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Category → Draft Dreams 2011

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Chris Singleton

I love reading about draft prospects who defend, and I assume after watching the Pistons quickly lose the defensive reputation that made them great, most fans would love to see someone known as a defensive stopper join the Pistons next season. Most scouts who analyze Chris Singleton are quick to point to his D.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-9, 225 pounds,  junior F from Florida State

Key stats: 13.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 2.0 steals per game while shooting 43 percent

Projected: Late first/early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

Another hybrid forward, Singleton is best suited to the perimeter, but his long arms and shot-blocking ability could make him a very bothersome defender on the wings in the NBA. Singleton is an experienced player who improved all three years he was at FSU. He’s another pick that would potentially make Detroit much more athletic and, if Rodney Stuckey is back as expected, Singleton’s ability to run the floor would compliment the faster pace Stuckey would like to play. Singleton also has range, shooting close to 35 percent on 3s this season.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Notice, unlike with Kawhi Leonard, another athletic hybrid forward, I didn’t mention energy with Singleton. The knock on Singleton has been that he doesn’t always play with the passion/energy befitting a player with his athletic gifts. He did improve at FSU, but not as much as scouts had hoped as he has the physical skills to be a much higher pick in this draft. Still though, if he manages to slip to the early second round, his talent would be quite a find for the Pistons.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Another positive development revolves around Singleton’s post-up game. We’ve seen a lot more of him on the block this season, and he’s enjoying greater success there. With the huge size advantage he enjoys on a nightly basis at the small forward position, and even at the power forward position at times, where he’s playing a lot more this year, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be doing this even more.

From ESPN:

Singleton has been a hot prospect from the moment he stepped foot on Florida State’s campus. But for the most part, he’s failed to live up to lofty expectations. On the plus side, Singleton is an elite athlete and a terrific on the ball defender who can guard three positions on the floor. He’s also continued to improve his jump shot to the point that it’s passable. But until he shows more consistency on the offensive end of the ball, his ceiling is really that of a terrific defensive stopper. He’s a likely mid first round pick.

From the Associated Press:

Singleton leaves early with the blessing of his coach.

“He’s ready,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said Wednesday. “Chris brings an intangible to the NBA. He’s a lockdown defender and can play three, four positions.”

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

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

Previously

Talking NBA Draft at ESPN.com

I participated in ESPN’s 5-on-5 series today, discussing the NBA Draft. For those who have been following the Draft Dreams series here, I touched on some points I’ve made in some of those posts, but here is the gist of my responses to the ESPN topics:

  • I think (obviously) that Irving, Williams and Kanter, in that order, are the top three players in the draft.
  • I think that Reggie Jackson is almost criminally underrated.
  • I think that had Darius Morris and Nikola Vucevic stayed in school and continued to improve, they would’ve been considered even better prospects next year.
  • I think Jimmer Fredette will be a fine offensive-minded sixth man in the league.
  • I hope one of the teams in the lower half of the lottery (preferably the Pistons) wins it.

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard has spent his college career as a relatively unknown talent. His San Diego State team, however, finally got a bit of national recognition as one of the top-ranked college basketball teams all season and Leonard has continued that momentum with strong pre-draft performances.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-7, 225 pounds,  sophomore F from San Diego State

Key stats: 15.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists per game while shooting 44 percent

Projected: Lottery

How would he help the Pistons?

The Pistons had a lot of weaknesses last season, but if we’re breaking the team down to it’s most basic level, the one thing they lacked virtually every night was energy. Leonard was one of the most energetic players in college basketball last season. He played as kind of a tweener forward at SDSU, but his size makes him likely a wing player in the NBA. Still though, despite giving up some size, Leonard’s double-digit rebounding average speaks to his motor and ability to go get the ball in traffic. The Pistons have several players vying for perimeter minutes, but the Pistons are one of the least athletic, slowest teams in the league and Leonard would address both of those deficiencies.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

He’s a project offensively. He was able to get points around the basket in college because of his ability to get offensive rebounds and go up and finish, but those opportunities will be harder to come by in the NBA. Leonard does handle the ball fairly well for a forward, but his shooting range (only 29 percent from three) and consistency in his mid-range game need some work.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

What makes Leonard an enigmatic prospect is his lack of a go-to offensive skill, despite the many different ways he was involved in San Diego State’s game plan. According to Synergy Sports Technology, no single offensive situation accounted for more than 17% of his touches, with Spot-Ups, Isolations, Put Backs, Fast Breaks, Cuts, and Pick and Roll situations each accounting for anywhere between 8-18% of his total possessions. Leonard ranks right around the 45th percentile amongst all NCAA players in each of those metrics in terms of Points Per-Possession.

From ESPN:

I was blown away by Leonard at the workouts. Not only is his physical profile impressive (huge hands, long wing span, NBA body), but also he’s much more skilled than your typical high-energy forward.Leonard has been working on his jump shot since the season ended and was stroking it from NBA 3-point range the two days I was in the gym. And he demonstrated excellent ball-handling skills for a player his size — both are prerequisites for an NBA small forward. He also has the ability to guard the 2, 3 and 4 at the next level.

Leonard proved to be a real gym rat as well. He was the first guy in the gym and the last one to leave both days I was there. On Tuesday I arrived at 9 a.m. and left at 5:30 — Leonard was there the whole time working on various things; he must have shot 1,000 jumpers.

From HoopsWorld:

Nearly every lottery team has Leonard high on their draft board. After Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, this draft is wide open and there’s a possibility that Leonard could move into the top five.

Kawhi Leonard is easy to like with his unique blend of athleticism, power and range. He won’t have any trouble making a team fall in love with his game, and where he ultimately lands will have a lot to do with where the ping pong balls bounce next week.

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: Norris Cole

With three picks in this draft, it’s safe to say most fans want the Pistons to come out of it with two promising bigs. Although that may or may not play out, the point guard position is another lightning rod and there just so happens to be a player projected in the second round who could help at that spot in Norris Cole.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds,  senior PG from Cleveland State

Key stats: 21.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.2 steals per game while shooting 44 percent

Projected: Second round

How would he help the Pistons?

Cole has all of the characteristics teams want in a PG: he’s a good leader, he’s strong, he has decent range and he’s a willing passer. He’s also shown some defensive ability as one of the Horizon League leaders in steals and his rebounding average is good for a guard his size. He’s had to score a lot as Cleveland State’s best offensive player, but he’s still a more natural PG who has played that position throughout college unlike some other PG prospects in the draft who have spent more time on the wing than as facilitators.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

The Horizon League is certainly not the highest level of Division I competition, but Cole has faced talented guards like Butler’s Shelvin Mack (also a NBA prospect) and the University of Detroit’s Ray McCallum (Seriously … remember that name. He might be a lottery pick in a year or two.). Still though, there isn’t the night-in, night-out great competition that is required of NBA guards and that leaves some question as to how quickly Cole will adapt. Also, as the focal point of his team’s offense, Cole will have to adjust to playing a role in order to earn a roster spot and minutes as a second round pick.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

The most improved aspect of Cole’s game this season would have to be his point guard abilities and overall feel for the game, as he’s developed into a complete point guard capable of making all the passes needed in the halfcourt and transition. Cole does most of his damage operating out of the pick-and-roll, where he sees the entire floor at all times, keeps his head up, and frequently makes tough passes out of double teams to open teammates.

From ESPN:

Cole emerged from the Deron Williams Skills Academy sessions in Chicago with scouts raving about his high basketball IQ, steadiness on the floor and leadership ability. He isn’t elite in any category, but a number of scouts walked away from the camp feeling he was as good a prospect as anyone there. He’s been a little under our radar the past few years, but we’ll give him a close look during his senior season. Consider him a potential second-round sleeper.

From Waiting For Next Year:

But even then, while I thought they’d be as good as Cleveland State could possibly be under Waters, I never thought that success would actually include sending alumni into the NBA.

Because that’s where Cedric Jackson’s gone, and that’s where Norris Cole is going.  For sure.  He will play in the NBA.

In fact, NBA Draft.Net as of Friday morning has Norris Cole projected as the 43rd overall pick, going to the Phoenix Suns in the 2nd Round.  Then he had a monster game on Saturday.

Then highlights of he and his squad’s game were played on ESPN along with his profile pic being plastered right next to Blake Griffin’s all night last night.  On Sportscenter.

What’s also specifically cool, besides Cole’s flat-top, is the fact that he’s a finalist for the Bob Cousy award.  A finalist.

Hickory High’s comparisons:

Ian Levy from Hickory High contacted us with some pretty cool work he’s doing. Here’s his explanation:

I’ve built a system for making statistical comparisons between draft prospects and players drafted from other seasons. The system produces similarity scores, something Basketball-Reference and others, have used in the past. The players are compared across a number of categories and a score is generated on a scale of 0-1000, 1000 being a perfect match. For example, Kemba Walker’s closest comparables were Troy Bell-892, Eric Maynor-884, and Devin Harris-882.

It’s similar to systems that Kevin Pelton and John Hollinger use, although mine is obviously a lot less refined. I believe Hollinger’s system is a straight projection of NBA performance. Pelton’s system compares college players to NBA players to try and predict a career arc. Mine is simply a snapshot of a moment in time: Player A’s college production most closely resembles Player B’s. It doesn’t account for things like potential, personality, athleticism, etc.; other than how they manifest in a player’s statistical production. For that reason it’s a little limited in projecting how successful a player may be. I also haven’t figured out how to convert Euroleague stats, so at this time it just covers college players.

Here’s a link to Ian’s table of contents for players he’s already completed the statistical work for. Here’s the link to Cole’s page. As you can see, his closest similarity scores from college belong to Eric Maynor, Rodney Stuckey and Devin Harris, not bad company, particularly for a projected second rounder, if Cole can come close to matching the production of any of those guys as pros. Check out the players Ian has the work done on and I’ll go back and add links to the players he’s finished working and who I’ve profiled in earlier Draft Dreams posts.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Alec Burks

A lot of fans won’t want to hear this, but the Pistons may very well be in a position where the best player available if they don’t move into the top three in the draft lottery will be a wing player. The Pistons are big-man needy, but look around the NBA. That’s a pretty common problem, and the best bigs at the top of the draft could be off the board if the Pistons pick in the 7-10 range. So what’s a team to do? Maybe draft Alec Burks. The Pistons seemed to do OK with another high-scoring former Colorado guard in Chauncey Billups.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-6, 195 pounds,  sophomore G from Colorado

Key stats: 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists per game while shooting 47 percent

Projected: Lottery

How would he help the Pistons?

Size and athleticism-wise, Burks is the prototypical NBA shooting guard. He gets to the rim and finishes as well as anyone in college basketball. He’s a good rebounder for a guard. His quickness, size and long arms could allow him to become a very good defensive player. The Pistons had a lot of players play in isolation this season. It looked ugly because they don’t have a player capable of consistently getting good shots out of those iso situations. Burks was that player, however, at the college level. He shot 53 and 47 percent at Colorado, has an ability to set up teammates and he’s perhaps the most intriguing prospect in the lower half of the lottery.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

First and foremost, he has to shoot better from the perimeter. He shot 29 percent from three last season. That’s not a major red flag as several athletic perimeter players come into the NBA needing work on their jumpers (Derrick Rose, John Wall and Russell Westbrook are recent examples). But in the likely event that Rodney Stuckey is back as the team’s point guard, would the Pistons be able to play two guys who are more comfortable slashing to the basket in the same backcourt? With Stuckey, his lack of a jumper has been a hindrance to his slashing ability in the NBA because defenders simply sag off of him. Burks might find himself in that same boat if his jumper doesn’t improve.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Unlike most big-time scorers from small(er) colleges, Burks is a fairly unselfish player who is more than capable of making the extra pass. Even if he’s often asked to be the one creating and finishing shots for his team (particularly late in the shot clock), he’s a nice weapon to have in a half-court offense thanks to his solid court vision and good basketball IQ. When Colorado’s starting point guard goes to the bench, Burks will man the position, which is a good indication of the versatility he brings to the table.

From ESPN:

Burks is one of the best athletes in the draft and our top rated SG in our Top 100. His ability to get to the rim and finish is the big draw for NBA execs. If he was a better shooter, he’d be a top 5 pick. As it stands right now, he’s a likely lottery pick.

From The Denver Post:

In two years, Burks has made his mark on the Colorado record book. His career scoring average (19.0) ranks only behind Cliff Meely (24.3) and Shaun Vandiver (20.6). He holds CU freshman (512 points) and sophomore (779) scoring records. And as a sophomore he became the first Buff in history to reach 770 points, 240 rebounds and 100 assists in the same season.

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Klay Thompson

We know the Pistons don’t necessarily need shooting guard help. But if Rip Hamilton is shopped aggressively as expected and eventually moved, the Pistons suddenly have a very small backcourt. Washington State’s Klay Thompson could provide a remedy to that.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-6, 202 pounds,  junior G from Washington State

Key stats: 21.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.7 blocks per game while shooting 44 percent and 39 percent from three

Projected: Late first/Early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

Thompson has been projected to go as high as the early 20s in the draft, but he could also slip into the early second round where the Pistons pick. He does a few things well: he’s a very good perimeter shooter, he moves the ball well in a halfcourt offense and he’s an above average rebounder for a guard. Plus with his size and strength, he could potentially become a tough matchup for smaller opposing shooting guards if he’s able to develop a better mid-range or back-to-the-basket game that would allow him to take more advantage of mismatches.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

As with any wing player the Pistons considered, Thompson would have problems finding minutes if the Pistons aren’t able to make a roster move or two that thins out the team’s abundance of perimeter players. Thompson is only an average athlete, so if the Pistons take him, there would be concerns about his ability to stay in front of opposing shooting guards at the NBA level. His range and size make him intriguing, but minus improved lateral quickness, his future would more likely be as a reserve than a starting caliber player.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

On the defensive end, Thompson’s problems are still largely the same, and he’ll always be at a disadvantage athletically, not having the foot speed to stay in front of most NBA-caliber athletes consistently. His effort level on this end of the floor has improved throughout his three years in school, and he does do a good job using his length to compensate for some of his other shortcomings, but this is still an area he needs to continue working on. His problems are even more pronounced in pick-and-rolls and when coming off screens, as once his defender has a half-step on him he has little chance of recovering from behind.

From ESPN:

He (Thompson) showed in the workout that he is more athletic than people give him credit for. He’s not an elite athlete such as Alec Burks or Travis Leslie, but he’s going to be quick enough to excel at the 2-spot. Given his elite shooting ability, ballhandling and basketball IQ, he’s the most complete 2-guard prospect in the draft.

From The Dagger:

I don’t know about his character. I know he’s had a couple issues here and there. But as far as him as a player, he’s got great size, he can make shots, you can run him off screens. I think he’s a kid that will go 20 to 35. I’m really a big fan of his. You can run him off screens for days. He can space your defense out. He can drive on long closeouts. He’s a good player, a very good player.

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Justin Harper

The Pistons are in a good position holding the third pick in the second round. Every year, late first round talents fall into the early second, and with this draft heavy in bigs who are considered projects, the Pistons could nab someone who falls out of the first round, including Richmond’s Justin Harper.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-10, 225 pounds,  senior F from Richmond

Key stats: 17.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 53 percent

Projected: Late First Round

How would he help the Pistons?

Most Pistons fans will look at Harper’s lack of bulk along with his pedestrian rebounding average and say, ‘next.’ But the best thing to like about Harper’s game is the leap he took between his junior and senior seasons.

I always like college players who show significant improvement. As a junior, Harper was a solid role player at Mid-Major school Richmond, averaging about 11 points and five boards per game. He’d never shot 50 percent in a season, never came close to 40 percent on 3-pointers and wasn’t considered a NBA prospect.

As a senior, he became a legitimate go-to player. His 53 percent shooting bested his previous career-best by 5 percent. His 45 percent 3-point shooting was 8 percent higher than his previous best.

Joe Dumars loves picking versatile, athletic, players in the second round who aren’t necessarily confined to a position. Harper’s shot-blocking ability would potentially help him find a niche with the Pistons and his versatile offensive skillset — he was effective in the paint and from the perimeter for Richmond — give him the appearance of a stronger version of Austin Daye. Harper’s skillset, along with his obvious work ethic that allowed him to make a dramatic leap in production, make him intriguing if he’s available in the second round.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

The Pistons might be in the market for a more conventional big man. With picks like Daye and Jonas Jerebko in recent years, along with the signing of Charlie Villanueva, Dumars has seemed to show a preference for offense and positional indifference rather than for finding guys who strictly fit into traditional position roles. That strategy obviously hasn’t been a great success so far. This offseason is a big one for Dumars, and it will be interesting to see if he continues with whatever his vision was for a rebuilt Pistons team when he started desconstructing his title contender three years ago or if he makes some adjustments and puts more of a premium on defense and rebounding over offensive versatility. My hunch is he will look to make the team bigger and stronger, particularly up front, and if that’s the case, I don’t know that Harper would be a fit.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

And that’s where the tremendous intrigue of Harper’s game comes into focus. While the practice of evaluating international prospects with size and skill is an annual practice among NBA scouts, rare is the American college player that presents this kind of package at the high level that the Richmond senior does. While he certainly isn’t on the same level as Kevin Durant, it’s easy to make the argument that no college player has so closely resembled the current NBA star since he left the University of Texas four years ago.

From ESPN:

Harper is another sleeper to watch carefully this year. He has three attributes that NBA scouts covet — he can shoot from distance, is an excellent athlete and he’s 6-foot-10. Reminds me a bit of Channing Frye. He won’t be a great rebounder or a tough low post player in the pros, but his ability to stretch the floor is intriguing.

From NBADraft.net:

Has a fluid stroke with range out to NBA 3 … A quality spot up shooter who gets his feet set and releases the ball in good speed for a 6-10 forward … Has been on an absolute tear shooting 49% from 3 on a high volume of shots as a senior … Likes to roam around the perimeter, gain possession of the ball and face the basket … Utilizes his excellent foot speed well to beat defenders … Proficient at getting defenders off balance with a pump fake/jab step and then blowing by them and getting to the rim using the dribble … His quickness and shooting ability makes him excellent in pick and pop situations … Quality free throw shooter at over 80% … Has an effective righty jump hook he uses when he spins right … Can create shots off the dribble and uses a spin move and polished fade away jumper … Handles the ball well for a 4

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Markieff Morris

In earlier mock drafts, both of the Kansas twins, Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris, were considered first round picks with Marcus considered the better prospect of the two. But because of several big names pulling out, Markieff has closed the gap and DraftExpress now has them neck and neck in their latest rankings.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-10, 245 pounds,  junior PF from Kansas

Key stats: 13.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 58 percent

Projected: First Round

How would he help the Pistons?

Much like his brother, Markieff Morris had a productive college career at one of the top programs in the country. He’s strong, smart and a good enough rebounder to garner minutes right away in a NBA rotation, something that could be appealing to the Pistons if new owner Tom Gores comes in with a ‘win now’ edict.

Morris is a good and crafty scorer around the basket and he extended the range on his jumper during his college career. As a junior, he attempted 59 3-pointers and hit 42 percent of them. He had only attempted 35 threes combined his previous two seasons.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Also like his brother, there are questions about how much upside Morris has. That’s not to say he won’t become a capable NBA player, because his physical tools and production at Kansas suggest he might. But as a junior who was never asked to be the go-to scorer at Kansas, teams in this draft might be more interested in the young bigs who are still filling out or have more intriguing athleticism/upside over players like the Morris twins, who are viewed, fairly or not, as relatively finished products.

In reality, players like Markieff or Marcus Morris might turn out to be exactly what the Pistons are looking for if they pick in the 7-10 range in the lottery — blue collar players who defend and rebound, can hit an open 15-footer and will help Greg Monroe and Jonas Jerebko on the boards. They just aren’t likely to become the star Detroit needs.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Though Morris still has a ways to develop, and could stand to cut down on his turnovers and improve his overall decision-making, the progress he’s made this season has been overwhelmingly positive. Looking at his freshman season alone, Morris seemed bound for a basic catch-and-finish role predicated on hustle and defensive toughness that would have him spending virtually all of his times at the rim or in the paint. His offensive skill set now fills a variety of roles that fit nicely with the ever-increasing versatility of the power forward position on the NBA level.

From ESPN:

Markieff has lived in the shadow of his brother, Marcus, for the first two years at KU. No more. Markieff was always known as the better defender — a taller, slightly more explosive version of his brother. But this year he found his offensive rhythm as well. He actually posted a higher PER rating than Marcus, shot a pretty incredibly 42 percent from three and, at times, looked like the more surefire NBA prospect thanks to his size advantage. Markieff is a likely mid first-round pick this year.

From NBADraft.net:

He does an excellent job at finishing around the rim, using long and effective drop steps for better positioning when dealing in the paint … Shows nice touch on his short, over the shoulder baby hook shot … He’s become extremely efficient from the perimeter, shooting 42% from downtown and looking fluent and comfortable in spot up opportunities … Averaged a block and 8.3 rebounds in just 24 minutes of play, illustrating his high activity level and aggressive nature on the interior … Defensively he plays with focus and passion, using his strength to force tough shots in the post … Both he and his twin Marcus exhibit an aggressive “bullying” demeanor.

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Jonas Valanciunas

Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams have pretty much assured themselves of being the top two picks in the draft, but quietly the best international prospect in the draft, Jonas Valanciunas, has moved solidly into that three spot in just about every mock draft out there right now, and with his mix of youth and size, it’s not inconceivable that he could move into the top two with great pre-draft workouts. The Pistons would need some luck to get him, but he’s a prospect they’d gladly take if they sneak into the top three somehow.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-11, 240 pounds, 18-year-old F/C from Lithuania

Key stats: 7.7 points, 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 71 percent with Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius in the Lithuanian league

Projected: Top five

How would he help the Pistons?

He’s solidified his position as the big man with the most upside (Bismack Biyambo fever aside) in this draft. At one time, he was actually rated behind Donatas Motiejunas among international prospects, but with a good performance in Euroleague play and some promising workouts, Valanciunas has surpassed Motiejunas according to most scouts.

He, like most young players in European leagues, didn’t play big minutes, but as his 71 percent shooting shows, he’s fantastic around the basket. Below are some of his highlights, and the thing that stands out most to me are his hands. He is constantly catching the ball in traffic, and the best part is, he catches it high and keeps it high. If you remember back to the Darko Milicic days, one of the things that Darko was harped on about the most was his tendency to catch the ball, then bring it down to his waist level before trying to make a move.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

The first real question about Valanciunas is one that virtually every big man in every draft faces: can he bulk up? At just 18, he already has a pretty solid build, so he looks like adding weight shouldn’t be a problem.

The second area he’ll have to improve is also something young bigs struggle with, but it’s a harder habit to kick: he fouls a lot. Valanciunas was averaging 3.1 fouls in just 14.9 minutes per game in league play.

Neither of those things should be major red flags as they are pretty common things for young bigs to struggle with, but they are also both things that may prevent him from contributing a lot as a rookie, and it would be really helpful for the Pistons if they came out of this draft with someone who could give quality minutes immediately in some capacity. ESPN also reported in March that his buyout in Europe could be an expensive one, meaning a team that drafts him might have to wait a season or two to get him. He might still be worth the pick, but that would obviously derail any plans of him making an immediate impact.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

He runs the floor extremely well, is quick off his feet and has no qualms whatsoever about throwing his body around in the paint. Not one to just stand around and wait for opportunities to come to him, Valanciunas wants to be productive all the time, which is a big reason he’s been able to earn playing time in such a demanding environment this season, despite his obvious immaturity.

“I don’t have very good skills right now, many good moves, so I have to fight,” he tells us.

From ESPN:

Valanciunas is the most highly rated international player on our board. But will he come to the NBA this season? Concerns about a massive buyout could keep him in Europe for a couple more years. Is anyone willing to take the risk high in the lottery?

From NBADraft.net:

Extremely fluid running the floor for a player his size … His long wingspan and huge hands make him an imposing force inside … Has good dexterity to catch the ball and make plays around the basket … A good athlete who gets off the floor well and attacks the rim … Born in 1992, considering his age, he appears to be a guy that is not done growing and could top out at well over 7-feet … Wide shoulders will allow him to put on a good deal of strength and weight without hindering his agility.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Reggie Jackson

Boston College guard Reggie Jackson  hasn’t hired an agent and his name has been everywhere from mid first round to late first round to early second round in mock drafts. He’s not the biggest name out there, but if he stays in and somehow falls, he’d be a fantastic pick for the Pistons with the first of their second rounders.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 208 pounds, junior G from Boston College

Key stats: 18.2 points, 4.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from three

Projected: Late first/early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

A big guard with the ability to play the point who shot 50 percent overall and over 40 percent from three? Sign me up. I actually have no idea why Jackson isn’t considered a lock for the first round right now.

He is a long-armed and athletic player who can shoot and who has point guard ability, although BC needed him to do a lot of scoring for them. He’d represent great value for the Pistons if he fell to them early in the second round and I see no downside to taking him if he stays in the draft and that happens. The project big men who might be hanging around in the second round are nice, but I’d much rather take my chances on a player like Jackson developing with his size and shooting ability than hope that a skinny four-year center like Keith Benson or JaJuan Johnson not only develops, but can add enough weight to make a NBA rotation. I like both of those guys, but I think the odds heavily favor a player like Jackson, who wouldn’t have the added pressure of needing to bulk up just to be able to get on the court.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Well, the first reason he wouldn’t help them is he probably won’t be there. As I said, I can’t imagine that in a weak draft, a PG prospect like Jackson won’t move into the first round.

The only real downside to drafting him would mean the Pistons would have tougher roster decisions to make. They’d essentially have to choose between keeping Jackson and Terrico White, since it would be unlikely the team would carry two young, unproven PG prospects. If they took Jackson and he proves to have some potential during camp to play and help the team, they’d also have to make a decision on Rodney Stuckey. Competition from players behind him, whether that would be a player like White or Jackson or incumbent backup Will Bynum, would mean Stuckey would either see decreased minutes or they’d have to clear minutes at SG for hm. I don’t think any of those scenarios are necessarily bad things, but taking a guard like Jackson makes the roster more complex than just taking a big man and throwing him into the mix.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Much of Jackson’s development since last season can be attributed to the way he utilizes his athleticism. Standing 6’3 with a giant wingspan, but an underdeveloped frame, Jackson has excellent size for a point guard, and while he does a lot of scoring at the college level, he has the makings of a potential floor general on the NBA level if he improves his ability to orchestrate an offense. He took a big step towards that end by learning how to play at different speeds, something that he didn’t do effectively last season. That change has allowed him to cut down on his mistakes considerably, yielding his impressive 2.9 assists-to-turnover ratio. Slowing the game down and using his excellent quickness to exploit seams within the flow of the offense instead of using it to force action, Jackson has looked terrific in the open floor and in most half court situations early this season.

From ESPN:

Jackson is one of the true sleepers in this year’s draft. He’s coming off a terrific season at Boston College where he averaged 18 ppg, 4.5 apg, 4.3 rpg and shot an impressive 42 percent from three. He’s long, athletic, has great quickness, can run a team and shoot the basketball. Those types of players are typically lottery picks at the end of the day. Scouts have been a little bit slower on the uptake with Jackson, but every NBA team I spoke with has him as a solid first-round pick. A few have him in the lottery. He’s also the type that could really rise with terrific workouts. I expect he’ll stay in the draft.

From NBADraft.net:

It all starts with Jackson’s arms. Despite being 6’3, his incredible 7 foot wingspan allows him to play significantly taller … Good foot speed and length make Jackson a terrific defender.

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