5 Best Fits for the Detroit Pistons in the 2013 NBA Draft
The Detroit Pistons currently have the fifth-worst winning percentage in the NBA and will be picking high in the 2013 NBA draft. This year's draft class is relatively weak, but there are still several quality prospects who would fill a need for the Pistons.
Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond are Detroit's big men of the future, and Brandon Knight has potential as a scoring point guard. The roster really lacks talent on the wing, where Rodney Stuckey and Kyle Singler are not the answer.
The Pistons need to find a player who will improve their perimeter defense and can space the floor on offense. Ideally, that player will also have the potential to be an All-Star in the future. Here the five best fits for the Pistons in this year's draft.
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
If there is one thing UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad knows how to do, it is score a basketball. After losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament, it is a foregone conclusion that he will enter the 2013 NBA draft.
Before the season, he was looked at as a potential target for the No. 1 overall pick in June. After a tumultuous freshman year, his draft stock has dropped a bit.
Muhammad missed the first three games of the season when the NCAA ruled him ineligible. When he did return, Muhammad was, somewhat understandably, out of shape and out of sync. And just days before his lone NCAA tournament game, the Los Angeles Times discovered that Muhammad was a year older than reported and had been lying about his age for years.
Despite all of that, Muhammad was still the best player on the UCLA roster. He led the team in scoring at 17.9 per game and added over five rebounds per contest.
He is a solid outside shooter, but Muhammad is most effective when attacking the basket. He scores very well near the basket and shot 5.6 free throws per game.
For the Pistons, Muhammad would be an immediate upgrade at small forward. He has the talent to become a first or second scoring option on a playoff team and could average 20 points per game in the future.
He is a fairly one-dimensional player, however, and would need to add other elements to his game to become an All-Star-level player. Muhammad is not yet a good defender and averaged less than an assist per game for the Bruins.
Otto Porter, Georgetown
The top small forward prospect in college right now is Otto Porter from Georgetown. He had a stellar sophomore season for the Hoyas and may choose to leave school for the NBA while he is projected as a top-five pick.
Porter is a multiskilled player, and NBADraft.net has compared him to former Detroit small forward Tayshaun Prince. Physically, he looks the part, measuring 6'8" with a 7'1" wingspan and weighing just 200 pounds.
Porter would immediately help the Pistons on the defensive side of the ball, although he would need to add muscle to match up with stronger NBA small forwards.
Offensively, he won't ever be a No. 1 option, but he shot 48 percent from the field and 42.2 percent from the arc this season. He averaged over 16 points per game, and he looks like he could develop into a solid second or third scoring option for a championship contender.
Porter will likely be drafted in the top six if he enters the draft, so the Pistons may not even have a shot at him. If he is on the board when the Pistons pick, he would be the safest pick they could make. He fills a position of need and could start for the Pistons from day one.
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
Depending on where the Pistons fall in the lottery, one of the most intriguing players available may be Marcus Smart from Oklahoma State. The freshman has three years of eligibility remaining, but he is expected to enter the 2013 NBA draft.
Smart is one of the top-rated prospects in the nation, currently ranked third by ESPN and second by NBADraft.net. For the Pistons, his talent would not be the question. It would be whether Smart fits their roster.
Most scouts list him as a point guard, although, at 6'4" and 225 pounds, he has the size to play shooting guard at times. The Pistons used a lottery pick two seasons ago on Knight, another combo guard.
If Smart is the top player on the Pistons' board when it's their turn to draft, will they take him or a less-talented wing? Could Smart and Knight share a backcourt, or would they have to move the third-year guard?
The Pistons will have to consider drafting Smart if they get the opportunity in June. He is a beast defensively, draws fouls at a very high rate and rebounds the ball well for a point guard. He is still very raw, but he has been compared to players such as James Harden and Chauncey Billups. He is one of the few potential stars in this draft class.
Victor Oladipo, Indiana
One of the fastest climbers up draft boards this season has been Indiana's Victor Oladipo. This season, he added a very efficient offensive game to his fantastic defensive ability and now projects as a top-10 pick should he choose to forgo his senior season.
Oladipo's biggest strength is his perimeter defense, where he averaged over two steals per game this season. At 6'5" and 214 pounds with elite athleticism and a big wingspan, Oladipo should be a difference-maker on the defensive end immediately at the next level.
The biggest reason he has gone from a projected second-rounder to a surefire lottery pick is his much-improved offense. He has shot a fantastic 59.4 percent from the field this season and 43.3 percent from three. He also has drawn fouls at a solid rate, averaging 3.5 free-throw attempts per game.
He won't be able to carry a team's offensive load in the NBA, but he also won't be a liability as the fourth or fifth option in a starting lineup. He has the potential to be a higher-scoring version of Tony Allen.
For the Pistons, there is a very good possibility that Oladipo will be available when they are on the clock. He isn't in the running for the top pick in the draft and will likely go between No. 4 and 10.
Oladipo would immediately improve the Pistons defense, which ranks 25th in efficiency, per ESPN. He would be another solid piece for the future, but he doesn't have the potential to be a superstar.
Ben McLemore, Kansas
One of the very best pro prospects in college basketball this season has been Kansas freshman Ben McLemore. Despite a poor performance in Kansas' second-round victory over North Carolina, McLemore has shown this season that he has all the tools to become a great NBA shooting guard.
As a freshman, McLemore could absolutely return to Lawrence for another college season. However, if he does declare for the draft, he would be one of the best fits for the Pistons roster.
McLemore was an All-Big 12 first-team selection in his freshman year, leading the Jayhawks in scoring. He was an extremely efficient offensive player, shooting 49.4 percent from the field, 41.6 percent from three and 87 percent from the line.
He combines his excellent shooting stroke with elite athleticism and an NBA frame. He needs to add muscle to his body as he makes the jump to the NBA (he is listed at 185 pounds), but he is 6'5"and has the wingspan of a taller player.
McLemore is an excellent fit for the Pistons, but they may need some luck to get the opportunity to draft him. McLemore currently projects as a top-three pick, ranked No. 1 on the NBADraft.net big board and No. 2 on ESPN's. He is one of the few players available who has the potential to make multiple All-Star Games.
Until the lottery, we won't know if the Pistons will even have a chance to draft McLemore. If the pingpong balls bounce their way, McLemore's outside shooting and athleticism would make him a great fit for the Pistons' young core.