5 2014 NBA Draft Prospects Guaranteed to Interest Detroit Pistons
The emotional roller coaster of an offseason continued for fans of the Detroit Pistons this week. Their beloved franchise fell out of the NBA's draft lottery on Tuesday night, leaving them with just one scheduled pick in June's NBA draft.
Even worse, that pick won't come until No. 38 overall, the eighth pick of the second round. With no lottery pick—or even one first-round selection, for that matter—the Pistons won't have a ton of intrigue entering draft night.
However, the possibility of a trade remains—perhaps one that could move them back into the first round or even the lottery. With Greg Monroe entering restricted free agency this summer, he will have a great deal of value on the extend-and-trade market.
The Pistons must try to plan for a Monroe exit anyway. While they do have plenty of capital, it is difficult to predict the path the team will take this summer with a new head coach and President of Basketball Operations in Stan Van Gundy.
Elsewhere, the Pistons could use some shored up depth on the wing, especially if Josh Smith moves to power forward. The guard spots could also use some help as well.
Read on to see five prospects who are guaranteed to interest the Pistons in June's upcoming draft.
All height/weight information courtesy of DraftExpress.com.
Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
If the Detroit Pistons were able to pull off a trade to enter the first round, one target should be Tyler Ennis.
The Syracuse point guard would come in ahead of the curve while Van Gundy attempts to install a defensive approach in Detroit. Ennis was an outstanding defender with the Orange, racking up 2.1 steals per game.
He is also a confident and steady offensive player, capable of running the point a bit differently than Brandon Jennings. His field-goal percentage (41.1 percent) will frighten some people, especially after what fans went through with Jennings last season, but Ennis would be a good get in the middle of the first round.
Jennings' contract is a year shorter than Josh Smith's, making him a bit more flexible for the organization. He becomes an expiring contract next summer, giving Detroit a lot of options to take with him if Ennis excels in his first year.
Cleanthony Early, SF/PF, Wichita State
Josh Smith struggled mightily to score efficient buckets in his first year with the Detroit Pistons. He was forced to play somewhat out of position for much of the year while getting used to a new situation; with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond crowding the paint, Smith played a lot more on the outside last season.
Smith's shooting splits from last season were pretty dreadful (41.9/26.4/53.2). Wichita State small forward Cleanthony Early's split of 48.6/37.5/84.4 is much more appealing to the eye, and he should be appealing to Detroit as well.
Playing a relatively weak schedule in comparison to many of his draft counterparts has hurt Early's value. However, that also means the chances he is available at No. 38 are still fairly high.
There are concerns about Early, who rarely played with the ball in his hands in college. But there concerns are for any player who lasts this long in the draft. Early gives Detroit a great chance to pick up a riser in the second round, and he has the ability to take over a role where they desperately need help.
C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington
Despite being close to a mirror image of last year's lottery pick Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, C.J. Wilcox will be an option for the Pistons in June's second round.
The Pistons did have some depth at the 2-guard spot last season, but when you are forced to start Kyle Singler, your perimeter options are very limited. Caldwell-Pope and Rodney Stuckey had atrocious years from beyond the arc, and they weren't all that great from inside of it, either.
Wilcox bombed away from three-point land for four years at Washington, never shooting less than 36.6 percent in any season. As a senior, he hit on 39.1 percent of his 7.2 attempts per game.
Wilcox has solid size (6'5", 201 lbs) for an NBA shooting guard, and he was responsible for a lot more than threes at Washington, sporting a 45.3 field-goal percentage overall.
Getting a true shooter at No. 38 wouldn't be a bad choice, especially given the Pistons' struggles last season to create room in the paint.
K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
It may be risky to wait and see if K.J. McDaniels falls to the Detroit Pistons at No. 38 in June's draft. However, moving into the first round's back end may be too tall of a task.
If the Pistons could find a way to deal with one of the teams that is set to pick in the early 20s, McDaniels would seem to be a nice fit for Van Gundy.
Whereas current swingman Josh Smith has lost a step due to mileage and age, McDaniels is as fresh as they come. After three collegiate seasons, he is a well-seasoned player who is capable of stepping right into a new situation.
Defensively, McDaniels has the traits necessary to be a perimeter terror, with long arms and an active style. He racked up 1.1 steals and 2.8 blocks per game as a 6'6" small forward.
Like Smith, his shooting leaves something to be desired, but he is a high flyer and knowledgeable in transition. He is also an excellent rebounder for his position.
In the late first round or perhaps the early second round, McDaniels could prove to be an excellent role player from Day 1.
Spencer Dinwiddie, SG, Colorado
Another small forward option is Colorado's Spencer Dinwiddie, who should be available to the Detroit Pistons in the early second round.
Unlike K.J. McDaniels and Josh Smith, Dinwiddie comes with perimeter shooting in a swingman package. He is listed as a shooting guard by most, but at 6'6" with long arms, he could see some action at the 3.
After letting himself get carried away as a sophomore, Dinwiddie matured and reigned in his three-point shooting during a junior year that saw him hit 26 of 63 shots from beyond the arc and average 14.7 points per game while playing just half of the season.
Dinwiddie suffered a season-ending ACL injury in January, which will definitely affect his draft stock. While that isn't great news for him, it could be for the Pistons. If they can afford to take on a player who is still rehabbing from a major injury, then Dinwiddie could pay off dividends down the line.
He had one more year of eligibility at Colorado, but he made the choice to enter the NBA draft in spite of his injury. That shows that he has enough confidence in his ability to get back to full strength and contribute very quickly.
At No. 38, the Pistons could do a lot worse.