Heading into the 2010 NBA draft the Pistons only had a 5.2% chance of winning the John Wall sweepstakes. As luck would have it the Pistons got the seventh pick in the draft. Sure is tough to see the Pistons three game winning streak decrease their odds and then watch the two teams ahead of them get the 1st and 2nd picks. Draft guru’s have gone back and forth on whether this is a deep draft or a thin draft. Regardless here are the Pistons best options at # 7
Logical wisdom would suggest that the Pistons would take the best big man available, unless they found themselves in the top two picks. Ideally this offseason the Pistons will find a way to trade Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon, and/or Jason Maxiell. The Pistons have too much money locked into a team that appears heading for the lottery next season as well. Not to mention this team is simply not built to contend, and needs to go into full rebuilding mode.
1. Demarcus Cousins, Power forward/Center, Kentucky
If Cousins falls to the Pistons it will be solely because he has a 90% chance of being a head case. However the Pistons are not in a position to pass on a player of his talent. The further he drops the less risk he becomes, realistically he should be a top three pick, based on talent alone. He has an NBA ready body, several post moves, and the ability to average 15 points per game and 10 rebounds for the next ten plus years. When he wants to be he can easily be the best player on the floor, for better or worse he has a lot of Rasheed Wallace in him.
2. Ekpe Udoh, Power forward/Center, Baylor
Udoh posses the ability to be an elite shot blocker in the NBA, he racked up over three blocks a game this past season with Baylor. He would be a double-double threat every night, and also has improved his passing game. His low post moves are a work in progress, but his raw ability and size, 6’10″ 240lbs, would make him a very intriguing prospect. His ability to impact both ends of the floor should make him the Pistons top target.
3. Cole Aldrich, Center, Kansas
Aldrich reminds me of a mixture of Kevin Love and a white version of Ben Wallace, with a scoring touch. He is an outstanding rebounder with tremendous passing skills. He is a walking double double with a blue collar attitude willing to sacrifice his body for the team. He would be a perfect fit for the Pistons team first play that has won the franchise three championships. He doesn’t have the potential to be an all star, but will be a highly productive big man on a team desperate to add size.
4. Greg Monroe, Power forward/Center, Georgetown
He has excellent passing skills for a big man, and has the ability to mix in power and finesse into his game. However, other than passing he is not great at any one skill. His jump shot outside of ten feet is a work in progress, and he has limited post moves. Monroe has the potential and athleticism to make one believe that he can improve on these skills. His raw talent make him a risk worth taking, but he is far from a sure thing.
5. Xavier Henry, Shooting guard, Kansas
The last thing the Pistons need is another guard, but if all of the big men are off the board or aren’t intriguing enough for them, then Henry is the top talent left on the board. At 6’6″ he has the size and speed to attack the rim and the outside shot (.418 3P%) to stretch the floor. Naturally this selection would make the most sense if the Pistons are able to trade Hamilton or Gordon.
6. Patrick Patterson, Forward, Kentucky
He has all the intangibles to be a difference right away. Like many of these players, he may never materialize into an all star player, but he has all the ability to be a solid pro. Patterson has numerous offensive weapons in his arsenal that include three point shooting, a hook shot, several strong post moves and great passing vision. He may not be great at any one of these skills, but he is very good at all of them. He could easily provide 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1.5 blocks. His versatility would dramatically improve the Pistons scoring options down low.
Trade the pick
A long shot to say the least, but if the Pistons are not in love with any player at number seven, and another team is they should not hesitate to trade. If they can use this pick to help them trade Gordon, Hamilton, or Prince then they shouldn’t think twice. The Pistons focus needs to be obtaining youth and shedding salary, for the sole purpose of not paying guys that are not helping them win.
One possible scenario, if the Pistons decide none of the big men on the board are worthwhile then they should explore trading for a point guard. Let’s be honest, Rodney Stuckey is not a point guard, if a team like the Hornets see a player at seven they like and feel that he won’t last until they pick at eleven, maybe they can make a deal with the Pistons for point guard Darren Collision. Yes, the Pistons could have drafted him last year, but the Pistons need to get a player who they can improve their roster from day one with this pick. Collision would fill a major need in solving the Pistons post Billups point guard woes. Probably unrealistic that this trade plays out, but the Pistons need to consider and explore all options.