Last year, the 38th pick was the Pistons only draft pick due to some bad lottery luck. They still departed the draft with a quality prospect in point guard Spencer Dinwiddie. This year's draft is a deep one and the Pistons have the chance to find a useful player with their second round pick.
The Pistons have traditionally drafted well in the second round, finding players like Khris Middleton, Kyle Singler, Jonas Jerebko, and Amir Johnson. So while the 8 pick may be the one that gets all of the attention, if you're unreasonably excited about the 38 pick too, it's reasonable. There's definitely a chance that this is a player competing for a rotation spot this time next year.
With the odds favoring the Pistons taking a small forward with their first round pick and a lack of strong prospects in the second round, it's unlikely that'll be a position of emphasis for this choice. Also the Pistons are likely to have three point guards under contract after re-signing Reggie Jackson, including last year's second round choice. So point guard is probably also out.
The team could use a backup to Andre Drummond and there is likely to be a ton of options available to choose from:
Jordan Mickey, PF/C, LSU, 20; Rakeem Christmas, C, Syracuse, 23; Robert Upshaw, C, Washington, 21: The NCAA veteran options. Like everyone in the draft, and especially at this stage of it, each of these three bring their own pros and cons to the table. Mickey has the potential to be a dominant defender with his terrific shot blocking ability and quickness. But he's undersized, checking in at just 6'8. But his 7'3 wingspan and 37 inch vertical could make him a viable center. He's also a shaky offensive player, at best.
Christmas broke out with a dominant season, posting 17.5 points per game, 9 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks. He has the size of a prototypical center at 6'10 with a 7'5 wingspan. But he's also 23 years old and had accomplished virtually nothing at Syracuse prior to this year. And remember Fab Melo? The last dominant Syracuse center who hasn't even been able to make a mark in the D-League? Despite his gaudy numbers, there's still some risk with Christmas.
But not as much as with Upshaw. He's an immensely talented player who played for both Fresno State and Washington, but was booted from both programs due to issues with drugs and alcohol. Here's some required reading from SB Nation on Upshaw. In his 19 games with Washington last season, Upshaw put up a block percentage of 17.4 percent. For context, Rudy Gobert led the NBA last season at 7 percent. On the court, he can do it all. Score, defend, rebound. But can he get his life together off of it?
Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky, 19; Cliff Alexander, PF/C, Kansas, 19: The NCAA upside options. Johnson looks like a NBA center, but he's never earned minutes at Kentucky - he can thank Willie Cauley-Stein for that. He produced reasonably well on a per-minute basis, but it's tough not to think of Daniel Orton when it comes to him. Alexander was the number two player in the country coming out of high school, which makes his 7 points and 5 rebounds something of a disappointment. But really, he's not dissimilar to former Kansas big man Thomas Robinson, who eventually was a top 5 pick.
Mouhammadou Jaiteh, C, France, 20; Nikola Milutinov, C, Serbia, 20; Guillermo Hernangomez, C, Spain, 21; Arturas Gudaitis, C, Lithuania, 21: I have no idea. If you know anything about these guys, feel free to share in the comments.
Then there's the other positions. These prospects have much less in common with each other.
Christian Wood, PF, UNLV, 19: Anyone mind explaining to me the difference between Wood and potential top 3 pick Kristaps Porzingis? Porzingis did knock down his three point attempts at a higher rate than Wood, but Wood makes up for that by putting up 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game last season. As a New Mexico alum, I'm a Mountain West homer. But still, Wood looks to me as a better prospect than the likes of Myles Turner, Trey Lyles, and Kevon Looney, all less productive, kind of awkward players. He's scrawny to be sure, but he'd be a steal for the Pistons if he's on the board at 38.
Richaun Holmes, PF, Bowling Green, 21: A three-year player, he's made a mark for himself at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. He's not a particularly polished player, but he has great size and athleticism, plus a developing jump shot. Every year a player stands out in the PIT. It's a list that includes Wesley Matthews, Jimmy Butler, Robert Covington, DeMarre Carroll, etc. Usually worth paying attention to.
Michael Frazier, SG, Florida, 21: Frazier seems to have some Jodie Meeks to his game - minus the breakout junior season where he averaged 23 points per game. Frazier shot 43 percent from three for his career and is also supposed to be a pretty good defender. He was a key contributor for Florida's 36-3 Final Four squad, but their disappointing season this year didn't really help his draft stock.
J.P. Tokoto, SG, North Carolina, 21; Cedi Osman, SF, Macedonia, 20; Oliver Hanlan, PG/SG, Boston College, 22: What these three wing prospects all have in common is that they should be plus ball handlers, something Detroit could use. Tokoto does everything but score, kind of reminiscent of Terrence Williams. Hanlan was a scoring point guard who may be better suited to play shooting guard at the next level. Osman is probably a draft-and-stash guy, but seems to be an interesting, versatile small forward prospect. He apparently came up through Europe as a point guard.
Jarell Martin, SF/PF, LSU, 21; Jonathan Holmes, SF/PF, Texas, 22: With Draymond Green's success this season, folks will be scrambling looking for the "next" Green. These two probably aren't it, but will be considered similar thanks to their combo forward status. Holmes is a guy whose production has never been up to the level of his talent. He's an impressive athlete and has great size, which may be enough for him to carve out a role somewhere. Martin is offense oriented and more of a power forward due to his lack of a jump shot. But he may have a tough time being either good enough of a scorer or well-rounded enough to make much of an impact.
With the NBA Draft now just days away, who are you hoping becomes a Piston with the 38 pick?