As the Pistons 'fight' for a higher draft pick, lets take a look at which players we need to evaluate as potential Pistons. We are going to use the system most successful drafting teams use. This is a tiered system, where a team first puts players into tiers, then sorts each tier based on team needs and how each player fits their team. This system prevents teams from reaching for a player in a lower tier based on need, while maximizing value from a player who is falling.
Tier 1: Franchise Player / Perennial All Star
Tier 2: Potential All Star
Tier 3: Starter
Tier 4: Potential Starter / Bench Roll Player
Tier 5: Developmental Player
NBA teams are going to have many more tiers than 5, but I think that is overkill for our purposes here. We should be able to safely put players we evaluate into these tiers. Also I don't think there are any Tier 1 talents this year, but maybe someone will prove me wrong. Now lets look at the games, players, and teams to watch. All tiers are my current evaluations.
Oklahoma State First Game: Thu 4:40
Marcus Smart (Tier 3): Currently projected to be a top 3 pick, he could be Tier 2 player, but is very turnover prone and needs a better jumper. He is like MKG last year, in that he has all the intangibles you look for in a player.
Michigan - First Game: Thu 7:15
Trey Burke (Tier 4): I love Burke and what he brings, but small players with average athleticism don't translate to the NBA. If he was quicker he could be a Ty Lawson, or if he was stronger he could be a Jameer Nelson. It would be great if he can be the former, but is more likely develop into the latter.
UNLV - First Game: Thu 7:27
Anthony Bennett (Tier 3): If Bennett can prove he can play SF he will move to a Tier 2. Supposedly he is a PF/SF tweener, but when I watch him I see a SF offensively. He really looks uncomfortable in the post, but plays tough near the basket. He also views himself as a perimeter player. The catch is can he defend there, or does he become an undersized stretch 4. The Pistons have been rumored to be keeping a close eye on him.
Bonus UNLV plays Cal in the first game
Allen Crabbe(Tier 4): Good shooter who has been linked to the Pistons. Needs to prove he can defend and be more than a scorer.
Syracuse - First Game: Thu 9:57
Michael Carter-Williams(Tier 4): When was the last 'Cuse guard to be an NBA All Star? Dave Bing. Not a great pedigree for Orangemen. His height is an asset, but is a poor shooter and we don't know if he can defend in the NBA because of the zone they run( a common problem with Syracuse guards).
Indiana - First Game: Fri 4:10
Cody Zeller(Tier 3): Solid offensive big man. Needs to rebound better, but is the most NBA ready big this year.
Victor Oladipo(Tier 3): Super athletic and very efficient offensive player. He has also shown the ability to be an elite defender. He could be the safest pick in this draft, but may not have All Star potential.
Georgetown - First Game: Fri 6:50
Otto Porter(Tier 3): Prototypical SF. He does everything well, but nothing great. Should be a solid pro. If hen can carry his team offensively through a couple rounds in the tourney, if can definitely move into Tier 2.
Kansas - First Game: Fri 9:50
Ben McLemore(Tier 2): He is on top most internet draft boards right now. Sweet shooting and athletic, he plays like a young Ray Allen. The only player currently who has definite All Star potential.
UCLA - First Game: Fri 9:57
Shabazz Muhammad(Tier 3): Strong scoring wing who has underperformed lately. It has been traditionally hard to judge UCLA players and there transition to the NBA game. He appears to only have average athleticism, but gets the job done anyway.
There are still players who could emerge as draft targets with a strong tourney. There are also several players whose teams are done playing or that I haven't seen. Maryland does play at 7:00 on Thu in the NIT with Alex Len. Lets see if we can start the draft process by evaluating players and getting them into tiers, then we can sort the tiers for needs and fit for the Pistons. All scouting reports are appreciated, the more eyes the better, as I think we can get a pretty good consensus of who we like and why.