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Pistons Draft

SB Nation Collaborative NBA Mock Draft: Pistons select Kemba Walker at No. 8

SB Nation's team bloggers recently collaborated on a mock draft. Let's hope this isn't how things go down in real life, because by the time Detroit's pick came around, I was backed into an uncomfortable corner. Here are the first seven picks:

1. Cavs: Kyrie Irving
2. Wolves: Enes Kanter
3. Jazz: Derrick Williams
4. Cavs: Jonas Valanciunas
5. Raptors: Brandon Knight
6. Wizards: Bismack Biyombo
7. Kings: Kawhi Leonard

With the 8th overall pick, I went with ... Kemba Walker. Here's my attempt to explain:

Wait, Kemba Walker? An undersized combo guard for a team that's already trying to unload a scoring guard? Admittedly, he's not my first pick.

What the Pistons truly need is a defensive anchor in the paint who can focus on protecting the basket and snatching rebounds. Or perhaps a replacement for Tayshaun Prince, who's likely played his last game in Detroit. Or maybe a true point guard so the Pistons can end the Rodney Stuckey experiment.

But since Bismack Biyombo, Kawhi Leonard and Brandon Knight are off the board -- and guys like Jan Vesely and Tristan Thompson are either a project or a reach -- Walker is the value pick. He's safe. He's going to be productive from Day 1, even if he is currently redundant.

And that's OK, because after two and a half years of sitting on his hands, Joe Dumars finally has permission from ownership to resume doing his job. Walker's arrival should signal someone else's departure, whether it's Stuckey, Ben Gordon or Rip Hamilton. Once the depth chart is balanced, having a dynamic scorer on a rookie-scale contract makes sense -- especially a high-character gym rat with a track record of improvement and success.

So that's that. To be honest, I'm probably underestimating all of the available big men after Biyombo, and rolling the dice on a guy like Thompson or Kenneth Faried or one of the Morris twins may be the more prudent move. We'll see. For what it's worth, Tom Ziller predicts the Pistons will pass on Biyombo and Walker for Thompson in his latest mock draft.

Thompson will have his (real life) chance to show he's a better bet than Biyombo in a scheduled workout in Auburn Hills later today. Unfortunately it's a closed workout, so any buzz that's leaked to the press afterward will likely come from agents with an agenda. Don't believe anything until it comes from David Stern's mouth Thursday evening.