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Archive → June, 2013

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Solomon Hill

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-7, 22o pounds, senior small forward from Arizona.
  • Key Stats: 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists per game on 45.8% field goal shooting and 39% from three.
  • Projected: Late second round
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Random Fact

Hill has a 37.5 inch max vertical leap. On a team looking to potentially get more athletic, Hill fits that description.

Fits with the Pistons because …

As of right now, the Pistons’ small forward rotation includes Kyle Singler, Khris Middleton and Jonas Jerebko. None of those three have exactly solidified themselves as starting material yet. Solomon Hill is a prototypical wing player, as he only really shoots threes and takes it to the rim. In his last season at Arizona, he averaged 10 field goal attempts per game, 4.2 of them from three and four of them at the rim. He’s a good shot creator, and he proved that in his last season at Arizona. Hill stayed at Arizona all four years. Going into college, he couldn’t create and make his own shot, but he developed that trait and perfected it during the last four years.

Also a proven passer, Hill’s shown good court vision, so he’s good on offense for more than just taking shots.  With Drummond and Monroe being consistent but having short range and no good perimeter shooters in the backcourt, Hill could provide the shooting touch off the bench

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

There isn’t much that stands out for Solomon Hill that would necessarily be bad for him going to the Pistons, except for the fact that you could probably get better value at the 37th pick and he most likely won’t be available at 56. However, if there’s one very weak spot in Hill’s game, it’s his defense. His basketball IQ alone won’t get him where he needs to be in terms of defense — despite his leaping ability, he’s not the most laterally quick wing out there. He is good on help defense, but doesn’t close out shooters well. More poor, unseasoned defenders is not something that should be high on the Pistons wish list right now.

From the Experts:

Chad Ford:

Hill is a versatile leader who can handle the ball, pass, knock down a perimeter shot and score in the post. He is averaging 13.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game and has improved his perimeter shooting while knocking down free throws at the highest rate of his career (81 percent).

DraftExpress:

In addition to his ability to knock down shots from the perimeter, Hill also possesses a sound floor game. He lacks the dynamic ball-handling ability and speed to consistently create shots from the perimeter and is not the type of player who can dominate games with his ability to consistently get to the rim in isolation or pick and roll situations, but he is an opportunistic slasher who can take what defenders give him both in the half court and transition with powerful straight-line drives. With his superior strength and maturity, he can often overpower weaker opponents en route to the basket, which is a big reason he’s able to get to the free throw line at the rate he does.

On Film:

Previously:

Which player belongs No. 13 on the Pistons’ draft board?

Read this before voting

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

Trey Burke sees Pistons as his floor

NEW YORK – Trey Burke anticipates being picked between No. 2 and No. 8 in tomorrow’s NBA Draft. In other words, he doesn’t expect to drop lower than the Pistons, who hold the eighth pick.

Most players would be disappointed to fall to the bottom of their range – but not Burke.

“I think it’s definitely an advantage," Burke said. “Like you said, with the fanbase that I had at at Michigan, I’m sure I would gain more fans if I was to go to Detroit. So, I definitely think it’s an advantage. Obviously, I’m familiar with the whole state of Michigan now. I’ll be looking forward to going to the Pistons, if I’m still available.”

Burke met with the Pistons, and though he didn’t work out for them, he said they probably would have preferred he did. Instead, Burke met with Joe Dumars – whom Burke knows from playing with Dumars’ son, Jordan, at Michigan – and other members of the of organization he hadn’t met before.

“Everyone else just wanted to get a chance to find out who I was." Burke said. “I explained my whole life and how I got involved in playing basketball and the whole Michigan experience and what I think I could bring to the team and what I think I need to work on.  It was a great meeting as a whole. I had a good time.

“When I left, I think they all had a sense of who I was off the court.”

And on the court? Burke said the Pistons didn’t stress the fact that he didn’t work out for them.

“They said that they got a chance to see me all year,” Burke said.

Which player belongs No. 12 on the Pistons’ draft board?

Read this before voting

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

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Ricky Ledo

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-6, 197 pounds, freshman guard from Providence
  • Key Stats: N/A – academically ineligible
  • Projected: Late first/early second round

Random Fact

Ledo was one of the top high school players in the country, but didn’t play as a freshman at Providence after he was ruled academically ineligible. Projections from where he might go in this draft have ranged from late lottery to the second round. I liked our own Dan Feldman’s take on Ledo in a conversation with Matt Dery on Twitter:

It’s hard to ignore a talent like Ledo’s in the second round, where it’s really unlikely the Pistons or any team are going to get rotation players, let alone someone with star potential. If he’s there at 37, I think the Pistons have to consider him.

Fits with the Pistons because …

Skill-wise, Ledo is a prototypical shooting guard. He can hit from outside, he’s big for a guard, he can take players off the dribble and he can finish. Ledo has been plagued by the dreaded and vague ‘off-court concerns’ label since arriving at Providence, but Chad Ford offered a promising comparison to another talented but troubled prep star — Lance Stephenson. The Pacers took Stephenson in the second round and had to be incredibly patient with him as he matured, but ultimately, it worked out well for them and they now have an improving starter and one of the best perimeter defenders in the league.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

Are the Pistons patient? The approach they used with Andre Drummond suggests that things might be changing in that respect, but the Pistons as an organization don’t exactly have a great track record of nurturing the players who arrive as rookies and can be described as ‘projects.’ I’m convinced Ledo can succeed in the NBA and I’m convinced that there are teams with the proven organizational structure to give him the support he needs. I’m not convinced the Pistons are one of those organizations. But if Ledo is around at 37, I wouldn’t fault them for trying to be one of those organizations. The payoff for getting it right on a raw talent like Ledo is far too enticing to pass up.

From the Experts:

Chad Ford:

Ledo was one of the country’s best high school scorers in 2011-12, but he wasn’t able to showcase his talents after being ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA. Still, a number of GMs believe he could be a late-first-round steal.

DraftExpress:

Ledo was inconsistent in Chicago, looking very good on the first day and then coming down to earth a bit in the second. His shooting was hit or miss, but his talent-level with the ball in his hands was unmistakable in terms of his able to create shots smoothly for himself and others at 6-7. He’s clearly a good athlete and ball-handler, mixing in crossovers nicely and finishing above the rim on a couple of occasions. Defensively, Ledo has a ways to go and is probably a long-term project considering how little experience he brings to the table, but his upside is significantly higher than most of the prospects outside of the top-20 or 25, which could convince a team to roll the dice on him, despite the character concerns.

On Film:

Previously:

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: I’ve had no contact with the Pistons

NEW YORK – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said he hasn’t worked out with the Pistons and hasn’t had contact with the Pistons.

So, of course, he isn’t expecting to become a Piston during tomorrow night’s NBA Draft.

“It would be surprising just to go to a team that I didn’t work out for,” Caldwell-Pope said. “They haven’t seen me, what I can do. it would just be surprising to me.”

Caldwell-Pope said he didn’t work out for a single team who picks before Detroit (except the Cavaliers, but I’m guessing he was auditioning for their No. 19 pick rather than their No. 1 pick), so I’d think the Pistons could have arranged a work out if they wanted one. Caldwell-Pope said he let his agent arrange workouts, so declining a workout in Detroit wouldn’t have been his call personally if he were invited for one.

Perhaps, the Pistons just have no interest in Caldwell-Pope. Or perhaps, this is a smokescreen to mask their interest in him. That possibility could even include a covert workout both sides agreed not to publicize.

It’s not impossible to concoct a scenario where the Pistons will draft Caldwell-Pope, but Occam’s Razor says they’re not drafting him.

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: C.J. Leslie

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-9, 200 pounds, junior forward from NC State
  • Key Stats: 15.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.2 blocks per game; 52 percent shooting.
  • Projected: Second round
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Random Fact

Hey, this guy sounds familiar. Here is what I wrote about him last year before he decided against entering the draft:

Leslie’s tantalizing size and athleticism will surely make NBA teams fall in love with him. But his perimeter game, which is still in need of some refinement, might push him into being a second round pick despite having first round athleticism.

Leslie was considered a fringe first round pick last season in a deeper draft. If he’s around in the second round this season, he’d be tough for the Pistons to pass up.

Fits with the Pistons because …

Adding Leslie to a team that already features Andre Drummond would immediately make the Pistons give the Pistons two of the best freak athletes in the league. At a minimum, Leslie runs well, jumps well and finishes well. If they play faster under Maurice Cheeks (please play faster!), and if they bring back Jose Calderon or replace him with a similarly good passing point guard, the Pistons would be really fun to watch with a player like Leslie added to the mix. He’d surely get the team easy baskets and highlight reel plays, which could earn him more minutes as he works on the weaker points of his game.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

It’s not that Leslie didn’t improve this season, it’s just that he didn’t make the huge leap many expected. He returned to NC State after a promising sophomore season, but he and the team largely disappointed. Leslie’s three-point percentage did improve slightly (though he doesn’t shoot many), but there were only very small incremental increases in his overall counting stats despite playing more minutes. I touched on it in the Glen Rice Jr. profile yesterday, but playing in the NCAA for programs that lack structure often stunts the growth of elite prospects. Perhaps Leslie getting into a pro environment that holds him to higher standards will bring out the best in him. The Pistons were patient with Drummond last season (probably too patient), but that approach might work well for another super talented but sometimes underachieving prospect in Leslie.

From the Experts:

Chad Ford:

Leslie’s terrific athletic numbers reminded scouts he might be one of the three or four best athletes in the draft and alleviated fears that he wouldn’t have the lateral quickness to guard shooting guards in the NBA. His combine-best 10.19-second score on the lane agility drill, combined with a huge vertical leap and a big wingspan, have teams curious. If he can go into workouts and shut down the other small forwards in the workouts, he’s going to be a lock for the first round.

DraftExpress:

On a personal level, many of the questions that hounded Leslie during his first two seasons remain. The lanky 6’9″ combo forward maintains a very intriguing physical package, with good length and incredible athletic gifts. His physical profile remains the basis of his intrigue as a draft prospect, and should he develop his skills, show a strong work ethic and maintain his focus, there’s more than ample physical talent to play a long time at the next level. It’s utilizing this physical talent that Leslie has struggled with.

On Film:

Previously:

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Nate Wolters

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, senior guard from South Dakota State
  • Key Stats: 22.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists per game on 49 percent shooting.
  • Projected: Second round
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Random Fact

Nate Wolters is the reason that people love college basketball. He was a normal looking dude at a mid-major college (with one of the best team names in the country — the Jackrabbits) who just got buckets, as evidenced performances like this one:

“Good grief!” his father, Roger, wrote him after South Dakota State’s 80-74 win over IPFW on Thursday night in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Wolters scored a Division I-best 53 points and connected on a school-record nine three-pointers. The 6-4 guard went 9 for 14 from beyond the arc, 17 for 28 overall and 10 for 11 at the free-throw line.

“I didn’t realize how many I had until after the game, it’s tough to explain. I was definitely feeling it,” Wolters said by phone late Thursday night. “The scoring came in such a barrage at the end. When I heard it was 53, I was like ‘whoa.’ “

Fits with the Pistons because …

With the first of their second round picks, the Pistons would do well to come away with Wolters if they don’t end up taking Trey Burke or C.J. McCollum in the first round. Wolters was certainly a shoot-first guard in college, but that’s OK. He was good at it. Aside from a weird junior year where his three-point shooting dipped significantly, Wolters was 36 percent or better from three in each of his three other college seasons. He’s also a decent passer who took good care of the ball and, at 6-4, he has good size for the point guard position.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

It’s still unclear what the Pistons are actually looking for in their backcourt. Is Brandon Knight a one or a two or a sixth man who plays both? Are they re-signing Jose Calderon and Will Bynum? What are they going to do with Rodney Stuckey, who Maurice Cheeks seemed to like for some reason during his introductory press conference? I think many fans wouldn’t mind seeing the Pistons blow up the entire backcourt and start from scratch in the draft and free agency, but the team has given indications that some or all of last year’s guard crop could be back in the mix. If that’s the case, there probably won’t be minutes for a player like Wolters.

Also, his clear deficiency is defense. He’s strong and physical, but will probably struggle to stay in front of the league’s quicker guards.

From the Experts:

Chad Ford:

Wolters doesn’t play in a big conference (Summit League), but his huge numbers for the second straight season can’t be overlooked. He also has been pegged primarily as a scoring guard, but his 6.1 assists per game and nearly 3-1 assist-to-turnover ratio prove that he’s more than just a scorer.

DraftExpress:

On the offensive end, Wolters proved to be one of the most productive players in all of college basketball as a senior, displaying an impressive all around skill set, as his combination of ballhandling skills, scoring instincts, and feel for the game made him very difficult to defend at the college level.

On Film:

Previously:

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Brandon Paul

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, senior guard from Illinois
  • Key Stats: 16.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists per game on 40 percent shooting.
  • Projected: Late second round
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Random Fact

Brandon Paul is doing a cool thing during his draft party. According to the Chicago Tribune, he’s auctioning off some of his college memorabilia … except for one thing:

It seems Paul is banking on good news. He was planning a party with fans in his hometown of Gurnee for Thursday night after the draft, when he said he will raffle off and give away autographed gear. (Though he said he would keep his orange shoes from his 43-point performance against Ohio State as a junior.)

Fits with the Pistons because …

For better or worse, Brandon Paul is a prototypical Joe Dumars guard. He’s big and strong, he’s versatile and has given minutes in college both in a playmaking role and as a traditional scoring guard and he’s reasonably athletic, drawing comparisons with Dwyane Wade coming out of high school because of his build and ability to finish while absorbing contact. The Pistons certainly need help in the backcourt and, depending on what they do with free agent Will Bynum and possible trade bait Rodney Stuckey, they could have a need for a guard who can attack the rim.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

Paul doesn’t fill the two most immediate backcourt needs, however. He’s not a point guard and he’s not a great three-point shooter. Paul shot just 33 percent from three each of the last two seasons and his shot selection at Illinois was occasionally questionable. That’s partially attributable to playing for bad teams that needed him to score, but if Stuckey isn’t traded and/or Bynum is re-signed, those two along with Brandon Knight give the team three low-efficiency, shoot-first guards. That’s probably already too many, so adding a fourth wouldn’t seem to be the best way to fill out their guard depth.

From the Experts:

Chad Ford:

Paul came in as a freshman at Illinois hyped as a poor man’s Dwyane Wade. Blessed with great athleticism and length, many scouts thought he’d be a dynamic scorer at Illinois. He’s had his moments (including a 43-point game against Ohio State last season), but he’s been inconsistent. What a difference a new head coach makes. John Groce has opened up the offense and put the ball in Paul’s hands, and suddenly, he looks like a legit NBA prospect again.

DraftExpress:

The key to Paul’s productivity over the past two seasons, and one of his more intriguing qualities as an NBA prospect, is his ability to create his own shot. Possessing a quick first step, an explosive burst when attacking off the dribble, and a strong frame to exploit smaller guards, Paul can shake defenders one-on-one and turn the corner operating off ball screens. He’s a capable ball-handler, even running the point for stretches this season, but has room to improve on not over-dribbling and become more adept at playing at different speeds to help prepare for the quickness of NBA defenders.

On Film:

Previously:

Cody Zeller another player who could jump Pistons

We’ve covered this before, but a review: There are six consensus players – Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, Anthony Bennett, Victor Oladipo and Alex Len – who are very likely to go ahead of the Pistons. For Trey Burke to fall to the Pistons, one additional player must go ahead of Detroit (or to get one of the consensus top six, two non-consensus players must jump Detroit).

Anyway, Michael Carter-Williams, Shabazz Muhammad and C.J. McCollum are all possibilities to push a more highly touted prospect to the Pistons.

So is Cody Zeller, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.

Ford on the Magic, who have the No. 2 pick:

Cody Zeller is a dark horse at No. 2.

Ford on the Bobcats, who have the No. 4 pick:

Indiana’s Cody Zeller also has fans in Charlotte, too.

Ford on the Suns, who have the No. 5 pick:

sources say there’s strong support in the front office for Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams and Indiana’s Zeller

I like Zeller a decent amount, but if a team ahead of the Pistons picks him, all the better.