(25-23) PISTONS 107
(32-15) RAPTORS 111
- Improved effort, results to come? The Pistons were plagued by poor effort on their most recent four game road trip, which saw them lose two winnable games. While they've lost two straight (to the East's two best teams, no less), I think that the effort has been much improved from where it was about 10 days ago. So, while the results haven't exactly been encouraging, it would have been unreasonable to expect two wins against Cleveland and Toronto anyways. The only way there is damage done by these two losses is if the Pistons carry them with them into their game with Brooklyn on Monday.
- Re-establishing the defensive identity. Effort isn't everything on defense though, and the Pistons need to get back to the things that had them among the league's top five or six defensive squads for most of the first half of the season. Part of the problem of late is an inability to guard without fouling, while the other main issue has been that they're allowing too much dribble penetration. This team doesn't have enough overall athleticism to rotate successfully and/or switch on a routine basis. Re-gaining this squad's defensive identity starts on an individual basis.
- No need to panic. While the recent week and a half hasn't exactly gone as planned, the Pistons are still in good shape playoff-wise. A Pacers win bumped the Pistons down to 8th place in the East, but they sit there 2.5 games up on the Knicks and Hornets. The Pistons have much better efficiency numbers than both of those teams, have some schedule factors in their favor compared to both, and (in my opinion at least) have a better roster than both teams. If you're going to worry about missing the playoffs, keep one eye on the Wizards. Still, I'd say the main focus right now should be on seeding, not about making/missing.
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Saturday, January 30, 2016
The obvious pick. There's one guy who looks like he can be a franchise-changing talent in this draft, and it's Simmons.
The Nuggets have good young players in the frontcourt (Jokic, Nurkic) and the backcourt (Mudiay, Harris), but their SF options are all guys in or nearing their prime. Adding Ingram would change that and add another piece to their core.
|3||Celtics (via BKN)||Dragan Bender||PF||1997||Bosnia||7'1||215|
Boston's got young talent throughout the backcourt, but it's less crowded up front. Bender is probably a bit of a project, but he's got the highest upside with Ingram and Simmons off the board
|4||76ers (via LAL)||Kris Dunn||PG||Jr.||Providence||6'4||205|
The lottery simulation was kind to the Sixers here. With Simmons already in tow, they choose to address their lack of quality and depth at PG. Ish Smith has provided a spark since joining the team last month, but he's not their PG of the future. Kris Dunn can be though.
The Suns have a bigger need at PF, but I like Brown ahead of the PF options (Rabb, Ellenson). Plus, Brown would add another high potential talent to a good stable of young wings.
PF is by far the weakest spot on the Wolves' roster, as KG and Nemanja Bjelica aren't long-term answers. Rabb could be a great complement to Karl-Anthony Towns in the frontcourt.
New Orleans has to be hoping they get a crack at one of the dynamic wings in this draft (Ingram/Brown), as they could use an upgrade at SF. There isn't a good value SF here though, so they get Anthony Davis a long-term running mate.
Put simply, MIchael Carter-Williams isn't very good. Baldwin is a boom or bust prospect, but he'd be a good fit with this Bucks team thanks to his shooting.
Furkan Korkmaz or Jamal Murray may be a better long-term play, but the Kings have an impatient front office. Since Hield is more NBA-ready, he's the pick.
The Magic need a rim protector who can spell Nik Vucevic and provide more of a defensive presence. Poeltl has the potential to be just that.
Washington needs more floor spacing and to get younger up front. Ellenson has the skill-set and size to help with both issues.
Murray is an explosive scorer who can fit alongside whoever's at PG or SF for the Jazz. Depth behind Gobert or another PG could also be sought here.
Korkmaz has the highest upside of the remaining players on the board, and could help Charlotte replace Nic Batum if he leaves in free agency this summer.
|14||Raptors (via NYK)||Domantas Sabonis||PF||So.||Gonzaga||6'10||240|
Luis Scola isn't getting any younger and Patrick Patterson is a role player. The Raptors should be looking to draft a PF, and Sabonis is the best left here.
|15||Nuggets (via POR)||Skal Labissiere||C||Fr.||Kentucky||7'0||225|
Labissiere was in the discussion with Simmons before the season. He's been quite underwhelming though, hence the drop. He offers rim protection that Nurkic and Jokic don't.
|16||Nuggets (via HOU)||Dwayne Bacon||G/F||Fr.||Florida State||6'7||220|
With three potential first round picks, the Nuggets could end up shopping one if they don't want three rookies. If they keep it, adding Bacon would give them another tough wing.
Jeanne fits the Pacers choice to move to a more up-tempo system, as he runs the floor excellently for his size. He and Myles Turner would give Indiana a great shot blocking duo.
|18||Pistons||Demetrius Jackson||PG||Jr.||Note Dame||6'1||195|
Spencer Dinwiddie's time with Detroit is running out and the Pistons will likely need to replace Brandon Jennings. Jackson is a good outside shooter and a capable passer, and would make for a great backup to Reggie Jackson.
|19||Celtics (via DAL)||Cheick Diallo||C||Fr.||Kansas||6'9||235|
Diallo's getting a full dose of the Bill Self freshman treatment, so his minutes have been limited. He may not enter this year; if he does, Boston could use his rim protection.
|20||76ers (via MIA)||Caris LeVert||G/F||Sr.||Michigan||6'7||205|
LeVert's got some durability concerns, but when healthy, his well-rounded offensive game and strong outside shooting are a great fit in Philly.
The Celtics have three picks in this scenario, and I would expect them to use on a draft-and-stash guy. Luwawu is the best international propsect on the board here.
The Hawks grab a strong outside shooter who can hopefully help bolster the thinnest spot on the roster immediately.
The Grizzlies frontcourt is aging faster than any in the league. They've got Marc Gasol locked up on a long-term deal, but they could use some youth behind him.
|24||Bulls||Denzel Valentine||G/F||Sr.||Michigan State||6'6||220|
The Bulls are pretty well-stocked with young talent throughout the roster, so they grab the best player remaining on the board.
Williams is an explosive athlete with a lot to offer at both ends of the floor for a Clippers team that needs help on the wings.
|The Raptors go the draft-and-stash route.|
|27||Suns (via CLE)||Thomas Bryant||C||Fr.||Indiana||6'10||245|
Bryant's a tough one to get a read on. He could be off the board well before this if he finishes the year strong, or he may wait until next year.
|28||Sixers (via OKC)||Melo Trimble||G||So.||Maryland||6'2||185|
As mentioned above, the Sixers need more talent in the backcourt. Trimble fits that billing, and his ability to score suggests he can play off the ball. Could develop into a good sixth man.
|Draft-and-stash for the Spurs.|
|30||Warriors||Malik Newman||G||Fr.||MIssissippi St.||6'4||180|
Newman was highly touted coming out of HS. He's had an up-and-down year, but he has the talent to be a successful pro.
|31||Celtics (via PHI)||Alpha Kaba||F/C||1996||France||6'10||225|
|34||Wolves||Justin Jackson||SF||So.||No. Carolina||6'8||205|
|35||Suns||Brice Johnson||PF||Sr.||No. Carolina||6'9||225|
|36||Bucks (via NOP)||Chinanu Onuaku||C||So.||Louisville||6'10||245|
|37||Pelicans (via DEN)||DeAndre Bembry||SF||Jr.||St. Joseph's||6'6||210|
|39||Pelicans (via SAC)||Zhou Qi||C||1996||China||7'2||210|
|40||Magic||Monte Morris||PG||Jr.||Iowa State||6'3||175|
|41||Hawks (via WAS)||Petr Cornelie||PF||1995||France||6'10||220|
|43||Magic (via POR/CHI)||Nigel Hayes||PF||Jr.||Wisconsin||6'8||235|
|44||Thunder (via CHA)||George de Paula||PG||1996||Brazil||6'6||195|
|45||Rockets (via NYK)||Juan Hernangomez||F||1995||Spain||6'9||220|
|46||Wolves (via HOU)||Paul Zipser||SF||1994||Germany||6'8||195|
|47||Pacers||Pascal Siakam||PF||So.||New Mexico St.||6'9||230|
|49||Celtics (via DAL)||Ron Baker||SG||Sr.||Wichita St.||6'4||220|
|50||Celtics (via MIA)||AJ Hammons||C||Sr.||Purdue||7'0||270|
|51||Jazz (via BOS)||Jarrod Uthoff||F||Sr.||Iowa||6'9||210|
|52||Hawks||Marcus Paige||PG||Sr.||No. Carolina||6'3||180|
|53||Celtics (via MEM)||Guerschon Yabusele||PF||1995||France||6'8||240|
|54||Bulls||Gary Payton II||PG||Sr.||Oregon St.||6'2||190|
|56||Grizzlies (via TOR)||Axel Bouteille||G/F||1995||France||6'6||195|
|57||Celtics (via CLE)||Tyrone Wallace||G/F||Sr.||California||6'6||205|
|58||Thunder||Danuel House||SF||Sr.||Texas A&M||6'7||205|
|59||Kings (via SAS)||Rade Zagorac||SF||1995||Serbia||6'8||205|
|60||Jazz (via GSW)||Georges Niang||F||Sr.||Iowa State||6'9||235|