After posting a record of 29-53, the Detroit Pistons have once again found themselves with another top 10 draft pick for the fourth consecutive draft. After trading away Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline there seems to be one glaring hole, the small forward position.
The small forwards on the current roster right now are Kyle Singler, Corey Magette, Jonas Jerebko, and Khris Middleton. Corey Maggette will not be with the Pistons next year, Kyle Singler is better suited to come off the bench, Jonas Jerebko is better suited to be a stretch 4 player similar to Charlie Villanueva, and Khris Middleton is not the answer either. Many NBA Draft analysts have said that this particular draft is not incredibly deep which does not bode well for the Pistons as well as other NBA teams in search of top talent. Not to be mistaken, there are good players in this draft such as Ben McLemore, Otto Porter Jr. and Nerlens Noel, but after those three players are off the board, the talent level just isn’t the same.
So what should the Detroit Pistons do with the 8th overall pick? Should they trade up into the top 3 and grab Otto Porter or Ben McLemore? Trade back and get another first round draft pick next season? The options are plenty but it all boils down to what is realistic. Trading up into the top 3 picks would cost the Pistons the 8th pick, and probably their first round pick next season so that option is off the board. Unfortunately for the Pistons the best player at their position of greatest need will most likely not fall at least past pick 5. Other options remain at Small Forward: Anthony Bennett out of UNLV, Shabazz Muhammad out of UCLA, and Dario Saric from Croatia.
If Anthony Bennett is still available when the Pistons make their selection they would be wise to draft him. This former UNLV Runnin Rebel averaged nearly 17 points a game while shooting a respectable 37% from 3. Most mock drafts have Bennett going anywhere from number 3 overall to number 7. If the mock drafts turn out to be right, the Pistons 2nd option would be unavailable as well. My solution to all this is to trade back into the mid teens to early 20s and target Tony Snell out of New Mexico. At 6’7″ he has the size it takes to play the Small Forward position in the NBA; its what I think Joe Dumars should do if Otto Porter and Anthony Bennett are both off the board when the Pistons are on the clock. Call up the Atlanta Hawks and propose a trade sending Atlanta the 8th overall pick in exchange for the 17th overall pick and a first or second round pick in next years draft. With that 17th overall pick the Pistons would take Tony Snell and the Small Forward position is less of a concern.
The Pistons could also target a Point Guard in this years draft and many local fans would love the idea of the former Michigan stud Trey Burke playing in a Pistons uniform, but at his 5″11-6’0 size and inconsistent outside shooting he wouldn’t be the answer. Michael Carter-Williams out of Syracuse is another popular name being linked to the Pistons, in fact Carter-Williams was in Auburn Hills Thursday for a workout along with CJ McCollum of Lehigh. Carter-Williams is probably the riskiest point guard to draft this year because he only played one year at Syracuse( Redshirted during 2011-2012 season) so he doesn’t have the wanted game experience I would like to have when spending the 8th pick on a player. Many could argue that just because Carter Williams only played one year doesn’t mean a thing because Derrick Rose, John Wall, and Mike Conley all only played one year in college, but the difference is Rose was a much better player when he left Memphis than Carter-Williams is right now.
I think the Pistons should hold off drafting a point guard until the second round and target Isaiah Cannan out of Murray State. Drafting Cannan in the second round allows him the time to develop into the player Maurice Cheeks would like him to be, also he wouldn’t be pressed into starting duty and have the pressure of living up to the high draft pick hanging over his head.