This section invariably will be much more brief. The Pistons best player is Blake Griffin, and while his decline is coming sooner than later, he just had one of his best seasons in quite some time. Behind Blake is Thon Maker, a long, high moor project who the Pistons are still trying to figure out. Any player the Pistons would likely select would have to be able to play at the 3 as a power wing, or at the 5 to complement Griffin. There are a few that maybe fit:
*Assuming that Zion Williamson, DeAndre Hunter, Rui Hachimura, and Sekou Doumbouya are not available *
No ecstatic picks here ….. Unless one of those 4 above listed are available and we grab them …
I would be pleased if we selected PJ Washington or Brandon Clarke. Washington brings a well rounded skill set as he can play with his back to the basket, can shoot the 3 (over 40% last season) and has the length and athletic ability to finish at the rim and be a solid defender. He suffers a bit from being “good at everything, great at nothing”, but those can be really solid pieces, especially if they offer the positional flexibility that PJ does. He’s also still fairly young and has the upside to develp further. Clarke meanwhile is just a bundle of athletic ability, that is the ultimate tweener. Offensively, he has limited range, and scored a lot in college at the rim and on short mid range jumpers. I’m fairly confident in the latter translating, but we will see if his 40 inch vertical and soft touch make up for less than ideal length (6’9′ wingspan) with the former . Defensively, he is a menace as he is capable of playing great perimter defense when switched onto a wing or guard, can defend the pick and roll well, and is an elite rim protector. Again if he had another 2 to 3 inches of wingspan, I would have no issue with projecting him to be the same terror as a rim protector in college, but we will have to see. He would pair well with Blake, as Blake’s playmaking is one of his better skills and Clarke can finish those created shots at a higher efficiency rate. He can also assist Blake really well on the defenseive end, both in taking the other team’s better post player and in providing weakside help. His pairing with Drummond though would depend heavily on how well he hits the mid range jumepr at this level.
I would be ok if we selected Nassir Little or KZ Opala. With Little, I see the jaw dropping athleticism, the elite motor, the defensive ability, the ridiculous length (over 7 foot wingspan!). There even is a clear spot for him at the 3. But he reminds me so much of Stanley Johnson. Stanley was not the athlete Nassir is, but had a similar physical profile and was a bit more polished and just as highly regarded on the prep level. He has a lot of potential to become a big time scorer, and is one of the most talented prospects in the Draft, but his outside shooting and handle need to improve quite a bit. He’s the type of guy that the Spurs would turn into an All-Star but the Pistons just don’t have that track record. KZ is similar to Nassir in all of those things. Elite physical tools but there are questions about his shooting and his handle. Unlike Little he shot really well last year (37%) but people are concerned that this may have been a mirage. He also has questionable shot selection. Both would be interesting picks that I would not be mad at, but we probably would have passed on someone more impactful.
I think the Pistons will make a solid selection if they go with any of these picks. I’m not over the moon about any of our realistic prospects, but they are all solid players that could help us in some way. I like Clarke and PJ a bit more because of their fit with Blake and because it is hard to find good modern day bigs.