If you’re anything like me, as soon as the Detroit Pistons’ lottery results were revealed, you immediately checked to see who the Pistons were projected to take by draft experts. Mock drafts are an indelible part of the NBA Draft ecosystem - nothing is better than for keeping the #content train running. That said, I figured I’d round up the Pistons’ selections on major mock drafts, to put all the information in one place.
For now, I’m grouping the mock drafts by type of player selected for the Pistons. Let’s get started with:
SB Nation (Ricky O’Donnell): James Wiseman
Believers in Wiseman see a long-and-strong 7’1 center who can protect rim and slam home lobs from day one while refining his offensive skill set. Critics question the quickness of his lateral mobility and second jump, and wonder how impactful a center can be in today’s game without plus shooting and passing ability... Wiseman’s physical tools give him a relatively high floor, but it’s hard to see him with a high enough ceiling to warrant a top-three pick even in a weak draft.
Why? Just... why?
Wiseman is large and ostensibly offensively talented, but after the Andre Drummond Experience, it does not seem wise for the Pistons to begin their restoration around a center.
Bleacher Report (Jonathan Wasserman): Onyeka Okongwu
At the least, the Detroit Pistons should be able to bank on Okongwu for easy baskets off rolls, cuts and missed shots. And given his length, mobility and 2.7 blocks per game, they should feel excited about his potential to protect the rim and guard effectively in space. But Okongwu flashed enough skill with his short-range creation and shot-making to hint at another level of scoring upside. Continuing to develop at his current rate could mean featured touches as a top option in the offense.
Why? Just... why?
Okongwu is athletic and a good shotblocker, but after the Andre Drummond Experience, it does not seem wise for the Pistons to begin their restoration around a center.
Sports Illustrated (Jeremy Woo): Isaac Okoro
Okoro’s impressive athletic gifts, strong defensive instincts and developing offensive skills create an intriguing long-term package, with the hope being he’ll be able to capably defend the league’s top wing scorers while also offering value on the other end. The caveat here is that if his jumper never improves, there’s some palpable downside. But teams are highly optimistic about his intangibles, and simply being an average shooter might lock him in as a starting-caliber player.
CBS Sports (Gary Parrish): Isaac Okoro
Okoro’s athleticism and ability to shutdown opposing wings, thanks to unusually great defensive instincts for a 19 year-old, are, undeniably, his best attributes. And because Detroit could use a high-upside player who impacts winning in a variety of ways, Okoro should be the pick here provided he remains available outside of the top six.
Ok, now we’re talking. Okoro is considered one of the top defensive wings in the 2020 draft class, and the Pistons were awful on the wing defensively last season (they were also awful on the wing offensively last season. The Pistons were awful last season).
After the Pistons’ selection of Stanley Johnson in 2015 (2015!?! time flies), you can understand the trepidation about hoping a defense-first wing will figure things out offensively in Detroit, but it’s a new front office and a different coaching staff this time around. Things could absolutely be different with Okoro.
ESPN (Jonathan Givony): Tyrese Haliburton
Haliburton can fit in multi-guard lineups thanks to his size, spot-up shooting and quick decision-making. The skilled guard is comfortable playing on or off the ball and loves to empower teammates with his passing.
The Ringer (Kevin O’Conner): Tyrese Haliburton
Creative playmaker with extraordinary vision and ambidextrous handles to deliver passes at all angles; he manipulates defenders with his eyes and dribble in the pick-and-roll, and has pinpoint accuracy on passes to rollers and shooters...Good spot-up shooter with deep NBA range, despite his odd form....A coach’s dream: He does all the little things on the court, from smart, timely defensive rotations to making rapid decisions to keep the offense flowing.
Dime/Uproxx Brian Schroeder (@Cosmis): Tyrese Haliburton
Tyrese Haliburton ends his season and possibly collegiate career as one of only four players since 2008 with career marks of 2 BLK%, 3 STL% and .650 TS%— Spike Smeagol (Classic Mode) (@Cosmis) February 10, 2020
The other three are Zion, Mario Chalmers and Mikal Bridges. He's the only one to have an ATO of 3 or higher.
The Athletic (Sam Vecenie): Killian Hayes
The name of the game with Hayes is feel. He’s a very high-IQ basketball player at the point guard position who can make plays all over the court with ball in hand. He’s not particularly shifty or explosive, but he knows how to operate with his footwork in ball screens at an exceedingly high level...Hayes would fit nicely in an all-lefty backcourt with Luke Kennard as a secondary scorer, and provide them with a real on-ball threat to develop along with Sekou Doumbouya.
The Athletic (James Edwards III): Killian Hayes
The 19-year-old, French-born Hayes is considered by many to be the second-best point guard in a draft class deep at the position. At 6-foot-5, he possesses great size for a lead guard and is considered to be one of the better passers. Hayes’ jump shot is good and is expected to get better, while his defense is fairly solid for someone of his age playing in a pretty good professional league. Hayes is a bit left-hand dominant, but I had an NBA scout tell me that he isn’t too worried about that being a problem at the next level.
CBS Sports (Kyle Boone): Killian Hayes
Detroit should have an eye on its future at point guard with Derrick Rose aging, making Killian Hayes a wise investment for its future. He just turned 19 years old and is already an accomplished international star, having won MVP honors at the FIBA Europe U16s three years ago and working his way into a top-10 caliber prospect in the years since because of the blend of playmaking and vision he possesses.
So... the mocks are split on their CHOICE of point guards, but the revealed preference around the internet is that the Pistons take a point guard. Which is completely understandable, with no long-term projected started at point guard on the roster and the draft class being awash in point guard talent.
There’s an even split between Hayes and Haliburton, as well, which shows how close the two are considered by evaluators. Some analysts prefer Haliburton’s production, character, and ability to play multiple positions, and some analysts prefer Hayes’ off-the-dribble shotmaking, (relative) youth, and previous experience playing professional basketball.
I have a preference between the two (you all know my preference between the two) but I think both would be perfectly fine choices for the Detroit Pistons. I also thought it was interesting that no mocks identified the Pistons’ need at point guard, but had them select, say, Cole Anthony or Kira Lewis. The consensus around Hayes and Haliburton as the point guards behind LaMelo Ball in this year’s draft class is strong.
Did I miss your preferred national outlet mock draft? Which point guard do you prefer? Who would you select for the Pistons at 7? Let us know in the comments below.