A two-way lead ball-handler, a bulldog with a burgeoning offensive game on the perimeter and a local player to root for? The latest 2021 NBA Mock Draft from Bleacher Report has a little bit of everything for Detroit Pistons fans.
The pick order was determined by the current standings, and the first pick is the most controversial for the Pistons. Everyone pretty much agrees that there are two standout players up at the top in Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Then there is another three players in the next tier.
The Pistons currently have the NBA’s third-worst record so they miss out on that top tier. Disappointing, but the lottery gods might bless or curse the Pistons. But it does mean that Detroit gets their preferred pick of that next tier between Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs and Johnathan Kuminga.
Green and Kuminga recently starred on the G League Ignite squad and Suggs seems like he’s scorching a path toward the NCAA title with Gonzaga.
BR has the Pistons selecting Gonzaga’s Suggs, with this to say about the selection:
After a near triple-double (18 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists) in the Elite Eight against USC, Jalen Suggs is off to the Final Four. He’s led an undefeated veteran team as a freshman, showcasing the type of maturity, effort and poise that scream leadership NBA coaches want in a lead guard.
By draft night, the Detroit Pistons still won’t know what they’ll have in Killian Hayes, who’s missed most of the season injured. Drafting Suggs helps takes pressure off Hayes and the front office. And both seem interchangeable enough to coexist, especially with Suggs excelling while sharing the ball with junior Joel Ayayi.
General manager Troy Weaver consistently emphasized character and competitiveness after last year’s draft, and scouts have raved all year about those specific intangibles with Suggs.
Regardless, between his athleticism attacking downhill, open-floor passing vision, dangerous pull-up game and special defensive instincts, Suggs has flashed the complete package of physical ability and skills.
There is a lot to like about Suggs, but there is also a lot to be concerned about, especially with a No. 3 overall pick. Suggs could be a dynamic two-way player with uncommon leadership and maturity for a rookie. He could play alongside or Killian Hayes or displace him as the PGOTF. But the jump shot scares me. The fouls scare me. The turnovers scare me.
My mind is not made up, and I defer to those who know the draft prospects better than me, but as a novice just ready to dive deep into the first-round prospects, Suggs would probably be below Green and Kuminga for me.
Also, when thinking about a “Troy Weaver player,” the first thing I look at is size and wingspan, and Suggs is 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-5 wingspan.
The Pistons also have a trio of second-round picks, and this is where the draft really shines for Detroit.
No. 37 overall, the Pistons are projected to pick Isaiah Todd of the G League Ignite.
Though limited off the dribble, Todd impressed scouts with his perimeter shot-making, athleticism around the rim and defensive switchability.
The Pistons also have the Nov. 49 overall pick courtesy of the Charlotte Hornets (via the New York Knicks), and here Detroit selects the University of Michigan forward Isaiah Livers. Livers definitely seems like a Weaver type to me.
Livers missed the NCAA tournament with a foot injury, but career shooting percentages of 41.2 percent from three and 85.6 percent from the line, plus plenty of consistency and clutch plays, will lead to second-round suitors.
Finally, the Pistons draft and stash a foreign big man at No. 54 overall courtesy of the Lakers and select Ariel Kukporti a center with Kedainiai Nevezis. Which .... sure.
The idea of Hukporti has been more appealing than his execution this year, but a 250-pound 7-footer who moves well and flashes perimeter skill deserves consideration.
Obviously, a lot will change between now and the NBA Draft, including the standings and the actual NBA Draft Lottery.
Also, knowing what we do about trader Troy Weaver, the Pistons will be wheeling and dealing to move down, move up, consolidate picks, add extra picks. It’ll be a fun bit of madness.