Coming off their first playoff appearance since 2016, the Detroit Pistons’ offseason officially begins with the 2019 NBA Draft tonight. The Pistons, picking outside of the lottery for just the second time in the last decade, will have their choice of players in a draft that many feel is more top heavy than it is deep.
Perhaps they trade they pick? The team could use a difference-making veteran and, if the options on the board aren’t up to par, that may make sense. They could trade the pick and try to accumulate a few late first-round picks. This team needs cheap, young talent.
Whatever happens, they need to do much better than their last two non-lottery first round picks: Henry Ellenson and Austin Daye.
1. What approach do you think the front office should take tonight: Draft for need or take the best available player?
Brady Fredericksen: Best player available, allllll the way. The Pistons have needs at every level — guard, forward, center — so they should take the best player at that spot and worry about fit later. There’s room for this rookie to impact the team in 2019-2020, so take the best guy available and see how Dwane Casey can make it work.
Lazarus Jackson: I think the Pistons should draft for need because I don’t know how you’d envision the Best Player Available at 15. In a draft like this one, it feels like anybody between 12 and 30 could be the fourth-or-fifth best player in the draft — there’s no consensus BPA. As such, Detroit should just take whatever wing they feel most comfortable with, and develop the hell out of that guy.
Justin Lambregtse: This team is still in need of some play makers at basically every position, so I would go with BPA. I also don’t like a ton of the wings this year, so the Pistons shouldn’t be forcing themselves into drafting one.
Ryan Pravato: Take best player available. We just don’t know who will or will not be here in a year from now. The Pistons need so much — swing for the fences.
Steve Hinson: Best player available, but fortunately the guys most likely to be the BPAs when the Pistons come up will be a fit for the roster’s needs on the wings.
David Fernandez: With the Pistons needing players at pretty much every position, it’ll be difficult for them not to draft a position of need at 15. I expect them to select a player who fits a need now (on the wing), and who has a high ceiling.
Ben Quagliata: BPA, BPA, BPA! It’s a pretty shallow draft from what I’ve read (done zero draft prep this year, thanks full time work), so just take the top guy on your board and pray for the best. Hopefully it turns out better than Ellenson did.
2. Who’s the player you absolutely do NOT want to see the Pistons select?
Brady Fredericksen: Any Kentucky Wildcats wing. There’s nothing wrong with Keldon Johnson, I’m sure he’ll have a nice career, but I don’t think he’s going to be an impact player. The same can be said about his UK teammate, Tyler Herro. Though he’s a shooter, he’s got short arms (6-foot-3 wingspan) and his actual shooting numbers (35% from 3) don’t match his reputation. I’ll be ok passing on Kentucky freshman this year.
Lazarus Jackson: Bol Bol. He’s not Kristaps, lol. He’s Channing Frye who can block the occasional shot. But for every shot he blocks, he’ll let three more in because he can’t stay in front of anyone and gets moved off his spot. And that’s when he plays, because a guy with that build with a navicular fracture already in his rearview mirror is likely to have trouble staying on the court.
Justin Lambregtse: Romeo Langford. I was not impressed with him at all in college, and I don’t think he ever shoots the ball well enough at the next level to be what the Pistons need.
Ryan Pravato: Henry Ellenson. The book is out on him, I think. Avoid! Run! Or Tyler Herro. He’s going to be a good NBA player, but doesn’t fit with this team, unless a trade including Luke Kennard is in the works.
Steve Hinson: Kevin Porter. This team really doesn’t need a Dion Waiters.
David Fernandez: I admit it, I got caught up in the Bol Bol hype earlier this year. Watching a seven footer hit 50% of his threes, while scoring 20+ points and damn near 10 rebounds per game is hard not to fall in love with, but it only lasted nine games due to a stress fracture in his left foot. A player at his height and light build (weighing in at only 208 lbs at the combine), combined with his injury history SCREAMS do not touch.
Ben Quagliata: Tyler Herro, only because he sounds fairly similar to Luke Kennard and we don’t really need another smaller wing/combo guard who can shoot. If he was a couple of inches taller then maybe. Also no to Bol Bol, those types are myths 99 times out of 100. Plus Thon is better (no national bias).
3. A two-part question to wrap this up: Who do you THINK the Pistons to go with at No. 15? Who do you WANT the Pistons to take?
Brady Fredericksen: I THINK the Pistons take Cameron Johnson. The UNC wing is probably the best shooter in the draft and has the size at 6-foot-9 to give you minutes at both forward spots. He would be a good addition for THIS Pistons team, but his ceiling is low. I WANT the Pistons to risk it all and take Darius Bazley. The former Syracuse recruit sat this year out, but he’s been the fastest riser in the pre-draft process. He’s super interesting; the type of big, skilled athlete every team should want as many of as possible. Let’s do it, Ed.
Lazarus Jackson: I THINK the Pistons will go with Romeo Langford or Nassir Little. I WANT the Pistons to trade down and nab both KZ Okpala and Darius Bazley.
Justin Lambregtse: I think the Pistons are going to go with Romeo Langford or Nassir Little. I would like them to go with either Nickeil Alexander-Walker or Bol Bol (also Kevin Porter Jr., but I think he will be gone by their pick).
Ryan Pravato: I think the Pistons go with Nassir Little at 15. I want Romeo Langford — he has many skills that most guys his age don’t have. Keldon Johnson is a legit talent as well. On the Inside the Cylinder podcast posted earlier in the week, I also said that Kevin Porter Jr. wouldn’t be an insane pick because of his high ceiling (or so we think/hope!).
Steve Hinson: Brandon Clarke has been one of my favorite players all season, I’d love to see him fall to the Pistons at 15. He wouldn’t be an ideal fit next to a Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond pairing. But next to just Blake? Hell yeah. He could play small forward next to Blake and a shooting center, or slide all the way down as the de facto center. The flexibility would be awesome. But I think the Pistons just wind up with some meh wing like Little or Langford.
David Fernandez: I want Detroit to swing for the fences. I was originally on the Kevin Porter Jr. train, but have since hopped off due to concerns about his stroke and 52% free throw shooting. Instead, I’m going with Romeo Langford. His ability to take his man off the bounce, finish in the paint, and get to the line regularly could make him a strong fit in Detroit’s stagnant offense. I’m also hopeful that his three point shooting will bounce back in a serious way (it’ll need to) as he was projected to be a shooter coming out of high school before suffering a torn ligament in his right thumb.
Ben Quagliata: Um, again, no draft prep, so I’ll just chuck up some names. I guess one of the Johnsons (heh), Bazley, Okpala, Little? If they say screw it and package 15 and 30 to move up then I’m lost. Also I would’ve considered Alexander-Walker before the Snell trade so maybe he’s a little redundant, although I’ve seen his range mocked from like 15-25, so there’s a chance, albeit small, he’s there at 30.