It’s Day 11 of our 2017 Draftmas and boy do we have a treat for you! The Detriot Pistons hold the number twelve pick in this year’s draft, and here’s what they’ll do with it.
The Pistons finished 37-45 this past season after reaching the playoffs in 2015-16 as a No. 8 seed with a record of 44-38. It’s no secret Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris and Reggie Jackson are the team’s top three players. Andrew Drummond led the team in rebounds with 13.8 per game on average. Tobias Harris averaged the highest points per game, coming in at 16.1 in 31.3 minutes. Finally, Reggie Jackson averaged 5.2 assists per game and 14.5 points per game. As for next year, the Pistons could lose guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in a restricted free agency. However, if he stays, he’ll have the help of Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris, Ish Smith and Stanley Johnson to round out the squad.
Despite the team struggling this past year, they have some things going for them. They are a pick-and-roll team headed up by Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond. They share the ball relatively well, but there is always room for improvement. Their weakness this past season was their transition game. Two seasons ago, Detroit was 16th in the league in transition frequency and 22nd in points per possession in transition. Needless to say, they need some help on the offensive end.
number 12 pick: what they need
Detriot needs a point guard, there’s no question about it. However, Jeff Bower said the team will take the best player at No. 12, regardless of position and need. They don’t own a second-round pick, because it was sent to Utah in the Reggie Jackson three-team trade back in 2015. So the single pick will have to suffice for now.
Jackson and Drummond lead the team, however their production has dipped in the past season. Drummond averaged 13.6 points and 13.8 rebounds per game after being an All-Star last year, while guard Reggie Jackson put up 14.5 points and 5.2 assists per game. They’re still great players, maybe they just need the right point guard to get the “Detroit Machine” back up and running.
Honestly, they need a leader that can score. The Pistons don’t have anyone that can go off for 30+ points every few games. I hate to say it, but they need a Lebron James or Steph Curry. They need someone that they can look to for consistency, leadership and most importantly, production. Like their General Manager, Jeff Bower said, they need the best player left in the draft. Best is open to interpretation but either way, the Pistons need a solid player.
The No. 12 pick isn’t set in stone though. The Pistons are reportedly open to trading the No. 12 overall pick in this year’s draft, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Stein said that such a deal would most likely involve the Pistons getting a veteran in return who could help them win sooner instead of developing a young player.
Who will they pick?
There have been a lot of names thrown around in regards to who the Pistons will select. Some people have mentioned Luke Kennard (PG, Duke), Zach Collins (C, Gonzaga), Dennis Smith (PG, North Carolina State), Donovan Mitchell (G, Louisville) and Frank Ntilikina, (PG, France) It’s clear they need a point guard, as stated above however if Jeff Bower really means what he said, it could be anyone.
Let’s assume for a second though, that Detroit is looking to supplement their team in the best way with a point guard. My opinion will not determine the Piston’s pick, however they NEED to pick Donovan Mitchell. He’s the best match for the team with his athleticism, versatility and knowledge of the game.
The 6’3 guard averaged 15.6 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game and 2.7 assists per game last season. Not to mention, he shot 80.6% from the free throw line and was a key factor in each victory the Cardinals had this past season. Also, I don’t know if I’m the only one who notices this, but the NBA pace is a lot slower than college, at least in transition offense. Mitchell is quick and if he grabs the rebound, he’s pushing the ball up the floor, going coast to coast, which is exactly what Detroit needs.
At the combine, Mitchell had great numbers in the sprint and no-step vertical leap. He has a 6’10 wingspan and weighs 210 pounds, lean and mean as they say. Most importantly, he knows the game like the back of his hand. He makes good decisions in the open court can dish the ball out when he isn’t taking a quality shot. If players guard him too tight, he has a great first step to get by them. If defenders back off, it’s no problem for Mitchell to pull up from behind the arc with his quick release.
If the Pistons are lucky enough to land Mitchell, they will have a guard to aid Andre Drummond and Reggie Smith. Let’s be honest, the Cavaliers own the Eastern conference right now but with the right pick (Donovan Mitchell) could be just what the Pistons need to shake up the East a little bit. No matter who they end up picking, fans can be excited about some potential young blood in the program.
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