In a refreshing change of pace, the Detroit Pistons are much more interested in securing a playoff berth than acquainting themselves with NBA draft prospects this season, but that doesn't mean the mock drafts stop.
The latest from ESPN has the Pistons selecting California's Ivan Rabb, a freshman big man prospect with the No. 14 overall pick. Local product Denzel Valentine from Michigan State goes one pick later to the Utah Jazz and Caris Levert of Michigan goes to the Charlotte Hornets at No. 19.
The Pistons are also caught in a very tight race for the Eastern Conference playoffs. If they fall short, they can add another young big with significant upside.
Rabb has proved to be an effective rebounder and has added a nice midrange jumper to his game. He needs to get stronger, but I could see him as an Ed Davis-type player in the pros.
Rabb is 19 years old, rail-thin (215 pounds), and stands 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan. As a prospect, Rabb is seen as a superior rebounder and shot blocker from the power forward position who has little range and a significantly underbaked offensive game.
While I can see Stan Van Gundy looking to add a solid rebounding prospect via the draft, I'm not sure a prospect so underdeveloped physically and no real range makes sense.
In watching videos of Rabb, he seems to have solid aggressiveness and body control and touch when banging around in the paint, he'd likely get completely swallowed up his first few years in the NBA.
Other big-men prospect, which I know nothing about, taken after the Pistons selection include Skal Labissiere, international prospects Jonathan Jeanne and Ante Zizic, Thomas Bryant, and Domantas Sabonis.
I'll leave it to people smarter than myself to gauge whether those players, or perhaps a guard or forward, makes the most sense for Detroit.
tl;dr -- Who cares about any of this when there is a playoff spot to secure?