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Category → Draft Dreams 2012

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: JaMychal Green

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-8, 240 pounds, senior F from Alabama
  • Key Stats: 14.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.5 blocks per game, 55 percent from the field
  • Projected: Second round
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

He’s big, will likely be available somewhere in the second round and one thing I like about SEC bigs is that they had to face Kentucky’s Anthony Davis. Green actually had his best performance of the season — 22 points and 12 rebounds — against Davis and Kentucky.

Pros for the Pistons

Green, as mentioned above, played in a good conference against good competition (including Davis and Festus Ezeli) and he’s a good defensive player. Like a lot of second round bigs, he’s fast, athletic, active and finishes around the basket, things that will compliment Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey well offensively. Defensively, he’s an OK shot-blocker and, though he’s only 6-foot-8, he does have a long wingspan.

Cons for the Pistons

Green was only an average rebounder in college, though reports on his performance at the Portsmouth Invitational suggest he looked much improved on the glass. He’s also going to have to add strength to guard stronger NBA bigs and, though he’s a good finisher, doesn’t have much of a NBA-ready post-up game yet.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Positives

Long, athletic forward
Solid athlete
Runs the floor well
Effective shot-blocker
Good finisher around the basket

Negatives

Inconsistent
Relies more on athleticism than skill
Needs to improve his jump shot
Still lacks strength

DraftExpress:

At the collegiate level he has turned himself into a good defender, being a key member on one of the better defenses in the country. He does a good job using his length when defending the post and rotates well to provide weakside help defense.

That being said, he has some physical limitations that make it difficult to project him as a plus defender at the next level. He lacks some lower body strength, which could present some difficulties when defending the post against bigger competition. He also doesn’t move all that well laterally, something that will be tougher to cover-up in the pick and roll heavy NBA landscape as he can struggle both in hedging the screens on pick and rolls and in rotating back.

Previously

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Kyle O’Quinn

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, senior C from Norfolk State
  • Key Stats: 15.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.6 blocks per game, 57 percent from the field
  • Projected: Late first/early second round
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

A big man who is tough, blocks shots, can sing and has an outside shot at being available early in the second round? Yeah, that’ll work.

Pros for the Pistons

Defensively, O’Quinn is a fantastic shot-blocker and won his league’s defensive player of the year award. Offensively, he’s a fantastic finisher and he has range on his jumper. Basically, he fits the exact bill of what the Pistons need. The downside is O’Quinn went from being a sleeper and potential steal in the second round to a guy who had a fantastic tournament run and has been great in pre-draft workouts, so the likelihood that he could surge into the late first round is growing.

Cons for the Pistons

O’Quinn’s offense will probably take some time to develop and the aggressive, relentless way that he plays will probably mean he’ll be foul-prone in the NBA. The Pistons are likely not looking for anyone they take in the second round to do more than play a reliable role, though, so those things definitely don’t out-weight O’Quinn’s many pluses. As I said above, though, it’s looking increasingly likely that the Pistons won’t be in a position to draft him. Also, as all Mid-Major players do, O’Quinn will face questions about how he will react to facing much bigger, tougher competition on a game-to-game basis once he gets to the NBA.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

O’Quinn has the most buzz right now. He’s coming off a terrific performance in the NCAA tournament, impressed scouts at Portsmouth and the Nets’ group workout, measuring a whopping 7-foot-4 wingspan at the latter event. For teams that need bigs who can contribute off the bench, he’s a very intriguing prospect.

DraftExpress:

On the offensive end, O’Quinn finished consistently, but still needs to improve his polish as a post scorer and jump shooter. The center also impressed with his passing ability, seeing holes in the defense and using his high basketball IQ to find an angle to get the ball to open cutters. Though O’Quinn has been at no loss for exposure after Norfolk State’s upset of Missouri, there were some question marks about how his production might translate against similarly sized opponents in the NBA. He did an outstanding job putting those to rest, as it was clear that he’s one of the best players in the tournament from the moment he stepped on the floor.

Detroit Bad Boys:

So why Kyle O’Quinn? Well what first struck me was his overall frame, but what sealed the deal was his ability to wear his emotions on his sleeve…something the Pistons have missed out on since Roscoe was around.

Previously

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Drew Gordon

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-9, 245 pounds, senior F from New Mexico
  • Key Stats: 13.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.0 blocks per game, 54 percent from the field
  • Projected: Early second round
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

OK, first thing’s first … when Sports Illustrated did it’s exposé a few months back on the UCLA program, unveiling the shocking findings that — GASP! — sometimes college kids party and do drugs, Drew Gordon, a former UCLA player, was one of the athletes whose name appeared throughout that story. It was potentially ruinous to the reputation of a player who would be trying to convince NBA teams to draft him in a few months. But I don’t care about the story or any of the allegations all that much. Nothing in it would give me much pause if I were considering drafting Gordon. What I love is Gordon’s mature reaction to it. From the San Jose Mercury News:

Once people get a sense of my character and have a chance to see how I really act, they’ll realize that the impression of that article is not accurate,” he said.

Then Gordon laughed.

“But I’ll give them this: It sure was an entertaining read,” he added.

He left the team in December 2009 and quickly landed in New Mexico. It was in Albuquerque where Gordon began to understand how much of a hit his reputation had taken.

“When I first transferred, I had people tell me that they were expecting some thug from the Bay Area and that I was going to have this attitude,” he said. “But what I’ve learned the last few years is that it’s not worth getting all worked up over what people might think and just try to show them who you really are.”

He quickly became a fan favorite at the Pit, New Mexico’s raucous arena. Last season the power forward averaged 13.7 points and 11.1 rebounds and was named the Mountain West Conference tournament MVP. He led the Lobos to a 28-7 record and into the NCAA tournament’s second round.

“All I know is he’s been a great player, an incredible person and a great teammate for us,” New Mexico coach Steve Alford said earlier this year. ” … He’s done everything we asked him to do.”

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com talked to Gordon at the Draft Combine in Chicago and tweeted this:

Drew Gordon easily passes eye test, impressive kid.

Pros for the Pistons

If a talent like Gordon is still on the board when the Pistons pick early in the second round, he’ll be tough to pass up. He’s big, he’s a great finisher, he’s athletic, he runs the floor well, he rebounds well … all of those things sound like they’d be awfully useful in Detroit’s frontcourt. I’m particularly intrigued by his ability to move without the ball and finish. Greg Monroe worked really well with a big man who fit that description — Chris Wilcox — during his rookie season. Monroe would definitely find a player like Gordon moving to the basket on passes from the high post.

Cons for the Pistons

Gordon isn’t a stick figure or anything, but like all college big men, he’ll need to get stronger to be a reliable NBA rotation player. He’s also not the most polished post-up player, not that that matters much since Monroe will be the one getting the bulk of Detroit’s touches in post-up situations.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Positives
  • Long athlete
  • Good hands
  • Explosive leaper, quick off the floor
  • Runs the floor well
  • Midrange jump shot
  • Solid rebounder
  • Shot-blocker
  • Plays well without the ball
Negatives
  • No post game
  • Poor footwork
  • Lacks basketball IQ
  • Needs to add strength

DraftExpress:

Defensively, Gordon plays with intensity and offers some versatility thanks to his solid size and athleticism. Using his body better than he did last season to defend the post thanks to improved fundamentals, the California native is able to keep up with face-up fours in the midrange as well. Gordon is a physical defender who contests shots, gets a bit overaggressive at times and could stand to maximize his frame to help him fight his man for position on the block on the next level. His lateral quickness is good, but not great out on the perimeter, and he blocked shots at a respectable rate thanks to his length and motor. Gordon may not be a playmaker defensively, but his ability to hold his own at and away from the rim is a plus.

What is the best thing Drew Gordon does for his team?

Mundo Carillo is the sports editor for The Daily Lobo, New Mexico’s student newspaper:

Plain and simple, Drew Gordon is a strong inside presence.  In my opinion, his strongest attributes are his rebounding and his strength inside the post.  At the Division I level, he was pushing guys around like they were nothing.  He averaged 13 points and ten rebounds in his two years as a Lobo. Since he was so strong in the post, the only doubt I might have about him is his outside game, since he didn’t really showcase it here at New Mexico.  This might be a problem when he’s going up against taller and stronger players in the NBA and he’s not able to shoot from a safe distance.

Previously

Similarity Scores from Hickory High added to all #DraftDreams profiles

Just wanted to drop a quick note that I’ve went back into all of the 2012 #DraftDreams profiles and added links to the great work that Ian Levy of Hickory High does calculating the similarity scores for each player. Here’s Ian’s description of what similarity score means, along with the list of all of the prospects he’s calculated scores for. It’s really interesting work.

He doesn’t look at international prospects, however, so only the #DraftDreams profiles of college players contain links to their respective similarity score profile. You can go back through the archive here or just go to Hickory High and browse through all of the players there. Ian has more prospects profiled than I’ll do full #DraftDreams on simply because there are a handful of guys the Pistons probably wouldn’t feasibly consider drafting, but if you’re into the draft, his work is definitely worth your time.

 

 

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Tornike Shengelia

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-9, 220 pounds, 21-year-old F from Georgia (the country not the college)
  • Key Stats: 7.6 points, 3.8 rebounds per game, 47 percent from the field and 31 percent from 3-point range in Belgian League
  • Projected: Second round

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

I’ve mentioned it several times, but I think it’s a possibility the Pistons will look hard at an international with one of their second round picks, considering their roster is nearly full and it might be worth it for them to stash a prospect overseas for a year or so while they deal with maneuvering out of a few of their cumbersome contracts.

Pros for the Pistons

Obviously, I haven’t watched any games featuring Shengelia. But from scouting reports and highlight clips, he’s long, fairly athletic and seems to like to hang out around the basket. Scouts rave about his aggressiveness and long arms, and he’s still young enough to get significantly better.

Cons for the Pistons

He probably isn’t a player who could help Detroit immediately and, like many young bigs, could stand to get stronger if he’s going to be a full-time rotation player in a NBA frontcourt. Some scouts have called him a ‘tweener’ forward, so his suspect jumper could be a problem.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Long, active forward who plays hard and has solid athleticism for a European prospect. He’s a very good rebounder, but isn’t a great offensive player at the moment. He averaged a very solid 8.3 ppg in the Euroleague this year. A potential second round prospect.

DraftExpress:

Shengelia’s propensity for attacking defenses can get him in trouble at times, as occasionally he’ll look out of control running into brick walls and turning the ball over. He’s a somewhat of a bull in a china shop, so learning how to harness this energy is something that will benefit him as he gains experience.

The biggest question marks surrounding Shengelia’s offensive game revolves around his jumper, which remains streaky. He’s converted 10 of the 41 jump-shots he’s taken this season thus far, being exclusively a catch and shoot threat.

Defensively, Shengelia is mostly a mixed bag at this point, and may be considered a tweener by some. Considered a potential small forward earlier in his career, he lacks the lateral quickness to guard most perimeter players, but is also not overly effective inside the paint either. Euroleague teams have gone at him pretty regularly this season, and he’s been backed down fairly easily inside the paint, shown questionable awareness and been fairly foul prone.

What is the best thing Tornike Shengelia does for his team?

Sam Meyerkopf (follow him on Twitter) is the co-creator of Euroleague Adventures:

Forget stretch, Shengelia is about the slash. At 6’9” and a little bit slender you start thinking he’s a small forward, but with how he plays, he slides in better to the power spot. This might place him into the dreaded “tweener” category but don’t be so quick to label Toko Shengelia.

As a slashing four, the best thing the native Georgian does for his team is attack the basket fearlessly. He pretends the hoop is food and he’s always hungry. Shengelia has three ways he assaults the rim. Off of post ups, swift off ball cuts to the free throw area looking for entry passes, and taking defenders off the dribble from the wing. On the block he has a quick spin move he uses to catch his post defender off guard. Off of perimeter passes he works a lot in isolation, taking direct drives off just a couple dribbles. He’ll make opposing power forwards uncomfortable guarding him off the bounce with deceptively good ball handling for his size. He’s a quick mismatch at the four and even if he misses three straight at the rim, he’ll keep on attacking.

Off the bench Shengelia will provide his team with a guy who won’t give the defense a break and give your offense an interesting wrinkle. If he can get a little trickier and develop more moves heading to the rim, he’ll cut out the blocks, strips, and charges he occasionally garners as a young guy playing in the Euroleague and Belgian League. On defense he uses that aggressive play to his advantage as a rebounder instead of a scorer. He might not bring every skill to the table but Shengelia will always be relentless going to the cup.

Previously

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Kendall Marshall

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, sophomore guard from North Carolina
  • Key Stats: 8.1 points, 9.8 assists per game, 47 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range
  • Projected: Top 15
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

Frequent commenter Mark brought up an interesting point in the comments over the weekend: what if the bigs that Pistons fans are currently debating the merits of are not really worth debating at all? What happens if the clear, definitive best player available at nine is a perimeter player? Now, Mark was making the case for hoping Perry Jones III is there, but it’s a valid point with a few players, including Kendall Marshall.

Now, I’m gonna save that small but vocal and excitable bunch in the comments some trouble: this post is not necessarily advocating that the Pistons should take Marshall and do something else with Brandon Knight. I don’t dislike Brandon Knight. In fact, I’m pretty fond of him. But Knight is actually a perfect example of what makes a player like Marshall so valuable. Knight came into last year’s draft and was picked in the lottery because he’s a point guard prospect — an athlete who still needs to learn the position but has the physical tools that would make him an elite player at that position if he ever combines the two. As we saw with Knight, he was sometimes dynamic and other times the learning curve was pretty obvious — he has a ways to go as a distributor, running a halfcourt offense and taking care of the ball, and those are not easy things to pick up on the fly. The Pistons are investing in him and hoping it pays off down the road. Marshall, on the other hand, is someone I believe will be highly sought after and climb into the lottery because he’s the rare point guard prospect these days who is a natural at the position, so the teaching element will be less of an investment. He’s a fantastic distributor. There are fewer and fewer of those in the league each season as the NBA point guard position has been trending towards more hybrid guard skillsets.

Pros for the Pistons

The biggest pro for Marshall in relation to the Pistons has nothing to do with him actually being on the Pistons. I really believe he’s a sleeper in this draft that some savvy team will grab earlier than he’s projected to go or even move up to get him. A couple of point guard needy teams — the Hornets and Blazers — are picking right after the Pistons. In fact, many draft experts have had Marshall going to the Blazers at 11 since the lottery order was announced. So if there’s another team out there that really falls in love with Marshall, the Pistons’ pick at nine is the perfect spot to try and move up to get him.

And, on the off chance the Pistons actually decided to draft Marshall? Well, as mentioned above, he’d immediately become the best distributor they’ve had in several seasons. He’d allow Knight and Rodney Stuckey to play off the ball more, and both of those guys are actually at their most effective off the ball (although the current hope is Knight will eventually grow into that distributor role). Lawrence Frank seemed to like a three guard rotation last year, and Marshall would be enough of a contrast to what Knight’s and Stuckey’s skills are that the Pistons could have a pretty dynamic backcourt attack. It’s highly unlikely, but Joe Dumars has never been afraid to take the best player regardless of positional need, so if he becomes convinced Marshall is the best guy at nine, he could theoretically take him and then figure out how the parts fit later. Marshall’s passing, ability to run an offense full-time, size for the point guard spot and ability to take care of the ball as well as hit from outside would all be big additions to the Pistons’ lineup. He’s also big for a point guard at 6-foot-4, potentially making the Pistons’ backcourt a difficult one to guard since all three primary guards would have good size. Marshall would create easy shots for everyone in Detroit’s lineup, and that’s a hugely valuable skill in today’s NBA, which has an abundance of shot-takers and a shrinking number of shot-creators.

Cons for the Pistons

Clearly, nearly everyone expects the Pistons to go big at nine because it’s an obvious, gaping hole on their roster. If they took a guard, no matter how talented, at nine, it would be an incredibly unpopular pick. Even if there’s a legit case that a player like Marshall could be better than those late lottery bigs and even if there’s a case I could make that Marshall wouldn’t be a bad addition (and he wouldn’t be), I’m not sure Dumars has the stomach for the ‘Dumars has lost it’ calls to get even louder (although, I think if Dumars picked Marshall, there would be some rejoicing in the advanced stats community, which has typically been the most vocal of the vocal Dumars critics the last few years).

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

No one has helped their draft stock more in March than Marshall. Yes, he broke his hand and was unable to play in the Sweet 16. But Carolina’s struggles without Marshall on the floor highlighted how important he was to the team. Marshall is the best passer in college basketball. He’s unselfish and makes everyone around him better. The questions for Marshall surround his lack of elite athleticism and his ability to guard the ultra quick point guards at the NBA level. Marshall also needs to improve his jump shot.

In a normal draft, a prospect like Marshall is probably a mid- to late-first round pick. However, this is a very weak point guard class and a number of teams in the lottery including the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Hornets and Portland Trail Blazers all need point guards. Currently we have him ranked as the No. 2 point guard in his class behind Weber State’s Damian Lillard. Marshall’s ranked No. 17 on our Big Board but is projected to go five spots higher than that in our Mock Draft at No. 12 to the Hornets. He could go as high as No. 9 to the Jazz.

DraftExpress:

Marshall’s 10.7 assists per 40 minutes game adjusted this season rank the highest of any player in the history of our database (which goes back to 2001/2002). He’s also #1 all-time in Pure Point Ratio by a large margin, while his 3.51 Assist-Turnover Ratio ranks 3rd all-time..

When looking at Marshall’s game from an NBA perspective, his passing ability is clearly his greatest selling point, and it’s hard to overstate how good of a passer he is and how great a feel he has for managing a game.

In terms of point guard style, Marshall is a prototypical pass-first point guard taken to the extreme, as evidenced by his just 6.2 field-goal attempts per game in 32.9 minutes. He possesses an uncanny, second nature feel for the game, always instinctively playing with his head up and quickly moving the ball to the highest percentage scoring opportunity. Managing the game clearly comes very easy for him both in the half court and transition, as he looks as natural as any player in the country finding teammates for easy baskets.

What is the best thing Kendall Marshall does for his team?

Brett Friedlander (follow him on Twitter) covers the Atlantic Coast Conference on his ACC Insider blog for the Wilmington Star-News:

I’ve been covering college basketball for more than 25 years, and Kendall Marshall is one of the best — if not THE best — I’ve seen at distributing the ball to his teammates in places in which they can be most effective. He’s not the quickest point guard around, but he more than makes up for it with great vision and an even better feel for the game. While his offensive game is still a work in progress, Marshall has the ability to get to the basket when defenses try to take away his passing lanes and he started showing a greater willingness to take the open 18-20 foot jumper as the season went on. The kid isn’t a great athlete, but he’s a top point guard prospect, a leader and a winner — as evidenced by what his absence meant to North Carolina in the NCAA tournament.

Previously

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Kostas Papanikolaou

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, 22-year-old F from Greece
  • Key Stats: 6.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 61 percent from the field for Olympiacos in Greek League
  • Projected: Second round

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

You thought the Draft Dreams series was over? We’ve just begun, my friends. I still have a few more first and second round prospects to profile before the draft, so expect the series to continue over the next few weeks. In all, I plan to have profiles of 50 prospects, our largest Draft Dreams series in the three years I’ve done this. Today’s profile is No. 39, so I have at least 11 more to go before I reach my goal.

As for Papanikolau, obviously I don’t watch much Euro basketball (as much as I’d love to, I don’t think the marriage would last adding Euro ball to the already busy lineup of NBA, college, community college and high school basketball that I regularly follow), so I’ll defer to scouting reports of those who have seen him for this profile. In the meantime, this is pretty pretty pretty good:

Pros for the Pistons

I mentioned before that, since the Pistons currently have so many players already under contract for next season, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to look at players who might stay overseas a year or two with one of their second round picks and Papanikolaou, a small forward who has quickly risen to become a legit NBA prospect after good performances late in his season and in the post-season, could fit that bill. The Pistons are in need of help on the wing with Tayshaun Prince aging, Jonas Jerebko currently occupying more of a combo forward role and no idea what to make of Austin Daye or Kyle Singler as NBA players. Papanikolaou’s improvement, along with the fact that he has good size and strength for a small forward, could make him a prospect worth watching. If he stayed overseas another year and built on his improvement this season, he could become a real asset to the Pistons down the road.

Cons for the Pistons

At 22, he’s far from ancient, but he’s also not quite as young as you’d like a developing prospect to be — it’s unclear how much more he will improve, basically. Also, scouting reports on him suggest that — despite that dunk above — he’s not an elite athlete. The Pistons could really use more athleticism at several positions, including small forward.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

A number of NBA scouts came back from the Euroleague Final Four in Turkey buzzing about Greek forward Kostas Papanikolaou. Papanikolaou’s team, Olympiakos, won the Euroleague title and Papanikolaou was a big reason why. He had 18 points and four rebounds in 22 minutes in the championship game, and, more importantly, slowed down CSKA’s Andrei Kirilenko on the defensive end.

The 6-8, 22-year-old forward averaged just 6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game for Olympiakos this season and isn’t a great athlete, but he’s won over some NBA scouts with his toughness, basketball IQ and motor.

If he were a better shooter or athlete, he’d have a real shot at the first round. Nevertheless, after his performance last weekend, he’s now a likely second-round pick.

DraftExpress:

An average athlete with an excellent feel for the game, good fundamentals, and terrific maturity, Papanikolaou’s profile may not jump off the page on first glance, but his size, defensive prowess, experience and productivity at the highest levels of European basketball make him one of the most intriguing 1990-born international prospects automatically eligible for the 2012 NBA Draft.

Standing 6’8 with a solid frame, Papanikolaou has excellent size for a NBA small forward, though he sees time at both forward spots for the Euroleague champions Olympiacos. He runs the floor with purpose, and is able to play above the rim when he has a head of steam, but is otherwise an average athlete. He isn’t explosive from a stand-still and his limited agility makes it difficult for him to create his own shot in one-on-one situations, but his non-stop motor and willingness to initiate contact allow him to make some plays by virtue of his physical tools in the European game.

European Prospects:

His defensive presence was however even more impressive than his impact on the offensive end. Papanikolaou constantly put pressure on the ball handler and forced several bad shots by Pete Mickael and Chuck Eidson. Next to that, he showed excellent defensive positioning and presence on the help lines. With his athletic abilities, he challenged the Barcelona big guys and came up with a block shot against Erazem Lorbek and another very impressive rejection on Boni N’Dong that was called as a foul though.

What is the best thing Kostas Papanikolaou does for his team?

Sam Meyerkopf (follow him on Twitter) is the co-creator of EuroLeague Adventures:

Energy. Whether it’s being a nuisance on defense, attacking the offensive glass, or launching off on the fast break, his energy is the best way Papanikolaou helps his team right now. Think of him as an Omri Casspi type player. He’s someone who plays with a lot of hustle, is a supporting offensive piece, and can guard both forward spots. He has a sound knowledge of the game after grinding his teeth at Europe’s highest level the past three years and developing under coaching legend Dusan Ivkovic.

Papanikolaou’s game took a huge step forward this year. It all culminated a couple weeks ago when he had an MVP type performance on the championship winning team at this year’s Euroleague Final Four. That weekend was the key event that restarted his draft-ability talk. His hard nosed, reckless, and passionate style of play has turned him into a solid role player that the hometown fans will come to love. If Papanikolaou really irons out his long-range shot, he has the potential to be a very valuable and versatile player.

Previously

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Anthony Davis

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-10, 220 pounds, freshman C from Kentucky
  • Key Stats: 14.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 4.7 (!) blocks per game while shooting 62 percent from the field
  • Projected: No. 1 overall
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

The analysis here is pretty simple. Davis changes everything for the Pistons. Yesterday, when Dan Feldman talked about this being the second most important draft lottery in team history, he wrote that because of Davis. This draft has exactly one franchise-altering talent available. If the Pistons get him, all of the misery and bad basketball of the past four seasons will be quickly forgotten. Davis, simply, is a once-in-a-generation type talent and, other than possibly LeBron James, the easiest No. 1 pick in the last 20 years.

Pros for the Pistons

We’ve frequently discussed the need for the Pistons to add a rim-protecting presence next to Greg Monroe, and Davis and his nearly five blocks per game for Kentucky would certainly represent that. He’d instantly make the Pistons a credible defensive team. It’s easy to see him having a Ben Wallace or Dwight Howard-like impact in the league, winning multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards down the road.

But fans should be equally excited about Davis’ offense. He runs the floor well (which will help run-happy guards Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey). He throws great outlet passes, which should further ignite Detroit’s transition game. He finishes well, which will help pass-happy Monroe. He has the face-up game of a guard and handles the ball really well (a product of the fact that Davis hit a growth spurt late in his teenage years and spent most of his early basketball days as a guard), which helps the team as a whole, since they could use another big man capable of creating his own offense (playing offensively limited Wallace or Jason Maxiell big minutes often hindered Detroit’s ability to score this season).

If the Pistons don’t win the lottery and end up with a nice prospect like John Henson, they’re a good bet to take a baby step forward next year and threaten the .500 mark or a low seed in the playoffs. If they win the lottery and get Davis, they’ll be a trendy pick to get at the very least a homecourt advantage playoff series in the first round.

Cons for the Pistons

There are none.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Big man Anthony Davis is a lock as the No. 1 pick in the draft. The college basketball player of the year is the rare prospect who has virtually everything you want in a player. He’s got elite size, length and athleticism. He produced at a high level on the court (he led all NCAA players in PER this season) and still has tremendous upside going forward. He’s a great kid and a hard worker.

Yes, he needs to get stronger and he’ll need to continue to improve his offensive game, but at this point he’s considered a can’t-miss prospect by every NBA scout and executive I’ve spoken to.

DraftExpress:

He’s only fifth in usage rate on his own Kentucky team in fact, being mostly relegated to living off the scraps created for him by others. Davis gets the overwhelming majority of his touches playing off the ball—be it cutting to the rim, crashing the offensive glass, running the floor in transition, or as a pick and roll finisher. According to Synergy Sports Technology, only 20% of his offense comes off post-up, spot-up or isolation plays, which makes sense considering those are the areas he struggles in the most.

While Davis plays a simple role for Kentucky, he’s arguably the most efficient offensive player in college basketball, converting an amazing 67% of his 2-point attempts (which ranks in the top 15 in our database in the past decade) and turning the ball over on just 9% of his possessions. He’s one of the best finishers we’ve seen in recent years, making nearly 80% of his non-post-up attempts around the basket.

His tremendous length, outstanding hands, explosive leaping ability and terrific timing make him a ideal target for lobs.

NBADraft.net:

Bullet outlet passes are a major strength … Can handle the ball in space with occasional facilitation of the offense, and does not appear limited to straight line drives … Commits under a turnover per game as a freshman big, highlighting his guard skills … Still only 18 years of age, Davis grew 7 inches (6’3-6’10) between his HS junior and senior seasons … Dynamic versatility at both ends of the floor makes for boundless potential.

USA Today:

The Pistons already have Greg Monroe, and adding Davis would create a fearsome post tandem. Monroe is a terrific passer, and we envision a lot of give-and-gos.

What is the best thing Anthony Davis does for his team?

Kevin Hetrick of Cavs: The Blog:

Davis dominated the NCAA in a rarely exhibited way.  The scary thing is, he can get a lot better.  His shooting range is still unreliable, his back-to-the-basket game is raw, he’s too skinny…if he never improves on any of this; he’ll still be a low-usage, high-efficiency center that dominates one end of the court.   With strides in his offensive game and a little more muscle on his frame; could he win an MVP?

Previously

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Thomas Robinson

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-9, 237 pounds, junior F from Kansas
  • Key Stats: 17.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, .9 blocks per game while shooting 51 percent from the field
  • Projected: Top 5
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

If the Pistons miraculously land the No. 2 pick in the draft during tomorrow night’s draft lottery, I have a hunch the choice for them will essentially boil down to Robinson or UConn’s Andre Drummond. While Drummond is the higher risk/higher reward prospect of the two, Robinson is a little bit older and a little less physically imposing than Drummond. Still though, if the Pistons lean towards Robinson, they’ll be getting a tough, smart and hard-working player who might eventually rival Ben Wallace in the weight room with his physique.

Pros for the Pistons

Robinson would be a great compliment to Greg Monroe up front simply because he’s almost a polar opposite. While Monroe is a highly skilled largely finesse player at this point in his career, Robinson is the blue-collar brute the Pistons currently lack and sorely need if they’re going to ever get back to the tough, physical type of defensive basketball Lawrence Frank would like them to play.

Robinson was one of the best rebounders in the country, he’s a fantastic finisher in traffic and his offensive repertoire has quickly evolved from his sophomore season (when he was a role player) to his junior season (when he became a focal point of the Kansas offense). Robinson has skills that would help the Pistons immediately, but he also has enough upside to suggest that he could add even more to his game over the next few seasons.

Cons for the Pistons

The one skill Pistons fans are hoping for from any big man the Pistons land in the draft is shot blocking. Unfortunately, Robinson isn’t a big-time shot blocker. That doesn’t mean he’s bad defensively — he’s a solid individual defender and, like Monroe, has quick hands that allow him to come up with strips and steals.

He’s also a tad undersized — generously listed at 6-foot-9 — for his position. His athleticism and wingspan make up for that, and Wallace is certainly enough evidence that a strong, hard-working, athletic player can overcome a lack of height in the NBA post, but Robinson on the Pistons would probably fit best as a power forward, meaning fans hoping to see Monroe become more of a power forward than a center probably wouldn’t get their wish.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Many scouts believe Robinson is one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft. What Robinson should provide right away are athleticism, toughness, an NBA-ready body and a motor that won’t quit on both ends of the floor. He’s been a monster rebounder for KU and is aggressive looking for his shot around the rim.

Robinson surprised scouts this year with his ball handling ability and a solid midrange jump shot. He’s not afraid to get the ball at the top of the key and create his shot there. His quickness for a player his size and his explosive leaping ability make him a formidable threat offensively down the road.

DraftExpress:

Robinson has also shown flashes of being able to catch the ball facing up and isolate his man at the elbow or in the mid-range area. He’s a very good ball-handler for a player his size and he’s able to utilize his quickness advantage on most opposing big man and get to the basket on straight line drives. He also does an excellent job using spin moves to change directions and get to the rim.

NBADraft.net:

Robinson is one of the safer picks around the top of the draft … He has the tools and the work ethic to become an ideal pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop kind of power forward … Once Robinson polishes his post moves and jump shot, he should be a fixture in a team’s starting lineup for a long time.

Dana O’Neil, ESPN:

By now, almost everyone in college basketball knows Robinson’s heart-wrenching story. He lost his beloved grandmother and grandfather in the span of three weeks.

Then, five days after his grandfather’s passing — on Jan. 21, 2011 — his mother, Lisa, died unexpectedly, leaving Robinson, in the midst of his sophomore season at Kansas, in charge of his 9-year-old sister, Jayla, who lived half a country away.

Were that the end of the story, had Robinson’s tale stopped at Lisa’s gravesite, with the heartbreaking picture of Jayla wrapped around her brother’s waist, this would be a tragedy.

Instead, the final chapters are a long way from being written, and Robinson, once the brave figure who played in a game the day after Lisa died, is a hero.

What is the best thing Thomas Robinson does for his team?

Kevin Hetrick of Cavs: The Blog:

Robinson’s size, strength & skills, combined with athleticism and intensity make him a can’t miss.  He’ll play hard, rebound, and provide some offense immediately, while ideally continuing to expand his post game and add range to his jumper.

Previously

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-7, 232 pounds, freshman F from Kentucky
  • Key Stats: 11.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals per game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 26 percent from three
  • Projected: Top 5
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

The easy answer is that if the Pistons are in a position to draft Kidd-Gilchrist, it means they’ve moved into the top three of the draft lottery, certainly reason for any fan of the team to be excited.

But Kidd-Gilchrist is also a throwback Piston who would quickly become a fan-favorite, not only because he’s a fantastic athlete, but because he’s a lockdown, physical defensive player. As we all know, the Pistons have an abundance of finesse players right now. Getting a young player with MKG’s toughness would be a huge, huge win.

Pros for the Pistons

As I mentioned above, defense is the immediate selling point. Kidd-Gilchrist is a big, strong perimeter player who can guard three positions. The Pistons currently only have two players (if Ben Wallace retires) — Rodney Stuckey and Tayshaun Prince — who can even be called average defensively.

And speaking of Prince, Kidd-Gilchrist would immediately give the Pistons more flexibility when it comes to what to do with Prince. Unlike some wing prospects in the draft, Kidd-Gilchrist is ready for a starting or at least primary role immediately. This would make it easier to reduce Prince’s minutes (which, in my opinion, would make him more effective) or trade him if there are teams out there looking for veteran help at small forward and who are unafraid to take on three pricey years on his contract even though he’s on the wrong side of 30.

Kidd-Gilchrist is an exceptional athlete, a good finisher and he’d be a great fit finishing off breaks led by either Stuckey or Brandon Knight. He’s also a great rebounder for his position and, despite poor perimeter shooting, still shot nearly 50 percent as a perimeter player. He’d be a huge, immediate upgrade for the Pistons at the small forward spot.

Cons for the Pistons

The main knock on MKG to this point is shooting. He’s not a major threat from long range. In a lineup with Stuckey who, although improved, is also not what anyone would mistake for a 3-point threat and Knight, who shot better than expected from three as a rookie but also may not necessarily be anyone’s idea of a 3-point specialist, the Pistons could potentially put a pretty poor shooting perimeter on the court for big minutes, which would take driving lanes away from all three.

That’s really the only negative anyone has to say about MKG, and it’s certainly not anything that would scare the Pistons or any team off from likely drafting him in the first four picks.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t have Davis’ size or athletic ability (though he’s a great athlete in his own right), but he brings all the intangibles of a winner. He has the highest motor of any player in the draft, can lock down players at three different positions, is one of the most efficient finishers in college basketball and is a leader on and off the court.

Kidd-Gilchrist isn’t quite the sure thing that Davis is, however. He’s a little undersized for his position and needs to get a more consistent jump shot. Some teams wonder if he’ll be an aggressive enough scorer at the next level. But for the most part, the NBA talent evaluators are sold. We have Kidd-Gilchrist ranked No. 2 on our Big Board and have him going No. 2 overall to the Washington Wizards in our Lottery Mock Draft. If Washington decides to take Bradley Beal instead of Kidd-Gilchrist, we doubt MKG slides out of the top five.

DraftExpress:

He really understands the nuances of making others better with his ability to set screens, pass, and make hustle plays, which is likely a big reason why he’s always been considered such a winner from very early on in his career.

The (Ohio) Morning Journal:

Kidd-Gilchrist changed his name on July 7, 2011. His uncle, Darrin Kidd, died on the day Kidd-Gilchrist was scheduled to sign his letter of intent to play at Kentucky.

NJ.com:

Gilchrist has talked with a stutter for most of his life. He isn’t comfortable in the large group settings that are the norm in his sport, where strangers leaning close and interrupt each other with questions.

Kanaley taught him for four years at St. Patrick, working with him one-on-one in the resource room at the school. She remembers him as “a very, very sensitive young man” who didn’t like reading assignments that dealt with death; he calls her “one of my favorite teachers.”

So Kanaley understands the strain that his stuttering has put on Kidd-Gilchrist better than most. Put him in a social situation with his friends or teammates, and Gilchrist is at ease and speaks freely.

But when you’re a star for the No. 1 team in the country who’s about to be a lottery pick in the NBA Draft, everyone knows you. There are obligations beyond the court and the classroom.

“He doesn’t like all the hoopla around him,” Kanaley said. “I know the stuttering was very difficult for him – very difficult.”

What is the best thing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist does for his team?

Rob Dauster (follow him on Twitter) writes for NBC’s College Basketball Talk and BallinIsAHabit.net:

There is plenty to love about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as a prospect, but his best attributes as a player are the things that you can’t teach. He’s naturally strong. He’s more physical that his frame would indicate. He’s a terrific defender, often times getting switched onto an opponent’s point guard in his one season in Lexington. He’s a terror on the glass. Kidd-Gilchrist has a way to go in terms of developing his ball skills — he needs to be a better ball-handler and he has to improve his ability to shoot — but that will come with time. It’s just my opinion, however, but I’d rather have a player the inherent tenacity and toughness that needs to be taught a 15 foot pull-up than vice versa.

Previously