With the 9th pick of the 2001 draft, the Pistons should have selected ... Zach Randolph? That's my guess, at least.
Matt Moore of Ridiculous Upside is conducting a "re-draft" with bloggers from around the league covering their respective team. Gilbert Arenas was taken first, followed by Pau Gasol, Joe Johnson, Tony Parker, Jason Richardson, Shane Battier and Tyson Chandler. I rolled the dice on Randolph, explaining myself here:
In 2001, the Pistons had just witnessed Ben Wallace's breakout season at center. With the Joe Smith experiment soon to be over, though, they had a glaring hole opening up at power forward. For all of Zach Randolph's faults (and he has many), it's hard to pass on a guy capable of averaging 20 and 10 in his prime, especially when the guy anchoring the middle is an offensive black hole.
And who knows? Maybe coming up through Detroit's stable organization, playing next to Big Ben and living a stone's throw from his disciplinarian college coach Tom Izzo would have helped Randolph keep his head screwed on straight. (Either that, or it would have sabotaged Detroit's run of Eastern Conference Finals appearances that began in 2003. But it's definitely one or the other.)
I was this close to taking Mehmet Okur (Detroit's real-life pick in the second round that year) or Gerald Wallace. Do you like the pick? Hate it? Tell me in the comments. Either way, at least we can agree he would have been a better selection than the actual No. 9 pick, Rodney White, who's currently Carlos Arroyo's teammate with Maccabi Tel Aviv these days.