NBA Draft 2012: Detroit Pistons Mock Draft Analysis

Jay Wierenga@@JayWierengaCorrespondent IMay 16, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: Detroit Pistons Mock Draft Analysis

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    For those of you following along at home, I have been publishing articles highlighting potential draft targets for the Detroit Pistons since early in the NCAA season.

    Since then, some things have changed, but many things have not.

    The most important development was the marked improvement of the team as the season wore on, and conversely, the slipping draft position for Detroit.

    Sure, we won't know the exact draft position for the Pistons until May 30th, but the odds are that they will be picking right around No. 9 overall.

    While I will post my own NBA Mock Draft after the exact order is known, let's take a look at what some of the most popular NBA Draft sites have posted for our Pistons.—Austin Rivers, SG, Duke

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    My Take

    Personally, I would hate this pick.

    Rivers had a somewhat underwhelming freshman season at Duke after joining the Blue Devils as perhaps the most heralded incoming player in the country.

    Rivers has a lot of swagger but struggled in a lot of ways at Duke.

    He shot a meager 43 percent from the field and an unimpressive 37 percent from behind the arc.

    He is not a very good defender, and while he is a good ball-handler, he lacks a point guard's instincts as evidenced by the fact that he had more turnovers per game than assists. 

    Now I'm not saying that he won't be a good pro; what I am saying is that he doesn't fit a need for this team if they are going to build around Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight.

    The Pistons need size up front, not another combo guard.

    Scout's Take (From ESPN)

    Projection Late Lottery Pick
    • Extremely confident
    • Good shooter with deep range
    • Sick crossover move, very quick
    • Nice floater
    • Skilled ball handler
    • Has a killer instinct on the floor
    • Good, but not elite, athlete
    • Not an explosive leaper
    • Needs to add a left hand
    • Gambling defender
    • Questionable shot selection
    • Can be selfish—Perry Jones, SF, Baylor

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    My Take

    Now while I don't hate this pick as much as the Rivers selection, it still isn't very good.

    Jones never lived up to his own hype, and despite the fact that he was certainly considered a top three pick just a year ago, he has seen his own draft stock plummet.

    So why don't I like Jones?

    See if this description sounds familiar.

    Jones is a 6'11" player that tends to drift out to the perimeter, plays passively and is a sub-par rebounder.

    He tends to disappear in big games and against big-time opponents, and appears to be a shooting guard trapped in a power forward's body.

    He often plays soft, and his draft stock is tied to his potential, not his current skill level.

    Now, substitute the name "Jones" with someone on the Pistons current roster.

    If you said Charlie Villanueva, you are thinking along the same lines that I am.

    The Pistons don't need wallflowers on their front line. They need physical players that have skill, not potential.

    In fact, if the word "potential" appears in a big man's bio, the Pistons need to immediately scratch him off their list or else risk bringing in the next Austin Daye.

    Scout's Take (From ESPN)

    Projection Lottery Pick
    • Versatile forward can do it all
    • Great size, length, athleticism
    • Elite leaping ability
    • Runs the floor like a deer
    • Can score from anywhere on the floor
    • Good rebounder and shot-blocker
    • Plays hard but can be passive
    • Doesn't dominate the way his talent suggests
    • Very uneven in his performance

Chad Ford (—John Henson, PF, North Carolina

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    My Take

    Finally, a pick that doesn't make me throw up in my mouth.

    Henson is not an elite athlete, defender or scorer.

    But he is a big man that actually acts like a big man from time to time and plays with a high motor and good basketball intelligence.

    Henson can block shots, rebound and is developing a decent little jumper.

    The biggest problem with Henson is that he lacks ideal bulk and will certainly get pushed around a little at the next level.

    That being said, he wouldn't be the worst pairing with Greg Monroe, and in time he could become a solid power forward.

    More than anything, the Pistons need more front-court help, and a shot-blocker is the ideal fit in Detroit.

    Scout's Take (From ESPN)

    Projection Late Lottery Pick
    • Super athletic
    • Long, lanky forward
    • Great motor
    • Awesome rebounder and shot-blocker
    • Excellent defender
    • High-character player
    • Needs to add A LOT of muscle
    • Perimeter game needs developing—Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State

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    My Take

    Okay, so there is some validity here, but there is also some reluctance on my part.

    Sullinger is a very smart ball player that flat out knows how to play the game.

    He is already a skilled post offensive player and could develop into a player in a similar mold to Glen Davis in Orlando.

    He is a very good passer, a solid rebounder and can score in a number of ways.

    What he isn't, however, is a good shot-blocker.

    He also is a sub-par athlete and will play exclusively below the rim.

    The question about Sullinger is whether or not he fits in Detroit, and whether or not his skills can translate at the next level.

    To the latter question, I would say yes, but to the former, I would be forced to say no.

    The Pistons ideally need a big man that can block shots to pair with the shot blocking-challenged Monroe.

    They also need someone with a little bit more athleticism, or they risk being run out of the gym by guys like Serge Ibaka and Dwight Howard.

    Scout's Take (From ESPN)

    Projection Top 10 Pick
    • Strong, physical player
    • Huge lower body gets him deep position
    • High basketball IQ
    • Equally excellent facing the basket
    • A dominant rebounder
    • Tough competitor
    • Has had conditioning issues
    • Isn't an explosive, above-the-rim athlete
    • A bit undersized for the position—Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut

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    My Take

    There is a lot to love, and a lot to dislike about Andre Drummond.

    And while I am tempted to completely disregard this mock since it is borderline impossible that Drummond slips to Detroit at No. 9, let's go ahead and break it down for ships and giggles. 

    Drummond is a beast athletically, plain and simple.

    He has the frame to be a true center in this league, and he has the athleticism of a young Amar'e Stoudamire.

    He loves to play above the rim and was one of the best at put-back dunks this year.

    That's what I love about him.

    On the flip side, he is very raw. Some of that had to do with the coaching situation at Connecticut (Jim Calhoun missed considerable time with a back injury), but nonetheless, he seemed to regress as the year went on.

    He often found himself out of position on defense, was an underwhelming rebounder despite his size and showed a very raw offensive game.

    He really does not have strong basketball instincts and could easily wind up being a huge bust.

    However, he also has the potential (there's that dirty word again!) to be a huge pick-up.

    Drummond, if coached properly, could be the perfect compliment to Monroe as a dominating true center.

    But should the Pistons really take a chance in this draft?

    Scout's take (From ESPN)

    Projection Top 5 Pick
    • Long, athletic big man
    • Explosive leaper
    • NBA body
    • Excellent rebounder and shot blocker
    • Intimidating defender
    • Has perimeter skills and can hit an open jumper
    • High basketball IQ for a big man
    • Skilled passer for a big man
    • Inconsistent, doesn't always assert himself
    • Can be caught settling for perimeter shots
    • Can be foul prone