The 2014 NBA draft has not been without its share of drama. The draft, set for Thursday at Madison Square Garden, is supposedly stacked with contributors and surprising injury of likely No. 1 pick Joel Embiid shook up the top of the draft. The Detroit Pistons, of course, are without a pick, losing it to Charlotte Hornets as part of the ill-fated Ben Gordon trade.
Still, even with all the drama most drafts have had the Hornets pegged with one guy -- Doug McDermott. And while McDermott's sweet shooting would look awfully good on the Pistons roster, I'm finding it harder and harder to get worked up over the Pistons forfeiting their pick this year. Stan Van Gundy has enough on his plate dealing with his disjointed roster and deciding what to do with restricted free agent Greg Monroe.
That being said, the Pistons do have one selection -- No. 38 -- and ESPN's draft expert Chad Ford has released a new two-round mock draft. Ford has the Pistons taking Virginia sharp shooter Joe Harris at No. 38. Ford writes:
Pistons boss Stan Van Gundy wants shooters and he needs players who can play right now. Harris is tough and one of the best shooters left on the board. He could be an immediate impact player for Detroit.
If Harris' name sounds familiar it is because it was one of the names Detroit Bad Boys highlighted 10 3-point shooters that should be available in the second round and again looking individually at some possible draft targets.
Harris is a four-year player at Virginia who at 6-foot-6 should have the size to hold his own in the NBA. Unfortunately, he might not have the athleticism to keep up in the NBA, and that is why he is likely to be available at No. 38. But, boy does he shoot the lights out. He hit 40 percent for his career and was no slouch shooting inside the arc either.
Here is what Draft Express has said about Harris:
Looking back at his senior year, the majority of Harris' offense came off of screens, as 31.8% of his offensive possessions (in the top ten in the entire nation) had him utilizing screens to free himself up. He is in constant motion off the ball, and does an excellent job of making quick cuts to set up his defender to run into the screen and then coming off the screen tightly to create separation. He needs to continue his precision cuts to find space against more athletic defenders at the next level. Harris is an excellent shooter coming off screens, as he shot 41.8% on such attempts last season, showing an ability to quickly gather himself and catch and shoot on balance, even with a defender in his face.
Harris' shooting is his biggest potential asset to NBA teams, which he showed at the combine by making 16 of 25 NBA spot up three pointers. He complemented this by shooting 40% on three pointers in his senior season, his third collegiate season shooting at least 40% from long distance, while posting an overall effective field goal percentage of 54.7%. It appears that his shooting skill will translate to the next level, the only question will be whether he can create space to get his shot off in the NBA.
Outside of his three point shooting, Harris can contribute offensively in other ways. Harris is able to beat defenders in a straight line when they run at him after catching the ball at the perimeter, showing a deceptively quick first step, especially after getting the defender to leave their feet with an effective ball fake. He was able to get to the rim and finish in college thanks to his strong frame, but may have trouble having similar success at a NBA level. He is strictly a straight line driver and will be unable to get around the help defense and will also likely struggle to finish over the length of the NBA rim protectors.
Harris is a good creator for his teammates when coming off screens, finding the open teammate when multiple defenders swarm him. His 3.5 assists per 40 minutes pace adjusted were the second highest among small forwards this season, as he has nice vision to find his teammate and then delivers an easily catchable pass to put them in a position to score. He is generally a smart, unselfish player who understands his role and could very well endear himself to half-court oriented coaches who need players in his mold to operate their system effectively.
Other players that have been mentioned as possible Pistons targets who were still available in Ford's mock include Spencer Dinwiddie, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Josh Huestis, and Vasilije Micic.