The aftermath of a 2012 trade for Corey Maggette has cost the Detroit Pistons their first-round draft pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Just as Detroit was poised to secure a top-8 pick in what many are considering to be the deepest draft in years, it was snatched away from them during the NBA Lottery.
The lost pick is about the worst hand that head coach Stan Van Gundy could have been dealt to begin his career with the Pistons. Detroit, who has missed the playoffs in each of the last five seasons, still hasn’t completed the rebuilding project that began when it imploded its aging team of former champions.
Call it bad luck, ill-timed or whatever else you will. The reality is that this is going to cost the Pistons a player who would have been an immediate contributor. It leaves Detroit with one pick in the second round of the draft, the 38th overall, where no such contributor is like to be found.
Yes, it is possible to find a guy capable of entering the rotation at the Pistons spot. I’m not oblivious to guys like Chandler Parsons or Lance Stephenson, but guys like that don’t emerge in the second round all the time. They are the exception.
Still, Detroit will have plenty of options to choose from when their turn comes in June’s draft. The pool of players available to them will contain some 15-20 realistic options. The Pistons’ most pressing need — 3-point shooting — can easily be addressed in free agency, so there is no need for them to reach for shooting. This leaves all avenues open for Van Gundy as he makes his first draft choice as head of basketball operations.
Some names that have been tossed around at No. 38 include Michigan’s Mitch McGary (NBADraft.net), Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie (DraftExpress.com) Missouri’s Jabari Brown, Serbian Bogdan Bogdanovic and even Wichita State’s Cleanthony Early (who I highly doubt will still be available).
While Detroit doesn’t have to be married to the idea of drafting a shooter, it makes the most sense to target a wing player that can consistently knock down the 3-pointer. Projections have the Pistons taking guys like Bogdanovic, Brown and Dinwiddie because they fit that mold. Somebody like that would be the safest pick for Detroit.
But safest isn’t always the right path. There are plenty of players that need to be considered with this pick depending on how the draft plays out. The second round is the time to get a little crazy and take a riskier pick with more upside. The guy won’t even be making a million dollars a year, so its not a risky venture in terms on money. Van Gundy will see what is available to him and weigh his options once the Pistons are on the clock.