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Category → Draft Dreams

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Ben McLemore

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  • 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.


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

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Otto Porter


  • Measurables: 6-foot-8, 205 pounds, sophomore small forward from Georgetown.
  • Key Stats: 16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.8 steals per game; shot 48 percent from the field and  42.2 percent on 3-pointers
  • Projected: Top 5 pick
  • Hickory High similarity score



Random fact

Porter took a strange path to Georgetown. He grew up in rural southeast Missouri and went to Scott County High School, which had an enrollment at the time of 108 students. He also never played AAU basketball.

But big-time college still found him.

Maybe its because Porter’s high school has a long-standing tradition of basketball success. The Porter family had a member on Scott County High School’s first 11 state championships, starting with Porter’s dad, Otto Porter Sr., in 1976.

Fits with the Pistons because …

Porter fills a big need. If the Pistons retains Calderon, they will be in good shape at point guard, power forward and center, and Brandon Knight would be a serviceable shooting guard. Small forward, however, is currently occupied by Kyle Singler, and he’s not desirable starting option. Getting Porter would fill that need immediately, considering Porter projects as a solid player immediately.

If he plays to the full of his potential, Porter could possibly become a Tayshaun Prince-esque player. He’ll be an all-around player with good defensive ability once he develops a bit more on that side of the ball, but he’s on the right track.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

The Pistons don’t have anyone aside from Greg Monroe who can create his own shot, and Monroe only qualifies because I’m optimistically hoping Detroit possesses the basic skill of throwing entry passes going forward. Porter isn’t going to solve that problem.

If Calderon stays, that’s OK. But if Calderon leaves, Porter’s skills will be partially wasted on a team that doesn’t move the ball well. Porter learned at Georgetown how to function in an offense full of cuts and passing, but it’s not clear he has isolation skills.

From the experts

Chad Ford:

From a skills perspective, Porter is one of the two or three most complete players in the draft. He could look great in the drills section, though he, too, is unlikely to participate. Typically the top six to 10 players in the draft skip that portion of the combine. Everyone expects Porter to be stellar in the interview process, so the athletic testing might be the real key for him. If he tests well with his vertical leap and lateral quickness, it would further cement his status as a top-5 pick.


At 6’9 with a very long wingspan and a rail-thin 205-pound frame, Porter has excellent size for the small forward position, even if he must get significantly stronger before he can make an impact at the next level. This is especially important considering his lack of elite athleticism, as he is more fluid and smooth than quick or explosive. Though his intelligence and instincts allow him to compensate somewhat at this level, he will have to maximize his physical potential to contribute at the next level.

On film

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Victor Oladipo

Discuss Draft Dreams on Twitter using the #DraftDreams hashtag.


  • Measurables: 6-foot-4, 213 pounds, junior forward from the Indiana University.
  • Key Stats: 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.2 steals and 0.8 blocks per game; shot 60 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point territory.
  • Projected: Top-5 pick.
  • Hickory High similarity score

Random Fact

He’ll flat out admit it, as he did at the NBA Draft Combine this week, but Victor Oladipo is a weird dude. There’s nothing wrong with that — some guys just march to the beat of their own drum — but Oladipo is his own man. He’s a gym rat, a guy who’s improved his game infinitely since he arrived in Bloomington, Ind., three years ago.

But apparently he’s not all hoops. He’s actually got some pipes, which were on display at the Spirit of Indiana Showcase two years ago when he covered Usher’s hit, “U Got It Bad,” via BroBible:

It turns out he’s not just stealing the ball from opposing ball handlers, but also stealing the hearts of Indiana coeds since 2010.

Fits with the Pistons because …

Where to start? He’s a high-energy, high-effort guy who never seems to take a play off. Defensively, he would step in as the Pistons’ best perimeter defender since Tayshaun Prince in 2008, and that alone makes him worth a selection in the top-8 picks.

The thing about a weak draft like this is there are only two ways of drafting — you’re either gambling on a high-risk, high-reward guy or taking the safe bet. Sure, the ridicule of passing on a potential future superstar is difficult, but at the same time, you’re avoiding drafting the next Michael Olowokandi, too.

Comparing Oladipo to Dwyane Wade is extremely lazy, but there’s a short list of guys in this draft who aren’t going to get you fired. Oladpio is one of them. Oladipo’s on the shorter side (6-foot-4), but with a 6-foot-9 wingspan and elite athleticism, he’ll provide defense from day one. Plus, he’ll slide into a team’s offensive system relatively smoothly due to his versatility.

It’s become a common practice in today’s NBA, but more and more teams are relying heavily on guys who aren’t A+ offensive players, but make up the difference on defense. Whether it’s Danny Green in San Antonio, Tony Allen (a very good Oladipo comparison) in Memphis or Shane Battier in Miami, these guys don’t make or break you offensively, but they impact the game on defense.

If the Pistons need help in one area, it’s defense. Even if they have something of a logjam at shooting guard with Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey, the insertion of Oladipo into the lineup is going to improve the team’s perimeter defense — a glaring weakness last season with apathetic defenders like Jose Calderon and, and to varying degrees, Will Bynum and Stuckey playing big minutes.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

For all the good he brings on defense, he’s still a work in progress offensively. He’s athletic, and that’s something of a must for perimeter players in today’s NBA, but he doesn’t really handle the ball well and makes way too many turnovers.

The majority of his offense at Indiana came off of open shots created by Cody Zeller down low or the fact that the team spaced the floor with 3-point shooters at every position. For a Pistons’ team that struggles to space the floor for Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond due to some questionable perimeter shooting, Oladipo won’t help the spacing problems.

Tony Allen is the trendy comparison, and it’s one that I actually like because people sometimes forget how explosive Allen was prior to tearing his ACL early in his career. Allen’s not a great shooter, and although Oladipo has a set shot, he’s not a threat to create his own offense and there are questions as to how his shooting range will translate to the NBA 3-point line.

Oladipo fits the mold of the trendy 3-and-D wing player. As I mentioned above, those guys are extremely valuable, even if they’re limited offensively. He’s going to need to solidify his jump shot from the NBA 3-point line in order to truly fit into that mold because, as of right now, he’s just a good set-midrange shooter.

But really, if he does that and his ceiling becomes what he was in college this year — albeit less efficient than 60/44/75 — are you really mad about drafting him? He’s a safe pick, and if that’s what the Pistons are looking for he’s their guy, assuming he’s around wherever they’re picking after tonight’s lottery.

The biggest problem with Oladipo is going to be where he lands. There are some guys who have a role and will be good in that role no matter where they are. There are some guys like that who are thrown into roles too large for them due to poor talent around them and things go down hill from there. Oladipo is what he is. He’s not going to be a scorer for you. That’s why Michael Kidd-Gilchrist struggled in Charlotte. He was out of his element, and Oladipo faces similar challenges.

From the Experts

Chad Ford:

Oladipo is the best perimeter defender in the country and an elite athlete who plays at a relentless pace. He’s still a work in progress offensively, but he can guard three positions on the floor and is an elite finisher at the rim. His shooting has dramatically improved, as have his ballhandling skills, but they’ll need to continue to improve for Oladipo to be a scorer at the next level. Look for him to go somewhere between No. 3 and No. 8 in the draft.


With the ability to guard up to four positions at the college level, Oladipo projects to be able to defend all three perimeter positions at the NBA level, depending on matchups. He has the speed and quickness to cover point guards, and his athleticism, strength, and toughness should enable him to guard most small forwards as well. Coaches will likely value the flexibility Oladipo gives them on the defensive end, as they can cross-match and hide weaker defenders while putting Oladipo on the opposing team’s top perimeter threat, regardless of position.

On film

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Nerlens Noel

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  • Measurables: 6-foot-11, 215 pounds, freshman center from the University of Kentucky.
  • Key Stats: 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.3 steals and 4.4 blocks per game; shot 59 percent from the field.
  • Projected: Top-5 pick.
  • Hickory High similarity score

Random Fact

Nerlen’s Noel is probably most known for his shot-blocking acumen and tearing his ACL in a national TV loss to Florida mid-way through the season.

What he’s also known for is eraser-top haircut. The dude’s hair rivals Kid from Kid ‘n Play, and when he announced his decision to attend the University of Kentucky last season, he of course did it in the most “look at me” way ever done with hair. Via Deadspin:

Yes, he shaved the UK logo into his head. There’s no joke to make because that is too perfect.

Fits with the Pistons because …

He’s a really good basketball player. The Pistons may have a developing core group of young frontcourt players, but they still aren’t good enough to pick for need and not value. They should not forgo drafting the best prospect in this draft just because he doesn’t fill an immediate need.

Noel doesn’t have a polished offensive game, but at 19, he already has an NBA-ready skill in shot blocking. He’s one of the best pure shot blockers to come out in recent years, perhaps even better than Anthony Davis last year.

The difference between Noel and Davis is on the offensive end. Both are mighty thin (Noel is 215 pounds), but Davis has some semblance of a face-up game. Noel’s got very little. He improved as the season went on, and had he not been forced out of action early, he was only going to get better.

Perhaps he even can serve as a trade-igniter for the anti-Greg Monroe crowd. But I digress.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

He’s still recovering from the torn ACL, and Pistons.com’s Keith Langlois recently reported that Noel hopes to be back ready to go by Christmas. The knee injury shouldn’t scare teams away because he’s a 19-year-old who is ahead of schedule on his rehab.

The Pistons need a wing or point guard much more than another big man, even if Noel is just too good to pass up. There are major questions how Noel would play with Andre Drummond, considering both are so similar and, at this point, limited. Offensively, neither has range or the ability to handle the ball, and they might just clog the paint and prevent each other from the lobs they’re so great at finishing. Defensively, both could be elite rim protectors, but if they’re just duplicating that skill, it could leave a void in defending outside the paint.

From the Experts

Chad Ford:

Noel’s season ended on Feb. 12 when he tore his left ACL. However, the injury has done little to hurt his draft stock. Noel has been atop our Big Board all year with the exception of a brief slip to No. 2 after the injury. He has great size and athletic ability, and he proved to be one of the hardest-working players at Kentucky this season. Although his offensive game is a work in progress, he has as much upside as anyone in the draft. We currently project him as the No. 1 player on our board and he goes No. 1 in most mock draft scenarios.


Any discussion about Noel’s potential as a NBA prospect should start with his phenomenal physical attributes. Measured at 6-10 without shoes, with a 7-4 wingspan and exceptional athletic ability, Noel is a rare specimen. He runs the floor like a guard, is extremely nimble and quick, and has pogo stick leaping ability. This allows him to cover ground unbelievably well both vertically and horizontally, which helps him impact the game in numerous ways. It’s safe to say that, should he make a full recovery from his injury as expected, he’ll be one of the most athletic big men in the NBA.

What is the best thing Noel does for his team?

Glenn Logan (follow his blog on Twitter @ASeaOfBlue) covers the University of Kentucky for A Sea of Blue, SB Nation’s Kentucky blog:

When Kentucky fans think of Nerlens Noel, one image will forever be galvanized in our brains — the image of Noel running 94 feet to block a shot in a game that was almost surely lost while most of his teammates barely made it past half court, only to be injured when he landed awkwardly. What most of us forget is that he actually did block the shot. That’s the kind of competitive determination that defines Noel, and the lucky NBA team that gets him will never regret the pick.

Yes, Noel is extremely raw. He isn’t very good at the game of basketball yet, but he is an athletic marvel, perhaps the quickest 6’10″ player to ever enter the NBA draft. Defensively, he needs very little work to have an immediate impact. Almost everyone knows about his prodigious shot-blocking, but what most people don’t know is that Noel blocks shots equally well with either hand, an extremely rare skill that is almost absent from any level of basketball. It matters — a lot. He also averaged over two steals per game, something almost never seen in combination with great shot-blocking. Offensively, he’ll take some time to develop, so a team needing immediate low block scoring or a face-up game might want to look elsewhere.

Finally, Noel is a genuinely good person who deeply involved in the community. He loves the game of basketball and is completely coachable at any level. He has a few potential negatives with his body type from a sports business standpoint, but from a personal standpoint, any team will be lucky to have him in their locker room. I cannot recommend Noel highly enough, and the value of his intangibles, though overshadowed by his astonishing athletic gifts, are almost reason enough to draft him by themselves.

On film

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Jeff Withey

Discuss Draft Dreams on Twitter using the #DraftDreams hashtag.


  • Measurables: 6-foot-11, 240 pounds, senior center from the University of Kansas 
  • Key Stats: 13.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.9 blocks per game; shot 58 percent from the field. 
  • Projected: Mid-first round.
  • Hickory High similarity score

Random Fact

There are a lot of scatter-brained, potentially inebriated ideas that college students concoct — some great and some bad. But you’ve got to give it up, the cult following that Withey had during his four year’s at Kansas are pretty hilarious.

Not only did he have a parody Twitter account called @FakeJeffWithey, which is how I really hope he acts, if just for hilarity’s sake, but he’s also got two websites dedicated to his presence.

First you’ve got WitheyBlockParty.com which is literally a blog featuring a boatload of Withey’s blocks at KU. He had 286 in his final two seasons, and by listening to the calls of each block, you’d think the Kansas announcers had never seen him block a shot. There was actually a Twitter hashtag, #witheyblockparty, that was really a thing during the season and tournament, too.

The other goes by the name WitheyFace.com. If you’ve ever heard of ManningFace.com, you’ll know what this is. You’ll notice right off the bat that a snarling Jeff Withey closely resembles the Jayhawks logo. I’ll just leave you all with these 500 or so staring Withey faces…

Fits with the Pistons because …

There are a number of holes on the Pistons’ roster, but one of the more underrated ones is in the front court. The team already has it’s cornerstones in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, but with Jason Maxiell entering free agency and Charlie Villanueva being Charlie Villanueva, the Pistons need a third big man.

Withey’s biggest strength — shot blocking — is one of the Pistons’ biggest weaknesses. There’s the niche of fans under the assumption that the Pistons already have a Withey-like player in Slava Kravtsov, but Withey has an plus-NBA skill. Kravtsov lacks that.

There’s no reason a team wouldn’t want a guy like Withey on their team. Even if all he ends up being in the NBA is an above-average shot blocker from the weak side, he’s still got value. The question is where does that value start. The Pistons are drafting in the top-10, but not again until the early second round.

Withey would be a horrible reach in the early-to-mid lottery, but in the early second round, he’d be perfect. The chances of that aren’t great now, especially considering the kind of great-at-one-skill players like Withey are usually a value to contenders who can pick and choose when and how they use them later in a draft.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

He’s not going to help a sometimes-stagnant offense. For all the good that Withey brings on defense, he’s still somewhat easy to push around on the block and doesn’t have any semblance of a post game. That’s something that can be cultivated and developed, but he’s going to be a non-factor on offense early.

I’ve gushed about the shot blocking, but he’s not a great defender individually. There’s confusion sometimes between really good defenders and really good shot blockers — there’s a difference. Serge Ibaka is a GREAT shot blocker, but just an above-average defender. Right now, Withey’s a really good shot blocker, NBA caliber, but in college hoops, specifically the Big 12, you’re not facing any sort of real post threat.

The best example of that might be his struggles with Michigan freshman Mitch McGary in the Sweet 16. Withey was muscled around and tossed aside by McGary, whose post game is hardly refined, even by college standards. That’s scary if you’re a GM looking at Withey to be a key defender for you.

Fair or unfair, he’s also kind of been stereotyped as the big, goofy stiff who is bound to be a bust. The fact that his predecessor, Cole Aldrich, has really done nothing in three seasons with a very similar skill set doesn’t help, either.

From the Experts

Chad Ford:

If there was a shot-blocking drill where the goal was to block as many shots as possible without fouling the shooter, Withey would walk away with the prize handily. Alas, the focus on offense probably won’t speak to Withey’s strengths at the combine. Big men rarely have their stock helped or hurt at the combine — his real tests will come in workouts against Gorgui Dieng, Steven Adams, Rudy Gobert and Mason Plumlee.


Athletic 7-footers with great defensive instincts and excellent finishing ability don’t grow on trees, though, so there will surely be a market for his services this upcoming June. A playoff team drafting in the second half of the first round could be very happy picking a player who is well-coached, experienced and ready to compete from day one, as if he pans out, he could present excellent value to a NBA team playing on a rookie scale contract.

On film

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Trey Burke

Welcome to the fourth annual Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams series (see years 1, 2 and 3 in the archives). Discuss Draft Dreams on Twitter using the #DraftDreams hashtag. I’m getting a bit of a late start, but thanks to some help this year (DraftDreams had previously been a solo effort) from Brady Fredericksen,  Jameson Draper and Dan Feldman, we should be able to get through a collection of first and second round prospects over the next few weeks while we try to figure out who is going to coach this soon-to-be future playoff team (seriously you guys … don’t you DARE make Joe Dumars fire another coach … he’ll totally do it). 

The annual disclaimer — I don’t fancy myself a college basketball expert. In fact, it’s kind of torture to watch referees call a charge whenever someone falls down (someone needs to get Stern to fix flopping in the college game), less talented players (cough * Aaron Craft * cough) become stars because they are great at clutching and grabbing more physically gifted players to slow them down and rules designed to encourage players to inefficiently shoot contested long twos. I’m off on a tangent again. Anyway, the college game is inherently frustrating to me, but I still love it, I still watch it and I’ve made a bit of a pattern of starting this series off each year with my favorite player in the draft (DeMarcus Cousins, Darius Morris and Draymond Green in the previous three years). This year, that player is unquestionably Trey Burke, and that’s coming from someone whose allegiances primarily are in East Lansing.


  • Measurables: 6-foot-0, 190 pounds, sophomore point GOD from Michigan
  • Key Stats: 18.6 points, 6.7 assists, 1.6 steals per game; shot 46 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point range; Naismith Player of the Year
  • Projected: Top 10
  • Hickory High similarity score

Random Fact

During his freshman season, Burke had just had back-to-back solid if unspectacular games against known basketball powerhouses Towson and Western Illinois. This caused baseball Hall of Fame voter, worst blog in America pontificator and local radio conch-haver Pat Caputo to suggest on the air that (paraphrasing slightly) Burke was the next Chris Paul.

It was typical Caputoperbole that I should’ve ignored, but it struck me as insanely irritating at the time. Paul is probably the best point guard since Magic Johnson and, if injuries/the curse of Donald Sterling don’t interrupt his career, he’s going to be one of the all-time greats. Comparing a relatively under-recruited college player to Paul after a couple of games against irrelevant competition is reckless, even for a guy who once called the Detroit Tigers’ best offensive player their biggest offensive problem. It was a disservice to Burke, a young player trying to carve out his own identity at a basketball program in desperate need of a ‘savior’ type of player, to saddle him with those types of expectations so early. Comparisons like that unfairly ratchet up pressure on young players, particularly at a high profile school like Michigan. It also did Paul a disservice. Because Paul toiled away in New Orleans much of his career, his brilliance is still a bit under-appreciated by the masses. Suggesting some unproven, relatively unknown player in college is capable of being at his level was an insult to Paul and all of his accomplishments. Media types do that sort of star-to-random player comparison all the time and it never ceases to be infuriating — it makes it seem like guys who have one in a million talent have skillsets that can easily be replicated.

It’s weird the memories that cloud judgments. I carried that dumb, throwaway segment on a radio station I only listen to for unintentional comedic purposes from a host whose opinions I loathe with me for a long time. As Burke continuously improved, but as he single-handedly, at times, dragged Michigan back to relevance, I was slow to embrace it simply because of that stupid soundbite I caught in passing years ago. I could spend this space extolling Burke’s many virtues, talking about how much fun he has been to watch the past two seasons and crediting him for not only making Michigan basketball important again but also re-igniting the Michigan-Michigan State basketball rivalry and making it the best in the country. But it’s easier to just simply say the greatest compliment I can pay to Burke is that he made Pat Caputo kind of right, or at the very least not completely nonsensical. I’m not sure anything he accomplished on the court is more remarkable than that.

Fits with the Pistons because …

The Pistons like Jose Calderon, and that’s fine. We know what Calderon is. Calderon is a good shooter, he takes good care of the ball and he’s a pass-first player who is perfect for a finishing machine like Andre Drummond. What we also know about Calderon is that he’s old. Even if the Pistons retain Calderon, they need to be thinking longer term at the point guard position than the guy who will play that spot for the next year or two. Burke is the best point guard option in this draft.

Burke and Paul had fairly similar college stats, although Paul shot better from 3-point range. Their games offensively are not completely similar, but the comparison between the two comes from their passing ability. Burke is a bit more of a shoot-first player than Paul, but that was also out of necessity. He was Michigan’s best scorer as well as distributor. On a NBA team like the Pistons with (hopefully) more offensive options who can create their own shot, I suspect we’ll see even more of Burke’s passing ability shine as a pro.

Burke and Paul have similar statures. Both are insanely quick though not the super athletic new-breed type of point guard who will go dunk on people. And both have incredible vision. Like Paul, Burke has shown an ability to see a play before it develops and to find teammates with passes that few other players could even envision, let alone make. On a team with a big as active as Drummond, pairing him with a passer like Burke would pay immediate dividends, even if Burke starts out as an understudy to Calderon.

Realistically, he won’t be as good as Paul, but the comparisons are no longer completely ridiculous, and that’s amazing progress for Burke. If he looks more like Ty Lawson than Paul as a pro, that’s still worth a lottery pick.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

The Pistons have needs at every position, but if Calderon is retained, they are thinnest at the wing spots. Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, Kyle Singler and Jonas Jerebko are all capable of playing on the wings, but all can most aptly be described as ‘best suited for a reserve role’ (I also might describe Stuckey as ‘better suited for any roster except this one,’ but I digress). Assuming Calderon is retained, assuming Stuckey might be traded and assuming Knight is still around, adding Burke to the guard rotation would give the Pistons a small three-guard rotation. On top of that, if the Pistons sign a shooting guard in free agency, Knight will presumably get some of his minutes at the point guard spot, so using a lottery pick on Burke only to relegate him to third on the depth chart at point guard to start his career wouldn’t be the best use of resources.

Burke will never be confused with an elite defensive guard. That’s the biggest difference between he and Paul, who is nearly as elite defensively as he is offensively. The Pistons have desperately been trying to remake themselves in their old defense-first image, and Burke would be another questionable defender added to their mix of long-term prospects.

I do, however, think Burke has the feistiness (his floor-slapping to mock Keith Appling at Crisler Arena was one of my favorite moments of the season), quickness and 6-foot-5 wingspan to improve at that end of the court .

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the one thing Burke consistently did that drove me crazy — I hope he eliminates the contested step-back three when the clock is winding down late from his arsenal completely. No one in college basketball could stay in front of Burke, but he tended to rely on that shot too much.

From the Experts:

Chad Ford:

Although Burke doesn’t have great size or the athleticism of some of the other elite point guards in the NBA, he has an incredible basketball IQ, can really shoot, rarely turns the ball over and makes those around him better. He should go somewhere in the top seven and will be the first or second point guard off the board.


The engine behind the #1 offense in college basketball, Burke was arguably the best pick and roll point guard in the NCAA this season, able to put incredible pressure on the defense thanks to the tremendous balance he brings between scoring and facilitating for others. The fact that he can make shots from anywhere on the floor, find the open man instantaneously, or get to the rim makes him extremely difficult to game-plan against.

What is the best thing Trey Burke does for his team?

Zach Travis (follow him on Twitter @zach_travis and @maizenbrew) covers the University of Michigan for Maize N Brew, SB Nation’s Michigan blog. Be sure to check out his great profile on Burke for SB Nation too.

“The one thing that Trey Burke did for Michigan that was the most important was take control of the game when it was desperately needed. The Wolverines had talent both years, but there was never a consistent number two scorer or post presence through which to run the offense, and the team traded athleticism concerns Burke’s freshman year for experience concerns the next. Burke was the genesis of Michigan’s offensive output, but even then there would be stretches where the rest of the team would go cold leaving it up to Burke. He was very good at shifting from facilitator to scorer to try and carry the scoring burden for the rest of the team for minutes at a time, and his offensive game and penchant for pushing the ball was often enough to open up passes to get other players easy shots and back into a rhythm. He found ways to come up with important defensive stops and used tempo to throw the other team off and give Michigan an advantage. That isn’t to say that things always worked out or that Burke did not fall prey to forcing his shot or pulling up from deep early in the shot clock before trying to work through the offense, but sometimes John Beilein simply had to let Trey be Trey, for better or worse. The way that Trey Burke took over games was plainly obvious to everyone in the building.  He could be quiet for long stretches, but when Trey Burke decided to take over there wasn’t a person watching that didn’t know it almost immediately.”

On Film:

2012 PistonPowered Mock Draft

Patrick Hayes is not an accredited NBA Draft expert, nor does he have an advanced degree in scouting. He’s simply an enthusiastic young man with a sixth grade education and an abiding love for all NBA Draft prospects … join him for his second annual mock draft.

As always, I’m making draft predictions without the benefit of seeing any workouts, interviewing a single prospect (technically, I interviewed Draymond Green once when he was in high school though, does that count?) or having access to the wealth of scouting information that teams use to make selections. These are just my best attempts to match up team needs with players I think fit based on watching way too much college basketball last season. Second round picks are after the page break.

Here are the latest mock drafts by Chad Ford, DraftExpress, NBADraft.netVincent Goodwill of The Detroit News, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press and Tom Ziller of SB Nation. Coverage of the draft starts at 7 p.m. tonight on ESPN. So, no more setup needed. Let’s dig in.

1. New Orleans Hornets – Anthony Davis

As funny as it would be to see the Hornets take someone else considering all the hype Davis has had — and boy, if that happened wouldn’t SLAM Magazine’s cheeks be red? — there will be no surprises here. Davis is going to New Orleans to be the franchise’s and city’s latest sports savior.

2. Charlotte Bobcats – Thomas Robinson

I’m sure Michael Jordan will be intrigued by wings here. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is arguably the most competitive guy in this draft and Harrison Barnes is the forever-hyped star from Jordan’s college. But, if Rich Cho holds onto this pick, pairing the tough, solid Robinson up front with Bismack Biyombo is too good to pass up.

3. Washington Wizards - Bradley Beal

Personally, I like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist better. He’s tough, will be a phenomenal defensive player and he’d be a good fit at either the shooting guard or small forward spot in Washington. But the Wizards, like many teams, don’t have many elite perimeter shooters and that’s where Beal fits. He’ll clear driving lanes for John Wall, and that’s really important.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

The Cavs will settle for Kidd-Gilchrist, and that’s a fine consolation prize. They supposedly like Beal if he lasts this long and would also consider Harrison Barnes. With Kyrie Irving and his near 40 percent 3-point shooting, adding a shooter is less a necessity for them than it is for Washington and MKG will infuse toughness and defense on their perimeter. Cleveland has been really weak on the wings since LeBron James left and MKG is another nice addition to a roster that is slowly looking pretty solid again.

5. Sacramento Kings – John Henson

OK, hear me out on this one. Ford says the Kings have been high on Henson all year. Jason Thompson is hitting restricted free agency. The best perimeter player on the board, Harrison Barnes, would be another volume scorer on a team full of volume scorers. As last year’s Jimmer Fredette in the lottery pick showed, the Kings aren’t afraid to reach for a player they like, so if they don’t trade this pick (which seems like a possibility), it wouldn’t be a total shock if they reached to take Henson here.

6. Portland Trail Blazers – Damian Lillard

I’m a little scared of so-called consensus after last year. Brandon Knight was a ‘consensus’ pick to go to Utah at No. 3 for weeks and, even though I thought that seemed a tad high for Knight, I bought in because every respected draft outlet had him as a virtual lock there. The same thing is happening for Lillard. Like Knight, Lillard has moved up draft boards because of an overall weak crop of point guards, and reports indicate Portland wants Lillard and worry he might not be there when they pick 11th. I will reluctantly go with the experts and say Lillard comes off the board here.

7. Golden State Warriors – Dion Waiters

From Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News:

Jerry West, Warriors board member and consultant, has been drilling this word into the psyche of his front-office cohorts: Assets. Assets. Assets.

“We can’t afford to let assets pass us by and address need,” said Warriors general manager Bob Myers, explaining West’s philosophy.

According to Ford, West really likes Waiters. Golden State better listen to Jerry West.

8. Toronto Raptors - Andre Drummond

So close. For weeks, the almighty consensus has had the Raptors looking solely at players like Lillard, Barnes, Waiters and other wings. I don’t buy it. Sure, they are bringing last year’s lottery pick, Jonas Valanciunas, over this season. But does that mean their frontcourt is suddenly elite? Why not take Drummond and have your young twin towers combo? I hope it doesn’t happen for Detroit’s sake, but I really don’t understand why the assumption is Toronto is not interested in a big.

9. Detroit Pistons – Harrison Barnes

He doesn’t fill their most pressing need (especially now that Corey Maggette is on the roster) and he, like Knight, would cause another round of ‘RABBLE RABBLE RABBLEs’ from the advanced stats crowd, who are far from sold on him. But I think Barnes is the big name most likely to fall in this draft and I feel pretty comfortable saying that if Barnes falls and Drummond is off the board as well, Dumars would take Barnes in a heartbeat. It wouldn’t be the most popular pick, but one good thing would likely come out of it — a reduced role for Tayshaun Prince.

10. New Orleans Hornets - Kendall Marshall

This might be a slight reach for Marshall, but I think he’s underrated, he’s a pure pass-first point guard and his skillset would look awfully nice in a young lineup that will boast Davis and Eric Gordon next season.


11. Portland Trail Blazers - Meyers Leonard

I debated between Leonard and Tyler Zeller here. Leonard has more upside, Zeller would probably help Portland more right now. But with LaMarcus Aldridge already established as an All-Star up front, they can afford to gamble on a more high risk/high reward player like Leonard and hope he develops into the bruising rebounder he’s capable of being. They had similar luck with a raw former Big Ten center in Joel Przybilla, whose career didn’t really get on track until he got to Portland in his fourth year. Maybe they can have similar success with Leonard.

12. Houston Rockets - Jared Sullinger

You think Daryl Morey is scared of a cryptic medical report when a player who was once considered a possible No. 1 pick if he came out last year is available at the back of the lottery? I don’t buy the Sullinger free fall storyline. He’s a good risk at this point in the draft and Morey is the type of GM who will understand that. If Houston is picking here, I’d bet on Sullinger if he lasts this long.

13. Phoenix Suns - Austin Rivers

The Suns could possibly lose Steve Nash in free agency, and with him, any interest that people outside of Phoenix have in the team. Rivers, at the very least, is a big name that will attract attention all season as people watch to see if the hyped prep star who underperformed at Duke can turn into the NBA star many projected he would be when he was a junior in high school.

14. Milwaukee Bucks - Jeremy Lamb

I had the Bucks pegged for taking a big man until they acquired Samuel Dalembert in a trade with Houston yesterday. They could still use some depth up front, but with Dalembert, Ekpe Udoh and Larry Sanders, they’re OK there. Lamb, on the other hand, adds some size and defensive potential to their diminutive backcourt. Plus, versatile wing Carlos Delfino is a free agent, so Lamb offers some insurance if he leaves.

15. Philadelphia 76ers - Tyler Zeller

Philly will be ecstatic to get a late lottery-level big man here. Spencer Hawes is a free agent, Elton Brand is old and Zeller will be an immediate contributor either as a starter or reserve. He runs the floor well, finishes well and has good hands, so he’ll be a nice target for solid passers Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner.

16. Houston Rockets - Royce White

Between his John Lennon beard and calling me out on Twitter for getting his weight wrong, I might consider taking him in the top five if I had my way. But, as I said above with Sullinger, White’s upside is so great that he’d immediately become a nice young asset for Daryl Morey, who wouldn’t be scared off by White’s scary alleged red flags.

17. Dallas Mavericks – Arnett Moultrie

Moultrie was an underachiever in college who has impressed teams in workouts and has even been discussed as a longshot to sneak into the lottery after being projected in the 20s in most early mock drafts. He’s athletic, runs well, finishes well and could perhaps be a find for a Mavs team still figuring out how to adequately replace Tyson Chandler.

18. Houston Rockets - Perry Jones III

Well, let’s just give Houston the ultimate boom/bust draft. With three picks in the teens, they’d come out of this with three players who are incredibly intriguing. No one would be entirely shocked if Sullinger, Jones or White ends up being considered among the best picks in this draft someday. Also, no one would be entirely shocked if any of those guys were considered among the worst picks.

19. Orlando Magic – Moe Harkless

With a new GM taking over in Orlando, it’s hard to tell what direction the Magic will go in. Under Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy, a tall shooter like Andrew Nicholson would be a possible fit here, but if the Magic decide to trade Dwight Howard, their collection of guys who can stand on the perimeter and knock down shots out of double-teams will not be so necessary. Harkless would help them get much more athletic at a wing position, plus he should be a very solid defensive player even if his offense takes some time to develop.

20. Denver Nuggets – Terrence Ross

The Nuggets add another big perimeter player to throw at the many dynamic wing players in the West, plus get a player in Ross who can knock down the three, a big part of Denver’s offense. Many predict Ross as one of the draft’s sleepers. Chad Ford even had him sneaking into the lottery at one point.

21. Boston Celtics – Terrence Jones

What Boston does with these picks depends a lot on what they decide to do with their roster. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are both free agents. If both of those guys go elsewhere, it’s likely to hasten a rebuilding project. But if one or both, particularly Garnett, returns, Boston will be loading up for one more run and probably looking for college players who can step in and fill a role immediately. Jones is a versatile combo forward who would do a bit of everything for Boston.

22. Boston Celtics – Draymond Green

Building on that point above, Green would be able to give minutes at two positions, hit perimeter shots and rebound. Plus, adding him as a high post passer would take some pressure off of Rajon Rondo to be the team’s only player who consistently looks to create shots for others. Also, I might cry tonight when Green gets drafted. #PerfectSpartan

23. Atlanta Hawks – Andrew Nicholson

The Hawks rely so heavily on Al Horford and Josh Smith up front, Nicholson would give them not only a young big man who could give competent minutes at either PF or C, he’d also add a dimension to their offense as a stretch four. He’s a solid outside shooter who could create more space for Jeff Teague and Joe Johnson when they feel like driving inside.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jeff Taylor

Green is destined to go here if he’s still on the board, but assuming he’s gone, Cleveland will continue to improve the talent on its wing. Like their earlier pick, Kidd-Gilchrist, Taylor projects as a reliable defensive player. Taylor also had a fantastic season shooting the ball last season. Oh, and for the record, I really don’t want Dan Gilbert to get Draymond Green. Gilbert is #NotAPerfectSpartan.

25. Memphis Grizzlies – Will Barton

O.J. Mayo is a free agent and the Grizzlies are perennially flirting with maybe possibly trading Rudy Gay. If both guys are back, Barton, a local college star at Memphis, gets to back them up and develop. If one or the other isn’t back, he can step in and play a little bigger role immediately.

26. Indiana Pacers – Fab Melo

With Roy Hibbert, the Pacers don’t necessarily need more size, but Melo is a shot-blocker, he’s big and he’d give the Pacers another potential rim protector to put in the game when Hibbert is on the bench. With David West and Tyler Hansbrough, Indiana actually has a pretty undersized frontcourt outside of Hibbert and Melo would help beef that up.

27. Miami Heat – Tony Wroten Jr.

Mike Miller and James Jones are reportedly considering retirement and Shane Battier is old. The Heat could use some young legs in a reserve role on the perimeter and Wroten is versatile enough to play either guard spot and give minutes at any perimeter position. He won’t replace any of those players as a perimeter shooter, but he has a long wingspan and could help defensively.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder – Evan Fournier

Fournier is an intriguing prospect because of his size and athleticism. He might be a reach if he were taken in the teens where he was originally projected, but he’d be good value here for a team like Oklahoma City that can give him time to develop.

29. Chicago Bulls – Marquis Teague

I fully expect Derrick Rose to come back healthy next season, but the Bulls could benefit from attempting to lighten his workload some. Teague could actually go higher than this as teams always reach for point guards, but if he’s on the board when the Bulls pick, they’d have another athletic PG to eventually give quality minutes and allow Rose to rest more during the regular season.

30. Golden State Warriors – Festus Ezeli

I had them taking Waiters earlier despite the fact that the team owner loves size, so they’ll compromise and take a big man prospect here. Ezeli is raw and will probably need some time before he develops into a meaningful contributor, but by all accounts he’s a hard worker who has already improved a lot during his college career.

(Second round after the jump)

Continue reading →

3-on-3: With the ninth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select …

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, Patrick and I will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. In the days leading up to the draft, we’re going to discuss what the Pistons could/should/might/should not do with each of their three picks.

For each 3-on-3, we’ll be joined by a guest contributor. Today as we discuss the 9th pick, that’s Sean Corp from Detroit Bad Boys. Follow him on Twitter.

Please add your responses in the comments.

1. Which player do you think the Pistons are most likely to select at pick nine?

Dan Feldman: John Henson. Henson will likely be on the board, he had a good workout in Detroit, and he immediately upgrades the Pistons’ defense. Even if he’s limited until he adds weight, Henson is too athletic, too hard working and too savvy to ride the bench next season.

Patrick Hayes: I’ve become more amenable to Meyers Leonard with the multiple reports about his strong workouts, size, athleticism and good attitude, but I still think the logical pick is John Henson. Henson has been on the radar too long, and his best skills — shot blocking and defense — are exactly what the Pistons need the most. Henson is far from a fix-all player, but I’m convinced he’d be a solid contributor.

Sean Corp: John Henson. He fits the profile of what the Pistons are looking for — shot blocker, plus defender, can handle the pick and roll. But I’m extremely concerned that Henson is only nine pounds heavier than Tayshaun Prince. I used to be an avid Henson backer but I’m on the fence more and more. Slight frame. Already 21. Shot 51 percent on free throws and only 35 percent on jumpers. His D will really need to shine to make up for those offensive shortcomings

2. Which realistic target at pick nine would make the best pick?

Dan Feldman: Andre Drummond. Drummond is a clear tier above the John Henson/Meyers Leonard/Terrence Jones/Tyler Zeller/Arnett Moultrie group, and Drummond could fill the Pistons’ biggest need. I don’t think he’ll fall to No. 9, but it’s possible – and tantalizing.

Patrick Hayes: Perry Jones III. Exactly one player likely to available at nine has superstar upside — Jones. He’s 6-foot-11, runs the floor like a guard, is one of the best finishers in the draft and he’s young enough to develop an offensive game that consists of more than just jumping really high and dunking on people when he feels like it.

Sean Corp: I’ve started to come around on Meyers Leonard. I am inherently skeptical of any player that rockets up draft boards based on either 1. the NCAA tourney or 2. the combine. With that said, Leonard seems like the real deal to me. He isn’t an awkward, bumbling 7-footer, he has athletic ability to go with his heft (250 pounds). Just looking at his age, his production last year and his measurables and you have to be intrigued. The question becomes which is more likely — Henson adds muscle or Leonard polishes his game. My money is on Leonard.

3. Which realistic target at pick nine would make the worst pick?

Dan Feldman: Austin Rivers. Before the Pitons traded Ben Gordon, I wouldn’t have bothered including a guard among the realistic targets, but I guess it’s possible they take one now. I think that would be a mistake – because I think the best player available at No. 9 will be a big – especially if that guard is Rivers. He doesn’t do anything besides score, and I’m not sure he can score efficiently enough.

Patrick Hayes: Perry Jones III. He does all of the athletic things and has all of the measurables that tantalize scouts and he has all of the so-so stats, questions about his desire to get better and how hard he plays that is a trait of almost every elite athlete who underperforms. Whether or not the Pistons take Jones depends largely on where they think they are as a franchise right now. If they think they are at a point where missing badly on the No. 9 pick wouldn’t be ruinous enough to pass on a player with Jones’ potential, I think it’s likely they’d give him more serious consideration.

Sean Corp: There are A LOT of names to choose from here. It seems like outside the top four there are question marks everywhere. I’m not as skeptical about Andre Drummond as some but I sure am wary of Perry Jones III, Harrison Barnes and Austin Rivers. Particularly Jones. He is like the college football team that starts the season ranked way too high but stays in the top 25 based on reputation and because voters don’t like to admit they are wrong. I’m not sure if PJ3 ends up being an under-performing SF or an under-performing PF but I’m pretty sure he’ll under perform.

3-on-3: With the 44th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select …

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, Patrick and I will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. In the days leading up to the draft, we’re going to discuss what the Pistons could/should/might/should not do with each of their three picks.

For each 3-on-3, we’ll be joined by a guest contributor. Today as we discuss the 9th pick, that’s J.M. Poulard, who writes for Warriors World, Forum Blue and Gold and various other TrueHoop Network sites. Follow him on Twitter.

Please add your responses in the comments.

1. Which player do you think the Pistons are most likely to select at pick 44?

Dan Feldman: Kevin Murphy. The Pistons probably want to upgrade their outside shooting, and as predicted by Chad Ford, the Tennessee Tech sharp-shooter might be a nice fit. I could also see Detroit opting for a European player who won’t come to the NBA immediately. Joe Dumars has previously stated a desire not to overrun his team with rookies.

Patrick Hayes: Tornike Shengalia. It’s not that I know all that much about him, but he’s young, possibly could be a player the Pistons stash overseas for a year or so and let develop and with two second round picks and a full roster, it does make some sense for the Pistons to take a project player who they don’t have to worry about using a roster spot on for another season or two.

J.M. Poulard: Hollis Thompson out of Georgetown seems like a good bet to be selected by the Pistons given his ability to stretch the court with his 3-point shooting. Also, is size will make it easy for him to look over defenders running at him to contest his shots. Given that the Pistons averaged only 13.9 attempts from downtown last season, getting someone to camp out there, makes shots and force opponents to defend the 3-point line is a must.

2. Which realistic target at pick 44 would make the best pick?

Dan Feldman: William Buford. I would love for the Pistons to get three big men in this draft. Detroit’s lack of promise up front – beyond Greg Monroe, a third of Jonas Jerebko (who’s two-thirds small forward) and the blind hope that Vernon Macklin’s small sample size is sustainable – is that influential. Quality bigs are difficult to acquire outside the draft, but other teams know this, and that’s why so many teams risk picks on bigs who have any potential at all. So, I think there’s a decent chance no quality big-man prospects will remain on the board at this point.

In that event, Buford would represent great value. At Ohio State, he looked like a late first-round pick. He has ideal size, shoots well from outside and possesses defensive smarts. He might not have the athleticism to get to the rim or be a defensive terror. But he knows how to play, and that’s important. I can’t figure out why he’s fallen so far, other than that he played four years for the Buckeyes and gave scouts too long to dissect his flaws – and that’s not a good reason to drop.

Patrick Hayes: Darius Johnson-Odom. I know, I know … I already begged for a Marquette player at pick 39 yesterday. But with Ben Gordon traded, the Pistons suddenly need guard depth and DJO is arguably the most athletic guard in this draft, he’s tough, he has a great work ethic, he’s fun to watch and he made 39 percent of his threes last season.

J.M. Poulard: Alabama’s JaMychal Green might actually be the best bet for the Detroit Pistons at this spot. The power forward is somewhat undersized, but nonetheless comes with athleticism as well as the ability to finish around the rim. Considering that the Pistons had some issues converting shots in the lane against opposing defenses, getting a back up big man capable of capitalizing on opportunities around the rim certainly seems like a necessity given the Pistons scoring woes last season.

3. Which realistic target at 44 nine would make the worst pick?

Dan Feldman: Selling the pick. I’m fine with trading for a future pick if the Pistons don’t like anyone when their turn comes up, but in that event, just selling the pick outright would be a tremendous disappointment. A bigger possible disappointment: the Pistons liking a player when their turn comes up but sell the pick either because they need the money or are afraid to add too many rookies at once. Another, albeit smaller downer: reaching for a player because he agreed to spend a year or two overseas (and off Detroit’s payroll).

Patrick Hayes: Henry Sims. Nothing against Sims, he just seems too much like last year’s second rounder, Vernon Macklin. Sims isn’t as old and probably has a bit more upside, but he is a limited big man and as we saw last year with Macklin, limited big men, even ones who were fairly productive in the spot minutes they were given, probably have a hard time cracking Lawrence Frank‘s rotation.

J.M. Poulard: William Buford out of Ohio State might be the worst selection Detroit could potentially make with the 44th pick. It’s not so much that he is a bad player, but more so that he is a bad fit. He’s a subpar finisher in traffic and will probably stay camped out on the perimeter for midrange jumpers. Once again, not necessarily a bad skill, but on a team possessing many players who already fit that mold, he would be awfully redundant and quite frankly useless.

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Miles Plumlee


  • Measurables: 6-foot-10, 245 pounds, senior F/C from Duke
  • Key Stats: 6.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 0.9 blocks per game, 61 percent shooting
  • Projected: Second round

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

* Note: This will be the last profile in this year’s Draft Dreams series — 51 prospects in all, a new record in the three years I’ve been doing this. Look for my mock draft tomorrow.

Plumlee was a role player at Duke, playing just 20 minutes per game as a senior. But he’s had a great summer in pre-draft workouts. From Fox Sports North:

After the Minnesota workouts, Plumlee’s stock began to rise. He played well then, and he’s been exceeding expectations since, pushing his name as far up the draft ladder as late in the first round. At the combine, he measured 6-foot-11-3/4 with shoes, and his 7-foot-3/4 wingspan was better than Tyler Zeller’s. He’s been silencing critics who say he was inconsistent in college, not athletic enough, not NBA caliber.

Pros for the Pistons

Plumlee is one of several second round bigs the Pistons would probably consider. He’s an OK shot-blocker on a per-minute basis, though not an elite one, he runs the floor well and he’s much more athletic than he’s given credit for. He should at the very least be an effective rebounder and fundamentally sound backup big man in the NBA, and the Pistons could definitely use that.

Cons for the Pistons

Yesterday’s trade might change what we’ve assumed all along the Pistons are looking for in the draft. Yes, they still have frontcourt needs, but all of a sudden, they have little depth in the backcourt and no 3-point shooters to stretch the floor for their guards who love to drive and their big man who is great at finding shooters spotting up. There are certainly big men available in the second round that might help down the road, but there are also elite shooters like Doron Lamb or Darius Johnson-Odom who might fill more pressing needs now that Ben Gordon is gone.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Plumlee’s stock has also risen dramatically over the course of the last month. Despite his pedestrian numbers at Duke, teams are intrigued with his elite athletic abilities and rebounding. Could be the next Jeff Foster.


Outside of his offensive rebounding prowess, the another interesting wrinkle to Plumlee’s game are the brief flashes (just six attempts all season) that he has shown as a spot-up shooter from mid-range, particularly given his comfort operating out of the pick-and-roll. He already sets very good screens and rolls hard to the basket, which is an asset given the predominance of pick-and-roll sets in NBA playbooks. His shooting mechanics need significant work, as his shooting touch isn’t great and he spots a slow release with a bit of a hitch, but if he is able to develop in this area, he would have a much better chance of carving out a role in an NBA rotation.