There’s a lot of division surrounding the Detroit Pistons’ selection of Sekou Doumbouya at 15 in the 2019 NBA Draft. Some fans bemoan the fact that Sekou is a project, a player who is less likely to help the Pistons in their hunt for the playoffs next season. Others enjoy the fact that Sekou is a project, that the Pistons added a player with the potential to be an All-Star instead of a player with a lower upside.
Time will tell who’s right. Unfortunately, this is the internet, and we don’t have time to take time. So here are your instant reactions from around the NBA about the Pistons’ draft, broken down by letter grade:
Letter grade in the A’s:
The Pistons probably didn’t think he’d be available here, and neither did I. Doumbouya has a top-10 skill set, and he is 18 with so much potential. He’s a great talent defensively but also growing into it as an offensive player. This is a play for the 2021-22 season.
Doumbouya took a tumble here, but he does have legitimate lottery upside if he puts it all together. Given where Detroit is as an organization, taking a big swing makes a lot of sense. There are concerns about his maturity level, but he’s still very young and has plenty of time to grow into a legitimate impact-caliber forward. This could end up going either way, but in concept, it’s a strong choice.
Sekou Doumbouya slipped, and teams will regret that he did. The 18-year-old is the youngest player in the draft, but unlike the vast majority of his draft peers, he spent this season playing professionally, in France at Limoges CSP. His shooting mechanics and ball-handling for a 6-10 forward that age are impressive, as is his defensive dedication... Washington, Phoenix, Charlotte and Miami especially could end up regretting passing on this kid while Detroit can sit back and sip on Mai Tais, knowing they got tremendous value at No. 15.
(The writer, Morten Jensen, did not give out a letter grade for the selection, but he said he had Sekou at 4 on his board and threw in a line about Mai Tais - I think he’d give the pick an A.)
The Pistons really, really need to swing for the fences and Doumbouya certainly does that. The French forward wasn’t expected to be on the board at No. 15 but, after a bit of a slide, Detroit is banking on the future. He’s a talented, long combo forward and, while there is some downside, the reward is worth the risk if this works.
Letter Grade in the B’s:
Doumbouya looks like an NBA combo forward physically at just 18 years old. He has multiple years of professional experience already in France, showing potential as a long, strong 6’8 forward who can make plays in transition and finish through contact. He is also extremely raw right now, making this more of a developmental pick than one that will impact the Pistons next season.The Pistons have to be patient. If they are, this pick might just pay off.
Letter Grade in the C’s
The Pistons are thinking long term with Doumbouya, a talented French swingman who at 18 is one of the youngest players in the draft. He has the size (6-foot-9, 230 pounds) and athleticism to potentially guard three or four positions in the NBA. Like with many players in his mold, his ability to stick at the next level will come down to whether he can consistently knock down 3-point shots. He’s still fairly raw offensively. Doumbouya is so young that it’s easy to dream on him, but it will be a long time before he lives up to whatever potential he has. The risk for the Pistons is that he might end up doing that on a different team.
No Letter Grade:
The following outlets offered analysis, but no grades. Interpret the grade however you like.
I like the upside swing here a lot. Doumbouya has the Pascal Siakam-starter kit, with high level fluid athleticism, potential to defend at a strong clip due to his footwork and quickness, and some shooting ability that is still developing... The big thing to worry about here though is that he’s not particularly ready to play in the NBA on a consistent basis yet at this juncture... He gets by on tools. The good news is that he was terrific late in the season for Limoges, his French league team, and NBA executives raved about a strong workout he had in Dallas following the conclusion of that season... He might be coming on at just the right time for the Pistons to get a real high-end asset. But there’s a bust potential here, too, for the Pistons, given the age.
The big’s greatest attributes are his physicality and athleticism — not only is the 6-foot-9 Doumboya capable of keeping opposing bigs off the glass, but he has the length and timing to project as a lockdown defender who can contain guards and bigs alike. But at this point in the Doumbouya’s development, he is very much still a project.
Detroit stopped the minor fall of Sekou Doumbouya, making him the first non-collegiate international player drafted. It will be intriguing to see how Doumbouya is utilized in Detroit with Blake Griffin under contract, as there might not be too many minutes available for Doumbouya early on at his natural position of power forward. As the youngest player in this draft class -- Doumbouya won’t turn 19 until late December -- the Pistons can afford to be patient with his development. And they likely view his selection as an upside play, as Doumbouya easily could have been considered a top-10 prospect in this draft. Coach Dwane Casey will like the athleticism and multi-positional defensive versatility Doumbouya offers and will likely find ways to get him on the court, eventually, as his skill level evolves.
What grade would YOU give the pick, DBB? Let us know in the comments.
What grade would you give the Sekou Doumbouya selection?
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