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Category → Draft Dreams 2011

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Shelvin Mack

It’s not that Shelvin Mack was unfamiliar to me heading into this season’s NCAA tournament. I just didn’t realize how good he is. Mack’s toughness, decision-making and defense have been extremely impressive in Butler’s run to a second straight national title game, particularly his performance against VCU’s Joey Rodriguez, helping hold him to 1-for-8 shooting and just three points. Mack is only a junior and could decide to stay in school, but if he enters the draft, he’s threatening to enter that late first round area of the draft.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, junior guard from Butler

Key stats: 16.1 points, 3.5 assists, 4.4 rebounds per game while shooting 41 percent from the field and 35 percent from three

Projected: Late first/early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

Mack’s best attributes — strength, defense and 3-point shooting — all happen to be weaknesses among the team’s incumbents at point guard. Rodney Stuckey has the physical strength and shows flashes on defense, but his behavior this season hasn’t done much to inspire confidence. Will Bynum is fine as an energetic scorer/playmaker off the bench, but he’s a defensive liability who hasn’t proven he can run a halfcourt offense. Mack might not be a future star at the point guard spot, but the Pistons are still searching at the position, and Mack is one of a handful of steady college players who might be worth a look when they pick in the second round.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

There’s no questioning Butler’s tourney success. The team has proven to be among the best in the country for two straight seasons. But the reality is there are questions about any smaller conference player when it comes to projecting NBA ability. Mack also plays in a very methodical offense at Butler. That’s not such a bad thing from Detroit’s perspective since they are a halfcourt team as well, but there’s an adjustment going from using all of a 35 second shot clock to a 24 second clock. Mack’s FG percentage isn’t great — he shoots in the low forties for his career — and he’s not as explosive as some of the other guards who could be late first/early second round picks. While he can play the point, he’s also played off the ball quite a bit at Butler, so there’s no guarantee he could transition to a full time PG in the NBA.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Mack came to Butler primarily getting his offense in transition and as a spot-up shooter during his freshman season. That shot distribution has changed drastically during the past two years as he’s shouldered a heavier burden creating in the half court offense. Mack is now getting less of his offense on spot-up and transition opportunities, instead being asked to create off the pick and roll and in isolation situations. In fact, according to Synergy Sports Technology, over 29% of his half court offense is now coming from pick and roll situations, up from 18.7% during his sophomore campaign and 13.3% as a freshman.

From ESPN:

The Good: Mack is a big-time shooter with deep range on his jump shot. He’s tough, physical and built like a tank. Despite his size, he’s deceptively quick and a good floor leader.

The Bad: He’s struggled a bit with his jump shot this season. Scouts see him as a tweener. Does he have the requisite vision to be a point guard in the pros? If not, he’s undersized.

The Upside: Mack helped his stock quite a bit last season playing alongside Gordon Hayward. He’s struggled to make big improvements over his sophomore season, however. Another big tournament from Mack and Butler could put him back on the first-round bubble.

From NBA Draft.net:

Very composed. Always on balance, never seems to rush things. Good pace to his game. Plays smart, values the basketball … Aggressive scorer with a crafty offensive game. Really knows how to create shots and has a strong one on one game. Good shot selection … Can knock opponents off balance and uses hesitation moves extremely well to create shots with opponents falling off balance and out of his way … Strong jump shooter and mid-range game with a strong ability to create shots for himself off the dribble … Beautiful shooting motion with excellent lift, a smooth, quick release and excellent overall form … Has the physique of an NBA linebacker with huge shoulders and a barrel chest and uses his excellent body strength to his advantage

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

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Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Donatas Motiejunas

Last year, doing this draft series for MLive, one of the most commented on posts of the series was the profile I did about Donatas Motiejunas. It seems the thought of the Pistons using their second lottery pick in a decade on an Eastern European, left-handed big man with a funny sounding name who may fancy himself more of a perimeter player than a post player had readers a little terrified. Motiejunas eventually withdrew his name from the draft, so it was a scenario Pistons fans didn’t have to fear, but he’s once again regarded this year as one of the top draft-eligible prospects from Europe, so we might as well take another look.

Info

Measurables: 7-foot-0, 215 pounds, F/C from Lithuania

Key stats: 12.5 points, 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting 58 percent from the field

Projected: Top 15

How would he help the Pistons?

The scouting report on Motiejunas suggests he’s a multi-talented big man who can shoot (above 40 percent from 3-point range in the Italian League this season), put the ball on the floor and score the ball in a variety of ways. The fears that he would be Darko 2.0 are unfounded. Milicic barely played as a pro before joining the Pistons at age 17. Motiejunas is now 20 and plays a key role for his team (his stats will seem low, but remember, Euro teams generally use deeper rotations than American ones, so his minutes are limited). Because Motiejunas can stretch the floor, finish around the basket and pass, paired with Greg Monroe, the Pistons could eventually have one of the more versatile offensive frontcourts in the league.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Can he rebound? Can he defend? Rebounding isn’t as vital a factor since Monroe looks like he could potentially be among the league leaders. But Monroe has at times struggled defensively this season, and pairing him with a 215-pound center (that’s what Motiejunas was last listed at, he looks bigger in more recent photos though) surely won’t address that shortcoming. Joe Dumars’ recent acquisitions have been heavy on offense, light on defense. If that represents an organizational belief that talented offensive players are at a premium, Motiejunas might make some sense. If Dumars has learned his lesson and wants to re-make the team as a defense-first unit, I doubt he’ll consider Motiejunas.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

It’s not a stretch to say that the 7-foot Lithuanian has blossomed into one of the best scoring big men in all of European basketball at the tender age of 20, and likely the most skilled power forward/center in the draft. Offensively, it’s getting easier and easier to see where the comparisons with Pau Gasol are coming from.

From ESPN:

This season, he’s showing more than flashes. With an increased role on his team, Motiejunas is finally looking like the lottery pick many scouts projected he would be. Through the first seven games of the Italian League, Motiejunas is averaging 13.4 PPG in 21 MPG. He’s shooting 61 percent from the field and showing scouts that he’s comfortable scoring inside and away from the basket. His body is finally starting to fill out, which helps, as well. He’s still a below-average rebounder and doesn’t add much in the way of defense, but if Motiejunas keeps this up, he looks like a lock for the lottery. One NBA scout told me he could go much higher than that, comparing him to a young Pau Gasol. If the NBA lockout takes out some of the better underclassmen in the draft, the scout’s high-lottery projection might be right.

From NBA Draft.net:

Versatile lefty bigman with a high ceiling … Has a lot of potential due to his size, agility and offensive development … A finesse 4-man with excellent versatility, but shows the toughness to play inside with contact … Shows a strong ability to run the floor and change directions, start and stop … Has great legs (strong) and feet (quick).

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Keith Benson

As an Oakland alum, I freely admit I’m hoping Keith Benson jumps into the first round of the NBA Draft, but most mocks have him going in the early second, so he could be available when the Pistons make their first second round choice.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-11, 230 pounds, senior C from Oakland

Key stats: 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.6 blocks per game while shooting 55 percent from the field

Projected: Second round

How would he help the Pistons?

There are many things to like about Benson, even if you are an unapologetic Oakland fan like I am. The main thing that he’s done over the course of his college career is work his tail off. Benson arrived on campus as a gangly freshman, still working on growing into his length. He wasn’t a particularly highly regarded prospect out of high school. In five years (he redshirted his freshman season), he has turned himself into a legitimate NBA prospect.

Benson would help the Pistons or any team as a shot blocker. He was second in the country in blocked shots. His offensive game has also improved each season, adding more and more tools to his repertoire. This season, he even extended his range out to the 3-point line, shooting a respectable (for a big man) 9-of-23 from deep. If Benson can develop into a rim protecting presence in the NBA, he’s exactly the type of big who would compliment Greg Monroe, since Monroe is not a shot blocker. Benson also runs the floor as well as any big man in the country.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

There are two concerns with Benson. First, he’s still on the light side, listed at only 230 pounds this season. For comparison’s sake, Monroe, who the Pistons have said needs to add some heft, came into the league weighing 250 pounds. Benson, like Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson, would be an unquestioned first round pick if had a little more weight on his frame, but sometimes it’s hard for seven-footers who have always been slim to gain weight.

The second area of concern is the fact that Benson has played in a small conference his entire career. Now, Oakland always plays a tough schedule, and Benson has had some very good games against teams like Kansas, Purdue and Pitt that boasted strong frontcourts, but going from playing a lot of smallish Summit League big men to playing NBA bigs every night will be an adjustment. I’m not saying Benson can’t handle it, it’s just a question that teams and scouts are asking about him pre-draft.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

The biggest challenges the Detroit Country Day product faces in legitimizing his NBA stock and maximizing his potential value is his lack of grit and physical strength. He has exceptional size, great fluidity, good mobility, and a terrific wingspan for a potential NBA big, but lacks the type of lower body strength that would give him the ability to prevent stronger NBA big men from backing him down in the post and the polish to get by on his skill-level alone.

From ESPN:

Scouts have wanted to write him off for two seasons, but Benson has been too good to ignore. Oakland has played a number of tough opponents, and Benson has produced. If he can do it on the biggest stage, he could easily move into the first round. There just aren’t many big men in this draft.

From the Oakland Presst:

“It’s not about numbers in the draft, they want to know if you can win,” (Oakland coach Greg) Kampe said. “He’s bought into that and that’s all he cares about. Our record and where we go and what we do will be a determining factor for him (in the draft).”

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

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Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Brandon Knight

When I profiled Kemba Walker, I mentioned the main reason I fell in love with Walker’s game was his ability to hit big shots. Well, Brandon Knight just got done showing he has that knack as well.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, freshman G from Kentucky

Key stats: 17.2 points, 4.2 assists per game while shooting 43 percent from the field and 38 percent from three

Projected: Lottery

How would he help the Pistons?

After an up and down regular season, Knight, should he choose to enter the draft, seems to have helped his draft stock as much as anyone. He was always considered a first round talent, but the way he’s asserted himself on Kentucky’s run to the Final Four has him looking like a legit lead guard/playmaker. He’s probably not as advanced as former John Calipari products Derrick Rose and John Wall, but even if Knight could have an Eric Bledsoe-like impact as a rookie, the team that drafted him would be very happy.

The Pistons’ need for a playmaker is an obvious one. There isn’t a guy on the roster who can consistently create his own shot under any circumstance when things break down. Knight potentially has that ability, and the best part is most mocks have him available in the 7-10 range where Detroit is most likely to be drafting. Knight is quick off the dribble, he’s big (and will get bigger as he fills out) and he might be a better perimeter shooter already than Rose/Wall were at his age.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Knight’s measurables are fantastic. He’s in the mold of the new wave NBA PG both in size and athleticism, although he’s not the explosive athlete that Rose or Wall or Russell Westbrook are. He’s a shoot-first PG, but what his season didn’t provide a clear answer to is if he’s a shoot-first PG like Rose or Wall, who still sets up good opportunities for others even if he’s the primary scoring option, or is he more Tyreke Evans, a phenomenal talent with scoring ability who doesn’t have the court vision or awareness of the others. Knight has also had problems with turnovers this season at Kentucky.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Knight is obviously a great talent who has the chance to succeed as either a point guard or combo guard depending on his development, but he’ll need to develop a much more mature approach to the game to reach his full potential. Putting more focus on his shot selection, creating for others, and his defensive effort are all critical things he needs to address, and he still has plenty of time to do so. His potential as a starting point guard obviously greatly trumps his potential as a combo guard coming off the bench, so getting back to showing more of a pass-first mentality would likely help his draft stock considerably.

From ESPN:

But Knight got better — a lot better — as the season progressed, much like two other former Calipari guards, Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans. Knight is more comfortable running the offense (especially since Calipari has him using more ball screens) and has been Kentucky’s steadiest player this season.

From NBADraft.net:

Very creative passer … Quick decision maker … A fierce competitor, really steps his level of play up in big situations … High motor guy. Plays with a high level of intensity and passion … Strong work ethic, constantly looking to improve both his body and game … His body has seen an impressive transformation from his sophomore to senior year of high school … Has an excellent jumpshot with range out to 3 point … Good shooter off the dribble … An excellent defender who uses his length and quickness to stay in front of his man … Drew 2 changes per game as a senior in high school … Very smart, engaging young man with a bright future

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Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Ben Hansbrough

Although Ben Hansbrough’s college career got a slower start than older brother Tyler’s, the younger bro had a standout senior season and was named Big East Player of the Year. His shooting ability will certainly attract NBA attention.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 203 pounds, senior G from Notre Dame

Key stats: 18.4 points,4.3 assists per game while shooting 48 percent from the field and 43 percent from three

Projected: Second round

How would he help the Pistons?

Hansbrough’s 3-point shooting is his most NBA-ready skill, shooting 44 percent this season from three and shooting above 40 percent from long range and three of his four college seasons. The fact that as a senior at Notre Dame he showed the ability to not only shoot, but create shots for others, has made him more of an NBA prospect than he was considered to be a year ago. The Pistons have only two players — Austin Daye and Ben Gordon — who can be called natural 3-point shooters, so adding a player with Hansbrough’s stroke in the second round would certainly give them more flexibility to put shooters on the floor to compliment the team’s slashers.

The fact that he excelled as Notre Dame’s point guard this season, particularly in the pick and roll, should make him even more appealing to the Pistons considering the team has yet to find the long-term answer at that position. Hansbrough may not be a NBA starter, but his shooting, toughness and his competitiveness are three key areas where he could help improve the Pistons.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Adding any guard who isn’t going to be an immediate starter is not the best proposition for the Pistons. Hansbrough, even if he will be a solid NBA player at some point, wouldn’t be likely to crack the rotation barring a trade or two by the Pistons to clear out some guards. And although he proved to be a solid point guard at the college level this season, it remains to be seen if he has the quickness, ball-handling or finishing ability to excel at that position as anything more than a role player in the NBA.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

SHe generates over a third of his offense in pick-and-roll and isolation situations, where he is extremely efficient. He has a below average first step for an NBA point guard, but he has good size and strength and is a strong ball handler capable of changing speeds effectively. He shows choppy footwork and has the ability to use quick spin moves to keep defenders off balance and draw fouls.

From ESPN:

Hansbrough may not be the sexiest prospect in the draft, but he’s one of the most productive. Hansbrough has been one of the Top 10 players in the country this year, and does just about everything for his team. He’ll never fit the physical profile that NBA scouts are looking for, but his toughness and shooting ability are a big plus. Think of him as a smaller version of his brother, Tyler.

From the Washington Post:

The Hansbroughs are close — Tyler recently said his younger brother is “still my favorite teammate ever” — and being separated by 130 miles has made it easy for them to keep tabs on each other. They’re also extremely competitive.

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

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Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Marcus Morris

The more advanced of the Morris twins, Marcus Morris has shown steady improvement in three years at Kansas and could be a lottery pick.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, junior F from Kansas

Key stats: 17.3 points, 7.4 rebounds per game while shooting 58 percent from the field

Projected: Top 20

How would he help the Pistons?

As a freshman at Kansas, Morris certainly played the game physically and looked like he’d be a solid role player for the Jayhawks. His game, however, has evolved and expanded each season. His overall rebounding average doesn’t stand out this season, but keep in mind he’s only playing about 28 minutes per game. He grabs just over 19 percent of available defensive rebounds when he’s on the floor, a very solid number. He’s a fundamentally sound big man who can hit a 15-footer, he shoots a high percentage and he rarely takes a bad shot.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Every available big in the draft, I try to imagine next to Greg Monroe. Most, and Morris is included, would be upgrades over any incumbent on the Pistons roster, but ideally, I’d like to see a shot blocking presence next to him because Monroe isn’t going to develop into a major force in that department. Morris isn’t a shot blocker either and, like Monroe, he will give up some heft against bigger frontcourt players and will be overmatched against the really athletic bigs in the league.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Showing off a truly unique blend of versatility, strength, skill, and touch for a power forward at the college level, Morris has seamlessly assumed a leadership role and become the star first option Bill Self’s team needed. Making the most of the touches Collins and Aldrich left behind, Morris ranks 12th amongst NCAA prospects in points per-40 minutes and seventh in effective FG%.

From ESPN:

Scouts are worried that Marcus may be a tweener in the NBA. His natural position in college has been at the 4, but teams feel he may need to switch to the 3 in the pros. Is he quick enough?

From NBADraft.net:

Can put the ball on the deck and excels at isolating against other bigmen and using his one on one skills and speed to create jumpshots or get to the basket.

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

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Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Isaiah Thomas

It just makes sense, doesn’t it?

Info

Measurables: 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, junior G from Washington

Key stats: 16.9 points, 6.0 assists, 1.3 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field and 35 percent from three

Projected: Second round

How would he help the Pistons?

Last week, I profiled Kenneth Faried mostly because he’s often compared to Dennis Rodman. This week, why not go with the guy who shares a name (spelled slightly differently) of arguably the greatest Piston of all-time? Pistons fans will certainly appreciate how he came to have the name in the first place, according to his bio:

Named after the former Indiana and NBA all-star guard Isiah Thomas when his father, James, lost a friendly wager on a Lakers vs. Pistons playoff game in 1989 … the name was approved by his mother since she desired a biblical name.

As for on the court, Thomas has been compared to former UW guard Nate Robinson because both are diminutive but haven’t let their size prevent them from being explosive scorers. Thomas has been used off the ball at Washington for the most part, but has played a lot more point guard this season. He’ll never be confused with a pass-first or “true” PG, but if he has anywhere near the scoring ability Robinson has in the NBA, he’ll be worth a second round pick should he leave school early.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

The last thing the Pistons need is another shoot-first guard who may not be able to defend his position. But I’ve always been an advocate of taking the best available talent, particularly in the second round, regardless of positional needs. If you don’t abide by that philosophy, you end up reaching for the equivalent of Rafael Araujo or Todd Fuller in the top 15. Still though, with all of the incumbent backcourt players likely back and a hopefully healthy season from Terrico White, any guard who came in via a second round pick would be a longshot to make the roster, let alone push for minutes.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Looking at his point guard abilities, Thomas has matured substantially since we last profiled him, showing much better instincts and outstanding court vision. This 180 degree change in production and mentality as a playmaker makes all the difference in evaluating his draft stock, as it was nearly impossible to envision him making it in the NBA as a 5-9 shoot-first combo guard.

From ESPN:

Thomas’ ability to play the point helps his draft stock tremendously. At his size, it’s hard enough to project him, but if he can play the point, he stands a better chance of succeeding than he does at the 2. There aren’t many players Thomas’ size in the NBA, but I am hearing a number of scouts starting to refer to him as a legit draft prospect. That’s quite an impressive upward trend from where he was two months ago.

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

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Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Kenneth Faried

The Pistons need a physical, high-energy player to pair next to Greg Monroe. Kenneth Faried of Morehead State has been that guy his entire college career, and his stock could be rising even more after his team’s upset over Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament yesterday.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-8, 225 pounds, senior PF from Morehead State

Key stats: 17.5 points, 14.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks per game while shooting 63 percent from the field

Projected: Mid first round

How would he help the Pistons?

I think this comparison might convince some Pistons fans Faried is worthy of considering in the first round:

Faried is the best rebounder in the college game today. Period. If you do not believe me, just ask Florida coach Billy Donovan.

“That’s Dennis Rodman all over again,” Donovan said. “If I was an NBA general manager I’d be taking him with my pick. That’s what a next-level guy looks like. He just totally destroyed our frontcourt.

Well then, I’m sold. But in case that’s not enough for you, check out his defensive rebounding rates for his four years of college: 31.6 percent; 33.3 percent; 36.8 percent; 31.7 percent. Even at a mid-major, those are ridiculous numbers, and pairing Faried with two solid rebounders in Monroe and Ben Wallace next season would go a long way in turning the team’s weakness on the boards into a strength.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

At 6-foot-8, Faried is a bit undersized and playing against mid-major competition, it’s unlikely his offensive production will translate immediately. In the Ohio Valley Conference, he’s stronger and quicker than many of the bigs he’ll play against, but he’ll be one of the smaller bigs in the league at the NBA level.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Physically, there’s not much new to say about Faried, an extremely explosive and reactive athlete who runs the floor like a deer and finishes very well around the rim. The majority of his scoring contributions come from his excellent ability to catch the ball in mid air and dunk it, either in transition, on alley-oops, cuts through the lane, or just getting open around the rim. He has excellent hands and the hand-eye coordination to go with it, catching and finishing virtually everything thrown his way.

From ESPN:

For the past two years, we’ve listed Faried in the “sleeper” category. No more. NBA scouts know him well, and many believe he’ll be a lottery pick on draft night. His energy and knack for grabbing rebounds is elite — some go so far to say Dennis Rodman-esque. A big game or two for Morehead State should be the icing on a terrific career.

From the AP:

Bigger schools who ignored Faried as a raw high schooler tried to lure him away as a sophomore after seeing the way his relentless rebounding helped guide the Eagles to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 25 years.

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

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Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Jimmer Fredette

I can’t say that I make it a point to catch BYU games, so most of my Jimmer Fredette watching has been relegated to highlights. But because of those highlights, which typically feature his scoring outbursts, I didn’t even realize that Fredette is considered a point guard at the NBA level.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, senior PG from BYU

Key stats: 28.5 points, 4.2 assists, shoots 46 percent and 40 percent from three

Projected: Mid first round

How would he help the Pistons?

Technically a point guard, Fredette’s best asset is obviously his shooting stroke. Because he’ll certainly be playing tougher competition at the NBA level than he has at BYU, the fact that he hits 40 percent of his threes is a good sign. Shooting is a skill that typically translates from college to the NBA. He’ll have to learn to get his shots off quicker, but if he has range at BYU, he’ll have range in the NBA.

For the Pistons, they certainly could use better perimeter shooting. Ben Gordon and Austin Daye are the team’s best natural shooters, but Gordon’s 3-point percentage has fallen off (although this year’s 39 percent is certainly a big improvement from last season’s 32 percent) in two seasons in Detroit and Daye shoots 42 percent, but doesn’t get enough minutes to give the team the constant spacing slashers like Rodney Stuckey need.

But don’t typecast Fredette as simply a shooter. Upon further inspection of his game, he’s really good at creating off the dribble and he’s really good in the pick and roll. Those are two areas where the Pistons have been deficient the past two seasons. Taking Fredette in the lottery should be out of the question, but if he falls to the Pistons in the early part of the second round, that would be great value.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Because BYU’s offense is so dependent on his production, Fredette has the ball in his hands a lot and turns the ball over a bit. And because he’s the team’s primary scoring option, his assist total is good for a wing, but not partiuclarly outstanding for a point guard. I’m not overly alarmed at those numbers, but any team that drafts him will have to make sure he’ll be able to adjust to being a complimentary player who runs the offense and spots up for threes, as that will most likely be his role at least initially in the NBA. He’ll also have to adjust to setting up teammates, rather than having a teammate dribble the ball up and get him the ball in an iso situation, which is how BYU runs a lot of its offense.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

With all this in mind, one of the biggest factors in determining the type of success Fredette will have in the NBA is the team he ends up on. In a fast-paced offense predicated on getting shots early in the shot-clock and a coach willing to live with defensive lapses, Fredette will be an incredible weapon. Put him in the wrong system, though, with a team that likes to grind it out and a coach who demands perfection on every defensive possession and we could be looking at a disaster.

From ESPN:

BYU’s Jimmer Fredette dropped 43 points in a win against No. 4 San Diego State in front of a ton of NBA scouts and execs Wednesday night. The verdict? The guy they’ve been hating on for months is suddenly being mentioned as a lottery pick. We wrote about Fredette two weeks ago, and many NBA scouts were still insisting he was a bubble first-rounder. Now? We’re hearing Stephen Curry comparisons in earnest.

From NBADraft.net:

Very tough both mentally and physically. A competitor who will battle tooth and nail and wants the big shots at the end of games.

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

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Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Nikola Vucevic

It seems that most Pistons fans want to talk about big men, since virtually every time I’ve done a Draft Dreams on a guard, I’ve received comments an e-mails from people who are utterly terrified by the possibility the Pistons will once again use a draft pick on a little man, so I’ll try and stick to some frontcourt players this week.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-10, 260 pounds, junior F/C from USC

Key stats: 17.3 points, 10.2 rebounds, 50 percent and 35 percent from three

Projected: Early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

USC had a big man a couple years ago who slipped to the bottom of the first round and in hindsight, I think a lot of teams would love the chance to draft Taj Gibson again. Vucevic might be one of the more undervalued bigs in this year’s draft. He’s a double-double guy as a junior, an All-Pac 10 First Team selection and he grabs 25 percent of available defensive rebounds while he’s on the floor. In fact, his defensive rebounding rate has improved a lot in three years at USC, from 18 percent as a freshman to 23 percent last year to 25 percent this year.

Vucevic has added elements to his game as a Trojan as well. After attempting only three 3-pointers as a freshman, he’s taken 89 this season and made 35 percent of those. He’s not in love with taking the three, but he can certainly hit it and he still shoots over 50 percent overall. He’s also gained weight, currently listed at 260 pounds after starting his college career in the 230ish to 240 range. His size can’t be overlooked in a draft that features several big men who are on the skinny side. His father also played professionally, so Vucevic should have a good understanding of the work required to become a good player as a pro.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Vucevic has modest athleticism, but pairing he and Greg Monroe together would mean the Pistons wouldn’t have a shot-blocking presence as Monroe we’ve already seen isn’t a rim protector and Vucevic doesn’t project as one in the NBA. He averages 1.4 a game at USC, but I don’t see that immediately translating over to the pro game for him. He has good hands and decent footwork, so he should develop into a solid defender at some point. There’s also a chance Vucevic stays in school for his senior year, where USC would have a good team returning (thanks to one of this state’s finest and most exciting high school players ever, Saginaw Arthur Hill’s  Maurice Jones). If he’s in the draft, though, and around when the Pistons select in the second round, he’s exactly the type of player who could contribute next seaon for them on the frontline.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

As for the rest of his scoring game, Vucevic does most of his damage operating in the low to mid-post, showing a solid finesse game centered around a right-handed hook shot with range to 10 feet. He has pretty good touch and decent footwork, but he does a great job staying active and calling for the ball while moving around the floor, being extremely aggressive in getting open and wanting the ball in his hands. He tends to do his best in the post when matched against undersized, overmatched opponents, however, showing trouble when matched against more NBA-caliber frontcourt players.

From ESPN:

Positives

* Big man with a soft touch around the basket
* Nice face up game with range out to three point line
* Long arms allow him to play bigger than he is
* Solid rebounder

Negatives

* Not a great athlete
* Lacks lateral quickness
* Not a great ball handler

Previously