It promised to be a quiet night in a mostly uneventful draft for the Detroit Pistons. After about three hours the team still hadn’t made their one selection - slated for No. 42. Worse, fans were seeing some of the popular second round targets fall off the board in the 30s.
Gone was Elie Okobo, Jevon Carter, Jalen Brunson and Khyri Thomas.
Not so fast. The quiet Pistons with a front office led by Ed Stefanski but missing several key players, and with a head coach on the job for less than a week had a surprise in store. Detroit traded two future second-round picks to the Philadelphia 76ers for Thomas and then used their own pick on Bruce Brown.
You can read Detroit Bad Boys’ initial thoughts on the drafting of both Thomas and Brown.
The larger internet reaction was also mostly positive, as many were impressed with Detroit’s ability to grab impact defenders and possible first-round talents in the second round. The sentiment for Thomas is nearly universal while there is more skepticism around Brown because of his lack of shooting. The Pistons also got points for being aggressive. Here is a roundup of reactions.
PG Khyri Thomas, Creighton
This is exactly what the Pistons, who acquired the pick from the overly pick-rich 76ers, needed. Thomas can play offense and defense at high levels right away. He’s a first-round talent -- I had him as a top-20 prospect -- at a no-risk spot. Grade: A+
SG Bruce Brown Jr., Miami sophomore
Brown is a crafty, versatile, useful player in a lot of roles. He could have been a first-rounder. Grade: A-
No. 38: Khyri Thomas to Detroit Pistons
By springing for Khyri Thomas in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, as Charania reported, the Detroit Pistons demonstrated serious interest in the Creighton shooting guard. The bigger mystery is why, because this is a franchise that needs to find shooting talent to provide spacing for the Blake Griffin-Andre Drummond duo or a replacement for the point guard carousel comprised of Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith.
Thomas is a defensive menace, but we’re still not quite sure whether his shooting form will allow him to make the leap from college treys to NBA threes. Even though he knocked down 41.1 percent of his triples as a junior, they were almost all of the spot-up variety and typically came with his toes mere inches from the arc.
Whether he can extend that range enough to justify this selection remains to be seen, though getting another strong defensive presence on board is never a bad thing.
No. 42: Bruce Brown to Detroit Pistons
Bruce Brown’s value to the Detroit Pistons is predicated upon his ability to channel either the freshman- or sophomore-year efforts he put up for the Miami Hurricanes.
Freshman Brown averaged 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists while slashing 45.9/34.7/74.4. Sophomore Brown averaged 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists while slashing 41.5/26.7/62.9.
That’s a troubling progression, even if development as a rebounder and distributor helped negate some of the shooting backsliding. His defense alone should make him rosterable, but Brown won’t carve out a rotation role unless he can fix his woeful shooting mechanics, prove the foot injury that ended his sophomore season prematurely is firmly rooted in the past and show he can create quality looks against NBA defenders.
Detroit Pistons – They stole SG Khyri Thomas at 38 and added SG Bruce Brown at 42. But they’re still Detroit and I don’t see a game changer here.
No. 38: Khyri Thomas, Creighton (via Philadelphia 76ers)
No. 42: Bruce Brown Jr., Miami
Despite lacking a first-rounder (No. 12) because of the Blake Griffin trade, the Detroit Pistons did fairly well for themselves on draft night, trading two future second-rounders to the Sixers in order to snag Khyri Thomas at No. 38 and then using their own second-rounder on Bruce Brown Jr. at No. 42.
Thomas lacks size at 6’3″, but he makes up for it in length with a 6’10” wingspan. He’s one of the best point-of-attack defenders in the entire draft class and brings a much-needed skill — 3-point marksmanship — to a roster in dire need of it. He needs to improve his ball-handling and playmaking, but this is a great pick for the team’s backcourt depth, especially this late in the pecking order.
As for Brown, he’s a tenacious defender who probably shouldn’t have fallen so far. He’s the inverse of Thomas, lacking a jump shot that is inherently crucial for any modern-day wing. Still, this late in the draft, a versatile and knowledgeable defender like Brown was worth the investment.
38th Pick: Detroit Pistons (via Philadelphia) — Khyri Thomas, Creighton, SG/SF
Could have easily been a first-round pick, so this is good value for Detroit. They acquire him from Philadelphia and will hope he immediately brings 3-and-D capabilities.
42nd Pick: Detroit Pistons — Bruce Brown, Miami, SG
Love the Pistons getting Khyri Thomas in a trade, but don’t love them following that up with Bruce Brown. Solid scorer and solid playmaker but he can’t shoot at all.