Archive → June, 2013
1. Which available player should the Pistons have chosen?
Patrick Hayes: This was just trolling, right? If it was, well done Joe Dumars. Not only did you piss off every Michigan fan in the state, you also drafted the guy Trey Burke fouled in the NCAA title game (I can hear the ‘IT WAS CLEAN!’ screams all the way from Ann Arbor). I don’t have a preference for this spot. Siva was fine. My hope would be that whoever they took, Siva included, would be willing to go play overseas for a year so the team doesn’t have to worry about the roster spot.
Dan Feldman: Bojan Dubljevic. OK, I totally cheated and picked between the two draft-and-stash players selected after the Pistons picked. I don’t know the difference between either of them or any other foreign player at that point in the draft. But as I wrote, the Pistons are getting tight on roster space, and a Siva is probably unlikely to warrant spending a spot on him.
Jameson Draper: Siva was a good choice. It depends on the method for choosing, best available or most needed. C.J. Leslie or Deshaun Thomas were probably the best players available. Going by most needed, Siva was the right pick. The Pistons need a point guard.
2. How do you grade the selection?
Patrick Hayes: C. If Siva goes to camp and isn’t a candidate to go play abroad, I like his defensive potential. He can run an offense and he can get after it on defense. You could do worse than that with a late second rounder.
Dan Feldman: C-. Siva is fine, but between Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey and free agents (including Jose Calderon and Will Bynum), the Pistons will likely have enough depth at point guard without needing Siva when next season begins. At least Joe Dumars learned picking Mateen Cleaves makes much more sense late in the second round than in the middle of the first.
Jameson Draper: B+. It’s close to an A, because the Pistons really need a point guard, but Siva is not a starter in the NBA. He’s quick and a good defender, but brings nothing to the table on offense and is very, very small.
3. Will he make the team next season?
Patrick Hayes: I doubt it. The Pistons have too many former second round picks on the roster for all of them to make it next season. I think Siva’s position helps him, and I like the idea of having his defense in camp to push the other guards, but he’s really bad offensively. Whether or not he makes it solely depends on trades Dumars makes. Right now, the Pistons have too many end-of-the-bench-type of players. If they all make the team, Detroit will have big problems next season.
Dan Feldman: Slightly more likely than not. The Pistons must know they’re tight on roster space, and they likely don’t want the embarrassment of immediately cutting a player they drafted. That was fine when they were contending, but it probably won’t fly now. I’d be pretty surprised if Siva didn’t at least get a chance as the season begins, but I hope the Pistons enter the offseason with an open mind and realize drafting Siva is a sunk cost.
Jameson Draper: Yes. He could be close enough to Will Bynum-when-he’s-not-going-off-for-30-points-on-random-nights level, and he’ll be way cheaper. Bynum will find his way into free agency and Siva will be wearing the red, white and blue come November. Siva probably won’t get many minutes, but he’ll make the team.
NEW YORK – Trey Burke – his mouth slightly agape, his face wide with dread – clapped for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Detroit Pistons’ pick at No. 8 in the 2013 NBA Draft. Then, Burke turned his head to the right and stared off into an murky and potentially disastrous future.
A day ago, after meeting with the Pistons, Burke said his draft range was No. 2 through No. 8. He hadn’t worked out for any teams picking shortly after the Pistons, and he worried he could fall far.
But the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted the former University of Michigan star one pick later, agreeing to send him to the Utah Jazz for two first-round picks. Burke didn’t know about the trade when he shook David Stern’s hand, and he had to sit in a backroom until it became official.
“My mind was pretty much everywhere,” Burke said.
Burke’s purgatory lasted minutes. The Pistons’ could last a decade.
Right reasons for Trey Burke
Defenders of the Caldwell-Pope pick will claim Detroit fans wanted Burke only because he played at Michigan.
They’ll bring up 1987, when Indiana Pacers fans booed Reggie Miller as their team passed on Indiana University star Steve Alford with the No. 11 pick. But Miller, not Pope, was listed nationally as a top prospect before the draft. If the Pacers didn’t take Miller, the Washington Bullets would have snatched him up at No. 12. When the Pacers passed on Alford, he lasted all the way to the second round.
Burke was gone a single pick after the Pistons passed.
These situations are nothing alike.
Chad Ford’s top 100, ESPN’s expert panel, ESPN’s sampling of NBA evaluators, Kevin Pelton of ESPN, DraftExpress and Mike Prada of SB Nation – every credible draft board I could find – all ranked Burke ahead of Caldwell-Pope. None of those evaluators have a Michigan bias.
Wrong reasons for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
There would be a very simple and defensible reason for the Pistons to draft Caldwell-Pope ahead of Burke: Joe Dumars believes Caldwell-Pope is a better prospect that Burke.
I disagree with that assessment, but Dumars should have every freedom to make his own determinations, draft accordingly and deal with the consequences. Picking a player simply because of his local ties will do the Pistons no good in the long term. To draw fans and make money, they need to win. And to win, the Pistons need better players.
Unfortunately, it seems Dumars prioritized drafting a wing over drafting a good player.
“The draft really doesn’t come down to a popularity contest. It comes down to teams trying to fill their needs.”
"We are basically desolate at the wing positions," Dumars said. "It was just a major focus of ours, going into this draft, that we have to upgrade the wing athletic shooting. Just don’t have enough wing long athletes. And so that was going to be a priority for us."
“When you look at our board, there is not a name up there where we say ‘two guard,’ ” Dumars said, talking about his team’s depth chart. “We have Khris Middleton and Kyle Singler (at small forward); we have (Rodney) Stuckey and Brandon (Knight), who are more combo guards. But just in terms of wing athletes, we don’t have enough and it was a position we knew we had to fill. When you look at the game today, you see more of the wing-athletic-shooters and you have to have that. It was time for us to address that.”
What’s missing from those quotes? Dumars saying Caldwell-Pope was the best player available.
Drafting Caldwell-Pope over Burke because he ranks higher makes sense. Drafting Caldwell-Pope over Burke because they’re in the same tier and wing is a greater need than point guard (which is not a positional preference I share) is understandable.
But simply cutting off other options to draft the best wing available is foolish.
Does Dumars, ignoring need momentarily, rank Caldwell-Pope equal to or ahead of Knight? I’d love to hear Dumars answer that question.
Update: Dumars did address whether Caldwell-Pope was the best player available. As transcribed by Sean Corp of Detroit Bad Boys:
We felt that he was the best player. And we also felt that he was a need as well. Sometimes it comes together like that. It’s a little bit like Drummond last year. We had a definite need. We didn’t have that kind of big and he was the best talent on the board. Sometimes it comes together like that.
This is the first time in a while that you can’t say that someone just fell to us. It was a deep draft at the two-guard spot. I don’t know what’s happening now, what’s going on with the draft right now but there is going to be several more two guards that are going to go off in the first round. Guys that are going to score.
It was that draft. It wasn’t one of these monster drafts. But in that particular position you were going to get a good player.
Here’s one Dumars more quote via Corp (emphasis mine):
We felt like in this particular draft that the two-guard spot especially was pretty deep in terms of this draft. And so we knew that at 8 we knew that one of those two guards would be there and so we focused on that early on in the process.
Dumars’ frequent references to need were quite different than previous drafts, and I find that telling. Also, is someone who focused on shooting guards early in the process necessarily qualified to say definitively whether a player at another position was better? You be the judge.
The Pistons outsmarted their second pick, Tony Mitchell, too. After an interview with the Pistons he described as “intense, really intense,” he never thought they’d draft him.
All around, this was a clever draft by the Pistons. But did they outsmart themselves?
The last time Joe Dumars identified an NBA trend it was stretch fours, and that got Charlie Villanueva the huge contract that’s still saddling Detroit. The Pistons don’t need “wing-athletic-shooters.” They need good players.
The Pistons don’t have anyone who has proven himself to be a good point guard and is under contract for next season. Point guard is an area of need, if the team isn’t trying to shortcut it’s rebuild, just as much as wing, but that just confuses the main point.
Drafting for need when better prospects are available is usually a poor approach.
Unknown result with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Caldwell-Pope is a good prospect – I ranked him No. 7 on my pre-draft board – and the Pistons should be pleased to have him. He could easily turn into a very good player.
But that can no longer be the standard for determining whether he was the right pick. Outperforming Burke, fair or not, is the only measure that will be accepted.
If Burke excels in Utah, Dumars will have pushed away even further a fan base that has already distanced itself from the Pistons. That will almost certainly play into Tom Gores’ decision whether or not to retain Dumars after this season, and Dumars has to have known that when he passed on Burke.
Dumars isn’t doing himself any favors, hiring a coaching with a track record that rarely indicates future success and now passing on Burke for Caldwell-Pope. But it’s a long offseason, and with $20 million-plus in cap room looming, it’s way to early make any roster prognostications.
It’s unclear whether Dumars’ emphasis on a wing means he still views Brandon Knight primarily as a point guard or whether the Pistons will target a point guard in free agency. It’s unclear whether Maurice Cheeks has learned from his mistakes in Portland and Philadelphia or whether he’s in over his head. It’s unclear whether Caldwell-Pope’s 3-point shooting and athleticism will make him the immediate contributor Dumars needs him to be or whether an extended transition to the NBA will keep Caldwell-Pope benched.
Burke would not have singlehandedly answered all the questions facing the Pistons, but he could have answered some of them. Instead, Dumars and Caldwell-Pope are left to show why the Georgia wing was so appealing.
This could all work out, and just because passing on Burke looks foolish today doesn’t mean it will seem that way in a year or two. For all the grading we do this week, the real results don’t come in until much later.
Time will tell whether Dumars outsmarted all of us or outsmarted himself. For the previous three years, he’s let highly rated players – Monroe, Knight, Drummond – slip to him and then comfortably drafted them. Passing on Burke to draft Caldwell-Pope was anything but comfortable, and that indicates how confident Dumars was in his decision.
Or how stubbornly wrong he was.
Dan is in New York and, hopefully, is working on his annual draft post that makes 30 percent of commenters threaten to never read this site again (luckily, that 30 percent is really bad at following through on threats). The epic draft posts are my favorite Feldman posts of the year. I hope everyone is excited as I am.
Anyway, I wasn’t happy Joe Dumars passed on Trey Burke. I think in the longrun, Burke will be a better player than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. But I still don’t think that Caldwell-Pope was a bad pick, and I loved the Tony Mitchell pick in the second round. Peyton Siva is largely irrelevant to me. Nothing against him, he was a fine college player, but he’s a longshot to make the roster, in my opinion, unless he’s willing to play overseas for a year. So anyway, back to the Burke/Caldwell-Pope debate. In today’s column for the Detroit Free Press, I discussed what will make the pick a success — it starts with bringing back Jose Calderon:
It’s unclear what the Pistons will do in free agency, but if taking Caldwell-Pope over Burke indicates the team will do whatever it can to re-sign Jose Calderon, I’m on board. Calderon will give the Pistons the steady, pass-first, perimeter-shooting point guard they need. The team then can allow Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey to battle it out to start at shooting guard until Caldwell-Pope wins that job or, if he’s ready to start from day one, battle for significant backup minutes at both guard spots. Either Knight or Stuckey also could be used as trade bait. But suddenly, the Pistons would have a competent-looking guard rotation with a steady veteran point guard, a young three-and-D shooting guard prospect with good size for the position and one or two versatile combo guards off the bench who can play big minutes depending on situations and matchups.
But what if the plan is not to sign Calderon? What if he was just viewed as an expiring contract to get out of Tayshaun Prince’s contract? What if the plan is to give Knight or, worse, Stuckey, another shot at the starting point guard job? We know how that story ends, right?
The Pistons didn’t do poorly in this draft. Tony Mitchell was a steal in the second round. Caldwell-Pope was a good pick in a vacuum, without thinking about who was on the board when they took him. If Burke hadn’t have been available, most fans would’ve been extremely happy to get a tall, athletic shooting guard who can hit the three. And if the team is able to re-sign Calderon, move either Stuckey or Knight, find a starting-caliber small forward in free agency or via trade and add some frontcourt depth behind Monroe or Drummond, it’s easy to envision them as one of the most improved teams in the Eastern Conference next season.
If the team surrounds Caldwell-Pope with adequate talent and starts winning again, fans will forgive Dumars, even if Burke becomes a star. Unfortunately, though, due to their recent history, the team’s leadership doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their ability to bring in the right mix of talent.
Caldwell-Pope wasn’t necessarily the wrong pick, but his performance alone won’t determine whether he was the right one.
Rasheed Wallace is in talks with the Detroit Pistons to join Maurice Cheeks coaching staff
There is no doubt Wallace, who played for Cheeks in Portland, has the knowledge to coach and the temperament to work with younger players like Andre Drummond.
But being an assistant coach involves a lot of work, and Sheed hasn’t always poured his heart into things he doesn’t fully care about (e.g., the 2008-09 Pistons). Before he takes the position, Wallace must decide whether he wants to give all that energy for a job he once said he never wanted.
Lawrence Frank has decided to join Jason Kidd’s staff with the Brooklyn Nets as his lead assistant coach, a league source told ESPNNewYork.com.
Am I crazy for thinking, now that the Nets are getting Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, that they would be better off with Lawrence Frank as head coach and Jason Kidd as the assistant? If Brooklyn is dead set on contending immediately, why take a chance on a coach with no experience running a team? And Kidd could make a good buffer for Frank’s demanding and sometimes off-putting style.
Of course, if the Nets wanted an established head coach, they can do better than Frank, anyway. But on this staff, maybe roles should reversed.
The Pistons drafted Peyton Siva with the No. 56 pick in the 2013 draft.
The Pistons drafted Tony Mitchell with the No. 37 pick in the 2013 draft.
The Pistons drafted Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with the No. 8 pick in the 2013 draft. Here’s our pre-draft analysis of him, as written by Patrick Hayes:
- Measurables: 6-foot-5, 205pounds, sophomore guard from Georgia
- Key Stats: 18.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.0 blocks per game; 44 percent shooting.
- Projected: Top 15
- Hickory High Similarity Score
I have a growing suspicion that Caldwell-Pope might be Detroit’s pick, and it was strengthened by Dan Feldman’s report yesterday that KCP has not worked out for the Pistons.
Joe Dumars has a bit of a history of drafting players who are a bit under the radar — Rodney Stuckey and Austin Daye, for example. Not working out KCP could mean the Pistons have zero interest in him and don’t like his game. That doesn’t make much sense to me to have a definitive conclusion like that on a consensus top 15 guy who has a skillset and plays a position that is a weakness on the roster. Or conversely, the Pistons could like him so much that they don’t want anyone else to know they are taking him that high, hence not working him out. Again, the Stuckey and Daye picks stayed relatively quiet right up until the selections were made. Caldwell-Pope is similar to those guys as a late riser. It wouldn’t make much sense for the Pistons to take him without ever working him out. But it also wouldn’t make much sense for them to have zero interest at all. Which of those similarly far-fetched scenarios is accurate though?
Fits with the Pistons because …
Caldwell-Pope is a strong wing player, a good shooter and he projects as a solid defensive player. He’s not Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore or Otto Porter — the clear prizes on the wing in this draft — but if he can continue to hit the three at a decent rate as a pro and adjust to guarding NBA perimeter players, he wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize. The Pistons need shooting, athleticism, toughness and size on the wing, and they might be able to find some of those qualities in Caldwell-Pope.
Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …
The Pistons go out of their way to tell everyone that Brandon Knight was a steal in the draft and that he ‘fell’ to them. In reality, Knight only ‘fell’ because he rose a bit too high in the pre-draft process. Knight was mostly considered a mid-first round pick early on in the 2011 draft season. But he used a great tournament performance, along with the fact that some big names like Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, John Henson and Perry Jones decided to stay an extra year in school, to shoot up into the top five in some early projections. So Knight didn’t really ‘fall’ as much as he came back to Earth and went closer to the range that was more realistic for him.
I only highlight this because Caldwell-Pope is on a similar, seemingly out of nowhere upward trajectory. He’s more productive than Knight was in college and there are certainly legitimate reasons to take him, but he also wasn’t necessarily considered a potential top 10 pick until fairly recently. Depending on who is left on the board when the Pistons pick, taking him at eight might prove to be a reach. Maybe not an egregious one, but a reach nonetheless.
From the Experts:
Caldwell-Pope didn’t particularly shoot it well in workouts, but the more I speak with GMs and scouts, the more likely it seems that he’s going somewhere in the mid-to-late lottery. Not only are teams attracted to his shooting ability and size but many feel as if he has a great grasp for the game and could be special someday. I could see him going to a team such as the Pistons, Wolves, Blazers or Sixers.
Caldwell-Pope’s biggest weapon when he looked to score was his pull-up jump shot. With nearly three-quarters of his shot attempts coming from the perimeter in the half court, roughly half of which were off the bounce, he scored a second ranked 1.118 points per-shot as a pull-up jump shooter, an impressive mark relative to his average 1.066 points per-shot in catch and shoot situations
1. Ben McLemore
2. Victor Oladipo
3. Otto Porter
4. Trey Burke
5. Nerlens Noel
6. Anthony Bennett
7. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
8. C.J. McCollum
9. Michael Carter-Williams
10. Shabazz Muhammad
11. Cody Zeller
12. Alex Len
13. Dennis Schroeder
14. Sergey Karasev
15. Giannis Antetokounmpo
1. Victor Oladipo
2. Otto Porter
3. Ben McLemore
4. Nerlens Noel
5. Trey Burke
6. Anthony Bennett
7. C.J. McCollum
8. Shabazz Muhammad
9. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
10. Cody Zeller
11. Michael Carter-Williams
12. Lucas Nogueira
13. Kelly Olynyk
14. Dennis Schroeder
15. Reggie Bullock
1. Nerlens Noel
2. Otto Porter
3. Trey Burke
4. Victor Oladipo
5. Ben McLemore
6. Anthony Bennett
7. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
8. Shabazz Muhammad
9. C.J. McCollum
10. Michael Carter-Williams
11. Cody Zeller
12. Alex Len
13. Steven Adams
14. Sergey Karasev
15. Lucas Nogueira
Leave your board in the comments if you want to claim you knew better than the rest of us all along. I don’t want to hear from you after the fact if you didn’t post your board first.
1. Which player in this range should the Pistons especially covet?
Patrick Hayes: Trey Burke. He’s a top three or four player in this draft and, somehow, still a strong possibility to fall into Detroit’s range. Even better, he fills a need for the Pistons. Having Burke makes it less imperative that they re-sign Jose Calderon, which would allow them to focus their attention elsewhere in free agency and on the trade market.
Brady Fredericksen: There’s a couple, but on top of the list is Otto Porter and Ben McLemore. I know, both have the chance to be top-two selections, but with Washington apparently targeting UNLV’s Anthony Bennett at No. 3 and McLemore’s stock falling, there’s a distinct chance one falls to the Pistons at No. 8.
Dan Feldman: Trey Burke. He’s a pick-and-roll master, using his excellent ball-handling, court vision and jumper to eat up opposing defenses. He still has plenty of concerns – height, athleticism, defense – but he’d be a steal a couple picks before the Pistons are due up. At No. 8, he’s amazing value.
2. Which player in this range should the Pistons especially avoid?
Patrick Hayes: Cody Zeller. I’m not opposed to the Pistons taking a big despite the fact that the frontcourt appears to be the biggest position of strength on the roster. But I’m not sold on Zeller despite glowing reports of strong workouts. If the Pistons are going to add another young big to their frontcourt rotation, I’d hope for one with more defensive potential than Zeller appears to have.
Brady Fredericksen: Shabazz Muhammad. The chance he ends up being drafted by the Pistons is still quite possible, but the former No. 1 high school recruit has soured so many people over the last year. He doesn’t seem like a bad kid, really. He just fills a need, but in what capacity is he filling it? Is he going to defend or just go to his left and pull up for jumpers? It just seems like it’d be the team picking for need and not for BPA, which they should do.
Dan Feldman: Mason Plumlee. After my top choices are gone, there’s a wide range of flawed players with similar value: Shabazz Muhammad, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Cody Zeller, etc. I wouldn’t ding the Pistons for selecting any one of them if all my higher-tiered options are off the board. But don’t reach for Plumlee, who exceled at Duke mostly in large part because he was older than everyone else. That won’t help him in the NBA.
3. Which player is most likely to be chosen by the Pistons in this range?
Patrick Hayes: Shabazz Muhammad. I don’t love the pick, but I don’t hate it either. Muhammad is the scoring wing the Pistons need and there’s a chance that his so-so college production was a result of being part of a dysfunctional program rather than a red flag that he’s overrated. Taking a player who didn’t impress in one year of college despite extremely high expectations last year seemed to work out OK for the Pistons.
Brady Fredericksen: C.J. McCollum. That wouldn’t be a bad pick at all, either. McCollum isn’t talked up as much as other prospects, in part, because of his season-ending injury this year. Don’t forget, he absolutely schooled Austin Rivers and Seth Curry in Lehigh’s NCAA Tournament upset over Duke two years ago. He’s got a reliable jumper and unlimited confidence, which is always a good trait to have as a scoring guard in this league.
Dan Feldman: Michael Carter-Williams. I’m somewhat hedging my bets, but Carter-Williams has a good chance to be there at No. 8 and could be the pick whether or not Burke is still on the board. I’m not sure many other players fit both qualifications. If the Pistons still see Brandon Knight as key to their future, Carter-Williams complements Knight well. Carter-Williams, in theory, brings the size and playmaking Knight lacks, and Knight has the shooting Carter-Williams lacks.