Looking at Joe Dumars' past drafts and interviews there are some common themes that emerge regarding his draft picks and his reasons for making them. Looking at these trends closer we can get a good idea of who he might draft.
Joe loves himself some combo guards and hybrid forwards. Perhaps the thing he prizes above all is a player that can play multiple positions. When he drafted Tayshaun Prince he often talked about the matchup problems he could create with his versatility. Similarly, Rodney Stuckey is too strong for most point guards and too fast for most shooting guards. Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko and DaJuan Summers all create similar mismatches at both the three and the four. Does this always pan out? No. Jason Maxiell never emerged as a player whose athleticism could give less mobile power forwards a problem. Darko Milicic and Walter Sharpe didn't have the mental makeup.
Al Farouq-Aminu, Greg Monroe, Epke Udoh, Xavier Henry and Paul George are players likely to be on the board that appear capable of playing multiple positions. But, since the Pistons' greatest need is big men, it stands to reason that they will look for someone who can play both power forward and center (or, failing that, a bigger hybrid forward).
Recently, reflecting on the teams that made it deep into the playoffs and into the Finals, Joe identified the things a team needs to be a contender, like good guard play, guys that can make shots and size and length up front. The Lakers' size, for example, with Bynum, Gasol and Odom was simply too much for any team to handle. Piston Powered did an excellent analysis on Dumars' trend of drafting players with a long wingspan. With Jerebko and especially Daye at the small forward, the Pistons can be a nightmare defensively with two more front court players with excellent size and wingspan.
Aminu, Udoh and Aldrich fare well here. Monroe and Ed Davis not as much. Because the Pistons desperately need size, this criteria may trump versatility and the pick could be Aldrich who probably won't give you many minutes at the power forward position but has the size. Larry Sanders fits that profile as well.
The recent buzzwords have been "grit," "toughness," and "good character." But, this really isn't anything new. Dumars often talks about how he brought in physical players to test Tayshaun Prince in workouts and was impressed when Prince never backed down (he would later do the same with Austin Daye). He later described Jason Maxiell as the "toughest person in the draft." And Afflalo was lauded by Chauncey Billups before he was drafted because he "never backed down." When Dumars talks about toughness, it's clear that he really means a will to win. My guess is that seeing Darko flame out because of lack of toughness instilled in Dumars a premium on this hard to quantify quality. Although, he hasn't been immune to falling in love with a players skills and forgetting this valuable lesson (Walter Sharpe).
It's hard to say which available players have the toughness Dumars is looking for. Obviously, Cole Aldrich fits the bill because of his size and play. But, what about the ones that don't fit the physical profile? This is something Dumars will try to get at during interviews and workouts. If a guy is thin, will he still fight for rebounds in traffic, for example?
Looking at these three criteria, it's not surprising that there are rumors that Detroit may try to move up to get DeMarcus Cousins. Failing that, Epke Udoh looks to be the most likely choice. He has size and versatility. The question is whether he has toughness. He had a great game against Duke but, personally, I felt he gave up too many offensive rebounds to Brian Zoubek.
As for the second round, among the big men, Jerome Jordan, Hamady N'Diaye, Art Parakhouski and Dexter Pittman have the size. Craig Brackins is the most likely to have the versatility. Lawal and Varnado lack skills but could probably man both the power forward and center positions as well. There are also a number of combo guards that are slotted to go in the first half or round two as well.