Now that we’re on the other side of the NBA lottery, evaluators can project the project with a greater degree of certainty. The group of players the Pistons can target with the seventh pick overall has gotten slightly lower.
But in a draft that doesn’t have much unanimity over who the best players are, or even an agreement on which players belong to each tier, opinion is still divided as to which player suits Detroit best.
[ The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. ]
Here’s a look at who drafting experts think the Pistons should select:
More:The Detroit Pistons should target these 5 prospects in the 2020 NBA draft
ESPN / The Ringer: Iowa state point guard Tyrese Haliburton
2019-10 stats: 15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists
Haliburton’s strengths – shooting, direction, size and efficiency – would help any team in the NBA. While there is no consensus that he is a NBA starting point guard, the Pistons should have enough time to allow him to grow in the role. And that’s one of the reasons ESPN loves its Detroit adaptation.
“Haliburton can adapt to multiguard formations due to its size, close-up shooting and quick decision making,” wrote ESPN project guru Jonathan Givony. “The seasoned guard is comfortable playing on or off the ball and likes to empower teammates with his passes. Detroit has a noticeable hole in the point guard, and Haliburton’s maturity and sensitivity for the game make him an easy fit on this roster. “
RELATED:Post-Lottery Edition Mock Draft 2020 NBA: The Detroit Pistons have a huge range of options at number 7
2019-20 stats: 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 61.6% on-field goal rate
The Pistons’ need for a great man isn’t as strong as their need for a point guard, and non-shooting centers are usually not expensive to sign free agency.
It can be argued that Detroit would be better off not using a lottery on a downtown that doesn’t span the floor. But Okongwu pretty much does everything else at a high level, making it a popular mid-lottery choice. It is slightly undersized for the position, standing 6-foot-9. But its defensive versatility, touch around the edge, and efficiency could make it a reliable building block.
“Onyeka Okongwu convinced teams to look beyond her 6’9” size for a center and lack of shooting range, “wrote Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman.
“At least, the Detroit Pistons should be able to target Okongwu for easy baskets on rolls, cuts and misses. And given its length, mobility, and 2.7 blocks per game, they should feel excited about its potential to protect the circle and guard effectively in space. “
FOR SUBSCRIBERS:Making sense of the Detroit Pistons’ latest NBA lottery loss
SB Nation: Downtown Memphis James Wiseman
2019-20 stats: 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.0 blocks.
Wiseman, considered the # 1 recruit in the 2019 class by multiple recruiting points, just had a cup of coffee at the NCAA. His collegiate career ended after three games following an investigation that led to him being declared unfit to play. Despite his small champion size, he is widely considered one of the top three picks in the draft due to his measurable, athletic skills and relative lack of confident draft talent.
SB Nation isn’t that high on Wiseman’s potential, though. Ricky O’Donnell is convinced that Okongwu is the best candidate for the big man in the draft, allowing Wiseman to fall to the Pistons. While Wiseman is more physically gifted than Okongwu, his lack of duct tape related to Okongwu’s proven production works against him here.
“Wiseman was the number 1 rookie in the country before playing just three games in Memphis amid an NCAA eligibility scandal,” O’Donnell wrote. “His limited college registration is just one of the reasons he feels like the most polarizing candidate in this year’s class. Believers in Wiseman see a long, strong 7’1 center that can protect the rim and slam home lobs from day one while honing his offensive skills. Critics question the speed of his lateral mobility and second jump, and wonder how impactful a center can be in today’s game with no more shooting and passing ability. ”
MORE:No “woe to me” attitude for the Detroit Pistons after crashing in the NBA lottery
SI: Copper striker Isaac Okoro
2019-20 stats: 12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, two assists, 0.9 blocks, 0.9 steals
Okoro’s draft rank is largely tied to how confident you are that you can become an NBA-level shooter. He was one of the most impactful wing defenders in college basketball, but his score of 29% out of three is a hole in his game that could reduce his NBA cap.
Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo loves his offensive lead enough to see a good fit for Detroit.
“Detroit absolutely needs an injection of top-notch talent into the first draft of Troy Weaver as CEO,” wrote Woo. “After getting off at number 7, they may be out of the running for LaMelo Ball, barring a slip in the project. But Okoro’s impressive athletic skills, strong defensive instincts, and developing offensive skills create an intriguing long-term package, with the hope that he will be able to skillfully defend the league’s top scorers while also offering value on the other side. The caveat here is that if her sweater never gets better, there’s an obvious downside. But teams are very optimistic about his intangibles, and just being an average shooter could block him like an early caliber player. It’s a reasonable bet at this point. “
CBS Sports: Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany) guard Killian Hayes
2019-20 stats: 11.6 points, 5.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds
The other point guard largely designed to be picked between fifth and tenth picks, Hayes doesn’t seem to be as popular as Haliburton at this point in the draft evaluation process.
He is a strong playmaker and efficient scorer within the arc, but his 29.4 points 3% is a weakness he will need to improve in the NBA. Some evaluators are high on ball handling, footwork, and touch. He also has a strong international track record at the age of 19.
It may have a longer path to becoming an NBA starter than Haliburton, but it makes sense for Detroit.
“Detroit should keep an eye on its future as a point guard as Derrick Rose ages, making Killian Hayes a wise investment in his future,” wrote Kyle Boone. “He just turned 19 and is already an established international star, having won MVP honors at the FIBA Europe U16s three years ago and has since made his way into a top-10 caliber prospect thanks to his blend of directing and vision possesses. “