Pistons eye another productive draft pick
DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Pistons have missed the playoffs the last three seasons and the draft lottery has given them little chance at a quick fix. They picked seventh in 2010, eighth last year and now they're at No. 9 in Thursday night's draft.
Of course, if this draft ends up like the last two, the Pistons will have taken another step toward rebuilding their roster.
Detroit's last two first-round picks were center Greg Monroe and guard Brandon Knight, and both have shown promise. Last season, the Pistons took Knight after some of the top frontcourt prospects were taken. Detroit could use another young big man who can play with Monroe, but president of basketball operations Joe Dumars doesn't sound locked in to any one position.
"We're prepared to take the best player on the board,'' Dumars said. "We will look to add another young piece to our core guys.''
Detroit already made one big move this week, trading guard Ben Gordon to Charlotte on Tuesday along with a future first-round pick for forward Corey Maggette. That move cleared Gordon's contract off the books and left little doubt that Knight and Rodney Stuckey are the team's top backcourt options. Tayshaun Prince remains in the fold, so the biggest remaining need would appear to be in the frontcourt.
The 6-foot-11 Monroe averaged 15.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game last season but was the team's only consistent scorer inside.
Anthony Davis of Kentucky is expected to go No. 1, but there are a handful of other big men who could still be available when the Pistons pick. John Henson and Tyler Zeller, both of North Carolina, are possibilities, and Kentucky forward Terrence Jones could end up being picked somewhere in that range as well.
"This is a draft that's got pretty good frontcourt - fours and fives,'' Dumars said. "And it seems to have pretty good depth of two guards in this draft as well.''
After trading Gordon - and cutting ties with Richard Hamilton before last season - the Pistons might be interested in adding depth on the perimeter, especially with the 6-foot-6 Maggette in the last year of his contract.
The Pistons enter this draft in a state of flux, but nothing compared to last offseason. New owner Tom Gores had just taken over the team when Detroit picked Knight in 2011. The Pistons also changed coaches, with Lawrence Frank officially hired about a month after the draft to replace John Kuester.
Detroit went 25-41 last season, playing better toward the end of the lockout-shortened schedule. In addition to the ninth pick, Detroit has two second rounders - Nos. 39 and 44. The Pistons landed forward Jonas Jerebko in the second round in 2009, and he's been able to contribute, but the draft becomes even more of a crapshoot that late.
"You've got to see what's on the board,'' Dumars said. "I don't think you get down that low and worry about need as much as you worry about getting a good player.''
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