Detroit Pistons fans were left scratching their heads after the events of last night's 2008 NBA Draft. After weeks of speculation and countless mock drafts written by so-called experts, no one predicted what Pistons general manager Joe Dumars chose to do with team's selections.
Going into the night, the Pistons had obvious holes at the center and backup small forward positions. Rumors circulated a few weeks ago regarding Detroit possibly providing Indiana University's D.J. White with a guarantee that the team would draft him at No. 29 in the first round. Some dismissed the thought and pointed to the fact that the Pistons had plenty of depth at power forward, White's natural NBA position.
As the draft progressed through the first round, and as team after team reached down to select players predicted to be chosen later in the draft, it became apparent that Detroit would find itself with better options at the end of the first round than expected. Fan favorites such as Detroit native Chris Douglas-Roberts and Kansas State's Bill Walker were still on the board, as well as DeAndre Jordan, not long ago projected as a lottery pick. Alas, with their first selection of the draft, Detroit selected the Big Ten Player of the Year, D.J. White out of IU.
It seemed as though Joe Dumars was going with a Joe Dumars-type of player. A proven worker who produced throughout four years of NCAA ball. That changed quickly as it was made known that the Pistons would trade the draft rights to White to Seattle for their two picks in the second round, Nos. 32 and 46.
When the 32nd pick rolled around and both Douglas-Roberts and Walker were still available, it seemed as though Dumars once again fleeced his counterparts. The Pistons would get who they really wanted and secured an additional pick in the process. However, the tables turned when Detroit drafted Walter Sharpe at 32, a virtual unknown out of UAB who only played in a total of 12 games this past season due to academic ineligibility.
Sharpe was dismissed from the Mississippi State basketball team in the middle of his sophomore season, suffered from a bullet wound to the stomach in 2006, and was most recently diagnosed with narcolepsy, which may explain the laundry list of unfortunate events plaguing his career. The UAB transplant was a late riser up the draft boards of several teams and did manage to make it onto the last rendition of ESPN expert Chad Ford's mock draft, at 47th overall.
Apparently, Sharpe worked out very well in the days before the draft and teams were willing to take a chance on him since his condition has finally been properly diagnosed. The power forward measures out at 6'9", 241 pounds and averaged 14.2 ppg and 6.8 rpg in just under 25 mpg last season.
While fans were stunned by the Sharpe pick, there was still a chance to settle nerves with Walker and some legitimate center prospects available with the newly acquired 46th overall pick. In another twist, Dumars decided to go with Trent Plaisted from BYU, a 6'10" PF/C whom scouts have said plays smaller than his size. He does have some athletic ability, but to most Pistons fans, he was another unknown.
With the 59th overall selection, Detroit went with Deron Washington, a 6'7" forward from Virginia Tech.
UPDATE: Joe Dumars makes his first comments about the picks on Official Pistons.com blog. This is starting to make sense...