With the NBA Combine in full swing, there’s no better time to preview some of the players that could be available for the Detroit Pistons towards the bottom of this year’s draft lottery. Per tankathon.com, Detroit has a 93.5 percent chance to draft at No. 12, a 3.9 percent chance to select at No. 13, and (crosses fingers) a combined 2.6 percent chance to jump to the No. 1, 2, or 3 spot.
It’d be great if the Pistons were able to leap their way into the top of the draft, and have a shot at selecting Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, or Josh Jackson, but for sanity’s sake, let’s concentrate on the guys who will most likely land outside of the top ten.
We’ll be looking at some of sports journalism’s most well-known publications’ mock drafts, and analyzing the players they have Detroit selecting at No. 12 overall. Here we go!
The Player: Zach Collins, Center - Gonzaga
Most major publications have the Pistons drafting the two-way center out of Gonzaga. Collins averaged 10 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game - in only 17.2 minutes - while coming off the bench for the Zags, who were runners-up in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Things to like: Collins is a solid athlete that finishes strong around the rim, either finishing with a jam or bodying up bigs down low. He’s got a smooth-looking jumper, and should be able to stretch out to NBA three point range in due time. He showed an ability to shoot from deep, averaging 48 percent from three in college in limited attempts. He’s also an athletic seven-footer with a natural ability to block shots, and showed excellent verticality while protecting the rim.
Areas of improvement: Overall, Collins appears to be the most ready to contribute player that the Pistons will be able to select. With that being said, his post-game could certainly use some work. He has a nice first move, but didn’t appear to have a counter-move or a third move in his arsenal. It’s rare to see a young player enter the league with a truly developed post-game (a la Joel Embiid or Jahlil Okafor), so that’s not something to be too concerned about, but it is an area that he should continue to develop throughout his rookie season and beyond.
The Player: Frank Ntilikina, Point Guard - France
Ntilikina is one of the more mysterious players of this year’s draft; he’s projected to be selected anywhere from No. 7 to No. 17. And although the international game has collectively improved, these players are not as known to the public as players who competed in NCAA D1 hoops.
Things to like: Ntilikina looks like a possible starting point guard in the NBA. He’s an athletic guard, with bounce, and a smooth-looking stroke. He’s 6’5 with a 7’0 wing span, which obviously means he’s a perfect fit for the Milwaukee Bucks. Ntilikina looks like a natural pick n’ roll PG, with a pass-first mentality, which could pair nicely next to Andre Drummond in Stan Van Gundy’s offense. He’s a defensive-minded player that gets skinny on screens and can close out on outside shooters in an instant.
Areas of improvement: Ntilikina’s handle could use some serious improvement; he’s a bit sloppy with the ball, resulting in too many turnovers. Even when he was under control, it’s clear that he will not immediately be able to beat defenders off the dribble. Although he has a smooth stroke; he needs confidence in the shot, and needs to shoot more frequently. Doing so will make him a more serious offensive threat.
The Player: Jarrett Allen, Center - Texas
Jarrett Allen had an impressive freshman campaign at the University of Texas, averaging 13.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Side note; is anyone else surprised to see that five major publications projected the Pistons to select a center? (Editor’s note: Very surprised.)
Things to like: Allen is a long, athletic big, measuring 6’11 with a 7’5 wing-span. That crazy length paired with his natural ability to block shots means he’s a defensive force in the making. He showed an ability to finish easily when he was near the hoop. His jumper looked mechanically sound, and consistent from 5-10 feet out. He would fit nicely in a pick n’ roll offense.
Areas of improvement: Allen’s post and skill-based offensive game was virtually non-existent, consisting of mostly dunks (with a few jumpers peppered in) during his freshman year. If the Pistons plan on selecting Allen, it’ll be for his defensive capabilities and ability to finish near the rim, not to make him a cornerstone for the offense. If Detroit plans on playing him his rookie season, he’ll have a very difficult time guarding NBA bigs at 224 lbs. Allen will take a beating down low, and should spend as much time as possible in the weight room. Allen is the most raw talent on this list, but that doesn’t mean he won’t become a very solid NBA center.
The Player: Terrance Ferguson, Shooting Guard - Adelaide 36ers
The Publications: Basketball Insiders- Michael Scotto, Joel Brigham
Terrance Ferguson was supposed to be the next great one-and-done player from the University of Arizona, although NO ONE will top our very own Stanley Johnson. Instead, he took his talents all the way to Australia to play pro ball (ala Brandon Jennings), playing a season for the Adelaide 36ers. Ferguson only averaged 4.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 15 minutes per game.
Fran Fraschilla says Australia's Terrance Ferguson "will be staring #Pistons in the face" at the No. 12 spot.— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) May 9, 2017
Things to like: Ferguson is a VERY athletic guard that has bounce for days. He has a smooth-looking standstill stroke from deep, and while he only shot 31.3 percent from three last season, he should be able to fine-tune this shot to be effective at the next level. He’s a natural spot-up shooter; a perfect skill for the modern day 2-guard. He also showed tenacity on defense, even though he was clearly undersized against the grown men of the NBL.
Areas of improvement: Ferguson is still an extremely raw talent. He did not show an ability to create off the dribble, which meant he was unable to attack the rim, and did not spend much time at the free-throw stripe. While he was energetic on D, he gets lost at times, unaware of where he is supposed to be and when. While this isn’t a new phenomena for younger players, defensive awareness is key to success in today’s NBA.
Of the four players featured, who would you like to see the Pistons select, and why?
Which player should the Pistons take at No. 12?
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