The NBA Draft is coming up, which means The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each day, a new team will be analyzed for their past season, their team needs and targets. Today, the Detroit Pistons will be evaluated.
The Pistons were the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs this season. They finished the year with a 41-41 record, thanks almost entirely to Blake Griffin who made third-team All-NBA this season. Unfortunately, all that got them was a first-round sweep when they met up with Milwaukee in the postseason.
Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond are good players, but their fit together on a team is still a little strange. Other than those two and head coach Dwayne Casey there isn’t much to get excited about in Detroit. It’s a roster comprised mostly of guys who are decent, but really don’t get you fired up at all when they’re on the court. Without trading Griffin or Drummond it’ll be hard to get much in return for them in a trade either. And there is a large crop of free agents this summer, but it’s hard seeing any of the big name guys wanting to go play in Detroit.
The way the roster is constructed doesn’t leave much hope for Detroit to make big moves this offseason. The Pistons REALLY have to hit on these draft picks in order to see significant changes next year.
The Detroit Pistons have two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft.
First Round: Pick No. 15
Second Round: Pick No. 45
Exciting Perimeter Players – Griffin and Drummond are good players, no doubt. The next best player on the team is either Reggie Jackson or Reggie Bullock. It’s obvious to say that when you draft someone you want them to be good. It’s less obvious to say that you want them to be exciting, but that may just be exactly what the Pistons need in this draft. Guards and forwards who will inspire fans and fellow teammates around a team that has been generally uninteresting absolutely fit the bill for Detroit.
First Round: Pick No. 15 – Kevin Porter Jr., Guard, USC
He has the skills to be able to create his own shot AND to be a secondary (or maybe primary someday) ball-handler and playmaker for others. Reggie Jackson is a decent three-point shooter and Reggie Bullock is pretty good from range, but Blake Griffin still led the team in assists with 5.4 per game last year. Porter Jr. is a skilled offensive player, especially scoring the ball, and having a young, gifted, offensive weapon added to the team will surely boost their nightly production. Not only that, but he is a phenomenal athlete and can learn to play defense at a high level.
Intangibles are the big issue with Porter; effort, attitude, mindset, etc. That could be a problem as Reggie Jackson has been known to be a rather intense and opinionated guy himself. As long as those two don’t clash and Porter can prove that he has matured, the Pistons could find a guy who turns out to be a top five player in this draft class when all is said and done.
Second Round: Pick No. 45 – Kris Wilkes, Forward, UCLA
He has one of the more complete and versatile skill-sets of all the players in the draft. He’s great in the open court and at getting to the rim. He’s a decent passer and ball-handler for his size. Wilkes is an athletic finisher, he’s quick, and he’s long. He will probably be able to defend any guard and most forwards. He does all of those things very well, but none at an elite level. Attacking the rim is probably his best skill. He has almost all of the requisite traits needed to succeed at an NBA level.
He needs to get stronger. He’ll get pushed around by stronger NBA athletes, especially if he has to switch on defense to a bigger player. But most importantly, he needs to work on the three-point shot. It was good enough in college to keep defenses honest so it would open up driving and passing lanes. If he can reach that point in his NBA game then he should be a meaningful player someday. It will take some work to get to that point though.
Maybe most importantly for Wilkes though, he has a mustache that is reminiscent of David Robinson. It’s truly something to behold. As a rule of thumb, If you have a mid-second round pick and one of your choices has a brilliant stache, he’s probably the guy you should go with. It’s an all-time look for my guy Kris Wilkes.