The college basketball season officially starts today — definitely a holiday for those of us who love college hoops.
Now, I know some of you out there couldn’t care less about college basketball and won’t watch a game or pay any attention until March Madness time. I’m sure you have your reasons, but why wouldn’t you want to take a peek or two at some of the players that could be on your favorite pro team in a years’ time?
Come the 2018 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons will probably not be in the running for the Michael Porters, Marvin Bagleys, DeAndre Aytons or Miles Bridges of the world (remember that I dig Michigan State Spartan forward Miles Bridges) - or in other words, any player deemed as a NBA Draft lottery talent.
Pistons fans will gladly accept that, but only after they fully get over their shock of the team’s early season success. As it stands now with their 8-3 record, the Pistons would draft in the late twenties of the first round. When things all shake out by the end of the season, the Pistons could be drafting in the early twenties, no doubt.
Players the Pistons could likely draft
DENG ADEL (Louisville)
Junior small forward who had somewhat of a quiet break-out season in 2016-17, but was sometimes overshadowed by a guy named Donovan Mitchell. Deng should be more of a true focal point this season. He has a developing jumper, great athleticism, and I’m thinking ahead here - Deng could form a formidable tandem with Stanley Johnson at the small forward spot. If Deng breaks out, he’ll be a first round selection likely in the twenties. Catch Deng’s sophomore highlights (if you get past the dunks you’ll see other good stuff):
P.J. WASHINGTON (Kentucky)
The 6’8 freshman is a position-less player, as they say. Super long wingspan. He’ll likely be a one-and-done guy, even if it’s not a sure thing that he’ll be a lottery pick. I’m seeing him all over the draft board right now. I could also put P.J.’s fellow teammate and freshman Jarrod Vanderbilt (6’8 point-forward type) here as well. One or both may blow up, but even if not, both could easily make a team happy around the 18 to 25 pick range.
A few seniors Detroit should keep an eye on in the second round
THOMAS WELSH (UCLA)
Mobile seven-footer, decent rebounder and excellent jump shooter, however, until now hasn’t expanded his range out to the three-point line. Slotted for the second round.
THOMAS WILDER (Western Michigan)
The 6’3 guard shows up in a few second round mock drafts. Good pull-up game, good slasher, and has improved his three-ball each college season (up to 44 percent for his junior season). Likely will be around in the second round for Detroit to consider. I’ll be seeing him play in person at least once this season, so I’ll be sure to bore you with a nerdy breakdown of his game here at DBB.
GRAYSON ALLEN (Duke)
Should be in the NBA already, but a little immature. Good athleticism and offensive skills for a bench role in the NBA. Probable late first or early second round pick. Heck, he might even fall pretty far into the second round. Not likely that Detroit would be interested. Though, tripping compilations are fun:
Other players of note from local universities
Michigan’s junior stretch four Moritz Wagner. Potential mid to late first round pick. Exciting, high energy player with big time offensive potential inside and outside. Hopefully got stronger over the off-season.
Michigan’s redshirt junior wing Charles Matthews: Former 5-star recruit, transferred from Kentucky and sat out last season due to the transfer rule. Can score in a variety of ways. Tough defender. If he blows up then he’ll go pro (if he has a first round guarantee), not unlike former Wolverine and current Milwaukee Buck D.J. Wilson.
Oakland University senior guard Kendrick Nunn: Transferred from Illinois (wasn’t exactly a choir boy there) and has one year of eligibility left. A scoring guard with some feistiness who reminds me a little of Langston Galloway.
Michigan State freshman power forward Jaren Jackson Jr.: A ton of hype (and talent) for this guy and just no way if he declares for the draft that he will be not be a top-10 pick. Although players do make silly choices by coming out when they’re clearly not ready, though I’m confident Izzo and company will give him sound advice if there’s any question about his draft potential come 2018.
This guy has a fun name
ISAAC BONGA (International)
The 18-year-old German (Congo roots) is currently 6’9 with a seven-foot wingspan. Seems like a talented ball handler and passer from the analysis and footage out there. Can’t shoot yet, but that hasn’t stopped the adoration of dozens and dozens of players before. I’ve seen his name around a lot
If you made it this far, then you are probably pretty awesome. So please give us all a college player or two that you like and who might also be a potential selection for the Pistons in 2018 after they celebrate their NBA championship. I know there must be a few Chimezie Metu and Landry Shamet fans out there.