Joe Dumars is gone, but he is responsible for the current roster of the Detroit Pistons. His fingerprints are still all over the franchise, with the latest example being a lost pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. There will be no savior from the loaded draft class to come in and help reverse Detroit’s fortunes.
The Pistons do still have the 38th pick, but it is difficult to scout the second round. The picks aren’t always who is best on board, instead often a random player that general managers see something special in. Second round picks are low-risk, high-reward, allowing the front office to gamble.
New President of Basketball Operations Stan Van Gundy is going to have his work cut out for him, because this pick matters more than ever now. It will also be the first step in establishing his draft record.
And because Van Gundy’s work will be compared to Dumars for a frame of reference, let’s take a look at Dumars’ draft record. Dumars was fairly successful in the draft, so hopefully Van Gundy continues this trend while making better decisions with free agents and trades.
***For the sake of making this post relevant, we’re only going back five years. These drafts affected the team as it is today. Besides, it’s common knowledge that Darko Millic didn’t turn out to be as good as advertised.
1st round pick: 8th overall, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Shooting Guard from Georgia
KCP was brought in to add a shooting and defensive presence. The latter went well, as Caldwell-Pope nearly averaged a steal per game in only 19 minutes of play. However, the shooting thing didn’t go quite as well. He shot 39% from the field, to go along with a dismal 31% from deep. However, he has only had a season in the league and he stands to improve.
Unfortunately, barring a major rise in production, he will be looked at the player who was selected ahead of Trey Burke. Burke was an in-state college product who finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting this season. The Pistons had not signed Brandon Jennings yet, so many fans were calling for a point guard to be selected.
2nd Round Pick: 37th overall, Tony Mitchell, Power Forward from North Texas
Again, second round picks don’t carry the same weight as the first round. If a player doesn’t turn out, it isn’t a big of deal as having a first round bust. Tony Mitchell hasn’t really seen enough court time to determine if this pick was a good one, having only seen action in 21 games, averaging four minutes in those games. One thing has Mitchell has lots of is athleticism, shown in this comical Vine video with Rasheed Wallace.
Along with the ability to jump out the gym, Mitchell played very well when he was sent down to the D-League. With the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, he averaged 20 points a game. While his shooting percentages weren’t great, he could turn into a Jason Maxiell-type player with better offense.
2nd round pick: 59th overall, Peyton Siva, Shooting Guard from Louisville
I’ll admit it. I harbor some resentment towards Peyton Siva. I’m a Michigan fan, and I can still see Trey Burke’s clean block on him being called a foul. So I wasn’t exactly thrilled when the Pistons drafted him. However, according to reports about Pistons practice, he has been a genuine asset to the team. Like Mitchell, he didn’t get much playing time before being reassigned to the Mad Ants. Some guys play really well in the D-League and crack NBA rotations, it remains to be seen if Siva is one of them.
1st round pick: 9th overall, Andre Drummond, Center from Connecticut
Pistons fans don’t need any introduction to the walking double-double machine that is Andre Drummond. The guy is an absolute presence on defense, averaging a block and a steal a game, and rebounding about everything else. The guy is also deadly close to the rim, averaging 60% from the field. The only thing he needs to improve is his free throw shooting. A back to the basket game isn’t necessary because of how good he is in pick and rolls.
This was one of Dumars’ best picks of his career, and credit him for making the smart decision and snapping up Drummond as soon as he was available. There weren’t any impact players drafted after him, so Dumars made a smart choice here.
2nd round: 39th overall, Khris Middleton, Small Forward from Texas A&M
Middleton is no longer with the Pistons, as he was sent to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Brandon Jennings sign-and-trade. Here is another example of a sneaky good pick by Dumars, as Middleton has turned into a serviceable contributor for the Bucks in only his second season in the league. He averaged 12 points a game while starting 64 of their games.
2nd round: 44th overall, Kim English, Shooting Guard from Missouri
Right after Middleton, we have an example of a player who didn’t pan out in the NBA. He averaged three points a game for the Pistons after being waived. After a stint in Italy, English now plays in France.
1st Round: 8th overall, Brandon Knight, Point Guard from Kentucky
Besides Pistons and Bucks fans, Brandon Knight is known for being on the wrong end of highlights. DeAndre Jordan dunked all over him, then Kyrie Irving broke his ankles in the Rookie-Sophomore game. It isn’t really fair to the young blood, because he’s actually a pretty solid player. He has increased his points per game, assists per game, and shooting percentage every year he has been in the league.
Now on the Bucks, Knight is still figuring out what position he should play. He is a shooting guard in a slightly oversized point guard’s body. However, he is still a good player. Even though he was selected over higher-quality players like Kemba Walker and Klay Thompson, chalk up another solid pick for Dumars.
2nd Round: 33rd overall, Kyle Singler, Wing from Duke
No one likes Duke, and no one likes Duke players in the NBA unless they are on your team. Many unsavory nicknames floated around the Dukies, and my friends and I took to calling Singler “The Goblin.” Now he is on the Pistons, and I love his game. He’s the Pistons only threat from deep, and I started counting on him hitting shots. Kudos to Dumars for making a fan-unfriendly pick that turned out well.
2nd round: 52nd overall, Vernon Macklin, Forward from Florida
Macklin played well while in the D-League, but the Pistons chose not to retain him. He has since played in Turkey, the Phillipines and China.
1st round: 7th overall, Greg Monroe, Forward from Gerogetown
“The Moose” has been a name dropped in a lot of recent trade talks, but only because Monroe is such a genuine asset. The big man is one of the best offensive post players in the game, and skilled offensive big men are rare in the league. While he shoots a lower percentage than you want from your power forward, he is able to beat people in multiple ways: off the dribble, facing up, or even back to the basket.
Monroe isn’t exactly fantastic on the defensive end, but he has proved reliable on the boards. Sadly, his future with the Pistons is in question due to Josh Smith. Still, Monroe is impressive trade bait, especially for a team needing a third option for a scorer.
2nd round: 36th overall, Terrico White, Shooting Guard from Ole Miss
Injury derailed what could have been for Terrico White after he fractured his foot in a preseason game. This was another example of Joe Dumars looking for a ridiculously athletic prospect in the second round. He now plays in an Israeli basketball league. Since everyone enjoys dunk highlight videos, here is White absolutely jumping out of the gym.
1st Round: 15th Overall, Austin Daye, Small Forward from Gonzaga
Of the past five years, this has been one of Dumars’ least defensible picks. It’s not that Austin Daye is a bad player, though he does seem to be destined for a journeyman type player. It’s the fact that the following three point guards were drafted next: Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, and Jeff Teague. Keep in mind, this was the season which Detroit traded away Chauncey Billups to get Allen Iverson’s expiring contract. Jrue Holiday has been an All-Star, Ty Lawson has put up huge playoff numbers, and Jeff Teague nearly led the Hawks to an upset of the Pacers. Sigh.
Daye is on the Spurs currently, only seeing action in 12 games. He might get a ring now though!
2nd round: 35th overall, DaJaun Summers, Power Forward from Georgetown
He never cracked the rotation of the Pistons, Hornets, or Clippers. He currently plays in a Ukranian league. Luckily, he didn’t deter Dumars from drafting Georgetown big men, which would lead to Greg Monroe the following year.
2nd round: 39th overall, Jonas Jerebko, Sweden
I loved the Jerebko pick. I loved the gelled hair, the sullenly cocky demeanor, and the willingness to punch NBA veterans in the face during preseason games. The dude hustles and plays nasty, and has made serious strides to improve his shot. His minutes have dwindled, along with his scoring, but I put that on several different coaches not knowing what to do with. I hope he gets more court time in the upcoming season. Also, he met Joe Dumars when he was 15 and told him he would one day play in the NBA. Dumars forgot, and then ended up drafting him. How awesome is that?
Stan Van Gundy won’t have to live up to the moderately high expectations Dumars set in the first round, due to not having a pick. What remains to be seen is if he can unearth a second round gem along the lines of Middleton, Singler, and Jerebko.