Detroit Pistons 2019 Draft Preview: Centers

*I hate using “positions” as the NBA has grown out of that but it’s easier for this blog’s current purposes to use the archaic labeling systems*

The Pistons have worked out a lot of bigs. My secret hope is that this is because they realize they just cannot be paying Andre Drummond 50 million per season when he is 30, but I have to be realistic. They may or may not have even considered that troubling possiblity, and/or may or may not consider it an issue (I don’t know which of those two would be worse) . It’s a very real possibility they are just looking for a backup C to fill our roster spot that we have a hole at.

I would be ESCTATIC if we took Goga Bitadze. Goga is a rim protector that spaces the court, a basketball unicorn that is very valuable. He is super young at just 19 years old, and to do what he is doing in the second best basketball league in the world (sorry NCAA) is very impressive. He already has a strong frame and great length, and in addition to his unicorn traits, has solid back to the basket moves, and finishing ability around the rim. He does have to improve his rebounding ability and his pick and roll defense, but he shows flashes of both. To me he is a high ceiling, high floor guy and will be able to learn from Andre for a year or two, before taking over for him as we move on.

I would be pleased if we took Bol Bol or Jaxon Hayes. Both are still raw but have a lot of potential. Bol is basically all of Goga’s unicorn traits x 10. Has outstadning potential as a shooter, rim protector and shot creator due to unheard of length and impressive fluidity for a man his size. The issues with him are his health, his frame and his motor. Foot injuries are not to be toyed with, especially for 7 footers. That is something you will have to keep a keen eye on. He’s also going to have to add the 20 lbs he lost while injured + another 20 lbs in order to not get pushed around in the post by the grown men in the NBA .. How will his frame and his foot handle that ? Does he lose some of that agility and put more pressure on his foot, with the added weight, assuming he can put it on. And finally, and most concerning … His motor is really, really poor. You cannot teach work ethic, will or passion at this level, so that improvement will need to come from within. If he solves those weaknesses he is a future HOFer. But those are three MAJOR red flags in addition to some others. At 15, I would be good with us taking that gamble, though. Same for Hayes. He is a rim protector, that has the mobility and agility to be a great pick and roll defender as well. His limitations come from the offensive end, as he is incredibly raw on that end. He essentially only scores on putbacks, dropoffs and lobs. But he’s shown enough touch on his free throws, that he may be able to develop a functional mid range jumper. The upside is that he could become Tyson Chandler with a jumper, which would be huge commodity in a league that is so pick and roll heavy. Of these three though, I think he is the least likely to be available, because of that.

I would be annoyed if we took Bruno Fernando or Mfiondu Kabingele. Neither is a bad player per se. But I don’t think either would be great starters, and would ensure that the Pistons carry out on their desire to build around our current core. They both are safe picks. Fernando is solidly athletic and does enough things well to carve out a niche as a rotational big. Kabingele is a poor man’s Goga, albeit with some troubling passing instincts. It’s not that either player would be a “poor” pick. But i’m almost certain it would mean they passed on one of the aforemntioned 3 bigs, and that would both highly, highly annoy, yet not surpise me at all.

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