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Stan Van Gundy mocks mock drafts, ready to surprise people on draft night

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Pistons head honcho is taking a definitive best player available approach into draft night.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons might have a glaring need at point guard and power forward, but the team won't be looking to the draft to patch those holes.

Stan Van Gundy talked to the media Tuesday and made a couple things clear. First, mock drafts might be fun, but nobody has any clue who is really going anywhere. Second, he is taking a best player available approach with the 18th pick in Thursday's draft.

"Mock drafts are always a little amusing to me because I guarantee you they are not getting their information from teams," Van Gundy said about the plethora of draft insiders who establish the conventional wisdom of who will be "rising" and "falling." on on draft night.

"When you talk about a guy falling all you really mean is that the people that are doing the mock drafts were wrong to begin with," Van Gundy deadpanned.

If there are any connections, the mock drafter isn't getting info from teams and is instead getting leaks from agents or college coaches.

"[Assistant GM Brian Wright] knows which guys have connections to which agents," Van Gundy said. "I know this comes as a shocker but the agents have a vested interest and are a little biased" in where guys go.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the press conference was the exuberance with which he said nobody has any idea who the Pistons might select Thursday.

When asked about wildcards, players who might be injured, playing overseas or thought to be too skinny for the NBA, Van Gundy perked up.

"There's a few wildcards in there. I'm not going to say it's a definite or even a probability, but there's certainly a possibility that people could be surprised by where we take a guy," Van Gundy said. "There are guys that we like that aren't sitting in our position in the mock drafts."

Van Gundy was even more explicit about his draft philosophy of choosing the best player available.

"Position won't have any bearing. We're simply looking for the guy we think has the chance to be the best player inside that rookie contract."

He also stated that draft night will not have any impact on their approach to free agency, which remains focused on finding a backup point guard and a true power forward.

"We think we've got a pretty good young core, our team is balanced. We could use help anywhere so position will not be a factor in who we pick."

So fans better dust off draft express and start studying shooting guards, small forwards and centers, because it is not a given that Detroit will be taking a point guard or defensive big man.

Van Gundy also said the team is comfortable spending two roster spots on rookies, though he would not rule selecting a draft and stash player.

Quick Hits

  • Van Gundy was in attendance at the Detroit Tigers' 8-7 extra innings win on a walk-off Justin Upton home run. Van Gundy's message was clear -- never leave a game early.
  • Stanley Johnson, Darrun Hilliard and Lorenzo Brown will participate in the Orlando Summer League. Johnson is a surprise addition, but Van Gundy said the team wanted Johnson strengthening weaknesses in a game setting. Mentioned specifically were working in the pick-and-roll, using his left hand and making the right passes on drives.
  • The team has a plan already in motion to improve Andre Drummond's free throw shooting woes. He would not get into specifics.
  • Speaking of Drummond, the team is formulating plans to allow Drummond to work on his game in the event that Dre is selected for the Olympic team. Van Gundy said it was a possibility that an assistant coach or two would travel with Drummond on the trip to Rio.