Note: This all went down days before the Ersan Ilyasova trade. Actually, Ersan Ilyasova was traded during the mock draft to the Wizards for Nene and the No. 19 overall pick. Stan Van wins!
Steve Hinson and I represented the Pistons in the 2015 SB Nation mock draft between the network's other team sites. In the interest of full disclosure, so that you know the inner workings of fantasy NBA executives on draft day, I'm going to go through all of the feelers we put out and trade requests we received before ultimately deciding as we did.
We originally reached out to Houston/TheDreamShake to inquire about Terrence Jones and No. 18, which was part of Steve's offseason plan, but we received no response.
The Suns/The Bright Side of the Sun reached out to offer something along the lines of PJ Tucker and No. 13 for No. 8. We respectfully rejected.
Almost immediately after, the Celtics/CelticsBlog reached out with the roster-overhauling offer that they would trade us all of their picks (16, 28, 33 & 45) for No. 8. Steve and I actually talked about reaching out to inquire about Kelly Olynyk, so we asked if he and Jarred Sullinger were available as part of a deal. They responded that they were and wanted to do business. So we countered with our No. 8 for Olynyk and their 16 and 28 picks. They came back with No. 8 for Olynyk, 16 and 33 because they wanted to have another 1st round pick. We accepted, okay with a pick only 5 spots later and not having to worry about a guaranteed contract.
Why Olynyk? He can spread the floor, move off the ball, punish when defenses crowd the paint, and he has locks and locks of swag.
It's not going to be easy to fill holes in the starting lineup at both small forward and power forward this summer. By trading the pick, we get a solution at one of those spots while also still getting a solid pick in a deep draft.
Olynyk is a great fit for the direction this team is heading. With Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond causing havoc in the pick and roll game, Olynyk will get a lot of open shots. It was tempting to keep the pick, or even ask for Sullinger instead with his superior rebounding ability, but Olynyk's mobility off the ball should make him better for our team.
With the 16th pick, we also should still be able to grab a quality prospect for the wing - not with the upside of others perhaps, but still someone solid who should be able to contribute right away.
After the deal, the Suns again reached out to us, complimenting our trade and stating that they would still like to do business with us. They said they were going to be acquiring the No. 24 pick and would again like to trade up. The offer was pretty much the same with the difference in picks or we could acquire their lottery protected pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. We asked to see how the picks before us played out before we responded and they graciously kept the door open. When Stanley Johnson or Bobby Portis were selected right before No. 16, we considered trading down again, but ultimately decided we were more than happy with ... drum roll ... Justin Anderson at that spot, not wanting to risk him being taken before 24. We respectfully told the Suns we appreciated the offer but would be taking our guy at No. 16.
On drafting Justin Anderson No. 16:
A seven foot wingspan. 43 inch vertical. 45 percent three point shooting percentage. 230 pound frame. Sound like someone you'd want playing small forward for you?
Justin Anderson took a big step forward in 2014-15, particularly in his shooting, but it seems like those improvements are here to stay thanks to some mechanical improvements. Anderson should be able to see the floor quickly thanks to his NBA-ready frame and defensive ability. If his three point shot transitions to the next level quickly, that'll just be gravy. The Pistons are looking for a small forward with the potential to be a dominant defender at multiple positions and a big time three point threat. Anderson fits the bill perfectly.
So with the No. 8 pick, the Pistons were able to land a young starting-caliber power forward and perhaps the most immediately-ready SF in the draft. We'll take that.
Now your thoughts.