Thursday, June 25, 2015

2015 Pre-Draft Thoughts

A few days ago I rounded up the rumors and talk that has been floating around regarding the Pistons in the lead-up to the 2015 NBA Draft.  What's fact and fiction is somewhat hard to decipher at this time of the year (hint: most of it's fiction), but the one thing that holds true is that every fan has an opinion on what they want their favorite team to do.  I'm no different in that regard, so I want to lay out my opinion on what should go down, within realistic parameters, when the Pistons partake in the festivities on Thursday night.  Feel free to add your opinions for each topic in the comment section below...

Best-case scenario

I had a finance professor in college who liked to remind our class every hour that there is no such thing as a "best-case scenario", because you can always have more.  That holds true here, because in the best-case scenario, the Pistons get handed every pick for free and get to develop every player they want to, and so on.  What I'm looking for here is the best realistic scenario.  In my eyes, two players need to come off the board in picks 1-7 for the Pistons to feel like they hit their best possible outcome at the 8th pick.  Those two players are Willie Cauley-Stein and Cameron Payne, both of which have had workouts with the Kings.  In the case of Cauley-Stein, he's also been linked to the Magic, but it's hard for me to see Orlando grabbing him considering the other options.  While I don't see this happening, it's the best possible outcome at the 8th pick.  It would leave the Pistons with their choice of Justise Winslow and Mario Hezonja, providing what has so far been a competent front office to decide which player fits the long-term plans better.  It's more likely that they end up choosing between one of the two or neither, but it's fair to dream.

Worst-case scenario

The same holds true about a worst-case scenario as it does with the best-case scenario: you can always come up with something worse.  Maybe the Pistons don't get either of their picks in on time and go home empty-handed?  Again, we're looking at something that seems plausible that could be described as the worst possible outcome.  In my eyes, that would be the situation where neither Hezonja or Winslow is available at #8, and the Pistons were to take Terran Petteway in the 2nd round.  While I think Stanley Johnson could certainly contribute at the NBA level, it would be fairly disappointing to come away from this year's draft with neither Winslow or Hezonja.  As far as the Petteway thing, I've been adamant that he's not worth using a draft pick on, especially not as high up in the 2nd round as 38.  That he's worked out twice for the team worries me quite a bit.  There may be something that SVG and crew see that I don't, but I'm just not interested in a volume scorer who can't shoot the three and has terrible shot selection.  He's not a fit in this Pistons' offense, and he's not a fit in today's NBA.  If you want to take a chance on him, buy a late 2nd round pick or sign him for the Orlando Summer League.  The 38th pick has opportunity cost though, and you can get a prospect with a higher success probability than a guy who didn't eclipse 40% from the field this past season.

Players I'm hoping go undrafted

No offense to the following players, but I would love for the Pistons to have a shot at any of the following guys if they aren't taken on Thursday night.   Every draft has a guy or two who contributes despite not being dubbed worthy of being chosen with one of the 60 picks.  I think these are guys who would be nice to see in Orlando, and then Grand Rapids, and then possibly in Detroit:
  • Pat Connaughton, SG, Notre Dame: Connaughton has been gathering steam since posting incredible athletic measurements at the NBA Combine, so I doubt he goes undrafted.  However, guys who shoot the ball like he does and have his athletic chops are worth a shot. 
  • Cady Lalanne, F/C, UMass: Lalanne has a great frame for an NBA big man, standing 6'10 with a 7'5 wingspan.  On top of that, he showcased a surprising perimeter game at the Portsmouth Invitational.  Worth a flier, which probably means he'll get drafted.
  • Chris Walker, PF, Florida: I'm a sucker for raw talent and Walker has it.  The problem is, it seems that he's on the Renardo Sidney path.  Focus issues have derailed the hype he had coming out of high school.  What was once seen as a lottery prospect now looks like a UDFA.  That being said, he's only 20 years old; maybe he just didn't mesh with Billy Donovan and his system?
  • Darrun Hilliard, SF, Villanova: The Pistons had Hilliard in for their last workout of the pre-draft season, so it sounds like there's an interest.  He's a wing with a big body who can also play SG, and he showed promise as an outside shooter in his senior season.  I would be surprised if he doesn't get picked, but also pleased that he's still available.
  • Larry Nance, F, Wyoming: The son of an NBA mainstay, Nance had a quietly solid career for the Cowboys.  He's thin, long and athletic, with some semblance of an outside game.  The kind of prospect who should get a shot if he goes undrafted.
  • Terran Petteway, SF, Nebraska: If he goes undrafted, it means the Pistons didn't take him at 38.

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