NBA Draft Rumors: Detroit Pistons Unwise to Target a Big Man at No. 9
The Detroit Pistons undoubtedly need a big man, but all of the power forwards and centers left at the No. 9 pick will not provide adequate value.
As Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press notes, the most likely choice for the team is North Carolina’s John Henson. Other options include Henson’s teammate Tyler Zeller, Illinois’ Meyers Leonard or Connecticut’s Andre Drummond, if he is available.
The Pistons are set with Greg Monroe, but desperately need another frontcourt player to put alongside their young center. However, none of the players who will be available when they draft will fit their current needs.
As Chad Ford writes, via Grantland.com, “Yeah, the Pistons are screwed. They need a big, athletic center to pair with Greg Monroe, and those guys are so rare, they're never going to get them where they're drafting and don't have the goods to find one in free agency.”
Despite the tricky situation, general manager Joe Dumars does not appear willing to trade out of his current position. Ellis, in his article, quotes Dumars speaking at the draft lottery.
All of the work that we've been doing for months and months has been geared toward us having the ninth pick. You put all your work into what the ninth pick will be. Without getting into any names right now, it's the names you've probably been seeing in that range for quite some time.
Drummond is the only player who fits this description.
However, his lack of production in college (10.0 points and 7.6 rebounds) causes major concerns about his ability to make the jump to the next level. In addition, he will almost certainly be picked by one of the first eight teams in the draft.
Henson, the likely pick, is athletic but far too skinny to be productive in the NBA. Ellis notes that he added 40 pounds while at North Carolina and could continue to get bigger, but he still needs to put on significantly more weight.
At the combine, Henson checked in at 6’10.5” with a 7’5” wingspan—and he weighed 216 pounds. Dion Waiters, one of the draft's top shooting guards, outweighs him by five pounds.
The UNC power forward has fantastic length and leaping ability, which allowed him to block 2.9 shots per game this past season. But in the pros, players will drive right to his body and limit his one elite skill.
He grabbed 9.9 rebounds in college, but he will be dominated by shorter, stronger players on the glass in his NBA career.
Assuming Andre Drummond is already gone, what should Detroit do with the No. 9 pick?
Henson simply does not have the necessary bulk to be a standout defender in the pros and his offensive game needs serious improvement. He is not worth the No. 9 pick, but neither are the other big men.
Zeller is a solid all-around prospect but does not have the size or athleticism to be a starter or an impact player.
Leonard has plenty of size, but lacks an offensive game and questions have been raised about his motor. Ultimately, neither player is the guy to complete the Pistons' starting frontcourt, and both will likely be backups.
There is nothing the Pistons can do but move out of the No. 9 pick if they hope to get a player who offers decent value.
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