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DBB on 3: Guards in the 2020 NBA Draft

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The Pistons are in search of their Point Guard of the Future. Can they find him later this month?

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Day 1 - New York Knicks v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA offseason kicks into high gear with the NBA Draft in just eight days, and then it really doesn’t slow down until the season begins on Dec. 22. In that short timeframe, we will have 60 new drafted players, a handful of undrafted free agents with a shot at making a roster, with teams apparently still needing to stitch together G League rosters. Then free agency kicks off just two days later on Nov. 20 with training camps Dec. 1 and the new season beginning Dec. 22. Phew. Got all that?

Most important to the rebuilding/restocking/reloading Pistons is the NBA Draft where they will hope to add talent with the No. 7 overall pick and perhaps more if the team can swing a trade or two. The DBB staff got together for a discussion on this year’s guard. We’ll look at forwards and centers over the next couple of days.

The Pistons have been searching for their Point Guard of the Future for over a decade. This draft might have that, or it might just have another Reggie Jackson or Rodney Stuckey. What is your overall opinion of this year’s class of point guards?

Lazarus Jackson: Ooofff, Rodney Stuckey. Overall, I think this draft has a very solid group of point guards, but it lacks the “can’t-miss” guy at the top, like a Ja Morant or a Trae Young. Now, not all those can’t miss guys actually pan out (Markelle Fultz) and sometimes the “solid but unspectacular” guys are more special than previously thought (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander), so there’s wiggle room, but overall it’s a very good group of point guards.

Sean Corp: This draft doesn’t have anybody who seems like a sure-fire franchise point guard, but that doesn’t mean the team can’t make a big improvement in that department via this draft. Killian Hayes and Kira Lewis are two players I’m pretty high on to be good to very good — and be good in ways Pistons point guards have historically struggled in the lost decade. I’m also not quite as down on Tyrese Haliburton as some, if only because I can see some use in a guard who can play on and off the ball and be effective shooting from deep. This class doesn’t have any players that really have me salivating over their potential or for being the “answer” at any particular position. But on a talent-starved team like Detroit there is plenty like. All that being said, there is absolutely no reason the Pistons have to take a point guard in this draft with its first-round pick.

Brady Fredericksen: I agree with Sean and Laz — we’re lacking a bonafide star here. Sure, some of these guards are the type of player you would want on your team, but when you look at the state of the Pistons, you need more than nice-to-have-type guys. They can find a point guard with the potential to help them in the future, but they aren’t landing the franchise cornerstone at the position.

David Fernandez: Point guard seems to be one of the positions of relative strength in this supposed weak draft. It wouldn’t shock me to see five or six point guards selected in the lottery alone, nor would it shock me if the majority of those guys went on to have a long successful NBA career. However, I could also imagine this class failing to produce a single multi-year, All-Star quality lead guard.

Justin Lambregtse: I’m not huge on this class of point guards. I think there are some guards that will stick around the league for a while, but I think they will be more like a Reggie Jackson than a star point guard of the future.

The hottest names mentioned in Detroit have been LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes, and Kira Lewis Jr. How do these lead guards rank on your Pistons’ draft board?

Lazarus Jackson: I think I’d rank them Killian > LaMelo > Kira > Tyrese. As I’ve said many times, I’m not a huge fan of LaMelo, and as I recently heard, neither are the Pistons, so I think it’s more likely that the Pistons pick up Killian, Kira, or Tyrese than LaMelo. And while I wouldn’t classify R.J. Hampton as a “lead guard” either, he’s someone fans have to consider in their draft-day plans as well.

Sean Corp: I already answered this a bit but here is where I admit that I haven’t done much if any research on LaMelo Ball because he’s either good enough that he’s obviously getting picked before the Pistons selection or he has so many red flags that if he falls to Detroit that makes me think he belongs in the stay away category. In many ways this is similar to 2011 when the Pistons drafted No. 8 overall. Brandon Knight was a consensus top-3 selection or thereabouts and he started falling. I went into the draft excited he was going to be the first point guard off the board because it meant more, better players would be available when Detroit picked. Then he fell and Detroit just had to have him instead of Kemba Walker. Knight = Ball and Walker = Hayes (does that mean Klay Thompson = Tyrese Haliburton????). I’m also high on Lewis and have no clue why he’s not in the top-10 conversation along with the others. So my official order would be Hayes, Lewis, Haliburton, Ball.

Brady Fredericksen: I LOVE some of these guys, but I’m not sure there’s anybody in that group who really would have me jazzed for Detroit Pistons basketball. Haliburton is such a fun player and seems mature enough to fill a role immediately, no matter if its in a bad situation like Detroit or a good one elsewhere. He might only be George Hill, but I think Dwane Casey would give him the keys from day one. Lewis is fun, but he’s too frail to be a high-level starter — go look at the list of 6-2 guards who aren’t elite shooters, it’s ugly. Ball just ain’t my jam and Hayes is my favorites. His potential is what makes me like him most: Hayes, Haliburton, Ball, Lewis.

David Fernandez: Killian Hayes would be my top pick of the bunch. I like that he was able to be a productive player in Europe, convert at the rim, draw contact, and hit his free throws at an extremely productive clip. I’m also all for pairing up Sekou Doumbouya with a fellow Frenchman. If Ball was available at 7 (he won’t be), I certainly wouldn’t mind Detroit shooting for the stars and selecting him. High ceiling, low floor, but if he could put it all together at the NBA level, he’d be the most exciting player Detroit has drafted in a long long time.

Justin Lambregtse: I would probably go: LaMelo Ball, Kira Lewis, Killian Hayes, and Tyrese Haliburton.

What do Troy Weaver and Dwane Casey need most out of a guard, if they decide to go that way with the No. 7 pick?

Lazarus Jackson: Troy Weaver wants a point guard who is a good person in addition to being a good player, and Dwane Casey would probably love a point guard who defends well and can shoot. With that criteria, it’s easy to see why the Pistons are looking so closely at Tyrese Haliburton.

Sean Corp: If you think about why the Pistons have struggled so mightily since Chauncey Billups left, it’s not a lack of creation or a lack of 3-point shooting. It’s a lack of being able to get to the rim and finish or draw a foul. Being able to penetrate the defense opens up an offense for all the other players and allows their skillsets to fall into place and complement each other. Think of how much better Luke Kennard would look if he played alongside a guy who could both get to the rim and pass. Derrick Rose can do a bit of the former but he’s old, not part of the future and is prone to a bit of the old tunnel vision. You can call it a playmaker, you can call it a creator, an initiator — I don’t care. The bottom line is the Pistons need someone who can get to the rim and score. Then a lot of others things will start making sense.

Brady Fredericksen: Stability, and I know that’s a lot to ask out of a rookie. The Pistons have had such a messy point guard situation because of injuries and egos. This team needs some one to come in and want to be a part of the build. I’m not sure LaMelo Ball would want to come be a part of a 24 win team that plays in front of give or take 24 fans a night. You need to embrace the situation, and that, more than any specific skill, is what the Pistons need to think about as they start this rebuild... or reload... or whatever they’re calling it today.

David Fernandez: This team drastically needs a player who can initiate and efficiently create offense on their own. They shouldn’t target a guy who’s specifically known as a shooter or defensive specialist, but a guard who can score once Detroit’s hot potato offense has failed to produce a quality look.

Justin Lambregtse: I think they need a bigger, high-level playmaker at guard. The league seems to be trending more that way and the only way you can get away with being like 6-2 as a starting point guard is if you are a high level shooter like Curry or Lillard. I don’t think there is a guard that completely fits that bill in this class that the Pistons will have a shot at. I would say Hayes fits that description the best out of the potential options likely available at 7.

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That’s where we stand, but how do you feel about this year’s point guard class? Please let us know in the comments below and, as always, feel free to play along at home:

The Pistons have been searching for their Point Guard of the Future for over a decade. This draft might have that, or it might just have another Reggie Jackson or Rodney Stuckey. What is your overall opinion of this year’s class of point guards?

The hottest names mentioned in Detroit have been LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes, and Kira Lewis Jr. How do these lead guards rank on your Pistons’ draft board?

What do Troy Weaver and Dwane Casey need most out of a guard, if they decide to go that way with the No. 7 pick?