Pistons Draft Rumors: Emmanuel Mudiay In, Reggie Jackson Out?


Take a look at the Detroit Pistons’ depth chart or the vast majority of mock drafts out there and the expectation is that the Pistons will select a wing in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft.

It fits a need and the value is right at that spot for a player like Justise Winslow, Mario Hezonja and even Stanley Johnson. If the picks ahead of the Pistons play out like many expect, at least one of those players will be available with the eighth pick.

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But drafts have a funny tendency to not play out as “planned”, opening the door for surprises to lead to more surprises. Should that happen tomorrow night, the Pistons could be one of the teams at the center of the action. The thought was that the Pistons acquired their point guard of the present and future when they traded for Reggie Jackson.

That may end up being right, but it’s reportedly not a sure thing depending on how the draft picks come off the board ahead in the first seven picks.

From Ken Berger, NBA Insider for CBSSports.com:

"If Emmanuel Mudiay falls to the Pistons at No. 8, they might be inclined to take him and let Reggie Jackson walk as a free agent. “They’re not 100 percent sold on Reggie,” a league source said. Detroit also likes Justise Winslow and Mario Hezonja at that spot, sources said, though Hezonja isn’t expected to get past the Magic at No. 5."

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It’s hard to find a mock draft that has Mudiay reaching the Pistons, but I can see a scenario where it happens. Mudiay’s slide would likely start with the Philadelphia 76ers opting for Kristaps Porzingis over D’Angelo Russell. If that happens, look for the Knicks, a popular landing spot for Mudiay in mock drafts, to immediately run their card to the podium to make Russell the fourth pick.

The Magic aren’t a fit for Mudiay with the fifth pick because they took Elfrid Payton last year. For the sake of this exercise, let’s say they take Mario Hezonja. The Kings would have to give serious consideration to Mudiay at six but could opt for a big like Willie Cauley-Stein to complement DeMarcus Cousins. If the recent trade rumors regarding Cousins are founded, that only increases the chances the Kings opt for a frontcourt player.

That brings us to the seventh pick, where the Denver Nuggets figure to be in “best player available” mode given the current state of their roster. Mudiay would be up for consideration, but so too would Justise Winslow. If the Nuggets decide on Winslow, that makes Mudiay available to the Pistons. To recap:

1. Karl-Anthony Towns
2. Jahlil Okafor
3. Kristaps Porzingis
4. D’Angelo Russell
5. Mario Hezonja
6. Willie Cauley-Stein
7. Justise Winslow

I’m not placing any bets on the first seven picks going exactly in that order, but it is a scenario that passes the sniff test. However likely or unlikely it might be, it is at least realistic.

It is important to note that Berger’s report only states that the Pistons “might be inclined to take him” rather than stating that Mudiay is the apple of Stan Van Gundy’s eye and he would definitely be the pick if he was available. This looks like more of a plan B of sorts as it gets the Pistons a player with a higher upside than Stanley Johnson but with the more highly rated wing players off the board in the first seven picks.

Odds are that Mudiay won’t fall to the eighth pick anyway, but we’ll see what happens Thursday night.

Next: 20 Best NBA Draft Picks from Michigan

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