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Using tier system to rank top of NBA Draft board for Pistons

In my column today in the Detroit Free Press, I outline the tier system I use for ranking draft prospects. Here’s how the top of the draft looks from a Pistons perspective:

Tier 1

1. Nerlens Noel

Medical examinations of Noel, who tore his ACL in February, will be essential. Has he lost some of his athleticism? Will he be more likely to get injured? Will future injuries affect him more adversely than they would others? If the answers to those three questions is “no,” Noel is No. 1. He has proved himself the top prospect in the draft, and I wouldn’t mind waiting until midseason for his return. If there are injury concerns, he could slide, but it’s difficult to envision him falling past past the players currently in Tier 2.

Tier 2

2. Otto Porter

3. Trey Burke

4. Victor Oladipo

5. Ben McLemore

These players were very productive in college and have the youth/athleticism/raw talent to continue improving — a great combination in the draft.

As for the order, the Pistons could really use a do-it-all small forward like Porter, who’s the youngest of the group. (That boosts his value to the Pistons because that increases his upside, and they can afford to wait for him to reach it.)

Point guards generally impact the game more than shooting guards, so when teams need both — as the Pistons do — point guards like Burke get the edge over shooting guards like Oladipo and McLemore.

Oladipo’s defense gives him the edge over McLemore. The Pistons might need a score-first, score-only player such as McLemore right now, but in the long run, it’s difficult to win big with a player who can’t contribute more.

Tier 3

6. Anthony Bennett

Most have Bennett mixed with my Tier 2 players, but I had him a step below even before news of his rotator cuff surgery. His defensive indifference just gives me too much pause. For the Pistons, this distinction matters little because Bennett’s fit would rank him fifth among the second-tier players anyway.

Tier 4

7. Shabazz Muhammad

8. C.J. McCollum

9. Alex Len

Muhammad fits the Pistons’ current needs very well, but as is the concern with McLemore, a score-first, score-only player can help only so much in the long term. Can Muhammad do more? Ben Howland’s system at UCLA notoriously makes it difficult to assess guards.

A scoring point guard such as McCollum won’t exactly fit with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, who need entry passes and lobs, but McCollum might be too talented to pass up.

Len is polished and athletic, but he’d be stuck behind Monroe and Drummond. Also, is he tough enough?

This fourth tier is equally likely to add players as have a player emerge above the rest before the draft. The are many players (including Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Cody Zeller) who are a small step below but could move up.


  • May 10, 20135:16 pm
    by Thiago


    I agree with you. That’s why I think that if they can´t get anybody from tiers 1 and 2, they should look to trade down.

    Btw, I wouldn’t have a problem with drafting McCollum or Len, as long as it wasn’t with the 7th pick, 

    • May 16, 20137:07 pm
      by I HATE FRANK


      Ricky Ledo is my Lottery Surprise…. This guy is on the rise… I would not be upset if we reached for him at that 7th pick

      • May 17, 20132:16 am
        by oats


        His history suggests he might be a bit of a bonehead. This draft is weak enough that he could feasibly go in the lottery, but I would be upset if we went all in on a practice player form Providence with a top 10 pick.

        • May 17, 20139:49 am
          by I HATE FRANK


          whats the bonehead part about?

    • May 17, 201312:20 am
      by I HATE FRANK


      Oladipo 6’3 without shoes…like said all year … 6’4 with shoes 6’9 wingspan 213lbs
      Shabazz 6.4 75 w/o shoes) 6’6 with shoes 6’11 Wingspan 222lbs
      Pope  6.4.5 w/o shoes 6’5.5 w/shoes 6’8 wingspan 204lbs
      Porter 6’7.5 w/o shoes 6’8.5 w/shoes 7’1.5 wingspan 197lbs 
      CJ McCullum 6’2 w/0 shoes 6’3 w/shoes 6’6 wingspan 197lbs
      McLemore 6’3.5 w/o shoes 6’4.75 w/shoes 6’7.75 wingspan 189lbs
      Ledo 6’4.75 w/o shoes 6’6 w/shoes 6’7 wingspan 197lbs

      Didn’t feel like puttting bodyfat, reach and ect ….  

      • May 17, 20132:39 am
        by oats


        The NBA lists players by height in shoes, so he’ll get listed at 6’4″. Actually, don’t be surprised if a team rounds that 6’4.25″ up all the way to 6’5″, teams do that reasonably often. 6’9″ wingspan on a 6’4″ shooting guard is pretty good size though, and especially so for a guy as athletic as Oladipo. That also leaves him with the same measurements as Tony Allen, and Allen has successfully guarded 3s, and is absolutely great at defending 2s. In short, his size is not even a little bit of a concern for Oladipo as a shooting guard.
        Besides, these measurements are really over rated. How big someone plays is far more important than how big they are.

        • May 17, 20137:57 am
          by I HATE FRANK


          I agree and disagree…

          I agree its how big that play, but if you have two guys with similar skill set but one has 6’11 wingspan and the other have 6’7 wingspan most would go with the guy that has the better physical measurements

          Also, Olapido plays and looks like he is 6’3 … Verse 6’5 as listed in college …. That’s why when he dunks everyone is soo amazed. I agree its fine for a SG defensively, but offensively it could be an issue

          • May 17, 20131:35 pm
            by G

            That’s funny, because I always thought Oladipo played like he’s 6’7″. He rebounds like a beast, and people aren’t amazed that he can dunk, they’re amazed by his dunks.

          • May 17, 20133:50 pm
            by I HATE FRANK

            I was not not clear, just saying he has never looked 6’5 but a 42 inch vertical makes up for  a lot

          • May 17, 20133:54 pm
            by frankie d

            “Among wings,Tony Snellmeasured in at a legit 6’6 without shoes with a 6’11.5 wingspan. His size and length combination is certainly impressive for a player who shot 39% from 3-point range as a junior.”

            From DraftExpress.comhttp://www.draftexpress.com#ixzz2Ta6hGHdc
            snell shot the second best percentage yesterday – 74%- behind muscala.
            his measurables -6’7″ with shoes with that almost 7 foot wingspan was the best of all the SGs.
            as i’ve said, he’s a guy i’d look at in the second round…if he lasts til then. 

  • May 10, 20135:57 pm
    by Chabvis


    My tiers:
    Tier 1 – Noel, McLemore
    I don’t really understand the Noel hype as being the clear best player in the draft. He is ridiculously skinny, doesn’t have much of (or any really) an offensive game, and is coming off of an ACL tear. He will be a very good shot blocker in the NBA and I suppose that you will have to make the assumption or hope that he will be able to add the necessary weight to bang in the paint, but I don’t see him as having THAT high of a ceiling. Maybe I am wrong about Noel, but if the Pistons get the number 1 pick I would take McLemore barring a great offer for the pick. I don’t see how Noel would fit with this squad at all really unless we trade Drummond (not happening). The most interesting scenario to me would be what the Pistons would do if someone like the Bobcats got the 1st pick and took McLemore. In that case, it is pretty much undebatable that Noel is the best player on the board, but imo doesn’t remotely fit with the team.
    Tier 2 – Porter, Burke, Oladipo
    All three have their limitations. Porter doesn’t seem to have the biggest upside and doesn’t do anything fantastically. Burke is undersized, not super athletic, and not a great defender. Oladipo has a somewhat limited offensive game (although I feel like I am higher on his offensive game than most people seem to think). I would be happy getting any of these three players.
    Tier 3 – Bennett, Len
    Two bigs with high upside, but I could also see either/both of them failing. If the Bennett was not hurt I would probably move him up one tier.
    Then comes everybody else. Shabazz, McCollom, … I would probably rather take a chance on McCollom than go for Shabazz, but I would hate to be at number 7 with only Len/Bennett on the board of the players in my top 3 tiers.

    • May 10, 20136:20 pm
      by tarsier


      I get the hesitation about Noel. He doesn’t seem like an amzing prospect to me either. But what makes you like McLemore so much more than Porter?

      • May 11, 201312:00 am
        by Chabvis


        I like McLemore’s offensive potential a lot more than Porter’s. McLemore has a super smooth stroke and is actually a really good athlete too. I think the one big flaw in his game was that he was not aggressive enough offensively. He is not great at taking his man off the dribble and creating his own shot. I think that some of this was due to him being the only freshman starter on a veteran senior team and I have read that he “would have been more assertive on other teams”. I have no idea if this is true or not, but it seems plausible to me. At the very least you are getting a very good shooter that is a very good athlete as well.

        I haven’t watched as much of Porter as I have of McLemore, and the Georgetown team/system didn’t really give him the best chance to shine, but he just doesn’t have the same offensive potential as McLemore. I haave seen the Tayshaun Prince comparison tossed around quite a bit and it is one that I like. He seems like he could definitely be a really good defender and all around solid player throughout his career and I think that he would be a perfect fit for Cleveland, since they already have the scoring potential at both guard positions. At this point I think getting a lights out shooter and very high potential offensive player on the wing is more important than taking a solid but unspectacular player.

        • May 11, 20135:20 am
          by oats


          I don’t like that Prince comparison, and I think it gives people the wrong idea. Porter is a sophomore who is already better than Prince was as a senior. The two biggest differences between those guys is that Porter is much better at getting to the line, and Porter is a much better 3 point shooter. This is part of why I don’t like the Porter doesn’t do anything great argument, it ignores the fact that 42% on 3s is great. He shoots the same percentage on 3s as McLemore, but McLemore is heralded as a dead eye shooter while Porter is seen as a guy without an elite skill. That doesn’t make sense.
          McLemore is the more efficient scorer of the two, but Porter has an advantage as a passer which narrows the gap as offensive players a little bit. McLemore also looks like a pretty average defender. He also gets credit for being a good athlete when the stats that relate to athleticism suggests he is closer to average. That would be rebounding, steals, and blocks. McLemore’s numbers in those stats are pretty average for a shooting guard. Porter meanwhile actually does a bit better in those stats. The rebounding difference is largely height and positional differences, but the extra .8 steals suggests that Porter may actually be the better athlete. Regardless of that, Porter was probably the best defender on a solid defensive team and projects as a better defender than McLemore.
          I’d say Porter’s defensive advantage and McLemore’s offensive advantage largely even out, and that should put them in the same tier. I get the argument that McLemore’s offense fills a bigger need than Porter’s all around game. I also get an argument that the team would need a third good scorer if the best scorers were Porter and Monroe, while McLemore and Monroe could get by with a slightly lesser scorer in that third slot because McLemore can really fill it up. The counter argument is that Detroit’s perimeter defense is horrendous and Porter fills more holes than McLemore. Both sides of that argument make a lot of sense to me. The thing is that those arguments would just be separating them inside the tier and not pushing them in to different tiers.

          • May 11, 20139:08 am
            by tarsier

            I get the Prince comparison and am okay with it as long as people realize that Porter ranges from a slightly better prospect to a significantly better prospect than Prince did in every way except shot blocking.

            An all-around player like Prince (in his prime) who is better in virtually every facet of the game is a really desirable player.

            But Paul George is a better parallel. 

          • May 11, 20132:50 pm
            by Chabvis

            I agree with pretty much everything you said, which I suppose probably means that I should put Porter in the same tier as McLemore. Statistically speaking the athleticism seems to be even, but I think when/if they test at the combine (or whatever they test athleticism at) it will turn out that McLemore turns out to have some of the best numbers of the top prospects. Maybe it doesn’t show in his statistics, but just watching him you can see the explosiveness and athleticism that he has. I realize that is kind of a cheap way out just basically using the “eye test”, but that is what I see. The reason that I like McLemore better than Porter is that I look at him and think that his offensive game has so much room for growth and that he was just scratching the surface of what he can do at Kansas. 

            As I said, the big question is what happens if the Pistons get the number 2 pick and McLemore goes first. If we can get good enough value in a deal to trade down for someone to come get Noel, I wouldn’t have a problem going for Porter at that spot. I suppose that this probably means that I have Porter in the same tier as Noel and McLemore.

            @tarsier I think the Prince comparison is aimed at how Porter turns out as an NBA player and is not a comparison necessarily of the two of them when they were in college. Porter was without a doubt a better college player than Prince was at the same age and that is why he is going to be picked in the top 5 while Tay was late first round. Tay was a very good pro and a key part of a championship team as we all know and I think Porter could easily end up having a Tayshaun like NBA career. That is where my comparison comes from.

          • May 13, 20139:14 am
            by G

            Back to comparing McLemore’s shooting to Porters – McLemore took 72 more threes than Porter did and a much higher percentage of his FGA were threes. Even taking as many threes as he did, his FG% is still higher than Porter’s. Also, one thing that gets ignored with McLemore is his defense. I’d actually give him an edge over Porter here, because McLemore already has the size & quickness to guard NBA 2′s and Porter needs to add muscle to handle NBA 3′s.

          • May 13, 20135:42 pm
            by oats

            @ G. You are absolutely right about McLemore being the better shooter, but that wasn’t exactly my point. My point was the perception is that there is less of a difference than most people seem to realize.
            We really disagree on McLemore’s defense though. I don’t think people are missing anything. I think he’s not that good on that end. I thought he was a little above average defensively in college, but that projects as well below average on the next level. Porter meanwhile was a very good defender in college. Yeah, he does need to get stronger and might be a little behind McLemore for the first year or two while adjusting to the NBA, but I think that will very quickly correct itself and Porter will once again be a much better defender than McLemore. I expect Porter to be a good to very good pro defender in time while I expect McLemore to top out as a pretty average one.

          • May 13, 20135:46 pm
            by oats

            Sorry, last sentence in the first paragraph is goofy and I’m having a hard time figuring out why I said it that way. Also, I think what is written might mean the opposite of what I’m saying. Let’s try this instead: The perception is that there is more of a difference than really exists between them as perimeter shooters.

        • May 11, 20131:31 pm
          by I HATE FRANK


          The Georgetown system was built around Porter, and injuries to other players made him the go to guy, he is just a passive player. Good all-around skill set, and Prince comparison is that he is a glue guy, he will fit in anywhere or anyway that he can

          • May 12, 20132:17 pm
            by danny

            Finally someone gets the prince comparison.  Dude will be on any team.  Do I think he is the best for us long term, no.  I would rather get victor but all thi depends on who is ahead of us in the draft and what pick we get.

          • May 12, 20137:02 pm
            by oats

            I get the point of the Prince comparison, and I don’t mind that part of it. The problem is that most people see it and place a lower cap on Porter than there actually is because they don’t realize that Porter is just a better player than Prince was in college. Prince is closer to Porter’s floor than his ceiling. It’s not even a good projection for Porter’s most likely production, which has to be better than Prince. Paul George is much closer to his most likely outcome. That’s why I don’t care for it, it suggests Porter is on a lower level than he actually is.

    • May 11, 20135:56 am
      by oats


      Noel put up 9.5 rebounds, 4.4 blocks, and 2.1 steals. Those numbers are really impressive. The blocks number jumps out at most everyone, but the steals are probably more impressive in my opinion. Keep in mind that steals are guaranteed turnovers while blocks sometimes go out of bonds or are recovered by the offensive team. There hasn’t been a player to match that combination of blocks + steals in the draft in a long time. Even Anthony Davis put up 4.7 blocks and 1.4 steals, so Noel had him beat. That means Noel has a chance to be an impact player with just his defense alone.
      The knock on Noel’s offense is legitimate, but it’s not quite as concerning as you’d think. His athletic ability and the fact that he made 59% of shots means he can give a team a few points. Pick and rolls, fast break finishes, cuts to the basket, alley oops, and put backs off offensive rebounds should give him a chance to put some points in an efficient manner. He also averages 1.6 assists a game, a solid number for a freshman big man. We’re talking 8-12 points, decent passing, and top notch defense without making progress as a shooter. That’s already a really good player and similar to the impact of Tyson Chandler, and if he actually learned to shoot like Ibaka he could take it to a whole new area.
      The size thing seems a little off to me. He weighed in at 216 lbs at the Hoop Summit a year ago, but Kentucky listed him at 230. Kentucky almost certainly inflated that number, but it seems reasonable to think he is a few pounds heavier than that 216. Marcus Camby entered the league at 223, Larry Sanders was 222, Chris Bosh was 225, and Serge Ibaka was 220. All of those guys have played center in the NBA for long stretches at a time. Noel will likely follow Anthony Davis’s footsteps and play PF for a bit when he first enters the league, but it seems reasonable to think he will make the transition to center in time.
      Here’s the concern I care about, the knee. It’s really hard to predict how a knee injury will effect a guy, and little information came out about the severity of the injury in the first place. Everything about Noel’s placement hinges on that knee checking out. Still, with the relatively limited information we have on that injury I’d lean towards betting on Detroit’s training staff. The Pistons have quite possibly the best reason to believe that they could rehab his knee of any team in the league. In my opinion that means Noel should keep his spot as the top prospect. The odds of my opinion on this changing after the combine are reasonably high because more information will be available, but as of now I’d say Noel stands apart from the rest of the draft class.

      • May 11, 201310:07 am
        by tarsier


        It’s true, and he’d have at least my first consideration at the top overall pick. But I don’t know how much of Kentucky’s underachievement to put on him.

      • May 11, 20132:59 pm
        by Chabvis


        I think my biggest problem with Noel is that I am looking at him as a Pistons fan. He is legitimately the one guy of the top 5-6 prospects (McLemore, Porter, Burke, Oladipo, Bennett, and Noel) that I don’t think fits with the team at all, unless we either move Drummond or move Noel. So I don’t see how we can actually draft him unless we are planning on immediately moving him. I would have absolutely no problem with drafting him with an eye to trade him at number 1, but barring having a trade set up I don’t think we can afford to draft him over a McLemore or a Porter. This team has got to start winning games and I don’t think bringing in Noel has remotely close to the impact that McLemore/Porter/Burke/Oladipo would have for this team right now.

        I also feel like people are slightly underrating McLemore. His numbers don’t necessarily show it, but to me he has the form/ability to become an absolute deadly shooter. He has the size to be a good SG and the athleticism to turn into a solid enough defender.

        I think my OP comes across as being negative towards Noel, but I really was just trying to say that I don’t think he is that much above the likes of McLemore and the next prospects. I think that Noel turns out to be a good NBA player, but I don’t see how he could possibly fit in with our team unless we are looking to trade him or Drummond.

  • May 10, 20136:15 pm
    by Reaction


    I think at the combine/afterward several things are going to happen.
    1. In addition to Len, Bennett’s surgeries.. one of those two will drop.  
    2. Players like CJ McCollum who has been working hard for the combine even before most collegiate players got through the tournament will impress many top 10 GMs and will cause many of them to consider taking him, thus raising his stock substantially. 
    3. Oladipo will be a 8-10 pick. 

    As for my Tiers:
    Tier 1: Noel/ McLemore
    Both have theirs ups and downs with a major one being consistency. 

    Tier 2: Burke, Porter, McCollum

    Burke and Porter are fairly obvious for this tier. I think McCollum will end up in this tier not only because of the ridiculous number of Stephen Curry comparisons he has drawn. I think he will be the Damian Lillard of this draft. Not too many people seem to remember how he dismantled Duke almost singlehandedly last year. 

    Tier 3: Bennett, Dipo, Bazz

    Tier 4: Len 

    • May 10, 20136:17 pm
      by Reaction


      Oh for number 1: When I say drop I mean not drop out of lottery. Just fall 3+ picks from where they are projected. I also feel that it will be Len most likely

    • May 11, 20132:04 pm
      by frankie d


      “Not too many people seem to remember how he dismantled Duke almost singlehandedly last year. ”

      have to admit i’d forgotten about that performance.  
      but once i remembered how mccollum just destroyed duke – and was clearly the best player on the court that day – i’ve totally changed my perspective on mccollum.
      was that a fluke?  or was that a true indication of his talent level?
      i’d be willing to bet that that game was a true indication of his talent level and given the chance to compete and play against the best, that he’ll be able to raise his game to whatever is required.
      in fact,  i think his emphasis on scoring, as opposed to playmaking,  is a result of mccollum simply doing what he felt he needed to do in order to help his team win games. i think he will be able to easily shift gears and play the role of facillitator, if that is the role he’ll have to assume on an nba squad. 
      i agree that he should be in that second tier of players, just behind burke and porter.  and unfortunately for detroit, i get the feeling that after the combines and workouts that mccollum is going to rocket up the draft boards.
      he seems like a very smart and dedicated kid and i’d bet that since he’s been able to work out that he’s been preparing diligently for the combine and the workouts and he’s going to impress the heck out of everyone as he goes through the process.
      if things play out the way i’m imagining they will, unless detroit moves up into the top 3, i doubt they will get a shot at mccollum.  i’d look for either phoenix or NO to take him.

      • May 14, 201312:24 pm
        by tarsier


        Are you friggin’ serious? One game totally changes your opinion about a player? Every prospect in the draft had a couple fantastic games. That’s why we look at the body of work.

  • May 10, 20136:25 pm
    by tarsier


    Not a lot of love for Bennett here.

    If he ends up being the Pistons’ pick at 7 or 8, I’d be ecstatic. Although Porter at 3 (or maybe at a trade up to 4 or 5) would be even better.

    • May 10, 201310:15 pm
      by Mongo Slade


      He would get more love if he was good enough to defend the 3 and start there.

      • May 11, 20132:52 pm
        by frankie d


        i think bennett is just a young guy who never had to play defense in his life.  
        have to say that his defensive effort was almost shockingly lazy at times, when i saw him play.  the only top tier player i’ve seen put forth that kind of shoddy level was chris webber back at michigan.  he had that same lead-footed approach to defense, but would, as bennett does, turn into twinkletoes once he got that ball in his hands.
        i think bennett should be included in the second tier of players and if i was satisfied, after talking to him, that he would put in an honest defensive effort, i’d take him at 7, no problem.
        in terms of pure talent, i’d put him right behind noel and mclemore. 

        • May 12, 20139:08 am
          by I HATE FRANK


          Been saying it From the Start he is More Josh Smith than Milsap …

          • May 12, 20139:28 am
            by tarsier

            Adding a Josh Smith or a Paul Millsap to this roster on a rookie deal would be awesome.

            Smith would be the far superior option part from his inability to shoot from any distance. Bennett can.

          • May 13, 20131:22 pm
            by frankie d

            bennett is definitely more smith than millsap. 
            he’s about an inch shorter, but he has an inch longer wingspan.  he has a similar type of explosiveness, though i doubt that he’s as quick a jumper as smith.  the only thing that prevents him from becoming a much better defender is a coach who will demand it of him.  a guy like thibodeau.  if carlos boozer can be a competent piece in an excellent defense, then a guy like bennett, who is much more athletic, surely can.
            millsap is a workhorse.  he’s just not very athletic, but he works his butt off and impacts a game that way.  bennett is on another level, athletically.

  • May 10, 20137:59 pm
    by ryan


    It’s going to be very, very interesting to see what happens with Trey Burke this coming season. My suspicion is that he gets exposed badly but we’ll wait and see.

  • May 10, 20138:08 pm
    by kamal


    I don’t know much about any of these college players.  But I was looking at McCollum’s highlights, and he reminds me of Steph Curry with a better handle.  

    Somebody, tell me where I’m wrong and what I’m not seeing because I would love to have a player similar to Curry on the squad. 

    • May 11, 201312:13 am
      by tarsier


      You’re wrong in that he–like everyone else on the planet–cannot shoot the ball like Steph Curry. Also, he’s nowhere near the same caliber of passer. People forget how good Curry is at that.

      McCollum doesn’t seem to be a particularly amazing shooter. He did pretty well in a few games against bad competition. And people wanna compare him to Curry?!?!?! 

      • May 11, 20131:23 am
        by Reaction


        You clearly do not remember LeHigh vs. Duke. I agree he is no where near the passer Curry is but his shot is very smooth and he does have very similar shooting patterns to Curry.

        • May 11, 20132:21 am
          by oats


          You mean last year when he was a 34% 3 point shooter on the season? Does that one game change the fact that he looked like a below average to average 3 point shooter for the season? I kind of like McCollum, but he is most definitely not a guarantee to be a good 3 point shooter in the NBA.

        • May 11, 20138:37 am
          by tarsier


          It’s not a matter of forgetting. It’s a matter of not caring about one game. Well, I care somewhat. It gets factored in just as much as everything else. I have McCollum on the same tier as Shabazz if Detroit has no shot at the top 6. But suggesting that McCollum looks like Curry is like suggesting that Muhammad looks like Carmelo.

  • May 11, 20134:20 am
    by Grizz


    Interesting article .. interesting approach …Can we get just one more good 1st round draftee?

  • May 11, 20138:48 am
    by DG


    My tiers would look something like this:

    1.  Noel, Porter and Burke:  I could see a team picking any of these guys over the others in this list on the basis of need.  I don’t see the Pistons picking Noel over any of the other two simply because they don’t have an urgent need at PF/C like they do the other positions.  That’s the way tiers work.  You don’t pass on somebody in tier 1 just to get a player in tier 2 that fits your needs.  There’s supposed to be too much of a talent gap.

    2.  Oladipo, McLemore:  these guys currently have deficiencies on one end of the court (Oladipo offensive and McLemore defensive), but have the requisite athleticism to develop those skills in time.  They may actually have the talent to exceed long term accomplishments of the guys in tier 1 but the guys above have at least given some indications already of developing on both ends of the court (i.e. Porter’s 3-point shooting).

    3.  Bennett, McCollom, Muhammad:  All of these guys excel on one end of the court, but raise serious questions about their willingness or ability to develop on the other end.

    4.  Len, Pope, Zeller, MCW, Saric, Olynick, Dieng:  good college level players but do they have what it takes to excell as pros?  For example, MCW is not a good or even average NBA shooter. 

    • May 12, 20136:15 am
      by Tom Y.


      Oladipo hasn’t given an indication of developing his offense this year? I know it’s suspect considering how he shot the first two years, but he at least showed he can do it. BTW you count Porter’s 3-pointer as proof of improvement, even though he made as big a jump from his terrible 1st year as Oladipo made from his 2nd.

  • May 11, 20139:03 am
    by tarsier


    Perfect offseason:

    Draft Porter/McLemore/Noel (Porter is probably the most likely)
    Sign Teague and Wright
    One of Iggy/Smith/Millsap/Jefferson takes a bit longer to get a deal done than the others and Detroit signs him for ~$10M/yr (Millsap is probably the most likely)
    Trade Monroe+Stuckey for Love
    Nobody else really wants Calderon so he is re-signed pretty cheaply

    Lineup: Teague/Wright/Porter/Love/Drummond
    Bench: Calderon/Knight/Jerebko/Millsap
    Spot minutes: Slava, English or Middleton, 2nd round pick

    Knight and Wright can fight for the starting spot. Hopefully by the end of the season, Knight has earned it. This should be a 4-7 seed team.

    • May 11, 20139:34 am
      by Blocks by Dre (Burke for the win!!)


      I think Dallas will overpay for Calderon if they don’t get Jennings 

      • May 11, 201310:21 am
        by tarsier


        They might. To be honest, though, Calderon is the part of that dream scenario that I care least about. If not him, the Pistons just have to get a different, cheaper backup PG out of FA. ANd Knight can at least play some minutes there.

    • May 11, 20139:39 am
      by Blocks by Dre (Burke for the win!!)


      Also, if we give up on Knight in only his 2nd year I would like for us to go after a better PG than Teague. He’s ok but he’s nothing special. I can see why people are giving up on Knight (I’m giving him at least one more season to turn it around) but doing so for just Teague….not in love with that situation 

      • May 11, 201310:13 am
        by tarsier


        I’m not advocating giving up on Knight. But he has not earned starter minutes. I want him to remain a significant part of the rotation and have to earn his way into the starting lineup, whether that be at PG or SG.

        Also, Teague looks pretty good. Nothing to get crazy excited about, but at least an average starting PG. 15 and 7 with 45/36/88 splits and above average D for his position makes for a nice player to have.

        I guess the pipe dream is Jackson decides to coach the Pistons and attracts Chris Paul to sign. But short of that, what better option is available at PG? Or would you rather just leave it a hole for a while and see if a future chance to address that will come along?

        • May 11, 201311:41 am
          by Blocks by Dre (Burke for the win!!)


          All valid points. For me, as far as PG goes, I think we get a cheap back up for Knight (maybe Billups) and wait until next year. As constructed right now, we’re not a playoff team by any means. Adding Teague would help but it wouldn’t change our fortune overnight and make us a playoff team come next season. I’m not sure what options are there but if Knight doesn’t pan the and we miss out on Burke then we need to go after a PG. My dream would be to go after CP3 but I realize its less likely. Jennings would be another option. Paring him with Monroe and Drummond should make us a playoff team seeing he was able to take the Bucks there with just Monta and Saunders.

          • May 11, 20131:33 pm
            by tarsier

            I far prefer Teague to Jennings. Jennings is a low-efficiency, bulk shooter with problemativ TO issues. He would be a slight upgrade over Knight right now, but I think I prefer Knight long term.

          • May 13, 20138:45 am
            by G

            Billups signed 2-years w/ the Clippers.

  • May 11, 20139:47 am
    by Blocks by Dre (Burke for the win!!)


    Where we’re picking, baring a miracle, we are likely getting Shabazz. If any of the other top 6 slips it’ll likely be Bennett. If we needed a PF I would be ecstatic if we could get Bennett, but getting him he would either have to come off the bench or play the 3 in the NBA. I tried visioning him playing there, and for a little bit I liked the idea but I really just can’t see it. Is he a better prospect than Shabazz? Debatable but I think so. Does he fit a need for our team over Shabazz? No unless we make a u turn somewhere between now and the next season and trade Monroe. Bennett, Len, Noel are players that doesn’t fit a need and if we’re lucky enough to be in a position to draft Noel we should trade down because plenty of teams would love the opportunity of drafting him and we could get value from that pick.

    • May 11, 201310:18 am
      by tarsier


      The only way Bennett’s fit or lack thereof becomes anissue is if he turns out to be good enough that he really ought to be starting and playing big minutes alongside both Monroe and Drummond. I think he has the potential to do so because he has three point range and there are enough SFs in the game who do little more than park on the perimeter (he can move fast enough to guard them even if he is not equipped to take on slashers.

      But even if he turns out not to fit well with those two, if he is good enough that that turns out to be a problem, then the Pistons definitely should want him over Shabazz anyway.

      • May 11, 201311:44 am
        by Blocks by Dre (Burke for the win!!)


        It’s pretty well documented on here how much I see Monroe suspect, so if getting Bennett would make Monroe better or expandable then we should weigh our options. However, as far as a fit goes I would rather have Wright starting at SF he can hit the three, defend and attack the basket. I think he would be a better fit (initially) than Bennett at the moment…of course that is only initially and can change any given moment

  • May 11, 20139:58 am
    by Giles


    Mccollum reminds me of billups a lil streaky, a lot of herky jerky movement goes a long way in today’s game

    • May 11, 201310:23 am
      by tarsier


      It’s good to see all this positivity about McCollum. Hopefully it is reflective of general sentiments within the league. The more guys who have a shot to leap into the top 6, the better the odds of the Pistons getting a good player.

  • May 11, 201311:56 am
    by MrCarter


    Tier 1=
    -Nerlens Noel
    -Ben McLemore
    Tier 2=
    -Otto Porter
    -Trey Burke
    -Anthony Bennett
    -Victor Oladipo
    Tier 3=
    -Shabazz Muhammed
    -Cody Zeller
    -Alex Len
    Tier 4=
    -Michael Carter Williams
    -CJ McCullom

    • May 11, 20139:11 pm
      by sop


      Mr Carter, this is pretty much the consensus amongst scouts and online pundits, but I think there’s merit to most of this outlook.
      I disagree with Feldman concerning McLemore’s defense in that I think its a mistake to call him a bad defender. If you watched him in Big 12 play, you clearly saw a guy who wants to fight through screens and lock down his man, I just don’t think he has a natural feel for that part of the game yet. So while my tier 1 is the same I would switch the order
      Tier 1
      1. McLemore
      2. Noel
      Also I agree with Dan that PG is a more important position, but considering Burke’s lack of elite athleticism, size and only average shooting stroke he is probably not the solution there. In fact, considering the number of undersized pgs that take over games in the league today I would consider him to be the most likely bust in the top ten. Believe it when you here that HomeDepot could develop into the next D Wade just based on athleticism and work ethic.
      Tier 2
      3. HomeDepot
      4. Porter
      5. Bennett
      6. Burke
      Again, Shabazz really needs to lose some weight before the combine and display some better lateral quickness. He also has the most riding on interviews of any player. People give him a hard time for being selfish because of the last shot controversy, but wanting to taking over and win the game is a trait that all great scorers must have. McCollum duplicates Knight but with less quickness so I agree with Dan that his game doesn’t fit a Pistons PG. Saric is very skilled with great upside if he improves his shooting stroke.
      Tier 3
      7. Shabazz
      8. Saric
      9. McCollum
      10. Len
      The next tier is wide open. There is a lot of talent here if we could get a 1st rounder for next year I would be happy to see Detroit trade out of the 7th pick and down to even 26 or 27. Not to be ignored are some sleeper internationals.
      11. Karasev
      12. Schroder
      13. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
      14. MCW
      15. Cody Zeller
      16. Mason Plumlee

      • May 12, 20138:15 pm
        by oats


        I don’t feel like going in to everything, but I will say a few things on two guys I’ve not said my piece on repeatedly.
        Oladipo’s ball handling is atrocious. He is just ridiculously careless with the ball. Draft Express has a database with their 100 best prospects for this draft, and 75 of those players are college players. Oladipo has the 8th most turnovers per possession of those 75 players because he turns it over in 20% of his possessions. I know the comparison you are making is based almost exclusively on athleticism, but if Oladipo can’t take care of the ball a lot better than that he will not have any chance of catching up to Wade. I would rejoice if Detroit could get Oladipo in the draft, but I would also be terrified of him teaming up with Brandon Knight. Then throw in questions about his shooting and the fact that he is the oldest player in your second tier. I think it’s a mistake to place him 3rd on your draft board. I’d say he very clearly belongs in that tier, I just don’t think he should top it.
        Saric rebounds and passes pretty well given his limited minutes. He is even pretty solid at getting steals and blocks, although he does it by committing a lot of fouls so those numbers might not be sustainable. The problem is his shooting numbers are so awful I don’t know if he is even a legitimate first round draft pick in an average draft. Someone will do it in this awful draft, but anywhere in the top 10 seems too high for my liking. Dude shot 37% from the floor and 30% on 3s. That is horrendous. He did shoot reasonably well from the field in a Croatian league that is pretty bad, but he still was a 27% 3 point shooter. The plan seems to be to make him a point forward, so being unable to shoot is likely to keep him from becoming a solid player. I honestly think his highest value would be as a power forward in the triangle or Princeton offense where he can use his passing from the post and his shooting won’t be so problematic, but he still needs to bulk up a lot for that. This one feels like falling in love with a very limited sample size to me and I don’t get the fascination. He’s probably a safer bet than Adetocunbo, but I much prefer guys that have done something before they get drafted. In this draft class that means Karasev.

  • May 11, 201311:59 am
    by Tiko


    I feel us getting the #2 pick hopefully it results in McLemore and not Porter

    • May 12, 20139:02 am
      by I HATE FRANK


      I was thinking the same thing, we’ll get a top pick in the most suspect draft

  • May 11, 20138:37 pm
    by Big Rick


    Teague (Jeff) is a better PG than Knight. If we could sign him for a reasonable deal then I’m all for that. Hopefully Knight will become as good or better than Teague. Not there yet. Honestly, without any in depth stat analysis can you name 5 starting point guards from the past season that were worse than Knight? Help me out because this is rather perplexing. 

  • May 11, 201310:46 pm
    by frankie d


    For a while i was truly bummed because i saw this as a 6 elite player draft and saw the pistons on the outside looking in, with the 7th pick.  Resigned to picking among the dregs that would be leftover.
    But i will bet the last dollar in my pocket that, by the end of the combine and during the workouts, mccollum is going to crash into that top tier and be a serious contender for a top 5 pick.
    Think about it…what happens at the combine and at the workouts?
    They put the ball in the prospects’ hands and let them go to work.
    Some players – and even though i love porter he is one of those guys who demonstrate their skills best in a game setting.
    Guys like mccollum shine when they are just given the ball and told to either create or work within a defined structure with one or 2 other players. 
    Dion waiters is a great example of that syndrome.
    It  looks like detroit will get one of the top tier talents…and i am including mccollum in that group. 

  • May 11, 201311:55 pm
    by Mark


    Frankie I agree with you bunt don’t we have enough combo guards? if we get McCollum, Bynum and/or Stuckey have to go. Our backcourtt would be versatile, but small, not including the point guard we need and I assume we will get in free agency. 

    • May 12, 201310:13 pm
      by frankie d


      up until a couple of days ago, that was my exact thought.  in fact, i didn’t even want to think about the pistons drafting mccollum or any other “combo guard”.  
      then i remembered the duke game from last year and i recalled that he’d simply been the best player on a court with a bunch of guys who would be drafted in the next couple of years.  and he looked like a very smart, very versatile guy, someone who could probably play any role – passer, shooter – his team would need him to become.
      i don’t think the duke game was a fluke at all.
      he put up those types of performances fairly regularly, and that time it just happened against duke.  it would be one thing if he was, say, a glenn robinson or hardaway level player who just happened to have an odd, dominating game in that moment.  no, that game was fairly consistent with how he played on his normal stage.  it just proved that he could do the same thing once the competition got tougher.
      i think the pistons are very close to where the lions were when they picked calvin johnson.
      i could not imagine another receiver after mike williams and the other williams guy and charles rogers. but if a guy like calvin johnson is there for the taking you can’t let past mistakes prevent you from making a good choice.  
      not saying that mccollum is a calvin johnson-level talent, by any means, but i don’t think past mistakes with guys like knight and stuckey – in terms of drafting them as point guards is concerned – should prevent detroit from picking someone who might be the right guy.   i do think he will ultimately be seen as a top 7 level pick and the pistons will be lucky if he is still there on the board when they pick. 

  • May 12, 201312:18 am


    2nd Year in a row, a guy projected as a 3rd option, will go in the top 3 …I respect Porter game, but until see it on the NBA level just not sld.

    AlSo how did the Tiers pan out last year? 

  • May 12, 20139:04 am
    by Blocks by Dre (Burke for the win!!)


    Remember before the season started and it was “the SHABAZZ sweepstakes?” 

    Ah, good times……. 

    • May 12, 201312:07 pm
      by mike


      Yes, and I love that we may actually end up with him after all, without even needing the #1 pick, like it was thought to be before the season.

      ppl are really sleeping on him, and are going to regret passing on him like they did with Drummond.


      • May 12, 201312:23 pm
        by Blocks by Dre (Burke for the win!!)


        I was down on him at first but the more I realize he might be our best option, the more I adjust to his game…at least from a scoring aspect. He has holes in his game just like everyone else in this (weak) draft and like the rest in this draft he’s young enough to hopefully correct them

  • May 12, 20137:10 pm
    by Trent


    I’ve said it a few times before but Shabazz’s situation reminds me a lot of what Dre went through in his one and done season in college. Both guys are supremely talented and could’ve done anything in the NCAA but due to circumstance, mainly bad teams, these guys had decreased outputs and seemed to lack effort and intensity. Andre was even seen to be a bigger risk than reward kind of guy! I really think Shabazz, when all is said and done will be the second best player in this draft after Noel and if we’re picking at 7 I think it would be a foolish mistake to pass up such a talented kid.

    His biggest knock is his effort but he averaged over 5 rpg. And his defence will come along, he has all of the physical tools to be a real success in this league and when I’m sitting in the Barclays Centre on 6/27 I hope we call his name!

    • May 12, 20138:54 pm
      by oats


      UCLA is a talented team. Jordan Adams put up 15 points a game and was more efficient than Muhammad. While not much of a scorer, Larry Drew averaged 7.3 assists and 2.5 turnovers. Both of those stats are petty exceptional for the college game. Kyle Anderson is also a really good player. He isn’t a particularly good scorer just yet, but he is a force on the glass, plays quality defense, and is an exceptional passer for a big man. He averaged 3.5 assists a game. That means Shabazz shared the court with a second big time scorer and two exceptional passers for their positions. That goes a long ways to taking the pressure off him and is very different from the Drummond situation. Drummond played with shot happy guards that couldn’t throw an inlet pass so he never got touches. What’s more, Shabazz benefited from an offense designed to get him looks. They let him camp out under the basket, they had him run mid range curls, and the let him spot up for 3s. UCLA did everything in it’s power to get him looks, including giving him more shots than anyone else on the roster. I just don’t see where his team held him back.
      5 rebounds a game is not particularly good for a guy that was playing small forward all year. If he is actually a shooting guard it is pretty average, but it isn’t better than that. He also has serious questions about his ability to defend on the next level. If he’s a small forward he’s pretty small. If he’s a shooting guard his lateral quickness leaves a lot to be desired. He might turn in to an average defender, but I think it’s more likely that he becomes basically a DH. All offense and no defense. I wouldn’t complain if he was a really good scorer, but he’s actually pretty mediocre at scoring efficiently. I also would care less about his defense if he could pass at all, but as of now he is a black hole that chucks up shots whenever he touches the ball. If you ask me, Muhammad needs to make a lot of progress on defense or shooting before he becomes a starting caliber player. I really do think he is more likely to be a 6th man than a starter because he is just so one dimensional.
      Shabazz isn’t an awful pick at 7. He wouldn’t be my choice, but I sort of get the logic. He will put up points, and there is some value to handling a heavy workload with average efficiency. He also was regarded as a top notch prospect before the season started, and the scouts don’t usually miss as badly as I think they have with Shabazz. Then again, they usually know the player’s actual age… The lying about his age thing really bothers me. It really feels like his rankings are based on playing younger players his entire life and looking good against players he had an unfair physical advantage against. If he’s the pick I’ll start hoping he can prove me wrong, but I won’t like the pick.

    • May 12, 201310:26 pm
      by tarsier


      It’s also a lot like what happened with Knight in college. And a ton of other guys. Sometimes, it works out like Drummond where they just had a bad year. More often, they were actually exposed.

      It’s good to realize that both options are possibilities, but also that the latter is more likely than the former. 

    • May 12, 201310:30 pm
      by tarsier


      And, to add to what I just said, and I’m sorry if I’m being an ass, but what you are reminded of is entirely irrelevant.

      Lots of people see struggling young PGs and are reminded of Chauncey Billups. But those struggling young PGs don’t turn into Billups. 

    • May 12, 201311:07 pm
      by frankie d


      well, i just don’t get the “supremely talented” part of the muhammad description.
      sorry, but i think “exposed” as something less than supremely talented is more accurate.
      he looked like a guy who could do some things – obviously, scoring 18 points a game at a major college means that you aren’t dog waste – but he just never looked like a special player.  
      with drummond, there were always points in almost every game – at least the uconn games i saw – where he did something truly special, something that caught your eye and made you realize that he had a lot of talent, even if it wasn’t used to its fullest.  in fact, his low post defensive stats were outstanding, which is amazing for a college freshman.
      with muhammad, he looked pretty much like just about any college player at the wing position.  the one thing that did stand out was his aggressiveness both in seeking his own shot and on the offensive boards.  he did hit the boards with real vigor.  but he really didn’t have a single skill that really stood out as being more than average.
      in fact, i saw a bunch of ucla games and i cant recall a single one where he stood out as the most talented guy on the squad.  imho, kyle anderson was the guy who caught your eye on that team and he’s a weird player, a PF/C who brings the ball upcourt and passes from the top of the key.  he’s the guy i’d like off of that ucla team, not muhammad.

  • May 12, 20137:12 pm
    by Trent


    Another stat that I somehow missed is that he shot .443 from the floor after everyone has said he takes bad shots…

    • May 12, 20138:19 pm
      by oats


      44% isn’t very good for a guy that shoots so many twos. 11 of his 14 shots are 2 pointers, and he only makes 46% on them. That’s pretty blah for any shooting guard, but for one that plays as close to the basket as Shabazz does it is actually a bit below average. His 3 point shooting was reasonable, so he has a pretty average true shooting percentage. The problem is he takes a ton of shots to be an average scorer, especially since he doesn’t do much of anything else.

    • May 13, 201311:18 am
      by I HATE FRANK



      44-45% shooting is considered average to solid
      37-38% three point shooting for any player is considered average to solid

      Ranked 55 in the Nation in Scoring
      Ranked 186 in FG%
      Ranked 213 in 3%

      Not Impressive at first glance…but lets go behind the numbers just a little

      Ranked 55 in the Nation in Scoring
      Advanced Scoring 40 mins – He ranked 16th out the top 100
      PER-Minute Value he Ranked 45 out of the 100 (ranked over noticable names like Cody Zeller, Deshuan Thomas, and Caldwell-Pope) The only Freshman that had slighty more value Per-minute was Anthony Bennet…

      Ranked 186 FG%
      Ranked 25th out of the top 55 Point Per-Game Leaders in FG%
      Among players in the top 50 in Point-PerGame that took 450 attempts or more, he ranked 13th for FG%

      Ranked 213 in 3%
      Among the top 50 Point-Per Game Leader who attempted more than 100 three-pointers He ranked 16th in three point %

      Not defending Shabazz…. just sharing fun facts with Trent

      • May 13, 20134:22 pm
        by oats


        Shooting percentages are representative of how well a player shoots, and how well a player shoots tends to correlate slightly better to future success than how much a player scores. Points per minute is influenced very heavily by how often a player shoots the ball. Muhammad played at UCLA, and despite their reputation for being slow, UCLA was slightly above average for pace. Muhammad was 31st in shot attempts per minute, and out of potential lottery picks only McCollum was ahead of him. Erick Green of Virginia Tech is the only player who may be a first round draft pick ahead of him, and Green is definitely not a lock to be in the first round instead of the second. What’s more, taking pace adjusted per minute scoring in to account, Muhammad actually falls a lot. He ranks 73rd in scoring per minute when adjusted for pace. Everyone you mentioned him being over is also ahead of him when adjusted for pace.
        Also, you said “Advanced Scoring 40 mins – He ranked 16th out the top 100.” Here’s the thing, I don’t know what that sentence means because I don’t know of any stat called advanced scoring. I tried looking it up and found nothing, so I don’t know how to counter this point because as far as I know you made it up.
        Your other stats don’t mean much. Throwing out players from that group of top 50 scorers for taking fewer than 450 field goal attempts feels arbitrary. It successfully weeds out the 4 guys that played less than 15 games, but other than that you are just rewarding Muhammad for taking shots but not necessarily for making them. I’d probably set the threshold closer to 250 if it were me because that successfully eliminates the small sample size guys without rewarding Muhammad for shooting a ton of shots but being decidedly mediocre at it. But then again, I’m not actively trying to make Muhammad’s number look better than they actually are. Still, if your point is that he is still an average efficiency guy despite a heavy workload, then your point is valid although it isn’t being made in a particularly effective way. There is some value in being able to remain average while taking on that high of a workload, but somehow I don’t think that is your point.
        As for the 3 point percentage thing, well, a few things need to be kept in mind. A lot of big time college scorers have pretty limited range. They are either bigger guys that score in the paint, or slashers with NBA athleticism and nothing else taking advantage of poor defenses against small schools. It makes sense that Muhammad would fare well against that narrow of a group of players since a reasonably high percentage of the top 50 scorers aren’t considered definite first round prospects, or are big guys that don’t shoot many 3s. This is still a pretty average shooting number. Also, while you were trying to reward Muhammad for shooting a mediocre percentage over a ton of shots before, you didn’t apply the same logic here. This number should have been set closer to 120 shots if the first one is set at 450, but the problem with that is that Muhammad doesn’t qualify.

        • May 14, 20139:16 am
          by I HATE FRANK


          Once again number can reflect what ever you want them to reflect.

          In not going to defend Shabazz, because i made a promise.

          combine starts tomorrow…so we will see…

          • May 14, 20137:01 pm
            by oats

            This “numbers can say what ever you want business” is so bogus since you are the one so clearly trying to twist them around. I’m not trying to make Shabazz look worse, I’m talking about the validity of the numbers you used. You applauded him for scoring on a per minute basis, I pointed out that is only a part of the evening metric and that pace adjusted scoring was less kind to him. You twisted his field goal percentage until it looked ok, I pointed out that was what you were doing. You then failed to use that same kind of twist with 3 point percentage, which I pointed out was inconsistent. I also pointed out that his ranking in 3 point percentage in that specific group was unsurprising and didn’t suggest what you were very clearly implying. None of your stats suggest anything different than what I’ve been saying the whole time. 

          • May 14, 20138:39 pm
            by I HATE FRANK

            I did not twist anything forget Shabazz … My point is you were saying 44% is below average…but POPE shot under 44% but you are saying that OK..because he shot soo many 3′s … but he only made 37% of those …  in all reallity you are making it ok that Pope shoots below average…

            Back to Shabazz
            I compared Shabazz to the Top 50 scorers in the Nation…and he was above average as a matter of fact pretty damn good in every offensive catogory expect for ast … That’s not twisting its a simple comparison breakdown …

            I did not make the stuff up… Its just numbers, 

          • May 14, 201311:01 pm
            by oats

            No, that’s not what I’m saying exactly. I am not saying it is below average, I’m saying 44% while shooting that close to the hoop is maybe a bit below average.
            I’m not twisting numbers for Pope, I’m using actual number that take in to account the value of a given shot. Field goal percentage does not take into account the fact that 3 point shots give an extra point for making them. It’s a terribly flawed stat for that reason. A guy that shoots 50% but never takes a 3 will score 1 point a possession. A guy that shoots 40% but all his shots are 3s will score 1.2 points per possession. It is more acceptable to have a lower field goal percentage if the player is taking more 3s. How is that not obvious?
            If it helps, forget field goal percentage all together. On twos Pope shoots 50.5% while Muhammad shoots 46.3%. Pope shoots 79.7% from the line while Muhammad shoots 71.1%. They shoot identical percentages from 3. Who has the better shooting numbers? This isn’t some trick scenario where I’m unfairly giving Pope the benefit of taking more 3s. 3s are more valuable than 2s and it only makes sense to credit Pope for taking more of them, but even if you want to ignore that then the fact is he shoots a higher percentage on two point attempts and the same for 3s. Ignoring that and only holding up field goal percentage actually punishes Pope for taking shots that score more points because a higher percentage of his shots are from 3, but he should be rewarded for taking a shot that has a higher projected point per shot attempt. That’s why I use true shooting percentage, it takes in to account 3s giving more points and that free throws are also using possessions to attempt to gain points. Not accounting for those things is just not a good way of looking at it.
            I don’t know how it’s not obvious that you are maneuvering a lot to get to those conclusions though. Adjusting for minutes but not pace is fine, but the fact of the matter is it does a worse job of telling how well that player scores in general. Since he doesn’t control the pace of the game himself it is unfair to give him credit for UCLA being faster than most other teams. Throwing out guys with less than 450 shots is the real problem though. You get to keep Shabazz’s numbers and discard the numbers of more efficient scorers because they didn’t hit this arbitrary threshold, and then use that to proclaim that Shabazz is in fact pretty efficient. That is total nonsense, and that is why I’m getting on you for twisting numbers around. It’s worse since doing it for field goal attempts but not 3 point attempts is inconsistent. I’m not accusing you of making stuff up though, I’m accusing you of using really dumb numbers to try to serve an agenda. 
            Let’s put a little perspective on this as well. I’d say that using the top 50 scorers isn’t exactly Muhammad’s peer group. First of all, he’s not in the top 50 in scoring, he’s tied for 57th at 17.9 points a game. Even if you cut the 3 guys with less than 15 games he still doesn’t hit that list. The list also doesn’t acknowledge position in any way. For him to be good in rebounding for example is no surprise considering how many of the top 50 scorers are point guards. 28 of them are 6’3″ or shorter, and 2 more are 6’4″ point guards. Rebounding well in that group isn’t that hard.
            A high percentage of them are also small school guys that shoot a ton because their team stinks, so they really aren’t pro talents. Take Lamont Jones from Iona as an example. At Arizona he put up 9.7 points a game, then he transfers to Iona and as a senior he is now scoring 22.6 points a game. His field goal percentage is kind of low because he takes a lot of 3s and shoots them terribly, but then again he’s really not a serious pro prospect. He’s also a good example of how a lot of these guys aren’t 3 point shooters, and comparing Muhammad to a group that includes very few pro prospects is just plain odd. I’d be shocked if 8 of these guys made it in the first round, and I’d bet against 15 of them being drafted this year. CJ McCollum, Trey Burke, and Kentavious Caldwell Pope are the only ones that are likely lottery picks, and Pope could slip outside the lottery. Going to potential first round picks adds guys like Allen Crabbe, Russ Smith, Pierre Jackson, Erick Green, Isaiah Canaan, Nate Wolters, and Deshaun Thomas. Out of those, only Crabbe looks like a probable first round pick and maybe 2 or 3 others join him. Saying Muhammad did well in that kind of group doesn’t really say a whole lot.

          • May 15, 20139:39 am
            by I HATE FRANK

            “”No, that’s not what I’m saying exactly. I am not saying it is below average, I’m saying 44% while shooting that close to the hoop is maybe a bit below average.”"

            1. I understand so if he shot more 3′s or 15-18 foot jumpers then 44% is decent
            “”I’m not twisting numbers for Pope, I’m using actual number that take in to account the value of a given shot. Field goal percentage does not take into account the fact that 3 point shots give an extra point for making them. It’s a terribly flawed stat for that reason. A guy that shoots 50% but never takes a 3 will score 1 point a possession. A guy that shoots 40% but all his shots are 3s will score 1.2 points per possession. It is more acceptable to have a lower field goal percentage if the player is taking more 3s. How is that not obvious?”"

            2. I dont think I said you twisted anything. I know all about the 3 ball logic, but as we can see in the play-offs Right now with Knicks what happens when its not falling. See JR Smith
            “”If it helps, forget field goal percentage all together. On twos Pope shoots 50.5% while Muhammad shoots 46.3%. Pope shoots 79.7% from the line while Muhammad shoots 71.1%. They shoot identical percentages from 3. Who has the better shooting numbers?”"

            3. Pope had a year to improve his game, its funny how experience is so discounted all of sudden. Pope only took like 200 2 pointers vs Shabazz took 350 2 pointers. You know where Im going with this…so i wont 
            You have too much to reply to…..

          • May 15, 20136:01 pm
            by oats

            1) Right, but since he shot lower percentages on 3s than from the field, if he took as many 3s as Pope his field goal percentage would drop. Despite taking more shots within 12 feet they have more or less identical field goal percentages, and that strongly suggests Pope is actually the one who shot the ball better.
            2) The problem with the Knicks is that they are over reliant on making tough shots. The problem with Smith is that he’s not particularly adept at creating good looks for himself, instead relying on either someone to get him those looks or to just make tough contested shots. The Knicks are not particularly adept at creating looks for other players, so that basically just leaves making bad shots for Smith. The fact that he is shooting poorly on contested 3s is unsurprising given the caliber of defenders he’s faced in the playoffs.
            What you are referring to is the adage live by the 3, die by the 3. It’s a fair point when discussing a team. Any team that relies entirely on hitting jump shots is going to be prone to going cold. Detroit won’t be in that situation though because they have Monroe and Drummond creating an inside presence, assuming of course that the team has a point guard that can get them the ball in a position to score. On an individual level it is far more acceptable to rely heavily on the 3 point shot because that player will have team mates that can do damage in the interior. Having a guy or two who is extremely reliant on the 3 is actually a benefit for a team.. Your essentially knocking Pope for one of the best things about his game, the fact that he already plays the way the league is has been transitioning towards for the last decade or so. Also, it’s not like Pope has no other ways to score other than the 3. He is actually a pretty good slasher. His 2 point percentage is so high in large part because he is pretty good at getting to the rim when that is what the defense gives him. My ideal wing player for Detroit uses his shots more or less how Pope uses his.
            3) Experience isn’t really discounted all of a sudden. This sentiment has been pretty prominent for a couple years, but I will concede it really only started going more mainstream when ESPN started hiring more stats focused analysts like Kevin Pelton. Draft analysis has shown that age is a huge factor in determining a player’s room for growth, while years in college had no statistically significant correlation. If there was some evidence to support the idea that the guy who entered college later would develop more in the pros than his counterpart that is the same age but entered college sooner, in that case I’d give this argument some weight. What evidence we have says that it is just not a significant factor in projecting improvement and you are asking me to ignore the only actual evidence on the subject.
            As for the shots thing, I already pointed out that if we assume his extra shot attempts on 2 point shots is part of what caused Muhammad’s 2 point shooting percentage to drop, we have to assume that also applies to Pope and shooting 3s. 119 more 3 point attempts is also a lot. Applying that logic evenly still results in Pope having the better shooting year. You can’t give Muhammad the benefit of the doubt for an extra 145 2s and not credit Pope for his 119 3s.

          • May 15, 201311:13 pm
            by I HATE FRANK

            NBA draftexpress…

            Released a scoting video of Pope..he does everything that people hate about Shabazz when tey call him a blackhole…

            Actually the more I see Pope, the more I am interested in how he’ll develop…

            Btw: Pope 36%  in catch and shoot situation…. Shabazz 40% in catch and shoot situations (excuse Pope FORCED more 3′s) … no need for a long reply

          • May 16, 201312:29 am
            by oats

            I’ve got a short one this time. Georgia is really, really bad. Ball hogging on Georgia when his team stinks is different than ball hogging in UCLA with 3 other quality starters. Also, that team just can’t bend a defense out of position the way UCLA can because they have exactly one scoring threat and no passers. His catch and shoot situations would often lead to tougher shots than the looks Muhammad got from playing off Drew and Anderson.

          • May 16, 20138:18 am
            by I HATE FRANK

            “”I’ve got a short one this time.”"

            1.good these are the only ones I fully read

            “”Georgia is really, really bad. Ball hogging on Georgia when his team stinks is different than ball hogging in UCLA with 3 other quality starters. Also, that team just can’t bend a defense out of position the way UCLA can because they have exactly one scoring threat and no passers. His catch and shoot situations would often lead to tougher shots than the looks Muhammad got from playing off Drew and Anderson.”"

            2. Poor Shot Selection, inability to dribble penetrate, unwillingness to pass to the open man has nothing to do the quality of players around you. I’ve read twice where they questioned his toughness not wanting to take contact going to the basket. 74% of his offense was jumpers, he lives on the perimeter.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uWJ-1QS4To Fast-forward to 10:30

            I will say Im surprised at his bounce, its a little explosive than i original gave him credit for

          • May 16, 20132:53 pm
            by oats

            1) That probably explains why I so often have to repeat something I already explained. Sorry this one is a bit longer.
            2) All of those things are influenced by how the defense plays a player and his team. A bad shot for Pope is often still better than an ok one for his lousy teammates, so he should try to take some shots that otherwise make no sense. Don’t get me wrong, some of those were bad decisions, but any player used to living with the reality that his team is better off with him taking bad shots will sometimes make bad decisions. They can strip him down a bit, take some of that focus off him. Also, some of those looks were solid looks and are only being criticized for time left in the clock. He might have been able to work for a slightly better shot, but a decent look is hard to call bad shot selection.
            Not getting to the rim all the time is a legitimate complaint, but several of those pull ups were with a big or two waiting in the paint and the video seems to suggest he should have tried to go at them. I don’t mind my shooting guard knowing that decision leads to a lot of blocked shots. It’s also unfair to say he’s afraid of contact considering he drew 5.2 fouls, or only .4 fewer than Muhammad. Still, he’s a reasonably limited player, but that is what you get in the draft. My stumping for Pope is not because I think he’s a star, I think he’s going to be a really good role player as a 3rd option on offense and quality defender. He has a chance to become more than that if he can max out his athletic ability on offense, but I’m not counting on it. That still makes him a better overall player than any one else outside the top 6 players in my opinion. 

          • May 16, 20136:04 pm
            by I HATE FRANK

            That was actually a reasonable sized reply …

            To be clear, as I have watched and read about Pope more, I see what you see he still reminds me of Nick Young.

            My concern is the value of shots, and the settling for the 3 ball. You are correct perfect as a 3rd option depending on the team, and team concept. His athletism in the straight away is also impressive.

            However, In Shabazz he has that “IT” factor that no one can put a finger on, say what you want about his age or lack of elite athletic ability. However, many people say that system, the suspension and him playing out of position limited him from having an even larger impact. So while you are saying that you see a star in Pope, saying I see that potenital in Shabazz.

            But I respect your opinion… btw: they said Shabazz looked great physically… 

          • May 17, 20132:52 am
            by oats

            They also had him as really hurting himself in Day one, citing his poor shooting and an inability to create space for good looks in one on one drills. Luckily I don’t give two craps about combine drills. If a guy looks to be mailing it in or way out of shape then I start to care, but that’s about it. Shabazz clearly didn’t fit in to either of those categories, so I left with the same impression of him as I had entering the combine.

  • May 13, 201310:04 am
    by Scott Free


    Ben McLemore the 5TH most enticing draft pick?  Seriously?

    • May 13, 201310:30 am
      by tarsier


      I have him constantly bouncing around in the top 3 with Porter and Noel.

      And I can see the argument for Burke, although I don’t agree with it.

      But Oladipo? Seriously? Nice kid. I’d love to have him. But over McLemore? That’s crazy talk. 

    • May 13, 201310:33 am
      by G


      Agree. There are flaws to pick with any of these guys, but I like McLemore slightly better than Porter, even though Porter is a better fit. 

      • May 13, 201311:22 am
        by I HATE FRANK


        who do you believe have a higher Ceiling…

        Mclemore, Porter or Oladipo?

        • May 13, 201311:59 am
          by tarsier


          McLemore easily. He also has the lowest floor of the three. Porter and McLemore seem pretty close. Oladipo is easily behind them.

        • May 13, 201312:07 pm
          by G


          To be honest, Oladipo, although his ceiling is probably most remote of the 3. Oladipo because he has the most potential for growth in his offensive game. He could end up shooting the lights out, taking lots of threes and furious drives to the hole. Like a version of Vince Carter who gave a shit & played defense like a maniac.

          I think McLemore’s is next. His defense is already pretty good and really all he needs to reach his ceiling is more of a killer instinct, making his ceiling MUCH more attainable than Oladipo’s. Porter’s is probably third. He’s really good, does everything, and I like having a guy who can fill in the blanks like I think Porter will, but I don’t see him having the individual success of McLemore. 

          • May 13, 20136:32 pm
            by oats

            I sort of said some of this up above, but I’ll put it down here where it might be easier to notice. I think McLemore’s defense has a long ways to go. He was above average in the college game, but that’s a pretty bad pro defender. He looked a bit better because he had Withey to funnel things to. He also had the benefit of playing with Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson, and both of those guys are better defenders than McLemore. They often just hid McLemore on the worst perimeter player on offense because Johnson could defend either guard spot. Releford meanwhile guarded either wing spot, and if the point was especially nasty he’d switch to guarding him in crunch time situations. I also thought Kevin Young was a better defender than McLemore over all, which made McLemore the 5th best defender at Kansas. Kansas was good defensively, but not that good. I’d say McLemore projects as a slightly below average to average defender on the next level. He has room to get better than that, but he’s got some work to do if he is going to be a quality defender.

          • May 14, 201311:40 am
            by G

            Disagree about the defense. He loses focus sometimes, but he looks like he’d be a solid NBA defender. I don’t expect him to make 1st team all D, but he looks alright. I admit, only saw a couple Kansas games.

        • May 13, 20131:34 pm
          by Scott Free


          If given the choice, I would have thought McClemore would be the easy pick.  Reading this article though I’m curious to hear other arguments.  I know nothing about this draft class, but consensus wisdom suggests McClemore is a top 3-4 pick, and one of the better scoring wings (which seems to be a position of need).

          • May 13, 20135:28 pm
            by oats

            First of all, Porter and Noel are also consensus top 3-4 picks as well. Actually, Noel is the consensus top pick and it’s always hard to pass on the most talented player in the draft. If I had the top pick I’d shop it around, but if I didn’t get a deal I liked I’d just take Noel anyways and walk away with the best prospect. A trade for one of Detroit’s 3 big men that I liked would eventually come up, so I wouldn’t be afraid of how things fit.
            As for Porter, he’s in the same basic range although most scouts seem to place him behind McLemore. While the team definitely needs offense on the perimeter, it also desperately needs defense on the perimeter. Detroit’s perimeter D is just putrid. Porter will help on both fronts because he is a much better scorer than what Detroit currently has at the 2 or 3. He just fills more needs than McLemore does because McLemore is pretty much just a shooter. There’s also a relative scarcity of players that are legitimately good on both sides of the court, and Porter is far more likely to be one of those guys than McLemore because McLemore’s defense projects as decidedly average right now.
            I would take Noel first for the reasons stated, but I’m really undecided on the McLemore and Porter thing. I think I’m leaning ever so slightly to McLemore right now because the likelihood of him exceeding his most likely outcome is higher than it is for Porter to do the same. The flip side is the odds of him failing to get there are also higher, but I think I’d prefer Detroit take a swing for the fences over just making contact.

        • May 13, 20135:02 pm
          by oats


          I have to agree with G, if the question is just ceiling then the answer is Oladipo. He is the highest efficiency wing scorer in the draft as well as the best perimeter defender in the draft. His ceiling would involve him staying really efficient scoring while increasing his shot attempts significantly, and also being a monster on d. Think Ray Allen with Dwayne Wade’s athletic ability and defense. The problem is that he just isn’t likely to do that.
          His floor is significantly lower than Porter’s and right around McLemore’s as a guy that plays one side of the ball effectively in limited minutes as is necessary for the team. His most likely scenario is also the lowest out of the group and somewhere around Kawhi Leonard. That’s really good D, some spot up shooting, and a few points off athleticism. The difference is Kawhi can play 2-4 while Oladipo is just a 2-3, but Oladipo can guard point guards and Kawhi can’t so their value would be pretty darn similar. That’s why he isn’t in the same tier as the other two guys, or at least not for me. The likelihood of him outproducing either guy is just too slim to care that his potential ceiling is that crazy high.
          He’s also a turnover machine, and there is no good reason a guy with his role in Indiana’s offense should turn it over at the same rate as Brandon Knight at Kentucky. That kind of kills him in my mind. He just has too much to work on to get anywhere near his ceiling. He’s clearly in the 5th slot on my draft board behind Noel, McLemore, Porter, and Burke despite having a ceiling higher than any of them.

  • May 13, 201311:42 am
    by danny


    Highest ceiling is McLemore he has the quickness and athletic ability to become dominate.  If he learns how to dribble a bit and understands the game he will be dangerous for any team. I think porter would be the easiest transition out of the three for sure though. 

  • May 13, 201310:09 pm


    Can wait for the combines

  • May 14, 20139:37 am
    by tarsier


    Gotta wonder if Harrison Barnes’ play this postseason is gonna help Muhammad’s draft stock. They are incredibly similar prospects.

    • May 14, 201312:31 pm
      by G


      I thought McLemore was closer to Barnes in that they both had the reputation of not taking over games. Barnes had inconsistent effort in much the same way McLemore did. 

      • May 14, 20132:10 pm
        by tarsier


        Barnes plays the same position as Muhammad, has a comparable build, put up nearly identical numbers, and was tagged as the big time high school recruit before not flopping but underwhelming in college.

        Also, McLemore is seen as more of a shooter while Barnes and Muhammad are all-around scorers (although neither so proficient that I would call them ‘pure scorers’). And McLemore’s path to the NBA is just fairly different. It’s hard to imagine Barnes or Muhammad redshirting.

        • May 14, 20132:22 pm
          by G


          This is true. I was thinking more the main knock with Barnes was he didn’t take over games, and it’s the same with McLemore.

          Also, I think Barnes is 6’8″, Muhammad 6’6″ and McLemore 6’5″, so the height thing is moot. Shabazz is MUCH more muscled than Barnes was, given that he’s 2 inches shorter and 15 lbs heavier than Barnes is right now. Also, while their offense is similar as far as shot charts go, Barnes had more athleticism to rely on, like McLemore and less like Muhammad.

          • May 14, 20134:25 pm
            by tarsier

            Yeah, maybe not everyone draws the same connection, but I always saw Barnes and Muhammad as very similar prospects. Maybe not if Barnes had declared after his freshman year. But since he didn’t, even their ages at the time of drafting aren’t super far apart.

          • May 14, 20138:45 pm
            by I HATE FRANK

            Barners 40 inch vertical at the combined surprised everyone because they rarely saw it in college… I think Shabazz vertical is going to determine about him, know its not the only test to see how athletic a player is but its a huge one

          • May 14, 201311:23 pm
            by oats

            I think the big difference with Barnes and Muhammad is that Barnes really came on as a small ball 4. Muhammad doesn’t have that same ability to shift to the 4. Muhammad’s pretty small for the 3 and Barnes isn’t. I actually think I’d rather play Shabazz at shooting guard than small forward, and I’d never consider playing Barnes at the 2. More than anything I think Barnes is showing the benefit of playing with Curry, not making a statement about how productive someone like Muhammad can be. Maybe someone will look at it as a cautionary tale of over analyzing these prospects and decide  Muhammad should have more value than I’d peg him at, but that conclusion would suggest we shouldn’t care what players do in college at all and that’s obviously not a sound train of thought.

  • May 14, 201312:18 pm
    by Don Brake


    If we can’t get Trey, I would like us to draft Oladipo with our first pick. I think he fits what we’re trying to become better than some of the other similarly slotted guys. And then move Stuckey.

  • May 16, 201310:01 am


    I’ve had a heart change about Oladipo….especially If he’s atleast a legit 6’4

  • May 16, 201310:17 am


    Shabazz participating in every drill…. 

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