Now that the smoke has settled somewhat from the cloud of confusion caused by the draft night moves made by Pistons GM Joe Dumars, it's time to shed light on what Detroit's all-star executive accomplished with this year's picks.
The name Walter Sharpe didn't ring many bells when it was called as the 32nd pick last Thursday night. Almost no one had heard of him, and even Jay Bilas, ESPN's NCAA expert, was at a loss for words when Sharpe's name came up in the second round. However, Joe Dumars seems to have succeeded on two fronts with this selection.
Moving down into the second round saved the Pistons money.
By trading out of the first round, the Pistons are no longer obligated to offer any of their rookies a guaranteed contract. Dumars must have known that he was looking at a high-risk/high-reward player.
Those types of guys are best suited for the second round, where your team loses nothing but a late draft pick if they fail to pan out. Taking someone like Sharpe, who played in just 18 NCAA games the last three years, in the first round and giving him a guaranteed contract might even be irresponsible. But take him in the second round at 32, and there is very little downside to the pick.
Additionally, the Pistons don't lose any flexibility in what moves they can make with their stacked roster this off-season.
Walter Sharpe's draft stock was on fire. He could be a huge talent.
Official Pistons blogger Keith Langlois just recently revealed the attention Sharpe was getting leading right up to the draft.
Walter worked out with a total of eight NBA teams and his agent had this to say about Sharpe's competition in those workouts: “When he worked out for the Pistons, I think they had Jason Thompson, who went 12th; J.J. Hickson, I believe, who went 19th; and J.R. Giddens, who went 30th. The second workout (with the Pistons) was Serge Ibaka and Nathan Jawai. I think it’s safe to draw assumptions about what the Pistons saw.”
And regarding the reaction of other teams when they heard Sharpe was brought in for a second work out with the Pistons: “The Celtics tried to get him in the day of the draft. The Lakers squeezed in a workout. Teams were scrambling...had he been able to play a full college season, (Sharpe) would have never been available to the Pistons at the top of the second round."
Joe Dumars himself has said that Sharpe, who measures out at 6'9", 232 pounds (his weight at the time of the workouts), can handle the basketball and has range on a smooth jump shot. He's apparently very athletic and a solid passer.
Walter will actually play small forward, not power forward like in college, for the Pistons, a position in which depth has been an issue.
Dumars also said he knew of two teams preparing to trade up to take Sharpe, who was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school. It's been reported that the Wizards were very interested in Sharpe with the 47th overall pick, as well. The Pistons, in typical Dumars fashion, may have landed a gem.
Detroit's other second-rounders will play overseas next season.
As for the Piston's other two selections, Joe Dumars has said that the team made a list of guys they liked who were comfortable playing in Europe next year. Both Trent Plaisted and Deron Washington will play for the Piston's summer league team, then move on to European clubs to work on their game during the regular season.
This may explain why the Pistons did not select someone like Bill Walker with the 46th overall pick. The team's roster is stacked, and Dumars knew they could not commit roster spots to more than one rookie this year.
Chris Douglas-Roberts had no interest in being a Piston.
This one took me by surprise. As CDR remained on the draft board as the Pistons picked 29th, then still at 32nd, I wondered why we didn't bring the Detroiter home.
It turns out that Douglas-Roberts did not want to wear a Pistons uniform at all. A confidant of the Memphis All-American, who happened to be in CDR's presence on draft night, phoned in to a WDFN Detroit radio show to explain that Douglas-Roberts did not think his style of play fit with Detroit's half-court offense and that he wanted to join a run-and-gun, up-tempo style team.
It was confirmed that CDR declined an invitation to work out with the Pistons and that he was also convinced he would be selected in the middle of the first round. He ended up going 40th overall to the New Jersey Nets.
On the surface, Detroit did not appear to shine on draft night. However, after some thorough due diligence, it seems as though Joe Dumars was a step ahead of us all—nothing new for the Pistons GM.
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