Re-Drafting the Last 3 Detroit Pistons' Drafts
The Detroit Pistons have just begun their All-Star break, but I am just getting warmed up writing about them.
Sure, I will probably put out a few "Road Map to Success" stories and maybe a trade proposal or two (spoiler alert, I've got a nice one coming out in a day or so!), but those can wait.
Given the stunning injury to stud Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel, I started thinking about this year's draft and potential options for Detroit.
That being said, I thought it would be fun to go back and take a look at how the Pistons have done in their drafts over the past three years and use our 20/20 hindsight to figure out if there were better options to be had.
Of course, we are going to exclude this year, since Andre Drummond is obviously a great pick and the second-round picks haven't had a chance yet.
But we can explore the prior drafts and see if we might have done things differently.
Here is how I would have drafted for the Detroit Pistons going back three years.
2011-Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler and Vernon Macklin
First-round pick: Brandon Knight
Second-round picks: Kyle Singler and Vernon Macklin
Heading into the 2011 draft, the Pistons were no doubt riding a slight high. They had successfully drafted Greg Monroe and saw significant development from their talented big man.
What they really needed to address in this draft was improving their talent overall, mainly in the backcourt.
Most fans wanted the Pistons to draft the point guard of the future.
Brandon Knight fell into the Pistons' lap. He had been projected to go anywhere from second to sixth overall.
Nobody thought he would fall to Detroit at eight, so it seemed like a no-brainer.
But why exactly did he slip? He is athletic, quick and can score. However, he is undersized as a shooting guard and didn't exhibit the court vision or passing ability to be a point guard.
So far, he has been wildly inconsistent as a point guard.
The hope in Detroit was that with the addition of Jose Calderon as a true point guard, Knight would flourish playing off the ball and scoring.
At first, it looked good, with Knight having a breakout game against San Antonio.
But he has collapsed of late, scoring a combined 17 points over his last three games.
He looks lost in both roles.
Kyle Singler has been solid as a rookie and figures to be at least a nice complementary player.
This was far from a deep draft, but there were some nice options right after Knight.
Kemba Walker is much more of a true point guard than Knight, and while he isn't a great shooter from deep, he is having a better year.
He is averaging over 17 points and nearly six assists per game. He is slowly improving as a shooter, getting his three-point percentage upwards of 34 percent.
Kenneth Faried was a player that I liked a lot.
Some would have seen him as a reach at the eight spot, but he is a ferocious defender and rebounder and would have brought the toughness that the Pistons crave.
Kawhi Leonard was another nice option here, but he slipped all the way to 15. He is developing into a great player for the San Antonio Spurs and also provides good defense and toughness.
And then there is Klay Thompson. Son of former top pick Mychal Thompson (who a mutual friend says is a great guy), Thompson could shoot the lights out in college.
This year, he is averaging over 16 points per game and knocking down nearly 39 percent of his threes.
In the second round, Singler so far has been about the third most effective player and wasn't a bad pick.
Chandler Parsons, however, would also have been a nice selection. He is averaging close to 12 points and just over five boards per game over the last two years.
Macklin hasn't panned out as a professional and no longer is with the team. A few selections later was Isaiah Thomas who has averaged close to 12 points per game in his two-year career.
The two players that I liked the most here were Faried and Walker. I was screaming at the television when Knight's name was called. I just figured Walker would provide so much more leadership, which the Pistons craved.
Going back, I would have made Walker the pick, and that's still how I feel today.
In the second round, let's keep Singler and add Thomas.
2010-Greg Monroe and Terrico White
First-round pick: Greg Monroe
Second-round pick: Terrico White
We can all agree that Greg Monroe has been an excellent selection for Detroit.
Personally, I was cautiously optimistic about this selection.
I was a little down on him because he doesn't block shots and lacks athleticism, but he has turned into a welcomed surprise for Detroit.
That being said, he isn't the ideal pairing for Andre Drummond.
Terrico White has never played an NBA game so was, in essence, a wasted pick.
I was certain that Ed Davis would be a better pro than Monroe, so obviously I am eating crow on that one.
But there were some very good options after Monroe.
Paul George is developing into a star in Indiana, helping the Pacers in their quest to win the division.
He is an elite defender already and has the potential to be better than Rudy Gay on offense.
A little later in the round Greivis Vasquez has become a revelation as the point guard of the young New Orleans Hornets.
He is second in the league with over nine assists per game.
The only other option in this round would be Jordan Crawford, who is tearing it up as a scorer.
In the second round, there aren't a ton of options here, but Landry Fields and Lance Stephenson certainly have had some success.
Luckily for Detroit, they got this one right in the first round. George is the only other option here and probably has more of a ceiling.
But Monroe could have great trade value should Detroit decide to deal him.
In the second round, I would probably go with Stephenson. His numbers aren't as impressive as Fields', but I like his energy and size.
2009-Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers, Jonas Jerebko and Chase Budinger
First-round pick: Austin Daye
Second-round picks: DaJuan Summers, Jonas Jerebko and Chase Budinger
When Detroit drafted Austin Daye, most viewed him as the eventual heir to Tayshaun Prince's small forward spot.
He was sold to us as a long, athletic wing that could shoot the three and just needed to add strength.
Obviously, he didn't pan out and was dealt a few weeks ago, along with Prince.
DaJuan Summers really didn't distinguish himself in Detroit and is no longer with the team.
Chase Budinger was dealt on draft night but has had a nice career thus far.
Jonas Jerebko is the only player from this draft still with Detroit. He was a revelation as a rookie but has struggled for minutes in each of the last two years and has somewhat regressed.
This was a tremendously deep draft, and there were better options.
Ty Lawson has become one of the most electric point guards in the league and perhaps the quickest. He is averaging just under 16 points per game and just over seven assists.
Jrue Holiday is another high-powered point guard who is averaging 19 points and nearly nine assists per game. He is probably the third best player in this draft behind James Harden and Blake Griffin.
Jeff Teague, Darren Collison, Byron Mullens and Taj Gibson were all better choices than Daye.
In the second round, the choices aren't as appealing.
DeJuan Blair went two picks behind Summers and is a bruiser down low.
Marcus Thornton is a dynamic scorer that was drafted behind Jerebko and would certainly help this Pistons team.
Danny Green and A.J. Price were also good options later in the draft.
In the first round, it is hard to pick anyone but Holiday. He has good size, is a great distributor and can score in a lot of ways.
In the second round, I probably would have gone with Blair and Thornton, although I don't think drafting Jerebko was a bad choice.