I get the most worked up at the Pistons come draft night for two reasons:
a) General Manager Joe Dumars usually leaks who he covets far in advance, and I’m hoping the Pistons steer away from that prospect, and
b) Somebody slips in the draft who the Pistons clearly should select, and they don’t.
After the Pistons fired Flip Saunders and hired Michael Curry it was clear that our deep playoff runs were over. As Detroit has never been a free agent hot spot, there has been an even bigger onus on our draft picks panning out.
Here’s what’s happened the last three years:
In 2010, we wound up with FC Greg Monroe and G Terrico White. I was praying for DeMarcus Cousins to slip to #7, as I considered him the top prospect in the entire draft (he had one of the most productive college seasons EVER), but wanted Greg Monroe to be available just in case. We can thank the Golden State Warriors for seeing something in Ekpe Udoh that we didn’t and selecting him at #6, enabling us to snatch up Moose. When the second round approached I was crossing my fingers for Hassan Whiteside, a prolific shot-blocker in the NCAA, but he was taken by Sacramento (of course) three picks before ours. When Terrico White was selected I was satisfied, as he graded out as a top athlete from the draft class and was a worthy project.
Joe was right. I was right. =Two get somes.
The 2009 draft saw me wanting Ty Lawson to be available at #15, as I didn’t see much in Will Bynum as a backup PG. Bynum since has grown on me and proven himself, aided by that giant chip on his shoulder…but Ty Lawson is now the starter for the Denver Nuggets, holding his ground against the challenge that All-Star candidate Raymond Felton presents.
Joe drafted Austin Daye. Daye has loads of potential as a 6’11” sweet shooter, but his position is hard to peg and he can’t defend a lawn chair. Daye projects to be our starter at SF next season, unless the new coach heeds my advice and runs uptempo small(ish) ball with Hamilton at SF or we draft a SF with the #8 pick in two nights…but he hasn’t progressed statistically from his rookie to sophomore seasons. Literally. His PER36 numbers are virtually identical across the board, making his increased production deceptive, as they are merely a product of his receiving more minutes. = Get None.
Then, I got super excited as DeJuan Blair, formerly pegged for the lottery, slid to the second round due to reports that he, uh, had no cartilage in his knees. Jason Maxiell comparisons led my message board colleagues to deem him redundant, but there’s something to be said for NCAA rebound leaders, as it is one of the statistics that projects most accurately to the NBA. Instead we took DaJuan Summers, a SG/SF/PF/scrub chucker. =Get None.
When Jonas Jerebko was available I was looking forward to selecting Chase Budinger, another first-round “lock” that somehow slid to the second round (Why? He is a great athlete and a great shooter. What gives?). However, we just drafted two F tweeners and I didn’t count on a third being taken. When Jonas Jerebko’s name was called I screamed at the television set, for he hadn’t even been on my radar. =Get Some Joe. Get None George.
Then we actually DRAFTED Chase Budinger. I was torn, for we drafted a player I had made no secret of my desire for, yet he’d be joining a large crowd at the SF position. Before I could figure out which way I was leaning it was announced that we had traded his rights to the Houston Rockets for future draft picks. He has since been a very serviceable player for them. Verdict=Get None Joe, Get Some George.
2008 still burns me. It was all sorts of suck. The last thing we needed to take was a PF, as we had Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, Jason Maxiell, and Amir Johnson-a mancrush of mine-manning the post positions.
Then we selected DJ White out of Wisconsin. FFFFUUUU.
Thankfully, we traded his rights to the Sonics for a few picks later. This was all sorts of promising, as C DeAndre Jordan and PG Mario Chalmers were available at #32, two positions we needed some help at (no true PGs or Cs on the roster). Then we drafted WALTER. FREAKING. SHARPE. A “sleeper pick” (get it?) that was projected to go UNDRAFTED. He’s now out of the league, Mario Chalmers is a borderline starter for the Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat, and DeAndre Jordan is bound to be the permanent starter next to Blake Griffin in Clipperland.
Then, Michael Beasley’s teammate Bill Walker was available at #46, but we selected Trent Plaisted. Walker’s still in the NBA and played 22 mpg for the Knicks in the playoffs, whereas Plaisted never even got his feet wet in the NBA.
This draft was all sorts of Get None.
I hate to say it, but there is a good chance that some epic dumbassery will take place Thursday night with regards to #8. Bismack Biyombo or Jonas Valanciunus are the only players I would be happy with…yet there’s a good chance we take a PF. This draft is a weak one overall, with no tier 1 prospects to be seen, but we can still acquire a player that satisfies our needs (Rebounder. Shot blocker. Defensive anchor.) and fills a glaring hole (backup C) and we damn well better.
Plz don’t make me do this on Thursday KTHNX