The Detroit Pistons’ draft plans hinge, first and foremost, on what happens at the May 20 draft lottery. As Pistons fans well know by now, should any lottery team below the No. 8 spot hit the jackpot, Detroit would fall out of the top eight and thus have to hand over its first-round pick to Charlotte.
Should the Pistons stay put (or move up), however, this draft ought to provide them a shot at a legitimate rookie starter. Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman speculates in his latest mock draft that one such candidate could be found just a short drive from Auburn Hills:
Nik Stauskas, coming off Big 10 Player of the Year honors, has a number of things going for him heading into the draft. …
With Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith all being inside-the-arc scorers, the Pistons desperately need a wing who can consistently stretch the floor.
Obviously, the Pistons used their early Round 1 selection last year to draft a player not entirely unlike Stauskas in athletic shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He was squeezed out of the rotation for much of the season, so it’s hard to really know how he might fit in with the Pistons’ plans moving forward — especially since a new GM and new coaching staff will be hired shortly.
Stauskas can create off the dribble with more effectiveness than Caldwell-Pope, but is there room for both players on the roster, considering neither appears to be a fit for the small forward spot?
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix has the Pistons landing a wing player, too. The name there will be much less familiar: Dario Saric, a small forward from Croatia.
The Pistons, who are just beginning the search to replace president Joe Dumars, have a need at small forward. Enter Saric, a fast-developing point forward prospect. Saric leads the Adriatic League in scoring (16.3 points) and is second in rebounding (9.5).
Kyle Singler wrapped the year starting at the 3-spot for Detroit. He played decently well in stretches, but he’s hardly a game-changer on either end of the court. Perhaps Stauskas could supplant him in that spot, if he bulks up a bit and improves his defense. Saric likely would battle there for playing time.
Does either sound like a good fit?