Stan Van Gundy couldn't care less what the media thinks of his picks. He was able to get the players that he wanted. But for us fans, we like to see how our team is perceived by the outside world. Here is a collection of the media's grades for the Detroit Pistons.
I prefer my bad news first, so that's the order I'll take. Click on the grade for a link to the article
|ESPN||Thumbs Down (Bradford Doolittle)|
|This is all about whether or not you think Johnson will turn out to be a better pro than Winslow, who was still on the board when Detroit picked at No. 8. While everyone loves Johnson's intangibles, the knock on him is that he doesn't have that one standout skill that will shine at the NBA level. Winslow also gets glowing reviews for his makeup, is a better athlete than Johnson and at the very least should stand out on the defensive end right off the bat. Of course, the same might be true of Johnson, who also has a slightly better statistical projection. Detroit's pick of Hilliard at No. 38 was uninspired. He's not a great athlete and as a four-year player, would figure to have limited growth in his game. You'd like to see more of an upside pick there.|
|USA Today Sports||D- (Scott Gleeson)|
|Stanley Johnson (No. 8) is a nice pick, but Justise Winslow would have been better. Johnson was the primary catalyst at Arizona but that role showed lots of holes in his game — namely inconsistent shooting. Darrun Hill (No. 38) is a guard who will need to make adjustments to fit in at the pro level.|
|Yahoo||C- (Kelly Dwyer)|
|This is a worrying one.
The Pistons, due to the team’s midseason surge, were locked out of the high end of the lottery. The team does need a swingman, but Johnson looks like a bit of a tweener that could be outpaced by Justise Winslow – who was taken by Miami two picks later.
One supposes the former Arizona freshman could bang his way toward turning into a Draymond Green-type, but for now his offensive game is made up of post-ups over smaller defenders. There won’t be smaller small forwards in the NBA, and outside of LeBron James and the occasional Kawhi Leonard foray, when was the last time you saw an NBA team doing damage in the playoffs with a small forward posting up all the time?
Hillard II wasn’t highly regarded on most draft boards, but the Pistons do need some roster fodder at point guard with Brandon Jennings recovering from an Achilles tear and Reggie Jackson possibly not long for Michigan.
|ESPN Insider||C (Chad Ford)|
|The Pistons had a major hole to fill at the small forward spot and were determined to draft for need over talent. They wanted a wing who could shoot, defend and, most importantly, play right now. I just believe they drafted the wrong guy. As I noted in my Winners and Losers column, I think the Pistons drafted a guy who looks the part over someone who is the part. Johnson has a NBA body and a great reputation as a winner. But in almost every way, Winslow is the superior player. He's a better athlete, has a better motor, plays with more grit and even shoots it better when he gets his feet set. Johnson is bigger and a better shooter off the bounce. But I think in a few years this draft will look a bit like the Rockets selecting Marcus Morris ahead of Kawhi Leonard. As for Hilliard, he's a crafty scorer and a good shooter, but he's not a great athlete. He, too, was a bit of a reach at No. 38 with players like Joseph Young and Olivier Hanlan on the board.|
|Sporting News||C+ (Scott Rafferty)|
|Johnson didn't live up to the high expectations for him while at Arizona, but he's still the 3-and-D prospect the Pistons need.
Johnson made huge strides as a jump shooter during his freshman season, which is a promising sign for his development. Even with concerns about his athleticism, Stan Van Gundy should be able to carve out a niche for him.
This was the expected pick for Detroit, with nearly every mock draft having Johnson here; however, with Winslow unexpectedly still on the board at No. 8, the Pistons could've gotten more bang for their buck with the better prospect for the same role.
Hilliard likewise was an unadventurous pick.
|Sports Illustrated||B (CHRIS MANNIX)|
|Two picks right in the mock! Stanley Johnson has the body of an NBA player. He’s powerful, and he uses that strength on the defensive end well. He has elite defensive skills, skills that should get him in Stan Van Gundy’s rotation sooner rather than later. What is he offensively? That remains to be seen. Johnson isn’t much of a ballhandler, nor is he a threat from the perimeter. It will take some coaching to develop him on that end. Fortunately, Van Gundy is one of the best teachers in the game.|
|Yahoo!||B (Marc J. Spears)|
|He became a high school phenom and a college standout by overpowering smaller wings off the dribble and finishing with aplomb in transition. He will still be capable on defense and dangerous in transition in the NBA, but it will be interesting to see how he fares facing defenders of his size and strength. A knock-down jumper would certainly help, and perhaps with time Johnson will develop one.|
|CBS Sports||B+ (Sam Vecenie)|
|This is a pretty prototypical Stan Van Gundy draft. The team got more athletic, more versatile, and got better from a shooting standpoint. Johnson will be an incredibly intriguing option next to Monroe both as a small-ball 4, or in the frontcourt with Ersan Ilyasova as a stretch-4 with Johnson as a traditional 3. Van Gundy will have a ton of options with him, and both the player and coach will help each other on both ends of the floor. Having said that, it is worth mentioning that Justise Winslow was on the board here, and Winslow does most of the same things that Johnson does, just better. That knocked this pick down half a letter grade for me, but it's still a great mesh of talent and fit. In the second round, Van Gundy continued to pick a guy that makes sense in Hilliard, a killer shooter that you can trust to make shots and also he's a solid defensive player who can play both wing positions. He was a bit lower on my board, but he wasn't going to find a better fit on both accounts.|
|Bleacher Report||B+ (Jonathan Wasserman)|
|Stanley Johnson works for the Pistons both as arguably the top talent on the board and a perfect fit in the lineup.
Detroit needed a wing, and at 6'6", 242 pounds, Johnson has two-way potential as a scorer and defender.
He's a small forward who can generate offense from all three levels. And he led Arizona as a freshman to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Competitive, strong and athletic, chances are Johnson can start opening night for the Pistons. Duke's Justise Winslow would have been the bigger home run swing, but Johnson is as safe as any prospect outside the top four.
Hilliard isn't an exciting pick, but his skill set holds NBA value. At 6'6", he's a three-point shooter and disciplined defender.
The Pistons could ultimately use some shot-making ability on the wing.
Hilliard lacks playmaking ability, but in the right role, he'll have a chance to succeed as a role player.
|SB Nation||A/A (Kevin O'Connor)|
|It might be somewhat surprising that the Pistons selected Johnson over Winslow, but it makes sense considering their need for a shooter, as Johnson is far more advanced in that category. Even though he has a low release, he'll complement an interior player like Andre Drummond and penetrator like Reggie Jackson. If the Pistons want to play small ball, there's no better player to play multiple spots and roles than Johnson.
Johnson is also a good defensive player when he's engaged, and he couldn't have found a better situation. Stan Van Gundy's strict personality will shut the lid on his poor shot selection and the system will also likely maximize his intensity on defense.
So there you go. Answer the poll on what grade you would give the Pistons picks.