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It’s that time of year again – who should the Pistons draft?

Draft discussions focused on plenty of names have occurred in the comments here for months. In my column for the Detroit Free Press today, I wrote about the only three names I’m particularly excited about from a Pistons perspective headed into the draft — Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo and Otto Porter Jr. Here’s my reasoning for Oladipo, my favorite of the three players:

The Pistons have been desperate to re-establish a defensive identity ever since Joe Dumars momentarily betrayed his championship roots by focusing on offensive-minded players in the 2009 offseason. With Drummond protecting the rim, the Pistons have a start. Adding Oladipo, already a lockdown perimeter defender capable of dominating both with his on-ball defense and with his other-worldly knack for finding himself in passing lanes, to a perimeter defense that also features Knight, and underrated and improving defensive player, the Pistons would suddenly have the look of a competent defensive unit next season. With Monroe and, if he’s re-signed, Jose Calderon, in the lineup, the Pistons would still have a couple of sieves on the court, but the awareness of the others would certainly help the team’s less capable defenders.

Feel free to continue making cases for your favorite players below. Or your least favorite players (and after last night, I would assume that Cody Zeller moved to ‘least favorite’ on a lot of lists). And don’t be like the guy who tweeted me that the Pistons should take Aaron Craft. In the lottery. I don’t think he was joking either.


  • Mar 29, 20131:27 pm
    by G


    Agree, Porter, Oladipo and Burke should all be at or near the top of the Pistons’ draft board. McLemore would be nice, but he doesn’t fill a need as much as the other 3 do. What do you think happens with Knight if they end up drafting Oladipo? Do you think one of them comes off the bench, do they trot out the BK7 as PG show? Or do they run small & put Oladipo at SF?

    • Mar 31, 20133:18 am
      by jamesjones_det


      If you would have asked me if I thought we should draft Burke 3 months ago, I would have said no way, but he’s looks sooo good these last few months that he’s been super hard to ignore.  Then watching him in the tournament, now I feel like he’s our guy.
      I hate drafting semi locals because they almost never work out, but Burke just looks like a gamer.

  • Mar 29, 20131:47 pm
    by FreeDreDrummond


    I think if the Pistons get lucky in the lotto and McLemore is there thats a no brainer.  He should be at the top of Dumar’s list.  But A guy that could be an interesting fit is Shabazz Muhammed.  He is a little undersized for the 3 imo but if hes playing next to Monroe and Drummond the fact that hes 6 ft 6 shouldnt be an issue.  His jumper is better than people give him credit for.  If the Pistons are looking for someone who down the line could avg 20 ppg down the road, Shabazz is probably their best bet.  I dont think I think Oladipo and Porter would be good fits but I am a little worried about how Burke’s game might translate to the next level.  

    • Mar 29, 20131:54 pm
      by G


      If you’re worried about Burke’s game, what about Muhammad’s? His shooting numbers dropped a TON as the year went on, his game looks basically like a clear-out posting-up, and his D isn’t that good. 

      • Mar 29, 20133:43 pm
        by FreeDreDrummond


        the reason i brought up shabazz is because i dont think we saw what he was fully capable of this past season at UCLA.  the same was true last year with drummond at uconn.  there are definitely flaws in his game, im not saying there arnt.  right now hes absolutely a 1 dimensional guy, he doesn’t care about d, but in the nba he will score and the potential is there.  im just saying if were picking 5,6, or 7 dumars should consider it.

        ive seen burkes struggle around the basket vs bigger physical college teams.  i think burke is 1 of the best college pgs ive ever seen, but the nba version might translate into something along the lines of jameer nelson.  

        • Mar 30, 201312:43 pm
          by oats


          Drummond was a big that couldn’t get his hands on the ball do to bad guards that also happened to be ball hogs. His underwhelming rebounds are a bit more mysterious considering how well he rebounds in the NBA, but by and large it makes sense that he underperformed at UConn considering the way the team played away from him. Muhammad is clearly the focal point of the team. He takes tons of shots, and he’s a shooter. Maybe there are parts of his game he hasn’t utilized, but I kind of doubt it. His high school rep was all about him being a better athlete than his competition, and we saw his athleticism all year. I’ve never heard anything about him that suggests his game is more diverse than this. I don’t have Muhammad as a top 10 pick to be honest.

  • Mar 29, 20131:50 pm
    by Jon


    it depends how drummond and monroe look together. if they can’t play together then pistons should take bennett but if they work like they’re expected to then porter or oladipo seem like the best picks. or if they wanted burke they could attempt to trade down and take him and get an extra pick out of it in the second round somewehere

  • Mar 29, 20131:55 pm
    by piston moribund


    Watched Oladipo and Burke play in person, not impressed.  Ola plays well on the defensive end of things but his offense is not there, certainly not at the level BK is at or will be at.  Burke seems to be padding his stat a bit before the draft and is not as unselfish as people make him out to be.  His defense will be a bit suspect also and will be exploited once he starts playing against bigger and stronger competition in the NBA.  He got shut down in the first round and had 7 tos.  I use to be a fan but the more I watched him play, especially recently, the more it seems that his game just looks good on the stat sheet sometimes, not fit for the NBA. 
    Dont know much about Porter except his form looks like Tay and his style is like a poor man’s TAY.  Having two uncoordinated players from GTown is really going to sink the ship.  This draft sucks.  Maybe we can swing a trade and go down for an extra first rounder next year.

    • Mar 29, 20132:30 pm
      by Jon


      the only game burke had 7 tos in was against vcu who puts full court pressure on for the whole game so that’s not surprising or representative of him as a player at all. and i’m not sure what you mean by stat padding. he ends something like 30% of possessions with the ball in his hands and is still an incredibly efficient player and has been for 2 years. he has every shot you can think of for a point guard and shoots above average for both 2s and 3s. his defense could be problematic since he’s short and not particularly athletic but in games i’ve watched live, he comes up with big steals when his team needs him.

  • Mar 29, 20131:59 pm
    by Nick


    Mclemore, Oladipo, Smart, and Muhammud in that order for me. They all have superstar potential. I don’t like Porter as a top 5 pick. I would rather sign Brewer as a free agent.

    • Mar 29, 20132:45 pm
      by Scott Free


      With you on top 4, and more or less on their order.

  • Mar 29, 20132:26 pm
    by Revken


    I like Oladipo, too.   Looking forward to reading the draft profiles on this site.  Ya’ll always do a nice job of looking at the pros and cons of the top prospects and how they might fit in with the Pistons.

  • Mar 29, 20132:45 pm
    by Mr.BlockedShot


    Mclemore, Porter,Oladipo, Michael Carter Williams.  I’m a bit dissapointed with Mclemore’s game so far, as well as with Porter’s elimination but think both are good players. What about Carter-Williams? I would pick him over Burke no doubt…

  • Mar 29, 20132:53 pm
    by allweatherfanaddict


    We will have 2 second rounders if the Clipps finish with a top 5 record, and the bottom of our roster is already filled. Several teams have 2 firsts. I hope we can swing a deal to get another first, since we may not have one next year.We could use the second to draft someone who would be a lottery pick next year, someone still raw but with potential, like Robinson, Poythress, Goodwin, Saric, MCW or even a big if one slides. Or, since there may not be an immediate top scoring option in the draft, we could use the picks for trade. Joe has got to get a little creative this off-season.

  • Mar 29, 20133:03 pm
    by Reaction


    I really like Burke a lot (not just because of UMich but because of his game). If the Pistons are lucky enough to get in the top 3 I would love for them to take either McLemore or Smart. McLemore would add a much needed offensive spark + is very explosive. Smart has all the tools necessary to be a phenomenal guard in the NBA. He is tall and has a quick first step. He also is a great leader on the floor and has great court vision. 

    • Mar 30, 20135:07 pm
      by G


      I’m not a big fan of Smart’s because he looks like another combo guard to me, but you make a good point about leadership. That’s one thing the Pistons have lacked since they traded Billups. Burke also has that in spades, and it’s another reason why I think the Pistons draft him if they fall out of the top 5 in the draft.

  • Mar 29, 20133:07 pm
    by vic


    Porter – best in the draft, sf with defense that can space the floor. 
    McLemore- talent, scorerr
    Burke – best pg in draft 
    Oladipo – sg, defense

    Bigs with the first pick, you can always get a 2nd round big man (Adriean Payne? Mike Muscala?) or sign a free agent.

    • Mar 30, 20136:39 pm
      by Corey


      Completely agree. Only big I’d want to consider is Bennett, and only if your top 4 are already gone.

    • Mar 31, 20131:04 pm
      by Quick Darshan


      I agree too, although with Mclemore you’ll still need a guy a big-time playmaker at the 3.  Porter’s the ideal.

      As for the 2nd round, Payne would be a cheap replacement for Maxiell.  I also like Mbakwe for the later 2nd round pick.  Erick Green is intriguing.  Russ Smith could be a cheap Bynum replacement.  Ryan Kelly is another I would consider with the last pick.

  • Mar 29, 20133:26 pm
    by George


    Lets assume the Bobcats get the first overall pick.  If they are set on taking Nerlens Noel, should we offer our 1st pick  (2013) for their rd 1 pick in 2014?  The 2014 class seems really stacked.  There are just way too many questions for this draft for me to think it is worth it.  I could see Michael Jordan jumping on that deal, especially with Noel probably out all next year.

    We have the cap space to be solid anyways next year.  The Pistons have enough projects to develop.

    • Mar 29, 20133:54 pm
      by jerrific


      No way the Bobcats take that trade with out some sweetner, and this draft isn’t good enough to justify giving up any value.  Besides, they may already own our pick for next season,  unless we finish in the bottom eight again. While that’s certainly possible, I think its more likely we finish somewhere in the 10 to 14 range. That is unless Dumars completely botches this offseason. 

      • Mar 29, 20133:57 pm
        by jerrific


        I just realized I misread your comment,  my bad. I thought you meant ours next year for there’s this year.  

  • Mar 29, 20133:30 pm
    by George


    BTW, I wouldn’t fret about Olapido’s offense, he will be fine.  Offense is a lot easier to develop than defensive instincts.  His offensive game is ridiculously efficient anyways.  He is one of the few guys in this draft who can give you double digits consistently with only ~6-7 shots a game.

  • Mar 29, 20134:02 pm
    by DG


    Porter – nice glue guy with all around game on both ends of the floor.

    Burke – Put the Wolverines on his back more than once down the stretch.  I’m also not convinced Calderon will sign with the Pistons. 

    Oladipo – Pistons could use a shut down wing.  I’d have Knight run the second team.

    Smart – could be an interesting player in two to three years.

    McLemore – declined a bit in my mind at the end of the season.  Interesting matchup with Michigan today.

    Bennett – could give the Pistons a devastating front court trio.

    No to Muhammad!  His best case scenario is Rudy Gay lite.

  • Mar 29, 20134:23 pm
    by Blocks by Dre


    Great article Patrick! Those are slso my favotite 3 as well with Burke being my favorite out of all of them. Burke and Drummond would make for an amazing 1-2 punch for years to come

  • Mar 29, 20134:31 pm


    Shabazz is the best scorer in the draft hands down… if you are basing your opinion on one r two games you saw him play then you are not really basing it on knowledge….

    Porter – Is NOT RUDY GAY, he is more of Jeff Green …which bad but come on folks ..

    Oladipo – is small, and he got exposed by Cuse … But he is gonna be explosive in the open court…

    Mclemore – explosive, talent and potential …but a bit overrated …

    Craft – is not coming out, but when he comes out a team like the Spurs will draft him and he becomes the player other teams would wish they drafted…he is Tony Parker like not with speed but craftiness ability to finish around the basket …. 

    Burke – is a scoring PG,  his ast is based off the system ….


    • Mar 29, 20135:25 pm
      by Jon


      have you seen some of the passes he makes? he is much more than a scoring pg. he is the college chris paul. are you an msu fan or something

    • Mar 30, 20131:01 pm
      by oats


      What if I’m basing it on the 8 games I saw UCLA play? What if I’m using stats to see if they agree with my eye test? Can I hate on Shabazz then? Because I do. I don’t think his game will be efficient on the next level. He’s not particularly efficient in college, and I expect that to just get worse when he is no longer bigger and stronger than most of his competition. If anyone is Rudy Gay, it’s Muhammad. That isn’t a complement though.
      Porter reminds me of Paul George. I really don’t see the Jeff Green comparison. Green played 3 years, shot worse and got fewer rebounds than Porter. Green never struck me as much of a defensive player either.
      Oladipo is listed at 6’5″. Stop pretending like that is small. That is spot on for the average at shooting guard, and he’s a shooting guard. Even if he is a bit shorter than his listed height, he’s taller than Knight.
      Burke is a scorer, but he is a legitimate passer as well. I don’t get what you mean his assists are based on the system. Without an explanation for that the only counter I can give is that he gets assists because he plays point guard like a point guard.

    • Mar 30, 20135:15 pm
      by G


      I’ve only watched one or 2 of UCLA’s games, but I’ve watched plenty of highlights of Shabazz & they all look… boring. He doesn’t jump out at all like McLemore, Burke, Oladipo, and some of the other guy’s highlights do.

      I think McLemore is probably the best scorer in the draft. Porter might be the next best. Muhammad takes a TON of shots, that tends to inflate numbers quite a bit. I agree with what some others have said, Muhammad looks more like a Rudy Gay-type with less height & less athleticism.

  • Mar 29, 20134:59 pm
    by tom


    How exactly was Oladipo exposed by Syracuse? He played very well and very efficiently – Indiana played terribly as a team, missed a lot of shots and perhaps Zeller was exposed, but not Oladipo.

  • Mar 29, 20135:09 pm
    by tom


    … though really Zeller wasn’t exposed either. He had 10 points, 10 rebounds, ran the court well, showed no authority around the rim on either end of the floor and didn’t play nearly as physically as his team needed him to. If those things are revelations to anyone they haven’t been paying attention to him this year – or throughout his career really.

  • Mar 29, 20136:34 pm
    by frankie d


    have to agree on all 3 guys, also.  not sure which i would take first, though i think i’d choose porter if all 3 were available and i had the option.
    the one selling point for burke, even in the 5-7 pick range is that the league is now a point guard league because of the rules changes and guys like burke are tough to come by.  he also fits perfectly into a lineup based around monroe/drummond.
    while both porter and olapido would also fit well, i think it is a bit easier to find either type of player.  
    olapido does remind me of tony allen with a 3 point shot however, and that is the kind of player who can help solidify a team’s defense for a decade.
    don’t think the team could go wrong with any of those 3 players.  
    not sold on either muhammed or mclemore.  mclemore’s talent is obvious, but he tends to float during games.  i much prefer olapido’s aggression.  and muhammed has never impressed me, though i’ve seen probably 8-10 of ucla’s games this year.  in fact, the guy who has usually been most impressive is kyle anderson, who is kind of a slo-motion magic johnson.  would love to take a chance on the guy with a second round pick, though he is a real gamble.  not sure his weird game will make it in the nba.  but if he could work on his 3 point shot, he might make a very solid SF, if he was on a team with a shotblocker like drummond. 

  • Mar 30, 20132:45 am
    by Gabe


    I think it’s going to come down between shabazz and oladipo 

    We need a SHOOTING GUARD!!!!! 

    Sell tickets and win games 

    both player play amazinglyyy well off the ball making cuts to the basket and moving to the three point line when necessary 

    both have elite athleticism

    both can shoot pretty efficient oladipo more efficient than shabazz 

    both are not scared to take the big shot

    both have great potential 
    Both have alot of room to grow 
    both know the game, and put in that extra effort to get better and extra effort to come up with the loose ball 

    Both flourish in the open court 
    NasTy dunks, dunks and plays to make them have all star appeal 

    both very marketble players 
    who can’t imagine the pistons announcer saying O-L-A-D-I-P-O.
    Or shabazzzzzzzzzzzzz
    cant really misS on these two prospects if the pistons want an offensive sg then draft shabazz and if the pistons want a defensive shooting guard 
    then draft oladipo shabazz will avg 20 ppg easily in the nBa while oladipo will be a well known defender in the NBA maybe getting 1st team all defense NBA couple of the years  but it will come down to these two and it’s all up to joe Dumars and Tom gores to make this pick, Dumars would want to pick oladipo bc he reminds him of himself and Indiana isiah Thomas relation, but gored would want shabazz bc he used to live in la and where he made his millions and would want market shabazZ BETTER 

    • Mar 31, 20133:28 am
      by jamesjones_det


      Lets be honest about this team…  It needs anything and everything.
      Moose, is an OK player but I wouldn’t be so upset to see him go for someone else.
      BK, I give him a 20% chance of ever doing anything.
      Calderon, probably not coming back.
      Singler, should be coming off the bench.
      Durmmond, only guy on this team that I have any faith in and probably won’t upgrade if I had the chance.
      So really we need PG, SG, SF, PF and/or C.  We are completely deficient at the 1, 2 and 3 spots.  Our 4 and 5 are serviceable if we get the right guys around them, but really we could pick any position at this point.

  • Mar 30, 20137:08 pm
    by Corey


    Shabazz will be a small unathletic sf who plays no D and gets no rebounds And has an inflated opinion of himself. A chucker who does nothing else to contribute. Rudy Gay light- exactly right.

    Oladipo will be a star- at least to those who value 2-way players. 

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