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3-on-3: With the 39th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select …

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, Patrick and I will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. In the days leading up to the draft, we’re going to discuss what the Pistons could/should/might/should not do with each of their three picks.

For each 3-on-3, we’ll be joined by a guest contributor. Today as we discuss the 39th pick, that’s Thom (not Tom) Powell. Thom is a Pistons fan who writes for DigitalRefrain.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Please add your responses in the comments.

1. Which player do you think the Pistons are most likely to select at pick 39?

Dan FeldmanDrew Gordon. Joe Dumars has taken plenty of calculated risks in the second round. Some of turned out well (Amir Johnson), and others have not (Walter Sharpe). Needing more interior players, the Pistons could take a swing at Gordon — as long as Dumars believes Gordon’s troubles at UCLA were either overblown or behind him.

Patrick Hayes: I would guess they will look hard at taking one of three big men — Kyle O’Quinn, Miles Plumlee or Drew Gordon. If all three are on the board, that’s the order I’d rank them. Joe Dumars and Lawrence Frank have both alluded to a need to get not only better defensively up front, but also tougher. O’Quinn and his many scowls meet that need and would be a welcome addition to a team that currently has too many guys who seem nice and easy-going.

Thom Powell: It’s tough to say, just because it will be contingent on a number of other factors — who the Pistons take at nine, whether a first round prospect falls, etc. — and because the 2nd round is generally more unpredictable than the first. Draft Express has the Pistons taking Jared Cunningham (SG, Oregon St.) and I do think that’s a genuine possibility. If the Pistons take a big like John Henson or Meyers Leonard at nine, I could see them taking a two guard to groom for Ben Gordon‘s inevitable departure. Cunningham’s major strength (getting to the free throw line) is very similar to Rodney Stuckey‘s and while he played in a pretty weak Pac-12, it was still a major conference with steeper competition than most mid-major prospects faced. Cunningham is just one possibility at guard, though. Guys like Tony Wroten (if he falls), Scott Machado and Doron Lamb are all potential options. I could also see the Pistons adding another big for depth purposes, too. If Detroit takes Henson, they could also add someone like Miles Plumlee to add a bit more size and strength to the front court, given Henson’s slender frame.

2. Which realistic target at pick 39 would make the best pick?

Dan Feldman: Jared Sullinger. Maybe I’m dreaming – and it would probably take a trade up to get him — but I’m still holding out hope that Sullinger falls this far. After seeing how general managers let DeJuan Blair fall three years ago, I can maybe convince myself to believe they’re that foolish. (Or wise, because, despite my wishes, they were right to let Wayne Simien fall in 2005 due to his injury issues. But let’s not talk about that. Blair 2.0!) As far as players more likely to be there, like everyone else, I like Scott Machado and Jae Crowder.

Patrick Hayes: Jae Crowder. Of course, this could change if the Pistons end up taking a perimeter player in the lottery. But assuming they don’t, Crowder fills a need for toughness and athleticism on the perimeter. He’s athletic, strong, plays extremely hard and it’s easy to see him playing productive minutes in relief of Tayshaun Prince immediately.

Thom Powell: I’ve been on the Kyle O’Quinn bandwagon since Norfolk State upset Missouri and I have no intention of getting off it anytime soon. He’s a tough, physical big, and an excellent rebounder and shot-blocker whose timing and seven-foot-five wingspan should translate well to the NBA game. His rebounding and shot-blocking alone should make him an upgrade over Jason Maxiell, but his offensive game is equally intriguing. O’Quinn was a very efficient scorer at Norfolk State, notching 16 points per game on only 10 shots a night, shooting 57 percent from the field, and averaging over six free throw attempts per contest. He averaged a paltry 18.8 percent from behind the three point line, but still has excellent range on his jumper and has the potential to expand his range even further with some work. I could see him being off the board before the 39th pick — most likely at the hands of a savvy franchise like San Antonio — but most mocks have O’Quinn being taken around or after where the Pistons draft.

3. Which realistic target at pick 39 would make the worst pick?

Dan Feldman: Hollis Thompson. He might look like an NBA player when you examine his size and fluidity, but he hasn’t consistently played with the intensity to prove he can compete. I’d let someone else chance that he develops it.

Patrick Hayes: Will Barton. It’s nothing against Barton — I think he has a chance to develop into a solid player somewhere. But he’s a young player who needs some refinement to his game, and as we saw last year, Lawrence Frank‘s security blanket, aka Prince, makes it easy for Frank to justify not playing mistake-prone young wings with upside. A more polished, experienced wing like Crowder, Doron Lamb or John Jenkins would stand a better chance at earning minutes right away than a raw player in need of development.

Thom Powell: Bernard James posted some intriguing numbers during his senior season at Florida State and his measurables are solid. The problem is that he’s already 27. That’s the same age, coincidentally, as a recent NBA champion who happens to share his last name. I liked what I saw from Vernon Macklin, another old rookie, last season, but James faces the same issue that frustrated me with Macklin: a lack of playing time. It doesn’t make sense to draft a guy in their mid to late twenties and sit them, mainly because they don’t have much upside at that point in their career. Either James contributes immediately or it’s a wasted pick. Is it worth taking a guy who’ll be 30 in three seasons if you’re not 100 percent sure he can contribute immediately? If the Pistons wouldn’t give Macklin any burn last year — despite solid production, albeit in limited minutes — I’d hate for them to make the same mistake with another second rounder who’s already a year older than him.


  • Jun 26, 20125:26 pm
    by rick


    Id go with O’Quinn then Machado then Crowder. The last two are tricky because of the intangibles both bring to the table. On one hand you have a point guard who knows how to run an offense as evidence of him avg 10assists in college. Crowder screams Detroit Basketball in every shape of the word. So it would be difficult only if O’Quinn is not there, but it would be great to have those possibilities exist.

  • Jun 26, 20126:58 pm
    by MNM


  • Jun 26, 20128:28 pm
    by Lorenzo


    Well seems like Ben Gordon is gone….1st round (2013 protected) and Gordon for Magettee

  • Jun 26, 20128:30 pm
    by Mark


    BG TRADED!!!!!!!!

  • Jun 26, 20129:03 pm
    by Coach_Ackley


    Hey this BG trade was a good one by Joe D.. I like the pick-up plus we rid ourselves of BG’s contract.. Next one to go is Charlie V… Good Job Joe D….

  • Jun 26, 20129:11 pm
    by J in FLA


    BG trade is a good one.  With all the protection thown onto the pick, we should be out of the lottery by the end of next season anyways.  With the cap space and the improvement of our core, CHA should be getting a pick in the low teens.  Hopefully this is a precursor to further dealing.  I would LOVE to see them find a way to trade Magette for another 1st to pick up Sully, but we’ll see….

  • Jun 26, 20129:15 pm
    by MarkS


    Jae Crowder hits 3s.  I didnt know that he could do that, thought he was just an undersized 4/energy guy.  I wouldn’t mind Crowder in the 2nd round.

  • Jun 26, 20129:33 pm
    by Paul Martin


    Nice trade by Joe to get rid of Gordon.Charlie V will not be traded cuz he is useless.But, the Pistons still have their amnesty clause to use on Charlie V’s contract,and won’t go against the cap.

  • Jun 26, 20129:35 pm
    by tim


    man, I am glad to see bg gone.  joe dumars would’ve been smarter to keep afflalo and not sign anyone that summer.  smfh at one offseason destroying a team for years

  • Jun 26, 20129:36 pm
    by Chris


    Now that BG is gone there is a spot for a third guard.
    Scott Machado could be a good 2nd round pick. He could play alongside both Stuckey and Knight. He produced in college and his style is perhaps an upgrade over Bynum.
    I think it was a good move.

  • Jun 26, 20129:46 pm
    by MarkS


    Do you think the Pistons think about taking a safer pick like Jeremy Lamb now or do they go big in round 1.  Thats tough.  I think Jeremy Lamb is going to be a very good NBA player.

  • Jun 27, 20124:00 pm
    by Joe P


    Nice call on the BG trade Thom! Are you pals with Joe D or what?

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