Pistons NBA Draft 2011: Players Who Can Return Detroit to Bad Boys' Era

Joye PruittSenior Analyst IMay 29, 2011

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies reacts while taking on the Butler Bulldogs during the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Kemba Walker

Not too far removed from the small stature of Bad Boys’ point guard Isaiah Thomas, Kemba Walker has all of the making s of an elite NBA player.

Not only is he not afraid of the big moment, but he thrives off of the challenge. Towards the end of the season, he guided the UConn Huskies on an incomprehensible journey that led to not only a Big East Championship, but defeating the Butler Bulldogs in the NCAA Tournament Championship game.

The start may have been ugly, but the heroics of Walker led to a clean cut, storybook ending for UConn. Now, as he embarks on a path that will most likely end with him being swept off of the board within the first twenty spots, he presents the Detroit Pistons with a chance to return to glory.

Sure Rodney Stuckey has been instrumental in Detroit’s few victories in the 2010 season, but Kemba brings electricity to the game unseen throughout the Pistons roster. The Bad Boys of the late 80s-early 90s held the power of crowd captivation.

Not only were they extremely talented athletes, but their personalities embodied their own menacing figure on the court. Walker is not the one dishing out the physical contact, but he sure can finish his shots while drawing it. He is rarely rattled by another team’s edge or hoopla.

Kemba remains concerned with the game at hand, injury or not. There were times within the two tournaments where it looked as if he would have to be benched.

College players are known for their theatrics when it comes to stressing an injury, but Walker made a mark on the tough scale by playing out each game in its entirety. Not to mention with an amazing buzzer beater against Pittsburgh in the Big East tourney.

Brandon Knight

Brandon Knight has the swagger of a champion. That is as simple as it can be stated.

Much like Walker, Knight is not afraid of the big moment and in the NBA there are many. When the game is one the line and there is a lot to lose, depend on Brandon Knight to deliver in the biggest way possible.

Not only did he have a clutch play in the Ohio State game that kept Kentucky’s season alive, but he had another clutch performance against Harrison Barnes and the University of North Carolina. He rarely disappears and his attitude towards defeat is one that scouts and general managers would love to label their franchises with.

With a new coach coming in to replace John Kuester, there will be a need for fresh blood in all aspects of the organization. Detroit’s direction is more than questionable at this point, with the low morale of its players and indignant behavior of one of its veteran leaders, Richard Hamilton.

The shady 2010 season at the Palace should turn the heads of the front office members in Detroit and make them demand more heart and raw talent from this year’s draft. It may be few and far in between, but the diamonds are lying in the rough. Brandon Knight is one of them.

DeAndre Liggins

There is not much that can be said about DeAndre Liggins. Sometimes viewed as overly confident, he would be a breath of fresh air within a roster that has become comfortable with its own obscurity.

Raw talent is an excellent advantage to have, but without a voice in the huddle, you have a directionless slew of men with no motivation. The Atlanta Hawks have a wide range of talents playing with a Hawks jersey, but none of them have the heart to demand greatness from their teammates.

The result? Early elimination from the Eastern Conference Playoffs. The Detroit Pistons need a defined leader, whether they are the leading scorer or glorified defender.

There must be someone on the sidelines preaching, shouting, gesturing or whatever is necessary to evoke victory from the hands of the men he shares the locker room with. Liggins commands respect and attention from those around him.

Regardless of his mediocre performance in previous seasons, he provided Kentucky with the mental toughness to make a deep run into the NCAA tournament. He was one of the most effective on-ball defenders in the SEC.

The way he could make a player second-guess their own instincts was awe-striking. Liggins’ exit from Kentucky will be a burden to the Wildcats, but a present to whoever swipes him out of the draft.