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Category → Draft Dreams 2013

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Brandon Paul

Info

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

Random Fact

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

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

Fits with the Pistons because …

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

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

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

From the Experts:

Chad Ford:

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

DraftExpress:

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

On Film:

Previously:

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Alex Len

Info

  • Measurables: 7-foot-1, 255 pounds, sophomore center from Maryland.
  • Key Stats: 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 blocks per game on 53.4% shooting.
  • Projected: Lottery pick
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Random Fact

Len struggled a lot when moving from Ukraine to America to play basketball for Maryland. One of the funniest things he did was asking his barber for a buzz cut because he didn’t know how to ask for anything else. He also needed to use a translator to order rotisserie chicken from Boston Market at one point because he couldn’t speak English.

Len’s first name isn’t Alex, either, it’s Olexiy. Once he moved to America, however, he changed it to Alex so it was easier for people to understand.

Fits with the Pistons because …

The Pistons have Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond filling out their front court, but Alex Len could come in and be the team’s third big since, as of right now the other big man on the Pistons bench is Viacheslav Kravtsov, who I love, but not because he’s good at basketball. Bringing in Len would be a huge relief for Monroe and Drummond, as they can’t play 48 minutes every game. Len could be a huge contributor off the bench and it could even help himself develop at a slower pace than being thrown right into a team’s system.

He’s also one of the few big men in this draft that is a stellar defender. He has a 7-foot-1 body with a 7-foot-4 wingspan and he uses that to his advantage. Drummond and Monroe are still developing as defenders (though Drummond’s shot-blocking makes him much further along), so Len will help that cause.

Len’s also a pretty good outside shooter for a seven-footer. Although he puts the ball on the floor at a fairly frequent rate, the upside of his shooting is the trade off you get.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

Well, there’s a flip side to this whole thing. Len is a big man, and that’s where the Pistons don’t need as much help as they do in their backcourt. Len entered the draft early and may not get optimal playing time in Detroit as opposed to if he goes to another team that needs him more. Obviously, there could be a jam with three really talented big men all wanting adequate playing time when not all three of them can have it.

From the Experts:

Chad Ford:

I spent some time this week with a number of international scouts who all had the same question for me: Why isn’t Len in the mix to be the No. 1 pick? If you watched a lot of Maryland games, you already know the answer, but the scouts’ perspectives were interesting. In international play Len was dominant, but if someone like Jonas Valanciunas had played in Maryland’s system, it’s likely that his numbers would’ve been better than Len’s. While I doubt that Len will get the nod over Noel (unless there are more complications with his ACL), I could see teams that are desperate for a big man taking Len at No. 2 or No. 3. Virtually every team in the mix for Noel could end up having Len as Plan B on draft night if he has strong workouts.

DraftExpress:

Defensively, Len shows great potential with his size, long arms and mobility, but is still somewhat of a work in progress at this stage. On one hand he shows the ability to hedge screens out on the perimeter thanks to his quick feet and excellent agility, stepping out and recovering back to protect the rim and being difficult to shoot over thanks to his excellent length. On the other hand, his intensity-level leaves something to be desired at times, as he doesn’t always get a hand up on opponents, can be lackadaisical running the floor, and will give up deep post position inside the paint, allowing himself to get schooled by more experienced opponents.

On Film:

Previously:

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Glen Rice Jr.

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, small forward from the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers via Georgia Tech
  • Key Stats: 13.0 points, 1.9 assists, 6.2 rebounds per game; shot 49 percent overall and 39 percent from three-point range
  • Projected: Second round

Random Fact

I’m rooting for Glen Rice Jr. to succeed in the NBA for several reasons, not least of which is his father is one of the greatest players the state of Michigan has ever produced. But aside from the fact that Rice Jr. has a famous dad who I loved watching, aside from the fact that he’s a great redemption story after getting kicked off of Georgia Tech’s team, he also represents a chance to bust the myth that the NCAA should not be automatically considered the best proving ground for NBA players.

Rice was an elite prospect in high school. He went to a middling (or some would say bad) program at Georgia Tech. He got into trouble off the court — telling Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress he was hanging out with the wrong crowds and wrong people. Rice spent three years at Georgia Tech, was undisciplined and, although he certainly wasn’t a bad player, he also didn’t look like a legit NBA prospect before he was kicked out of the program.

In the D-League with Rio Grande, Rice matured both as a player and a person. He was held to standards expected of NBA athletes. He had to earn his way into the rotation on a good team. And ultimately, he led that team to a championship with an amazing playoff performance — averaging 25 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game for Rio Grande in their playoff run.

The right college program can do wonders for players with professional aspirations. But going to a program that doesn’t help a player grow personally or athletically can also be detrimental. Rice’s problems at Georgia Tech were attributable to his own questionable decision-making, but once he got into an environment that was structured and expected him to be disciplined and committed and held him to that standard, he thrived. That’s certainly possible in the NCAA with some programs. But Rice could also shed light on the fact that the D-League could also prove to be a viable alternative for players with pro aspirations who might not be getting what they need from a college program.

Fits with the Pistons because …

Rice, who is projected to go in the early second round, has skills that would be great fits for the Pistons. He’s a strong, athletic wing player and he inherited his father’s sweet shooting stroke. He’s also a good rebounder and strong enough to become a quality NBA defensive player.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

The Pistons do have other recent second round prospects at small forward who have shown varying levels of promise in Kyle Singler and Khris Middleton. If the Pistons are sold on either or both of those players as potential rotation players next season, adding a third second round prospect at the same position who needs minutes to develop is probably out of the question. Also, after initial excitement about Rice’s potential based on his D-League playoff run boosted his stock, his so-so performance at the combine cooled it some.

Still, if Rice is available when the Pistons pick in the second round, he’s the only non-international prospect in this draft who is proven at the professional level. Increasingly, D-League players have made positive contributions to NBA teams, so his production for Rio Grande is a definite major selling point to give him a look.

From the Experts:

Chad Ford:

We put Rice in our top 30 several months ago after he started getting more minutes in the D-League and broke loose. It wasn’t a fluke. Rice led the Rio Grande Vipers to the D-League championship, scoring 25 PPG in the finals. He’s a bit of a tweener, but he has NBA athleticism, can really shoot the basketball and is an excellent rebounder for his size. Most importantly, in the D-League he excelled at a high level among elite college players and former NBA rotation guys.

DraftExpress:

Like his father, Rice’s most attractive skill lies in his jump-shot, which he’s honed into an extremely dangerous weapon as of late. Only shooting 30 and 33% from beyond the arc as a sophomore and junior at Georgia Tech, Rice has been absolutely deadly this season from the perimeter for the Vipers, making 39% of his overall attempts on the season, despite having to transition to the much further NBA 3-point line that the D-League plays with. He’s deadly with his feet set and is capable of coming off screens or shooting off the dribble, showing consistent mechanics, a quick release, and deep range, sometimes making shots from a few feet beyond the NBA line even, and looking effortless when doing so.

On film:

Previously:

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Michael Carter-Williams

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-5, 185 pounds, sophomore guard from Syracuse University.
  • Key Stats: 11.9 points, 7.3 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game.
  • Projected: Top 15
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Random Fact

Carter-Williams played on the same AAU team as potential first overall pick Nerlens Noel. They are very good friends, as they used to hang out with each other every summer during their high school years. Carter-Williams was the main reason Noel almost attended Syracuse instead of Kentucky.

Fits with the Pistons because …

First of all, Carter-Williams is a point guard, which will be a need for the Pistons if they decide not to re-sign Calderon. Second, he’s the type of point guard the Pistons could use. Considering that they will probably build the franchise around Monroe and Drummond, Carter-Williams is a perfect piece because he is one of the best passing guards in this draft. He’ll do a great job of getting the ball to Monroe and Drummond in the post.

While he’s not the most efficient shooter available in the draft, Carter-Williams is one of the best shot creators available for the Pistons. His biggest issue in college was his reluctance to shoot; he could have been much more aggressive.

The best part about Carter-Williams is his height. Not often do you get a 6-5 point guard that’s not shoot-first, he also has great court vision and quick feet, something that’s a rarity in basketball.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

As I mentioned, Carter-Williams is inefficient. He only shot 44 percent from two-point range and 29 percent from three-point range. That’s a big concern for teams in the running to draft him. There isn’t anything wrong with his mechanics, it’s just that his shot selection isn’t great.

Carter-Williams also turned the ball over on 26 percent of his possessions this season for Syracuse, which could be an additional problem for the already turnover-prone Pistons backcourt. His handles (which are not bad) sometimes work to his disadvantage, as sometimes he has a tendency to force unnecessarily tough passes.

From the Experts:

Chad Ford:

For those who argue yes, they start with his physical profile. At 6-foot-6, Carter-Williams is the tallest point guard in the draft and would be one of the tallest in the NBA. While most big point guards are really 2-guards masquerading as point guards (we’re looking at you, Tyreke Evans), Carter-Williams is a true point who sees the floor and gets others involved. In addition to his size, Carter-Williams is a very good athlete with an impressive 41-inch vertical jump and good scores in both the sprint and lane agility drills. He’s also a nightmare on the defensive end, using his length and quickness to average 2.8 steals per game.

DraftExpress:

While Carter-Williams does not possess a huge wingspan, his combination of terrific size, quick feet and excellent instincts make him extremely difficult for opposing guards to deal with, and give him the versatility to defend multiple positions at the NBA level. Pesky, alert, and extremely intense, Carter-Williams puts great pride on this end of the floor, getting low in a stance and putting excellent pressure on the ball when called upon. He has phenomenal instincts jumping into the passing lanes and a real knack for simply stepping into the right place at the right time to take the ball away, always lurking in the background hunting for opportunities to stick his hands in. It’s no surprise that Carter-Williams ranks #1 among top-100 prospects in steals per-40 minutes, and by a fairly large margin (20%) at that.

On film:

Previously:

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Tim Hardaway Jr.

Discuss Draft Dreams on Twitter using the #DraftDreams hashtag.

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-6, 199 pounds, junior guard from the University of Michigan.
  • Key Stats: 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists; shot 44 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point range.
  • Projected: Late first round.
  • Hickory High similarity score

Random Fact

Along with Trey Burke, Hardaway Jr. may very well be the most well-known of the current crop of NBA Draft prospects. However, he’s actually only the second most well-known Tim Hardaway in his family.

I know, I know, you’re aware of who his father is, but my favorite Tim Hardaway thing — junior or senior — is the phenomena behind Hardaway Sr.’s hat during Michigan NCAA Title Game run this March. If you didn’t know, Tim Hardaway’s Hat was kind of a big deal.

Fits with the Pistons because …

Hardaway would help shore up two of the Pistons’ biggest weaknesses — 3-point shooting and off-guard play. The Pistons haven’t been balanced in the past four seasons. Whether it was the early rebuilding years when there were 10,000 wing players and no post players, or currently, when the two of the better wing options are Khris Middleton and Kim English, both unproven former second rounders.

Hardaway is a prototypical NBA shooting guard. He has good size, athleticism and a sense of where to be on the court. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to utilize his athleticism enough, partially because he seems much more content as a jump shooter than a slashing guard.

So many times, Hardaway was a catalyst for some big Michigan scoring runs for Michigan, in part, because once his jumper started falling, his entire game opened up. He would then drive to the basket and move without the ball, showing how well-rounded he can be.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

He’s an NBA-ready jump shooter with the size to play, but despite his great scoring binges, that’s not the whole story.

Hardaway’s doesn’t shine every night. When his game is on, it’s really on. But when he’s off, he’s really off, almost to the point of being invisible on the court.

In the short term, is Hardaway a definite upgrade from Middleton? They’ve both got a nice stroke and both have dealt with bouts of inconsistency. I’m not sure Hardaway would make sense with the Pistons’ first second-round pick considering they just drafted a pair of similar shooters in that range last season.

Overall, Hardaway has the tools to be a good player in the league. Maybe his ceiling is a more-diversified offensive version of Danny Green? Maybe Arron Afflalo? Both are very possible if he puts in the work improving his 1-on-1 defense and really gets proficient from the NBA 3-point arc.

That’s 100 percent a possibility, but until he finds that consistency and adjusts to not having college basketball’s best point guard delivering him the ball exactly where he likes it, he’s going to have some work to do.

All said, he may be too much value to pass on at No. 37 – but more likely than not, he’ll already be off the board.

From the Experts

Chad Ford:

The Nuggets are in danger of losing Andre Iguodala this summer after he opted to become a free agent. While Hardaway is a far cry from Iguodala, he’s one of the more NBA-ready players in the draft and could step in immediately and along with Evan Fournier, help with some of the minutes used by Iggy.

DraftExpress:

Tim Hardaway Jr will have plenty of opportunities to climb draft boards in workouts considering how up in the air the hierarchy at the shooting guard position is after Ben McLemore and Victor Oladipo. Already impressing teams with his performance at the NBA Combine in Chicago, Hardaway could certainly be the player to stake claim to that position in the coming weeks in workouts. There’s little question that he is an NBA talent. The question for Hardaway moving forward is whether he can become the efficient contributor he’s capable of on a consistent basis.

On film

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Cody Zeller

Discuss Draft Dreams on Twitter using the #DraftDreams hashtag.

Info

  • Measurables: 7-foot, 230 pounds, sophomore center from the Indiana University.
  • Key Stats: 16.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.3 blocks per game; shot 56 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free throw line.
  • Projected: Top-10 pick.
  • Hickory High similarity score

Random Fact

I guess you could call Cody Zeller the latest from the state of Indiana’s royal family of basketball to make the jump to the NBA. That’s a title they might have to awkwardly battle the Plumlee family for, but Zeller is one of three brothers to have played in the NBA in the last two seasons. Everyone knows his older brother Tyler, current Cavalier and formally of the University of North Carolina, but he also has an older, older brother named Luke.

Luke toiled at the University of Notre Dame from 2005-09 before (somehow) catching on for a short time with the Phoenix Suns this season. All three were dominant high school players, but while the older brothers have moved on to the professional ranks rather quietly, Cody hasn’t had that same kind of stealthy transition — shown below as his NBA decision makes a small child cry.

Fits with the Pistons because …

Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are great, but they can’t play the entire game. Unless you feel comfortable going into next season with Jonas Jerebko and whatever low-end center option there is on the free agent market, Zeller makes some sense. He’s got legit size and he’s got some legit talent, and that can’t be ignored if you’re a team like the Pistons — good players will always help.

Jason Maxiell made the open 15-footer, and if he leaves in free agency, a replacement who can do that would help. Zeller can come off the bench, stretch the floor a little bit and work from the high post while Drummond or Monroe work down on the block. Floor spacing does come mainly from having shooters around the 3-point line, but having a big man who can be an actual threat from 15-17 feet is also important.

Zeller can play in a slow-it-down system, or he can get out on the break. There really aren’t any college basketball players with true post games, but Zeller is pretty good at navigating down low and getting position in his spots. His scoring efficiency dropped slightly in his sophomore season, but he still consistently put up 16-plus points a night.

Perhaps his absolute best-case scenario is LaMarcus Aldridge — another slightly built, jump-shooting big man who doesn’t rebound incredibly well — but more realistically he may be what his brother is in Cleveland, a more athletic, but less-skilled version of Greg Monroe.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

His strengths aren’t really what the team needs. He’s not going to help as a playmaker, though he can play and distribute the ball from that high-post elbow area. Rebounding is something of a concern, as is his toughness and willingness to bang around with the big boys.

There’s a lot of things Drummond needs to work on to be a better player, but getting messy down low isn’t one of them. Zeller doesn’t have that same knack — or strength — to go down into the paint and really make his intentions known. The guys that Zeller was battling in the Big Ten were good, but going from Adreian Payne and Trevor Mbakwe to NBA frontcourt players is going to be his biggest challenge off the bat.

He measured as the most athletic big man at the NBA Draft Combine last month, which is actually surprising considering that he just doesn’t come off that way during the game. There are plenty of NBA player who are athletic, but there are some that rely too much on it and others who, quite frankly, don’t use it enough. I think he might be the latter. Not to say he can’t improve on it, but he doesn’t show that explosiveness quite enough.

From the Experts

Chad Ford:

Zeller helped himself tremendously with his athletic testing numbers at the combine. He tested as the most athletic big man in the draft and was in the top five of all participants at the combine. Now he just needs to complete the deal by proving to scouts that he has the perimeter skills to make the transition to the 4 position. If he shoots the ball well, he’ll move up another few spots on our board.

DraftExpress:

Zeller’s stock took a bit of a hit this season, to the point that he is no longer a lock to get drafted in the top five as he was projected to start the year. He’ll need to have a good showing during the pre-draft process, particularly in matchups with other players at his position, but it’s difficult to see him falling too far in the draft considering he’s an athletic 7-footer with tremendous scoring instincts. Barring injury, it’s safe to say Zeller will be in the NBA for a long time.

On film

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: C.J. McCollum

Discuss Draft Dreams on Twitter using the #DraftDreams hashtag

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-3, 197-pounds senior guard from Lehigh

  • Key Stats: 23.9 points, 2.9 assists, five rebounds, 1.4 steals per game; shot 49.5 percent from the field and 51.6 percent from 3-point range

  • Projected: Top-10 pick

  • Hickory High similarity score

Random Fact

C.J. McCollum has won the hearts of many avid basketball fans and bloggers on Twitter by answering questions about style of play in a very intelligent manner. This is an exchange between McCollum and Timberwolves fan Patrick Fenelon on Twitter.

Fits with the Pistons because …

The Pistons need a player who can create their own shot, and McCollum is the perfect man for that. Not only was McCollum a great shot creator at Lehigh, he had a true shooting percentage of 63 in his senior year, leading him to be named DraftExpress’ most efficient point guard in the country. A player who shoots a lot while still making shots is a luxury the Pistons don’t have at the moment.

McCollum, who played four seasons of college basketball, seems relatively ready for the NBA. So, Joe Dumars – who might need to make the playoffs this season to keep his job – could draft McCollum and see him join the Pistons’ rotation almost immediately

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey are under contract for next season, and adding McCollum as a third combo guard could create even more confusion in the backcourt. McCollum-Knight would make a rather small backcourt, and that’s a pairing of the two most promising players of the three. Jose Calderon could help smooth the backcourt rotation as a true point guard, but it’s unclear whether he’ll re-sign.

McCollum he was the No. 1 offensive option at Lehigh, so he didn’t show his passing abilities often. The Pistons need a guard who can get the ball to Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. McCollum hasn’t proven himself as a bad passer, but it’ll be a risk if the Pistons take him.

From the Experts

Chad Ford:

In the workout I saw, McCollum showed that he won’t have any issues with the deeper NBA 3-point line. He shot roughly 70 percent from the NBA 3 in drills I saw. He has an effortless stroke. While his 3-point percentages were often inconsistent during his career, it likely has more to do with the quality of shots he got at Lehigh than his stroke.

DraftExpress:

McCollum has solid defensive fundamentals on the whole, doing a nice job closing out shooters, finding a happy medium when defending the weak side, and seldom giving up on plays. His lack of great physical tools limit him in one-on-one situations against quicker or taller players at either guard position, and he struggles at times fighting through screens, but plays with good intensity for a player asked to do so much on the offensive end.

On film

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Pierre Jackson

Info

  • Measurables: 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, senior point guard from Baylor
  • Key Stats: 19.8 points, 7.1 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals per game; shot 43 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range
  • Projected: Late first/early second round
  • Hickory High similarity score

Random Fact

I have a weak spot for players who go the junior college route, excel there, and earn Division I opportunities. Pierre Jackson was a great JUCO player on a national championship team in Idaho. Here’s what he said after committing to Baylor:

"What Baylor has coming back next year – the front line is crazy," said Jackson. "… They got a couple NBA-caliber front-line players and they’ve got a couple freshmen coming in that are NBA caliber already on a couple mock drafts."

Now, after two standout seasons, Jackson is NBA-caliber himself.

Fits with the Pistons because …

The Pistons are likely to lose Will Bynum to free agency. Despite his detractors, Bynum’s instant offense, pace-pushing ability and athleticism often gave the team a boost in a reserve role over the past five seasons. I’m a well-known Bynum fan, but with the Pistons rebuilding and Bynum aging, it makes little sense for the Pistons to make a big push to re-sign him and Bynum might find a better opportunity to have a well-defined role on a team elsewhere. But that doesn’t mean the Pistons should pass up on the opportunity to replace some of what Bynum brought, and that’s where Jackson comes in.

Like Bynum, he has insane bounce and finishing ability for a player his size. He’s a good ball-handler, has played at a fast tempo and is a good passer on the break and off of penetration. He also has the added benefit of having more range than Bynum — Jackson shot 40 percent and 36 percent from three in his two seasons at Baylor. If Jackson is on the board when the Pistons pick in the second round, he’d be a nice fit for Bynum’s role and spot on the depth chart.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

The first major issue is that the Pistons and Bynum may not part ways. I’d say it’s a longshot that he’s back, but who knows what Bynum and the organization want. He’s productive in the role he plays, he’s affordable and he’s hard-working. If he wanted to come back, the Pistons might consider bringing him back, which would make a player like Jackson redundant.

Jackson also has many of the same issues Bynum has — he occasionally plays out of control, he’s more of a shoot-first player than the classical distributor the Pistons seem to be looking for at the point guard spot and at his size, he’d be a defensive liability against bigger guards.

Still, his production and reputation for being a hard worker are tough to ignore if he’s available in the second round.

From the Experts:

Chad Ford:

While his lack of size is an issue (he measured 5-foot-10½ in Chicago with just a 5-10 wingspan), he’s an elite athlete (measured with a 42-inch vertical leap in New Jersey), a good scorer and a willing passer. We’ve had him ranked as a first-round pick for the past two months or so, and he vindicated that to a large degree. If a team is willing to look past the size issue, he has a great shot of going in the first round.

DraftExpress:

Jackson’s excellent shooting form extends to catch and shoot situations, where he is among the most efficient players in this draft class. His shooting form is virtually impeccable, with excellent balance, elevation, and follow through. His elevation allows him to successfully get shots off even when defended, something that would normally be a problem for somebody who is only 5’10".

On Film:


Previously:

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Ray McCallum

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, junior point guard from Detroit
  • Key Stats: 18.7 points, 4.5 assists, 5.1 rebounds, 1.9 steals per game; shot 49 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range
  • Projected: Late first/early second round
  • Hickory High similarity score

Random Fact

Ray McCallum was a better prospect than his bigger name point guard counterparts in Michigan this year, Trey Burke and Keith Appling. That’s not hyperbole. McCallum was a high major recruit out of Detroit Country Day who chose to play at the University of Detroit for his dad. In fact, if I would’ve had a vote for Mr. Basketball during McCallum’s senior year, I would’ve voted for him over Appling. He was a polished, pure point guard, unselfishly looking to set up his teammates but also a phenomenal athlete who could go up and over bigs to finish and create his own shot. I’m convinced that McCallum is going to be the steal of this draft.

At Detroit, his passing numbers don’t stick out because he was simply asked to score too much. In his three years, the team had one other player who could reliably get his own shot and that player, Nick Minnerath, missed all of McCallum’s sophomore season with an injury. The Titans were offensively challenged, but McCallum led them to one tournament appearance and solid seasons in his other two years with the team. Some were surprised that he declared for the draft after his junior year, but as we’ve seen from workout reports, he belongs. He’s going to be a valuable addition to whichever team takes him. 

Fits with the Pistons because …

There is a vocal contingent of fans that would be thrilled if the Pistons took in-state star Trey Burke with the eighth pick in the draft if Burke lasts that long. But Burke also has his detractors. If the Pistons don’t end up with Burke, they could still take a Michigan college star and they’d be getting one who has a more prototypical NBA guard build and athleticism. The knock on Burke is size, but at 6-foot-3 with long arms and great leaping ability, McCallum has no such concerns. He’d give the Pistons some additional size at the point guard spot, something that could come in handy if the plan to play Brandon Knight as primarily a shooting guard continues.

Production-wise, the thing I liked best about McCallum this year was his improvement despite being asked to do more for the Titans with less around him. After Detroit’s tourney appearance during McCallum’s sophomore season, Detroit lost its top two post players from that team, Eli Holman and LaMarcus Lowe, and its second leading scorer, guard Chase Simon (all three went on to play in professional leagues, so they were impact players at that level). Despite less depth, a younger roster and more attention from opposing defenses on McCallum, he still became a more efficient player, hitting a career-best 49 percent of his shots and posting a career-low in turnovers per game while playing a career-high in minutes per game.

McCallum is a natural point guard, he’s smart, he’s hard-working. That’s exactly the type of player the Pistons should be looking at in round two.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

The one major weakness in McCallum’s game is perimeter shooting. He made 32 percent of his threes last season, and that was a career-best. The Pistons need more perimeter threats to help give Greg Monroe more room to operate inside. McCallum’s shot has gotten better over the last three years, so that’s a positive. But potentially as a rookie second round pick, he won’t have immediate opportunities to play big minutes. If he’s able to work on that shot the rest of this summer, that will give him an even better shot at earning a role with a team early on.

From the Experts:

Chad Ford:

One thing that virtually all of these mid-major players have in common is high basketball IQ. McCallum is another player who thrives, in part, because he has such a superior feel for the game. He’s very quick, can be a defensive hawk and thinks pass first. He needs to improve as a shooter, but given the way he has matured this season, his game has very few holes. I think he’s the sleeper point guard of the draft, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see his name called in the first round.

DraftExpress:

McCallum has excellent ball-handling skills, plays the game at a nice pace and shows great poise. Doubling as his team’s primary ball-handler and top scoring option, he generally does a very good job taking care of the ball and making good decisions, as evidenced by the fact that he turns the ball over on only 12% of his used possessions this season, second among all point guards in our top 100 rankings.

As we’ve written before, McCallum is at his best when he can get out in transition, but he’s also done a better job this year of being more shifty off the dribble to create in the half-court, where he attacks the basket hard and finishes effectively at the rim, even through contact, as he’s connecting on an impressive 61% of his shots in the basket area.

Hickory High (via Vic in the comments and Jameson Draper, who also sent the link):

The first thing of note was the high evaluation of a number of point guards. Even the projections of small-school studs at the position such as Ray McCallum, C.J. McCollum, and Nate Wolters compared very favorably against competitors at other positions. That result is partially due to the recent success point guards have achieved in the NBA. This can also be attributed to the fact that currently the data isn’t set up to separate point guards from swing players. Nevertheless, players like McCallum or Wolters could actually turn out to be cunning steals for teams if they fall into the second round (projected to go 41st and 39th, respectively).

On Film:

Previously:

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Ben McLemore

Discuss Draft Dreams on Twitter using the #DraftDreams hashtag

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-5, 185 pound freshman shooting guard from Kansas
  • Key Stats: 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2 assists per game; shot 49.5 percent from the field and 42 percent on 3-pointers
  • Projected: top two
  • Hickory High similarity score

Random fact

Although McLemore was a freshman this season, this was his second year attending Kansas. Because of issues with his high school transcripts, McLemore was academically ineligible to play for Kansas in 2011-2012 and redshirted. McLemore, now 20 years old, is already older than Andre Drummond.

Fits with the Pistons because …

The Pistons desperately need a good perimeter player, because Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey and Kyle Singler just aren’t cutting it. McLemore, who shot 42 percent from 3-point range, is most commonly compared to Ray Allen. McLemore could become the Pistons’ second-best option on offense, behind the Drummond-Monroe tandem in the paint. Having a player that can knock down long shots like that is a luxury that the Pistons haven’t truly experienced in a while.

On defense, McLemore’s foot work and length have scouts hoping he has the potential to become a lockdown defender in the NBA, even if he’s not there yet.

People fail to remember that scouts looked at McLemore as an undersized power forward until his senior year of high school. He’s a very late bloomer.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

Detroit’s front office still has a lot of hope in developing Brandon Knight as a shooting guard, and if they believe in that, there’s no use in drafting McLemore. McLemore is not a player that you can put in other positions and make it work– he’s a shooting guard and will stay a shooting guard.

If the Pistons have an opportunity to snag McLemore – it will take some luck in a few minutes – he’s not a sure-fire star. He has the capability of developing into one, but he was often too passive at Kansas.

He’s not going to be a bad player, but there’s a chance he won’t realize the potential everyone sees in him.

From the experts

Chad Ford:

McLemore is the purest jump shooter in the country. He’s a likely top-three pick, and in some scenarios in our Lottery Mock Draft, we having him going No. 1 overall. McLemore is also an elite athlete and has the potential to be a great defender. What he lacks is confidence. At times he can disappear or overly defer to other players. For teams wanting a go-to scorer and an alpha dog, he might not be the right choice. But if he overcomes that, he could be an NBA All-Star someday.

DraftExpress:

Long term, the question is what type of role McLemore can grow into in the NBA. Is he a “3 and D” player, meaning a spot-up 3-point shooter, transition finisher and defensive stalwart, or can he be more than that? Most starting shooting guards in the NBA need to be able to function in pick and roll and isolation settings, which is something he doesn’t do at Kansas very often (under 10% of time according to Synergy Sports Technology). It really depends on what the expectations from him well be, which will be decided in large part on where he ends up being drafted.

On film