guards. Throw in an athletic small forward like Leonard, who can run the floor and finish, and the Wiz might have one of the best fast breaks in the league next season.

7. Sacramento Kings – Jimmer Fredette

If I learned anything watching college basketball this season, it’s don’t ever try and bring logic to a Jimmer Fredette discussion. These are the facts: he has poor shot selection, played in a weak conference and might not defend well at the NBA level. But he’s also an extremely hard worker, charismatic, exciting and, though with Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton, among others, in fold, the Kings certainly don’t need a scoring punch, they could use the interest drafting Jimmer would surely bring to the franchise. I think he’ll be a solid NBA player. I don’t know how much he’ll help a bad team like the Kings, but I think they’re probably going to draft him.

8. Detroit Pistons – Kemba Walker

Do I love this pick? No I don’t. But under my scenario above, all of the desirable big men are off the board and Walker has slipped past a few teams. So the Pistons could take Bismack Biyombo (more on why I hope they don’t below), they could take a similar big prospect with limited upside (Tristan Thompson or a Morris twin), they could take a projected wing player in Jan Vesely, or they could take Walker, a dynamic play-making guard who Joe Dumars is reportedly intrigued by. Why Walker? I don’t think he’s necessarily the answer at point guard. But drafting him would signify that the team doesn’t believe Rodney Stuckey is the long-term answer either, and as much as I think Stuckey can be a useful NBA player, I think it’s time he and the Pistons prepare to go in different directions, particularly since Stuckey could be on the verge of getting a lot more expensive.

There’s one other reason I’d be OK with this pick: expectations. There is going to be incredible (some would say unrealistic) pressure for whoever is picked in this spot to contribute good minutes to the Pistons as a rookie. The fact is, there are very few guys in this range in the draft who it’s fair to expect that out of. Walker, even if he has some questions about how his game will translate to the NBA, will not be phased by having the expectations of a fanbase that is desperate for its team to be good again thrust on him.

9. Charlotte Bobcats – Kenneth Faried

This is a bit of a reach for Faried, but I like him here for one reason: the Bobcats just hired Rich Cho as GM. Cho, if you remember, is the statistically inclined former GM of the Portland Trailblazers. Rebounding success at the college level projects incredibly well to the NBA level and Faried was the best rebounder in college basketball. Many in the stats community think that means good things are ahead for Faried despite the fact that he played at a small college. Just ask Ben Gulker, president of the Kenneth Faried fanclub, if you don’t believe me.

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Bismack Biyombo

I’m fully prepared to get killed in the comments for not making Biyombo a Piston in my fake draft here, but I have a very basic problem with Bismack, articulated by Ben Gulker the other day:

I’m sorry, but if Biyombo can’t make 50% of his shots from 10 feet away while unguarded (or by someone playing token defense at best), that is a HUGE concern

I get that Biyombo’s specialty is defense. But, I would wager, even a below average offensive player like Ben Wallace would show better skills offensively than Biyombo did in that workout. By all accounts, Biyombo works hard, and he certainly was a beast at the Nike Hoops Summit. But I’m not yet sold that he’ll be a rotation player in the NBA. International players like Johan Petro and Mouhamed Sene once upon a time impressed scouts with their size/athletic potential and never remotely developed enough to justify their draft positions.

The Pistons need immediate help up front and that’s not a position I want to see Biyombo be put in as a pro. A team like Milwaukee can play him behind a really good defensive center in Andrew Bogut and allow him more time to develop.

11. Golden State Warriors – Marcus Morris

With David Lee signed long-term and Ekpe Udoh showing some flashes as a rookie of being a competent, rotation-caliber big man, the Warriors could use another player up front to ensure that the team never, ever has to give minutes to Andris Biedrins again. Marcus Morris is a little more polished offensively than his brother, Markieff. He’s not as athletic as another available big, Tristan Thompson, but he’s much more ready to contribute right away than Thompson is.

12. Utah Jazz – Alec Burks

OK, so the Jazz don’t come away with a point guard in this draft since I passed on Knight for them at No. 3. But getting Burks, a bouncy, big shooting guard, would be a nice addition for a team that seemingly has had a hole at the SG spot since Jeff Hornaceck retired. Adding Burks and Valuncianas would solidify two positions for Utah, and perhaps they can spin Devin Harris into an additional pick in next year’s draft, when the point guard position should be deeper.

13. Phoenix Suns – Jan Vesely

Vesely serves as my unjustified free-faller in this mock. Most scouts don’t have him lasting past Detroit at No. 8, but a run on big men and point guards pushes Vesely, who is tall but more of a perimeter player skillset-wise, down some. That will be to the benefit of the Suns, who, despite a glut of perimeter players, certainly wouldn’t mind a tall, sharp-shooting, skilled young player to throw on the court with Steve Nash.

14. Houston Rockets – Chris Singleton

The Rockets have an interesting roster full of complimentary players with upside. They have depth at most positions, but no one who is a clear-cut franchise cornerstone.

I assume new coach Kevin McHale will want to establish a defensive identity, and the Rockets have some players in place to do that. Drafting Singleton, arguably the best perimeter defender in this draft, would further that cause.

15. Indiana Pacers – Klay Thompson

Thompson is a virtual lock for the top half of the draft now, and that says a lot about what Thompson has done in indivdual workouts. When I profiled him for Draft Dreams, most projected him as late first/early second round talent, which was weird considering his fantastic size for a shooting guard and his ability to shoot the ball. The Pacers could lose Mike Dunleavy to free agency and have been pretty weak at the shooting guard spot for a while now. Adding Thompson to the mix would give them a lot of length on the perimeter with Paul George and Danny Granger also occupying rotation spots. Adding another shooter to free up driving lanes for Darren Collison and room in the post for Roy Hibbert wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

16. Philadelphia 76ers – Tristan Thompson

Thompson has lottery-level athleticism, but is just not a polished player yet. I think there’s a chance he could fall out of the top 14, but if he does, he won’t last long. A team like Philly would be a perfect spot for him. They don’t need him to come in and play a lot of minutes right away, he can learn from a good coach and experienced vets and, best case scenario, he steals some minutes from Spencer Hawes.

17. New York Knicks – Markieff Morris

It’s kind of unbelievable that the Knicks actually have a draft pick. Even more unbelievable is they are in a position to draft a player who can actually help them.

Anyone who watched New York at the end of the season knows the team’s weaknesses: defense and rebounding. Their frontcourt is thin, evey by Mike D’Antoni standards, and Morris is the type of strong, smart player who would give them productive minutes immediately.

18. Washington Wizards – Nikola Vucevic

When I wrote about him, I couldn’t believe Vucevic was viewed as a second rounder. Turns out, he isn’t. Now most scouts have Vucevic firmly in the early 20s. He’s a polished big man who played three years of college basketball, can score in the post and should be an all-around solid, fundamentally sound addition to a Wizards frontcourt that could … uh … use a does of fundamentals.

19. Charlotte Bobcats – Jordan Hamilton

The Bobcats took one of the more underrated defensive players in the draft in Faried with their lottery pick. Now, they’ll get one of the draft’s most underrated offensive players.

The team last season was pretty reliant on Stephen Jackson being a volume scorer, so hopefully Hamilton can provide some offense right away and east that burden off of Captain Jack a little bit.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves – Donatas Motiejunas

Just a year ago, had he stayed in the draft, Motiejunas was a sure top 10 pick. Now, he’s probably the biggest free faller in this year’s crop. He’s only a year older and had a decent season overseason, but he hasn’t had great workouts and there are some scouts who question whether or not the bulk he added in the offseason, something most said he needed to add last year, has actually been a good thing. Still though, David Kahn is unafraid to take chances on foreign players with questions about their game, and the fact that Motiejunas was so well-regarded just a year ago makes him a pretty low risk this late in the first round.

21. Portland Trail Blazers – Iman Shumpert

I’ve seen some mocks pegging Darius Morris here. I like Morris, and I get why Portland makes sense: Morris is often compared to Andre Miller. But although I think the Blazers are contemplating life after the aging Miller, I think they’ll go in another direction. Shumpert is a freakish athlete and good defender who needs to work on refining his point guard skills. He’s big and fast and can potentially give Portland quality minutes right away, particularly spelling Miller defensively for stretches.

22. Denver Nuggets – Justin Harper

The Nuggets are another tough team to gauge simply because they are at least two deep with really solid players at virtually every position. They could use help up front with pending free agent Kenyon Martin and possibly Nene. They also might lose sixth man J.R. Smith to free agency. Harper is more of a stretch four, which they already have in Al Harrington, but there just aren’t many great big prospects left in the first round, and Harper’s ability to shoot should fit nicely in Denver’s fast-paced attack.

23. Houston Rockets – Kyle Singler

They took a defensive-minded forward in Chris Singleton earlier in my mock. Now, they’ll get a tough, smart, dive-on-the-floor intangibles guy in Singler.

Singler is going to hang around in a NBA rotation for a long time even if he never puts up significant stats, similar to a Chuck Hayes or Brian Cardinal type of player. The Rockets have a lot of finesse on their team right now. Adding Singleton and Singler to Hayes should help them get tougher.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jeremy Tyler

Tyler was a longshot to get drafted just a few months ago, now his name has climbed to the top of the second round. I don’t think just any team will draft him in the first round, but Oklahoma City is the perfect place for him. The Thunder use their D-League affiliate as well as any team in the league and have been stashing projects there for years — think B.J. Mullens, Cole Aldrich, D.J. White and Latavious Williams. The Thunder could draft Tyler, have zero expectation that he’ll contribute to the team next year, let him hopefully develop in Tulsa and, if all goes well, have a young, huge center who will get beat up on by Kendrick Perkins every day until he’s ready to be a rotation player.

25. Boston Celtics – Tyler Honeycutt

The Celtics could use some youth and athleticism on the perimeter. Honeycutt isn’t a player who particularly excels in any one area, but he’ll score a little, rebound a little and he’s a decent passer for a perimeter player. He could give Boston some quality minutes and hopefully prevent Paul Pierce and Ray Allen from wearing down too much.

26. Dallas Mavericks – Darius Morris

It was amazing watching several players on Dallas finally get championships after long struggles their entire careers. But the flip side? They’re old, particularly at point guard, even if Jason Kidd defended during the playoffs like a much younger player.

Replacing Kidd should be on the agenda over the next couple seasons, and with his size and court vision, the Mavs could take a player like Morris and let him learn the finer points of PG play from one of the best of all time.

27. New Jersey Nets – Tobias Harris

The Nets have a polished interior scorer in Brook Lopez (even if he’s not such a good rebounder). Getting a young prospect like Harris this late in the first round would be a nice find for the Nets and a nice compliment to Lopez. Harris, a combo forward, could become a nice compliment to Lopez down the road because of the diverse skillset he possesses offensively. He won’t get in Lopez’s way in the post and his ability to hit jumpers should give Lopez more space to operate inside.

28. Chicago Bulls – Marshon Brooks

It’s no secret where the Bulls biggest weakness was last year. They got very little offense out of starting shooting guard Keith Bogans or backup Ronnie Brewer. They got very little defense out of their other option, Kyle Korver.

Marshon Brooks is one of the most dynamic scorers in the draft and at 6-5, he’s big enough and athletic enough to eventually become a solid two-way player in Tom Thibodeau’s system. Brooks is long-armed and is a great rebounder and even shot blocker (he averaged more than one per game) for a guard.

29. San Antonio Spurs – Nikola Mirotic

The Spurs finding international talent early and waiting for it to develop is nothing new. Mirotic has had a great season for a really good team in Europe after barely playing last year. There’s a good chance his stock would continue to rise if he weren’t in this draft. The Spurs could get him early, allow him to continue playing overseas and then in a couple years, bring him over and have another young, seasoned piece to add to the frontcourt.

30. Chicago Bulls – JaJuan Johnson

The Bulls already have a solid frontcourt rotation with Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer. But Kurt Thomas isn’t getting any younger and Johnson was a solid college player who should, at the very least, block shots and hit open jumpers at the NBA level. There are real questions about his strength as he didn’t add much bulk in four years at Purdue, but playing a frontcourt like Chicago’s, where he wouldn’t be counted on to do too much, might be a good spot for him to develop.

Second Round

31. Miami Heat – Reggie Jackson

An injury prevented Jackson from participating in the combine in Chicago and has limited his ability to work out for teams. Had he not been injured, I’m convinced he would be a first round pick.

I’ve sung his praises plenty on this site, but he’s a big guard, he takes care of the ball and his shooting numbers were beyond impressive. I’m convinced that not only would he help the Heat, he’d step onto their roster as a second round pick and already be better than Mario Chalmers or Mike Bibby.

32. Cleveland Cavaliers – Travis Leslie

With Kyrie Irving and Enes Kanter in tow, the Cavs will be significantly improved coming out of this draft. Adding Leslie, a flawed but incredibly athletic guard, would make them really fun to watch. Leslie’s ticket to minutes in the league will be defense. With Varejao healthy and Hickson continuing to improve, the Cavs have a team of guys with the physical tools to make them pretty solid defensively and Leslie would further that cause.

33. Detroit Pistons – Keith Benson

I’m an Oakland alum, so I admittedly look at Benson through rose colored glasses, but I also watched a lot of Oakland games up close during his career. Benson, to put it mildly, was a mess as a player when he stepped onto campus. He was uncoordinated, weak and couldn’t do much other than block shots. By the time he was a senior, he was the best mid-major player in the country and the best player in Oakland history. That’s a testament to him having a tremendous work ethic. No one in recruiting circles predicted Benson would have near this kind of success. He’s earned it all, and athletes who work that hard are the ones who are worth investing in. The Pistons, no doubt, have seen Benson’s progress up close and hopefully Arnie Kander can get him in the weight room and show him how to add more bulk to his frame.

34. Washington Wizards – Shelvin Mack

Someone’s gotta play defense, right? The Wizards have a team full of athletic, intriguing scorers. Mack might not ever be a great NBA player, but he will bring toughness to the perimeter and the ability to give some minutes at both guard spots. They already have a high-motor player in Trevor Booker, hopefully Mack would bring that same type of effort and energy to their backcourt.

35. Sacramento Kings – Charles Jenkins

Jenkins is one of the more underrated players in this draft because he went to Hofstra, but he also could climb into the first round. He scored a lot of points in college, but he also proved to be an intelligent playmaker. The Kings are still trying to figure out if Tyreke Evans is better suited to the one or two. Drafting Jenkins would give them more flexiblity to move Evans off the ball if it eventually came to that.

36. New Jersey Nets – Jimmy Butler

I hate to give the Nets another undersized power forward, but like their earlier pick, Tobias Harris, Butler represents good value at this spot and his versatility should mesh well with the current roster, which has a handful of players with skillsets that aren’t exactly definable within the bounds of traditional positions. Butler is tough and smart. The team also could lose Kris Humphries to free agency and Butler, though undersized, was a solid rebounder at Marquette with a great motor.

37. Los Angeles Clippers – Jon Leuer

Few teams can boast the promising young core that the Clippers have with Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and Eric Bledsoe on the roster. The Clips could use some size up front and Leuer is big, rebounds well and would be a nice option to have in the frontcourt rotation because of his range. Current bigs Griffin, Chris Kaman and DeAndre Jordan all pretty much operate around the basket. Leuer would give LA a nice floor-spacing option.

38. Houston Rockets – Jordan Williams

As I alluded to earlier, it’s hard to project exactly what the Rockets will do in the draft because they have an abundance of semi-decent players or prospects at most positions. Williams would give them another intriguing big man with question marks to go along with their collection of them — Jordan Hill and Hasheem Thabeet. Williams is big and a legitimate threat in the post. He also needs to get into better shape if he’s going to get off a NBA bench.

39. Charlotte Bobcats – Josh Selby

Selby has a first round ceiling and has reportedly had good workouts this summer after having a disappointing freshman season at Kansas.

If he can develop into a point guard, he has a lot more value to NBA teams than if he’s going to be solely a shooting guard. In Charlotte, a team that doesn’t have much behind D.J. Augustin, perhaps Selby can get minutes at both guard spots.

40. Milwaukee Bucks – Norris Cole

Cole, another productive mid-major player, is a favorite name for point guard needy teams. A year ago, considering the Bucks a PG-needy team would’ve seemed foolish, but that’s how quickly the stock of Brandon Jennings has fallen off. He still has a ton of upside, but with rumors the Bucks are shopping him, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they looked at a player like Cole.

41. Los Angeles Lakers – Bojan Bogdanovic

Let’s be realistic here: there’s probably no one in the second round who has much of a chance of making the Lakers’ roster this year. Last year’s second round picks, Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks, are better than anyone available in this year’s second round and they could barely get off the inactive list last year.

It makes more sense for the Lakers to take an international player like Bogdanovic. Then he can stay overseas, get better and maybe in a year or two they can trade him to Memphis for Marc Gasol or something.

42. Indiana Pacers – Chandler Parsons

DraftExpress compares Parsons to Jon Leuer, a tall player not afraid to mix get on the boards with range out past the 3-point line.

The Pacers were a surprise playoff team a year ago. They could use more help inside, but so could everyone in this draft. Instead, they’ll take a player like Parsons, a guy who has enough skills and a good enough work ethic to hang out on a NBA bench as a useful reserve for a while.

43. Chicago Bulls – E’Twaun Moore

Their earlier pick, Marshon Brooks, has the tools to be a starting caliber SG in the league down the road. Moore’s ceiling isn’t that high, but he’s an intelligent and hard-working player and a good shooter. He or anyone picked by the Bulls in this spot will have a hard time making that roster, but if anyone can do it, Moore can.

Plus, it would be a shame to break up the Moore-JaJuan Johnson Purdue connection, since I have Johnson going to the Bulls at No. 30.

44. Golden State Warriors – Trey Thompkins

Thompkins has some questions about his conditioning that he must answer, but his strengths are offensively. With Lee, Udoh and Biedrins, the Warriors have a collection of bigs who are limited offensively, so perhaps Thompkins could find his niche in a situation like that.

45. New Orleans Hornets – Nolan Smith

Smith is one of my favorite players in this draft. I have no idea how I let myself let him fall so far into the second round.

The Hornets could use some shooting guard depth and while Smith has some limits, his defense should get him into a NBA rotation relatively soon. He can defend both guard spots and he shoots well enough that other teams will have to account for him on offense, even if his ball-handling does need some work. Still though, he showed improvements throughout his Duke career and his basketball IQ makes him a safe bet to make a NBA roster.

46. Los Angeles Lakers – Demetri McCamey

As I said above, I don’t know that the Lakers have much roster space to accommodate the four second round picks they have this year. But something to keep in mind: Mike Brown won’t be using the triangle offense, so, with apologies to Steve Blake and Derek Fisher, perhaps Brown will want to bring in a more traditional point guard. McCamey has limits — he’s not particularly good at creating his own shot or exploding to the basket inside. But that’s probably OK for any Lakers point guard, since Kobe Bryant will continue to be their primary shot creator. McCamey’s shooting (45 percent from three) and size, however, make him a potentially interesting prospect if he could manage to make the team.

47. Los Angeles Clippers – Ben Hansbrough

Hansbrough has limitations, but he’s a fantastic shooter and has decent size for a point guard.

The Clippers already have a young starter in Eric Bledsoe at the position that they are developing and they have a veteran serviceable short-term backup in Mo Williams. Grabbing a player like Hansbrough, who could become a very solid backup PG off the bench while also providing a perimeter threat to create space for Blake Griffin inside wouldn’t be a terrible idea.

48. Atlanta Hawks – Isaiah Thomas

It’s not that the Hawks need a lot of perimeter help, but they could lose Jamal Crawford as a free agent. They also traded last year’s first round pick, Jordan Crawford, to Washington as part of the Kirk Hinrich trade.

Thomas will have to play his minutes as a point guard, but he’s a relentless offensive threat who could possibly pick up some of the scoring slack off the bench should they lose Crawford to free agency.

49. Memphis Grizzlies – Malcolm Lee

Although the Grizzlies were the surprise of the playoffs this season, they weren’t without issues during the season. They very nearly traded O.J. Mayo during the season, and although they seemed to mend fences with him some, his long-term future remains unclear. There have been rumors Memphis has shopped Rudy Gay a bit. Shane Battier will be a free agent and Sam Young could be a restricted free agent.

Lee, out of UCLA, is a big guard who played both guard spots in college. He’s athletic and strong, but he only shot 30 percent from 3-point range, although scouts have said he worked on and improved his shooting motion during workouts this summer.

50. Philadelphia 76ers – Diante Garrett

There are a lot of interesting point guard prospects in the second round from schools that haven’t been known for basketball in recent years. Garrett, who put up good scoring numbers for a not very good Iowa State team, has good size for a PG, he’s athletic and, if he improves his shot selection and cuts down on turnovers, he could find a niche with a team like Philly.

In the rumored Monta Ellis deal, Golden State reportedly wanted Lou Williams along with Andre Iguodala in the trade. The Sixers, understandably, didn’t bite, but getting a player like Garrett, who is big enough to give minutes at both guard spots, might provide some insurance should the Sixers try and shed some salary by dealing their pricey guards.

51. Portland Trail Blazers – DeAndre Liggins

Liggins is possibly going to have to go the rookie free agent route, but he’s an extremely good defensive player. He was overshadowed a bit at Kentucky by the large number of big name recruits that made brief stops in Lexington during his career, but I really believe Liggins, if nothing else, will be a useful and versatile defender on a good team’s bench. In the West, you can never have enough defensive-minded wings. I’m not sure he’d play right away in Portland, but I think they’d find a use for him down the road.

52. Detroit Pistons – Greg Smith

Smith probably could’ve improved his stock by staying in school, but he’s big and he’s here, so why draft him? Hands. I’m a sucker for the huge C-Webb hands. Check out this description of Smith from a workout:

Perhaps the most ridiculous spectacle we saw all week came in Smith’s post drills. Dwarfing most of the players here with his size, Smith also has exceptionally large hands, and on a number of occasions, simply snatched the entry passes directed his way out of midair, palming the ball away from his body as if it were a grapefruit.

Smith has rough edges and issues with his conditioning that need to be worked out, but the size and physical tools are tough to ignore this late in the draft.

53. Orlando Magic – Jamie Skeen

As I said in the Skeen DD post, he’s on the bubble to get drafted. But a four-year player known for his intelligence and work ethic is exactly the type of player I’d take late in the second round.

Skeen is a bit undersized to be a NBA four, but he shoots the three well enough to win some minutes and he understands how to position is body to rebound. Orlando would be the right place for a player like Skeen, since Stan Van Gundy values shooters.

54. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kalin Lucas

Will it happen? Of course not. But remember, this is my totally make believe, living in my own head mock draft.

Dan Gilbert is a MSU guy, Kalin Lucas is a MSU guy, why not?

55. Boston Celtics – Michael Dunigan

The Celtics have lost Rasheed Wallace and Shaquille O’Neal to retirement in back-to-back offseasons and have Glen Davis set to become a free agent. Dunigan probably isn’t ready to help them just yet, but the former Oregon player, who left school and played professionally briefly in Israel, is strong and able to establish deep post position. The Celtics need to revamp their frontcourt, but grabbing a project big man to stash in the D-League or on the end of the bench for a season to see if he develops isn’t a bad strategy.

56. Los Angeles Lakers – Tomislav Zubcic

There’s just no way the Lakers have roster spots for all these second rounders. Zubcic is an international player who can perhaps be convinced to stay overseas while the Lakers maintain his rights.

Zubcic is 6-foot-11 and, according to Chad Ford, handles the ball like a point guard. We all know Kobe Bryant isn’t getting any younger, so the Lakers would be wise to stockpile as many assets overseas as they can on the chance that one of them develops into a player capable of helping them offensively in the near future.

57. Dallas Mavericks – Scotty Hopson

Hopson, who played three seasons at Tennessee, is a lanky, athletic wing player. The Mavs have free agents at SG in Caron Butler and Peja Stojakovic, plus Jason Terry and Shawn Marion aren’t getting younger. They have a young guard in Dominique Jones, last season’s first round pick, who didn’t get many minutes this season, but giving a player like Hopson a shot in camp could pay off. He’s also a decent 3-point shooter.

58. Los Angeles Lakers – Adam Hanga

Well … if it’s not broke. Hanga, another international prospect, had some impressive moments at EuroCamp according to Chad Ford. Hanga is 22, so he’s not the youngest international prospect out there, but if the Lakers use these picks as I think they will (unless they package them in a trade, another good possibility), they’ll have at least three players overseas. That’ll give them a better chance for at least one to develop into a useful player down the road.

59. San Antonio Spurs – Andrew Goudelock

Wow … the Lakers snapped up all the international prospects before the Spurs even had a chance to get at them? That’s usually San Antonio’s hustle. Instead, the Spurs will go the George Hill route — take a chance on a talented small school player.

Goudelock is one of the best shooters in the country — he has “Jimmer-like range” according to Chad Ford. He might not be quick or athletic enough to play in Gregg Popovich’s system, but a little more outside shooting couldn’t hurt in San Antonio.

60. Sacramento Kings – Malcolm Thomas

Kawhi Leonard was the best prospect on this year’s surprising San Diego State team, but Thomas’s energy and activity were a big factor for SDSU too.

Thomas might be a bit small for power forward and probably doesn’t shoot well enough to play small forward, but the Kings could use a few players who play hard and are active. Thomas would have a chance to make the team at a couple different positions if he can do those things in camp.

44 Comments

  • Jun 15, 20111:15 pm
    by I can't take it anymore

    Reply

    I could live with a Kemba Walker pick.  He has a little bit of Zeke in him where he has a will to win.  Not quote the PG Zeke was at the same stage but he has that fire.
     
    A walker, Stuckey, Gordon rotation could mature into a very good one.
     
    That said my draft preference, right now, is to take one of the higher energy euro bigs, Vesely or Valuncianas, whom ever falls and is available.

     
     

    • Jun 16, 20115:33 pm
      by detroitpcb

      Reply

      wow, that would be the worst possible outcome for the Pistons. A backcout of Walker & Gordon couldn’t guard anyone in the league. Detroit should definitely trade down if all the top tier big men are gone and they don’t like Leonard or Burks. Walker would be a disaster.

      And Benson is to frail to be picked that early in the second round. There are lots of alternatives that are better if the Pistons want to go for size in the second round.

  • Jun 15, 20111:19 pm
    by Scott

    Reply

    The only way I’m even THINKING about taking Walker is if we can somehow get rid of BG or Rip to clear that logjam on the perimeter we got. If not, Heres my selections:
    #8 – Bismack Biyombo or Jan Vesely
    #33 – Norris Cole or Keith Benson
    #52 – Greg Smith or Andrew Goudelock

  • Jun 15, 20111:38 pm
    by Fennis

    Reply

    PH — I agree that Biyombo’s Euro workout was discouraging. I took a few days and then went back to his Nike Hoops Summit video. I didn’t think I’d put too much stock in it since a) I’d already seen it, and b) I knew he was playing against 18-year-old kids.
    Watch that video a few times not just for the athletic feats, but for the timing on the block shots in half court and full court situations. Pay attention to the way he blocks just as easily with his left hand as with his right. Pay attention to the arm extension on the rebounds. Watch the way he avoids fouls in his pursuit of the block. Note the quickness in which he rebounds the ball, bounces and dunks. This guy is a transcendent physical talent with a high basketball IQ and immaculate intangibles. I don’t think there is anyone in the league that has his blend of agility and leaping ability, and that’s before we begin to discuss his intelligence, work ethic, and from all accounts strong character. He can dominate a game without taking a shot outside of two feet.
     
    Detroit has been searching for a player like this for several years. Die-hard Pistons fans know that without strong — no — an intimidating interior presence you cannot be a contender. It’s really that simple. We cannot pass on this guy, and I’m 90% sure we won’t. The guy exemplifies Pistons basketball and Pistons culture.
     
    I’ve been getting a bit nervous as DraftExpress is pushing him hard and there’s a great article at NBA.com (http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/scott_howard_cooper/06/14/bismack-biyombo-euro-workout/index.html). But I’m confident he’ll fall to us and we’ll take him. He won’t go in the top 4, Toronto doesn’t care for defense, the Wiz have McGee as their defensive big, and Sacramento needs to make a splash to hold onto their team.
     
    Write it down. It’s Bismack in 2011.
     
    PS – Kemba Walker is the only other player I’d take outside of the projected top 3.
     

    • Jun 15, 20111:44 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I love Biyombo’s defensive skillset, don’t get me wrong. But I think he needs an opportunity to grow and develop without the pressure of the team that drafts him needing to throw him out there right away because their frontcourt is so bad.

      At the end of the day, I wouldn’t be a bit upset if the Pistons draft him. I just think he’s being hyped a little too much right now, and that might be setting the immediate expectations for him too high.

      • Jun 15, 20117:36 pm
        by Mike Payne

        Reply

        I think if we wind up retaining Wilcox, Biyombo will be fairly treated in Detroit and be given the chance to earn minutes, not be tossed into the fire.  Without Wilcox, our next coach may opt to start Monroe and Villanueva with Biyombo (and/or Benson, hopefully) fighting for PT behind them.  This is my hope, anyway.

  • Jun 15, 20112:26 pm
    by I can't take it anymore

    Reply

    My list in order of who the pistons should take with 8.

    Valancuinas, (super Biedrins)
    Vesely, (haven’t figured out who to compare him too yet.. high energy big)
    Kemba, (Zeke lite)
    Bismack, (Theo Ratliff… but healthy)

  • Jun 15, 20113:09 pm
    by Pratik Narula

    Reply

    I agree with Patrick and Scott. I think the Pistons would love to have Biyombo, because of his defensive skills. Missing open shots in front of scouts should not make anyone go against a player who is known for raising his game on the floor by feeding off of his defensive ability. Anyone who has seen full length games of Biyombo will appreciate the impact that he can have in the game, on both defense and offense. But I also believe that if Biyombo is paired with Greg Monroe, Monroe will have to develop a strong post game, and play more like Rasheed, as Biyombo finishes well closer to the rim.
    I am also impressed with Jan Vesely’s ability. I would love to have him, but I also feel that he will go much earlier in the draft rather then 13th pick has shown here. But if he does fall for the Pistons, I would pick Biyombo over him only because I have faith in Jonas Jerebko playing the 3 spot for us. Although most people see him as PF or C, he’s quick and athletic, but I don’t think he can stop many 4′s in the league. The one thing he does have though is a strong jump shot, can shoot the 3 also, but not really sure if he can complement well with Monroe, unless he gets a lot stronger and develops a KG style body frame, or Dirk Nowitzski, but that’s requiring a lot and not really being practical.
    I’m really excited about next season though. Especially to see Stuckey, JJ, and Monroe play together with possibly Biyombo or Vesely, or even Tristian Thomas. And a new coach figure out a way to put this young team in the playoffs, and develop like the Bulls did the last 3-4 years or the Thunder. Don’t agree with the Kemba Walker pick for the Pistons though, especially with Will Bynum and Terrico White sitting behind Stuckey, who I feel if given the opportunity on a consistent rotation and night in night out situation, can really help the team off the bench. They need to know their roles, everyone on the team has to have a role, and confidence that they can help the team win. As Jason Terry and JJ Baera provided for the Mavericks.

  • Jun 15, 20113:22 pm
    by Jason

    Reply

    LOVE the Bernson 2nd round pick, Patrick. And i Don’t knock you at all for picking a fellow alumn, as im sure others might.. I think he has a TON of upside, especially if Kander can work with him. I also am a huge believer in ethic, something Benson has more of then just about anyone in the league, IMO.
     
    With the recent news of Big Ben pondering coming back for another year, it makes me feel so much more excited about possibly getting Benson, he can learn a whole lot from Ben, that’s for sure.
     
    I’m not huge on Kemba, but i agree that you have to at least think about drafting him should he be available at the 8 spot. Sure, there are questions about whether or not he can translate, but he definitely is talented, and you never know what he could develop into, under the right system. The is especially why I really wish we had a coach lined up, before the draft comes. It would help so much to have an idea of the type of offensive system we’ll be running, before making such key decisions about our future..
     
    Lets all hope Joe can make a coaching decision soon!

    • Jun 15, 20117:34 pm
      by Mike Payne

      Reply

      Agreed, I would love to see Keith Benson get our second rounder– nice pick Patrick, I fully concur.

      • Jun 16, 20114:09 pm
        by Jason

        Reply

        Benson would be a stud for the Pistons, especially if Laimbeer gets the coaching spot.. If we take Biyombo/Benson, then Laimbeer HAS to be towards the top of the list..

  • Jun 15, 20113:25 pm
    by Jason

    Reply

    Here’s a question for you, Patrick. If Sacramento Doesn’t take Fredette, would the Pistons consider him at #8, in your opinion? I’m a huge fan, and while im smart enough to realize it would be an extreme gamble, i just can’t help but wonder how good he could become..

    • Jun 15, 20114:15 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I don’t think so. I don’t believe the Pistons have worked him out and I’m pretty convinced that Walker is the only non-big they consider at No. 8.

      As for Jimmer, I think he’s, at worst, a useful 3-point specialist off the bench. But unlike some other college stars turned NBA busts, Jimmer has a great build and can potentially learn to play some point guard defensively. I’m not convinced he’ll ever defend either position well enough to be a starter in the league, but I certainly think there are teams he can help. The Pistons probably just aren’t one of those teams.

      • Jun 15, 20117:18 pm
        by Jason

        Reply

        Got ya.. That’s what I assumed. I agree though, his build alone should allow him to develop in the right system. Regardless of who grabs him, I think he’ll have a long career, for he’ll be humbled enough to be a role player, if it comes down to it.

  • Jun 15, 20113:30 pm
    by Jason

    Reply

    Hey, Can someone tell me who ESPN’s Chad Ford has the Pistons taking in his new mock draft? Thanks

    • Jun 15, 20114:07 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Chad Ford’s latest has the Pistons taking Kemba Walker as well (insider required to read the link).

      • Jun 15, 20114:33 pm
        by Jason

        Reply

        Thanks!  Obvious its hard for us outsiders to judge the draft picks but Walker is interesting.  We know he is a winner but is he worth it with who we already have.  I say if he is by a high margin the best available we take him.

  • Jun 15, 20114:09 pm
    by vic

    Reply

    I agree with Fennis…
    Bismack is too good defensively to pass up. Even his communication and intangibles are “impeccable.”
    Check out this quote: http://hoopshype.com/rumors/tag/bismack_biyombo?page=2#gMN-r112R

    He likes the right players for the right reasons. He knows who he is and he’s very straightforward about it.

    Kemba will be good as well… but an elite defensive player will bring championships to a team much quicker than an elite point guard will. Look at the Heat and Dallas. J Kidd is 38. Chandler brought that team the championship.

    Bismack has the skills that get overlooked easily, but are very valuable. We gotta get him!

    My pistons mock
    Biyombo/Leonard
    Jeremy Tyler/ Keith Benson/Jordan Williams
    Isaiah Thomas/ Julyan Stone

    • Jun 15, 20114:22 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Chandler helped a really good team become championship level. Dirk was the single biggest factor in the success of Dallas.

      Biyombo doesn’t have skills that are being overlooked at all. Everyone who has watched him in game scenarios has raved about his strength, timing, athletic ability and general defensive dominance. But he’s also overly aggressive and will be in foul trouble in the NBA, not to mention kind of a train wreck offensively at this point. The Pistons certainly don’t need him to be anything more than Ben Wallace on offense, but Wallace at least developed into a competent passer and learned to finish around the rim. Based on Biyombo’s last workout, fininishing within 10 feet is going to be a struggle for him.

      He has a skillset. The mistake people are making is assuming what he’s shown in workouts is going to automatically translate to the NBA. It’s far from a guarantee. A skillset is different than being an “elite defensive player.” He appears to be bright and hard-working, both great traits, and as I said above, I’d be fine with the Pistons taking him. But I think it’s faulty reasoning to assume he’s the only player at eight worth considering. Walker is the better player overall right now, and he might be the better player down the road too. A strong case can certainly be made for either guy.

      • Jun 15, 20117:17 pm
        by Mike Payne

        Reply

        “But he’s also overly aggressive and will be in foul trouble in the NBA”
         
        One truly remarkable thing about Biyombo’s numbers is that they completely contradict what you’re saying.  Biyombo sports an unreal block-to-personal-foul rate, something that has kept him on the court in Spain and projects to keep him on the court in the NBA.  His timing is impeccable, and it shows in how careful he is with his blocks.  Seriously, look at the other shot blockers in this and other drafts, you’ll see much higher foul rates than what Biyombo has put up.

        • Jun 15, 20117:23 pm
          by Jason

          Reply

          Good point.. And though I haven’t seen much footage of him, the few Youtube videos I have seen show a pretty athletic guy for his size, and it seemed he can dunk/finish quite well. Sure, he isn’t going to be dominant on offense, but i can’t see him being any worse then Big Ben. Add the fact that he is SO young, and has only played basketball for a short time (compared to others in this draft), he is only going to improve. His defensive skills are amazing though, and with it being such a glaring need for the Pistons, he should be given strong consideration.

        • Jun 15, 20118:24 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          That’s a pretty tiny sample size though. I don’t know how good Biyombo will be, but virtually every raw, athletic, defensive minded big man who comes into the league struggles some in this respect when they come into the league. Maybe Biyombo won’t, but no one has seen enough of him to say that it’s definitely not a concern.

          • Jun 15, 20119:12 pm
            by Mike Payne

            The arguments about his Fuenlabrada sample size should themselves make complaints about his recent workout pointless.  The thing is, despite the small sample, he still led the ACB in blocked shots– that’s hard to do without fouling, and Biyombo did precisely that.

          • Jun 15, 201110:22 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            Yes, his blocks per minute rate in one pro season in limited minutes was impressive. I don’t know if any big who has recently come into the league has had both his athleticism and NBA-ready body at this point in their careers. He’s a really, really intriguing prospect. My point isn’t to say that he isn’t. It’s to say that he does have drawbacks. There’s just so little that we know about the kid.

            - Good numbers in limited minutes in one pro season in a decent pro league

            - Good showing against college prospects at Hoops Summit

            - Widely varying reports about what his age actually is

            - Depending on the source, bad, very bad or disastrous individual workout in front of scouts in Spain.

            I’m just saying, those negatives don’t inherently mean teams should be scared to draft him, but the positives also don’t also mean, “OMG … Pistonz have to take Bismack aka the next Ben Wallace/Serge Ibaka/Marcus Camby all rolled into one!”

            He has very little experience against good competition, against players who will roughly be as big and athletic as he is in the NBA. Although his stats suggest he doesn’t take bad shots, which is a good thing, the reports about his workout suggest he could be a bit of a mess offensively. And like any young, raw center, it could take him two, maybe three years to start scratching that potential.

            I don’t have an issue with people who legitimately believe Biyombo is the best fit for the Pistons at eight. But I do think it’s a little ridiculous that a lot of people seem to look at him as the ONLY option the Pistons should consider if he’s on the board. It’s far from an air-tight case that he’s the best of the prospects in that range. If he is, I think it’s probably only by a small margin.

          • Jun 15, 201111:25 pm
            by Mike Payne

            “I do think it’s a little ridiculous that a lot of people seem to look at him as the ONLY option the Pistons should consider if he’s on the board.”
            If the other options are some chick named Jan, who can’t rebound, Jonas Valanciunas who may Rubio us for a few years and an undersized combo-guard who plays our teams most deep position…  I’ll take the last remnant of what our team used to stand for with Biyombo.  It seems like your biggest issue with Biyombo is with the group who wants to see him drafted.  Which kind of reminds me of your issues with Laimbeer as coach.
            “It’s to say that he does have drawbacks.”
            Is anyone who is pro-Biyombo unaware of his drawbacks?  Of the sample size?  I’m not saying this to be facetious, but only because I really don’t think anyone would actually think that he’s a perfect prospect without clear offensive deficiencies.
            “Depending on the source, bad, very bad or disastrous individual workout in front of scouts in Spain.”
            If your source is two of the GMs that were present at this workout, you can add the words “wow”, “winner”, “maturity” and even “love” to “bad”, “very bad” and “disastrous”, Patrick.  Those were quoted from sources who watched that practice.  Italics for emphasis… mine.
            “He has very little experience against good competition, against players who will roughly be as big and athletic as he is in the NBA.”
            Not much less than a one-and-done NCAA player has.  Well, precisely half if you’re looking at game totals.  The surprising thing is how similar ACB bigs perform once transitioned to the NBA.  There’s this big meme about how NCAA players translate so much better than “international” players, but the ACB is just if not more comparable (save for passing numbers, sorry Ricky Rubio).  I’m not the first to say that, but it’s important to point out when talking about Biyombo.

          • Jun 16, 201110:11 am
            by Patrick Hayes

            “Which kind of reminds me of your issues with Laimbeer as coach.”

            Wow, you’re bringing Laimbeer into this?! You want this thread to go on forever, don’t you. You are right, I have a complex relationship with Laimbeer’s blind faith fans. That doesn’t mean I necessarily think he shouldn’t be the coach. These things, I think, are fair to ask:

            - Exactly how much has he had to do with Love’s development? Supporters tend to act like Laimbeer is the single biggest factor in Love becoming a stud. If I remember correctly, Love lost minutes to Darko in the 09-10 season and had some not so enthused comments about the way he was being used. I’d like to know if those were 100 percent aimed at Rambis or if it was the coaching staff as a whole that felt like giving minutes to Darko over Love was a good strategy.

            - What makes him a better candidate than Frank, Casey, Sampson or other top assistants out there? I’m not satisfied with “Pistons legend” and “count da (WNBA) ringz baby!” as the basis.

            Laimbeer very well could emerge as the best candidate for the job, and I’m totally OK with that. But you’re right, I do reject anyone who acts as if he’s automatically the best candidate. He should have to wow in the interview process just like anyone else would. If he does that and they hire him, fine. But there are a handful of assistants out there deserving of head coaching opportunities, and honestly, most have been on much more successful staffs than the one Laimbeer has been on. That shouldn’t disqualify him from consideration, but seriously … the question, “Why has Minnesota been so terrible and what makes you an asset as a coach despite the terribleness of that team?” is a fair one to ask.

            As for Biyombo, on to your points:

            “It seems like your biggest issue with Biyombo is with the group who wants to see him drafted.”

            Not at all (I’ve gathered you are in that group). And in fact, I’d much rather take Biyombo than Vesely. I’m really on the fence between him and two other prospects, Walker and Leonard. Here’s the quick reasoning:

            Leonard – huge hands, energy, upside, etc., and potentially brings back some of the defensive, play-hard mentality that’s been missing; also, if the Pistons are committing to Stuckey (and it appears that they are ready to), they need to get more athletic on at least one of the wings. Leonard can run and finish, which might help Stuckey play at the faster tempo he’s more comfortable with.

            Biyombo – high reward if you take him and he develops into the defensive presence he’s projected to be; Pistons absolutely need a rim-protecting big since Monroe is only slightly more athletic than Laimbeer; seems coachable, great demeanor, great build, etc.; he and Valuncianas are a toss-up, but I think Jonas will get picked higher; I think both could end up being better than Kanter

            Walker – I know, I know … you can probably quote a half dozen stats that project Walker will be a terrible, high usage, volume shooter, not a PG, etc. I still love the kid. He plays with heart, he got significantly better at UConn and I think he can reign in his shoot-first tendencies enough to learn to be a more efficient PG; Also, he’s totally a Joe Dumars kind of pick. Not saying that’s a good thing, but the point of a mock is to predict what will happen, right? If Walker is available at 8, it’s hard for me to envision Dumars passing on him.

            “Is anyone who is pro-Biyombo unaware of his drawbacks?  Of the sample size?  I’m not saying this to be facetious, but only because I really don’t think anyone would actually think that he’s a perfect prospect without clear offensive deficiencies.”

            Well, I don’t know the answer. But I feel like I’ve read about 1,000 “Biyombo has to be the pick” comments over the last two months. Honestly, in the Draft Dreams series, from the second I started doing it, I started getting e-mails about “when are you going to profile Biyomobo?!” It could just be my own interactions with a few people clouding things, but I’ve definitely had the impression that there are people who legitimately think he’ll be able to play and contribute a lot right away. I just have my doubts about that, that’s all. And maybe you’re right and he’s the best possible prospect the Pistons could get at eight. I’m just saying, sound cases can be made for other players as well.

            “If your source is two of the GMs that were present at this workout, you can add the words “wow”, “winner”, “maturity” and even “love” to “bad”, “very bad” and “disastrous”, Patrick.  Those were quoted from sources who watched that practice.  Italics for emphasis… mine.”

            That’s fine. There are reports by others who watched who said it went poorly. The bottom line is, if a team or GM liked him before, a poor workout isn’t going to change that opinion, and it shouldn’t change that opinion. My point was just to suggest that not every single report on the guy is a glowing one. There are scouts and scouting services who have been more underwhelmed than the many positive profiles out there.

            “There’s this big meme about how NCAA players translate so much better than “international” players, but the ACB is just if not more comparable”

            He played in a good league, no doubt. He wouldn’t be considered a lottery pick had he played in most other leagues in Europe. Again, I’m not totally against the Pistons drafting him. I just think there are multiple possible players at that spot, Biyombo included, who might make sense and merit some consideration.

  • Jun 15, 20114:16 pm
    by LEVI

    Reply

    what are the chances we dump ben gordon???

  • Jun 15, 20114:42 pm
    by Scott

    Reply

    I actually purposed a deal of Ben Gordon to Minnesota for Jonny Flynn and Nikola Pekovic on a few trade forum sites and it got several positive reviews. Not sure if you feel the same(and yes, I’m a Piston fan too) but at least it would help give us a legit point, give Minny a veteran and a starting 2-gaurd(both are things Minny needs) and gives us a big as well and helps clear up the logjam we have at shooting gaurd. Just thought I’d throw this out there(Let the skeptics fire away!!! lol).

    • Jun 15, 20114:51 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Well, I’m not convinced Flynn is a legit point, but for salary purposes, that would be a fantastic deal for Detroit, even if the Pistons are giving up way more talent. I doubt Minnesota would absorb Ben Gordon’s contract though.

  • Jun 15, 20116:38 pm
    by Fennis

    Reply

    PH – I think you’re making too much of the workout. You can’t watch the tape from the Nike Hoop Summit and say that Biyombo is a disaster on offense. The guy knows his offensive capabilities and how to play within himself. He scored 12 points at a good clip. He’s shooting percentage in his Euro league was actually quite good (56%). If he can score consistently on layups and dunks, while also dominating the boards and the defensive paint, you’re getting the full package.
     
    I agree that every player needs to contribute on offense, otherwise the team suffers. The problem with your reasoning is it assumes players need to be “skilled” offensively in order to make a significant offensive contribution. Well, BB certainly isn’t skilled, but neither was Shaq. BB is no Shaq, but Shaq’s dominance at the outset proves my point. Elite athleticism combined with smarts and decent touch within two feet of the rim (which Ben Wallace never really had, and BB seems to have based on the limited footage that I’ve seen) more than gets the job done.
     
    Fennis

  • Jun 15, 20118:29 pm
    by Ryan

    Reply

    Walker and Benson…. Walker and JaJuan… fine with either.

    Thing is with Biyombo…a good work ethic and solid coaching will improve the pooh out of him.  His free throw shooting stroke isn’t half bad..he’s got tools to work with.  Ibaka was a mess on offense last year…but this year he developed a jumper and nice touch around the rim.

  • Jun 15, 201111:01 pm
    by Mike

    Reply

    Although I’d probably be fine with drafting Kemba, especially if the draft plays out like you have it above, (I know you’ve written more about him in the draft dreams section) but it seems like your main two reasons here for the Pistons to take him are that he’s a point guard not named Rodney Stuckey lol and he is used to high expectations. Both of those not the highest reasons on my list of why to draft people… but he’d probably be the BPA, so I wouldnt mind the pick. 

    And with Biyombo, sure that was a very bad workout. But he makes MORE than 50% of his shots when he IS guarded by people in real games (both in the acb and the 1 game in the nikehoops summit) so I’m not too concerned that he missed more than half while unguarded in one workout. And as has been said many times before, whoever drafts him is picking him for his defense, not his offense, which I dont think is as bad as it looked from that one workout.

  • Jun 15, 201111:30 pm
    by Mike Payne

    Reply

    Looking back at this mock draft after our discussion of Biyombo, I’m curious– why does Irving get your automatic #1 given that he played less games for Duke than Biyombo did for Baloncesto Fuenlabrada?  Your biggest knocks on Biyombo are the sample available in the ACB (which is quite glowing) to the recent workout (which is subjective) but you don’t question Irving with the same lens?
     
    “at a position that is both vital and one of the hardest to fill in the league”
     
    The other being Center, right?

    • Jun 16, 201110:20 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Biyombo, for a handful of games, was a solid reserve big man for a team in a good professional league in Spain. Irving, for a handful of games, was arguably the best player in college basketball.

  • Jun 15, 201111:35 pm
    by Reaction

    Reply

    Is there any chance that we can get both Kemba and Biyombo by like trading with another team or something.. that being said not losing Monroe, Daye, or next years pick

  • Jun 16, 20118:33 am
    by Murph

    Reply

    Well, at least you didn’t pick Charles Jenkins in the 2nd round of your mock draft.

    • Jun 16, 201110:22 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Yeah I did. He went 35th overall to the Kings.

      • Jun 16, 201110:29 am
        by Murph

        Reply

        And you don’t have him going to the Pistons at #33….because??? 

        Because you don’t want him either.

  • Jun 16, 201110:45 am
    by neutes

    Reply

    For the love can we please get a link to a jump when articles are this long?
     
    As for this I don’t necessarily agree with the order, but the result seems reasonable for the Pistons. No way the Kings take Jimmer. As far as Walker – I’m no scout, but any team that takes Knight ahead of Walker is just asking for it, therefore I trust teams aren’t that stupid and that we’ll end up with Knight instead. For the record I have no faith in Knight ever doing much in the NBA.

  • Jun 16, 201111:00 am
    by RandomGuy313

    Reply

    @neutes – I second that. I am almost reluctant to comment with all the scrolling I have to do.
    Nevertheless, JoeD’s confidence in resigning Stuckey has a lot to do with where the Pistons go at eight. If it is high you will see Biyombo sporting a Pistons cap if not Walker or Knight will be the pick.

  • Jun 18, 20112:07 am
    by Mike Payne

    Reply

    “Wow, you’re bringing Laimbeer into this?!”
     
    Oh come now, Patrick Hayes.  Big, deep breaths.  One of your biggest complaints about Laimbeer is about those who prefer him as coach.  One of your biggest complaints about Biyombo is the same.  Is it wrong for me to make that comparison?  Come on, man.  Personally, I think that level of subjectivity, when it comes to forming an opinion based on other people’s opinions– isn’t even worth mentioning in your articles.  “I don’t like X because I don’t like the common opinion about X”.  Boooooooooooooooooooo…
    But about Laimbeer, I’d LOVE to have that discussion in its own thread.  And by Love, I don’t mean the hearsay about his impact on Kevin.

    • Jun 18, 201110:28 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “But about Laimbeer, I’d LOVE to have that discussion in its own thread.”

      Well, here’s as good a spot as any, since Feldman doesn’t provide me those fancy commenting tools here that you guys have over at DBB.

      I don’t think it’s fair to say one of my “biggest complaints” is about the Laimbeer supporters themselves. That’s over-simplifying my argument a tad (like that time I concluded that since you think Andre Miller is a more efficient PG than Rose/Westbrook, you must think he’s better). Here’s my in a nutshell synopsis of Laimbeer:

      First of all, the disclosures that I always include yet everyone seems to ignore in favor of “OMG, yer such a Laimbeer h8ter!!” rebuttals: I think Laimbeer is one of the smartest, most underrated players who ever played. I think he deserves a lot of credit for not only coaching a successful WNBA team, but assembling an incredible amount of talent. I think if he, indeed, has worked a lot with Kevin Love, he deserves credit for Love’s development. I think he has the intelligence and passion to make him a potential head coach at some point. Now, for the things I think are fair to question:

      - X’s and O’s: Yes, the Shock won a lot. But they also had the deepest, most talented team in the league during that era. I have no questions about Laimbeer’s eye for basketball talent, and the Shock are a testament to that, since he had a major hand in building and coaching that team. But it’s not as if he was considered some sort of tactical genius on the sidelines. His strengths were coaxing maximum effort and intensity out of his players. The Pistons certainly need that, but the way he went about getting it out of WNBA players … well, that might not fly in the NBA.

      There were critiques of his coaching strategies at key moments. He also had major clashes with his best player at the time, Swin Cash, which ultimately led to the Shock getting rid of her. It’s fine, b/c they won without her. He might have been right in his evaluation of her. But the NBA is different. You can’t necessarily just jettison a player you don’t like coaching (see: Hamilton, Rip). I think it’s fair, based on that very ugly relationship deterioration between Laimbeer and Cash, to at least question how well he’d handle a similar situation with less flexibility to just get rid of the player in the NBA. I’m not saying he can’t handle it, but it’s a legit question that I’d no doubt want a sufficient answer to if I was a GM considering him for a job.

      - Speaking of the WNBA, yes, I do admit that I sometimes have little patience when his supporters use that as a basis for stating his qualifications. If you haven’t noticed, the Shock aren’t here anymore. When they were winning all those titles, people still weren’t watching them a lot. So call me skeptical if you will, but I can’t imagine that too many people actually watched those teams up close to get a feel for the talent he had to work with (which was immense) and his style (which was abrasive, even if it was effective). Also, if we are crediting Laimbeer for the success of the Shock, shouldn’t he also receive just a bit of blame for the demise? I mean, he’s never been the most media friendly guy. In the WNBA, it is an absolute must to be media friendly. Players, coaches, execs … they all basically do their own PR. The few successful WNBA franchises (and yes, there are a few) are successful both because they win AND because their marquee stars are engaged in the community. I do question how committed Laimbeer was on that front. That’s not something that will necessarily come into play in the NBA as much, but if you’re going to bring up his WNBA success, you have to look at and evaluate the entire picture.

      And incidentally, with Joe Dumars and Pistons execs always around, they had a very close look at Laimbeer’s Shock tenure. Perhaps they have some reservations about his style as a result of that.

      - My last real problem with Laimbeer as coach is simply fit. Is it realistic to expect, even if Dumars has a sudden needed epiphany that it’s time to blow up virtually this entire roster, that he can clear enough guys out in a likely lockout shortened offseason to have the team looking significantly different before next season? Can Laimbeer have success with last year’s roster, probably minus Prince and McGrady (and maybe Wilcox), with a rookie who may or may not be ready for a significant role right off the bat? And if the roster isn’t significantly repaired in one offseason, that makes Laimbeer the single biggest star on this team. He’s the reason fans will buy more tickets. He’s the reason media will cover the team more. Will he be OK in that role? Because there’s a history that suggests he might not like that.

      As I’ve said in several posts and comments, I have zero problem with Laimbeer as a candidate for the head coaching job in Detroit or anywhere. He’s paid his dues, he’s smart, etc. And if Mark Jackson can be an effing head coach with his résumé, than Laimbeer certainly can. I do think it’s fair to question why, exactly, people view him as a great candidate for the Pistons. I do think it’s fair to ask, Would there be as much excitement about Laimbeer’s candidacy if his playing career were in Utah or something? I do think, despite overwhelming WNBA success, there are a few high profile incidents that a GM should get sufficient, detailed explanations about as well as how he’d handle similar situations now. And I do think it’s fair to ask, since Kevin Love has honestly always seemed lukewarm to how he’s been dealt with most of his Minnesota tenure (and Rambis has never seemed that into Love, either), if Laimbeer and Love felt differently about each other. And on top of that, Laimbeer has been on staff of a really terrible team. Losing shouldn’t disqualify him or any other candidate, but it’s also fair to ask what went wrong and evaluate whether that candidate may or may not have contributed to that losing atmosphere.

      So, in a nutshell, I’m not a Laimbeer basher. I’m not of the belief that the guy shouldn’t get a coaching job. I’m not even of the belief that he should never coach the Pistons. I do try, though, to provide counter arguments to the constant wail of support he gets. I would do the same kind of evaluation with any candidate who has the kind of overwhelming reader support Laimbeer has, at least based on e-mails/comments I’ve gotten the last couple years. The fact is, Laimbeer’s name has been floated by fans when Saunders was hired, when Curry was hired, when Kuester was hired and now. The reason I seem to write about him a lot is because the dude’s name has been mentioned/rumored/whatevered a lot. If Lawrence Frank was a candidate for every Pistons opening in the last eight years or so, I probably would have a similar track record of pointing out things I view as flaws in the reasoning of Frank supporters.

      I was/am legitimately a huge fan of Laimbeer as a player and think he’s ridiculously underrated. I think he’s done enough as a coach to get the kind of consideration other assistants around the league are getting. I just don’t understand how so many people can seemingly view him as the perfect candidate.

  • Jun 20, 20119:08 pm
    by Dave

    Reply

    Well said Patrick!  Take the element out that Laimbeer was a great Piston and the MAJORITY of us Pistons fans would not be clamoring for him to be the next Pistons head coach.  I have been in the circle of fans who would support the hiring of Laimbeer, but my hope is that in the end Joe D. does his homework and hires the BEST candidate available.

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