The Detroit Pistons have drafted very well in the mid-lottery the past three years, and they need that success to continue in order to continue their rebuilding process.
Greg Monroe was picked at No. 7 in 2010, and Andre Drummond was taken No. 9 in 2012. This June, the Pistons will be selecting at No. 8.
Those two players have given the Pistons a big-man foundation that is expected to be the future of the franchise. Now Joe Dumars is charged with finding starters at the other three positions.
A True Point Guard
If the Pistons don't believe Brandon Knight is their point guard of the future, they could decide to address the position at No. 8.
Knight has shown some ability to play shooting guard, so the Pistons could look to pair him with a big, lead guard like Michael Carter-Williams.
At that size, Carter-Williams would be one of the tallest point guards in the entire NBA, and he could give the Pistons a lot of roster flexibility in the future. While Carter-Williams could take over the ball-handling duties as a pass-first point guard (he averaged 7.3 assists as a sophomore), his size could allow Knight to slide over to the point defensively.
The two could pair to form a very quick backcourt with the ability to cause a lot of turnovers on the defensive end. They would struggle against the biggest of backcourts, like Deron Williams and Joe Johnson in Brooklyn, but that wouldn't be an issue against most teams.
Carter-Williams is expected to be drafted within a few picks of the Pistons at No. 8. ESPN's most recent projections have him selected at No. 7 (subscription required), while NBADraft.net has him taken at No. 14.
Taking him and moving Knight to shooting guard permanently would give the Pistons a core of four 23-and-younger players to build around going forward. They would then have roughly $20 million to find a small forward this summer or wait for someone to become available closer to the trade deadline.
They could also choose to use their first-round pick on a wing scorer, something they missed desperately this season.
A Scorer on the Wing
The best wing scorer available for the Pistons at No. 8 would be Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from Georgia.
Caldwell-Pope is a natural shooting guard with an NBA body, measuring 6'4.5" (without shoes) and 203 pounds at the combine. He averaged over 18 points per game as a sophomore and has shown very good talent defensively.
He would give the Pistons a go-to scorer on the wing and someone who has the ability to shoot off the catch. His three-point range would be great for stretching the court with Monroe on the block.
He isn't a great ball-handler, however, which would give Knight more on-ball responsibility. He has yet to prove that he deserves that responsibility.
After a disappointing combine, Caldwell-Pope currently projects to be available to the Pistons at No. 8, although he will almost certainly be taken in the lottery.
Moving Up in the Draft
What should the Pistons do with the No. 8 pick?
The Pistons could also try to move up in the first round if they don't like the selection of players available at No. 8. With a future first-round pick already owed to Charlotte (the Ben Gordon trade), any trade would likely include Knight.
One trade that could make sense would be Knight and the No. 8 pick to the Orlando Magic for the No. 2 pick. The Pistons could then use that pick on Trey Burke at point guard or Ben McLemore at shooting guard.
The Magic have Jameer Nelson at point guard, but he is already 31, and Knight could give them some youth at the position. If they aren't sold on Burke or McLemore, getting Knight and another pick would just give them more assets to use in a future deal.
Getting Burke or McLemore would give the Pistons a player with a clear position and someone with the upside to become an All-Star.
Burke would be the true point guard the Pistons have been missing with Knight or Rodney Stuckey. McLemore would give them an elite athlete with a deadly three-point shot.
The Pistons would love to get either player, but they would need to find a trade partner. The Cleveland Cavaliers (No. 1), Washington Wizards (No. 3) and Charlotte Bobcats (No. 4) all have young point guards on their rosters. The Magic may be their only hope to move into the top four.