2012 NBA Draft: 5 Prospects the Detroit Pistons Should Avoid
The Detroit Pistons have closed the door on the 2011-12 regular season. That's probably for the best since it was—for the most part—a dismal marathon of ineptitude.
If there's one thing the Pistons can take away from the horrible experience it is this: They need help and lots of it.
Luckily for them, the 2012 NBA Draft is right around the corner. It's an opportunity for every team to add young and talented prospects to their roster and feel optimistic about their chances next season.
Yes, even the Charlotte Bobcats.
Despite the overall positivity surrounding the draft, there are dangers the Pistons should be weary of.
There are prospects that simply do not fit their needs, and there are prospects that have bust potential written across their foreheads.
Here are five prospects that the Pistons should run and hide from.
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Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
Every team in the NBA dreams of having a seven-footer that can dominate the glass and send every shot that comes his way into the stands.
ESPN predicts that Fab Melo can be that kind of player immediately. Let's not forget that a few years ago, Hasheem Thabeet was that kind of player too.
Like Thabeet, Melo is extremely limited offensively, and it will take him a couple years to develop that part of his game.
Melo just finished his sophomore year. If he stayed all four years to develop into a complete player, he'd likely be a top-five pick
As it is, he's a boom-or-bust prospect that carries too much risk for the Pistons to invest in, even in Round 2.
Tony Wroten Jr., PG, Washington
Tony Wroten Jr. is a player that has flown under the radar since he entered the draft.
Coming from Washington, he doesn't have the name recognition as other point guards like Kendall Marshall or Marquis Teague, but his potential is just as great.
ESPN reports that he's a dynamic point guard, explosive finisher and spectacular passer. His size—6'5", 205 lbs—and athleticism make him a very tempting prospect.
He has a Jekyll-and-Hyde persona though. He has a tendency to play out of control and he's not a great shooter—.161 three-point shooting percentage.
Sounds like a maturity issue as much as a skill issue and that should be understandable since he's only played one year of college ball.
Wroten Jr. is too much like Fab Melo: boom or bust.
In two or three years he may turn into the next Gary Payton. For now he's proven to be too inconsistent for the Pistons to gamble on.
Particularly since they desperately need consistent perimeter scoring.
Wroten Jr. is a great developmental project who might pay big dividends in a few years. Too bad the Pistons need help now.
Royce White, SF, Iowa State
I had no idea who Royce White was prior to the 2012 NCAA tournament, but after two outstanding performances against elite competition—Uconn and Kentucky—I know who he is now.
On talent alone, White is a great NBA prospect. He's an athletic small forward who can do everything fairly well. ESPN compares him to Lebron James but notes that he's not as athletic.
Even with that qualifier, let's not get carried away.
As good as he is, he brings questions to the table. Such as his well-documented anxiety disorder and fear of flying. Two things that could cause problems at the next level.
It's very possible these issues have been overblown by nervous nellies and media types looking for a juicy story. The reality is that teams are going to be very cautious before investing millions of dollars in someone with his issues though.
They have every right to be.
I certainly hope that White succeeds in the NBA and can overcome his mental health issues. I also hope the Pistons steer clear of him.
His potential value does not outweigh the risk.
If the Pistons were a playoff team, I would be screaming from the rooftops for them to draft this guy. They are obviously not a playoff team and therefore are not in a position to roll the dice on anyone.
Draymond Green, PF, Michigan State
It really pains me to include Draymond Green on this list. I've really enjoyed watching him evolve as a player and leader of men.
He's got the personality and work ethic that every NBA team needs. In fact, if there were more players like him in the NBA, the league would be much better for it.
He's also very intelligent, is a great shooter and passer, and runs the floor exceptionally well. Those are the pros.
Here are the cons.
Green is the definition of a tweener. Who can he guard in the NBA?
At only 6'6", 235 lbs, he's too small to guard centers and power forwards, and he's not quick enough to guard small forwards and guards.
He's also not a great leaper. Although he does rebound well, that was against college competition. He won't be rebounding as well facing seven-footers every night.
His lack of explosiveness also affects his offensive game. As we saw in the Spartans loss to Louisville in the NCAA tournament, Green struggled to get his shot off down low against taller defenders.
Remember Corliss Williamson? He was undersized too and often struggled to get his shot off in the NBA.
He survived by becoming a valuable role player who did the dirty work and wasn't afraid to mix it up with bigger guys.
Green could become this type of niche player as well, but that doesn't mean he fits in with the Pistons. At least not at this point in their rebuilding process.
Detroit can't afford to fall in love with a local hero again (like with Mateen Cleaves) and waste a valuable draft pick.
I'm not saying he's going to be a bust, just that he's not going to be the kind of impact player the Pistons need.
Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
Jared Sullinger is considered by many to be the best down-low scorer in the draft. While that might be true, he also has a lot in common with Draymond Green.
He's undersized, is not a great leaper and will struggle to get his shot off at the next level. This was clearly on display in Ohio State's loss to Kansas in the tournament. Sullinger struggled against the Jayhawks' length inside.
He'll see that kind of length every night in the NBA.
You might argue that Sullinger is the same height as Kansas' Thomas Robinson but 50 lbs heavier. So why is Robinson predicted to go much higher?
Robinson is an explosive leaper who takes his game above the rim—outjumping anyone in his way. He also has an NBA-ready body.
Actually, he has an NFL-ready body.
Questions have consistently been raised about Sullinger's conditioning. Can you say red flag?
ESPN's Chad Ford ranks him ninth in their Top 100, and odds are the Pistons will be selecting ninth. There is a chance he'll be available when Detroit picks.
Joe Dumars can't be lured by Sullinger's name and reputation, ignoring his considerable weaknesses.
He will never live up to his Round 1 status, and there are much better—and much safer—options for the Pistons to target.