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The Lottery has spoken, the Detroit Pistons will pick 9th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. But don’t fret this team has found gems in this area before(Greg Monroe(7) and Brandon Knight(8)). The Pistons’ two main needs coming into this draft are, athleticism and big men. They were consistently beaten up the floor by more athletic teams and ranked near the bottom of the league in both rebounding and blocked shots, 26th overall out of 30 teams in both categories.
At 9 they have some options, obviously none as good as Anthony Davis but there are some interesting players they can choose from. The options I have chosen to analyze are the most realistic and ones that make the most sense, obviously at 9 they aren’t going to be able to pick Davis, Thomas Robinson, or Andre Drummond.
In most mock drafts, John Henson, out of North Carolina, is predicted to be drafted by the Pistons at 9th overall. I wouldn’t mind this at all. He’s 6’10″, he’s athletic, and he has a freakish wingspan of 7’4″. He would bring a much needed shot blocking presence to the team. He averaged 2.9 blocks last season, his junior season, at Chapel Hill. The Pistons as a team averaged 4.2 this season. He has terrific recovery speed. Able to recover quickly if he’s beaten, he leaves an imprint on the defensive end. He brings a 9.9 rebounds per game average to the NBA, including 3.2 on the offensive end.
Offensively, he still needs some work. He doesn’t really look to shoot outside the paint. His 11.7 points per game came mostly from ofensive putbacks and from running the floor and finishing on the break. When he does try to make a move in the halfcourt, it’s in the post where he likes to spin baseline and finish from there. Because of his wingspan and his athleticism, he likes to finish over people, not through them.
Henson needs to hit the weight room, however. Despite gaining 30 pounds during his three seasons at Carolina, going from 180 pounds to 210, he’s still extremely thin. This causes him to be bumped off balance when he drives to the rim. He also has some periods during a game where he zones out, and he doesn’t focus for a full game. He shoots a paltry 48% from the free throw line. Where do I see Henson? Well he’s not physical enough to play the 4 and he doesn’t have the skill to play the 3, so he’s a classic tweener. These things can be fixed, but if the Pistons do decide to take Henson at the 9th spot, it will be mainly for his shot blocking.
Perry Jones III
Perry Jones III, out of Baylor, is predicted to go 11th overall to the Portland Trail Blazers. He’s 6’11″ and 235 pounds, he’s freakishly athletic, he’s able to handle the ball on the break, and he has long strides where he can get to the basket with ease. He’s very explosive and when he catches the ball near the rim, he finishes with explosiveness. In the halfcourt, he’s most effective when he faces up and can drive past his defender, because of his quickness and athleticism. He averaged 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds for the Bears last season, in the Elite 8 against the Kentucky Wildcats, he scored 17 points and eight rebounds.
When Jones drives, if a defender bumps him he doesn’t play through the contact, preferring to take an off balance shot. His demeanor has been questioned, sometimes he coasts and decides to take the easy route and not working at his game. His potential is enormous, unlimited even, he could defend all five positions if he wanted to due to his athleticism. However, he has not shown the willingness to defend in high school or college. His jump shot has plenty promise. He has a smooth stroke and it’s fluid, the consistency just isn’t there yet.
If Detroit decides to take Jones III, they’re going to get an athlete with plenty of promise and enormous potential. However, they’re also getting a player who lacks the willingness to defend or work hard on his game every day.
A lot of Pistons’ fans have been clamoring for Jared Sullinger of Ohio State. In my opinion, this would be another solid choice. Sullinger is 6’10″ and 281 pounds, he averaged 9.2 rebounds and 17.5 points, shot 52%(40% from 3), and shot 77% from the free throw line during his Sophomore season. Not exactly the quickest player, he’s a bruiser and has great lower body strength. He finishes around the rim with nice post moves. He rarely turns the ball over(1.2 TO per game) and he averages 1.1 blocks per game. He has a nice smooth stroke, that he can take out to the 3-point line, and has been compared to Carlos Boozer.
Sullinger has his weaknesses though. His conditioning needs to improve, his lateral quickness is poor, and he labors up and down the court. He can get be beat by mobile, athletic forwards and he has had most of his better games in college against weaker, smaller opponents. In the Final Four against Kansas he shot 5-of-19 for 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
If the Pistons take Sullinger they’re going to get a wide body who can rebound efficiently and he can score in the low block. They’re also going to get a guy who isn’t very athletic and someone who needs to improve his conditioning. Still wouldn’t be a bad choice due to the fact that he can score and rebound effectively.
Arnett Moultrie is a 6’10″, 230 pounder out of Mississippi State University. He averaged 16.4 points and 10.5 rebounds in his one season at Mississippi State, played his Fr. and So. seasons at UTEP, and he shot 55% from the field. He’s a nightmare for opponents to guard, because of his explosiveness and good post moves. He can finish over either shoulder, he’s nimble and quick in the paint, and he has the body control to take the contact and finish his shots. He can shoot from mid range and can shoot from the 3-point line. He has quick feet and can defend out on the perimeter.
Moultrie can sometimes play too quickly(2.2 TO per game) but he’ll learn to slow down when he gains experience. He’s not a shot blocker, his career high in shot blocking was 0.9 in his Freshman year at UTEP. He’s been compared to Jermaine O’Neal.
If Joe Dumars decides to take Moultrie at 9, it would be a good pick. He has massive talent and the potential is there to be even better. He has the size, leaping ability, explosiveness, and athleticism that would help the Pistons.
Out of these four players, I would love to see them take Henson, simply becuase of his 7’4″ wingspan and his 2.9 blocked shots per game have me drooling. He definitely has to hit the weight room but if Ben Wallace sticks around, “Body” will have him in there 24/7 to help him get bigger. His free throw percentage can be improved on as can his jump shot.
2nd round prospects(39 and 44)
39: Furken Aldemir(Turkey), Kevin Murphy(Tennesse Tech), William Buford(Ohio State), Mike Scott(Virginia)
44: Maalik Wayans(Villanova), JaMychal Green(Alabama), Henry Sims(Georgetown), Herb Pope(Seton Hall)
-Ky Carlin Twitter: @Ky_Carlin