The Detroit Pistons are targeting Stanley Johnson with the first-round pick (No. 8 overall), according to a source who spoke with Real GM.
The report also indicates that Detroit would love it if sharpshooting wing Mario Hezonja fell to them at No. 8, and that he would be the pick if he was there. But that scenario is viewed as unlikely.
Johnson is a versatile defensive small forward who has the size and speed to stick with both beefier and quicker power forwards and shooting guards, respectively. In today's NBA, with coaches unafraid to go small as a way to exploit an opponent on defense, Johnson's defensive potential could be the selling point that puts him in a Pistons uniform.
The Pistons ranked just 19th in defensive efficiency last season, according to Basketball Reference.
Johnson, however, does have a lot of question marks surrounding his offensive game. Johnson shot 37 percent from 3 at Arizona, but most observers believe his shot needs some work. Also, Johnson had a lot of trouble finishing at the rim, a sizable red flag for someone who projects as a small forward with a shaky jumper.
The team is apparently higher on Hezonja, and it's not hard to understand why. Hezonja has a lightning-quick and picture-perfect jump shot that extends beyond 3-point range. He's still young and raw, like most players in contention at No 8, but Hezonja boosters believe he could develop into an elite NBA scorer. It appears Stan Van Gundy and Jeff Bower subscribe, at least partially, to this line of thinking.
Hezonja, however, is not expected to fall to No. 8. He is pegged to go as high as No. 5 to Orlando, and is also someone who could appeal to the Sacramento Kings at No. 6 and the Denver Nuggets at No. 7.