Detroit Pistons General Manager Joe Dumars
The draft is coming soon, and with the NBA lottery being held today, Detroit Pistons General Manager knows he must strike gold with his projected seventh-overall pick. What players is he looking at, and what position will they play? These are just a few of the many questions Detroit fans everywhere have.
One thing is certain, the Pistons have plenty of players who like to shoot the ball. That means Detroit won't need to take a scorer, right? With veterans Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton most likely on their way out of town via free agency and trade, any player in the 2011 NBA draft is fair game for Dumars.
Let's take a look at five players Detroit's GM will have his eye on.
Veteran center Ben Wallace is likely to retire this summer, and Dumars has the chance to replace him with Ben Wallace 2.0. Bismack Biyombo may not sport braids or an afro, but he plays defense like Big Ben did in his prime.
At 6'9", 240 pounds, the 18-year-old Biyombo has only been playing basketball for a few years. The Congo native has a 7'7" wingspan and is arguably the best shot-blocker to enter the draft since Dwight Howard. Offensively, though, he is very, very raw. His offense consists largely of offensive put-backs and transition baskets.
PG Kyrie Irving, Duke
Detroit would have to move up in the lottery or move up via trade to draft Duke's Kyrie Irving. Draft day trades happen every year, and this year will be no exception. Pistons point guard Rodney Stuckey was suspended three times by the team last season, and he's a restricted free agent.
As a freshman this year, Irving played in only 11 games. He averaged 17.5 PTS and 4.3 AST in just 27.5 MIN per game. He has ideal size and quickness for a point guard, and has the ball handling skills to match. He shoots over 50 percent from the field and over 90 percent from the foul line. Irving's play has drawn comparisons to Chris Paul.
PG Kemba Walker, UConn
UConn's Kemba Walker may be the most polarizing player in the 2011 NBA draft. At just 6', 170 pounds, he's a smaller version of Derek Rose. Walker, a junior, was thought by many to be the best player in all of college basketball in 2010. He won MVP of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament this year after leading the Huskies to victory in the title game against Butler. Walker's leadership, playmaking and offense allowed him to carry his team all year.
Detractors will say Walker is selfish and tries to do too much. His averages are extraordinary for a little man: 23.5 PTS, 5.4 REB, 4.5 AST and 1.9 STL averaging 37.6 MIN in 2010. It is fair to say he was doing what was asked of him, and he led his team to a championship doing it. Flashbacks to Isiah Thomas, anyone?
PG Brandon Kinight, Kentucky
Brandon Knight a solid defender with few weaknesses in his game, and he possesses a lethal jump shot. At 6'3", he's got ideal size for an NBA point guard. Knight averaged 17.3 PTS and 4.2 AST as a freshman at Kentucky this year. His 3.2 TO are something he'll have to improve once he gets to the NBA.
Like Stuckey, Knight is considered a combo guard, but unlike Stuckey, he has a consistent NBA jump shot. What Dumars decides to do with Stuckey before the draft will decide how serious he gets about drafting a point guard in the lottery.
C Donatas Motiejunas
The 20-year-old Lithuanian grew up idolizing Arvydas Sabonis, and he's fashioned his game accordingly. Motiejunas isn't the physical specimen Sabonis was at a similar age, but his offensive game is very well-rounded. He has range out to 25', solid post skills and all-star potential. In just over 27 minutes of action per game in Eurocup play, Motiejunas averaged 10.9 PTS and 5.6 REB for Benetton Basket.
Will Dumars have the courage to draft another young, European big man? The spectre of Darko Milicic still lingers in the Palace, years after he was dealt to the Orlando Magic. Detroit fans still haven't forgiven Dumars for Drafting the 7'1" Yugoslavian prodigy over NBA All-Stars like Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.