With just under 4 weeks to go before the 2012 NBA Draft on June 28th, the 2nd round is hardly set in stone. I can remember 2 years ago, seeing Art Parakhouski (and yes I fully intend on mentioning Art in EVERY 2nd round draft post I make), projected to go as early as the 2nd or 3rd pick in the 2nd round. Ultimately Art wasn't even drafted much to everyone's (okay that's probably overstating it a bit), or at least my disappointment.
The reality is, so much can happen in the 1st round that the 2nd round is largely unpredictable even on draft day. Two recent examples, DeJuan Blair and Hassan Whiteside, both projected as 1st round draft picks ,dropped to the early 2nd round which ultimately impacted the outcome of the remainder of that draft.
Each weekend we'll take a look at what players the Pistons are projected to take in the 2nd round. I'll cover strengths and weaknesses as displayed by any and all available resources and summarize to the best of my naturally long-winded ability. For now, only 2 mock drafts currently project the 2nd round - DraftExpress and NBADraft.net. Unfortunately, Chad Ford has not yet blessed us with his 2nd round projections and HoopsHype hasn't jumped on the 2nd round wagon either.
I'll go pick by pick and present each player that NBADraft.net and DraftExpress project the Pistons drafting. At the end of each pick, I'll present who I'd rather take if it came down to these 2 prospects before summarizing some final thoughts for the week.
2nd Round, 39th Pick Overall
Furkan Aldemir (Galatasaray) - What, you mean to tell me you haven't heard of Furkan Aldemir? He's the soon to be 22 year old Turkish Tornado playing in the Turkish and Euro Leagues! NBADraft.net ranks him as more or less average across all attributes that they measure but states that his main strength is a propensity to rebound. He doesn't defend particularly well, and as his stats on DraftExpress show, he doesn't block shots at a frequent rate either.
His offense comes almost entirely off of putbacks and shots within a few feet of the basket. Physically, he's light for a Centre at 6'10", 230 pounds, but at the end of the day, NBADraft.net may be channeling their inner-Joe Dumars on this selection since they have the Pistons taking Aldemir ahead of the likes of Kyle O'Quinn (O'Quinn goes undrafted in their latest mock draft) and Scott Machado who sneaks into the 2nd round as the final selection of the day.
Perhaps the most telling commentary on Aldemir comes from DraftExpress:
Aldemir stands somewhere between 6'9" and 6'10", with a strong frame, good length, and average athleticism by NBA standards. He doesn't run the floor or elevate off the ground exceptionally well, but plays with toughness and intensity and is effective in the simple, but important role that's asked of him.
Where Aldemir will likely need to improve the most to carve out a role for himself in the NBA is on the defensive end. He doesn't have great size for the Centre position, and likely isn't quick or agile enough to see many minutes (if any) at the power forward spot. He has some trouble already at the Euroleague level defending the post against more experienced players, giving up deep position inside the paint, biting on pump fakes, and being very foul prone.
Cultural difference, his unique background, a lengthy contract, and the increasingly lucrative nature of the Turkish league may prevent him from ever stepping foot in an NBA arena, but Aldemir could potentially provide good value for a patient NBA team looking to use their 2nd round pick on a player they can draft and stash in Europe for a few more years.
Drew Gordon (UNM) - Starting his NCAA career playing for UCLA, it wasn't until his transfer to the University of New Mexico that he really put forth scout-worthy performances. In his Senior year, Gordon average a double-double showing efficiency at both ends of the floor and for the most part a well-rounded game. Like Aldemir, Gordon's strength is rebounding where he finished 5th in the NCAA in total rebounds and is 3rd in DraftExpress's database in rebounds per 40 pace-adjusted finishing just a fraction of a rebound behind Thomas Robinson.
Most of Gordon's offense came off points in the paint where he displayed a nice right handed hook, aggressive dropsteps, and an ability to finish with explosive moves around the hoop. Defensively, he was 4th in the NCAA in D-Rating thanks to improved fundamentals in the off-season, a solid frame, and an aggressive style of defensive intensity that lends itself well to the NCAA. While his D-Rating is impressive, DraftExpress shows some concerns over his overall ability to defend at the next level:
Gordon is a physical defender who contests shots, gets a bit overaggressive at times and could stand to maximize his frame to help him fight his man for position on the block on the next level. His lateral quickness is good, but not great out on the perimeter, and he blocked shots at a respectable rate thanks to his length and motor. Gordon may not be a playmaker defensively, but his ability to hold his own at and away from the rim is a plus.
To summarize, Gordon's physical tools represent a player with explosive athleticism, good length, and a body built for the PF position at the next level. At 6'9", 240 pounds, he already has a frame built for covering either style of PF in the NBA but could still ad a few more pounds so long as it doesn't hinder his lateral quickness on the perimeter.
The Verdict: Both players represent a commitment to rebounding. The problem I have with each is that neither one blocks shots at a high rate and the shots they do block are more attributed to their size against their relative opposition than a natural shot-blocking ability. At the end of the day though, Gordon represents a better all-around player, showing an ability to finish at the offensive end, great rebounding ability, and the agility and athleticism that is almost required at the NBA Power Forward position these days. The Pistons select Drew Gordon.
2nd Round, 44th Pick Overall
Maalik Wayns (Villanova) - If the selection of Aldemir projected by NBADraft.net wasn't enough to convince you that they're doing their best JoD impression, Wayns should seal the deal. In his Junior year at Villanova, Wayns averaged 17.6 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game while playing a fast-paced game that lent itself well to his speed and quickness with the ball in his hands. Sounds impressive, right? Unfortunately, his scoring came at the expense of efficiency as he shot 41% from the field, and under 30% from beyond the arc. His assists per game were respectable, but far less impressive considering he turned the ball over 3 times per game resulting in a mediocre assist to turnover ratio.
With Villanova finishing 13-19 last year, many considered Wayns the lone bright spot of the season. While he certainly scored a lot of his team's points, you could argue that Villanova's disappointing season could have been as much attributed to Wayns as anyone else despite the lack of ability from the rest of his team. While he took almost a quarter of all of Villanova's shots on offense, he accounted for only 9% of their makes. His lack of efficiency at the offensive end most likely hurt Villanova as much as it helped them. Nova ended up having their first losing season in 10 years despite having the softest schedule in the past 8 years. Perhaps the most alarming thing to note of Wayns comes from NBADraft.net:
Plays more like a ball-dominant 6'2" combo guard than a 6'2" PG...Although he had solid assist number, he had a high turnover rate and looks for his own shots much more than he looks to make teammates better or set up guys...Not an explosive leaper off the dribble...Has trouble playing efficient half-court sets, where changes of speed are necessary for shot-creating guards...Has never been a truly efficient finisher at the rim due to his lack of length and great vertical explosiveness.
DraftExpress.com isn't much nicer and round out their evaluation with this to say:
Wayns is an extremely inconsistent perimeter shooter, making a mediocre 31% of his nearly five attempts per game. Fortunately, his shooting woes look more attributable to his subpar shot selection, his propensity to take off-balance, contested perimeter jump shots, and the lack of another perimeter scoring option than they are mechanical.
Wyns is a mixed-bag on defense, lacking the size, length and lateral quickness to project as anything more than decent in the NBA, but clearly possessing the effort and fundamentals to compensate at this level. His biggest problem at this level remains his inability to defend the pick and roll, as he constantly struggles to break through screens.
Jamychal Green (Alabama) - At 6'8", 217 lbs, and a 7'2" wingspan, Green's biggest need is additional weight and strength if he plans on cracking a lineup at the next level. What he lacks in size and strength, he makes up for in an explosive vertical of almost 31" from a standing position (Blake Griffin measures 32"), the ability to get off the floor quickly, and a solid understanding of playing off the ball.
Unlike the other 2 bigs projected to be drafted by Detroit in the 2nd round, Green's rebounding rate is more in the realm of above average. While this is initially a concern, he showed solid aggression on the glass at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament a few weeks back to go along with a very efficient 64% shooting from the field. In his Senior year at Alabama, Green averaged 14 points, 7.4 boards, and 1.5 blocks per game in 30 minutes of play. He did so shooting an efficient 55% from the field in large part due to his undying love of dunking the basketball and finishing strong at the rim.
Unfortunately, Green regressed in pretty much all key stats from his Junior year and failed to show much of any growth in his game as a Senior. Despite leading the PIT in scoring while shooting 64%, DraftExpress is pretty rough on Green across the board:
He hasn't yet developed much in the way of advanced counter moves, and he hasn't yet developed a reliable move over his right shoulder, both problems that have plagued him throughout his time at Alabama and could make him predictable at the next level.
At the collegiate level he has turned himself into a good defender, being a key member on one of the better defenses in the country. He does a good job using his length when defending the post and rotates well to provide weakside help defense.
That being said, he has some physical limitations that make it difficult to project him as a plus defender at the next level. He lacks some lower body strength, which could present some difficulties when defending hte post against bigger competition. He also doesn't move all that well laterally, something that will be tougher to cover-up in the pick and roll heavy NBA landscape as he can struggle both in the hedging the screens on pick and rolls and in rotating back.
Perhaps the most concerning part of his senior season was his four game suspension in February for conduct detrimental to the team. The suspension came days after Crimson coach Anthony Grant suspended second leading scorer Tony Mithcell for the remainder of the season. Neither Green nor Grant would expand on exactly what transpired, but this was the third suspension during his time at Alabam and could represent a significant concern for decision makers going forward.
So at the end of the day, Green's physical attributes gave him an advantage over NCAA competition that will not likely translate to the NBA without adding more strength and weight to a currently light frame. His mysterious controversial conduct and multiple suspensions just add concern to a player that has regressed in all key statistical categories in his final year at Alabama.
The Verdict: While Wayns is an inefficient, shoot-first combo-guard, Green appears to be a controversial under-sized, power-forward that has failed to add new facets to his game and whose statistical categories seem headed in the wrong direction. Talk about stuck between a rock and a hard place. If we have to decide between these two players, then my decision is neither. Joe Dumars would be better off trading the pick for cash or shifting it to another future 2nd rounder than he would be spending time or resources on either one of these players.
Both NBADraft.net and DraftExpress have us taking players not named Machado or O'Quinn. What is encouraging though is that both draft sites have these players being taken after our selections are made indicating that both could be available when we pick at 39 and 44th overall. Of the players reviewed today, the only one that interests me is the UNM Shinons* Drew Gordon (who Buddahfan brought up initially).
Let's all hope that over the course of the next 4 weeks, the players projected to be taken become more intriguing than 3 of the 4 above. And most importantly, let's hope that both draft sites are wrong about who they're projecting us to take right now as I think there are better players out there worthy of our picks.