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Category → Draft Dreams 2011

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Jordan Williams

Last year’s draft featured a handful of centers like Derrick Caracter and Dexter Pittman who would’ve been first round locks had it not been for questions about their conditioning. This year, a player with first round talent who might slip to the second round for that same reason is Jordan Williams, and if he’s available to the Pistons in the second, he’d be an enticing prospect.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-10, 260 pounds sophomore C from Maryland

Key stats: 16.9 points, 11.4 rebounds, 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 54 percent

Projected: Late first/early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

By staying in the paint. Unlike a lot of the hybrid big men in this draft, who like to venture out to the perimeter, Williams does his damage inside. There’s nothing wrong with having a perimeter game, it’s just that with Charlie Villanueva on the roster and with Greg Monroe not yet showing that he has a back-to-the-basket game, it would be advantageous if the Pistons could diversify the overall skillset of their frontcourt.

Williams isn’t super athletic, but his big advantage over some of the other bigs who could fall to the early second round is that he’s much stronger than guys like Keith Benson and JaJuan Johnson, not to mention younger and still growing. At times during the mock draft process, Williams has been rated as a top 15 prospect but has fallen some for whatever reason, considering there have been reports that he’s taken losing some weight and improving his conditioning seriously. I’d be surprised if he’s still available when the Pistons pick in the second round, but if he is, he’s one of few second round players who would have a fighting chance of cracking the rotation immediately with a good camp.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

He’s not the rim-protecting presence who would compliment the fact that Monroe also does not block many shots. Also, with Williams and Monroe playing minutes together up front, the Pistons would have one of the slower frontcourts in the league. Monroe makes up for his slowness some with quick hands and solid lateral movement, but I’m not sure Williams has those skills to help him hold his own against quicker big men as a rookie the way Monroe did.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Williams is not a freak athlete, but his weight loss and development as a potential pick-and-pop option at the next level are intriguing. Jockeying for position with a number of longer, more athletic big men, if Williams can continue making progress and show what he showed us to NBA decision-makers, he’s going to surprise some people and fit into some roles that we couldn’t have penciled him into during the college season.

From ESPN:

Williams was one of the best rebounders in college basketball last season — but he was a bit on the flabby side. He showed strength and toughness in the paint, but his lack of explosive leaping ability and conditioning were major issues.

Williams heard that feedback loud and clear from NBA scouts when he decided to leave school and he’s spent the past six weeks in Vegas working on his body. The results are pretty impressive, as you can see here in this photo I tweeted Tuesday.

He’s lost 10 pounds, dropped from 13 percent body fat to 8 percent and really hasn’t lost any strength but has gained quickness, explosiveness and agility in the process. He’s also improved his jump shot over the course of the past six weeks as well.

Williams might be slightly undersized for a center (he measured 6-8 3/4 in socks, 6-10 in shoes at Impact), but he’s got a 6-11½ wingspan, is physical and is a proven commodity on the boards.

From The Washington Post:

(Scott) Van Pelt “was a big factor in helping me make my decision” to go pro, Williams said following a pre-draft workout for the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center. “Just giving me feedback, what he thought about it. Just trying to make me make the right decision. He did a great job, and I give him a lot of credit for going out of his way.

“He’s a really busy guy, so for him to go out of his way to do that is unbelievable.”

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Here’s a breakdown of how Ian Levy from Hickory High came up with his similarity scores.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Jordan Hamilton

Depending on where the Pistons plan to use Austin Daye (is he a shooting guard?) and Jonas Jerebko (is he a power forward?), there could be significant minutes available at small forward if, as expected, the Pistons lose both Tayshaun Prince and Tracy McGrady to free agency. If the bigs the Pistons covet are off the board, their lottery pick could be the best place in the draft to find NBA-ready small forward help.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-7, 220 pounds sophomore F from Texas

Key stats: 18.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists per game while shooting 44 percent

Projected: Top 15

How would he help the Pistons?

Numbers-wise, this is what I like best about Hamilton: in his second year at Texas, his minutes, shot attempts and role in the offense all went up from his first season. His efficiency also went up with the increased usage. Hamilton improved his field goal percentage (44 percent from 41 percent), 3-point shooting (39 percent from 37 percent) and he improved his free throw shooting (78 percent from 58 percent). He is a pure scorer who gets his points in a variety of ways and he’s a very good rebounder for a wing player.

Plus, the last time the Pistons ended up with a small forward out of Dominguez High School in Compton, that worked out pretty well for them.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Hamilton has some notable things he needs to work on — he’s not elite when it comes to putting the ball on the floor and even though his jumper is effective, he has funny mechanics that might need to be tweaked a bit to help him get shots off quicker in the NBA. Like many young college wings, Hamilton needs to improve his shot selection and cut down on turnovers a bit. He’s also not a great passer yet. Although he’s strong and quick, suggesting he has the tools to get better in this regard, he’s not yet a good defensive player.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Hamilton has been absolutely terrific moving off the ball and utilizing these short curls for quick catch and shoot jumpers from the elbows, and has been even better sealing his man off on the block (a staple of the flex) and going to work. He has the ability to overpower defenders in the paint with his strong body, but also has the skill-level and finesse moves to utilize nifty footwork and finish in all kinds of creative ways around the paint, especially with his jump-hook.

From ESPN:

I expect we’ll be seeing Texas’ Jordan Hamilton rising on boards in the next few weeks. NBA scouts have always loved his talent. They believe he’s one of the few guys in this draft who could average 20 ppg in the NBA. He measured well for a small forward (6-8 with an 8-8 standing reach) and I’m told he was very good in interviews. If teams feel confident that he’ll mature and quit taking crazy shots, he’s a very interesting prospect who could go as high as the Kings at No. 7. The Bobcats, Warriors, Suns and Rockets also have major interest.

From the Austin Statesmen:

Hamilton is a prototype swingman who at 6-7 can post up smaller players, but also rebounds well on the defensive glass. “I noticed he’s taken 200 more shots than the second leader on their team,” (former AAU teammate and Arizona player Derrick) Williams said, giggling. “But he always took the most shots in AAU, high school. … “

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Jan Vesely

Jan Vesely is the only projected top 10 guy I haven’t profiled yet, so let’s look at his pluses and minuses, especially considering DraftExpress has the Pistons taking him in their latest mock.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-11, 240 pounds F from the Czech Republic

Key stats: 10.3 points, 4.4 rebounds per game while shooting 64 percent

Projected: Top 10

How would he help the Pistons?

One of the more intriguing comparisons for Vesely is to current Utah Jazz F Andrei Kirilenko. Vesely is long and athletic, just like AK, and if he brought the Pistons anywhere near the defense Kirilenko has been known for, that would be a huge win. Kirilenko, if you remember a few years back, was one of the most disruptive forces on defense when he was at his best.

Vesely also plays for the Serbian pro team Partizan, one of the top teams in Europe, so he has faced good competition as a pro. He’s only 21-years-old too, so there’s a chance he could bulk up.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Most scouts don’t view Vesely as a traditional, back-to-the basket, big. That’s not necessarily bad for Vesely, but I think most Pistons fans are desperately hoping they find a traditional, back-to-the-basket big in this draft. Enes Kanter, Bismack Biyombo and Jonas Valuncianas fit that bill more than Vesely does, so it’s possible any of those three would fill more of a need for the Pistons than Vesely would. Vesely does shoot a high percentage, but he has work to do on his range and his free throw shooting. His wing span and athleticism suggest he should be a decent shot blocker, even if his Euro numbers (0.7 per game) don’t jump out. Remember, most European players play as part of deep rotations and don’t get as many minutes, so often their averages are not as impressive as those of college players here who get big minutes.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

From a physical standpoint, Vesely remains the same extremely intriguing athletic specimen. He has terrific size and length for a small forward at 6-11 and couples that with incredible explosiveness. He looks a lot more confident in trying to utilize his athleticism as of late, as he’s been responsible for a number of unbelievable dunks this season. He’s gaining a reputation for being somewhat of a Blake Griffin-type spectacle at this level, doing things that people just aren’t accustomed to seeing in European basketball.

From ESPN:

NBA scouts fell in love with the athletic Serbian last year before Vesely broke their hearts and decided to skip the draft and return to Serbia for another season. He may have made a mistake. Vesely was a lock for the lottery last June. Now?

Scouts aren’t ready to write him off yet, but his 7 ppg and 2.7 rpg in Euroleague play aren’t exactly what they were hoping to see from him. Both numbers are drops from his production last season. His numbers in the Adriatic League are slightly better (11 ppg, 5.3 rpg), but a number of scouts have said they’re disappointed in the slow start.

From ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla:

The comparisons to Kirilenko are logical because both are athletic European forwards who play with great energy but are under-skilled offensively. The team that drafts Vesely would certainly be satisfied with Kirilenko-type production over the course of his career.But if Vesely wants to swing for the fences, the best case scenario would be for him to emulate the career of Marion, a four-time NBA All-Star who has had an underrated 14 seasons in the league.

That might be asking an awful lot of Vesely right now. But in a draft devoid of potential stars, finding a spot in an NBA team’s rotation would be a good first step.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Jamie Skeen

Jamie Skeen is only a fringe draft prospect, but the Pistons do have a pick late in the second round and if Skeen has good enough workouts, he could sneak into the late second round, where the Pistons have a pick. He’s undersized with some definite limitations, but he’s also a winner and Joe Dumars has never been afraid to look at undersized big men before.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-8, 240 pounds, senior F from VCU

Key stats: 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 52 percent

Projected: Second round/undrafted

How would he help the Pistons?

As we saw in VCU’s run in the NCAA Tournament, Skeen is not the tallest big man around, but he has a fantastic basketball IQ. He’s strong, he uses his body very well to get rebounds and to make it hard for quicker players to drive by him. Plus, he’s a very good shooter both around the basket and from distance. He shot 42 percent from 3-point range this season. In a draft short on prospects, I’d be more inclined to gamble on a player like Skeen late in the second round. He’s limited physically, but has shown the work ethic and motivation to improve. A large number of second round picks don’t pan out, and the ones who do, pretty reliably, are guys who are known to be hard workers.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

With Jason Maxiell on the roster and hard to move because of his contract, it wouldn’t be the most prudent thing to add another undersized big man, and one who is less athletic than Maxiell at that. I’m not saying Skeen couldn’t do it, but it would be pretty difficult for him to make the Pistons roster.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Skeen is oftentimes at a disadvantage on the defensive end due to his average size and lateral quickness. Though he struggles to stay in front of his man away from the basket, he is an effective post defender at the collegiate level. He does just an adequate job of denying his man in the post, but he when he drops into his stance and digs in, he can really disrupt dominant post scorers such as Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson and James Madison’s Denzel Bowles. Coupled with his wingspan, his strength, smarts and intensity allow him to remain a factor despite his average athleticism—and is something he can likely continue to improve on down the road.

From ESPN:

Skeen’s a true inside-outside player. He battles for position in the paint and he can let it fly from 3-point range. He’s not going to be a lottery pick, but he’s moved from certain free agent to a legit shot at getting drafted — either in the late-first round or the second round.

From Celtics Hub:

Skeen had a great tournament after being the best player on a mid-major team that made it to the Final Four.  VCU was a product of a combination of solid players, great coaching, and Skeen’s ability to play inside and out.  He has a reliable jumpshot from 18-22 feet (not sure if he has NBA Three range) and the necessary bulk to bang down low.  Think of Skeen as a more offensively polished Jeff Adrien while being a slightly worse rebounder.

The biggest reason why Skeen isn’t rated higher on anyone’s draft board is because he’s a classic tweener.  He measured really short without socks and there are questions regarding whether or not he’ll be able to defend quicker threes.  Ideally, he’d be the guy to defend a LeBron James or a Carmelo Anthony but he hasn’t had an opportunity to prove he has to foot speed or lateral quickness.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Josh Selby

Proponents of the ‘this draft is weak meme’ should look no further for their proof than Josh Selby. A McDonald’s All-American, Selby had a disappointing season on the court for Kansas, some questions off the court and he’s still virtually a lock for the first round. Selby has talent, but if more stars had decided to enter this draft, he’d be in danger of falling into the second round.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, freshman G from Kansas

Key stats: 7.9 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists per game while shooting 37 percent

Projected: Late first/early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

The upside with Selby is that he could be a point guard, one who happens to be 6-foot-3, one who happens to shoot 36 percent from 3-point range and one who is strong and athletic enough to go up and over bigger players to finish inside.

If you haven’t noticed, that style and build has become the prototype for elite NBA point guards of late, and Selby’s athletic ability and size alone will intrigue teams in need of dynamic playmakers.

A knock on Selby was his lack of production at Kansas despite his much-hyped recruiting, but if you look at his season, he actually started off strong, scoring in double figures in nine of his first 13 games before seeing his production slip. Selby is just a year removed from being thought of as one of the top high school players in the country, and even with an up and down college season, that potential is still there and could reward a team handsomely if they draft him in the late first or early second round.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

The downside with Selby? He might not be a point guard. His decision-making with the ball wasn’t great in college and although he shot well from 3-point range, his 2-point shooting was abysmal. Although his size and athleticism are major plusses if he can become a full-time point guard, his measurables become more pedestrian if he’s only capable of playing shooting guard at the next level.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Selby did lose the ball in traffic on occasion, and he’s still working on his decision-making from the midrange and point guard skills, but it was hard not to be impressed with the raw tools and natural scoring ability he brings to the table. Considering he shot 37.3% from the field as freshman, there is going to be an inevitable adjustment period for Selby at the next level, but the 6’3 guard has as high a ceiling as nearly any player projected in his draft range.

From ESPN:

Kansas guard Josh Selby also drew positive reviews for his quickness and interviews. “He’s rough around the edges, but interviewed much better than we expected,” one NBA GM said. “I don’t think most of our guards in the league can stay in front of him. He’s not a point guard, but the Monta Ellis comparisons are right on.” From everything I can gather, I think the Knicks are his floor right now.

From The Dagger:

He’s turned himself into the most impressive prospect among the 30 currently training at Impact under the watchful eye of Joe Abunassar, who works out draft hopefuls each spring and also trains several NBA veterans each summer, including Chauncey Billups, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

A couple of those veterans — Corey Maggette and Al Harrington — are already back to start their offseason workouts and have spent some time helping their potential NBA opposition.

“[Selby] has been the most pleasant surprise,” said Abunassar, a former NCAA Division-I assistant coach. “I don’t think anyone knows really how good he is.”

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Here’s a breakdown of how Ian Levy from Hickory High came up with his similarity scores.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Tyler Honeycutt

Although the Pistons had several capable bodies at the small forward position last season, Tracy McGrady and Tayshaun Prince are both free agents and Rip Hamilton seems likely to be traded. Even little-used DaJuan Summers could be playing elsewhere next season. Jonas Jerebko seems destined to play the bulk of his minutes at power forward. The point is, the Pistons could address that position with at least one of their three picks in draft.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-8, 188 pounds, sophomore SF from UCLA

Key stats: 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 41 percent

Projected: Late first/early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

Honeycutt is a multi-talented player who rebounds and blocks shots really well for a player his size. He’s long-armed and athletic and shoots 36 percent from 3-point range.

Honeycutt’s strength is defense. He led the Pac-10 in shot blocking as a sophomore, he’s quick, can stay in front of other players and is quick and long enough to get into passing lanes. If the Pistons played Honeycutt and Austin Daye on the wings at the same time, their length would prove to be an obstacle for opponents trying to get clean looks at the basket.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

The problem with Honeycutt is the same issue the Pistons have with Daye: he’s really slender. Although their length would be intriguing together, there’s no way either could prevent stronger wings from backing them down in the post.

A red flag with Honeycutt is also his shot selection. He shot 49 percent from the field as a freshman, but with a bigger role as a sophomore, that number fell to 41 percent. Although his shot-blocking and defense are close to NBA-ready, his offensive game lags behind a bit, which is why he sits at the lower part of the first round in most mocks.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Perhaps the most intriguing part of his game, and the part that may not translate immediately to the NBA level, is his passing ability. Honeycutt shows very good court vision for a player of his size, and a willingness – perhaps to a fault – to setup his teammates. The problem is he often forces the issue, making high risk passes that may not be the best option. He’ll need to improve his decision making and ball-handling ability to fully utilize his passing ability at the next level, which may limit a team’s desire to use him in a point forward role initially.

From ESPN:

The Good: Honeycutt isn’t flashy, but he’s the sort of player who is a jack of all trades. He can be a solid shooter, decent rebounder, handles the ball well, sees the floor and has a nice basketball IQ.

The Bad: Honeycutt doesn’t really stand out in any one area. He’s struggled with his shooting at times this season and his numbers, across the board, have been pretty pedestrian.

The Upside: There were high hopes for Honeycutt coming into the season, and he’s shown flashes of being an NBA prospect. But for the most part, he’s been a disappointment. If NBA GMs take any solace, it’s in the fact that UCLA prospects in Ben Howland’s system come out the other side pretty NBA-ready. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Darren Collison and Jrue Holiday all have been better in the pros than their college stats indicated they would be.

LA Times:

The biggest knock on Honeycutt is a lack of consistency from a player who scored 33 points against Kansas but led his team in scoring only three times in 34 games.

“He’s not always bringing it to what we see is his highest capability,” the NBA executive said. “The talent is there. We’d like to see more consistency out of him.”

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Here’s a breakdown of how Ian Levy from Hickory High came up with his similarity scores.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: E’Twaun Moore

Although he’s a shooting guard who doesn’t fill any specific need the Pistons have, Purdue’s E’Twaun Moore is a familiar name to statewide Big Ten hoops fans and he should be available with one of the Pistons’ two second round picks.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-4, 194 pounds, senior SG from Purdue

Key stats: 18.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals per game while shooting 45 percent

Projected: Second round

How would he help the Pistons?

Moore was a fantastic college player for Purdue. He has some limitations that make it unlikely he’ll be that kind of player as a pro, but the thing I always look for in potential second round picks is just one elite skill. Does a player do one thing well enough to land a job as a specialist on a NBA bench? For Moore, his 3-point shooting makes him intriguing. He shot 40 percent from beyond the arc at Purdue as a senior and was over the 40 percent mark in two of his four college seasons. That’s certainly a skill he can develop and carve a niche for himself in the NBA out of. Plus, he become a tough, solid defensive player. He’s undersized, but if he can be scrappy at the defensive end, he’ll earn minutes at some point on a NBA bench.

Moore quietly but steadily improved at Purdue. He’s the type of four-year player that NBA scouts always tend to ignore or overlook in the draft, but he obviously has talent and works hard at his game and he’s a player I wouldn’t be shocked to see contribute as a young player in the NBA.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Other than the fact there is a glut of shooting guards already on the roster, Moore doesn’t fill the Pistons immediate need they have on the wing: athleticism. The Pistons could use more players who are both quick off the dribble and who can go up and over opposing players in traffic. They have players like Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum who do that sometimes, but no one who attacks enough to be both a consistent and efficient threat to get in the lane. Although Moore’s perimeter shooting would be a nice addition, he might not do enough other things to make him a fit in Detroit.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

On the positive side, Moore has shown to have solid decision-making skills, rarely forcing the issue and playing within himself, despite often having to shoulder much of the scoring and creating responsibilities for Purdue. He regularly makes the correct read on pick and rolls, finds shooters on drive-and-kick situations, and has increased his assist rate and cut back on his turnovers this season, ranking in the top 10 of all players in our database in assist-to-turnover ratio.

From ESPN:

Moore may not look much like an NBA prospect at first glance. He’s an undersized combo guard without the athleticism or quickness that NBA scouts covet. But his performance for Purdue this season has forced scouts to take a second look. His perimeter shooting, his toughness on both ends of the floor and his ability to swing over and play some point guard have them rethinking his draft potential.

From NWI.com:

“I can be a good defender, a good guy to knock down shots,” he said. “It depends on which situation you go to. You can go to a team that’s bad and they need you to score, then all of a sudden, you look like you’re the man.”

Moore compares his playing style to that of a healthy Gilbert Arenas.

“My goal is to go in the first round and I’m definitely going to do what I can and work hard to make it happen,” he said.

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Here’s a breakdown of how Ian Levy from Hickory High came up with his similarity scores.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Iman Shumpert

A big, athletic point guard who sometimes struggles to involve others in the offense? Iman Shumpert likely wouldn’t get Pistons fans excited if that’s the only part of the scouting report you read, but as a projected second round pick, he does bring one discernible skill to the table that the Pistons would like.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-5, 209 pounds, junior G from Georgia Tech

Key stats: 17.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.7 steals per game while shooting 41 percent

Projected: Early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

Rodney Stuckey proponents have spent the last four seasons or so (and I’m guilty of this as much as anyone) talking about Stuckey’s defensive potential. If Stuckey ever fully engages his unique mix of size, strength and quickness, if he embraces the mentality of a stopper, he could become one of the best defensive guards in the league. Iman Shumpert, on the other hand, comes into the draft with a defensive reputation that precedes him. He’s big, fast and strong and despite the struggles of Georgia Tech during his career, he’s had great defensive performances against some big time college stars. He’s big enough to body up and be physical, but his quickness and long wingspan helped him create turnovers as he averaged nearly three steals per game.

Holes in his game offensively knock Shumpert into a likely second round pick, but if he enters the league using defense as his ticket and willing to play that role, he can be a very useful player on a team’s bench and be a potentially valuable second round pick.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

The shot selection is a killer. The Pistons already have too many shoot-first guards on the roster. Shumpert may certainly be able to straighten that part of his game out, but it will be an adjustment. He dominated the ball at Tech and too often fell in love with his jumper. He shot just 27 percent from 3-point range. Last season, he attempted 151 threes. Each of his three seasons at Tech, that number went up. Worse, he was a pretty good shooter when he stayed inside the arc, making almost 48 percent of his shots inside the 3-point line. Questionable shot selection and over-reliance on jumpers are not uncommon in young guards, but someone with Shumpert’s size advantage is capable of getting much better shots in closer range.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Shumpert’s most consistent contributions come in transition, where he can use his speed and first step most effectively. A solid finisher who has become more adept at drawing contact and finishing plays himself instead of forcing tough passes, Shumpert still flashes good court vision on occasion, but has a great deal of room to improve offensively on the whole.

From ESPN:

Shumpert has been offensively challenged all year. He’s struggled to find his range just about anywhere on the floor. But his defense? Wow. He did a remarkable job on James Anderson and Evan Turner. If he can get it going offensively as a junior, he’s got the chance to be a lottery pick in 2011.

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

It seems as if Shumpert is in a pool with other point guards – including Shelvin Mack (Butler), Malcolm Lee (UCLA), Diante Garrett (Iowa State), Nolan Smith (Duke) and Isaiah Thomas (Washington) – in which he’ll have to distinguish himself just to have a chance to get into the first round.

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Here’s a breakdown of how Ian Levy from Hickory High came up with his similarity scores.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Tristan Thompson

Last season, with the Pistons picking seventh overall, most experts believed the Pistons would end up with North Carolina’s Ed Davis, a solid but decidedly unsexy pick. We of course know that instead, fate (and the braintrust of the Golden State Warriors) intervened and allowed Greg Monroe to fall to that seven spot. This season, with the Pistons picking eighth, a consensus seems to be building that the team will end up with Tristan Thompson, a fine player out of Texas but, like Davis, not a particularly well-known one. We’ll see if it actually plays out that way, but we might as well take a look at Thompson with his name so heavily associated with Detroit over the last week.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-9, 225 pounds, freshman F from Texas

Key stats: 13.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 blocks per game while shooting 55 percent

Projected: Lottery

How would he help the Pistons?

Thompson is one of a handful of lottery-level frontcourt players who would compliment Monroe simply because of athleticism. As we saw with Monroe last season, he’s a crafty player with quick hands, but he’s not a leaper or shot-blocker and he doesn’t have a lot of lateral quickness on defense. Finding a player who can jump, protect the rim, run the floor and finish would add a much-needed dimension to the Pistons. Thompson has a long wingspan, which allows him to block shots despite being a bit undersized (he measured just under 6-foot-9 at the combine). The fact that he’s left-handed like Monroe would also make the Pistons potential starting frontcourt a unique matchup problem if both Thompson and Monroe developed as post players on offense.

Thompson isn’t the most refined player on offense, but the good part about his game is he doesn’t try to do too much. He doesn’t over-dribble, he has an extremely quick first-step and he typically just makes a quick, decisive move and uses that explosion to get to the basket. Thompson is really active without the ball on offense, and as we saw last season with the Monroe and Chris Wilcox combo, Monroe frequently found the active Wilcox cutting to the basket. Adding Thompson and a healthy Jonas Jerebko around Monroe next year should ensure that the Pistons’ cutters are always being found for easy shots.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Along with his height, Thompson has some definite areas to improve. He has very little range as most of his points come right around the basket. In fact, he might not even have range out to the free throw line. He only shot about 49 percent there for the season. He’s also too light for the NBA paint and needs to add some bulk, which would help him back down opponents easier and not have to rely solely on trying to explode past everyone.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

His ability to move without the ball, in particular, is promising to his early NBA prospects, as he will not likely have many plays run for him until he develops further. He is most effective cutting to the basket and finishing off of dump passes and lobs at this point. Texas rarely utilized him in the pick-and-roll, but he looked very solid in limited possessions where he showcased his quickness and mobility—something that could become a staple of his game in the NBA.

From ESPN:

Another year at Texas would really help his game. But his draft stock? I don’t think it will ever be higher. Teams are looking for tough, athletic, versatile forwards. Thompson’s work on the offensive boards alone should get him into the lottery. Right now, folks are willing to overlook the flaws in his game. If the flaws persisted over another year at Texas, I’m not sure they’d do it again.

From NBADraft.net:

He has an extremely quick second jump, and he is able to time his attack and get his hands on a high percentage of missed shots … His length also posses problems on the defensive end, as he is able to recover quickly or slide over from the weakside to block and contest shots around the basket

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Here’s a breakdown of how Ian Levy from Hickory High came up with his similarity scores.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Travis Leslie

With draft picks like Rodney Stuckey and Terrico White, Joe Dumars has shown that he likes guards who are strong and athletic. Travis Leslie might be among the most athletic players in this year’s draft. Also, he said and then didn’t say that he was better than Tony Allen.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-4, 205 pounds,  junior G from Georgia

Key stats: 14.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.2 steals per game while shooting 49 percent

Projected: Late first/early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

As I’ve mentioned throughout this series, the Pistons are not an athletic team with the exception of a couple of players and I won’t spend many words explaining what Leslie would bring to the table in that department. Just watch:

It’s safe to say Leslie and White would make practices more entertaining with their leaping ability. But he’s not just a dunking machine. Leslie has a good work ethic and has an outstanding rebounding average for a guard. His 49 percent shooting also shows that his shot selection is generally pretty good, and his finishing ability is obvious.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

The Pistons don’t need more guards. But they didn’t really need more guards last year when they selected White in the second round. Dumars picked White because he was a first round talent who fell, and although Leslie may not fall to the second round, if he were on the board when the Pistons pick early in that round, he’d be hard to pass up even if he doesn’t fill an immediate need.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Defensively, Leslie has all the tools to be successful on the NBA level, even if he is undersized. He shows active hands and solid lateral quickness, making him quite a pest in the college game. At this juncture, he needs to gain experience guarding the perimeter full time, as he still spends some time defending power forwards depending on who UGA is matching up with. With additional coaching, Leslie should become a very solid individual and team defender, only adding to his merits as a terrific rebounder for his size on both ends of the court.

From ESPN:

An amazing athlete and perhaps the best leaper in college basketball, Leslie could compete in an NBA dunk contest. But is he an NBA player? His lack of a jump shot and lack of size for his position have scouts worried. If he was two inches taller and could stroke the ball, he’d be a lottery pick. As it stands now, he’s on the first-round bubble.

From NBADraft.net:

Playmaking is not a staple, but he’s capable of getting inside the lane with a lightning quick first step … Assist figures are on the rise (0.6 to 2.5 to 2.9). Versatile defender. Able to guard multiple positions using his combination of strength and agility … An attacking presence defensively, trusting his physical gifts … Quick hands and plays passing lanes well (1.1 career stl) … Blocked a shot per game as a sophomore.

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Here’s a breakdown of how Ian Levy from Hickory High came up with his similarity scores.

Previously