Emmanuel Mudiay was the fifth ranked prospect coming out of high school in 2014. Now, it's likely he's slotted around that range as well for the NBA Draft. However, due to the rise of Kristaps Porzingis, Mudiay's once seemingly secure No. 4 draft slot is now under ambush. To make matters worse for him, Justise Winslow and Mario Hezonja are also climbing the board, along with late charges from the likes of Cameron Payne and Willie Cauley-Stein. Were Mudiay to fall to No. 8, something which was considered unprecedented a month ago, should the Pistons take him and figure out the roster later? Some sources claim that Detroit is "unconvinced" by Reggie Jackson, something I personally find unconvincing, considering all Van Gundy's talk about Jackson as part of the young core. Still, were the Pistons to land Mudiay, he could be a trade chip to net a decent return.
Mudiay didn't attend the NBA Draft Combine, likely due to his commitments with his Chinese team. So we have to take some rudimentary measurements from the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit, where he was measured at 6'5" in shoes with a 6'8.5" wingspan. And that's about it. Not a lot of info is available on his physical stature. He has solid size at 200 pounds, which should be able to overpower most NBA point guards. Other than that, not much is around on the Internetz about his body.
Style of Play
Mudiay is known as an athletic slashing type of point guard, with size and ability to finish at the rim. He's not known as much of a jumpshooter, but knocked down a respectable 34.2% of his triples while in China. He has a decent field goal percentage at 47.8%, but like Winslow, free throw shooting is his Achilles heel. Mudiay only shot his free throws at a 57.4% rate in China (27-47), a decent enough sample size considering it was only over 12 games. I have no other data to suggest whether this was simply an aberration or if he was always a poor foul shooter, but for someone who doesn't have the most reliable three point shot, his low free throw percentage is a worry.
There are two types of players offensively, two categories which players can be lumped into. Shooters, and scorers. Players like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and James Harden are both. Then, there are shooters, guys like Kyle Korver, Wes Matthews and Ryan Anderson. Then, there are scorers, guys like Tyreke Evans, Dion Waiters and Derrick Rose. You can categorise Mudiay as a scorer, with his 18 points per game and 29% usage rate indicative of someone who likes having the ball in his hands. Due to the nature of the Chinese league, Mudiay was allowed to be a dominant presence on the offensive end, as evidenced by his high usage rate. He also attempted over 15 field goal attempts per game, before injury curtailed his season.
However, despite his shooting inconsistencies, he did show promise as a distributor, evidenced by his 5.9 assists per game, but this was offset by 3.3 turnovers per game, perhaps as a result of trying to create his own shot. He did manage an assist rate of nearly 32%, while only carrying a turnover percentage of 16%, so he does have the ability to be efficient in his playmaking. Perhaps with more polished offensive options around him, his turnovers will go down and his assists will go up. He also showed an ability to get numbers on the defensive end, amassing 6.3 rebounds per game and 1.6 steals, but his actual defensive rating is a poor 111.3, less than his offensive rating of 110.1.
Honestly, Mudiay would be a bad fit on the current roster due to his poor shooting. However, from a talent perspective, he would be a welcome boost for the squad, whether directly or not, as he could land us a decent trade offer from another team looking for a point guard, like Indiana. However, if he were to replace Jackson, he would provide the same level of distance shooting, but playmaking and free throw shooting would take a hit. It would also be a terribly inconsistent backcourt shooting wise, unless KCP develops a more reliable stroke. My guess would be if we were to draft him, it would be as a trade piece.
Who would you rather have -- Jackson or Mudiay? Should the Pistons snag Mudiay anyway if he's around?