The Detroit Pistons selected three prospects to match the DBB on 3 format? How generous of them. Here’s the writing staff with three answers for three questions:
1. What grade do you give the Pistons for selecting Sekou Doumbouya with the 15th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft?
Justin Lambregtse: I give this pick an A. I really liked Sekou as a prospect, but never put much thought into him, because I thought there was no way he would make it to the Pistons pick. This is the exact kind of pick this team needs to make and never made under SVG, a raw athlete with high upside and has star potential. It may not work out, but this team needs somebody with star potential to get them through post-Blake Griffin life.
Steve Hinson: When it comes to assigning grades, I see it on two fronts: 1) the logic and value of the individual draft pick 2) the bigger strategy that the selection means as a whole. For these grades, I’ll limit myself to the prior.
But just briefly for the latter: Seriously, WTF? The direction this roster is heading makes no sense. It’s now loaded up with win-now players who aren’t good enough to win now and a bunch of mid-tier prospects. If it were a band, an appropriate name might be Blake Griffin and the Mediocres.
For Sekou’s draft grade, I give it a D. Sure he’s young, but it’s still concerning when professional basketball players aren’t actually good at anything on a basketball court. Maybe he figures it out. But even if he does and achieves his top potential, I don’t think he can reach the level that Brandon Clarke is currently at. It’s a roll of the dice, for sure. Maybe Doumbouya proves me wrong, but I think this is a bad gamble.
Lazarus Jackson: A+. Sekou was projected as a top-10 talent in the draft, a guy I grouped alongside De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish as guys I didn’t even inquire heavily about because I “knew” they wouldn’t be there at 15 for Detroit. He’s a big, young wing who can shoot and defend, and he will be shepherded through his early NBA life by Dwane Casey, who did so for Pascal Siakam, and Sean Sweeney, who did so for Giannis Antetokounmpo. It is even possible, but not imperative, that he contributes right away in the role the Pistons laid aside for Stanley Johnson last season. As he grows, he offers the potential to alter the trajectory of the Detroit Pistons, which is something you could not have said of any other pick available at 15. A-Plus.
Ryan Pravato: A. Feast or famine. Have to love the willingness to draft for potential. But not sure how this goes with the Blake Griffin timeline, though. Kid has a decent looking stroke, seems like he understands the game. Physically speaking, could be dynamite in a few years. Like I said, feast or famine.
Ben Gulker: Objectively, Incomplete. Raw athlete with loads of potential who could turn into a solid or better NBA player, or could be the next Darko. Subjectively, I’m completely good with this pick. The Pistons don’t have a lot of resources to bring in an impact player, and Stefanski choosing to use the literal middle of the first round as a chance to do that is a reasonable risk.
Ben Quagliata: A-. To me, this franchise has drafted safe for too long, and they really needed a swing for the fences style pick. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Stanley Johnson and Luke Kennard were all considered fairly “safe” picks. At this point, Detroit has too many solid but unspectacular players. No one on this roster is going to suddenly explode (Blake doesn’t count), they’re largely what they are. That spells 6-8 seed perpetuity. But in Sekou, yeah he might bust spectacularly, but it’s about time the franchise had the balls to just have a go and put it all on red.
Brady Fredericksen: A-. The Pistons needed to go big in this draft. I know there is the idea that they’re in extreme win-now mode, but drafting a player that can be more than just a supporting piece for the next three years was what was best for the franchise. That’s what Doumbouya represents. I’m not sure how impactful of a role he’ll have THIS season (I do expect see him out there) but this is the kind of move that can potentially help both the present and post-Blake era, if Doumbouya develops how many expect him to.
David Fernandez: A. Detroit did exactly what I wanted them to do - they took a swing on a high upside wing. Sekou’s ceiling is extremely high, he was the youngest player in the draft, and has been playing professionally in France since he was 15 years old. He’s a guy that may be able to guard 4 positions on the floor. He’s an explosive athlete who’s offensive game is raw, but the pieces appear to be there for him to possibly be a 20 points per game type of guy.
2. What grade do you give the Pistons for selecting Deividas Sirvydis with the 37th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft?
Justin Lambregtse: B-. I don’t know a ton about him, but a 6’8 wing that can shoot has value in the NBA. I don’t hate the pick itself, but question the method the Pistons used to get there. They acquired four second rounders from Cleveland for pick 30, only to turn around and flip two of those to move up eight spots. I’m not sure about that.
Steve Hinson: F. Nothing about this pick makes sense to me. Not that they traded three draft picks to move up eight spots in the second round, not that they did so to draft a clone of Sviatoslav Mykhailuk. The Pistons have now spent five draft picks to draft Deividas Sivydis and Khyri Thomas over the past two years, two players unlikely to ever make an actual impact on the team.
Lazarus Jackson: D. This confused me mightily. I liked the trade down from 30 to acquire multiple future second round pick - prior to the draft, the Pistons were missing second-round picks in 2020, 2022, and 2023, and they accomplished restocking their draft pile with that trade - but then they turned around and offered two future second-round picks to acquire a kid who might a draft-and-stash? I can understand betting on developing the youth - see my Sekou grade - but there might not actually be that much to develop in Deividas. Sirvydis is a shooter who might not actually be that good at shooting (he gets ‘em up, though), and I don’t know the value of that. I would’ve preferred the Pistons hold on to the bulk of those future seconds.
Ryan Pravato: B. High upside pick. He has some dribble drive to his game, seems crafty and able to drive to the basket. I wouldn’t say he’s a great athlete but certainly not a slug. Hopefully he’ll be our favorite Deividas for years to come.
Ben Gulker: The reality is that we really have no idea if any second round pick is going to pan out or not, right? Every fanalyst has had her five per second rounders who flames out for every one who stuck somewhere. Only time will tell. That said, I did like trading out of the first round and salary implications of the 30th pick. That was savvy.
Ben Quagliata: C. I don’t know anything about Sirvydis, but if he’s a taller version of Luke Kennard (not as good a shooter) then that’s fine by me. But, as Laz said, I’m not sure about the actual strategy of giving up three picks to move up to draft a stash candidate. It seemed a bit of two-steps-forward, one-step-back.
Brady Fredericksen: C. I don’t really get it. He’s tall and lanky, a good shooter but not really great at anything else. Maybe as they stash him he develops and looks like a new player when he gets over, but I doubt it. I would have rather taken a shot on Kevin Porter Jr., KZ Okpala, Eric Paschall or Talen Horton-Tucker, even.
David Fernandez: D. I understand that Detroit wasn’t high on Kevin Porter Jr. I understand that Gores made a financial decision to get out of the first round, and scoop four second rounders + $5 million in cash for the pick - that’s all well and good. I won’t be able to separate Sirvydis from the trade that followed - two of their newly acquired second rounders and the 45th pick, to move up eight spots to grab him. Doesn’t make sense for a guy who won’t likely contribute for a couple of years, and who projects to be a three-point specialist with questionable defense once he makes it to the league.
3. What grade do you give the Pistons for selecting Jordan Bone with the 57th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft?
Justin Lambregtse: B. I like the Jordan Bone pick, but again not huge on how he was acquired. I don’t mind giving up cash for that pick, but the Pistons also tossed in a future second rounder (it apparently only conveys if it is 57-60, but I haven’t seen any confirmation of this yet). If those protections aren’t on the pick, the pick is likely going to be better than 57 overall like Jordan Bone was.
Steve Hinson: B. A perfectly reasonable 57th pick. A late bloomer who was very bad for his first two years in college but solid in his third, but has some attributes that could make it not laughable that he’s one day a NBA contributor. Not a huge bar to clear, but eh, it’s the 57th pick.
A bit mixed on his role, as the Pistons need depth at point guard, but should they feel comfortable with him as the third PG? If no, it means that with Reggie Jackson as starter they will still need to add to the position. If it turns out he’s a two-way as reported, fine. But if they’re putting four legit roster spots at PG, that throws it off balance in a way that doesn’t work.
Lazarus Jackson: B-. Bone is a nuclear athlete who offers long-term upside at the position, but he signed a two-way contract and probably won’t contribute much this season. I wish he was a little bit further along as a shooter, and I wonder about his decision-making. But, again, nuclear athlete who could be just a taller, better version of Ish Smith.
Perhaps you could’ve gotten him on a two-way as an undrafted free agent and not spent the future second to get him, but from what I understand, the pick used to get him is a “fake second” (a top-55 protected pick), so a bird in the hand. I look forward to seeing how he looks in Las Vegas and Grand Rapids.
Ryan Pravato: A. For all the reasons already discussed, Bone is a high ceiling pick. There are guys drafted that you pretty much know will only ever be good enough to be ninth or 10th guys on a good team. Taking a chance on a player like Bone is wise late in the second round. Best case Bone could be a top tier backup point guard for a long time. It’s easy to see that.
Every single year there’s always a sprinkling of players taken in the second round and several more that go undrafted that stick in the league as valuable role players. Nice that the Pistons look to have gotten their hands on one.
Ben Gulker: The reality is that we really have no idea if any second round pick is going to pan out or not, right? Every fanalyst has had her five per second rounders who flames out for every one who stuck somewhere. Only time will tell.
Ben Quagliata: B-. Bone is a fine selection way down in the draft. Signing the two-way deal seems odd, but at least it ensures he’ll get a ton of time in Grand Rapids. From what I’ve seen, he’s a nuclear athlete with shaky shooting and playmaking, so if he can turn into a budget Ish Smith, then that isn’t so bad.
Brady Fredericksen: C. It’s fine. He’s a speedy point guard with some grit. He’ll be a great Grand Rapids Drive player and maybe someday he’ll be the next Ish Smith. It’s the 57th pick. Just as it would be silly to be excited about a pick that late, it would be silly to be mad about it.
David Fernandez: B. I’ve been wanting Detroit to scoop a point guard for quite some time, and Jordan Bone seems like the perfect type of player to target at the end of the second round. He’s got a solid basketball IQ, navigates the court like a true floor general, and has some impressive speed and athletic ability. He hit the three at 35 percent last year, and could get some run in Detroit this season if they don’t adequately address their PG need in free agency.