With the NBA Draft Combine underway, many teams get to evaluate prospects up close, it can be a good place for players to improve their draft standing through interviews or measurements, like Kentavious Caldwell Pope did two years ago. Per Keith Langlois at Pistons.com:
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was told by the advisory committee that advises college underclassmen considering a jump to the NBA on their likely draft status that he was probably looking at the back half of the first round with no guarantee he wouldn't fall to the second. After an eye-opening performance at the Chicago draft combine and impressive individual workouts for teams, he pushed himself into the lottery where the Pistons grabbed him at No. 8, one spot before Minnesota was poised to take him.
Could there be a standout at this year's NBA Draft Combine that could steal the show? Wisconsin's Sam Dekker has risen in many draft boards, with many outlets suggesting that the Pistons could select him with the eighth overall pick. However, Detroit has reportedly been in contact with six other potential draft picks: North Carolina shooting guard Jean Pierre Tokoto, UNLV's Rashad Vaughn, Lousiville point guard Terry Rozier, Texas center Myles Turner, Arizona small forward Stanley Johnson and Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky.
Swingman J.P. Tokoto has entered the NBA draft after three years with the Tar Heels, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Charles F Gardner reports that he has talked with the Pistons during the combine. Tokoto is projected to go midway through the second round. Listed as the 46th best prospect by Draft Express, Tokoto averaged 8.3 points 5.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists (2.2 turnovers) on .428/.375/.615 shooting. After a strong start to the combine where he showed his potential as a 3&D man, J.P. might see his stock rise if he continues his current form (13 points, 6/6 FG, 5 rebounds and 2 steals during the scrimmage).
UNLV's Rashad Vaughn has sat down with the Pistons according to Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. The 18 year-old shooting guard shot 38.4% from three during his lone season at UNLV, and averaged 18.3 points to go along with 4.8 rebounds. Currently ranked 41st overall by Draft Express, Vaughn would definitely fill a need for the Pistons, and they could do worse than select the 6'5" guard with their second round pick. Vaughn could log major time with the Grand Rapids Drive to develop his game, and play spot minutes behind Jodie Meeks and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope if needed.
Rozier, ranked 37th overall by Draft Express, has also met with the Mavericks, Suns, Spurs and Knicks according to Basketball Insiders' Steve Kyler. The Louisville product is expect to be drafted early to midway through the second round, although his athleticism, speed and defensive ability might see him rise after the combine. In one year with the Cardinals, Terry averaged 17.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists (2.2 turnovers) and 2.0 steals on a shooting slash of .411/.306/.790. Drafting Rozier with the 38th pick makes little sense for the Pistons, with Reggie Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Spencer Dinwiddie all expected to compete for minutes at the point next season, chalk this one down as the Pistons doing their due diligence or Rozier's agent trying to boost his client's stock.
Projected lottery pick Myles Turner also met with the Pistons according to Vincent Ellis. Turner, who CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish had being drafted by the Pistons in his latest mock draft, has envisioned himself playing alongside Andre Drummond (video per MLive's David Mayo). Detroit's biggest needs are on the wings, but Pistons General Manager Jeff Bower didn't rule out drafting a center in the first round. The big man averaged 10.1 points 6.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks for Texas this year. At 6'11" and with a 7'4" wingspan, Turner certainly makes for an intriguing prospect, with most scouts predicting his defensive ability to translate well to the NBA.
Frank Kaminsky was another notable name to be linked to Motown, as Pistons.com Keith Langlois reported, the Wisconsin forward measured 7'0" in shoes at the combine, which, combined with his 41.6% three point percentage make him a legit candidate to be selected with the Pistons' first round pick. In his last season with Wisconsin, Kaminsky averaged 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks on .547/.416/.780 shooting. Detroit is looking to add depth to the wings, but if indications point towards the Pistons losing Greg Monroe in free agency, it may be worth selecting Kaminsky to pair with Andre Drummond down low... or could Stan Van Gundy potentially get away with a Drummond-Monroe-Kaminsky rotation?
Arizona's Stanley Johnson sat down with Jeff Bower and the Pistons at the NBA Draft Combine according to Vincent Ellis. Despite some underwhelming measurements, coming in at 6'6" in shoes, Johnson's tantalizing skillset still has many teams salivating over his potential. The forward told MLive's David Mayo that he has considered playing for the Pistons, and has some Motown connections that could make a potential transition to the NBA a lot easier:
The Arizona small forward said Thursday at the NBA Draft Combine that he knows Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson through a mutual friend, and has played through the years with center Andre Drummond going back to their high school days.
Johnson was effusive about how he might fit.
"I think the position I play, it's wide open for me to go in there and do something special," Johnson said. "I know Reggie and I know Andre really well. So they told me if they drafted me, obviously, that's where the team needs help at, and I'm a really good player and I'd be able to help out in that way."
The NBA Draft Combine continues through Friday, and the Pistons seem to be covering all their bases, who are you most excited about?
Tweet of the Week
Both Stanley Johnson, Myles Turner have already interviewed with #Pistons. Johnson knows Drummond, Jackson well. Says they've reached out.— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) May 14, 2015